Do you feel like your dog isn’t listening to you? Do you find yourself asking your dog to do something, you’ll hear some refer to it as a Command, I personally don’t like this as it conjures up the thought that our dogs have to serve us in some way, more recently we use the term Cue, here’s the definition of Cue :-

cue: a signal (such as a word, phrase, or bit of stage business) to a performer to begin a specific speech or action

On the whole, I will call it a cue in written form, but do try to help teams work on the understanding that we label skills we’ve helped our dogs learn if it requires a behavioural (body to do something in physical form) response, I love to develop skills that emotionally support our dogs too, but let’s talk about the physical things we want our pups to learn that keep them safe, help them enjoy life and help us live together. harmoniously.

So a cue is asking our dogs to do something, think of the cue in a question form will help you further develop empathy and understanding of how your dog is feeling at that given moment. For example, if you have worked really hard to develop a skill like SIT and then a neighbour pops in and you are like a broken record saying SIT, SIT, SIT with your pup just full of the zest of greeting people is jumping up higher and higher…. I want you to think like this, if your cue “SIT” is actually “CAN YOU SIT?” (in your head, you don’t have to say it out loud like that, well you can if you like, that’s no problem) If they can’t then SIT, I would ask you to think about this:

  • I can’t hear you as I’m so excited
  • I don’t feel comfortable to SIT as this moment
  • I can’t hear you as I’m so excited
  • It feels better to jump than sit
  • I can’t hear you as I’m so excited
  • The hands keep flapping I keep jumping
  • I can’t hear you as I’m so excited

There will be many reasons why a pup won’t be able to answer your question at that moment and the majority of the time it will be down to not being able to hear you when they are that excited. Once we know that, we can start to help our dogs learn to listen to us when they’re excited, which will help with this scenrio.

Remember by asking questions, you find out information, when you start to think of you asking questions rather than shouting out commands that get ignored it allows room for growth and the development of skills that really make a difference.

As questions to gather that information as to where that skill gap is, questions like :

    • Can you come here now?

If your dog doesn’t answer ask yourself :

• Was it too exciting somewhere else – Develop the skill to come away from stuff they love to do.

• They can’t hear you – Start to develop the skill of listening to you when excited.

• I don’t want to end the fun right now –  Give your dog an outlet to do lots of fun things with you.

• I want to keep trying to catch that squirrel – Find other ways to satiate the need to chase