Disobedient dogs

Disobedient dogs
Disobedient dogs

First we need to make the difference between disobedience and incomprehension. If your dog does not obey you simply because he does not understand what you are asking of him it is not behavorial problem. In this case you just need to train a little more together and maybe you need to learn the methods needed to make him understand.

When your dog really disobeys you deliberately, he knows what you mean but ignores you command. If your dog has already performed the command several times before but refuse to do it now then you can be sure the disobedience is deliberate.
This might seem like a minor inconvenience but is actually quite serious. It can be dangerous for your dog (imagine if he is running across the road and ignores your “come” command) and it is also detrimental for your relationship with your dog.

A disobedient dog is disrespectful. When your dog deliberately disobeys you he is saying that he does not respect your authority and does not consider you superior to him. You must not let him get away with this but must immediately establish yourself as the leader of your household. The same goes for the rest of the family. The other members of your family should also be superior to him.

It is important to understand the concept of the alpha dog. This is important in order to keep a healthy and functional relationship with your dog. It might not seem appealing from a human point of view but a dog is much happier when someone else is taking the decisions for him. A lot behavior problems with dogs, relate to this.

comic dog on sofaA dog suffering from separation anxiety for example, often does this because she thinks she is in charge of the family and has to protect them. When the family leaves with out her, she gets worried because she can not see them and therefore not protect them. When someone else is in charge she will relax, knowing that protection is not her task. So to maintain a healthy relationship with your dog, you need to be his/her superior.

So the first thing you need to do in order to deal with disobedience is to re-establish your authority

– When you leave your house or car you must leave before your dog. Among dogs, the Alpha dog always leave first. So never allow him to exit first, by doing this you are telling him that he is the decision maker an that he should go first. Doors inside your house are not that important but the front door of your house or your car is. You should go out first and then give him the command to follow.

– You and your family should eat before him. It does not matter if he has to wait half an hour for his food. Make sure you and your family eat first. When serving your dog, let him sit first and then give him the command that he may eat.

– Don’t give him free access to the entire house.
The house is your den and your rules apply. Restrict access to certain parts of the house and certain pieces of furniture, such as your bed and maybe your sofa. If you give access to your sofa, make sure he only jumps up on it when you have given him the command to do so.

disobedient dogs
disobedient dogs

– Your dog should not be allowed to initiate play. A dog who is nudging you for attention or if he wants to play a game might seem cute and affectionate, but what it really means is: I am the boss and I am telling you to play with me. If he bothers you for attention, ignore him until he gives up and then take the initiative to play with him. Playing is a great way to bond with your dog but make sure the game is on your terms and not his.

– When you get home don’t run to him to give him attention and affection. This is not the behavior of an alpha dog. When the alpha dog get home, he does not go over to the other dogs to cuddle with them. He ignores them, maybe he relaxes for a little while or have something to eat and when he is ready he will go over to the others. You might be ready to cudde with your dog directly when you get inside the door but to your dog it will make more sense if you ignore him for a few minutes. This is the behavior of the Alpha dog.

Another great way of working against disobedience is to to create a basic obedience training plan and then maintain it. It does not need to be fancy or demanding. You just need to do this 10 minutes a day and this can be dropped to 5 minutes a day when your dog executes the commands reliably.

-Some important key points:

'Stop! Heel! Sit!!!'
‘Stop! Heel! Sit!!!’

– Don’t give commands that can not be obeyed immidiately Every time your dog ignores your command he learns that it is easier and more fun to ignore you. If for example he is at the other side of the park playing with other dogs he would most likely prefer to ignore your command and keep playing instead of coming to you. This would be easy, as you are so far away. Your dog should be kept on a long line or retractable lead so you can control him as needed.

– Use your voice as a tool. When you praise your dog your voice should have a  light, cheery, happy tone.; Smiling at the same time will make it even better as dogs often study your face and check the expressions of your face. too. When correcting your dog your voice should have a stern, brook-no-nonsense tone. No need to shout but your voice should be authoritative and low.

When you’re verbally stopping your dog, it works better to shout “OI or Ah Ah Ah instead of No, these sounds will be more clear cut and effective.

– Do not repeat a command. Remember, you should be training on a leash or a long line: if he ignores you, he gets a short, sharp tug (some call it a ‘flick’) on the lead to remind him that you’re present, and you’re in charge. Repeating yourself teaches him to wait for the command to be repeated at least once before he obeys you.

-Keep training sessions short.
A dog is not able to keep its concentration for too long. A training session between 5 and 15 minutes every day is enough. Many dogs are exhausted after a 15 minute training session and head for their beds to take a nap,

If you feel like it, you can move on to more advanced training after your dog has mastered the basics but from an obedience point of view, this is not necessary.

– Formal obedience training classes is another option. They are a good way of socializing your dog as he gets to interact with other dogs and their owners. It will also teach him to concentrate on what you want, despite the many distractions taking place around him. It is also helpful to to have personal contact with a professional dog trainer. He or she can give you feedback on your progress and give you advice on your training techniques.

If you want to learn more


Secrets To Dog Training
Secrets To Dog Training

If you want to learn more about dogs behavior and psychology I would suggest that you take a look at Secrets to Dog Training. It is written by a professional dog trainer and gives you all information you need to train your dog, to prevent and solve and dog training problems you might have. Here is a link to my review of Secrets to Dog Training.




The forum of the online dog trainer
The forum of the online dog trainer

Another option would be to take a look at the Online Dog Trainer. It is a video based training site where you learn how to train your dog by watching videos. There is also excellent support in the site’s forum, where questions are answered by the dog trainer, Doggy Dan himself. Here is a link to my review of the Online Dog Trainer


Comments 22

  • Hey nice article you have there. Thanks for sharing such a timely information. The trauma I got each passing day because if my dog disobedience, has given me an alternative to sell him out. Well having gone through this article and the various tips involved in re establishing authority in disobedient dogs. I will employ these tips and give my dog a second chance, do hope it works, Regards.

    • Hi and thank you,

      just be patient and go through the steps and you will see that your dog soon will obey you. If you have any questions or if I can be of any help, please feel free to contact me any time.

      Good luck


  • Hi there! this is an amazing article you have got here. For me, to control a misbehaving dogs, it is a cool idea to talk with your vet for advice. For my dog, I tried using a restraint, such as a collar or head halter and I also looked into obedience classes in your area to improve your dog’s behavior in the long term.

    • To stop a dog from misbehaving, you have to learn how a dog think and functions only then can you get your dog to obey you. You are right about local obdience classes, they are a great way of learning obedience and meet up with other dog owners and share experiences at the same time. Your vet might very well have information about obedience classes in your area, so yes, it would be a good idea to ask him/her.


  • Helo Dear a big thanks to you for sharing this beautiful article in disobedient dogs. It’s always very challenging having a disobedient dog. Anyways I have really grabbed a lot from this article some measure and tips to take to keep my dog always on track. Using  one’s  voice as a tool is really a nice option. Thanks

    • Yes, the voice is a great tool when it comes to communicating with your dog. Dogs are sensitive to the tone of your voice. Use a sharper voice (but no yelling) when you correct it, a neutral voice for giving commands and a happy voice when you praise it.

      Making a dog obey is really a question of understanding how dogs function, establishing yourself as the packleader and making your dog understand what you want from it.

  • Hello there! Dealing with a disobedient dog can be very frustrating but there is always the potential for improvement. However, not all dogs disobey in same way and at such it is very important to figure out exactly how and in what situations your dog acts in an unruly manner.

    Thank you!

    • Hi,

      You are soo very right, there are different reasons why dogs disobeys you. Either it does not respect you and does not consider you to be the leader and in that case you need to establish yourself as the packleader before doing anything else. It can also be that your dog simply does not understand what you want from it. In that case you need to learn how to communicate with your dog so that he/she will understand what you want him/her to do.

  • Hello there! thanks a lot for this article… Very insightful article into the behavior of dogs and how to train them. I myself have a dog too, and I didn’t know that by letting it go out the front door first, you are actually signalling to the dog that he or she is the decision maker, pretty interesting stuff. thanks a lot

    • Yes, there are little things that we do in our everyday life which means nothing to us but is of great importance to a dog. Things like leaving the house before your dog, eating before your dog, controlling its food (also applies to bones). All these things show your dog that YOU are the leader of the pack so these things are important in order to get your dog to obey you.

  • Great article, it was worth a read. It is not hard for a dog owner to perform basic obedience training to his dog. Websites like yours do have important information every dog owner should read. When it comes to disobedient dogs you are right, the disobedient dog is the disrespectful dog. We should understand animals do not think the same way as we do. We as humans, do have our own values, we grew up with them and we behave accordingly. Dogs do not have human values, they have “dog values.” A good dog owner and a good dog trainer have good grasp of “dog values.” This article helped me get into a “dog’s head” for a while.  


    • You are soo right. People tend to forget (or they just don’t know) that dogs are dogs and people are people. In order to make a dog understand what you want from it you need to “think like a dog”. Dogs don’t speak our language so we need to explain what we  want from them in another way. There are plenty of a techniques to show a dog the various things you want to teach it, but before doing so you need to establish yourself as the packleader. Once this is done your dog will respect you and it will be eager to follow your commands.

  • Hello there! 

    I didn’t know the difference between disobedience and incomprehension. Thanks for the new info. I also didn’t know that there were so many things to do to have a happy relationship with our dogs. Now that I am more informed, I can be smart about taking care of my dog!

    Again, thank you for posting such useful information!
    With regards,

    • Hi,

      the key to have a well behaved dog is to understand why your dog acts like it does and then take action based on that. If your dog does not understand what you want from it, of course it can not do what you want. In that case you need to learn the methods to make your dog understand what you want from you. However if your dog does not respect you, it might simply ignore your command because it does not consider your instructions important. That is a completely different thing and need to be dealt with in another way.

  • Hi

    You sometimes  wonder when you are talking to your dog that your are speaking to them a language that is incomprehensible to them. You say one thing and the dog does another thing and that is why I found this article to be useful. I now know what is required, what to say and what to do. I must try all these useful tips to see if my cheeky dogs will start to behave or that I have a naturally lazy dog. I would appreciate any tips on this regard.



    • I once heard of a guy who firmly said NO to his dog and then when they walked from the park, he said to his dog: “we have talked about this”. No dogs don’t speak our language so must use other methods to make them understand us.

      You say your dog is lazy? In what way? I would gladely like to help you to get your dogs to behave but I do need a little more info. Start out by using some of the tricks and methods mentioned in this post and then get back to me and tell me how things go.

      All the best,


  • I have two dogs, one that I have had since a pup, for over 8 years. The other is a rescue dog, Teddy, that I have had for 2 years now. Teddy is a little slow in learning what he is supposed to do and not supposed to do in the house. I don’t know that I would call it disobedient. But with a lot of the things you have noted to do to train the dogs, such as not welcoming them when you get home, kind of goes against my grain I guess. Actually a lot of the suggestions. I guess my point is, I think all dogs can be trained differently. Cooper, my older dog is very well trained, and I trained him pretty much against everything you say not to do LOL

    • Yes that is understandable, a happy affectionate dog is simply soo hard to resist, I would have the same problem. Then again, you might be able to follow some of this advice if not all of them. It sort of depends on the dog. With some dogs you can be far more easygoing as they are soo eager to please you so they will do what ask for even if you are inconsistent in your training and even if you do not always act like a leader. It depends on both the individual dog and the breed of dog.

  • Very insightful article into the behaviour of dogs and how to train them. I myself have a dog too, and I didn’t know that by letting it go out the front door first, you are actually signalling to the dog that he or she is the decision maker, pretty interesting stuff.

    • Yes, I find it interesting as well. There are soo many little things we do in our everyday life with our dogs that we think nothing off but which means a lot to a dog. For example leaving a bone with your dog will make him think he is in control of the food and therefore he might consider himself a leader. It does not matter if he has not touched that bone in days, by giving him control of it he considers himself to be in charge. So the lesson is that when your dog has finished chewing it, you take it. You should be in control of these things, you decide, things are done on your initiative, not your dog’s.

  • I’ve always been a fan of techniques used to help train your dogs. The “flick” in particular is something I’ve used before and seen work but I didn’t realise there was so much to do with your own behaviour as the owner that affects your dog too. Do you think it’s easier for them to recognise you as the alpha if you raise them from a pup or can you always retrain an adult dog to submit?

    • You are right, it is easier to establish yourself as the Alpha when you raise them from a pup but you can always establish yourself as a leader even with an adult dog. The hierarchy among dogs are never “set in stone” but can be changed and dogs can raise or lower their rank. Becoming the leader of an adult dog is still possible but will require more work than when raising a pup.

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