Have you thought or even said this about your own dog?
"My dog just doesn't listen to me."
"My dog is stubborn."
"My dog is just the way they are."
My dog ignores me"."
"My dog is not very smart."
As humans it's natural to steer towards the "path of least resistance" when it comes to completing a task or trying something new. Our ideal outcome versus reality can be polar opposites.
The same can be said when it comes to wanting our dogs to listen and obey commands on cue. When things are going great, then YOU happily persist. However, when things aren't going according to YOUR plan, some people look for reasons (excuses) to explain why their dog isn't behaving the way they want them to. Hence they tend to resort to judging, labelling, apportioning blame and in some cases giving up on training.
Whatever you do, don't give up on your dog!
Whether you are out at the park, at home or purposely setting some time aside to train and you're asking them to focus, listen, obey just bear in mind the following:
"Have I taken regular time to train my dog?" - In other words, have you taken time to positively train and reinforce commands so that they learn versus expecting "They should just know to do it when I tell them!".
Dog's don't generalise - Just because they know how to "sit", "leave", "stay", "come" at home won't necessarily mean your dog will think "When I'm at the park, I know what to do when my owner gives me commands!". Set them up for success by slowly introducing new environments and replicating distractions while training.
Is the environment too distracting? - If your dog isn't listening to you, take a good look at the environment. Sight, sounds, smells and textures are all the things they are taking in. It can be a challenge when you're competing with the environment for your dog's attention.
"Am I being fun and interesting for my dog?" - Dog's are just like humans when it comes to who and what they gravitate towards. Make a point of taking ownership as to what and how you can be fun & interesting for your dog. If we use the analogy of a human toddler that is about to start crying, our tendency is to get animated with our body language and put on a silly voice in order to try and change the emotion or behaviour.
Keep your expectations in check as dog training is not a linear process. There will be many peaks and troughs along the way. Take and celebrate every success no matter how big or small it is. When things aren't going according to plan, do refer back to our numbered points on what might be going on and make any necessary adjustments.
Above all else, we always say "If you're not having fun training or interacting with your dog, then they aren't having fun either".
This is the tip of the iceberg. So if you'd like to know more and enquire about how our 1:1 training services can help, then please get in contact.