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  • Richard Chan

Impulse Control


Very often we let our dogs experience lots of excitement around other dogs; but once our dogs become a bit calmer, we try to ramp them up to play some more or we take them home. 

This will, overtime, create a dog with a single response whenever he/she sees another dog - extreme arousal.

In the human world, we have more than one response in front of others- we can be very attentive (e.g. work, classroom), very active (e.g. sports), very aloof and quiet (e.g. library); we may not want to be disturbed in some situations (e.g. private dinner) but we will, in some circumstances, want to laugh and joke around with lots of strangers (e.g. party).

We will not be normal if we only have one reaction whenever we meet a stranger. Imagine if your friend only goes into "party mode" every time you introduce him to a new person. It can be really weird and probably quite 

annoying and embarrassing, right?

Similarly, we should teach our dogs to know how to response appropriately in various social situations. It should not always be a very hyper or reactive response.

Dogs who do not know how to do that can get into lots of troubles (even dog fights) and cannot enjoy much freedom as the owners will avoid taking them out.

For a dog with dog reactivity issues, it is really important that we switch her mindset from "automatic high arousal" to calm and neutral upon meeting another dog(s).

It is impossible for a dog at a super aroused state to listen to us. They are so ramped up at that state, their impulse and emotion will drive them at 100 km/hr and they will likely make the wrong decision.

If you expect to correct a dog from reacting at that arousal state, you are fighting a battle that you have already lost before you even begin.

To set a dog and ourselves up for success, we should help our dogs to develop an alternate response, so they do not automatically get into super arousal mode.

When you have a dog that will listen, you have a chance to win the battle and help your dog. To do so, a dog needs to know how to have self control so as not to allow themselves be taken over by impulse and instinct. That is why impulse control is such an important lesson.

#correction #affection #aggression #anxiety #balancedtraining #dogpark #dog #dogtraining

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