Train Your Dog to Listen to You
Why Won’t My Dog Listen To Me?
This advice is for pet owners that have adopted their very first dog six months ago, or the pet owner whose a longtime trainer with dozens of competition titles to their credit. We all constantly need refresher courses or new ideas to teach our dog to listen to us. Why? Because there will be times when your dog doesn’t sit, or takes the agility obstacles in the wrong order, or nabs the roast before your very eyes while you sputter “Leave it!” So I am going to give some pointers that have helped me.
Some common tools pet parents utilize are cookies, collars, head halters or clickers to make their dog listen to their commands.
Some have gotten caught in a bad cycle of raising their voice every time to persuade their dog to listen to them.
If you are frustrated that your dog doesn’t always come or sit on command – anytime and anywhere you want him to, here are some alternative ideas that will help make you an ideal pet parent.
Consider Your Dog’s Breed and Individual Personality
When you evaluate the thoroughness of your training, take your individual dog into account. It’s a challenge to teach Afghans and other sighthounds to come reliably when called. Terriers, who belong to a group of breeds developed precisely as tireless hunters of vermin, will find rodents more intensely interesting than your average dog. Miniature Pinschers are notorious for their inclination to bark. If you’re finding it a slog to teach your dog a particular behavior, consider what she was originally bred to do. When you train against the grain, expect to need extra time and practice.
It doesn’t really matter, by the way, whether you know your dog’s breed or mix. A squirrel-mad dog is squirrel-mad, even if we can’t nod knowingly and say “Well, yes, of course, that’s because she’s of Brooklyn Squirrel Chaser lineage.”
You Are The Alpha Dog
Always, always remember , you must first establish yourself as the “ALPHA dog” of your family. Your dog must know that you’re the leader of the pack and it is YOU who is in charge.
A) Always go out or come in through the door first – remember you are the leader;
B) Always eat first – give your dog something to eat only after you’ve finished your meal;
C) Don’t circle around your dog when he is lying on the floor – make your dog move out of your way instead;
D) Don’t let your dog set the rules – pay attention to him when you think fit and not whenever he demands;
E) Don’t permit your dog to sleep with you in your bed – demarcate his sleeping area clearly.
Once you successfully established yourself as the Alpha, training your dog and making him listen will be a lot easier than you can imagine. Remember, if your dog does not learn to “listen”, all your training efforts will be in vain!
This is a great refresher even for us Professional Pet Sitters who feel we know dogs like the back of our hand. And yes we are guilty of breaking some of which is stated above. I believe however , once established as the Alpha Dog , even a dog sleeping with you will know where they stand in the house. Now on with the lesson.
Dogs Listen by Using Clear Cues
The use of different contexts is a common reason why dogs don’t “obey.” Your dog may indeed know the cue for a particular behavior upside down and backwards–but the cue she knows may not be the one you think you taught her. Humans focus on words words words, and we tend to assume that the sounds coming out of our mouths are equally significant to our dogs.
And, sure, canids vocalize some of their communications. But they rely much more on body language. Besides, humans talk all the time. Dogs can have a hard time picking out which of the endless sounds we make have anything to do with them. From their perspective, the signal-to-noise ratio is really low. Imagine you’re trying to understand the intentions of a person who speaks a language of which you know nothing. You watch their face and hands and posture for clues, right? Our dogs do much the same.
So you may think Snoopirina is responding to your verbal cue when actually she’s picked up on some tiny unconscious movement that you always make at the same time. If, say, you’re carrying packages and can’t deliver the usual body English when you speak your cue, she will have no idea what you mean. For this reason, it’s important to carefully separate gestural cues from words.
Dogs Listen by Paying Attention to Emotions
Plenty of non-training reasons can also interfere with a dog’s compliance. Emotions easily get in the way; a dog who’s terrified of air brakes, for instance, is unlikely to respond to his name when he hears an 18-wheeler screeching to a halt. Is your dog barking and lunging at another dog? Then you can take it as a sign that he’s experiencing significant distress–distress that will get in the way of his ability to respond when you tell him to sit. Helping with the underlying behavior issues here will almost certainly have to precede any training fix.
The Right Conditions Enhances a Dog’s Learning Curve
What physical conditions are you working under? Does there happen to be a puddle right where Snooparini would need to put her heinie when you ask her to sit? Or consider this–because tiny dogs tend to conserve heat poorly, they’re often reluctant to lie down on a cold floor. The same goes for dogs with thin coats. Sometimes an older dog refuses to perform a behavior he’s known all his life. If your grizzled old dude won’t lie down on cue anymore, maybe his arthritis is acting up. Or maybe he can’t hear as well as he once did; when you call him and he doesn’t come, he’s not ignoring you. The cue just isn’t getting through. Illness can interfere with our dogs’ quickness to respond to us, as well. A Quick tip: Take your dog to the vet whenever an adult dog’s behavior changes suddenly.
Don’t Assume the Negative When Your Pet Doesn’t Respond
When dogs don’t do what we ask them to, we’re often invited to think of them as all of a sudden disobedient, defiant, dominant, or dumb. There will be one day when you’ll tell your diligently trained, non-hearing-impaired dog “Let’s go,” and she will continue with the project that had her attention immersed. We have all gotten annoyed with this behavior. So when it happens , put yourself in your pet’s place and recognize we have all done this ourselves. But think does that make you disobedient. It’s called human nature . So we will call it doggy nature and keep it moving.
I hope these tips help.
Til Next time…..
To make sure that your dog recognizes his name, take a treat in your hand and hold it away from your body. Call your dog’s name. He is most likely to look at the treat in your hand. Continue calling his name until he turns and looks at your eyes. Give him the treat immediately. Repeat this exercise by holding the treat in the other hand. Once you’re sure that your dog has learnt to recognize his name, just call his name and reward him for looking at you by petting or with a hug.
You must understand that dogs respond far better to positive reinforcement than they do to coercion or force.
- How Smart Is Your Dog? Test Your Pet’s Brain Power for Science (wired.com)
- Trainer Tuesday – Busting the “Dogs on the Bed” Myth (washhumane.typepad.com)
- LOVE it hurts so good!!!!Who’s the Alpha Dog? (gypsycookingandconversation.wordpress.com)
- Top 10 Dog Training Tips – PetCareRx (petcarerx.com)