How To Get Your Dog To Listen To You

Golden Labrador being trained by owner. Handshake.
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As a responsible dog owner, ensuring that your furry companion listens to your commands is paramount for a harmonious coexistence. It goes beyond mere parlor tricks; a well-behaved dog can make your life significantly easier, from social gatherings to daily chores. The inability to control your dog’s actions not only disrupts your routine but can also pose potential risks to your pet’s safety. This article aims to provide you with a comprehensive guide on overcoming the common query: “Why doesn’t my dog listen to me?”

Understanding Canine Communication:

Dogs don’t comprehend language as humans do. The disconnect often arises when owners expect their furry friends to understand verbal commands without considering the importance of body language. Dogs primarily communicate through gestures, making it essential to align your commands with corresponding actions. For instance, combining the “sit” command with the appropriate hand gesture enhances the likelihood of success. Remember, your dog associates sounds with actions, not specific words.

Say the Command Clearly:

Corgi being trained with treats and physical commands
Image Credit: Deposit Photos.

Avoid confusion by articulating commands clearly, especially in noisy environments. Dogs struggle with multitasking, so ensure your instructions are delivered distinctly, without interference from background noise or other sentences.

Establish a Connection Through Name Recognition:

Teaching your dog to respond to its name lays the foundation for effective communication. Reinforce positive associations by rewarding your dog when it looks at you upon hearing its name. However, refrain from using the dog’s name in negative contexts to prevent associating it with fear or punishment.

The “Look at Me” Command:

dog looking up to owner waiting to go walk. On leash. Dog Training
Image Credit: Deposit Photos.

Enhance your dog’s attentiveness by teaching the “Look at Me” command. Utilize treats to guide your dog’s focus to your eyes, gradually introducing the verbal command. Consistency is key, and remember to use a single, unchanging phrase for this command.

Eliminate Distractions:

Training sessions should be conducted in quiet environments initially, devoid of potential distractions. Remove toys and limit external stimuli to create an optimal learning atmosphere. Once basic commands are mastered, gradually introduce controlled distractions to test your dog’s obedience.

Prioritize Physical Exercise:

A mixed Labrador female dog looking up and running after the chew toy her trainer is holding.
Image Credit: Deposit Photos.

An energetic dog can struggle to focus during training. Ensure your dog engages in physical activities before sessions to alleviate excess energy, promoting a more receptive state of mind.

Positive Reinforcement, Not Fear:

Avoid using fear as a training tool. Dogs respond better to positive reinforcement, such as treats, praise, or petting, rather than punishment. Fear-based training can lead to adverse behavioral consequences and damage the bond between you and your pet.

Keep Training Sessions Interesting:

Combat boredom by keeping training sessions short, around 15 minutes, and introducing variety. Incorporate play at the end of sessions to associate training with enjoyment, fostering a positive attitude toward future sessions.

Address Essential Needs:

Ensure your dog is not hungry, thirsty, or in need of a bathroom break during training sessions. A comfortable and content state ensures optimal focus and receptivity.

Consider Breed and Emotional State:

Recognize breed-specific traits and account for your dog’s emotional state. Some breeds may be more stubborn, requiring additional patience. Additionally, emotional states, such as fear or aggression, can hinder obedience. Understanding these factors allows you to tailor your training approach accordingly.

 Effective communication with your dog involves more than just spoken words. By incorporating these tips into your training routine, you’ll foster a stronger connection with your furry friend, leading to a more responsive and well-behaved companion.

Corey Turner
Corey Turner, owner of, draws on a lifelong love for dogs and extensive pet ownership to offer a unique perspective in the pet industry. With a successful background in project management, he excels in critical analysis, precise attention to detail, and quality assurance. This expertise allows him to effectively differentiate true value from marketing hype in the pet sector. Corey’s contributions have been featured in various publications including Rockery Press Guide Books and During his free time, he enjoys disc golfing, rock climbing, and bonding with his cherished FurBall friend, Harvey.