Boost your dog’s obedience in just one step with this clever tip from an expert trainer

A young woman training a chocolate lab puppy to shake hands at a park
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Disclaimer: Unless specifically stated, any expert comments quoted in this news piece have been taken directly from the video cited below.

If you're struggling to figure out how to deal with a badly behaved dog, rest assured, you're not alone.

A lot of pet parents find themselves challenged by behaviors such as incessant barking, jumping up, or their dog's refusal to remain in a sit or stay position. 

These sorts of behaviors tend to be particularly prevalent when a dog comes across another dog, cat, new person, or anything other interesting object they may be able to chase or interact with.

When your dog goes into chase mode or engages in another behavior that you don't want, you may well try to get them to sit only to have them ignore you. 

So, what's behind their refusal to do what you ask of them?

Well, according to expert trainer Adam Spivey, founder of Southend Dog Training, there's a very simple reason for this. Read on to find out what it is and how to fix it...

"The reason this happens is because 99% of the time you only ever ask your dog to do these behaviors when there's a distraction," explains Spivey.

Only practising commands like sit and stay when distractions are present, or when you're about to take your dog for a walk or feed them, reduces the likelihood they'll be able to perform the command when you need them to.

"If you want your dog to have stronger obedience when it's around distractions, practice it when there's nothing going on," Spivey advises.

"Does your dog follow you to the toilet? Why not pop it in a 'down' instead of letting it follow you.

"Does your dog follow you to the kitchen? Why not pop it into a sit, do what you need to do in the kitchen and then release your dog.

"When you're walking down the road, for no reason whatsoever, stop, pop your dog in a sit."

Spivey says it's what you do when there's nothing going on that will affect how your dog behaves when there is something going on. 

Practice obedience at random times when your dog isn't expecting it and you'll soon notice they listen to you more when you most need them to. 

Kathryn Williams
Freelance writer

Kathryn is a freelance writer who has been a member of the PetsRadar family since it launched in 2020. Highly experienced in her field, she's driven by a desire to provide pet parents with accurate, timely, and informative content that enables them to provide their fur friends with everything they need to thrive. Kathryn works closely with vets and trainers to ensure all articles offer the most up-to-date information across a range of pet-related fields, from insights into health and behavior issues to tips on products and training. When she’s not busy crafting the perfect sentence for her features, buying guides and news pieces, she can be found hanging out with her family (which includes one super sassy cat), drinking copious amounts of Jasmine tea and reading all the books.