My Puppy Won't Obey Commands

Welcoming a new puppy into your home requires patience and attention. It is important to start working with you pup while he's young so he learns to listen and understands the rules of the house. You shouldn't expect perfect behavior from your puppy, but when he doesn't behave, correct his behavior so he learns what you expect.


Be Consistent

Look at yourself first when your puppy does not obey you. Make sure that you are consistent when telling your pup what you want. For example, if you want him to sit down, you should say "sit," but you may be confusing your puppy by saying "sit" sometimes, "sit down" at other times and burying the command in a sentence sometimes, such as "come over here and sit down." Use simple, consistent one-word commands to help your puppy learn what you want him to do.

Avoid Repeating Commands

When you give your puppy a command, tell him one time what to do. If you repeat the command over and over, your puppy will soon learn to ignore you. Give the command once, and if he ignores you, reinforce the command. For example, if you call for your puppy to come, ask him once, then if he doesn't come, walk over to him and gently pull him toward you.

Increase Activity

Your puppy may be disobedient because he has too much energy. Puppies need plenty of activity, and if they don't get enough, they will look for alternative ways to burn energy off, like running from you when you call them, or chewing on your hand when you place them in the sitting position. Give your puppy several sessions of active play or walks every day. You may be surprised at how his behavior improves when he gets more exercise.

Be Firm

Don't ignore bad behavior. If your puppy doesn't listen when you give him a command, follow up by making him do what you ask. Set yourself up for success by knowing what your puppy is likely to do and be ready to head him off. If he frequently ignores you when you call him, keep a leash connected to his collar so you can grab it and reinforce the "come" command easily. While you need to be firm, it is important not to be aggressive. Yelling or jerking on your dog will not teach him to listen, and can actually make behavior worse.

By Stephanie Dube Dwilson

About the Author
With features published by media such as Business Week and Fox News, Stephanie Dube Dwilson is an accomplished writer with a law degree and a master's in science and technology journalism. She has written for law firms, public relations and marketing agencies, science and technology websites, and business magazines.