Training the Impulsive Dog

Does downloadyour dog jump on you and your guests? Has she pushed past you on the staircase or on your way out the door? On your stroll around the neighborhood, does Fido pull and lunge at other dogs in an excited manner?

You just might have an impulsive dog.

The impulsive dog seeks immediate gratification. He acts on a whim with little thought of consequences. While some people believe this is a trait of certain breeds, others resign themselves to the fact that they will have to put up with the behavior throughout the dog’s life. We have good news for you. Both opinions are inaccurate.

Impulsivity is a behavior. Think back to the last time your dog stood in front of the treat jar. Did he whine or bark for a treat? Did you or another family member offer a treat? If so, your dog learned that barking or whining gets him whatever he wants.

While impulsivity can be a result of low serotonin (which a change in food or increase in activity can increase), human reaction in response to a dog’s behavior can also play a role.

Here is a short questionnaire:

  1.  Your crated dog barks and whines when you enter the room. How do you respond?
    1. Free the dog from the crate
    2. Teach the dog that he must provide an expected behavior in order for you to release him.
  2. You offer your dog a treat. He responds by jumping in the air and attempts to grab the treat from your hand. How do you respond:
    1. Toss the treat in his mouth
    2. Pull the treat back and require the dog to remain seated until you deliver the treat to him.

Practicing option (b) in both scenarios, results in a calm, focused dog. It is important to teach your dog to remain calm and focused in all situations. How can you apply this lesson?

  1. Identify your dog’s need.
  2. Teach your dog the behavior you expect in each situation.
  3. Have patience. Teaching a behavior will take time. Modifying a previous behavior can take longer. A successful trainer remains calm and dedicates at least thirty minutes a day to training (5-10 minute sessions, several times a day).
  4. When the dog provides the desired behavior, reward him.
  5. Consistency is important. Changing expectations can lead to stress in your pup.
  6. Take advantage of every situation to keep your dog calm.

A dog cannot bark or jump forever. Wait for the desired behavior and immediately reward the dog.

Sublime K9 Dog Trainers are on hand to help you and your canine friend. You can reach us by calling 631-241-6482.