Your dog seemed to be making excellent progress in their training – so why aren’t they responding to commands now? The following article discusses the reasons why your dog has stopped obeying your directions.
It’s always exciting when your pup starts responding positively to their training. A once unruly puppy is now sitting, staying, heeling, and returning to their bed with a single, firm command! However, after a few months, you’re noticing that they are not exactly as enthusiastic about following your directions. Are they just forgetting? What’s going on? Why didn’t the training stick?
You’re expecting your dog to work for free.
It’s actually fairly simple – you stopped providing behavior incentives. You praise your dog all the time! What you stopped doing is giving them the treats they really, really love in exchange for their service. So – why should your dog sit if you’re not paying them? How often would you go into work if all you got in return was a pat on the back?
You’ve devalued their reward.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, if you give your dog treats every day just for being cute, they’ll stop working for them. If you haven’t been giving your dog treats strategically, they’ll stop thinking of them as “treats,” and start thinking of them as “tasty things I get no matter what.” To use the work analogy again – if you got a salary from an organization regardless of whether you did any work or not, you probably wouldn’t feel particularly compelled to put in the hours.
Naturally, you want your dog to feel loved – it’s perfectly understandable that you want them to be happy. Nevertheless, if you demonstrate your affection by giving them daily treats without having to do anything in return, they’ll feel entitled to them without any effort on your dog’s part, and you’ve effectively derailed their training.
If you want your dog to yield to your direction, they need something they value in exchange. Only give them the most loved treats when they respond to your commands positively. Once you get back on the reward – or “payment” – track, you’ll be surprised by how quickly they remember their training!
Did you know…
A wide variety of canine medical conditions can be addressed and controlled through nutritional intervention. A few highly nutritious dog food brands that have specific formulas for different breeds, ages, and health needs include Castor & Pollux, Nutrish, and Zignature dog food. DCM, obesity, pancreatitis, and diabetes can all be managed with the proper diet and exercise programs.
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