In dogs, impulse control is the ability to resist urges and impulses. If you’ve ever watched a dog doing agility. Have ever wonder how on earth they’re able to concentrate. They run through all those obstacles while there are a bunch of barking dogs on the sidelines. It’s because they have excellent impulse control.

On the other hand, a lack of impulse control leads to dogs doing things without thinking about the consequences. If your dog rushes through the front door anytime you open it they’re exhibiting a lack of impulse control.

The same goes if they jump up all over your guests. We tend to call dogs that have poor impulse control pushy and impatient. But in most cases, it’s just due to a lack of training.

Lack Of Impulse Control

Dogs aren’t born with what we consider good manners, just like nearly everything else they have to be taught. And like any other behavior, you can improve your dog’s impulse control through training & consistency.

But just like we teach our toddlers, who share a similar weakness for giving in to temptations. We can also teach Mias and Sisie that patience. Calm and polite behaviors are more effective in getting what they want than jumping, pushing, pawing or barking. – Impulse Control: The 6 Keys to Teaching Dogs Calm & Polite Behavior

Dogs Need to Learn Impulse Control

If you’re raising a puppy or teenage dog you already know how challenging it can be. Puppies aren’t exactly known for their amazing attention spans. And when they hit adolescence it’s like they suddenly wake up one day and forgot everything. They stop listening to us and start acting on their own impulses.

Luckily practicing impulse control with your dog can help. And trust me when I say this — great focus & impulse control will make all of your training so much easier.

Have you seen those agility trials where those dogs are constantly focused on their handler? I used to watch those shows and wonder in the world they were able to get that sort of focus from their dogs.

Turns out any of us can get that sort of attention — it just takes consistency and practice.

So you want to teach your dog better manners? It all starts with impulse control. Here are 3 ways to increase your dog’s impulse control that you can do today.

Is Your Dog Easily Distracted?

When it’s time to train your dog do you find yourself competing for his attention? Does your dog get easily distracted by other dogs or people? Does he go off and follow his nose rather than listen to you? Is he get overly excited by any noise or movement?

If you answered yes to any of the above workings on impulse control work will benefit both you and your dog. Having your dog focused and attentive to your commands will make all of your future training sessions easier. It all starts with a good foundation built on trust, focus, and lots of impulse control work

Start With Realistic Goals For Your Dog

Imagine yourself at the dog park with Mias on a nice summer day. When you open that gate I bet your dog is interested in everything but you.

For most of us, dog owners having great focus while surrounded by such chaos doesn’t seem obtainable. It actually seems impossible. It’s something only advanced dog owners do. They’ve even got dog training classes specifically for that purpose.

While it’s certainly not easy it is obtainable. If you start with realistic goals and build on your success you can have an attentive dog in those sorts of situations as well. But like many other great things in life it’s not quick, it’s not easy, and it takes a lot of hard work.

Since my own dog is reactive a trip to the dog park isn’t going to happen, I needed something more realistic for both of us.

How Impulse Control Makes Dog Training Easier

Once your dog has great focus & impulse control all of your training goals will be much easier to accomplish. Many of my dog’s problems had to do with our daily dog walk. So instead of just focusing on making the walking easier blindly. I decided to build up her impulse control & focus first. It made everything so much easier.

Sissie used to be extremely leash reactive – anytime we encountered another dog, cat, horse. Any creature on a walk she’d become a trembling, howling, pulling mess. Luckily it never ended up with any serious consequences. But it was always a possibility, and that behavior was completely unacceptable. It’s not only completely embarrassing, but it’s also a major liability.

While she’s not perfect, and I still make my fair share mistakes. We’re a much better pair these days. 99% of our walks are completely uneventful, even when we have to walk by a trio of horses or a pair of loose dogs. That 1% is reserved for the neighborhood cat Danny that likes to walk along with us from time to time.

That was my biggest goal with Sissie. Keeping her calm on walks. Having her already focused on me as we set out the door for our walk made conquering those trouble spots easier.

Your goal might be teaching your dog 100 new tricks. Learning some nose work, or maybe even the ultimate test. Keeping your dog calm at the dog park.

With Impulse Control Training Goal is Easier.

Whatever your training goal is it’ll be much easier. if you’ve got your dog’s full attention, and luckily increasing your dog’s focus. Impulse control isn’t very difficult. Once you’ve got the basics mastered you can move on to more distracting locations.

Remember that impulse control in one situation will affect arousal and control in another. So that if our dog goes bonkers over squirrels and over tennis balls, playing fetch is important for getting him to behave well around squirrels too.

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