Frustration tolerance and impulse control in dogs

The terms frustration tolerance and impulse control are used in psychology to describe socially desirable behaviors such as self-control and patience. It is also essential for your dog to learn how to deal with frustration and control its instinctive needs.

People and animals need to be considerate of others and not follow every impulse that spontaneously flares up. Otherwise, living together in a social group becomes difficult or impossible in the long run because the person or animal that has not learned to abide by social rules and only wants to have their way attracts attention and is a nuisance. In addition, the ability to concentrate and the willingness to learn are made more difficult when impulse control is lacking, and frustration tolerance is low.

What are frustration tolerance and impulse control?

In psychology, impulse control and frustration tolerance describe the handling of inner impulses or external stimuli and disappointments. A person or dog with low frustration tolerance cannot take it when their desires, urges, and immediate needs are not met immediately. However, those with a high frustration tolerance have mastered the so-called delay of gratification; that is, one can put up with temporary inconveniences such as waiting or exertion in the hope of a later reward. For example, dogs are ready to interrupt a game with conspecifics and run to their owner if they know that they can continue playing later or do something else nice.

Impulse control plays a vital role in delaying gratification and, thus, frustration tolerance. This is basically about self-control, inner peace, and patience. Those who can control their impulses think before they act, weigh up the consequences of their behavior beforehand and make a conscious decision based on these considerations. Now, self-control is so flawlessly developed in very few, but some people and animals cannot control their impulses. Although they should know better based on negative past experiences, they follow their immediate effects without thinking about the consequences.

How lack of impulse control and frustration tolerance manifests itself
If the dog’s frustration tolerance and impulse control are weak, it will find it challenging to learn, and it will not be able to adapt well, either to its favorite people or to those of its kind. On the outside, such animals appear uncontrolled to aggressive, erratic, unfocused, impatient, jittery, and hyperactive – especially when they experience frustration because something is not going according to their ideas, expectations, and will. Examples of impulsive behavior and lack of frustration tolerance are:

● Leash aggression, biting or pulling on the leash
● Jumping on people
● Constant barking
● Squeaking or barking when something doesn’t go their way
● Uncontrolled hunting behavior
● Endless excitement, nervousness, and jumpiness
● The dog is constantly distracted
● “Clings” to the Holder, continually following and not being able to stay alone
● Gobble up food
● “Jealousy” when the Holder is disregarded or distracted

Why your impatient dog lacks self-control
When everything is going well, the skills of enduring frustration, deferring rewards, and controlling impulses are learned as a puppy and young dog. Some dogs have a more challenging time learning these essential qualities and others find it more accessible. Due to their breed, hunting dogs have more significant difficulties keeping their hunting impulses in check; Dog breeds with a pronounced “will to please,” like the Labrador Retriever, feel frustrated more quickly when their favorite person isn’t giving them their full attention. In addition, each dog is an individual character with its personality.

Nevertheless, it is almost always mistakes in dog training that lead to the four-legged friend not being able to control himself and deal with frustration. Maybe he wasn’t consistently taught as a puppy or young dog which behavior is desirable and which isn’t. Or your pet has been spoiled too much and is used to having everyone obey their will. Overworking the dog can also lead to this; if he is being entertained and entertained around the clock, he will forget how to endure periods of rest when nothing is happening.

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