Sometimes even the most well behaved dogs lack discipline in certain key areas. One of these may be getting your pooch to listen to you when he is distracted by something else he finds more interesting or entertaining. Daniel Steven’s, renowned trainer and author of SitStayFetch – Dog Training To Stop Your Dog Behavioral Problems, consults with a client who is facing this very problem with her dog. Maybe his advise can help you out!

SitStayFetch: Consultation

Hi Daniel,

We have a one year old lurcher. We have had him for 4 months. He wasn’t trained at all when we got him but is now house-trained, doesn’t pull on the lead and usually comes back when called. However, we have one remaining problem that we would love to have your help with.

He is a rescue dog who was ill-treated so rather nervous of people. However he is very friendly with other dogs – too friendly in fact. He comes back when called (usually) and obeys the ‘leave’ command if playing with our other dog. However, if we meet other dogs while out walking he ignores the recall command and the leave command.

We have tried walking off in the opposite direction but he will either continue to play, even when we are some distance away, or come back briefly and then run off again. If we try to get hold of him he ducks out of the way and then becomes impossible to get back on the lead. Our current method is to only let him off the lead when no other dogs are in sight and to have him on an extendable lead the rest of the time. If we see another dog while he is on the lead we walk on briskly (with him pulling and barking) and try to distract him with a treat (which never works, even with his favorite treats).

Your suggestions would be very welcome.


SitStayFetch Reply:

Hi Margaret Thanks for the inquiry. I believe that there are a few courses of action available to you and your dog.No.1 “Secrets to becoming the alpha dog”

This is one of the mini ebooks that you would have downloaded from the SitStayFetch site. I think that the tips in this book will help you to enforce your position as the person (or alpha dog) that your dog should listen to. To my mind this is where most problems originate from- a lack of authority on the part of the owner/trainer. So use the techniques in this book as often as you can. No.2 Review the “Secrets to training your dog” Section in SitStayFetch The particular section (in DOG 103) that I would like you to review covers the best methods of ensuring that your dog learns and obeys your commands. These techniques are also very important as they give you the best methods for communicating effectively with your dog. No.3 Command enforcement. It is very important that when you issue a command that you are in a position to enforce that command if your dog does not obey you straightaway.

This is relatively easy when learning the first stages of any command as you are generally close enough to your dog to be able to make any correction to his behavior. The problem comes if the dog was not taught properly in the first place or when you get an older dog (such as in your case) who seems to have a mind of his own.

To overcome this I would suggest that you follow DOG 203: Commands to Start, in SitStayFetch, from the beginning. You may well have taught him some or most of these commands but it would still be worthwhile going through each one to ensure that she responds to you when you ask something of her.

Having frequent training sessions will also make him more responsive to you when you command him to do something. It is also important that you have full confidence that he will obey you before you move on to the next stage of any progression.

I would also suggest that for a start you train him in an area where there are no distractions such as your other dog or dogs in general. You need to get him focused on you so that you have his full attention.

I am sure that if you follow these courses of action, you will have a dog with a greater sense of discipline and one that will answer to you every time.

I hope this helps and good luck! If you don’t understand anything that I have said please email me for clarification (emails can be ambiguous at times despite the best intentions!).

Kind regards,
Daniel Stevens
Author of SitStayFetch

For more excellent training tips and information:

For more information on Daniel Steven’s wonderful training methods on everything from the basics to aggression, barking and biting to house training, jumping and whining, check out SitStayFetch – Dog Training To Stop Your Dog Behavioral Problems

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