But My Dog Listens at Home!
Then he isn’t well trained!
Okay, okay as a dog trainer I have to admit that this is one of the most infuriating thing that we hear while we are trying to teach obedience classes.
Until I remember at 18, I said this once too.
And, so I recoat there are two kinds of people who say this…
The one that is totally confused because he really does do his obedience this at home.
And, the one that is using an excuse for not working with his dog but feels put on the spot.
I might also mention the same goes for the statement
He Never Does That at Home…
They are fairly synonymous.
So I will tell you what the trainer said to me at the time.
Then your dog isn’t trained because you are only working at home.
Funny it Was Like I had an Epiphany.
I’m not dumb.
I wasn’t dumb at 18.
But it was like I hadn’t really thought that through.
Rules of Training
You should begin to train your dog at home.
Actually now a days, I teach my dogs obedience at home before I ever take them to a class.
A dog obedience class is merely a way for me to proof my obedience or add distractions.
And, as mentioned above; once you have taught your dog obedience… it is time to make it more difficult.
Sure, your dog can “Sit” or “Down” at home but can he do a sit or a down with another dog running past?
Can he sit or down while a squirrel taunts him from a tree?
Can he sit or down while a skateboard, bike or toddler whizzes past?
Usually the answer is a resounding, NO!
He actually has to be taught to do those things.
You have to make his obedience scenarios more and more difficult to teach him
Sit means sit no matter what
Otherwise he gets conditioned only to do it in a certain environment and of course never or hardly ever when he is distracted.
Obedience at certain times in only ideal known circumstances; is not actually obedience.
Obedience is listening all of the time when given a command, no matter the circumstances.
However It Isn’t That Easy
I mean the concept is easy for us humans..
But it isn’t easy for our dogs.
You see dogs don’t have the same reasoning ability and cognitive skills that we are given.
Dogs conceptualize what they know, but they don’t understand it in other circumstances.
Down means down at home, during training; but he doesn’t understand “down” if he is outside with other dogs running around.
You actually have to “teach him” that it means the same thing.
That doesn’t mean to use your leash and “correct” or yank him to the ground; that means to understand that his learning is different and helping him understand that the meaning is the same no matter what.
So many people get mad and think that their dog is blatantly refusing.
But understand that your dog doesn’t speak the same language or have the same social cues that we humans have.
So if you want your dog to listen, in the car, at the baseball park, in obedience class… you have to train for that.
Most of us will take our dogs somewhere else at some point in their lives and we will want a well trained and behaved dog!
As hard as it is for me to say… if he only listens at home… then he doesn’t understand and is not well trained!
Train outside the box and work with your dog to make him a good companion.
I have been a professional dog trainer and pet sitter for over 20 years. I am a Certified Professional Dog Trainer, through the international Certification Counsel of Professional Dog Trainers. I have trained and worked with police, Schutzhund and personal protection dogs. I trained Assistance Dogs in a men’s prison and ran my own nonprofit organization to take adult dogs from shelters and to train them to assist children and adults with disabilities, at no charge to my clients. My nonprofit organization and I were nominated for several awards of merit and even made the front page of the Denver Post. I was a veterinary technician for many years, where I learned about all aspects of health and preventative medicine. I have trained and worked with exotic animals and cheetahs. I introduced a temperament testing program in my local shelter and sat on the board of directors. I volunteered with my dog “Mr. Snitch” and helped local children learn to read. I have attained obedience titles and several blue ribbons. I am constantly in search of ways to continue my education and excellence when it comes to animals, their behavior and their health.