Barking. Digging. Whining. Pulling on the leash. Jumping on strangers. Stealing food. Chasing squirrels. Humping the pillows.

Dogs with poor impulse control get into a lot of trouble - but don't just label your dog as "impulsive" and give up (ready why here).

Using games to teach your dog impulse control is much more than yanking them away from that rotting pigeon on the trail or kneeing them in the chest when they jump.

Update: nosework didn't make the list the first time around, but you should check it out if you're dealing with a hyperactive or impulsive dog!

Update 2: We just wrote a whole new blog post about dog training games, including demo videos. Check it out!

Get some tips via video chat, text, or email if you're not seeing the results you want. If you'd like a full course and e-book on impulse control and polite greetings, check our our SUPER CHEAP 29-page e-book here.

#1: SMART x 50

Reward your dog for all of the tiny cute or useful things he does throughout the day.
--
You will see your dog behaving better all the time in hopes of payment!

Steps:

This is where the text for the back of your card should go.

Read More

#2: It's Your Choice

This is where the text for the front of your card should go. It's best to keep it short and sweet.

Steps:

1) Put some tasty treats in your hand and place your hand near your dog.
2) Keep your hand closed as your dog sniffs, nibbles, or paws at your hand.
3) Open your hand when your dog sits back to wait.
4) Close your hand if your dog immediately dives back in for the goodies.
5) When she stays away for a second or two, place 1 treat on the ground.
6) Gradually build up time between opening your hand and delivering the treat.

Get more help

#3: Relax On Your Mat

Teach your dog to lie calmly on a mat, no matter what is going on around her. Great for outings and impressing dinner guests!
--
Pro tip - the mat should ONLY be on the ground when you're playing the game.

Steps:

1) Pick out a novel blanket, towel, or mat. This should not be a bed.
2) Place the mat on the ground in front of your dog.
3) Click and treat for any interest in the mat - looking at it, moving towards it, sniffing, paws on it. Keep treating your dog if she stays on the mat.
4) Gradually narrow your criteria. Work towards only rewarding your dog for lying down. It’s ok to just cut to the chase and cue your dog to lie down, if you’d like.
5) Use Karen Overall's Relaxation Protocol as a way to solidify mat training.
6) Once you’re doing well, try new places and distractions!

Karen Overall's Relaxation Protocol

#4: U-Turns

Teach your dog to turn and walk away from exciting or scary things on walks.
--
This builds focus and helps dogs disengage from exciting things during walks. It is NOT a formal heel!

Steps:

1) Start out in a quiet hallway with your dog on leash. Walk for a few steps, then pivot and go the opposite way. Click and treat when your dog starts to follow you in the new direction.
2) Add a cue when your dog is reliably turning with you quickly. I use “this way!”
3) Up the ante by increasing distractions. Try in your backyard, then your daily walks.
4) Eventually start doing this when there’s actually a distraction dead ahead.

Get more help

Want more on teaching impulse control and other real-life skills? We’ve got a product for that! Purchase our 29-page e-book, Polite Greetings and Life Skills 101.

#5: Sophia Yin's Leave It

Teach your dog to check in with you when he wants something on leash.
--
This builds focus and helps dogs disengage from exciting things during walks. Use it in conjunction with #1 for best results.

Steps:

1) Have your dog on leash. Toss a treat out of his reach.
2) Wait for your dog to stop pulling and straining towards the treat.
3) When he does, give him a treat for looking at you.
4) Only then can you walk towards the treat. Be sure to keep a loose leash while you do so.

Get more help

#6: Red Light - Green Light

Reduce leash pulling without even using treats (though treats speed up the process).
--
This teaches dogs that when they pull, they don't get to move forward. Use with U-turns for super-stubborn pullers.
--
IMPORTANT - be prepared for very slow progress at first! The goal is to teach your dog that pulling doesn't work. This can take a while.

Steps:

This is where the text for the back of your card should go.

Get more help

Front Title

Teach your dog to place his head on his paws and blink his eyes on cue.
--
It's hard to be amped-up and ridiculous when your head is on the ground and you're blinking.

Steps:

This is where the text for the back of your card should go.

Learn more about clicker training & shaping

Want more on teaching impulse control and other real-life skills? We’ve got a product for that! Purchase our 29-page e-book, Polite Greetings and Life Skills 101.

#8: Exchange Games

A great intro to drop it! Head off resource guarding and reduce unwanted stealing and tug games.
--
Not strictly speaking impulse control, this teaches your dog to trade whatever he's got for something you've got.

Steps:

This is where the text for the back of your card should go.

Get more help

#9: Ready, Set, GO!

Teach the hyper dog to amp up and cool down quickly.
--
Works best for dogs that love to play and run.

Steps:

This is where the text for the back of your card should go.

Get more help
  Want more on teaching impulse control and other real-life skills? We’ve got a product for that! Purchase our 29-page e-book, Polite Greetings and Life Skills 101.

Update: nosework didn't make the list the first time around, but you should check it out if you're dealing with a hyperactive or impulsive dog!

Update 2: We just wrote a whole new blog post about dog training games, including demo videos. Check it out!

You might also consider buying a dog training course to help get your dog's life and behavior in order! We work with you how you want -- video chat, text, email, phone call, or whatever else works!