How To Get Your Puppy To Listen To You

Getting your puppy to listen to you is certainly a necessity, to ensure his well-being (to keep him safe from any life threatening accident) and also to save you all the headache of cleaning up any messes or trouble that he has created or got into.

So HOW should you get the training going?


Before you go into the training, you ought to ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Your puppy just joins your new home and you have not given him any obedient training yet?
  2. Does your puppy stop listening to you ONLY recently?

This will determine how you would tailor his training program.

Option 1: New Puppy Just Joins Your Home (Have Not Being Trained)

Your new canine who just joined your family is like a “blank” sheet of paper. He needs to be trained on many things, including how to listen to you, follow your house rules – including potty and stop biting, and of course, be an obedience pet.

This responsibility of course will fall onto YOU who is his owner. Before we start to look into some training approaches to make your puppy obedient, it is important to keep in mind that YOU will not be able to make your new pup listen to you with just one training. There will be NO miracle result if you’re hoping for one.

With this in mind, let’s get going:

What Will Be The Suitable AGE To Start Obedience Training?

What is your puppy age now? Most dog trainers would tell you that once your pup is able to open his eye and start walking (preferably when he is 7 -8 weeks old), you can work on the BASIC obedience training. 

This is when he starts to develop his sense and understand his world.

These are very simple, single word commands that your pet will be able to pick up after some training. So, let’s have a peep on what they are?

Basic Obedience Commands

There ought to be some form of “language” that your puppy needs to know before he can respond to you, don’t you agree? So, work on this first to have your puppy trained to listen and follow your commands. Basic commands such as “Sit”, “Down”, “Stay”, “Come”  can be easily taught. You will need to make sure that your puppy is fully trained on these commands before you can get him to listen to you. 

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Positive Reinforcement

Build this training on the foundation of positive reinforcement. That is, giving a reward to your puppy when he behaves or performs any actions that you would like to reinforce.This is usually the desired behavior that you want him to remember and keep repeating.

The idea is not to bribe him but to train him to act in a way so that he will get something that he values for. 

Usually, a reward can be a praise, a treat, a toy or even a gentle pat on his head. Work on each type of reward and find out which one works best for your puppy.

Never ever punish or yell at your pet during the training even if you find at times, he is simply ignoring you. Be patient and consistent in your training, and he will get trained.

Punishment will only confuse your pup and incur his fear toward you. This will bring you nowhere!

Use The Right Tone

Watch out for your tone when you are conducting the training. An exciting tone will usually work very well in catching your puppy’s attention as he is thinking that you might have something exciting to share with him. 

Avoid using stern and angry tone as your pup will comprehend that as scolding and mistrust you!

Use Your Body Language

Canines are also very visually oriented animals and can interpret and understand hand signals very well. They can read your body language much faster and easier than your vocal.

This can certainly help to speed up your training and of course, make the training a breeze

So don’t miss out on this powerful “Tool”. Start to pair your auditory command with hand signals in your obedient training.

Keep It Short

Keep the training session short, preferably less than 5 minutes for each session. Young puppies have short attention spans and will lose their focus if the training duration is too long.

Remember to use his name in the training as this will be how he will be identified for the rest of his life! Make sure that he gets to know this in the early stage of training.

Know your expectation so that you can make sure that your puppy is able to meet your goals. This will avoid getting you from getting frustrated when your pup is not behaving the way that you are hoping for.

Don’t be too ambitious in your training else it would confuse your puppy, making any further training a challenge. Remember that he is only 8 weeks old and still learning to use his senses.

Training Environment

Many dog owners tend to overlook this aspect when they are training their dogs and keep grumbling that their pet is not paying attention to them during the training.

You see, similar to humans, where we can easily get distracted from our work by external distraction such as a phone call, this applies to your pup as well.

You need to select a training ground where there is minimum distraction for him. Dogs have a very sensitive sense and are extremely sensitive to any sounds and smell and this can easily attract his attention and be distracted from your training.

A room in your home that doesn’t have any windows and away from your kids will be an ideal choice. Or a confined quiet area in your backyard could be another alternative.

Excessive Energy

If your puppy is full of energy, it is almost impossible for him to do simple tasks such as remain seated, let alone listening to you. This is why you need to find a way to “release” his excessive energy so that he will be in a position (calm down) to listen and obey your instructions.

There are a couple of WAYS that you can easily incorporate in your daily routine to “drain” off his energy.

  1. Take them for a walk every morning and after dinner
  2. Play activities intensive games such as “fetch”, where he will be running around
  3. Get him to play on some brain stimulating toys
How To Get Your Puppy To Listen To You

Option 2: Puppy Just Stop Listening To You Recently

If your pet has been behaving himself very well all along and there is a sudden change of his behavior (not listening to you anymore), this could possibly be related to a few factors:

Change In Environment

Is there any change in your puppy’s environment recently? Did you change his playground or have you moved to a new home or change his sleeping spot?

Dogs are like humans, some adapt to changes pretty fast but there are some who need more time to get used to their new environment. During the adaptation time, he may start to feel restless and turn aggressive and will not listen to you.

Another point to note will be the distraction level for the new environment. If there is various attention “grabbing” stuffs or your puppy is extremely curious and keeps exploring his new environment, it will take some time (till he has settled down) before he will focus his attention back to you.

If you have made any of these changes recently, that could possibly be the reason for his recent behavior changes. Work along this road and revert some of the changes to see if this helps!

Health Issue

If your dog is getting older, health issues could be the potential causes that make his behaviour changes. In fact, your dog is not ignoring you, it’s just that he can’t hear YOU!

As dogs age, they tend to start having vision or hearing loss problems. So it could be for your case, your dog is suffering from hearing impaired?

If he appears to be off-balance, and easily gets startled, he could be suffering from what is known as ruptured eardrum. For this, you would need to seek help from your vet.

Also watch out for any emotion issue such as depression. 

  • Does your puppy sleep more than what he used to be? 
  • Eat less than usual
  • Seems to be hiding from you?
  • No longer keen on participating in his favorite games or events?

Identify these potential causes to determine if this is due to situationals changes (as what I have mentioned in Change In Environment) or it could really be health related issues such as fever, vomiting or pain?

Now that you have a better understanding on what could be the reason and how to work on it, it’s time to put them to action.

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Keep in mind that you should be diligently working on building a trust relationship with your puppy so that he always stays attentive to YOU. Spend more quality time with him through playing games and socialization.

Remember, practice makes perfect. So keep repeating all your training commands and use them as often as possible to make sure that it gets “drill” into your puppy’s mind.