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Getting Dog to Listen —

Entries Tagged 'Getting Dog to Listen' ↓

Getting Your Dog To Listen To You

Hi Julie,


Our family recently came into owning two dogs quite suddenly.

One is a pure bred German Shepard (Prince) that a family member bought then decided they simply didn\’t want him after a year of ownership and lack of training. They rescued him when he was roughly 2 years old, so I think he is about 3-4 years old now.

The other is a Rottwieller that we rescued. She is 2 years old. She is sweet and loving but you can tell her previous owner\’s didn\’t want to take the time to train her or give her love.


I haven\’t owned dogs since I was a little girl so I feel quite lost. Both dogs seem to understand simple commands like stay and down. Getting them to obey consistently is another story.

Taking them on walks is somewhat frustrating. They both are so large and powerful it\’s hard to control them. When we walk them, we stop them often and make them sit patiently (or as patiently as they can) then start the walk again.

The GSB acts as though we don\’t exist when he is off the leash though. It\’s like he loses all ability to hear, see or obey us and will take off running. A few weeks ago he wiggled out of his collar while on a walk and took off running and we couldn\’t do anything to get him to come back. We chased him for such a long time before he was simply too fast and was gone. We ended up picking him up at the pound the next day (and almost $150.00 later).

The rottwieller (Ruby is what we named her) seems anxious to want to please us, but she gets so excited and has a hard time sitting still long enough for us to teach her basic obedience. When she is in a calm state she seems more willing to listen, make eye contact and obey.

How do I get Prince to listen consistently even when off a leash? And how do I get Ruby to calm down long enough to listen?

I see that you mention the gentle leader for walks, but if Prince can slip out of his collar easily, will he be able to slip out of the leader?


I am committed to keeping and loving these dogs for a lifetime. They both have such gentle hearts and I couldn’tt bear them being sent to yet another home, I just need some training so I can train them.

Also, is it ok for us to have our children be an active part in training the dogs?




Hello Rachel,


Thank you for making the commitment to these dogs, it is a great thing you are doing and the dogs are lucky to have you!


Off-leash training:  It is common behavior for dogs that haven’t been trained to “act like you don’t exist off-leash”.  They actually aren’t doing anything wrong in their mind because you haven’t “trained” them otherwise.  In order to later be successful off-leash you will want to begin to teach the come while on-leash so that you can back up the command with good timing.  What I mean by this is; imagine you have called your dog to come to you while off-leash and they don’t come; you have now begun to ruin that word for them because they realized they really don’t have to come to you.  But if the dog was on leash when you called them you could have made sure they came to you no matter what which makes the command itself have more meaning.  Of course you will later have that off leash control but if you do not first practice it on leash you cannot have the proper timing to make it extremely successful.  Use treats and praise for positive reinforcement. 

My online training program has exact step-by-step directions on how to do this the most successful way and there is too much information for me to put in this one note so I encourage you to join and you’ll be amazed how easy it is when you know what to do.  I’ll be there for you along the way as well to answer any questions you have.  Because you are taking on rescues: Here’s a $10 off promo code:  10DOLLARSOFF which means the training site will only cost you $25 right now and here’s the link if you are interested:

Listening calmly to obedience instruction: Because you are having trouble getting your dog to be calm enough to listen to obedience I would recommend that you exercise your dog BEFORE the obedience practice.  Some dogs need this.  Think of it like a little kid who has tons of pent up energy and you are forcing them to sit still and concentrate on work-that’s why schools invented recess! Ha.  Drain their unreleased energy and they’ll be able to concentrate better.

Dog collar:  To answer your question about the gentle leader, I highly recommend it and if you attach it appropriately it should not slip off.  I also have photos and descriptions of how to fit it and how to introduce successfully on my training site.  But, if you want to you can go to the pet store or Vet with the dog and have someone who knows about the head collar help you attach it properly.  This head collar will help prevent the pulling and give you more control over large, strong dogs instantly. 

Children part of the training: Yes your children can be involved in the training!  Use positive reinforcement with praise and treats and supervise and teach them how to do it properly and it you will see great reward!  Dogs generally tend to listen to whoever trains them so everyone can be involved so the dogs respect and listen to the whole family!

I think it is wonderful you are seeking out information on how to train the dogs well.  Best of luck to you!  Let me know how it goes!