6 Reasons Your Dog Might Be Ignoring You
Attention is a key component of your relationship and your communication with your dog. When our dog does not pay attention to us, it can be extremely frustrating. Here are 6 reasons why your dog might be ignoring you:
- Your Dog’s Attention Hasn’t be Acknowledged and Reinforced: Dogs do what works and what is rewarding. If we don’t acknowledge our dog’s attention and do not reinforce it, they will stop doing it. It’s imperative that we teach our dogs that paying attention to us pays off, especially when there are distractions.
- Tone or Punishment: Using harsh tones or punishment can cause a lot of stress and anxiety in dogs and even make them shut down. Dogs that are scolded, physically forced to sit, down, look at their owner, etc or physically punished will often avoid eye contact and display displacement behaviors, such as avoidance, to try and defuse the conflict. Verbal and physical punishment are not necessary when training a dog and can be very damaging to the human dog bond. Your relationship with your dog should be based on fairness and trust, not fear.
- You Talk too Much or Over Use Their Name: Dog’s don’t know English, so they are constantly trying to decipher what words are meant for them and which to ignore. When we are constantly talking at our dogs or over using their name, eventually they will become numb to our voice and tune us out. Make sure when you are verbally interacting with your dog, it’s meaningful and appropriate. Keep excessive, meaningless “jabber” to a minimum. Your communication should be concise, consistent, and easily understood by your dog, consisting primarily of cues they know and praise for appropriate behavior. This makes it easy for your dog to understand that you are talking to them and what you want them to do. Give your dog time to process what you are asking them to do, before asking again.
- Not Enough Physical and Mental Stimulation: If your dog is full of energy and not given enough physical and mental stimulation, he will have a very difficult time staying focused and responding to cues. Meeting your dog’s exercise needs is a must for successful training and having a well behaved dog that listens to you.
- Too Many Distractions: Dogs don’t generalize very well and need a lot of practice and repetitions in many locations, before they can focus and follow a cue with distractions. If you have only worked on attention and other cues at home, most likely your dog will have a very difficult time with attention and following cues at the park on a busy day. If your dog is having a difficult time focusing, move further away from the distractions and start practicing attention and other cues in areas where your dog can focus