Dogs, for the most part, are happy-go-lucky. They are always ready to play and get their feelings hurt very easily when there is a negative confrontation. You have the capability of humiliating or embarrassing your dog just by your actions. You do not want to do that. Believe me when I tell you, your dog is very sensitive to how you treat him. He wants your approval more than anything else.
If he is used to you reprimanding or punishing him when you call him, why shouldn’t he ignore you. He may be thinking you will just go away if he pretends not to hear you.
2. Getting Your Dog’s Attention
For many dogs, hearing their name will be enough to get their attention. If your dog looks at your face after you give the command, you can praise him or click, and give him a treat.
Some dogs may not respond immediately to hearing their name paired with the “look” command. In this case, after you give the command, wave a treat in front of your dog’s nose, and then pull the treat up to your face. Your dog will follow the treat, and end up looking at your face. Praise him or click, and give him a treat immediately.
Within a few short training sessions, you will have no problem getting your dog to focus his attention on you. Continue practicing with your dog, and gradually move up to working in more distracting surroundings. Soon you will be able to get your dog’s attention in any situation.
You want your dog to respect you for being fair and kind. Their feelings are not much different from our own. There is a difference between a command and a threat. “Come Shadow, good boy”, this is good. “Shadow, if you don’t get over here, you are going to get it”, not good. Dogs respond to the tone of your voice. Do not confuse him by giving a command in an angry voice. You can be sure he will be ignoring you in no time.
Your dog does not purposely disobey you. There is a better chance that he just does not understand what you want him to do. You need to give him a clear command so he does understand.
There are a few things you can do to get your dog to acknowledge you…
1. Does your dog know his name?
Make sure you use his name a lot during training sessions while showing affection at the same time. If he does not know his name, that is your first problem. The idea is that you want him to pay attention to you when you speak to him or give him a command. He will begin to recognize his name and associate it with something pleasant.
2. Does your dog know you are talking to him? I know that sounds silly, but depending on your tone of voice, he may not be intentionally ignoring you at all. He may think you are talking to someone else.
3. Does your dog like to wander around and investigate the premises? When your pet does this, he is just in his own little world. It is as if we, as people, have something on our mind. We will just tune out our surroundings. So if we do it, why can’t they? Get his attention by petting him and saying his name. Once you have gotten his attention, then give him a command.
4. Do not be afraid to make eye contact with your dog. It is hard for him to ignore you if you are looking him right in the eyes. This also helps to establish you as the alpha of his pack.
5. Once your dog realizes that what you want him to do is not going to be unpleasant, he will begin to acknowledge you. Always keep in mind that your tone of voice can put a different feel to any command. Always keep your voice pleasant, but not passive.
6. Do not try to get his attention if you are going to do something unpleasant. If you are going to bathe him or clip his nails, for instance, you need to go get him. This will help to keep real commands positive so he will listen to you.
7. Your body language is very important when training your dog to listen to you. Just like people, dogs will associate your body language with your mood. If, for instance, your arms are crossed and you are standing tall, your dog could associate this with you being angry. Stay relaxed and your dog will be relaxed and respond better.
8. If you are training your dog to come to you with treats, let him come all the way to you. Do not reach out and offer him the treat. Hold the treat next to your leg and make him come all the way to you.
9. You need to establish yourself as the alpha dog, but not by seeming threatening to your dog. Always speak to your dog in a pleasant voice. Once your dog understands what you want, he is less likely to ignore you.
By the way, did you notice how in order to teach your dog to pay attention to you, you have to pay attention to your dog? Yes, that’s the secret decoder ring of dog training, right there.