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impulse control

“If you are using a toy on the end of a whip are they chasing it like they really mean it?” Photo by Mel Taylor

So, what exactly is impulse control?

Impulse control are words that gets used a lot in dog training! An impulse is an urge, a desire. What does your dog naturally desire? What do they absolutely love? What does your dog struggle to be around? That’s the impulse!

Training Games

There are lots of training games that we can practice with our dogs to perfect the art of impulse control, but here’s the thing, whatever you use in your training session to manipulate that impulse control has GOT to be something your dog 100% wants and truly desires.

The problem we see is that the control element of impulse control training is asked for way too soon and way too much! As we often say; to achieve true impulse control success you have got to have the pulse! Meaning that the dog needs to really, really want what you are using.

In your impulse control training, if you are using food or toys that your dog could take or leave, when you need that impulse control in real life, say your dog has just spotted a deer, it’s not going to be there. Now obviously, we can’t use anything inappropriate, like an actual deer in our training, so how do we make our dogs crazy about something that we can use?

We need to create a reward experience!

  1. Choose something your dog does like, desire can be built for it, but to start off, whatever you are using needs to be something your dog finds rewarding.
  2. Build the sessions from the ground up. Take the time to create the chaos before looking at getting the organisation! Look at impulse control as exactly that: ORGANISED CHAOS!! Stick to short, high energy sessions! Feel the energy, create the energy! ENERGY UP!
  3. Observe what your dog is showing you. Whether on food or a toy or a toy on the end of a lunging whip, before you add any kind of control look for:
      • When restrained in front of what you are using are you struggling to hold your dog?
      • Is your dog going crazy?
      • Are their eyes bulging/ pupils dilated?
      • Are they READY?!
      • If you are using a toy on the end of a whip are they chasing it like they really mean it? Is their head and body low and in true chase mode? Is their nose right on the tip of the toy? Are they REALLY going for it?

Until you have ALL of these elements, don’t add any type of control! we really mean it! Don’t train safe as it won’t stack up in real life. Read more of our Thursday Training Tips HERE and check out our Online Training Classes over at Devon Dogs.

Do you have a training issue you want to tackle? Come and stay with us in our cottage style apartments, right in the heart of Dartmoor, and make the most of our fantastic training facilities onsite.

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