The Number One Reason Your Dog Won’t Obey Your Commands

Posted: June 30, 2014 in Dog Behavior, Dog Training Methods and Ideas, Guard Dog Training, My Phiosophy On Dog Training, Protection Training, Puppy Training
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Regardless of what kind of behavior problem you are having with your dog, be it jumping up,barking,
pulling on the leash, or being aggressive toward people or other dogs/animals, it has nothing to do
with them being “bad” or “disobedient.” Today you will learn the number one reason your dog won’t obey your commands.

I used quotation marks around the words bad, and disobedient, because when clients tell me that they
need my help because their dog won’t come when called, I always ask them what they have been doing to
get them to come when called and they usually answer I yell come. It’s like they expect the dog to come
just because they told it to, and when the dog blows them off and chases the ninja squirrel across the
road, they get angry and call me to tell me their dog is “bad” and “disobedient.”

There are three main reasons why your dog might seem like he is being “bad” or “disobedient.”

But for today I am going to concentrate on only one. I’ll get to the other two in later posts.

“When You Compete With The Ninja Squirrel Your Dog-Fu Better Be Strong Grasshopper.”

The first thing I do is to explain to my clients that in fact their dog is not being bad or disobedient
when he won’t come to them. It’s because he hasn’t been taught to keep his focus on them. He might have
been forced to come, or to sit, and he might do it occasionally because he has heard the words so many
times and been forced into a sit position, but the owner did not take the time to teach the dog what
come really means, or what sit really means. A dog can’t learn from us just by talking to them. Telling
them to come,or forcing them to sit, won’t teach them anything..the owners are just talking to their dogs and dogs
don’t understand what they are saying.

If your dog don’t see you as the most interesting person in the world who makes everything fun and
rewarding for them, then when he sees that ninja squirrel, he’s going to leave you in a cloud of dust
wondering what just happened.

Likewise if you have a dog that shows aggression toward the mailman and he is not focused on you and sees the mailman, then your dog could get into trouble and so could you.

Teaching your dog to focus,..or to watch you, starts in the house under no distractions.

Your goal should be to have your dog move when you move and to pay attention to you at all times. Be aware of how far away your dog is and work to keep him looking at you and close by. My bubble is 4 feet, if my dog is more than four feet away from me that’s too far, and I call him inside the 4 foot radius around me.

You begin by saying his name, and when he looks at you, give him a tasty treat, do this for a couple of
days and then start moving around the house and this time,every 10 feet or so, say your dogs
name,”Rover” and when he looks at you say,”Come,” and when he gets to you give him a treat and praise
him “Good Dog.” Do this for a couple of days and then add a hand gesture to the mix, ie, Rover,come, and wave him to come closer with your hand, like you were beckoning a friend to come here.

Within a few days you should be able to get your dog to come 100% of the
time with just the hand gesture, no words at all. Then it’s time to move on to the sit command.

You would follow the same pattern as teaching him to come. Hand gestures are used for every command because you want to be able to command your dog even if there is too much noise for him to hear you well.

Once you have taught your dog to come,sit,down and stay reliably inside then you move outside in the
yard on leash and provide some distraction, like someone throwing a ball around near where you are
working with your dog. Then teach him these same commands under this low-level pressure. Keeping him
focused on you will be a little more difficult so I would suggest you use high value food rewards like
cooked chicken,ham,cheese, or last nights left over steak.

Regular old kibble is not going to make him think of you as more enticing than that ball that’s rolling
around or the butterfly that’s calling his name to give chase, and he will lose focus on you and go for the ball, or the butterfly, probably both.

If he does this and you can’t get him focused, go back inside and work some more distraction free
exercises, or step up your food rewards to something that holds his interest perhaps a favorite toy.

This link will take you to the video I made showing how I work with my dogs.

Training Video

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All the best,


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