7 Reasons Why Your Dog is Ignoring Your Commands
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.
But 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?
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!
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.
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!