When you are just learning to train a disobedient dog, you must first realize that there is a difference between being disobedient and incomprehension. True disobedience occurs if your dog understands what you are commanding her to do but deliberately ignores it.
It may sound cruel in human terms, but establishing, or re-establishing, dominance is key here. Here are some tips to do so:
First, when it is time to leave the house and your dog is going with you, make sure you leave first. Make your dog wait until you tell her it’s time to come. If you let your dog lead the way, she will view it as you telling her she’s the decision-maker, not you. If you are exiting a car, this is the method you take as well; you exit first, your dog second.
Also, make your dog wait for her food. I’m not saying starve your dog here, but by varying the times of day when you fill her bowl, you are letting her know that you are in charge of the eating and not her. When you do fill your dog’s bowl, another thing you should do is make her sit and stay until you give her the go ahead to come and eat.
Don’t allow your dog free and unsupervised access to the entire house. You may have to constantly remind your dog that it’s a privilege for her to be in your den. This can be accomplished by setting certain times of the day to make your dog go outside in the yard, and by not allowing her free use of the furniture or bed. Things like that are reserved for you, not your dog.
You can also show your dog who’s boss by not letting her initiate playtime. If your dog is nudging you or trying to gain your attention to play or start a game, you must ignore her for a few moments. Playtime is obviously a great way to bond with your dog, but it has to be known that playing is done on your terms, not hers.
This rule applies when it comes to your returning home from being out: don’t rush over to your dog and show excitement about seeing her after all your hours away. This may sound harsh, but again, you must let your dog know who the authority figure is, so wait 3 to 5 minutes before hugging and kissing your dog and saying how much you missed her. This shows your dog that you will interact with her when YOU are good and ready.
When learning to train a disobedient dog, setting a 10 to 15 minute a day discipline schedule will also help. When you are having these training sessions, make sure your dog is on a short lead since it is always recommended that you don’t give your dog a command that you cannot enforce immediately. With a short leash you can give your dog a short, sharp tug if she decides she is going to ignore one of your commands.
The tone of your voice is another effective way to make sure your dog understands your authority. Corrections should always be uttered in a stern, no-nonsense tone, and you’ll find a loud “Oi!” or “Ah-Ahhh!” sound is usually more effective than just shouting “No!”. Praise, on the other hand, is always given in a soft, cheery, and happy tone of voice.
Dogs are also good at reading the expressions on your face too, so naturally you will have the looks to coincide with your voice, letting your dog know if you are happy or unhappy with her behavior at that moment. Don’t repeat commands either. Use the leash-tug as a way to remind your dog you just made a request and you are still in charge.
Another thing to keep in mind when you are learning to train a disobedient dog is that formal training classes never hurt. They are a great way to socialize your dog and get her used to being around other people and other dogs. They are usually very successful in getting a dog to concentrate on the task at hand despite the possible distractions going on all around her.
It’s also helpful being face to face with a professional trainer because they may be able to pick up on any mistakes that you might be making and give you advice on how to correct your dog’s disobedience.