Trainings zur Impulskontrolle beim Hund [Fortgeschrittene]

Dog Impulse Control Training [Advanced]

Definition impulse control

Impulse control is the ability not to act on an impulse. The impulse can be an innate reflex or a spontaneous action. Impulse control in dogs means that the dog can control its actions and emotions. She is through self control, which is like a battery and muscle at the same time. An exercise can only be practiced a few times in a row because the battery is exhausted for the time being. This also applies to the rest of the day. The ability to concentrate decreases and the dog becomes impatient. For your dog's impulse control training, this means always practicing short units. 

If your dog had to show a lot of patience during training or in everyday life, its battery is empty and simple everyday situations will be difficult for it. After short periods of training, your dog should be given adequate time to recover. 

In the blog post What is impulse control you can read more about what impulse control in dogs is and how it can be influenced and promoted. Be sure to take a look at the impulse control training for beginners and the impulse control for advanced users beforehand. 


There are a few tricks we can use to generally promote impulse control in our dog. You can find out more about this in the post What is impulse controlSelf-control can be strengthened in a targeted manner in order to simplify training and make life more pleasant for our dogs. Impulse control training is an important aspect of building and improving your dog's patience and focus in general. Since the training for your dog is much more intensive than some other training, you should first implement the tips. 

Tip 1: Rituals

Impulse control costs your dog a lot of stamina and focus. Everyday life sometimes seems unfeasible for your dog with exhausted self-control. Banal everyday situations present your dog with a great challenge and make him react impulsively. 

In general, you should create a fixed daily routine and rituals for your dog that offer your dog security. Rituals are always the same actions. They are important in everyday dog life, as they give the dog a clear line, improve communication between you and your dog and generally improve the dog's well-being. If we build up ritualized ways of acting, at some point they will become automatic. Rituals are important guides for our dogs as to what they can expect and how they should behave. Through constant repetition, your dog can master everyday situations more easily and they no longer require a lot of patience because they happen almost automatically. If impulse control is then seriously needed, your dog will not have a completely empty self-control battery. He could save the battery in ritualized everyday situations and use it for serious situations. 

"Borders provide security and security provides relaxation." - Vitomalia


Tip 2: Nerve food

Self-control requires a lot of energy, which can be positively promoted by feeding. So-called "nerve food" is carbohydrate-rich food. Miller et al (2010) showed with their study that dogs have an increased energy expenditure when exercising impulse control. Dogs given a glucose drink were able to double their self-control. The effects of available blood glucose had an impact on dogs' ability to self-control. Carbohydrates in dog food can increase blood glucose. How many carbohydrates your dog can tolerate is very individual. Within the same breed, there are marked differences in the ability of dogs to digest carbohydrates. In order for the dog to be able to digest grain well, rice, pasta and the like must be cooked long enough to be able to utilize the starch they contain. Carbohydrates that dogs tolerate well are potatoes, rice and pasta. You can find more about carbohydrates that are long-chain, short-chain and gluten-free carbohydrates for your dog on the blog What is impulse control.

Tip 3: rest and relaxation

Adequate rest and sleep is one of your dog's basic physical or biological needs. An adult and healthy dog needs between 16 and 20 hours of rest, puppies or sick dogs even more. Impulse control requires a lot of energy from your dog. Energy needs to be recharged through adequate sleep and rest. Not every dog has learned to actively keep still. Calmness can and must be learned and is built up through ceiling training. Hyperactive dogs in particular need to learn to rest. You will learn how to use the core territory for rest and relaxation in the article The 4 most important house rules for your dog. 

Sleep helps your dog deal with stress because the stress hormone cortisol is lowered during sleep. Cortisol is released in stressful situations and must then be broken down again to prevent permanent stress. If your dog doesn't get enough sleep, cortisol levels stay high and your dog feels even more stressed. Exercise also breaks down the stress hormone cortisol. Stressed dogs that don't get enough rest periods balance their stress with exercise. Stress and movement, i.e. restlessness, promote renewed stress. The vicious cycle begins and a stressed dog becomes a hyperactive dog that is stressed.

Advanced impulse control training

Impulse control can and must be trained. It is one of the core skills that every dog must learn. Before you start advanced training, you should practice training for beginners intensively with your dog and gradually increase the stimuli and training environment. All training begins in a low-stimulus environment and must later be transferred to all possible everyday situations. This is called "generalization". In everyday life you can only ask your dog what you have practiced and trained with him. A "sit" at home is a little different for your dog than a "sit" outside. If you haven't practiced sitting outside yet, it's almost like new training for your dog. Impulse control depends on the situation and unfortunately cannot be generalized. For your dog, impulse control is a completely new situation every time. Nevertheless, a general development and training of impulse control can be useful. From patiently waiting at the bowl, your dog will not resist the hare running away in the field. Nevertheless, well-trained self-control in the dog ensures general controllability in everyday life. The training makes sense and must be well structured in order to be able to use it in the best possible way in everyday life with a dog. When training, we recommend that you practice very short training sessions of no more than 5 minutes with your dog. You can incorporate impulse control training throughout the day and then give your dog plenty of rest periods. It is best not to practice impulse control before a walk or before stressful situations (e.g. a visit to the vet). Your dog will not tolerate additional impulse control training before situations that require a lot of self-control.

Keep the following points in mind when training: 

In impulse control training for intermediate dogs, we focused training with patience in the form of releases. The releases are based on the orientation towards you through the Premack principle.

The Premack principle is a form of reinforcement. Your dog will not only be rewarded with a reward, but also by being released for the desired action.

Your dog can only get the food by working with you. Generalizing from the position "sit" not only teaches your dog signal security, but also that "sit" simply means "sit". The final treat count exercise teaches your dog that numbers have meaning in the context of the patience required of you. The training builds up motivation for food, which works well for both food-loving and non-food-loving dogs. Because your dog gets every single treat, motivation is always high. 

You can download all training sessions as a free training plan! Register for this in our member area. 

"Seat" generalization means

  • Lead your dog to "sit."
  • Generalize the "seat" by saying:
    • "Sit" while jogging away from your dog.
    • "Sit" while jogging over your dog.
    • "Sit" while making quick movements.
    • "Sit" while staying out of your dog's sight.
    • "Sit" while you dance.
    • Mark each time you stop sitting with a marker signal or clicker and reward your dog with a treat.

Mark the correct behavior while you are moving and only give your dog the treat right next to him so that he does not have to get up.

  • If your dog gets up from the "seat", you lead him back to the starting position. Danger! Do not praise sitting down again (neither treats nor words of praise), because only staying seated is rewarded.
  • Repeat the last exercise until your dog stays seated.
  • After each exercise session, give a clear release, e.g. with "Off" or "Done".
  • The training at the Impulse control for beginners has already been established can be deepened


    For the dog, the door is the boundary that separates home and the outside world. Many dogs therefore want to get out quickly and squeeze through people's legs. This makes the situation uncontrollable for you because you are not in your dog's narrow scope of action.

    • Leash your dog and stand in front of the front door. 
    • Your dog does not have to follow a signal, but adopt a new posture.
    • Slowly open the door while watching your dog. 
    • If your dog pushes forward, you can 
      • either to close the door so that there is no success,
      • Or use your leg to split. 
    • Repeat opening and closing the door a few times. 
    • You can praise your dog's eye contact or holding back in a soft voice.
    • When exiting, do the same by exiting first.

    This exercise makes sense for you and your dog in several ways:

    Distraction Triangle "Rookie"

    • Prepare your distraction so that it forms a triangle with you and your dog and you and your dog are facing each other and the distraction is away from you.
    • Your dog is allowed to perceive the distraction, but should come to you. The leash serves as a safeguard and at the same time a correction for self-praising behavior.
    • Keep the distraction far enough away that your dog wants to go there but can still do the exercise.
    • Call your dog to you with your recall signal.
    • Once your dog responds to the recall and comes to you, you reward your dog in two ways:
      • Your dog gets the treat.
      • Upon your approval, he may go to the distraction (Premack principle).

    To make everyday life more controllable, we create artificial training situations with distractions that closely resemble real everyday distractions. This shifts the boundary between the uncontrollable and the controllable. Make a list of everyday distractions that your dog finds difficult. Then you create a list of proxy distractions. 

    Example of a list of your proxy distractions: