7 Exercises to Teach Your Dog Impulse Control


Teaching your dog impulse control is a crucial life skill that can assist keep them secure and curb unwanted behaviors like darting out of doorways or jumping on people.

Impulse control means teaching your dog to attend for permission before engaging in a selected activity. 

Many dog owners struggle with teaching their dogs to attend patiently, but with regular practice using the exercises listed in this text, your dog will develop into an impulse control champ very quickly!

Signs that You Have to Teach Your Dog Impulse Control

Dogs are opportunistic creatures and in the event that they can do something, it’s likely that they’ll, especially if that behavior is reinforced–whether knowingly or unknowingly–by the people of their lives.

What form of behaviors indicate that your dog must practice impulse control?

  • Darting out of doorways and automotive doors
  • Jumping up on people
  • Barking and lunging at dogs, people, and other triggers
  • Eating every thing off the bottom
  • Demand barking at you to play or give attention
  • Throwing tantrums once they can’t meet other dogs and folks
  • Chasing small animals or other moving objects
  • Pulling on leash

7 Exercises to Teach Your Dog Impulse Control

Most dogs will exhibit a minimum of one in all the behaviors listed above until they’re taught otherwise. 

The longer and more continuously a dog is allowed to practice a behavior, the more time it might probably take for them to interrupt the habit.

By practicing the exercises listed below with regularity, your dog will eventually develop killer impulse control, earning more freedom of their day by day life (and so will you!). 

Pick one or two exercises to work on at a time and go for 10 to 20-minute training intervals.

Teach Your Dog to Wait at Doorways

I can’t inform you the variety of times I’ve been on a dog walk and have seen a dog come barreling out of their house in an try and greet us.

I’ve seen the identical at dog parks, where dogs will just leap out of the automotive and dart across the car parking zone out of sheer excitement.

It terrifies me after I see this behavior since it is so incredibly dangerous. Your dog could easily get hit by a automotive, right into a fight with one other dog, or hurt someone.

There may be a very simple fix to this behavior: Teach your dog to attend in any respect doorways.

Doorways include:



Crate doors

Automotive doors

Trunk doors

Sliding doors

Elevator doors

Mainly, if it opens and you may enter, it’s a doorway.

Teach Your Dog the Place Command

The place command is a necessary skill that may teach your dog to calm down in any situation. 

It gives your dog a job to do as an alternative of the job they select for themselves. It’ll help curb unwanted behaviors like:

  • Barking
  • Jumping on people
  • Stepping into mischief at home
  • Going ballistic when the doorbell rings
  • Hanging out within the kitchen under your feet with sharp knives in your hand
  • Begging on the dinner table

Put simply, “place” means “go-to-the-spot-I-tell-you-and-stay-there-until-I-release-you.” 

On this command, your dog has no selection but to remain there. They usually do it prefer it’s their job, since it is.

Practice the Art of Doing Nothing

That is such a simple practice you may do along with your dog nearly anywhere. 

The concept may be very easy: go somewhere along with your dog and ask them to “place” or lie down. Set a timer for anywhere from 5-Quarter-hour (and even longer in the event you want!) and just do nothing.

This exercise teaches your dog to simply chill while there are other things occurring around them.

I practice this with Sitka outside of dog parks, near busy roads, and at parks with loads of squirrels.

If you’ve got a reactive dog, go slowly and begin somewhere with few distractions, step by step build up to busier spots just like the playground or outside of a dog park.

Teach Your Dog to Ask for Permission

A dog’s way of asking for permission is to provide their handler eye contact.

Sitka and I practice this day by day with thresholds/doorways, once we play, after I feed him, after I release him on off-leash trail runs, etc.

A brilliant easy option to teach your dog to ask for permission is with this game:

  1. Take two pieces of their food and hold each bit in a fist in either hand.
  2. Ask your dog to take a seat or lie down.
  3. When your dog looks you in the attention, say “yes,” and reward from one hand.
  4. Repeat the sport, switching hands each round.
  5. Once your dog understands the sport, construct the duration of their eye contact, increasing by just a few seconds every time.

Your dog will likely sniff or paw at your hand at first attempting to get the treat. That is tremendous, just keep the fist closed and step back if it’s essential create space. Just you should definitely keep them within the sit or down and be patient.

Teach Your Dog “Leave It”

“Leave it” is the final word impulse control skill and it’s a brilliant essential command for safety reasons. 

There are a whole lot of toxic foods, plants, and creatures in nature that you simply want your dog to keep away from if you ask.

You wish this command to be so solid which you could drop food on the ground and your dog is not going to touch it.

You ought to have the ability to have your dog refuse food that somebody gives them unless you give the OK. 

Listed here are the fundamental steps to teaching “leave it”:

  1. Put your dog in a sit.
  2. Either put some food or treats on the bottom in front of them, or hold some food in your hand near their face. In the event that they go for the food, cover it up or make a fist and say “leave it.”
  3. When your dog makes eye contact with you, mark with “yes” and reward. In case you selected to go away the food on the bottom, give them a reward using a unique piece of food out of your hand.
  4. Pick up the food from the bottom and repeat.

Once your dog understands the concept, you may increase the issue of the lesson by dropping food on the bottom in front of them or rolling it across the ground. You may also do that with toys by making the toy exciting after which releasing your dog to come back play.

Implement Structure at Home

Establishing structure and limits will be exceptionally difficult for humans, but dogs thrive on them.

In case your dog is pushy, destructive, demanding, or has resource guarding issues, structure and rules are a must. They are going to show your dog that there are rules they usually can’t just do what they need, once they want.

Consider it like a child who desires to play video games before doing their homework. Most parents allow for play once the homework has been accomplished.

Listed here are some boundaries to set in the house:

  • No furniture access
  • No sleeping in bed with you
  • Toys are put away
  • Humans remain neutral across the dog and don’t continuously fuss over them

These can all be temporary whilst you’re showing your dog what’s and will not be acceptable behavior. Once they’ve earned the privileges, they will slowly be reintroduced.

Structured walks are a great way to teach a dog impulse control.

Structured Dog Walks

Teaching my dog to walk nicely on leash without pulling was so well worth the effort. 

Not only does he not drag me around and pull me in every direction, I will be more aware of any triggers ahead and forestall reactivity.

When your dog walks in a heel, then they’re taking note of where you’re and never to other things occurring around them. 

That is an especially useful activity for dogs with leash reactivity because you’ve got higher control over their actions.

On a structured dog walk, you’re simply walking along with your dog in a heel position, so which means that you will not be letting them sniff and mark continuously, nor are you greeting other dogs (something I don’t ever advise).

Structured dog walks are literally quite tiring for dogs because they must listen to where they’re walking. They’re especially great for top energy pups!

How is your dog’s impulse control?

What suggestions do you’ve got to share for teaching a dog impulse control?

7 Exercises to Teach Your Dog Impulse Control


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