3 Trainings zur Impulskontrolle beim Hund [Profi]

3 Impulse Control Training for Dogs [Professional]

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 great deal of patience because they are almost automatic. 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."

- Vomitalia


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 consumption 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 or short-chain and gluten-free carbohydrates for your dog in 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.


Impulse control can and must be trained. It is one of the core skills that every dog must learn. 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. 

Before you start with the impulse control for professionals, you should look at the impulse control for beginners and the impulse control for the advanced and practice with your 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 resist situations that require a lot of self-control Endure impulse control workouts.

Keep the following points in mind when training: 

When training impulse control for professional dogs, we have focused training with patience in the form of movement stimuli and food distraction.  You can download all training sessions as a free training plan! Register for this in our member area. 

Leash Pro

  • Walk your dog on a loose leash.
  • Choose a distraction that is very tempting for your dog (e.g. food, toy, ball) Attention! For ball junkies, you should start with something simple. 
  • Let your dog walk next to you on a loose leash while you throw the distraction away from your dog or drop it next to you (tip: a ball is great for dribbling)
  • Options:
    • If your dog runs along well, you can praise him gently with your voice or (only if you want to) allow distraction according to the Premack principle.
    • If your dog gets distracted and wants to pursue the stimulus, you can block it with body language. Take a step back in training and practice the distraction without moving first.
  • Vary different distractions and at the same time strengthen safe leash handling.

action cancellation

  • Secure your dog on a leash and harness.
  • Prepare a feed bag of unattractive treats and jackpot treats. 
  • Now toss the unattractive treat on the floor in front of your dog and release it with a clear release (e.g. "Hol"). 
  • Hold the leash tight. 
  • Halfway you call your dog back. A trained recall signal is a prerequisite for this training.
  • The leash prevents your dog from getting to the unattractive treat. However, if the impulse is too high, you should deepen and expand the impulse control training for advanced users. 
  • The leash also prevents your dog from getting the treat. 
  • As soon as your dog has come to you, you praise him extensively with your jackpot reward. This can be a short tug of war, a special treat, etc.
  • Repeat this exercise a few times and increase the distance. 
  • Now vary with increasing training:
    • training indoors vs. outdoors,
    • different objects to release (toys, food, thrown, laid, etc.)
    • different rewards,
    • Decrease and increase distance.
The tow line has one function: it is intended to prevent self-praising behavior. If your dog doesn't react to the stop signal, you can use the tow line to prevent it. Then make your training easier and gradually increase the level of difficulty.

Throwing food & basics

  • Only practice this exercise after your dog has already eaten and received his normal ration of food.
  • We put some treats on the floor and give them to your dog to eat (e.g. “take”).
  • The leash and collar will help you if your dog doesn't respond.
  • While there are pieces of food on the floor, give your dog a signal to stop (e.g. “off”) and immediately afterwards an alternative behavior (e.g. “sit”).
  • If your dog isn't responding, you can correct your dog by using the leash and preventing it from eating, or by using your hand to split so your dog can't get to the food.
    • Make the training easier, your dog doesn't seem to be ready yet.
    • Never give your dog the remaining pieces of food, but use an easier exercise.
  • Give your dog the pieces of food after successfully performing the alternative behavior in the form of basic signals.