Why Does My Dog... Pick Fights With Pups Twice His Size?

Why Impulse Control Works

“If your dog jumps to get treats, whines to go for a walk or rushes out the door to get in the car, then he lacks impulse control,” says Dr. Yin. “I have clients teach their dogs to sit patiently for what they want.”

This helps dogs in two ways — they learn to tamper down that impulsive instinct, and to look to their owner for guidance when suddenly faced with a big dog.

“When they’re trained to focus on your commands, you can then let them greet a new dog for a couple of seconds, and then call them to heel,” says Dr. Yin. “The dog will understand that you’re in control, there’s nothing to worry about, and you’ll call them away before they can get too scared.”

Whatever you do, don’t yank on your dog's leash or yell “no!” in a loud voice when your pup starts lunging at a bigger animal. “This only increases their arousal level,” says Dr. Yin. “It’s like when two guys are about to get in a bar fight, and you poke one of them. It only makes the guy more ready to fight.”

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