Want a more obedient dog? Then you need this trainer’s two simple tips

 Senior woman sitting on stairs at home petting her dog
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Do you love your dog immensely but struggle to get them to listen to you? If so, you're not alone. Many of us have deep bonds with our canine companions but find training them a challenge.

Out of sheer frustration, a lot of us start to look for advice on how to deal with a badly behaved dog — but it's important to note that if your pup isn't being as obedient as you'd like, there's nothing wrong with them or you. 

And the good news is, while obedience training takes time (this is very much a marathon, not a sprint), you can absolutely teach your dog to listen to you. 

Expert trainer Adam Spivey, founder of Southend Dog Training, has posted a video to Instagram in which he shares two simple things you can do to start to teach your pup to listen to you. 

So, grab a pack of long lasting dog chews or treats (you'll need them for your training), and let's dive in...

1. Avoid repeating yourself: Spivey says that one of the most common mistakes he sees dog owners making is that instead of issuing a command once and waiting for the dog to do what they've been asked, they repeat themselves multiple times, watering down their message.

"You're beginning to nag and the dog learns it doesn't have to listen to you," he explains." Instead of asking your dog to sit over and over again, issue the command once and give your dog time to follow through on what's expected of them. 

2. Always reward, don't bribe: "Yes, there is a difference and so many people still struggle with this concept," Spivey says.

"Rewarding your dog and reinforcing a behavior looks like this: you ask your dog to sit, they sit, you mark it, you give your dog a treat — the dog is more likely to do that behavior again because you reinforced that behavior."

A bribe on the other hand would be you asking your dog to sit, the dog doesn't do what you've asked and so you reach into your pocket, get out a treat and show your dog that treat as a way to get them to sit. 

With a bribe, you're teaching the dog to ignore you and focus on the treat — they only do what you ask them to do because they know they're going to get that treat.

With a reward, the treat comes because they've listened to you and done what you've asked them to do. 

It's important to remember that obedience training with your dog requires a great deal of time, patience and consistency, so don't be disheartened if you feel like you're not seeing big results straight away.

However, by following practical tips for training your dog on your own that have been given by qualified professionals who use positive methods, you can slowly start to make real progress on your training journey. 

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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.