Maryland Pet

Q & A: My Dog Ignores My Commands

Question: Ignoring My Commands

“I am attending an obedience class conducted by a proficient and talented trainer, but still have a problem with my dog which I consider to be very embarrassing. On heeling, for example, my dog does not pay attention: he forges, he sniffs, and acts as if I’m not even at the other end of the leash. The instructor often comes over and takes my dog and you just wouldn’t believe the difference. It’s almost as if it were two different dogs!”

“For the instructor, my dog will perform perfectly, and it makes me proud to watch the two of them work together. But when the instructor hands me back my dog, it’s back to the old antics again. I don’t understand it, but it proves that my dog does know what to do – for the trainer, but not for me. Any suggestions?”


The next time the trainer takes your dog to demonstrate, watch the trainer and not the dog! Watch what the trainer is doing, and how it’s being done. Pay particular attention to his footwork, the way he holds the leash, the timing of his corrections, and how he talks to your dog while working.

I would guess that you lack a most important ingredient – and that would be confidence. If you have no confidence in yourself or your dog, your dog will pick up that feeling and act accordingly. Also, your personality is perhaps weaker than that of your dog; this too can be “picked up” by your dog and he won’t be confident of you leading him during obedience lessons.

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