It’s a pet owner’s dream to have a dog that obeys every single command and doesn’t bark back.
And as you stare enviously at the friendly pooch playing a part on a TV show or notice just how well some canines perform in a competition, you might be feeling frustrated, wondering if your pup is broken because they can’t follow a simple “sit” or “stay” command!
The good news…it IS possible to improve your dog’s obedience so they listen to you…just like the dogs on TV!
As a dog owner, you want to be able to trust your dog and know that he or she will listen to your commands and always be on his or her best behavior.
Trust me when I say this: an obedient dog is possible for anyone (regardless of whether your dog jumps, pulls on the leash, obsessively barks, etc.).
So what are you missing then?
It all comes down to a lack of focus on your relationship with your four-legged friend.
What do I mean by that, and what do you need to do to get your dog to obey you when it matters most?
Let’s take a deeper dive into it all…
Unlock the Secret to Dog Obedience by Building Your Relationship
A solid relationship starts with you earning the trust of your dog. It’s vital that they look to YOU for direction…not the other way around!
In fact, many dog behavior issues that I see begin because the dog believes he or she is the pack leader and that it’s his or her job to take control or protect you. This is where the trouble begins as they believe it’s their job to call the shots.
Of course you don’t want your dog thinking they are the “leader” because then they’ll start making decisions…however the last thing you want is to FORCE your dog to listen to you physically or by causing them any discomfort.
Even more important to understand is that our dogs really don’t want to be the leaders in our human world as they don’t really understand how to navigate it, and it can actually be quite stressful for them. What they really want is for us humans to step up and be their kind and gentle leaders.
Sadly, I’ve seen countless dog owners resort to using forceful or unkind training devices like shock collars or choke chains, which ultimately unravel their relationships with their dogs.
Choosing to use a dog training method centered around fear will not set you up for long-term success.
You can’t force a dog into obedience.
Then how do you get a dog to obey your commands?
It all begins with building a healthy relationship with your dog, where he respects and listens to you because he inherently understands that you are the “leader” of the pack. This will help foster a lifetime of dog obedience.
Think about it this way…
Children might obey their parents because children know they will end up with a smacked bottom if they don’t follow the rules. However, once the parent leaves the house and a grandparent or sitter is in charge, the child’s behavior shifts because the “threat” is no longer present. There isn’t a healthy relationship foundation set where the child respects the rules because they look up to their parents they obey only because they don’t want to endure the punishment. If the child truly looks up to his or her parents and respects them, the child will follow the rules regardless of whether or not the parents are there.
That’s how you need to think about your relationship with your pup. If you are experiencing obedience issues, it’s likely because you haven’t earned your pup’s respect in a kind and gentle manner.
Why is My Dog Not Listening: The Importance of Understanding Your Dog’s Behavior
If you find that your dog is…
- Challenging you
- Ignoring your commands
- Possessive/protective over you or your property
… it’s most likely because she thinks that she is the one in charge! With this mind-set, dogs believe they can do whatever they want because they are the bosses.
How do you correct this mind-set?
You have to tap into the psychology of a dog and implement positive reinforcement training methods to earn your dog’s loyalty and respect.
Important to note: I’m not talking about the “positive reinforcement training method” here. That’s an entirely different method of training altogether that began in the 1940s after a group of dog trainers decided they didn’t care for forceful training methods.
I’m totally on board with the idea that we must use kind and gentle methods to train our dogs. However, positive reinforcement training relies heavily on reward-based training techniques.
Example: A dog sits on command and they get a cookie.
While food can be a very powerful training tool, it’s not effective in treating the underlying cause of many dog behavioral issues.
Positive reinforcement alone with treats is not enough…what this method is lacking is learning how to establish a connection with your dog – a.k.a. winning your dog’s mind so they will listen to you when it matters most!
I’ve helped thousands of dog owners do this with my Dog Calming Code program. This program focuses on building your relationship with your dog in a kind and gentle way, which sets the groundwork for every piece of training that follows.
It’s all about understanding dog behavior and what is going on inside your dog’s mind. Once you understand the way your dog thinks and why they behave the way they do, you can stop correcting and start connecting!
From this point forward, your dog will not take on the responsibility of the leader of your house, but will calmly become just another member of your family. Because you’ve taken away your dog’s responsibilities as “leader” they can finally just become a happy, relaxed member of your family.
How Winning Your Dog’s Mind Sets the Foundation for an Obedient Dog
I talk often about using kind and gentle tactics when training your dog. That’s because using a fear-based system to train your dog can actually make your dog’s behavior worse.
You may be thinking, “What’s so bad about a chain collar? I see people using them all the time to make their dog listen.”
By using forcible dog training methods to make your dog obey your commands, you run the risk of:
- Spurring aggressive tendencies in a dog who already displays fear toward you or other people
- Causing your dog to become anxious, which leads to a variety of other behavior issues (chewing, barking, pacing, etc.)
- Never being able to train your dog to listen to you when it matters most because your pup doesn’t respect you.
I ALWAYS encourage kind and gentle training methods that focus on building a strong connection between you and your dog so you can live a life full of love and obedience. It’s all about winning your dog’s mind so they CHOOSE to listen to you.
If you want an obedient dog who listens to you because they trust you and look up to you, I encourage you to take a look at my Dog Calming Code program. This program provides all the tools you need to navigate dog ownership and obedience successfully via positive and kind training tactics.
Best of luck,
The post Stop Disciplining and Start Connecting: How to Improve Dog Obedience appeared first on The Online Dog Trainer.