When dogs don’t listen to our commands, it can put them in harm’s way. Here are a few tips to help Fido follow your cues.
It isn’t only annoying when your dog doesn’t listen to you—it can be dangerous in some cases, such as if he runs into a busy street. To help keep your companion out of harm’s way, it is important to train him to listen to your commands. Here are a few tips that can help:
Speak his language. Dogs are great communicators, but our four-legged friends rely heavily on body language. Follow suit and use visual commands to help your canine companion to understand what you are asking him to do. You can do this by using a hand motion or body gesture that accompanies a verbal command during training. If your dog has already mastered a command and is not listening to you, check your own body language to be sure you are not doing something differently, such as sitting or holding an object, that may be obscuring the command.
Be consistent. If you are trying to train your dog to wait at a door and enter behind you, it is important that all members of your family practice this policy. Without consistency, your pet will be confused about what you are asking him to do. Likewise, be sure all family members use the same verbal and visual cues to signal the same commands.
Expel excess energy. Training a dog to follow new commands is challenging under any circumstances, but can be especially frustrating when your pet has a wealth of pent-up energy. Take him for a walk or play a game before practicing a new command. Pets with excessive energy are more easily distracted from performing commands they already know, too, so be sure to build daily time for movement into you and your dog’s routine.
Read the room. Excess energy is not the only problem that can prevent your pet from learning and following commands. Pets will often ignore our cues if they are scared, anxious or otherwise upset. Be sure to practice new tricks in a quiet setting help reduce frustration and allow your dog to focus on the task at hand. Once he has mastered a trick in a controlled setting, he is more likely to follow your command even in a disordered scene, helping prevent him from engaging in a fight with another dog, running into oncoming traffic, or otherwise acting in a way that puts him or others at risk.