Instilling Impulse Control
When your dog has more impulse control, they become more reliable in any sort of situation or environment. Impulse control is when your dog might have instincts or impulses, but they control them, typically by deferring to their owner’s leadership and guidance. This can help your dog avoid getting into any type of trouble, and in some cases, save them from harm.
By instilling impulse control, you’re not taking away your dog’s free will or breaking their spirit. You are only showing them that there are better choices to be made and that will be more rewarding for your dog in the end. Rather than make the hasty decision to get into a bad situation, your dog can show restraint, engage their brain, and take the path that will lead to good behavior and fulfillment for both you and your dog.
In all our of in-home dog training programs, impulse control is something we always try to teach. Depending on the dog and the behavioral issues at hand, sometimes impulse control what we focus on building more than anything. Just last week while working with another dog trainer, I had a client sign up her dog Snickers for in-home dog training, and we came to the conclusion at our initial in-home consultation, that Snickers lacked impulse control and needed it desperately. Snickers wasn’t an aggressive dog, but he would be TOO playful when it came to the other family members, including the older dog and the owner’s toddler. Snickers had knocked over the child numerous times, and with the older dog, Snickers’ energy would persist and would often lead to the older dog having to get aggressive in order for Snickers to leave him alone.
With Snickers, not only did he struggle with impulse control, but he also had very little basic obedience, especially when things got distracting or exciting for him. We started from the beginning of polishing his basic commands and manners, making sure that his owner knew how to consistently work and communicate with Snickers. Once we took care of the fundamentals, then we started working on distraction training and helping Snickers overcome certain triggers. His “place” was an excellent tool for impulse control…Snickers soon learned that when he was in his place, even if his sibling or the child walked by, he had to leave them be unless the owner commanded him to be released. His responsiveness to his owner increased more, and even if he stepped over a boundary, Snickers was able to halt at his owner’s verbal cue! It was clear too that Snickers learned that being calmer and listening more became more rewarding for him, rather than constantly being scolded or put in his crate to calm down.
Snickers wasn’t trying to get anyone hurt, but his high energy and zero impulse control endangered the owner’s child, and also put Snickers into risky situations with his older sibling. The relationships for all three of these parties has improved since Snickers started training — the child is no longer scared to approach him, and the older dog is getting less snippy and avoidant of Snickers. Overall, the quality of life for the entire family has improved now that Snickers thinks before he acts!
If your dog needs impulse control, Hampton Roads Dog Training in Virginia Beach can help you out! Call us at 800-649-7297 and we’ll figure out a way together to get your dog to show more response and impulse control!