Impulse control is something that all dogs should have. By impulse control I mean the ability to resist the urge to twist, bolt, lunge or go if presented to a dog at the first chance.
Examples of a lack of impulse control would be bolting in or out of a cage as soon as the door opens, waiting for permission before attacking the food dish as soon as it is presented, trying to squeeze their whole body out of the back door when it has only had the chance to open two inches, approaching the back of an SUV and jumping first into a closed tailgate and bolting down the front steps of the house or apartment because it’s so exciting to be outside.
All these behavior and so many others can be managed by teaching your dog impulse control. Just as with many cases of dog management, obedience is the answer to all these problems.
Here are a few tips to help build impulse control:
- Sit your dog – Put your dog into a stationary position and keep them there is incompatible with bolting, lunging and pushing. Sit your dog before you put it down and have them stay there until you release it. You want to secure your dog when you open the back door and release them when ready. Sit your dog as you open the door of your car and then tell them to load up.
- Use foot – When having your dog walk with you through doors or down steps, it will force them to pay attention to your walking speed and maintain a proper position relative to your body. By walking next to you they can’t bolt, the can’t pull you down the stairs, and they will leave your house without even focusing. Remember that your walk begins before you leave the house.
- Close off that dog gate – Many dogs that have dog gates are not conditioned to wait for anything – they are able to travel and move with complete freedom. Many manage well with this, but when you lose the ability to move freely, some dogs panic and lose all the ability to function normally.
This could seem to some owners not to be an obvious advantage, but this is probably one of the most important skills for your dogs to have. Self-control, impulse control, mental stability and functional obedience are all of the functions of position board work. Moreover, all of these skills are used heavily to resolve a ton of other behavior problems as well.