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Selective Hearing: “Why Does My Dog Only Listen To…”

March 7, 2012

We hear this question a lot: “Why does my dog only listen to ____(insert any applicable family member)?”

Dogs thrive on consistent, fair leadership. Family members who are present and offer fun, rewarding activities such as daily walks, or food automatically have stars and rainbows coming from their head in a dog’s mind. “This person is valuable to my survival.” However, it doesn’t stop there. You may be the person that feeds the dog daily, but if you are not asking for any behaviors from the dog during this time, Fido may not still listen right away when you ask. Below are several tips on how to improve your canine’s listening skills and engagement with you!

1. Be consistent and take an active role in their lives. Do you feed your dog as soon as you get home? Incorporate some training in the process. Ask your dog to sit, or wait before feeding (after you’ve properly taught what this word means). We are big believers that “Nothing in Life is Free” for our canine friends and that they must work to receive what they want.

2. Be fun! Take the dog on fun trips, or a walk/run. I can guarantee that your dog will absolutely worship the ground you stand on when you come home. Often times after engaging activities, dogs will keep following you from room to room, waiting to see what fun thing you will have next. What a perfect time to practice more listening skills. 🙂

3. Go to a training class. If your dog particularly has selective hearing with you, try a positive training class! You are suddenly the source of all good things, whether it be food, or their favorite motivator (toy, etc).

4. Be fair. Do not get angry easily with your dog. A human who is quick to yell, or be violent with their dog only looks unpredictable and scary in a dog’s mind.

5. Have patience and set realistic expectations. Some breeds of dog naturally bond to one person mainly in the home (particularly herding breeds), but that doesn’t mean they have to have selective hearing with you. Try these tips and see what happens!

Post By: Laura Neiheisel

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About Austin Dog Zone

Austin Dog Zone formed in 2011. We offer dog training for all breeds and temperaments. We are committed to staying up-to-date on the most current scientific research available for dogs regarding both behavior and wellness. Our methods are effective, dog-friendly and family friendly.

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