Oh Behave™ Dog Training Blog

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My Dog Won’t Listen

with 2 comments

Do you think that your dog does not listen to you?  It’s a common complaint among my class participants and private clients.  There’s more to a dog’s listening skills than many dog owners think.  Here are some questions to ask yourself.  Consult a trainer or take a class if you need help in these areas.

1. Does your dog understand what you are saying?  Verbal language skills are difficult for dogs.  It is important to be consistent with your cues and marking the desired behavior.  

2. What’s in it for your dog?  Dogs do what works for them.  If you are using rewards that do not motivate your dog, use something your dog really likes.  Also think about the consequences associated with “not listening”.  Do you ask for a sit or stay while you put your dog’s leash on before a walk?  If your dog “doesn’t listen” do you simply coerce the dog to accept the leash and then reward him with a walk?  A good consequence for “not listening” would be walking away and sitting down for a few minutes.  The dog will learn that if he wants the chance to enjoy the great outdoors, he will have to “listen”.  Make sure your timing is excellent or your dog won’t associate the reward with the desired behavior.

3. Have you “punished” your dog for listening?  If you call your dog to you and end the good time he is having saving your yard from lizards, you are punishing him.  Try to variably let him go back to the fun he was having, or have something more fun like a walk around the neighborhood to reward your dog for “listening”.

4. Are you still relying on treats?  Treats are a great way to teach a dog a behavior through luring.  If you continue to rely on treats, your dog won’t perform well without them.  Consider using life rewards and becoming more variable with your use of food and life rewards.

5. Have you generalized this behavior to different environments with different levels of distraction?  It’s easy to get your dog’s attention and focus in a distraction-free environment.  It takes practice to get reliable responses to your cues in different situations.  Keep practicing everywhere you can! 

Help your dog speak your language by being patient and consistent.

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Written by dawnhanna

March 9, 2011 at 9:32 am

Posted in Dog Training

2 Responses

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  1. It’s great to see this useful post on dog training.

    I have a concern though. How do you train an older dog?

    Lester

    September 21, 2014 at 1:30 pm

    • Hi Lester. Training older dogs is easy if you follow the 5 suggestions in this post.

      dawnhanna

      September 21, 2014 at 2:56 pm


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