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Tuesday Training Byte: Help! My dog is stubborn and won't listen.

I have had many people tell me this about their dog. While there are some breeds that tend to be more independent or aloof than others, dogs are not naturally stubborn. We can capitalize on the fact that dogs usually just want to be with us and please us! There are a few tips that will help you be successful with your dog. If your dog is engaged in "exciting" dog behavior such as digging or chasing a squirrel, it likely will not respond if you call him to come in. I do not give a command unless I can enforce it and my dog is paying attention first. If you call your dog away from his great adventure and then do something he doesn't view as fun, he will be less likely to come in the future. Once I call my dog, I make sure that what we do immediately afterwards is very rewarding to the dog. Examples would be a quick game or tug or fetch, a belly rub, some very tasty treats, etc. Ways to ensure your dog will not listen would be to call your dog, then scold him for taking his time, stick him immediately in his crate, give him a bath or trim his nails. When I need to trim nails, I wait until my pup is already inside hanging out with me. I bring him to the mudroom and have him lay on his back for a belly rub, then trim the nails. I finish up with a belly rub and a few treats, praising him for being such a good boy. Dogs will be cooperative when they know it is worth it. Happy training!


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