How many times usually do you say “sit” before your dog actually sits? Do you raise your tone and volume after each “sit” you said? Or, even more basic command: your dog’s name. When s/he doesn’t pay attention to us, we tend to keep calling their names until they would respond to it.
This is very common for when us trying to call our human friends, we will keep calling their name while raising our tone and volume for each repetition if they don’t respond. We do that because we know there is a good chance that they couldn’t or didn’t hear us, which usually is the case. So we bring that habit into our relationship with our dogs.
Going back to our dogs, is that true, that our dogs didn’t hear what we said?
Let’s talk about facts for a bit. Dog’s hearing is far better than ours, they can hear four times farther than we can, they can tell the difference of your neighbor’s steps and garbage man’s, they hear a lot higher frequency sound than us (yes, that is why they bark “without reason”), and the most amazing is they can pinpoint the exact location of the source.
So, I’m quite sure, when you said that “sit”, your dog 100% heard that. But they just didn’t listen. If you have children, i know you can relate. Of course there is another cause, like your dog doesn’t really understand what that word means, but that will be a discussion for another time. Let’s assume that your dog had proper training and you are sure that s/he just don’t want to do it.
Now we know that our dogs don’t listen to us, though they hear us, what should we do?
It means that our “sit” is less interesting than whatever things they are doing at that moment. We have to make our conversation with our dog is sexy enough for them to keep wanting to engage with us. If they start to ignore you on the road, go back and improve your “sit” in front of your gate, if that still doesn’t work, go back to your porch, and so on.
We can’t ask them to do something beyond their capabilities, everything has to be step by step. That is how we treat them fairly. When their mind is less distracted, that is when your “sit” will become sexy again, because of the reward you’ll deliver to them, whatever that might be.
So, never shy to take a step back in the training!