My Dog Won't Listen To Me!
(Fort Lewis, WA)
I Am Listening....Honest!
My 3 year old cocker spaniel will not listen to me when we try to get her to come. I've tried praising her with treats when she listens but she still won't come.
Most of the time, when she is outside, she starts barking at nothing, trying to get her in the house is like pulling teeth out.
I have a new baby on the way and would really like my dog to listen better. How do I train her to come when commanded to?
Reply from Pauline (Website Owner)
Don't worry - this happens to most of us at some point! Especially if we take our eye off the ball. It sounds like your cocker spaniels is beginning to, (or trying to) 'call the shots'.
I'd recommend you begin retraining her and show her who's boss - take it back to the basics.
For example: make her work for his food - ask her to sit before you feed her; make her sit before you allow her to go outside; don't take her for a walk unless she's calm; if she wanders over to you for attention, ignore her (I know, it's not always that easy!).
You can learn more about reclaiming your status as the alpha in the family here.
I'd also recommend you take your cocker spaniel through her training paces again to help establish you're the boss and to get her behaving the way you want her to.
You'll find some helpful puppy training tips here. I suggest you read this article first to give you an idea of what to bear in mind whilst training and then you can read about obedience training and all the commands, ie sit, stay, down, etc.
Be aware of the tone and pitch of your voice when giving your dog a training command. Keep it low, strong, and firm. Issue the command as a command, not as a question, and keep it short and to the point eg, Sit! not Sssiiittttt?
There's no need to shout at your dog - just be firm.
Once you get her back in line, don't forget to continue reinforcing her training regularly.
Good luck and please let us know how you both get on.