Do you have a Selective Listener on your hands?

Here's a few reasons dogs don't listen to owners.
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1.       Too much irrelevant data.

"Sit' is the cue. That verbal sound should be the single cue, or  single piece of data, presented to the dog. Just say "Sit' and wait. He's got to process that data, retrieve the neurons capable of connecting that special sound with an action, and then send a neurological current from brain to backside.

Eager owners who rattle off "Sit! Sit! Sit!" as they jerk the leash, bend over the dog, press his backside down, caper around waving their arms or grab a cookie from their treat bag commit the sin of Too Much Irrelevant Data. Give the poor, overwhelmed dog one piece of data at a time.

The worst sinners? The ones who commit all the above crimes and then sigh as they pat the dog, "Oh well. I guess he's just kinda dumb."


 2.      Petting, stroking, patting, touching, ruffling and smooching your dog is dandy except when teaching don't touch! 

dog rope tug.jpeg

Many loving owners automatically, and therefore unconsciously,  pet the dog to reward good behavior. The overstimulation of the touching causes the dog to forget all about the lesson and jump around like a Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. (Sorry, Tennessee)

 Your dog loses the focus of the lesson and worse, learns to back up to avoid the outstretched hands suddenly thrust out. Use your voice not your hands to reward. Pet him until he's bald at any time other than training. He'll love you for it.


3.       Is that a bribe in your pocket or are you just glad to see me?

Yes, food is a dandy way to reward dogs unless you use it as a bribe. Bribes never trained a reliable come when called and sure as shootin' bribes can't hold up against the lure of running away to eat cat poop on the sidewalk.

Food, which is a reward on a plus ten level, is paired with your voice which is a plus five (or less) reward level. Food is better than voice. Food strong reward-voice weak reward. Thus, we pair a strong and a weak and over time the weak reward (voice) gains the reward power of the strong.(Food)

Always use your voice (weak) when you give a food reward (strong) When your canine Einstein has mastered  that level of training you'll use your voice as the reward and on occasion give him a food reward. We are training him to appreciate social rewards (voice) and eventually make the food rewards disappear.



4.       WHAT? I can't hear you!! You're too LOUD!

 Good dog training gets shouted down by television dog trainers who insist that a deep voice is better than a high one, a loud command more effective than a soft and that you must practice arias each day to gain vocal power enough to train your pet.


 Use your regular speaking voice. It’s the one your dog knows and loves. Yes, it does help to be emotionally free with your voice and let shades of emotions come through. One reason dogs like me so much is  that my voice carries a lot of emotion. Dogs 'get it' immediately and intuitively when I speak to them with the emotion I want to convey; it's in my voice.

 Don’t fall for the codswallop from the television trainers. TV trainers insist on only one voice; a big, deep voice that is only a command and never a caress. Who wants to live with a tyrant?

Sue Myles