How To Get Your Dog To Listen
We’ve all either been there ourselves or witnessed some poor owner in this situation before, you call your dog from across the park and they ignore you. Or you ask your dog to ‘sit’ to show off their new trick to all your friends, and they just stare back at you blankly. This post offers some simple tips and tricks to help get your dog to listen to you when training or while out and about.
Tire Them Out
Try to burn off some of their excess energy before beginning any form of training work with them. Take them on a long walk, a run around the park or a game of fetch in the garden, then start training with them once they are less excitable and calm.
Be A Good Leader
In the wild, dogs listen to their pack leaders and pack leaders have a cool, calm and assertive nature. When it comes to training your dog or giving a command in the street, it needs to be delivered with the correct energy - calm and assertive (thanks Ceasar!). Don’t get angry or frustrated with them if the training isn’t going to plan as dogs can read your emotions and pack leaders don’t lose their cool!
It is the age-old debate of the household - whose rules are the right ones. The entire household needs to make sure it’s on the same page when it comes to setting rules and training your dog. If one of you is letting the dog on the sofa and the other is teaching them it’s not allowed, your dog will become confused and frustrated. Be consistent in everything you teach your dog, just as a pack leader would be.
Tone of Voice
Again this links back to consistency. If you’re shouting your dog in the park to ‘come!’ in an assertive tone of voice, but your partner playfully calls ‘Rex, come here boy, commme onnnnn, commme onnnn, come here’ (hands up who is guilty of this!), then your dog again will become confused and will struggle to associate the command with the action they need to take.
Bribery Vs Reward
You want your dog to listen to you all the time, not just when there are treats involved. If your dog isn’t listening to you at the park, it’s easy to pull out the treats to bribe them back to you to avoid embarrassment. But doing this too regularly can make your dog only obey when there’s food involved and ignore you the rest of the time! Have you ever had your dog give you their paw when you didn’t ask for it simply because you’re holding food? This isn’t the behaviour you want.
It’s better to ‘reward’ your dog with food sporadically, not every time. Try other forms of reward alongside treats such as giving them a toy, a good scratch behind the ear or playing their favourite game with them when they have behaved correctly. Give them whatever he or she finds valuable, this can vary depending on breed and personality.
The Use Of Distractions
When you first begin training your dog in the early days, it wise to remove as many distractions as possible so you have your dog’s full attention. Once your dog has mastered commands, then try adding some of the distractions back in. This will help you easily get your dog’s attention when you’re outside on walks and there are hundreds of distractions.
A dog who listens to its owner is a safe dog!