7 Reasons Why Your Dog is Ignoring Your Commands

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dog is ignoring commands, puppy training

So often people simply can’t figure out why their dog is not listening.

They watch people running and playing with their personal dogs, while the dog listens and performs commands almost immediately and they are perplexed why their own dog does not act with the same loyalty.

I must tell you, I have learned from training dogs for the past 20 plus years devoted to dog training, that you must learn to think like a dog, and communicate effectively in order to learn that trust.

Trust, from another species, that speaks a totally different language is very difficult to earn!

These are the main reasons your dog is not listening to your commands

(Keep in mind – these could also mean that your dog seems unhappy in his relationship with you and your family. Altering these traits will drastically improve the relationship that you have with your furry friend.)

7. Your Treats or Your Rewards are Pathetic

As a dog trainer, I am always completely surprised by the weird “drivel” people bring to my group obedience class.  Vegetables, Cheerios, bland biscuits, stale biscuits, odd stale rawhide sticks, or even regular dog food.

Now, any of these things can be good motivators for a hungry dog or a dog on a diet… however many of these things not only won’t motivate the average dog; they also take much too long to chew.  By the time your dog is done chomping he has forgotten what he did to earn the reward.

Remember, if you want to be effective and a proficient trainer your reward must be greater than the distraction!

6. You Lose Your Temper

Again, as a dog trainer I watch this sad event play out night after night in obedience class.

The truly wretched part is that I know the loss of temper, yelling, and often physical correction is even worse.

I once watched a client kick her dog in class in front of me and everyone else in the class.  I was appalled and of course told her that if she ever laid an angry hand or foot on her dog again in my class she would be meeting with animal control.

dog is ignoring commands, puppy trainingBut I know that, due to her comfort level, this kind of abuse was a regular occurrence.

Abuse shuts some animals down completely and prevents them from preforming the most simple task.

Other dogs who are abused on a regular basis get obstinate and refuse to comply. While others, attack the owner.

Losing your temper whether verbally or physically will not provide you with a happy and willing obedience partner!

If you get mad, give yourself a break and your dog a break and try again later or another day.

But don’t end on a bad note or try to punish him.  Just try again later and let things go.

Anger only shortens your life and risks your relationships.

5. You Train at His Playground

Oh My!!!!  This is a HUGE Faux Pas!

The worst place on earth is to train your dog at a place full of distractions.

Dog parks, city parks, crazy neighborhood running routes, horses, pigs, squirrels… the list goes on through literally dozens or hundreds of scenarios.

If you want to get your dog to listen under distraction he needs 95% reliable obedience at home.

If he ignores you when you say “sit” or “down” at home, there is less than a 3% change that he will listen when something exciting is going on around him.

You must slowly add distractions and proof his behavior prior to expecting him to be reliable around things he finds fascinating.

And, I might mention, that you have to be MORE fascinating than the distraction.

That point goes back to your quality of treats and games.

4. You Can’t Commit

Making decisions is one of the hardest things we do as human beings.

Should I go on the date? Should I get married?dog is ignoring commands, puppy training

Should I quit my job? Should I take an unknown job in another state or hours away?

These are all life decisions. But, let’s face it, most of what we have to deal with in dog training is not “life changing”.

Commit to a plan.

If you don’t want your dog on the sofa, keep him off of it!

If you want your dog to sleep in your bed, let him (unless you are dealing with dog aggression).

If you want your dog to stop jumping on you and your guests, make it happen.

But commit to consistency; nothing else is fair to your furry friend.

3. You Treat Him Like a King


I mean, seriously???

How on earth can you rationally think of a way to motivate your dog to do anything for you if you are already meeting all of his needs?

I mean, if you gave me a billion dollars, do you think you could offer me the average hard working job?

Would I do things for you out of the love and goodness of my heart?

Some people would, and some (rarely) dogs will, but they are few and far between.

Let’s face it; we are all in this life for ourselves.

We do what we need to do to have our needs and desires met, and once those are met there is no real reason to work hard or go above and beyond… Sad but true.

In order to motivate and positively control your dog; you must be in control of his resources and all that he loves!

Pretty simple!

2. You Can’t (or Don’t) Make Time for Him

These next two tie together, but are a bit different.

Without spending time with your dog you can’t build a bond with him. dog is ignoring commands, puppy training

Without building a bond with him, he will not want to work for you.

Without spending that time on your bond he will not care about what you want and your feelings.

He needs to be more exciting or at least more important than social media, your favorite TV show, or league sporting events.

If he is not, perhaps you should not have a dog.

1. Expectation Without Investment

My favorite conundrum, dog owners often expect their dog to be born with human expectations and rules inbred into those tiny cute faces.

Let me be the first to tell you… that is FAR from the truth!

Puppies are born biting each other to figure out who is toughest and who should be in charge.

Puppies jump on each other to play ad to dominate situations.

Puppies shred things because it is fun to watch stuffing and dirt fly.

Puppies urinate and defecate in the house  because they don’t understand why we don’t want them soiling the house.

Puppies, and dogs, simply put, come from a whole different species.

In order to live peacefully with them, we must provide them with what they need but we also need to provide them with structure, mental stimulation and entertainment.

We must invest in this relationship, like we would invest in any other, in order to end up with the dog that we have always dreamed of owning!


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There are 14 Comments

  1. Jamey says:

    I used this program with my dog. he has been a well behaved dog. for 7 years now. This program works well!


  2. Arniel Uzel says:

    Great article! I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. It helped me a lot. Thanks for sending it.


  3. Our dog LILLY is a MALTESE/PICKERNESE cross.The only command she listens to is STAY , NO OYHER .She is treated like a Queen .Is scared of other dogs when we take her for a walk.She seems avery nervous dog she seems to shake in scared fashion.She goes balistic if some body comes to the font door or passes the front window where she sleeps on our bed.She is nearly 3 years old and we have had her since she was about 8 weeks old. We do need her to obey our commands ,because we do love her has we have loved our own children.We are now in our 70,s


  4. Debbie says:

    I’m not sure if this is the place to ask a question not on topic?? 2 of our 3 small (10#) dogs are terrified when we swat a fly or mosquito. We use a ‘zapper’ as our area is heavily infested with mosquitos. I know, for a fact, that neither dog has ever been hit or threatened by a newspaper or any other object. (Not sure if this is why, but the 3rd dog is deaf & doesn’t notice the bug ‘elimination’). We’ve offered yummy treats but nothing is working. Any suggestions? Thanks!


  5. Pattie Zitricki says:

    I am using the training and I so love it. My dogs love it too. My husband, the Authority type of person does not follow behind me with what I have done. I am home all day, so it doesn’t matter.

    Thanks, Chet, you crack me up on both videos and chats! Have a great day!



  6. Ray of Hope says:

    Thank You! I have been trying to get people to understand this for the 20 years I have been training. I am going to post & re-post this. I may even have it tattooed on my arm so I don’t have to repeat myself.


  7. Ileana Nadal says:

    You have definitely hit the nail on the head with this one! Well said!


  8. Gaye says:

    Great advice.
    I often see dog owners physically punishing their dogs for “not obeying the orders given”. I note the hurt in the dogs eye when they are “put down”.
    I believe we dog owners will be rewarded by the time and effort we spend
    on nurturing and educating our puppies enabling strong bonding as they grow and gain confidence.
    I have 2 poodles now aged 3 and 7 and have enjoyed seeing them develop new skills and maturity.


  9. Lynda says:

    Enjoyed this very much. I see people all the time expecting their dog to obey when they haven’t really trained them. I see this on postings on Instagram too. Sometimes I tactfully say something. If they ask for help, I direct them to your website. I’ve learned so much here. Also have done some of your online training classes. Thank you for helping us have a clue.


  10. Michelle Chapman says:

    Awaiting hands off otherwise very good information to know my dog has been walking but stopping shortly refusing to go any further and then I have to turn around and psyche him and go back


  11. The trouble I have my husband says he doesn’t want to ruin what he is. He will do thing for me, but gets confused. So runs to my husband his play mate.


  12. The trouble is my husband doesn’t like training dogs he thinks it spoiled who he is. So when I try he thinks I am spoiling who he is yu


  13. Michelle Chapman says:

    Just goesto show you r only queen


  14. Leslie says:

    Great article. I had to leave my dogs with my ex and move into an apartment. We are friends and I see them twice a week. Problem is now we fight about their care and I can see that he isn’t keeping up with their training. He’s doing all the wrong things, but says because I don’t live there, the training and care is none of my business. Help!


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