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 control. Self-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.
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
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.
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"Seat" generalization means
This exercise makes sense for you and your dog in several ways:
Distraction Triangle "Rookie"
Example of a list of your proxy distractions: