How to Teach Dog to Be Obedient

A dog that is not trained and responsive to his master’s commands is a dead loss.

How do you train a dog that won't listen?

Don’t let your dog develop bad habits

If you do, you only have yourself to blame. You cannot pass the buck to the dog.

A puppy is reared to know you and respect you. You feed him, you care for him, and you own him. He is your property. Consequently, it is up to you to see that his whole life is molded to the pattern you want him to follow.

Get him to know his name

Repeat it to him at feeding times. He will then associate the name with something pleasant.

Associate sounds with actions

Exercise him regularly and be sure that he is in close attendance to you at all times. Talk to him, not as in a conversation, as dogs can’t speak, nor can they understand a conversation, but they can associate sounds with actions.

It is with this thought that you should develop your dog’s abilities.

Certain dogs, due to the environment and parental qualities, possess natural ability in certain directions. We get this with kelpies, Border collies, cattle dogs, etc., but nevertheless, no matter how instinctive some of them are, a dog needs training.

If he is the type that tends to wander away when called, he should be put on a check cord of some 30 yards long. Sent out and then, when whistled unceremoniously, he should be yanked back hard by the cord simultaneously with the whistle. This will show him that he must respond to the whistling sound.

Do this a few times and he’ll respond to the whistle. Coming when called is the first essential. Once he understands his name, which he will do if you name him at feeding times and when called, he will come to the whistle and the rest is easy.

Show him that you are his master

You have shown him that you are his master. That he is to do what you want him to.

Sheep work, or cattle work, or even rabbit pack work, has its particular little requirements. Whatever you want a dog to do, you must show him. After he has been shown in a friendly manner, and rewarded with a pat or bit of biscuit for a job well done, any failure to carry out that order can be disciplined by scolding.

Normally, no dog is deliberately wayward if handled properly from the beginning, and it is best to always keep in mind a clear picture whether the dog really did do the wrong thing, or whether he misunderstood.

Be patient with your dogs

Patience with him will pay good dividends in the long run. No crackerjack dog ever taught himself. He had the ability, but his owner developed those qualities.

A dog is like your crop or your stock. They are only as good as you make them. No dog wants to deliberately annoy, it isn’t in their makeup. They want to please you and, if given the opportunity, will do so.

Look at the marvelous telepathic communication that passes between a stockman and his dogs. They seem to be able to read his mind. There is a sort of uncanny ability of knowing what he wants when he simply waves or whistles.

The New Zealander who put up such a remarkable performance at the Sydney Royal Show with his team of Border Collies working sheep, only achieved that success by kindness and patience in understanding his dogs and teaching them what he wanted them to do. The dogs obeyed his orders and loved doing it.

Control is the most important detail in dog work. It is the foundation of success, but it isn’t gained by rough treatment.

Get the best out of your dog by putting the best into him. Treat him with respect, and he’ll do the same to you. Show him what you want and be firmly kind to him, and you’ll have a dog you can depend on and be proud of.


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Hannah Elizabeth is an English animal behavior author, having written for several online publications. With a degree in Animal Behaviour and over a decade of practical animal husbandry experience, Hannah's articles cover everything from pet care to wildlife conservation. When she isn't creating content for blog posts, Hannah enjoys long walks with her Rottweiler cross Senna, reading fantasy novels and breeding aquarium shrimp.

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