Why Won't My Dog Listen?

Updated: Feb 12

Why Won’t My Dog Listen?

We hear this from nearly everyone that has a dog and comes into our DFW Dog Training Facility. It is one of the top 5 reasons pet owners seek out a dog trainer. You want help getting your dog to listen.


At K9 Culture Dog Training, teaching a dog the SKILL of being able to listen and respond is the basis for all of our training. You could even say our training STARTS with this skill.



Why is listening so important? If a dog is not listening to you, giving them a verbal que or command is most often a waste of time for they do not have the ability to reliably obey or act on the command yet.


If your dog was a toddler and they were intently focused on a game on their device they are holding and you ask them to pick up their toys but your child doesn’t acknowledge they heard you; it would be unfair to expect that when you come back in the room it will be all picked up.


Dogs and toddlers are remarkably similar. They both have short attention spans and are both easily distracted.


What we must teach a dog is How To Listen. At K-9 Culture, we use classical conditioning to build this skill. All dogs, and virtually any emotional creature, from dolphins to humans, learn through conditioned responses. It is sometimes referred to as Pavlonian Conditioning after the scientist Ivan Pavlov that discovered the principle.


If you are unfamiliar with the concept, Pavlov had a group of dogs in his lab. He used a bell that would sound and upon the ringing of the bell automatic feeders would feed the dogs. Over a period of time and numerous repetitions, the dogs began to associate the sound of the bell as food and would begin to drool at the sound. They would literally have a Physical Response to what was previously a neutral stimulus. He then stopped feeding them at the sound of the bell and noticed they would still drool when they heard the bell. This is classical conditioning in its simplest definition. The ability to condition a physical response that the dog (or human) will do without any conscious thought. It is basically an instant reaction.


By teaching dogs to have a conditioned response to the sound of your voice or command, it gives your dog the physical ability to react or hear you even in highly distracting environments, this is why it is so important.


A dog that can do a series of commands in your living room is fine, but can your dog listen and act in a consistent and dependable manner in the real world where there are occasionally intense distractions? That is the level of communication we help our clients establish with their dogs for a dog that can hear or listen, is a dog that can obey.


By giving your dog the skill of being able to listen, we set them up to be successful before ever asking them to obey a command or que.


If you would like to learn how to teach your dog this valuable life skill, give K-9 Culture, Dallas’ largest and most advanced dog training facility a call and learn more about our communication-based dog training system.

The K-9 Culture Family

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