How To Get Your Dog To Listen To You

how to train a dog to listen

Let me be blunt with you right from the start;

If your dog is disobeying your commands, then you haven’t done your work well.

It is very likely the problem is not your dog.

Let me explain;

If you fail to properly train your dog and make sure you give the right commands to your dog, you will be ignored most of the time.

That's is why this post, I am going to show you how you can make your dog listen to you. No matter what.

And in case you have given your dog the proper and needed training already and your dog is still proving stubborn, I will introduce you to a brain training exercise that will make your dog look into eyes on cue and do as you demand.

So, let's get started.

First and foremost, let's run through the:

Reasons why you can't seem to get your dog to respond to your commands

1. Thinking Your dog understands your commands when he or she doesn't.

So many dog owners mistakenly assume that a bit of basic obedience training for dogs will do the trick.

They expect a dog who's been trained only at the local classes and in the backyard garden to put on the best of behavior in different circumstances.

As you will soon find out, things simply do not work that work.

Before calling your dog or issuing a command, ensure he does understand exactly what you want from him.

Especially if you are using verbal cues.

If you have been using hand signals to trigger certain behavior patterns in your dog, this is how you can easily add a verbal cue to the mix to make things much easier for you.


the dog must understand your physical prompts first. She or he must grasp that command before you add the verbal cue.


now add the verbal cue. But make sure that it comes before the hand signal


do not use the same verbal commands for different behaviors. Just one cue for one behavior. It is that straight forward.


Before moving to another cue, your dog must be very proficient in the current one. Ensure this.

For better initial results, try and reduce distractions as much as possible during the training.

Assuming your dog is now perfect on this particular verbal cue in a particular environment.

let's make him or her proficient in other environments too.

Why should we bother?

Because if you do not properly reinforce the desired behavior in the dog, He or she will be very limited. And end up ignoring us. Possibly in all situations.

You wouldn’t like this.

So, allow me to introduce you to

2. Generalization and Proofing:

Your gateway to a happy relationship with your dogs.

When puppies generalized a behavior, they can perform that behavior almost in any surrounding.

The dog's ability to listen to you will no longer be limited to certain locations. It will happen almost every time.

Whether you are at home, in the park, on the road or at the cafe. You can always count on your dog to heed your calls.

So how do you achieve this?

Simple. By varying your training grounds and increasing the complexities of the surroundings gradually.

This will help both of you. A lot.

But you need to be careful,

While attempting to achieve generalization;

Take into consideration the following:

  • Age
  • Emotion
  • Environment

Puppies are different from older dogs. There is even no need stressing this.

As a result, the way they learn and relate to things are different. You must factor in this into your training.

An 8-year-old dog will likely have more experience and exposure in different circumstances. As compared to 5 months old puppy.

Dogs have emotions. And it significantly impacts how they relate with us.

Fear, excitement, happiness, etc

control your dog’s response to commands.

You should always factor in these interfering emotions when you are training a dog to perform.

By doing this, you will help the dog to generalize the behavior making it easier for them to respond when you call.

The environment is also another factor that could impact compliance.

Fact is,

Dogs learn contextually. And the environment in which they live provides this context.

If you want your dog to perform almost in any surroundings, help them by greatly varying your training surrounding.

By doing the above, you achieve another golden opportunity:


Proofing is a situation where a dog learns to follow and listen to your demands even when they are in stressful or distracting surroundings.

You can get to this stage by gradually increasing the challenges for the puppy.

For example, moving from silent and quiet places to more noisy and distractive areas for training.

Your pets will like these challenges. They give them the needed motivation to be obedient.

3. Inappropriate Pressure

Before I discuss this issue at length, I would like to clarify something important:

Here at, our approach to dog training, in general, is simple: science-based, gentle-free training.

We do not support the use of force on dogs. It does not help our pets.

It greatly diminishes their confidence and harms your relationship with them.

People who use the Operant learning concept - that is making dogs understand whatever they do will have a consequence - may advise the use of appropriate pressures to get dogs to respond.

Because they think by making the dog understand their behaviors determine the outcome, they stand a great chance of succeeding.

If you believe in using pressures to correct behaviors,

hear me out:

The wrong pressure will only shut down your dog.

dog lying down

This is how;

Ineffective pressure leads to learned helplessness. A situation where your pet will not be able to avoid the punishment even if given the chance.

Because they think that no matter what they do, the outcome will be the same.

At this point, they just stop trying and will not attempt to learn anything new again.

No matter what you do, they will not seem to care.

So never use ineffective pressure on your dog. It will make things worse.

The best way is positive reinforcement.

But do not end up rewarding the bad behaviors and punishing the good ones.

Be consistent in your training. Do not send mixed messages. Communicate in a very clear manner. Your dog will like you for this. And come when you call.

The paradox of proper positive reinforcement is that the more you do it, the stronger the trust and the bond between you and your puppy will grow, and the less you will have to do it to achieve the desire results.

For more on how to get a dog to listen to you every time check

4. When Treats become Bribes. Things go bad.

a dog holding a treat

Teaching a dog to come when you called can be tricky sometimes.

We those who preach positive reinforcement and gentle free training methods sometimes make the mistakes of turning treats into bribes.

There's is a fine line between rewards and bribe.

Let see the difference first;

A bribe is when you offer the treats first before even your command is followed.

With rewards, you only give out the treats after achieving the desired behavior.

The thing about bribe is that it will eventually lead to diminishing returns. Something you do not want.

You may have to resorts to more and more treats to even get a fraction of what you used to get before.

While also using rewards, you must use rewards that are motivating.

Study your dog carefully and reward accordingly.

  • Do not also forget to meet their basic needs all of the time.
  • Do not drag a dog out for training when he hasn't potty yet.
  • Or when he's thirsty or when he's longing for food because of serious hunger

The above are the crucial reasons why you can't seem to teach your dog to come when you call their name.

Now Time for some:

fun exercise that will guarantee obedience from your dog.

Ready? Let's dive into it.

Making Your Dog look into eyes on cue

This training you are about to learn could change the way you relate with your dog for the better.

If you master it well, you can save your dog from danger. As you will be able to get the response you want from him or her anytime you call.


The main objective of the game is to make your dog look into your eyes on command.

Material Needed:

Despite its importance, you only need treats and a clicker to do this training.



Use an appropriate noise or sound to get the dog’s attention. For example, a kissing air or any sort of smacking sound.


while making the sound hold your treat next to your eyes.


Click the clicker the moment your dog looks into your eye. Reward for the job done and then...



-Before you say this is bribing, I will explain the logic behind this and how you can avoid any real bribery issue here.

But before that, here are Tips and tricks for dog owners with trouble succeeding at this:

  • For impressive initial results, do this training in a very quiet place
  • You can easily associate the noise with the reward by immediately giving the treat after the sound.
  • It is okay to reward even the quick glances in the beginning.
  • But as you progress only dish out a treat to longer looks.

Now taking things a bit further and avoiding the bribery situations

- by not immediately clicking the clicker and delaying the reward, you can get keep the dog looking into your eyes for much longer 

- start practicing the training in more distractive areas.

-And importantly, to avoid turning the treat into a bribe and risk disobedience later, stop holding the treat to your eye level as soon as possible.

By establishing eye contact with your dog, you increase the strength of your bonding.

You can leverage this trust to divert his or her attention towards you when you want.

Making him listen any time you call.

In conclusion;

As you can see above,

Learning how to teach a dog to come or listen can be tricky. But it is not difficult. You can do it.

You just need to remember the chief reasons why we said could be responsible for the seemingly bad behavior in your dog:

  • lack of proper understanding of your verbal cues
  • Inability to generalize behaviors
  • Not being able to perform in more challenging situations
  • Inappropriate pressures on him or her
  • Thinking your treats are bribes

Are all reasons why your dog might seem so stubborn to you.

You need to be realistic with the situation, diagnose it accordingly, and apply the appropriate measure.

As we said in the beginning;

If your dog is not heeding your advice, you could be the problem.

Work on your training capabilities first. It is very important you do.

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