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Exercises for low impulse control


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I now have LOTS of time to devote to training so I would love to hear any ideas to improve low impulse control in my young boy.  We already do all the usual things like waiting for a release to eat etc., sitting on his bed to wait for things, waiting to walk through doorways.  He has issues controlling his happy dance, his brain just seems to switch off so there are times when I have 35kgs of dog sailing through the air around me.  His exuberance is sometimes quite scarey.

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You might find this blog by Denise Fenzi useful.  https://denisefenzi.com/2013/08/impulse-control/  The video is a great demonstration of using the dog’s biggest motivators as both temptation and reward in teaching impulse control.

 

I routinely use food rewards to teach impulse control. When I’m teaching a stay or a watch-me exercise, if my dog breaks position as I bring the food towards her, my hand with the food moves quickly behind my back. Once she’s in position again, the food reappears. If she’s struggling to maintain focus as the food comes close, I hold the food at a less distracting distance and bring a second reward around in my other hand in a way that prevents her seeing the alternative reward until it’s close enough for her to take without breaking position.

 

Here’s another example of using what the dog wants to teach impulse control: I live on a farm and my young dog didn’t get much practice in informal loose-lead walking. She was either off-lead or formally heeling (which I taught off-lead). Just after I realised she had a problem with pulling instead of loose-lead walking, I stayed at a B&B with a garden full of rabbits. I taught her loose-lead walking in a weekend. I walked around the garden with her on a harness and long line, following rabbit trails. Every time she pulled on the line I stopped and walked backwards until she took some steps towards me. Then, with the line loose, she got to follow the rabbits again. When, inevitably, a rabbit hopped out and she lunged towards it, I shortened the line and took her inside the B&B. She quickly learnt that impulse control gained her more of what she wanted.

 

It sounds as if physical activity may be your dog’s thing, so perhaps you could use some age-appropriate agility, retrieving or “fly” around a pole as both temptation and reward.

Edited by DogsAndTheMob
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In addition to the great advice above .. you might want to have a look  at Susan Garret's current free course  Home School the Dog  . …   I think it's still open.

 

https://dogsthat.com/home-school/

 

I find with my delightfully crazy BC that food rather than toys are a little dampening … And if as she frequently does, she goes OTT with some agility exercises .. we have time outs - which might be just me turning my back, or going a little distance away to sit in a chair..   I also find that the Susan Garrett game of 'verbal fun' .. quick responses to simple positional cues .. usually sit, drop, stand, walk back, …. whatever the dog knows .. that seems to refocus their minds a bit.  

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Thank you both for your replies.  I will sign up for the Home School program.  It sounds great!

Physical activity presses all my dogs buttons.  His brain leaves his body and he is very easily distracted.

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16 hours ago, Stitch said:

Thank you both for your replies.  I will sign up for the Home School program.  It sounds great!

Physical activity presses all my dogs buttons.  His brain leaves his body and he is very easily distracted.

I hear you!!   My cray cray girl goes completely OTT even now, so we have to take time to do the settling .. and the focus, and then when she starts "working" she can't help barking for the first few minutes.  If it gets extreme, I fold my arms and turn my back on her .. and if necessary , move away from whatever it is we're working on.  That usually helps her to get her act together, because she really does want to do things.   She's calmest of all when she's tracking (trained and handled by a friend … hmmm .. maybe that's part of it .. but I think Pippa has also worked out that if she's barking and dong cray cray she can't get the tracking right, and she does have a strong work ethic.   Even tracking, it all happens fairly fast .. but she has also over many short practice tracks, learnt to be calmer and concentrate.  She's being trained footstep tracking method, and has been built up in small increments over the years.

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