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Confuse a Dog – how it is so easy to do!

It is so easy to confuse your dog. He or She will become very confused when their owners’ words, expressions and tones don’t match. If you were to crouch down and call your dog using a happy voice but with a frown on your face and a stern look in your eye, he wouldn’t know what to do! Is he supposed to come or are you mad at him? If he does come, he’ll probably do it fearfully since frowns and stern eyes usually mean something unpleasant is in store! How many times have you seen your dog do this? If your signals are mixed, he can only guess at what you want or what will happen to him.

Many owners give commands in a questioning tone: For instance, “Barney, sit?” This tells the dog you’re not sure of yourself and don’t know exactly what you want him to do. If you don’t know, he often won’t either! Others draw the word out into something that sounds soothing, sinister and questioning at the same time: “Barney, siiiiit?” The poor dog doesn’t know what in the world you’re trying to get across and might not respond at all! You have to show your dog that you believe they can do it – your voice has to be convincing especially as your teenage dog is growing up.

Your dog will pay attention to your posture, too. Crouching to the dog’s level invites them to come or play – think about this as your puppy is growing up. We can usually get a puppy to come back by doing this. But as your adolescent dog, starts to push back on the boundaries, you have to be clear about what you want your dog to do.. Standing straight with your shoulders down and being clear and firm helps your dog understand you are someone to be respected and know what you are doing. (You have to bluff until you believe it yourself 😉

To be most effective when training and communicating with your dog, your expression, eyes and tone of voice all must say the same thing. You need to use different expressions and tones for different situations and keep those signals consistent. When you tell your dog to do something, use a low-toned, firm, matter of fact voice. “Barney, sit!” Your facial expression should be neutral, neither smiling nor frowning, you should be standing up straight and your eyes should say “Do it!” This is as clear to the dog as it gets – he sees that you expect him to do as he’s told and if he understands the command, he will do it.

If he obeys, give him a huge smile and praise with a happy, cheerful voice. Let him know exactly how pleased you are with him. If he didn’t obey, use a corrective noise maybe give him a dirty look and then tell them again and believe they will do it. One word of warning, this little exercise is best done when you have your dog indoors and not when they can run off. Be sure that you have control of the surroundings before you start. No point in trying this if they can just ignore you and run off, is there? Go on, practice with your dog and have some fun. If you get someone to video the whole thing, you will be surprised what you see.

Any questions or worries, get in touch today at

and we can work out what is going on. Remember if you have a dog that isn’t too good at coming back everytime you call them, then do not let them off over the next few days. You really do not want to lose them over the holidays, do you? Long lines are the key!


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