Dog Training

Is Your Dog Not Listening? This 5 Step Guide Will Help!

Relationships between dogs and humans have a lot to do with trust and loyalty. From time to time, however, there will be situations in which your dog just won't listen. This guide will help you work through those moments!

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Table of contents


Disobedience can be a big problem for many dog owners, quickly causing stress for you and your pelt-nose.

This article is here to help. We will talk about the problems of disobedience and show different solutions. There is also a simple 5-step guide you can implement right away.🙂 .

Situations to Watch Out For

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1. You’ve Used the Same Command Several Times.

You've probably found yourself using the same command several times from time to time.

This behavior is not beneficial. Rather, it reinforces disobedience in your protégé.

When you repeat a command, your four-legged friend begins to learn that you will do it again and again.

➡ This means he will not consciously listen to the command, because he assumes it will be repeated - a vicious circle. 

The result is awkward moments in which you desperately repeat yourself trying to get your furry friend to obey.

2. Dominance Plays a Big Role

Dogs often want to be dominated. Being dominated means your four-legged friend knows you are the boss in the relationship. This can sound very brash, because dominance is usually misperceived, but that is not always the case.

Dominance does not mean exercising arbitrary or even aggressive power over others. Dominating should always be accompanied by a lot of love and empathy.

When your dog is dominated in a consistent and loving relationship, it sets clear boundaries for the good of all involved. 

3. Unclear Commands

Dogs follow orders – but only when the Commands re clear. Your pelt-nose not only perceives the command itself, but also looks at your posture, gestures and volume gets the spotlight. 

That’s why, even if you kindly deliver the commands, they will be useless if you display negative posture. 

If you call out "Heel"in a friendly voice, but you pull the leash aggressively at the same time, your dog will be confused. 

The nature of the command must be consistent with your posture, facial expressions, and gestures.

4. Commands at the Wrong Moment

You should always wait for the right moment to communicate a command. For example a bad time to give a command is when your dog is doing his business. 

Sensitivity is important here. 

5. False Links Regarding the Reward.

You should always reward your protégé when he has done something right. But remember – never wait too long to deliver the reward. 

This is because your dog will associate the reward with the situation in which he receives it.

Do you need a little longer to get the reward out of your pocket? Even by then the ideal moment may already be over. Always be prepared with the reward before you deliver the command.

Reasons for Disobedience

Before we move on to the main part of the article, let's look more closely at the potential cause of your dog’s disobedience – because there are exceptionsExceptions will show your dog is not truly disobedient, he’s just struggling to interpret your cues or dealing with other issues that prevent him from obeying. 

" Teething and puberty are some of the most common exceptions. These are phases that will usually disappear on their own.


Dog with shoe

If your dog is getting new teeth, this will be a difficult phase

Many dog owners confuse this phase with disobedience. For this reason, you should closely monitor your puppy. 

If teething is imminent and your pup is showing "rebellious" behavior, this usually has nothing to do with disobedience. 

Many dogs are restless and/or nibble on household objects when teething. Your natural reaction might be to admonish your dog. This will probably not bring the results you want, though. 

Nibbling on things is your dog's way of relieving pressure on his teeth. So, for the sake of your puppy, shop at some pet stores and get him a chew toy to help him feel comfortable. 


What if everything was going well and then your dog suddenly stopped listening to you. In this case, he might be growing up and experiencing puppy puberty

Remember, though, puberty is only a phase.

Disobedience and rebelliousness during this period should not be judged too harshly. 

Here's what's important to know. Don't give your dog too many commands during this time. Your dog will not be able to accept every command you give. 

Again, keep in mind that this is only a phase that will soon pass.

Just limit the number of different commands you give your dog. Use only the most important commands and try not to get too frustrated. 

5 Practice Tips

In this section, we will look at some specific situations in more detail.

Situation # 1: Your Dog isn’t Listening to You

In this situation, we will assume your dog is already adult . For example, an abandoned adult dog from a shelter.

Notice: Parenting with adult dogs can be more difficult than with puppies that have grown up with you. 

Most often, the background of adopted adult animals is not fully known. This can lead to communication problems . The dog will need some time to adjust.

It should be emphasized repeatedly that the best solution is consistent patience. If you still don’t succeed, we recommend consulting an experienced dog trainer.

Tip 1: Distinctive Commands

It is important to thoroughly consider your choice of commands. The commands you choose should be distinctive. Choose terms that are different from the terms you use for other commands.

Tip 2: Practice on a Leash First

When practicing to eliminate disobedience, try different exercises with your dog on the leash. The leash will give you more control over your dog. It is not advisable to practice exercises while your dog is running around freely.

Tip 3: Practice in a Quiet Environment

It is also important that you practice the exercises with your dog in a quiet place. Noise, banging, children playing, different smells, and other dogs will have a counterproductive effect on your dog’s success.

Tip 4: Praise, Praise, and Praise Again

This may sound exaggerated, but it is very important. You should always praise your dog immediately – as soon as he does something right. There is no such thing as too much praise. But only when your dog has done something right.

Tip 5: Continuous Repetitions

The best exercises are useless if your four-legged friend does not practice them over and over. It is important to repeat the exercises continuously. Make sure your pet is not flooded with stimuli. Master one command before you teach another.

Situation #2: My Dog Used to Listen but Stopped

Has your dog stopped listening to you? This behavior could have several causes. 

The most common causes of sudden disobedience are:

  • Late pubertal behavior
  • Your dog is no longer able to hear and see properly (due to old age)
  • Your behavior (or another person in the household’s) has changed recently
  • Physical ailments

With a late pubertal behavior , you can behave as already advised earlier in this article. This behavior is also only a phase.

, you can behave as already advised earlier in this article. This behavior is also only a

It is also possible that your dog is older and therefore has vision or hearing problems. 

Depending on the breed, physical problems will vary as your dog becomes a senior citizen. However, almost all dogs will suffer from hearing and vision problems at an advanced age.

A visit to the vet can provide clarity here. If your dog no longer listens to you due to old age, we can only advise the following: continue to be patient and loving.

You could also be the reason your dog no longer listens to you. Could it be that you've been more stressed lately? Or more hectic? 

All these are possible reasons. If your behavior changesit will cause confusion in your dog. So consider the way you’ve been acting around your dog and if this could be the reason for your dog's behavior.

What if your dog is suffering from physical problems?Your dog will become disobedient when he is in pain or sick. 

It is important then to observe your dog's behavior and ask yourself the following questions

  • Does your dog eat and drink enough?
  • Does he have a toothache?
  • Is he apathetic?
  • Is he limping?
  • Are bowel movements and urination occurring without discomfort?
  • Has your dog's sleep pattern changed?

If you suspect health problems, consult a veterinarian immediately. This will both address the complaints and ensure an improvement.

Situation # 3: My Puppy Isn’t Listening to Me

Rhodesian Ridgeback puppy

Is your puppy not listening to you? This happens more often than you may think – especially if your puppy is at the age where everything is a surprise and discovery. Patience should always be your first priority. 

In general the patience an important factor in dog training. With an adult four-legged friend, you can be strict; however, this is not recommended for puppies. 

To help you get through this phase without stress, here are some informative tips:

Tip 1: Provide Variety

A puppy can quickly get bored. It’s important that you provide variety for them to keep their attention. This is especially important during the walks - try to take different paths on your daily walk. 

Tip 2: Positive linkages apply here as well

Your puppy should associate your commands with something positive. Through these positive links your puppy will learn when to listen. 

Try to take different paths on your daily walk. 

Tip 3: Create Clear Conditions

The puppy age usually refers to the first 20 weeks. During this time, you should create clear conditions. 

Learning things such as "Who is the alpha animal here?" is important for your little friend. 

Especially in the first few weeks, your puppy may try to test his limits. Show him his limits lovingly and consistently. He’ll learn quickly who is in charge. 

Tip 4: Rewards and Praise

When training your puppy, rewards and praise should always come first - as long as your dog is doing something right.

Make sure you give the reward immediately when your dog does something correctly. If you give the reward too late, he may associate it incorrectly. 

➡ The same goes for behaviors you want to avoid.

Your protégé will not remember what he did wrong if you wait too long. Don’t wait 10 minutes after he does his business that he shouldn’t pee on the carpet.

Situation # 4: Dog Doesn't Listen and Runs Away

Before we provide you with important tips at this point, let's first take a look at the possible reasons for this behavior:

  • The environment is unfamiliar
  • Your dog is in heat
  • Afraid
  • Noisy, restless environment
  • Your dog is following his hunting instinct

Depending on the situations mentioned, there are different methods to help eliminate your dog's disobedience. 

In an unfamiliar environment, it is important that you slowly acclimate your dog. The leash is the be-all and end-all here.

The situation is similar when dogs are in heat. If your dog is in heat, you should keep them on the leash.

In the case of fear, it helps to calm your dog. However, you should generally choose environments that do not inspire fear in your dog.

The following tips may be helpful:

  • Practice retrieval commands intensively
  • Regular repetition of exercises
  • Include rewards and praise
  • Focused their attention on you
  • Keep variety in your walks

Situation # 5: Your Dog Doesn’t Come When You Call

This situation is the easiest to improve because there is a universal solution: the drag leash.

With the dragline, you can train your dog and give him a recall signal. More information about this can be found in our article about drag leashes. Leash for Training.


It can be very unpleasant when your dog doesn’t listen. But if you follow our tips, this problem will soon be a thing of the past. 

As always, the important thing is that you have patience. With regard to dog training, loving, understanding, and dominating behavior is recommended.

Last but not least, here are the most common “No-Gos” – things you should never do – summarized:

  • No long-term ignoring
  • No brash punishments
  • No violence
  • Lack of consistency
  • Lack of praise and rewards
  • Lack of patience
  • No brash manners:
    • Pull line
    • Snout handle
    • Neck shake
Written by Anja Boecker
Written by Anja Boecker

My name is Anja Boecker and I am a dog trainer and behavior consultant (IHK certificate). With these articles I would like to help you understand your dog better and build an inseparable bond.

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  1. Hello, our dog's name is Henry and he is a 2,5years old roughhaired dachshund. He is a very nice dog. He can sit, stop, left, right, only place we do not get but have a very big problem when we go out. If people come towards us and we talk, he starts barking at the top of his lungs and only stops when we move on. I am avoided by almost all people, with or without dogs, and I am insulted. Acquainted people go already on the other side, some have already told me I should educate my dog.there are insulting sayings and insults of their side pronounced. My dog times are fixed meanwhile I have the whole walk for us, the people no longer go for a walk at the same time as we do. I am all alone with our dog. My husband can also not go for a walk with, then he also klefft in a tour. We have had many dogs, but we have never experienced anything like this.I come home with the dog a few times and start crying because people have insulted me again. Henry is such a sweet dog. At home he is quiet and does not bark at all. The mailman can come or it can be noisy, visitors can come, that's all o.k. he doesn't bark then .Only the problem outside with other people, we don't get it. What can we do? Please give us a tip to remedy the situation, we would be very happy about it. One more note: We got Henry during the time of Corona, dog training was not possible.

    1. Mine from Hundeo

      Hello Marion, we can understand very well how much the problem burdens all concerned. It is therefore all the more important that you do something to change Henry's behavior. The following would be important:

      1. Use a positive approach: Reward Henry when he stays calm. Punishing would be rather counterproductive. 

      2. Familiarize yourself with the concept of "ignoring": ignore Henry's barking instead of responding to it. By not paying attention to Henry's barking, you are signaling to him that this behavior will not be rewarded. You are depriving him of attention, so to speak.

      3. Train the "place" command: This can help keep Henry calmer when he encounters other people and dogs. Practice this command at home first, in a quiet environment, until it sits properly. Then outside in a quiet place without passersby or dogs, and finally gradually on trails with light distractions, etc.

      4. You can make up for the missed training with a dog coach due to Corona restrictions. It is never too late for that. A professional trainer on site can also give you more tips on how to correct Henry's behavior, as he can better assess what the problem is and where to improve the behavior pattern.

      5. Until then, it is advisable that you continue to choose your routes where no passers-by will pass by.

      It is important that you have patience and practice with Henry regularly.... It may take some time for Henry's behavior pattern to change. But with consistent training and positive reinforcement, it is definitely possible. 

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