Listening is a Skill Learned by Dogs Over Time

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March 5, 2018

DSC07120Pet owners are passionate about their dogs. They’re incredibly smart animals with a lot to give. Following commands is one of the most important skills an owner can teach their dog. Canines have the mental capacity to follow almost any direction, but the teaching must be specialized to their needs.

As pet owners try out commands and training, they often become frustrated with Fido. He isn’t listening! However, pet owners must realize that they must speak in a different language than just verbal commands. Dive deeper into the canine world so that owners can understand why their dogs don’t listen to them. A few changes may be all that are necessary.

Think Breed First

When pet owners live in Golden, Colorado, they have busy residential lives. They don’t necessarily think about their dog’s breeds and instinctual habits. The pets are simply the family dogs.

However, it’s important for owners to learn about the dog’s breed. Fido may not listen to those commands because it comes from a hunting or herding group. Every dog has been bred in the past for a specific purpose. These origins may not complement certain commands, such as staying or heeling. Once owners learn about the dog’s natural habits, training the pooch should be easier.

Remember Language Barriers

Walk through any kennel in Lakewood, Colorado, and pet owners hear a chorus of barks and whines. This animal language isn’t a barrier with humans, however. Any verbal communication is the barrier between man and dog.

Dogs respond better to body language. Giving commands while a person is standing with their feet hip-width apart is much different than sitting down with the same verbal cues. Any dog will respond differently in those unique situations. If pet owners take their pooch to a dog boarding facility, every employee will take the same stance during commands. Canines remember these body movements and respond in kind.

Take Emotions Into Consideration

A thunderstorm occurs as a pet owner takes a pooch to dog training. The dog’s emotions may be in turmoil, which causes a breakdown in communication. Pet owners must be aware of the canine’s emotions at that moment. Hunger, fright or outright territorial emotions will make any commands a whisper in the wind.

Lakewood pet owners must wait until the dog is in a calmer state. A relaxed demeanor equates to better listening and improved reactions to commands.

Understand Distractions

There are a few traits that both humans and dogs share. Distractions in the environment are distracting! A person cannot write a complex essay with loud music or construction work going on in the background. This same concept applies to dogs.

Dogs won’t listen to their owners if too many distractions are involved. A car passing by, a cat scampering away or dogs barking at a kennel creates too much chaos. The dog will pay attention to the distractions. Remove those distractions to make any progress with the pet.

Become the Leader

Golden pet owners must remember that dogs are accustomed to packs in nature. There’s a leader who commands the group. In a household setting, the pet owner should be the leader. He or she must act like it, however.

Stand tall, and use a firm voice. There’s no need to yell or to exhibit aggression. A firm tone used with each command tells the dog that the cue is directed at it. By being the leader, the commands will be completed in most cases.

Remain Consistent

Being consistent with the commands is crucial. Dogs cannot follow confusing wording or actions. Pet owners end up being ignored in these cases. During a stay at dog daycare, the pet may listen to the handlers because of their consistency. Learn from these professionals so that there’s no confusion for the pooch. Use the same words, tone and reward strategy as the command becomes solidified in the pet’s mind.

Repeat the Training

Repetition is the only way that a dog will listen to its owner and respond as directed. Be aware that training any dog can take hundreds or thousands of repetitions. In fact, the repetition must continue throughout the pet’s life so that the command is consistently used and completed.

If the pooch attends a dog daycare, it’s important to stay consistent there too. Training can occur when the pet owner is at work or on vacation. The pet continues to solidify the information in its mind between daycare and home.

Choose Quiet and Familiar Locations

Dogs respond well in familiar environments. There are no surprises around them, which would otherwise lead to distractions. A quiet location encourages the dog to pay exclusive attention to the owner. If any commands are troublesome for the pooch, these quiet and familiar spaces might improve their responses. Homes with televisions and family members loudly conversing creates too much chaos for the canine’s mind.

Extend Positive Reinforcement

The dog anticipates a reward after a successful, command completion. Don’t forget this step because it gives the dog a reason to listen to the owner. Always choose positive reinforcement with a treat, toy or affectionate rubdown. Negative reinforcement only communicates that the behavior should never be tried again. Continue to practice the commands with positive reinforcement until the dog understands them completely.

Dog training can be difficult at first, but it’s worth it as owners realize the extent of their pets’ intelligence. Owners might work with a dog boarding facility as a way to shore up the skills with professional help. In reality, most dogs simply want to appease their owners with praise and treats waiting in the wings. Get down to the dog’s level in order to communicate with ease. Those commands will suddenly make sense.