Controlling Dog Disobedience
Who's Head Of the Household?

Dog disobedience, for the purpose of this article, is a dog that knows a command but chooses not to follow it. Example: You tell him to “sit” and he deliberately refuses to “sit,” even though he has had no trouble executing the command in the past.

Example: This Vizsla knows to "come" when called
but chooses to run away and act a bit wild instead.

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This is not a minor incident. It is quite serious. Suppose your dog was heading for a busy street and you called him to “come” and he refused for whatever reason. It could turn tragic. In addition, it damages your relationship with your dog.

When your dog disobeys you, he is actually saying, “I don’t respect your authority." You have no authority over me; I am more important than you." Dog disobedience comes from disrespect. "I’m not going to do what you want me to do.”

If this is allowed to continue, a degree of passive-aggression will form and it will NOT fix itself. The problem will worsen.

Dog disobedience is a problem of "ALPHA DOG syndrome," or "hierarchy in the family." Your dog will be much happier when he realizes YOU are the leader, the ALPHA in his pack. Once he sees you as the leader, he will settle down and happily take orders from you, as any functioning relationship with a dog should be.

How to train a dog that's disobedient is easier than it may seem.

Here's a disobedient dog that has decided she does NOT
want to leash-walk or even walk at all, though she knows better.

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How To Train A Dog

  • The dog wants to know that someone is making all the important decisions for him such as food schedules, walks, exercise and play. Once he knows he is beneath you and you are the clear-cut authority, you’ll have a great dog-owner relationship. Please stop and read our page on becoming alpha dog.

  • Don’t let the dog initiate play. If he comes to you with a ball or hints at the desire to play, ignore him. If he tries to become affectionate, find something else to do. Start play time and affection on your own schedule. What he’s saying is “I’m the boss, play with me right now.”

  • Don’t give him access to the whole house. Prevent the dog from roaming. Put him outdoors for a half hour, then indoors for awhile on your schedule. He must learn he will do things YOUR way. Keep areas of the house and furniture strictly off limits to the dog. Make it a rule he must follow.

    "Won't somebody come play ball with me?"
    Don't let your dog down. This Jack Russell is sad and lonely and on his way to disobedience.

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  • Maintain a schedule of obedience training. It’s a good way to counteract dog disobedience and bond with your dog at the same time. Since disobedience is a lack of dominance, obedience training is the opposite in your dog’s eyes. You are definitely exerting your dominance when you’re training. Just do five to ten minutes at a time, twice a day.

    This is an important reminder from the page you just read:

  • When you come home from a day at work, do NOT go straight to your dog. Walk in, put your things away, get the paper and sit down, all the while ignoring the dog as best you can. MAKE HIM FEEL UNIMPORTANT. After five or six minutes, call him to you and then shower him with affection on your own schedule.

    You’ll have a much better dog if you follow through on this anti-dog disobedience effort. And, as “alpha dog,” you will be solving other behavior problems before they arise too. Updated 10/9/09

    Go From Dog Disobedience To Dog Behavior Training