Q&A: How to get my dog to listen all the time?

husky-puppyMy dog is a Husky x English Mastiff and she listens to me sometimes but sometimes doesn’t. I know she doesn’t take me seriously when I try to use a big voice. If I take her out to the park she plays keep away with me. Like she won’t come to me no matter how much I call or coax her until she’s ready. How do I stop this and make her listen to me without hesitation? ~Morgen

Hello Morgen! What a fantastic mix you have there! I bet she is certainly a handful. I think I can help you. (: There are actually a few things you want to remember, and a couple different solutions.

Many dogs enjoy the ‘game’ of keep-away. The chase simulates their hunting instincts stretching back thousands of years (although many dogs don’t consciously relate the two). I’m willing to bet your pup finds enjoyment in the ‘chase’. The park also likely resembles an area she feels safe with playtime activities.

Huskies are a very energetic breed, actually bred as a working dog to help pull loads far distances. In fact, these guys are the prime choice for professional dog mushers, commonly seen in endurance races like the world renown 1000 mile cross Alaskan Iditarod.

In the early 1900’s, before Huskies became the breed of choice, mushers preferred breeds like the larger and more powerful Malamutes. While they are stronger and able to endure heavier loads, Alaskan Malamutes aren’t nearly able to match the outstanding endurance of the Siberian Husky!

Your Two Options
This first option uses a reward based training method, and is by far my preferred method. Think of a command word you want to use (I prefer to use ‘Here’). Every time you use the command, give your dog a tasty treat reward. Eventually, she will begin to relate the reward with the word you use, and return to you every time- as long as the reward you’re offering is more preferable to whatever is currently occupying her attention.

Since she will be playing in the park, she might prefer to continue playing over your reward. You want to try and become the most entertaining thing around, using plenty of enthusiastic praise and joyous body language.

Second Option
This option uses a punishment based enforcement method. Where as you might cringe, punishment based training has its place. If you are trying to train your girl to avoid dangerous areas, like busy roads, or dangerous animals like poisonous snakes (depending on the part of the world you live in), this is certainly something you want to consider. I much prefer a little discomfort to a potential fatal situation.

This is where things like the electric collar come in handy. If you do decide to purchase an e-collar, be sure not to overuse it and make sure the setting is appropriate for your girl’s size. Inappropriate use of these tools can lead to fear or even aggression.

I hope this helps you. If you have any further questions please let me know!

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Junior Watson

Junior is the DogTrainingBasics.com resident "Top Dog". He enjoys walks in the park, chasing invisible cats, and of course... bacon strips!

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