Is Your Dog Ignoring You?

Is Your Dog Ignoring You?

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You may get the feeling that your dog is sometimes ignoring you or not listening to the full extent, like when she gets suddenly interested in sniffing that corner of grass at the far end of the yard when you ask her to do something.

Believe it or not, this is a common dog training problem and can be easily solved.  Most dogs have the ability to be good listeners, but they just need a little guidance along the way.

“Dogs may not pay attention to their owners for several reasons, some as simple as something more exciting going on, others as intricate as stress,” says Nicole Larocco, CPDT & Owner/ President of Philly Unleashed, a dog training service.

For instance, a trip to the park can turn into a distracting situation because of all the surrounding exciting activity that may catch your dog’s attention. Between the other dogs, the squirrels to chase, and the smell of grass, you have a lot of competition.

Does this mean you have a bad dog? Larocco says, “Probably not. Maybe he just needs a bit more training in distracting situations.”

Body Language Can be Lost in Translation

If you don’t speak “canine,” your dog may ignore you. Dogs focus on body language and they communicate through posture, movement, and eye contact. Maybe your body language is confusing, which leaves your canine even more puzzled.

For instance, approaching a dog directly may seem friendly to you, but it can be seen as a challenge by some dogs.

This makes it important to study the way your dog reacts to different people and types of body language, and to supplement your commands with hand signals.

Timing is Everything

Timing may also play a role in your dog’s listening behaviour. If your canine does something worth praise, you only have a limited amount of time for your dog to understand why the behaviour is worthy of the reward.

For your dog to link the reward to the action, you have about 2 to 3 seconds. After that time the reward completely loses its intended meaning.

Training Helps!

Larocco says, “If you feel your dog is ignoring you simply because he is distracted in a new situation, the best thing to do is get into a training class.”

Dog trainers know how to interpret relationships between dogs and owners and can help you work in a positive way to improve communication and listening behaviour.

Dogs want to be your best friend and loyal companion, but they need to be given the tools to do so. Remember that most likely your dog isn’t ignoring you, but simply doesn’t understand you. Communication is the key in an owner and dog relationship.

Courtney Temple is a pet writer with a focus on lifestyle and health. Her work has appeared on Pet360 and petMD.

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