Does your dog dash out through doors? Snatch at food? Steal? Chase cars, rabbits, squirrels, joggers? Leap on visitors?
Self control for dogs is really tough. It doesn’t really make survival sense for a dog to control its impulses; its desire to race after something to hunt it down, or to rush to grab the nearest food item. Dogs do this. Dogs steal food. Dogs chase. Dogs leap to defend themselves with a bite or snap, without asking questions. After all, if their ancestors had not acted in this way it is unlikely that dogs would be here at all. A dog’s natural urge is to ‘Do It Now!’
Dogs that steal and snatch aren’t fun
Transport this into a family environment and the results can be annoying at best, and dangerous at worst. A dog that darts out of the door after a cat may end up in the road. A dog that steals and eats everything in sight is at risk from poisoning and blockages. A dog that defends itself and asks questions later is likely to end up in a behaviour consultation, rescue centre or worst of all, euthanized. Alongside these risks we owners are also responsible for the dog, hence vet bills, and even a visit to court, can be an outcome. How to control a dog that does this? Sometimes we can be there to prevent the problem, but sometimes we cannot. This is why self control for dogs is not just desirable, but absolutely necessary.
Training for a calm, relaxed dog
Self control for dogs forms an essential part of teaching your family pet from day one. Indeed it could be viewed that all dog training contains an element of dog control development. Teaching your dog to “Leave‘, ‘Sit‘, ‘Come‘ are all asking the dog to ignore the object of its desire and do as you ask instead. It may be that you already know how to control a dog that cannot control itself.
Often dogs are absolutely rock-solid sure that a human saying ‘No!’ means that something bad is going to happen. Naturally, the dog decides that in that case, they will race to get or do whatever it is before the human can intervene. If they don’t succeed this time, their survival instincts will ensure that next time, they will get that cat… or bounce up at that toddler… or scare away those fireworks… or snatch that pie…
However, with a decent, alternative reward on offer dogs can quickly learn that they don’t need to go to all that effort. The human is sitting there with a better offer. A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. All we are doing is replacing one ‘survival’ strategy with another. The dog learns to control one impulse (to snatch) and gets given something better for doing something easy (sit). Don’t wait until the behaviour becomes explosive through frustration. Teach small steps and keep it simple.
Of course, if you have a strongly embedded habit, you will need skilled help, so contact a qualified accredited trainer
If you have a puppy – get started now!