In the past few years there have been many books published on teaching your dog impulse control. These are all good ideas, but they don’t address some issues that I see with them. There are too many exercises and not enough time spent doing them properly.
I want to give you my own suggestions on how to teach your dog impulse control without spending hours and hours doing it yourself or even worse, spending money on expensive training products!
My approach is based on the idea that if you train your dog to do something, then you will get better results from it. If you spend a lot of time training your dog to perform an activity, chances are that you won’t be able to keep up with their performance level when they aren’t being trained.
So what’s the point? You need to make sure that whatever it is that you’re trying to teach them, they’ll actually learn it because otherwise why bother?
So here’s my list of exercises for teaching your dog impulse control:
1) Focus Games – This one is pretty self explanatory.
Just put them in front of them and let them play. They may not understand everything at first, but they’ll get used to it eventually.
2) Tug-of-War – This exercise works best if you use a tug toy rather than actual tugging on the leash.
The object here is for them to learn not to pull away from you. You can do this in the beginning, but once they seem to get the idea, try using it without letting them actually pull the toy from you. In other words, don’t physically let them take it from your hands, just don’t let them have it.
3) Focus Lures – This one is great because it doesn’t require any physical exertion on your part.
All you do is hold a treat near their nose and move it around in a circle. They will most likely follow the treat with their head, just make sure that they don’t end up touching it with their muzzle. You can also do this with their regular meals so that they learn that your hand is near their food and they better pay attention to what you want them to do.
4) Focus Surrender – This one involves you holding either side of the dog’s muzzle closed gently.
Then you hold a treat in front of their face and they should follow it with their eyes. Make sure that they aren’t able to open their mouth at all or they will just try to grab the treat from your hand. They should learn that if they want the treat, then they need to hold still and not try to take it from you.
5) Focus At A Distance – This one is nice because it helps them focus on you from a distance.
Get a long piece of rope or even a belt and hold one end of it in your hand. Then hold the other end at arm’s length and move it around in a circle so that it spins. As they follow it with their eyes, bring it closer to you so that they have to turn their head further and further back. Eventually they will end up turning their whole body around and if they do, then they will lose their balance. Just keep them from falling and in no time they will learn to keep their balance while following the circle with their eyes.
By using these exercises you can help your dog get over some of their hyper behavior and focus on you. These exercises can also be used to help calm them down when they get too excited and just need something to occupy their mind so that they don’t go crazy.
These exercises may not be one hundred percent effective on all dogs, but you should still see a difference in their behavior if you make a commitment to doing them every day.
Remember that the key with any of these exercises is to stick with them until you start seeing results. Your dog will not improve their skills over night and you won’t either. It takes time and can be fairly time consuming, but if you really love your dog and want to have a better relationship with them then I’m sure that you’ll find the time somewhere.
In addition to these exercises, there are also dog whisperer Cd’s and DVDs that can help with this as well. I have had good success with them and they might be something you would want to look into as well.
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Check Out The Following Reading Materials:
Dog Whispering: Learn How To Communicate With Your Dog So You Can Have A Stronger Relationship With Them
Dog Training: The Essential Guide To Training Your Dog So You Can Build A Strong And Lasting Relationship
Dog Obedience: The Essentials To Raising A Happy And Obedient Dog
Cesar Milan’s Guide To Owning And Training Your Dog
E-Collar Training For Obedience: The Safest And Most Effective Way To Train Your Dog
Dog Training Revolution: Use The Power Of Supply And Demand To Transform Your Dogs Behavior
Sources & references used in this article:
School discipline in the United States: Prevention, correction, and long-term social development by GG Bear – School psychology review, 1998 – Taylor & Francis
Pets and personality development by BM Levinson – Psychological Reports, 1978 – journals.sagepub.com
Student discipline and alleviating criminal behavior in the inner city by CM Ward – The urban review, 1998 – Springer
Daily Self-Discipline: Everyday Habits and Exercises to Build Self-Discipline and Achieve Your Goals by M Meadows – 2015 – books.google.com
“The program affects Me’Cause it gives away stress”: Urban students’ qualitative perspectives on stress and a school-based mindful yoga intervention by JK Dariotis, F Cluxton-Keller, R Mirabal-Beltran… – Explore, 2016 – Elsevier