Why Won’t My Dog Listen To Me?
Do you find yourself asking this question way too often? The good news is that you are definitely not alone and there is usually a pretty simple reason for it. There are only a few very common reasons why a dog does not listen to their owner. The two most common reasons that I have come across are:
- Your dog has no training and does not understand what you want.
- Your dog has very little impulse control.
If your dog does have training and does understand what you want then their lack of impulse control may be the problem if they’re not listening. Impulse control is essential for your dog to be just all around happier.
So How Does Impulse Control Relate to Your Dog’s Obedience?
Assuming that you understand you need to teach your dog what you want in a way they can understand, the next step is to help them control their impulses. What exactly do I mean by “help them control their impulses”? Well, let’s use not running out the door as an example. Even if you teach your dog not to run out of an open door, in a way they completely understand what not to do. The dog may still not be able to control their selves though. For example, if they see another dog or small animal or if they just see the green grass outside the door, they will have to practice impulse control in order to keep themselves from running through that doorway. This is where impulse control becomes a very important factor. Impulse control is needed to obey almost every single command. From not pulling on the leash to coming when called, impulse control plays a part in the outcome of that command. You have to first teach your dog how to control their impulses and then ask them to practice impulse control on a daily basis.
Impulse Control is Something That Can Be Strengthened.
Science suggests that for both people and dogs alike, willpower and impulse control are things you can strengthen. Your self-control is similar to a muscle. The more you exercise it, the stronger it gets. Humans have a much deeper ability to control their impulses than any other animal and there is a lot of research that supports the idea that strengthening your willpower positively affects all areas of one’s life. Applying this to yourself and children might be beneficial as well. This is not an article on human willpower, but it may be something you are interested in.
You can read about the human psychology of this here. When it comes to our dogs, their impulses are much more primal and tied into their instincts. Although they may not have what us humans call “willpower”, they absolutely have some form of impulse control. This is something that must be strengthened if we expect them to behave in over stimulating or even just normal situations.
Simple Ways You Can Strengthen Your Dogs Impulse Control.
Now we know it’s not only extremely beneficial but also necessary for training to strengthen your dog’s impulse control. The next question to ask is “how can we effectively do this?” There are a lot of ways to ask your dog to practice control. The best way to go about doing this is to find ways in which you can ask your dog to practice control during normal everyday activities. A few good examples of this are:
- Ask your dog to sit and wait at meal time.
- Ask your dog to sit and wait before going out of the door.
- When you go on a car trip, ask your dog to wait calmly before they jump out of the car.
There are a lot of opportunities to strengthen your dog’s impulse control every day. The key is taking advantage of those opportunities. It may take you a few extra minutes if you make your dog wait before jumping out of the car, but the benefit will absolutely outweigh the cost. You will quickly notice that your K–9 companion is much more responsive to training, able to control themselves in distract-full environments, and just generally more well-behaved. If you decide to add training to this, the possibilities are endless. A well-behaved dog that can be trusted at liberty has impeccable impulse control!
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