Does your dog ever rush out the door when opened? What about go for their food before you have time to move out of the way? Or even chase after any moving object on walks or elsewhere? These, along with many, are problems concerning your dogs impulse control. In short, impulse control is the ability for your dog, or any animal for that matter, to be able to have an impulse such as running out the door when opened, but not act upon that impulse. Impulse control does not come naturally to any animal, and must be taught through morals, parenting, or in your dogs case, you. A few simple training exercises added to your daily routine can greatly improve your dogs impulse control. Here are a few ways you can integrate training into the everyday activities you share with your dog.
Meal times: for most, there are two times a day when your dog seems most frantic. Where your dog is consumed by the desire to somehow eat all of their food in two or three impossible gulps. You may have some structure around meal time, or it may be a free for all. This is a perfect opportunity to practice impulse control with your dog. As with all things, start slow. Have your dog sit before he gets his meal, then make him stay as you prepare for him. After he gets the hang if things, increase the amount of time he has to stay before he can eat. You will eventually get to a point where you can have your dog in a down stay with a bowl of food in front of him for fifteen to twenty minutes while you do the dishes or make dinner. It may seem like torture at first, but your dog will quickly learn that waiting just a little longer will provide the same high reward. Having your dog randomly hold a down stay for a little bit throughout the day is a great way to enforce a lot of aspects in training.
Getting your dog ready for a walk: When you are putting your dogs leash on, your shoes on, and whatever else you may do before an excursion out of the house, make your dog sit and wait wile you get ready. Also, if your dog is in the habit of dashing out the door you can also make him sit and wait while you open the door and leave, and correct him every time he gets up. But make sure to always give lots of praise for doing the right thing.
Another thing I like to practice with my dog that is very ball oriented (loves playing fetch), is to make him sit and wait while I throw a toy. He can go fetch the ball when and only when I give him the release word. This helps teach him not to chase things on an impulse, and rewires his brain to wait for my cue to start chasing something.
These are just a few ways that you can help teach your dog to pause a moment and think the equivalent of 'what am I expected to do in this scenario?' instead of just reacting.