Why do pet parents expect more from their puppies than they expect from themselves? Why do humans show more tolerance for other humans that display a lack of control, but show little tolerance for their puppy? When a puppy is being taught to sit and stay, the puppy is simultaneously learning to have impulse control.  Impulse control refers to the ability to control one’s emotions and desires rather than exhibiting what we refer to as a knee-jerk reaction. The lack of self-control is the inability to resist a temptation, urge or impulse.

Humans pride themselves on being proficient at self-discipline, decorum, patience, and social skills. Yet those ideal characteristics are easily overtaken by yelling, hitting, and punishing which are unfortunately and embarrassingly human traits. A trait is defined as a particular characteristic, quality, or tendency.

A puppy is asked to sit and stay.  The puppy responds accordingly and appropriately by sitting. However, the puppy has not learned to control the impulse to stand and to walk away in search of something more interesting. The pet parent reacts by yelling, forcibly pushing the puppy into a sitting position, and exhibits anger, frustration, and lack of understanding. The pet parent is now exhibiting the same inability to control their impulse reaction as the puppy they are annoyed with!

Training a puppy should be practiced when a pet parent is relaxed and has ten to fifteen minutes set aside without disturbance. If a pet parent becomes frustrated, the best thing to do is stop the training practice session and do it another time. Taking frustration, anger, or annoyance out on a puppy will make the puppy’s behavior worse and instill fear and anxiety.


Your emotions and attitude, voice, and posture/body language make a world of difference when training a puppy. If you remain calm and confident, your training session will be fun and your puppy will learn faster.

Your emotions are contagious!

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