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Need a little help with some impulse issues...

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Hi all,


I am new to this board but have been reading posts for a few days now. You all are so great and I hope to maybe help too down the road.


So I have a 1 yr old BC mix rescue named Kale (yes the leafy green).


This boy is overall a stellar dog. I think he is mixed with retriever in some way but mostly looks like a BC. He is about 40 lbs. We are currently enrolled in an obedience class and I work with him daily on general obedience training like sit, heel, stay, look, wait...etc. He is a gentle pup and has a soft mouth, gentle with our daughter, very happy go lucky, and honestly rather mellow for the breed.


Overall he is doing really well. Now... here is where I need some help. His "trigger" seems to be animals (like squirrels or rabbits) and dogs of course. He just gets extra amped up when he sees squirrels in the yard or dogs on a leash walk.


Now his issue is not aggression as his personality is quite submissive and playful but when he sees other dogs while he is on leash he just lunges and forgets all manners and yips and kinda goes bonkers. If I know the other dog and I can introduce them he is fine in seconds. When I take him to the dog park he is a nutball going into the park (pulling hard on leash, gagging himself, yippy barking, etc.) then as soon as he is in the park he just runs around like a good boy. He does not start trouble and doesn't herd other dogs. He will happily trot around say his "hello's" to all the other pups and I am like the super beaming dog dad watching him.


Then we leave the park and I put the leash on and if we dont see a dog leaving he will walk pretty well and heel etc. If we see a dog or a squirrel all bets are off.


I do positive training with him and he is progressing really well. I was thinking of using the "wait" command more this this and trying to settle his behavior when I see him get amped up.


I just would love any helpful tips with this. I have had a lot of different breeds of dogs before but this is my first BC.


Thank you in advance. I was trying to post a pic but was having trouble. Sorry.

More soon,


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You might want to check out a program called Control Unleashed. I recommend starting with the Puppy Book, even if your dog isn't technically a puppy. You can find the book at a website called "Clean Run", or perhaps on Dogwise.


It is a fantastic program for building impulse control, and it is a 100% reinforcement based program.

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For the dog park situation, if the dog is freaking out, pulling on leash, etc. then the dog does not get what he wants (going into the dog park). If you let him pull and scream and then let him into the park, how will he ever learn to stop that behavior?


If you get to the park, just wait him out. Open the door but don't let him out. When he is calm (lays down, etc) let him out of the car. If he starts getting too excited, then back in the car where you wait again. The first time may take 30min or whatever but just be more patient than him. With every trip he will get calmer faster as long as you are consistent. It is all about rewarding calm behavior (which you want) and not rewarding the crazy behavior (letting him into the park when he is going nuts). The biggest thing is you have to be more patient than your dog. The dog can't keep that behavior up forever -just make sure you set aside a lot of time in the beginning and be prepared to wait and possibly never get into the park the first time.


CU is a great book as well. The same situation applies when you are on a leashed walk-he freaks out and you let him meet the dog. Your dog isn't going to learn to not freak out when he gets what he wants each time. Think of a kid throwing a huge tantrum in a store. Ever see those parents who give in and give the kid what he wants? That kid will never learn that way.

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Thank you all for your thoughts! I will check out the control unleashed book for sure!


And I had to laugh about this comment.. "Ever see those parents who give in and give the kid what he wants? That kid will never learn that way."


As a father of a 4 yr old... I totally subscribe to the proper behavior = reward philosophy. Its kinda funny how these same philosophies translate.


Yesterday when we walked I did have some success when we saw a squirrel and I gave him the wait command then sit. We didnt move forward towards where the squirrel was until he was calm. Then we healed forward...then repeat. He did pretty well. Baby steps right!


Anyway...I appreciate all the feedback and cant wait to see that book and video


All the best,


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I have a dog that has impulse control issues. She wants what she wants, and she wants it RIGHT NOW.


Everything little thing matters with impulse control.


As mentioned, look into Control Unleashed.


I started with teaching my dog that she had to wait for things - seems easy, but for a Border Collie it can be torture. She has to sit and wait for me to throw the ball, rather than going to get it as soon as I prepare to throw it. I don't do dog parks but in areas with high activity or if she wants to play frisbee, the same rules apply. I always make her do something before she gets what "she wants".


We also worked on focus games. It may seem stupid, but I taught her the 'watch' command and asked for eye contact. At first she would only hold my gaze for a few seconds but now I can throw things, have activity go on around me, ect with her maintaining eye contact for her reward. In some cases, especially at the beginning, attention was rewarded with food. That moved on to bigger reward items (a tennis ball) and went from there.


That behavior your dog is pulling at the dog park is pretty simple. As recommended, wait Kale out. Give him a release command. I use OK. Require his attention and eye contact before letting him off the leash. Make him acknowledge your presence.


Good luck!

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