As a dog owner it can be seriously frustrating when your dog doesn't listen. You find yourself calling your dog to no avail, training your dog produces sketchy results depending on the level of distraction. Training classes come and go but yet that dog just doesn't want to pay attention when it matters most.
We use positive reinforcement, we make eye contact, we try to read our dog's body language, hire a dog trainer, teach our dog everything we know how to teach them. But sometimes we find ourselves exhausted and scream: why does my dog ignore me?
"Why does my dog ignore me?" is, believe it or not, one of the more popular questions we get asked at K9 Magazine. This guide will explain the most common reason why dogs ignore their owners in various settings.
Why Does My Dog Ignore Me? The Simple Answer
The reason why your dog is ignoring you is because you talk too much.
White noise. Your dog hears your voice all day, every day. You talk to your dog, that's natural. But sometimes it's possible you talk to your dog too much at the wrong times. After a while, when your dog has been told 'no', 'stop it', 'come back' for the 12th time in two minutes, they learn to ignore you. Your voice and your commands lose any impact.
Don't worry. You're not alone. Talking to our dogs is part of the fun of owning them. But there are ways and methods to ensure you don't talk to your dog in the wrong way at the wrong time.
Watch: How To Train Your Dog Not To Ignore You
I want you to picture a teacher in a classroom.
The teacher tells her students to be quiet and settle down. Nothing happens.
The teacher again tells her students to be quiet and settle down. They ignore her once again.
She tries a third time but is ignored once more before eventually she loses her temper, slams her hand on the desk and bellows 'be quiet right now'.
What have the students learned?
This teacher is safe to ignore at least three times before she acts to reinforce her command.
There are many people who are regularly asking themselves the question, why do dogs ignore me in general and why does my dog ignore me in particular?
They may have owned dogs for years and seem to think of themselves as people who dogs - all dogs - seem to ignore. This isn't strictly true, of course, but what it should do is give room for evaluation of this question:
What am I doing that makes dogs choose to ignore me? Why does my dog ignore me when I know my dog thinks of me as the most important person in the world?
It's not so much a philosophical question, more a 'please can you give me advice to help me get my dog to pay attention to me' kind of plea. So, let's do exactly that.
This guide will give you the tools to teach your dog to stop ignoring you so you will no longer ask, why does my dog ignore me - but - why am I doing that thing again that allows my do to ignore me?
You will learn:
- Why dogs who can ignore you, often will ignore you
- Why dogs often ignore the person who they see the most (that's you!)
- Why dogs only ignore you in certain situations and how to fix this
- Why your dog is ignoring you because you talk too much
Why Is My Dog Suddenly Ignoring Me?
Getting frustrated that your dog jumps up on people when you are visiting friends? Can’t understand why your dog runs away from you at the park while everyone else’s happily comes back?
Don't worry. The reality is, there's probably not a dog owner alive who hasn't struggled with their dog 'throwing a deaf un' from time to time. That is, the dog who just seems incapable of listening to you when distracted or hyped up.
The basics of dog obedience training and teaching your dog to sit, stay and come all require your dog to actually listen to you. It's all very well having a dog who'll listen sometimes, but until we have attained a consistent response in all scenarios when never truly claim to own a fully trained dog.
In our special report: Why Does My Dog Ignore Me? you will learn:
- The most overused word in the dog owner's vocabulary
- Why noise is the enemy when trying to get a positive response EVERY time
- Why you might be praising your dog TOO much
- How to cut through and reach your dog on a level he'll respect and understand
Your Dog Ignores You Because You Do This (Probably)
No! Non! Nein! Нет! No matter in what language you say it, this one word will hold you back when dealing with dogs. And they don’t even know what it means!
But what they do know is that the sound it makes when coming from your mouth means that you are not happy. And when you are not happy, your dog is not happy.
When your dog is not happy, it is harder to train him. So why beat your head against a linguistic wall? Get rid of the word from your vocabulary and see the results.
Saying no over and over again in most cases is the reason why dogs ignore their owners. If you really want to know why your dog is ignoring you, the answer probably lies in this very simple fact. Ask yourself honestly, do I do this? Is this why my dog is ignoring me?
Asked and answered - why does my dog ignore me? It's because I've made myself ignorable.
Linguistically, you could argue that the word ‘no’ is wholly appropriate as a marker to correct undesired behaviours, but what people fail to realise is that by issuing the word ‘no’, they have not only uttered a word, but their body language will have changed, the tone of voice will have changed.
When dealing with a creature as perceptive as a dog, these non-verbal communications will be noted, remembered and disliked. So how do we get around using this ugly, ugly word?
Positive reinforcement when a dog is ignoring you:
Positive reinforcement is a popular alternative to the grind and graft of using the word ‘no’ in training. Many seasoned dog trainers swear by the agreeable effect that using this method has. In essence, positive reinforcement relies on the trainer not drawing attention to the shortcomings of a dog but giving hearty consent to the progress, however small, made during the session.
To fully understand why dogs ignore their owners, we must accept that it is, nearly 100% of the time, attributable to 'white noise'. Owners speaking too much, using too many different words or simply using the right word without reinforcement.