Why aren't you Listening?
We’ve all been there. Your beloved dog is off like a shot in the direction OPPOSITE of where we need them to go. The yelling for them to come back is in vain and you’re realizing that this time you’re going to have to run to try to catch up before something terrible happens. While you’re hoping that catching them goes well, being on the losing side of a keep away game is also a feeling that many of us are familiar with as well.
I see these types of things happen to even the most well-meaning owners. It’s not always the dog failing to recall, sometimes it’s counter surfing, getting into trash, stealing food, barking, nipping, the list goes on. And in all of these situations there is one common theme. The dog just isn’t listening to the owner’s cues.
It doesn’t have to be this way!
Anyone can have a well behaved dog. The first step is understanding why your dog isn’t doing what you ask. Don’t worry, it’s not complicated at all and it boils down to exactly 3 reasons.
Your dog has a physical limitation and is unable to do the thing you’re asking.
This is something we see with dogs who are elderly, who have injuries, or who are in pain. If you notice that your dog has suddenly stopped doing something that they used to do, or is clearly uncomfortable with doing the thing, there could be a medical cause. After all, no one wants to do something that will cause them discomfort, human or dog!
Additionally it could be something the dog is physically unable to do, like jumping over something very tall. Ask me to jump over a house and I’d have to refuse too!
Your dog is confused about what is being asked of him or doesn’t know what you want.
Our dogs truly are a gift and they do try their hardest when it comes down to doing the things we ask. But sometimes we’re not as clear as we think we are, and when we’re talking about communicating to a completely different species the water gets even more muddy. There is also a very prevalent misconception that because our dogs know how to do something in our homes they fully understand it. Which absolutely isn’t the case. Ultimately this leads to confusion and frustration for both the owner and the dog and that’s not fair for either party.
Your dog doesn’t think doing what you’re asking is valuable.
This reason is key and ultimately creates the largest rift of misunderstanding between dogs and their humans. Our dogs have their own agenda at times, and when we haven’t taken the time to build value in the dog responding to us, this is the major issue that occurs.
Dogs like this get labeled as stubborn, willful, stupid, untrainable, etc, but the truth of the matter is that it’s a simple misunderstanding between species and a mismatch in the moment. Eventually over time this can become habit, and the dog learns to ignore you. Which isn’t the result that we want.
These are the ONLY 3 reasons that your dog isn’t listening to your cues or instructions. The good news is that once you understand these reasons you the path to training your dog is much clearer. And clear training is a much kinder process for both the human and the dog! Your history with your dog matters!