Watch hearing dog Rory’s impressive impulse control trick!
Posted by Sarah O'Brien
Wondering why demonstration hearing dog Rory has tasty treats on his head? And how on earth he's managing to resist them?
It's something we start to teach hearing dog puppies when they are just a few weeks old and it's arguably one of the most important areas of any dog's training - impulse control. Watch Rory's impressive impulse control trick in our video below.
What is impulse control?
You might be tempted to just straight into starting to train your dog to do this cool trick, but first we wanted to show you why impulse control is so important.
Also known as self-control, impulse control is an important skill for a happy, relaxed and calm dog. It's not just about teaching a dog to resist treats (even though our demo dogs are masters at this.) It's about our canine friends learning to control themselves in a positive way.
A dog without impulse control training finds it hard to stay focused and can be easily frustrated. As a result, they can find it more difficult to ignore their impulses - like rushing out of the front door, or jumping out of the car as soon as you open it. This kind of behaviour could put a dog and their owner in danger, so it's really important our dogs have amazing impulse control.
What age does impulse control training start?
Hearing dog puppies begin to learn impulse control from a very young age. It starts with learning to 'wait' for their food. When the puppy sits patiently, the food gets placed in front of them and they get lots of praise.
Impulse control also plays a big part in knowing not to jump up at people, walking on a loose lead and playing nicely with other dogs. Young puppies are so keen to learn and explore so it is a great time to practice the foundations of this important traning.
Impulse control is the foundation of a hearing dog's training
So it sounds a bit extreme, but it's true. Learning these skills at a young age helps them grow from cute cheeky puppies to life-changing hearing dogs.
And when a fully trained hearing dog is out in a restaurant with their deaf recipient, they must know to resist the scraps of food from the floor and can't sniff at all the tasty food on the tables. This behaviour is second nature to our hearing dogs at this stage because of the great training they received as pups.
And it's not just Rory...
Although not all of our clever hearing dogs can pull off impulse control to the level Rory can, here are a few of our hearing dog puppies who are perfecting this impressive trick. Rory's best was 12 treats - can you spot any pup with more than that?
Even at a young age, hearing dog puppy Edna was doing a brilliant job at this trick.
Don't lose focus, hearing dog puppy Anya... You're doing great so far!
We can count 21 treats on Sam's paws in this photo - that's amazing impulse control!
Clever Eddie even managed to copy Rory and had treats on his nose - well done!
Wow! We think hearing dog puppy Rhum might be the new champion - we lost count on the first leg!
6 top tips to teach your dog to resist treats like Rory!
Although we can't promise your dog will be able to pull off Rory's impressive self control in our video straight away, there are a few tips and tricks you can follow to get started:
1. Timing is really important - you should try to practice this when your dog is naturally calm and isn't tired or hungry.
2. Don't punish your dog's slip-ups - It's really important to just ignore them when this happens, then reward them with treats and praise when they do it right.
3. Start easy - begin with something you know will have a chance of success with. A good first task is to hold some food out in one hand with your fist closed. When your dog stops pawing and licking, at the moment he pauses and steps back, open your hand and give the treat.
4. Use everyday situations to practice - life presents so many opportunities to practice impulse control. For example, getting out of the car, feeding time, picking up the lead, play time. These are all occasions that you can ask your dog to wait and be patient.
5. Take breaks - impulse control takes a lot of energy. Be reasomable with your expectations, especially with young puppies. We'd recommend keeping it to five minutes of training.
6. Play games which involve impulse control - For example, when playing tug, ask your dog to sit and wait for a few seconds before resuming the game. Also try getting your dog to wait whilst your hide a toy in the garden for him to find.
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