Your sit and stay commands are falling on deaf ears. No matter how many times you rattle a bag of treats, your pup doesn’t seem to want to pay any attention. So, what do you do next?
When a dog ignores a command, many will attempt to repeat the command over and over to no avail. Instead of knocking your head into a wall, think in terms of dog training “science.” If your pup isn’t interested in obedience training, here are a few reasons that may be the case.
1. Low-Value Treats
One of the fundamentals of practical obedience training is high-quality treats. As much as we want to believe our dogs are in it to please us, they aren’t. Dogs respond positively to treats—especially those that excite them most.
If you’re using treats with low-quality ingredients or kibble that they’re already used to, your dog isn’t going to want to respond to your commands. Buy delicious, bite-sized treats that your pup can gobble up quickly. The faster the treats disappear into their panting mouths, the quicker they can redirect their attention to you.
2. Low Reinforcement Rate
In the early stages of obedience training, there is ample room for distraction. If you aren’t rewarding your pup appropriately, they might find themselves more interested in the environmental stimuli.
Thus, you should begin by rewarding your dog with treats after every successful attempt. Doing so keeps them motivated—and willing to earn more!
Over time, you can reduce the number of treats you reward to reinforce the behavior better. You can also give other types of rewards a shot—maybe their favorite toy or a handful of pats.
3. High Criteria
When it comes to obedience training, baby steps are critical. While getting your dog to sit, stay, and rollover might be an exciting prospect, you can’t expect them to respond all at once.
Take it a step at a time, or you may be asking him for too much. Instead, break the command into smaller, more attainable steps.
For instance, if you’re teaching your dog to lie down, you can’t expect them to achieve the action immediately. First, ask them to sit if they already know how. Then, follow through with the lie-down movement. Reward them for every step—even sit.
As much as possible, keep your sessions short and sweet, or you may lose their interest!
4. Too Many Distractions
We all know that dogs are easily distracted—it doesn’t mean training has to be impossible. Train your dog in a quiet space with few stimuli. If you’re training your dog in the living room, keep their toys and your belongings out of sight.
Avoid training your pup in a busy garden, especially if loud, fluttering birds love to pay a visit! Eventually, you can move into more active spaces as your dog learns to respond to your commands.
When your dog doesn’t seem interested in obedience training, it can make for a challenge. However, it isn’t impossible to get over the initial hump. With the right treats and setting, you can get your dog sitting and staying in no time.
If you’re keen on getting an early start on how to train a dog, visit Dog Obedience Training for helpful tips. With our resources, your dog can start developing habits you love to see.