Featuring Jen Larson, KPA-CTP & Courtney Emken
Concept by Courtney Emken

If your dog is counter surfing, jumping up on you or others, pushing past in a doorway, demand barking, and jumping out of a car before being released—watch this video!

These are all common dog behavior problems that are related to lack of impulse control in your pup. Aversive tools and methods like prong collars DO NOT work. Training and redirection to build patience and impulse control for your dog DO work.


– Okay, so I’m here with Jen and today we’re gonna be talking about some common problems with dogs and how to fix them. So, I know one problem at my house that I’ve had for a very long time is counter surfing. So what would you recommend for dogs like mine that do that?

– Sure, so counter surfing is definitely a common problem behavior and so there are a lot of common problem behaviors that are related to lack of impulse control. So what I would recommend is starting to do some impulse control training where you’re building patience and impulse control for your dog. So one way to do that is through the every day work to earn program. So that’s a program where you’re asking a dog to perform a calm, polite behavior before you give him access to a resource. So making a list of the resources that you provide for your dog throughout the day. So that could be access to outside, access to a food or a water bowl, being able to jump up on to the couch or into your bed and just thinking about what behaviors you’d like to become a habit before they’re allowed to do that thing or get that resource. So for counter surfing, I think that would probably, the solution for that would be a combination of management, where you’re not leaving things up on your counter that your dog wants to grab, but then also redirection, where you’re teaching and off cue or leave it. And so that requires some impulse control.

– So what are some other common behavior problems that are related to that?

– So other problem behaviors that are related to lack of impulse control are things like jumping up on you, pushing past through a doorway, jumping out of a car before being released out of the car.

– Ooh, I have big problems there.


– When we get to the vet, I’m usually handling two dogs at once and one’s tiny and one’s big and they’re on a leash that’s attached and the big dog always wants to jump out of the car before I’m ready and so.

– And so, that’s totally a lack of impulse control. So, teaching a wait cue or a stay could really help with that.

– That’s great. So one of the biggest problems that we see clients struggle with is pulling on leash and I think part of the reason that’s such a big deal to us is because most people revert to prong collars and choke chains to control the behavior, but I know there are better solutions, so how would you help there?

– Right, so what you’re talking about is using aversive tools or methods to suppress the behavior, but you’re not actually changing the behavior

– Exactly.

– And you’re not addressing any of the underlying causes of the behavior. So you may get the behavior that you’re looking for in the moment, but you take that prong collar off, you know the dog’s still gonna be pulling and you’re adding all these sort of negative emotional associations to the experience of being on a walk. If they’re being stabbed in the neck by a prong collar, they’re forming a lot of negative emotional associations with their environment, with the other person on the leash, and the other person on the other end of the leash, other dogs in the environment. So to address the underlying cause of pulling on leash, that would be just that your dog wants to go sniff things and do things and so to keep them at your side in a nice loose leash walking position that takes a lot of practice and reinforcement, positive reinforcement makes a behavior more likely to occur again. So doing the working walk, where you’re bringing treats along, where you’re praising your dog, or you have a toy and you’re keeping them interested in being at your side, that will also teach them impulse control and focus so to stay with you on leash instead of out, being out in the environment looking for things to get into.

– Great advice.