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Help! My dog wont listen to me!

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They might have big ears, but more often than not I get complaints that clients dog JUST WONT LISTEN TO THEM!!

Do you find yourself repeatedly yelling commands at your dog to no avail?  You’re not alone.  It can be frustrating when your dog seems to find everything else in the area interesting apart from you.

You have spent hours and hours practicing recall, ‘sit’ and ‘down’ in the living room and garden, only for him to run in the opposite direction when at the park.

So why won’t he listen?

Dogs are pretty simple beings; they do what works for them.  When at the park, there’s a million more scents and distractions than there is while at home.  And no offence, but you’re probably pretty boring when compared with squirrels, other dogs, and people.  There is far more fun things to do than return to your side when you put the leash on and go home.

Say it once

A trained dog should respond to the first command.  Repeatedly yelling your dog’s name and different variations of ‘come’ just becomes noise to your dog, as he learns to tune it out.   Effective communication is built with clear commands and tone.

Additional words such as ‘get’, ‘here’ ’come on’, and ‘now’ become confusing for the dog.  As does changing voice tone between angry and happy.  Keep the tone calm, command clear, and say it only once.

dog listening

Be Certain

Does your dog actually know the command?  If your dog is not responding the first time, it may be that he is not fully confident in what is being asked.  Does your training need to take a step back?  Make sure that you reward him with treats or toys every single time in the beginning so that he learns what to do.

Each command needs to be relearned in different and more distracting environments.  No dog will respond to a command only learned in the home when in a crowded park with dogs.  Training needs to be gradually more distracting. If you are not 90% sure that your dog will listen, don’t give the command.


Finally, make sure that all rewards are positive and happy.  When your dog is confidently responding to the cue, begin to reward only the fastest responses, this phases out the slowest.  Make sure rewards are tasty.  Use play when training, for example, asking for a ‘sit’ or ‘down’ before throwing the ball, or ‘drop it’ and ‘leave it’ when playing tug..  Never punish the dog for not listening, this can only be due to lack of training under the distractions faced.