Help! My puppy has stopped listening
A common occurrence amongst youngsters is a change in their behaviour as they begin to grow up and out of puppyhood. From bright eyed babies eager to please and grateful of guidance and learning, to terrorsome and unruly youngsters with selective hearing and even more selective listening.
So what happened? This 'change' can occur in young dogs as they grow up for a variety of reasons, and it's important to look at their past, present and future training in order to help bring them back to you.
- It is never too early to train a puppy, and they should begin learning their boundaries and basic obedience from as soon as they come home. Remember, your puppy shouldn't be allowed to do anything you don't want them to do as an adult. When a tiny puppy pulls on the lead, overlooking or allowing it because they're little will create a much stronger, much more persistent adult puller. The Present:
- Are you being consistent with your training? Do you follow through with every instruction? Are you monitoring your own training as well as their behaviour?
It's vital to look at how you are training your dog to understand whether it is being effective or not. Being complacent, inconsistent or vague with instructions your want your dog to follow is not setting them up for success. Ideally, we are aiming for "1 word for 1 behaviour", ie. you say something once and your dog does that thing.
The more times your dog hears an instruction and does not carry it out, the weaker their understanding of this word or action becomes until they stop responding to it completely. This applies to everything from the basic sit, to recall, lead work and the fanciest most extravagant tricks. Equally, if you say an instruction, your dog does not carry it out and you ignore it and carry on, you are also weakening their responsiveness to that word. For example, if they traditionally sit for their dinner or a treat, if you tell them to sit and they don't, or they sit then jump jump jump then sit then lie down then jump then sit, and you give them their dinner or treat regardless, they are now learning to either not sit when asked, or to sit for a split second and perform various other behaviours, because they got their tasty morsel anyway! The Future:
- What do you want your dog to do going forward?
"I want my dog to do what I ask, when I ask", politely of course! If the above is sounding familiar, and you want your pup to grow up well mannered and with a strong connection to you, then it might be time to take a closer look at your training together. Your dog's training is a complex but absolutely vital part of their youth and adult life and it all starts - with you!
If you're looking for some tips and advice or if you want a complete crash course in puppy training, contact K9 Anytime's Head Trainer Claire Corley today to start your puppy's training transformation today. 1-1 training available as private tuition on location, remotely, during daycare or group classes.