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Discussions > Training > Behavior > Why Puppies May Not Listen To You

Why Puppies May Not Listen To You

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Warning:  this is going to be long, drawn out, long-winded. =P
I've been reading several posts regarding people's puppies, and how the puppies aren't listening when they're told NO, or when you raise your voice/lower your voice to sound disappointed, etc.
I don't want to be the bearer of annoyance, but have those of you who have these problems, taken a look at the social environment in your home(s)?  I *could* be wrong, but please let me finish.
I have no problem getting my dogs to listen to me (even the 3 month old) by saying "No! No Bite!" in a firm, low-toned command.  She stops immediately and wanders over to a chew toy.  Or..she'll stop immediately and start licking as if to say "oopsies Mom, sorry, I forgot!"
The thing I want to approach here is what (could) be going on in your home that you are not aware of.
Do you nag at your spouse about the trash, too much tv, going out, not helping with chores, etc?
Do you nag at your kids?
Do you raise your voice often around the home to get the attention of your housemates, family or friends?
Do you get irritable easily, or annoyed at the actions of your spouse, kids, or roommates?
OR your household a place of peaceful, calm family life, with no yelling, raising of voices, arguments, etc.?
If you're a person who does the things listed above on a daily or even weekly basis, this could be a HUGE reason why your puppy is not listening to your commands to stop biting, or to drop the ball, or to come to you, sit,  or pretty much anything you ask it to do.
You see, puppies aren't stupid.  They come to know their owners very quickly. If you're always raising your voice in the home to other people, or nagging at people, or telling people what to do, or have any control issues in regard to how your household should be run, your puppy senses this.  This tells the puppy that you're a high-strung person and you're always whinging about something or at someone.
If you say "NO, No bite!" the puppy you're just speaking to him or her like you do to the rest of the house inhabitants and that's just how you are.  It doesn't mean anything to the puppy, because that's how you talk on a frequent basis. =/
The funny thing about owning pets, and what most trainers and vets don't tell that you must FIRST make yourself right, before you try righting a puppy's wrongs.
Start over, and make SURE you are speaking in a gentle, soft voice at ALL times in the home. To family.  To friends.  To roommates. To neighbors, and to your puppy.  Get in the permanent habit of doing this.  If you make this a strong habit, and never break it, then when you *do* raise your voice (keep in mind I do not mean yelling, that is never acceptable).  But when you do raise your voice to puppy, he or she will know you mean business, and listen.  I've had several dogs throughout my life and this has worked with every dog I have ever owned.  It has also worked with friends and acquaintances pets who have asked me in regard to their new pets.  
I'm not saying this IS the reason your puppy doesn't listen, but I AM saying that the vast majority of puppies not listening, is because you're not doing anything against the norm for you in regard to voice tone.
If you absolutely have to have it out with someone, lol...then as they say in the bars - take it OUTSIDE and away from your puppy.  
Too many times I have seen people scolding their puppies for the most ridiculous, asinine reasons. So much so that I would like to thwack some of them.
Puppy is chewing on undies, socks, etc.  That is your fault, not puppy's.   Don't yell at the puppy for something that YOU are responsible for.  Why are there socks and undies in an area where puppy can get to them?  Socks, undies, and any other form of clothing should be a) in the closet b) in a chest of drawers or c) in the laundry.  A proper laundry is a laundry bin or basket, NOT in a pile on the floor.   So...put your big girl panties on, clean up your messy house, and stop blaming puppy.
Puppy is knocking over garbage and getting into it.   Again, this is your fault, not puppy's.  If your puppy or dog has chosen to knock over the garbage, then you must have given him or her a very good reason for doing so.  Don't throw meat in the trash without wrapping it up in a sack and tying a knot.  Additionally, take the garbage out on a daily, or twice daily routine.  Buy a large outdoor trash holder, and take your garbage out there if it contains food.  I'm SICK and tired of trainers trying to teach people how to get their dog to stop knocking over and getting into garbage bins.  REMOVE the garbage (it doesn't belong in the house anyway), and you'll remove the problem!
As a rule of thumb....any time you see your dog doing something that you don't approve of...take 2 seconds and think.  "Is this MY fault, or is this puppy's fault?"  Nine out of ten times, whatever the puppy is doing that you disapprove of, could have been avoided if you had taken responsibility for yourself and your home.
....yeh, this was kind of a rant but I wanted to say it all anyway.

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Maybe it was a rant, LOL, but you got your point across. Puppies need kind and gentle support and teaching. I have a dog but have had her since she was 7 weeks old. She had been taught with love and a gentle approach. She was never set up to get in trouble or do things that she should not do. We always made sure things she did know about or should not have were put away. We always rewarded her with love and lots of affection when we were happy with her actions. She was allot of work in the very beginning but it is time well spent. We made the commitment to teach her, to have rules and boundaries, and to get daily exercise from the very beginning.  She has never been yelled at are treated rough or unkind. She learned to respect me as I respect her, and she does what I ask, when I ask, on first request, with out any change in my voice, but in return she knows what I want from her. I have learned that a dog is not a possession but a living creature. The best companion you could ever have.

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