Does Your Dog Tune You Out?

Many owners will answer a big fat yes to that question. I hear all sorts of comments on how the dog is stubborn, won’t listen, has a mind of it’s own and so forth. However in actuality, many owners have taught their dog’s not to listen, or at least are giving their dogs the choice to listen to them. Stop and take a test to see if your dog is listening to you, and if you are in control or giving the dog a choice to listen.

Have someone observe you, and ask your dog to sit. Don’t set up some fancy testing site, just out of the blue when your dog is doing nothing just go up and ask your dog to sit. Make sure that you have someone watching you, and have them count how many times you say the word sit, and if you offer any body signal for your dog to do so. Don’t think about it, just do it as you normally do. We want to find out how your dog percieves you when you ask them to do something.

The majority of people will say “sit” three times before the dog will do so. The second in line is the group that will say the word “sit” twice and offer a hand signal. Going to extremes, I have had clients actually ask their dog up to seventeen times (yes seventeen!) to sit in a 45 second time frame! No wonder the dog won’t sit on command, that owner actually trained the dog that they must say the word, over and over, before the dog must listen! Can you imagine someone asking you to do something seventeen times in a 45 second time frame? You would probably just tell the person to “be quiet already, I heard you!”. This is why your dog tunes you out!

Say the command one time, that is it, that is really all it takes, if you have taught your dog to follow your obedience commands. Put in your mind now that you will only say the command once. If the dog does not comply, you will learn to help the dog understand what you expect. Do not let the dog get up and walk away, or you have taught your dog that they have a “choice” whether to listen to you or not. Make sure that you are giving clear commands. People will often say “sit down” to their dog. Now you actually have given your dog two commands, sit and down, which one did you want? Going back to the saying we all have heard “Keep it Simple Stupid!” Your dog is so smart, you do not have to keep reminding them to do something for you. Think about it, this species that evolved from wild wolves, they have taken us humans and made it so we feed them, we clean up their poop, and we even let them sleep in our beds! What other wild species has ever done that? Absolutely none!

So stop and think before you give your dog a choice to follow the command you ask. What are you actually teaching your dog?

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