Dog Not Listening?
Ok, let's chat about dogs being naughty!
This is that moment in time, when you have done your homework and your dog KNOWS what he or she is supposed to do and they just look at you with loving and adoring eyes.
That “sit” that you asked for, nowhere to be seen. So, what do you do? Hang tight on that thought…..
When you ask your dog to do something and he does not do it, consider the following:
1. Does he REALLY understand what you are asking? Often times our dogs will offer what they think we want from them or what has been rewarded in the past. Think about when you ask for a “sit” and your dog gives you a “down”. Many times this is rewarded, even though it is not what you asked for because it sure is better than your dog jumping on the person next to you.
2. Maybe he is distracted? What is happening in the environment when you asked your dog to “sit”? Was there a dog walking by? Food is being made in the kitchen? Heck, it is not uncommon that dogs come to our group classes and the owner shares all the wonderful skills that their dog has. Only to be embarrassed (which they should not be) that their dog does not comply. This is generally due to the environment. What your dog knows and understands when in your home or yard can be a completely different ball game when they are out and about.
3. Has he had enough practice? You taught the skill, and your dog seemed to understand at the time, but have you rewarded the skill? A good rule to follow, when teaching a new skill set is to reward your dog EVERY TIME, with a cookie, (no this is not a bribe, this is a paycheck) for the first 6 weeks of training. Then you can change up your rewards to a variable schedule (which is a fancy way of saying, pay randomly). If the skill starts to fall apart, then start rewarding it more often than not. Just like we expect a paycheck at the end of the week, the same goes for our dogs too!
So, back to the original question…what do you do?
In times like this, I like to pause and think about the three possible causes above. I can pretty much pinpoint the problems when I take a step back and look at it from my dog's point of view.
Maybe that means I need to do additional short (1-2 minute) training sessions with my dog to help them with distractions.
Maybe doing those same short 1-2 minute sessions, 10 times per day will help with giving my dog enough practice, so he truly understands what I am asking of him.
Maybe that means taking my training out of the road. Take my treats for my morning walk and randomly ask for skills my dog has been taught. This helps with distraction and location training, upping your dog’s success.
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