Training Dog Impulse Control
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Training Dog Impulse Control in 4 Easy Steps

Does your dog struggle with self-control? Having a pup that understands impulse control is critical in being able to have your pup live in harmony with you in the big distracting world we live in.

In this article, we go over training dog impulse control with 4 simple exercises!

What is impulse control in dog training?

training dog impulse control is your dog’s ability to display self-control in the presence of something your dog may be interested in.

Teaching your dog impulse control is one of the most important aspects you can teach because it will ultimately leave you with a dog that understands that there is a time and place for everything. From how to be patient, and how to follow your direction when faced with bigger distractions.

Below are 4 simple exercises for training dog impulse control

Impulse Control With Food

Training Dog Impulse Control

The first exercise is one of the easiest ways to begin introducing your dog to control his/her natural urges.

Here’s how to teach your dog impulse control around food.

First:  you want to fill your dog bowl as you normally would.

Second: Right Before you place the bowl on the ground ask your pup to “wait” or “sit”

Third: If at any point your dog attempts to get the food your placing on the ground before saying “ok” say “no” and pick the food back up.

Fourth: Repeat the process until your dog is successfully waiting until you say “ok” to get the food.

Once your dog is succeeding consistently be sure to increase the difficulty by using higher value treats or food.

Doorway Thresholds

Training Dog Impulse Control

The second way to begin increasing your dog’s impulse control is doorway thresholds.

Doorway thresholds are simply getting your dog to wait for your “say so” to walk through a door instead of just darting through any doorway.

To begin teaching your dog how to patiently wait at doorways until you say “ok” follow these steps:

First: Have your dog on a leash and have treats prepared.

Second: Approach and open the door.

Third: Ask your dog to “wait”

Fourth: If your dog attempts to dart out the door say “no” and use the leash to prevent your dog from running out and close the door.

Fifth: Repeat and Reward your dog for not trying to dart out the door.

Sixth: Repeat the process but this time say “ok” to let your dog walk out the door without trying to dart out.

Once your dog is actively trying to dart out the door practice with a variety of different doors, locations, and scenarios


Toys are a step above the last two impulse control exercises because when a dog is playing he/she is in an excited state of mind making impulse control more difficult compared to the last two exercises.

If you have been following the first two exercises then toys are just a step away. To begin teaching your dog impulse control around toys and for you to say “it’s ok” to play you want to follow the following steps.

First: Get a small tug or ball that your pup loves.

Second: With the toy, present ask your dog to “sit”

Third: When your dog does toss the tug a short distance.

Fourth: If your dog gets up say “no” pick up the toy and ask your dog to sit again

Fifth: Toss the toy again, have your pup sit and hold it for a couple of seconds.

Sixth: Say “ok” to let your pup get the toy and play

Seventh: Play with your pup and repeat the process.

Once your dog is comfortable waiting until told increase difficulty by increasing time changing toys tossing farther and asking for other commands.

Guest and Dogs

Training Dog Impulse Control

The last exercise is usually the hardest because it involves people and dogs this is usually one of the highest levels of distractions for a dog.

To begin teaching your pup impulse control around people and dogs follow the following steps:

First: Have a friend and dog that are comfortable ignoring your dog.

Second: Have your dogs treats 

Third: have your dog “sit” and hold the sit while your friend and dog walk around.

Fourth: If your dog finds this too difficult create more space between your dog and your distractors.

Fifth: Reward your dog for ignoring your friend and other the pup.

Sixth: Increase difficulty by getting closer to distractions and repeat the process.

Once your dog is comfortable ignoring your pup and friends be sure to increase the difficulty by asking your “distractors” to run, instead of walk, play, etc.

After a long training session having your pup ignore the other dog and person you may allow playing between distractors and your pup after you say “ok”


Training dog impulse control is about teaching your dog how to control his/her natural urges while teaching your dog that there is a time and place for everything.

Training dog impulse control doesn’t have to be difficult if follow the exercises above you’ll have a pup that displays outstanding self-control that waits for your direction before thinking of acting impulsively 

To awaken your dog’s true potential contact us here or Give us a call!

Receive your free dog training consultation and set your pup up for success!

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