Dog Training – Make Your Dog Listen to You

However, if you consider what normally happens in situations like this it is quite easy to understand why. An owner starts shouting at their dog to come to them. The dog ignores them and the owner starts shouting louder and louder and more angrily (often not the same command).

dog training

The dog continues to ignore them. Then the dog owner walks after the dog at which point the dog starts sulking towards the owner in full appreciation that its owner is annoyed. Upon reaching each other the dog is treated roughly (e.g. a rough pull of the collar or even a smack).

You can see two problems here. One, the dog starts associating whatever come command you are using with a form of punishment. Hardly surprising the dog does not want to come to you. Secondly, the owner has often used several commands, which mean absolutely nothing to a dog. In case you forget a dog can’t speak your language!

Long-term the relationship between dog and owner is one of fear rather than respect.

Generally, a dog will disobey for two reasons (I use the word disobey lightly for the two reasons below):

  1. Your dog doesn’t understand the commands.
  2. Your dog is simply ignoring you.

When training your dog you need to establish commands that your dog understands. In essence, this is teaching your dog to understand a bit of your language. These should be short, ideally one or two-word commands. They should be different enough from each other that it is clear what each command is. Commands that sound the same will only make learning them harder for your dog. Once you select different commands, keep the same commands forever. Remember, your dog lives in a world where people are constantly talking in a full breadth of language that they will only ever really pick up 20 words of.

In teaching your dog the commands, you should also adopt hand signals specific to that command. As dogs can be trained very quickly by associating a command with an action, dogs often learn what the hand signal means before they really associate the voice command with it. As with the voice command, be consistent with the hand command and make it clear. Bad example, but you don’t want to associate the sit command with folding your arms – how often do you fold your arms and how many times would you do it solely to get your dog to sit?

The presentation of your commands is also crucially important. Your commands need to be short, sharp, clear and obvious that you mean what you say. A weak or playful voice command will not work and your dog will firstly think they have an option and secondly think you are not the alpha dog.

In the case of a dog simply ignoring you, the dog understands the command but just chooses to ignore you. It’s easy to tell the difference between your dog ignoring you and not understanding you by the dog’s body language.

A dog that doesn’t understand will tend to look submissive, maybe crawling and with its tail between its legs. A dog ignoring you will on the other hand look confident and happy. It may even stop look at you the turn away with a bounce in its step.

Sad Dog

If your dog is ignoring you then it’s an issue of dominance and who is actually the alpha dog. While you will need to re-establish yourself as the alpha dog there are immediate steps you can make to address the issue.

If it is while you are training your dog, be careful, as it could simply be that your dog is bored with training. The best thing is to stop training until a later time. You may want to reconsider how you train your dog, as training should always be fun. Often the easiest way to make training fun is to include treats of food. When it comes to testy dog food most dogs find that fun.

If however, it is more serious such as your dog will not come back to you until they chose to then some immediate actions could be to:

  1. Use positive voice tones; sound happy and excited.
  2. Walk in the opposite direction. This has the double benefit of reinforcing yourself as the dog that chooses when and where to go. Additionally, even if your dog considers itself as the alpha dog, they will rarely want to be left alone.
  3. Go down to your dog’s level and open your arms so your dog can see they are going to get some form of praise when they come over.

Always praise your dog when they eventually come over and never chase your dog or call them over to be punished. The last thing you want is your dog to associate coming to you with a form of punishment.

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