Raising Your Paws - Your Pet Parent Resource

Why Your Dog May Not Listen To You. (Blog #99 – repeat of Blog 12)

Published: 08/11/2021
Chihuaha Dog, Watching TV and Eating Popcorn

Does your dog tend to ignore your cues and commands and basically do whatever they want?      

If so, you may be accommodating them too much. This is when you let them do whatever they want – whenever they want, most of the time.  And this means that when you do ask your dog to do something, like “come” or stop doing something, like jumping on the kitchen counter, they might not be so inclined to listen to you.

The trouble with letting your dog get away with too much, is you may be losing authority in your dog’s eyes without even realizing it.  In the episode below, #99 which is a replay of a show from 2018,  my guest Camilla Gray-Nelson explains that over accommodating your dog’s desires can negatively affect how your dog perceives you.  

First, here’s some questions to ask yourself to see if you are perhaps accommodating your dog.

Do you give in to your dog barking at you to give it a treat or the ball?   

Do you let your dog have a  treat after they jump up and practically tear it from your hand?

Do you let your dog determine how fast or slow you go on your walks?

Do you get out of your dog’s way, letting them lie in your spot on the couch?

Do you let your dog lead/pull you wherever they want when walking?

Do you let your dog get up after putting them in a down before you’ve released them?

Think about other things that you let your dog do, even when you don’t want them to and know its probably not a good idea to let them get their way.   

Now, here’s how to change the dynamic between you and your dog.  

I know at times, you just want your dog to be happy and so don’t always enforce your rules, and it can be a hassle to train consistently, however a dog who feels that they are in control, may not respect you as its leader and this can lead to misbehavior.  

In the book, Lipstick and the Leash, Dog Training a Woman’s Way, by Camilla Gray-Nelson, she writes, “Dogs live by two simple rules: Obey superiors and ignore subordinates.”  “In the animal world, accommodation is akin to subordination.”  

By giving in too much to what your dog wants, and not setting limits for them,  your dog may see you as being subordinate to them!

Wow, I bet you never intended that. And if they do think of you this way, its no wonder they ignore your cues, (a word I like better than commands.)

For your dog to take you seriously, you’ll want to increase/take back your rank as its leader.  This does NOT mean by yelling at them or hurting or punishing them, it means simply start following through with your cues, let your dog know what behaviors are not allowed and take back your control.

They will respect you more and you’ll be amazed at how life with your pooch improves.

So, ignore that bark, and only give the ball or treat when she is sitting quietly in front of you.  

Have your dog work for the treat, tell them to sit, or down or shake paws cue, etc. and then, give the treat.  Do this consistently to break any bad habits they’ve developed in order to make you give them food. Remember, the point is not for the dog to train you to do things for them, but for you to train the dog.

Teach your dog to walk by your side – not in front of you. Listen to segment two in either episode 98 or episode 11 to learn how to do Camilla Gray-Nelson’s “Leadership Walk”.

Follow through with the “come” cue if your dog runs off and does not respond to you. Rather than yelling it over and over again, getting louder and madder, expecting them to come back to you when you sound like an angry, raving lunatic,  just go get your dog, put them on their leash and quietly lead them away. Fun, freedom is over for the rest of the walk. 

If they do come back on their own, even though a bit delayed, reward it with praise, a treat or toy whatever motivates your dog. If you punish them for coming back,  it may backfire on you the next time. Your dog may associate coming to you as being a bad thing.  I know at times, you feel angry that they disobeyed you, but really, do not ever punish a dog for coming back to you. They were simply immersed in their canine world of a gazillion smells and interesting things. Not so different than when you are engrossed in something on facebook or the internet and don’t hear someone calling you.