The Pet Parent Resource

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Dogs are naturally impulsive, but games like these can help them learn how to control their natural instincts and comply with cues and commands.

Wait then Fetch

This game of fetch with a challenging twist is a great way to reinforce impulse control. Here’s how it works:

  • • With your dog leashed, drop a favorite toy a couple of feet away and say, “Wait.”
  • • If your dog waits a second or two, say, “Get it!” and allow him to go after the toy.
  • • If your dog struggles, hold the leash securely. The moment your dog calms down, give the command “Get it!” and release him to fetch the prize.

After your dog brings the toy back, do it over again. As your dog gets the hang of it, gradually increase the time your four-legged friend has to wait.


This game helps train your dog to look at you first before following his impulse to grab something, like food or a toy.

  • • Show your dog a treat or toy and say, “Watch.”
  • • Hold the treat or toy still until your dog looks at you.
  • • Say, “Yes!” and give your dog the toy or treat.

In the beginning, you should reward your dog the instant he looks at you, even just a quick glance. As you continue to play this game, extend the length of time your dog needs to hold your gaze before being rewarded.

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