When you’re dealing with a dog who won’t listen to his owner, it can be difficult to know where to begin.
It can often feel like your dog is ‘ignoring’ you, so all of your training sessions begin to feel hopeless in terms of achieving the training result you’re looking for.
While it can be fun to simply spend time with your dog, it certainly becomes a whole lot more rewarding and enjoyable once you’ve overcome the common stumbling block of feeling like your dog is ignoring your commands.
Once you’ve taught your dog basic obedience, you’ll be free to take them out without the worry of whether they’re going to come back to you or get themselves in trouble.
With this in mind, we’re going to take a closer look at this issue. Specifically, we’ll explore some of the reasons why a dog doesn’t listen to their owner, what can be done to correct this problem, and finally, you’ll learn some useful exercises that can help improve your dog’s ability to understand what you want from them. So let’s begin.
Firstly, dogs have a keen sense of hearing, so in most cases, they can certainly hear you.
The real issue is that your dog either doesn’t understand what kind of behavior you want from them, or they simply aren’t motivated to follow your commands at this moment in time (perhaps there’s something more interesting happening!)
What You Can Do About It
While your dog can’t understand your exact ‘words’ – they can certainly understand your vocal tone. In fact, canine communication relies upon tonality, rather than the exact ‘verbal content’ of a command or phrase.
Using a tonality that matches the command is a very important aspect of getting the result you want, but it’s also one of the main mistakes that dog owners fall into when training their own pets.
So if your dog isn’t listening to you, try a firmer tone of voice. This will usually require lowering your vocal tone, and adding a degree of assertiveness. Remember to keep it short, sharp and to the point – don’t allow the command to drag out into a longer word or phrase.
This ties into an equally important point – keeping the phrase short. Many dog owners forget that their dog responds primarily to tone, and because of this, they end up talking in long, drawn-out phrases that contain extra words.
This will only increase the chances of your dog ignoring you. Perhaps he can even hear you, but he just doesn’t believe you’re talking to him.
This is why it pays to have a shorter, snappier tone of voice when issuing a command. At the very least, it will ensure you have your dog’s attention, which is often one of the sticking points many owner’s face.
Useful Training Exercises
To help you get the idea, here are a few quick and easy exercises you can use to diagnose where you may be going wrong, and why your dog may not be listening to you.
First, ensure you can capture his attention.
Call him by his name in a short, snappy, low tone of voice. Most dogs (if they have learned their own name) will respond by looking at your face and waiting to see what it is you want from them. If you can get to this stage, then you know your dog can hear you!
It’s worth noting that you should use a positive tone of voice, so your dog gives you a positive reaction, such as tail wagging, or moving towards you. If they feel fearful of you, or like they’re about to be punished, then using a negative tone of voice is more likely to discourage them from listening to you so bear this in mind.
The next exercise is to pick a basic obedience command that your dog is familiar with (such as sit, stay, come) and give them the command once you have his attention. Again, make sure the word is clear, precise, and not drawn-out. If you and your dog have already mastered basic obedience, then you’ll probably be successful here.
If it doesn’t work (but you still have their attention) then the answer is to work more on basic obedience training.
Finally, if your dog isn’t listening to you because they’re distracted by something else, then it’s best to focus on basic obedience training in a quieter, distraction-free environment – just until they learn the crucial commands of sit, stay, and come.