If anyone comes to me for tips on how to get dogs to listen more, I always ask them to do this:
“Think of the most connected, most effective conversations you’ve had with a loved one. Were they done with shouting, or were they filled with calm, understanding energy?”
Surely, you would say the latter.
And it’s true. As a parent, the most effective conversations I’ve had with my children are ones done in absolute calmness.
Without raised voices.
No hurtful words.
And like what I mentioned in my book “What The Dogs Taught Me About Being A Parent”, it’s the same with our dogs!
One of the best ways to make dogs listen and connect with us is to practice silence and calm energy whenever we communicate with them.
Read on to learn more about this.
- Dogs listen and connect with us more when we have a calmer energy.
- Starting the day with a calmer energy helps our dogs become calm and receptive to us.
- What we consider as regular noise can already be too overwhelming for our dogs. Making sure our energies and noise are regulated can help dogs tune in better.
Table of Contents:
- How to Get Dogs to Listen: We Listen More to Silence Than the Noise
- Why Silence Is Important in Making Dogs Listen to Us More
- 5 Reasons Why a Dog Is Not Responding To You
3.1 Reason #1: They Are Overwhelmed
3.2 Reason #2: The Energy You Have Speaks Differently Than Your Voice
3.3 Reason #3: You’re Shouting a Lot, and They No Longer Know What’s Urgent and What’s Not
3.4 Reason #4: You Are Not Connected with Your Dog
3.5 Reason #5: They Don’t See You as a Leader They Can Trust
- Use this Quick Exercise on Silence and Calm Energy To Make Your Dog Listen More
4.1 Step 1: Start Your Day Quietly
4.2 Step 2: Observe the Effect on Your Dog
4.3 Step 3: Call Your Dog Calmly
- How to Get Dogs to Listen More: Why Yelling Is Not the Answer
5.1 Reason #1: Yelling Tells Your Dog You’re Not a Confident Leader, Making It Hard for Them to Follow You
5.2 Reason #2: Yelling — as a Knee Jerk Reaction — Rarely Builds Any Connection
5.3 Reason #3: If We Go About Yelling Every Time, Our Dog Will Constantly Carry a Stressed Energy With Them
- The Dog Calming Code: The Program That Helps Calm Dogs Down and Makes Them Listen More
How To Get Dogs to Listen: We Listen More to Silence Than The Noise
Let me share a simple story that shows why quiet moments matter when communicating with dogs.
My wife and I went on a double date with our friends one evening.
We all started chatting in the car and having a great time.
But during the trip, something interesting happened.
My friend and I stopped talking and focused on listening to our wives speaking softly.
My friend turned to me and said, “Hey, mate, I think they’re talking about something important!”
We spent the rest of the drive in complete silence, eager to hear what they were discussing.
This experience made me realize that sometimes, being quiet and calm helps you communicate better than shouting!
This lesson from everyday life also applies to training dogs. Our dogs respond better to calm and quiet energy than loud noises.
If you really want your dog to listen, focus on the silence and the calm.
Why Silence Is Important in Making Dogs Listen to Us More
Important note: I have to add here that when I say silence, I don’t mean you say zero words to your dog. It is being intentional with words, ensuring we keep what we say, and our energy, in check.
So, why is silence important for dogs?
In the wild, dogs are calmer and quieter. They are not used to hearing shouting. In fact, they only use their sound — like barking and howling — to communicate danger and to protect the pack.
They use noise for the REAAAALLY important stuff.
It’s a different story for our domesticated dogs.
Every single day, they have to deal with different kinds of noise like:
- The hustle and bustle of morning preparations when kids and adults start their day.
- The busy reunions at night time when everyone has to scramble to prepare for dinner or family time.
- Loud sports matches on TV and the hyperactive energy from watching these kind of programs.
And what seems to be regular noise to us is already too much for our dogs. Too much that it makes dogs tune out and not hear what we are saying!
And this overwhelm and tuning out makes it hard for dogs to understand your commands, which can make you wonder, “Does my dog even listen to me?”
5 Reasons Why a Dog Is Not Responding To You
I always tell dog owners this: a dog who doesn’t seem to listen is a dog who has tuned out.
Dogs are not inherently disobedient and defiant. Sometimes, it’s just hard for them to get you.
Here are some factors that could contribute to their inability to listen and respond to your commands.
Reason #1: They Are Overwhelmed
Just like humans, our dogs can become overwhelmed by their surroundings or situations.
If your dog is exposed to too much stimuli, such as noise, new people, or unfamiliar environments, they may need help to focus on your commands.
It’s crucial to recognize when your dog might be feeling overwhelmed and take steps to create a calmer and more controlled environment.
What to Do
If you suspect your dog has tuned out, retrace what happened before. Have you been shouting more? Is the noise at home louder this time? Is there increased activity in your home?
Knowing what caused your dog to tune out can help you understand what’s causing your dog to become unresponsive to your commands.
Reason #2: The Energy You Have Speaks Differently Than Your Voice
In fact, they can sense your emotions and intentions often more accurately than they can understand your words.
When they pick up on these negative emotions, it becomes more difficult for them to respond positively to your commands.
What to Do
Always make sure that your energy matches your words. If you ask your dog to “Please calm down,” you have to be calm as well.
Remember: dogs understand energy more than words! When they see that you’re calm, they can calm down, too.
Reason #3: You’re Shouting a Lot, and They No Longer Know What’s Urgent and What’s Not
Consistent shouting or using a loud, commanding tone can lead to confusion for your dog.
The louder you shout, the more they are desensitized to your voice, not knowing when a command is really essential.
As dog owners, there are crucial moments when shouting is a NEED. If you’re always shouting for every single command, you lose the power of a louder voice.
What to Do
Use clear and consistent commands with a normal tone of voice.
Only use loud or urgent commands when you want immediate action from your dog. This way, your dog will better understand when it’s CRUCIAL to respond promptly.
Reason #4: You Are Not Connected with Your Dog
A strong connection with you is what makes dogs understand what you’re asking from them.
Your dog should have a strong connection with you to know that your commands are always for the better.
If you haven’t invested enough time in building this connection and trust, your dog can go and think:
“Should I trust them enough to do what they’re commanding me to do?”
What to Do
Connect with your dog using a non-threatening and calm energy. When your dog is agitated, calmly check for the reason and avoid reacting harshly.
Reason #5: They Don’t See You as a Leader They Can Trust
Dogs are pack animals and naturally inclined to follow a leader they can trust.
Our dogs will constantly check on us to see if we’re the leader they can rely on. They will sometimes test us, checking if we’re easily provoked or if we are truly the leader capable of leading the pack.
The more we show a calm, sure, confident energy, the more they will trust us.
What to Do
Establish yourself as a trustworthy leader by setting clear boundaries and rules for your dog. And always do things with a calm energy.
If your dog refuses your commands, you can use the strategy I call the Three C’s: the calm, consistent, consequence to an action. An example of this is gently leading your dog to a timeout when a behavior needs to be corrected.
It’s timeout with absolutely zero angry energy. It’s powerful for dogs!
Use this Quick Exercise on Silence and Calm Energy To Make Your Dog Listen More
A routine that begins in silence is one effective exercise to strengthen your bond with your dog and encourage a more attentive response. th
Here’s how you can try it:
Step 1: Start Your Day Quietly
In the morning, when you check in with your dog, aim to keep your energy low and your actions almost silent.
You can start with as little as 30 seconds of this calm interaction, or if you’re up for it, extend it to three minutes.
The key is to connect with your dog in a very calm, very serene way.
Step 2: Observe the Effect on Your Dog
While you enjoy the calm, start observing how your dog responds to your quieter demeanor. This exercise will show you how your dog react to a positive change in your energy.
Step 3: Call Your Dog Calmly
After a few minutes of this serene connection, gently say your dog’s name, crouch down, and calmly call them over to you.
Observe how they respond as they approach you. They will exhibit a far calmer energy compared to when you initiate interactions with a more elevated energy level.
How to Get Dogs to Listen More: Why Yelling Is Not the Answer
I know that not yelling at dogs is easier said than done, especially when we feel like our dogs just don’t pay attention to what we are saying.
If you do struggle with yelling, here are some things I want you to remember the next time you feel triggered to raise your voice at your dogs.
Reason #1: Yelling Tells Your Dog You’re Not a Confident Leader, Making It Hard for Them to Follow You
The pack leader often exudes a calm and confident energy. They can’t be challenged because they know they’re capable. Even in danger, they show the pack they can handle it.
Dogs are pack animals, and if you want them to listen to you, you have to show them you’re worthy of being listened to.
How? By showing calm and confident energy… just like a pack leader would!
If you’re running around anxious, or if your dog’s actions trigger a stressed reaction, your dog will start to think
“They aren’t confident and brave enough as a pack leader. When I’m stressed, they get more stressed! They’re worried! They’re scared! Should I trust them? Can they really make me safe? Should I really listen to them?”
Remember this: in your dog’s eyes, leadership is not always synonymous with shouting.
Reason #2: Yelling — as a Knee Jerk Reaction — Rarely Builds Any Connection
Let’s take the example of a dog who does not stop barking.
Dogs bark when they feel the property they’re protecting is threatened.
Some dog owners think that dogs bark just because, and a “Stop it!” — in a shouty fashion — is enough.
It’s not enough.
As long as the dog isn’t pacified that you’ve seen the threat, you’ve analyzed the threat, and you’ve shown your dog that you got it covered, the barking will not stop.
(I talk more about this in Doggy Dan Golden Rule #4: Danger)
Calmly approaching a barking episode can help you see what really triggers the barking. Your calmness also tells your dog “I’m the leader and I’m not worried. I got it all covered for you. You’re safe. You can stop barking.”
It’s a connection that only happens when we stop yelling at our dogs !
Reason #3: If We Go About Yelling Every Time, Our Dog Will Constantly Carry a Stressed Energy With Them
Your dog doesn’t just feel your energy; they absorb it, too.
If you’re running stressed all around the house, your dog will absorb that stress, too. And a stressed dog is rarely a dog that obeys and listens.
If you want a calmer dog, the calm energy should start with you.
The Dog Calming Code: The Program That Helps Calm Dogs Down and Makes Them Listen More
Choosing to be calm is such a journey for every dog owner. But it’s one worth taking because it comes with amazing benefits such as:
- A calmer dog
- A healthier relationship built on trust
- A loving connection with your dog
- A more peaceful home
- A dog who isn’t always stressed and agitated
- And so much more!
My online program, The Dog Calming Code™️, is for any dog owner who wants to know how to make dogs listen and obey more without using force or shouting.
Following this program lets you communicate with your dogs calmly and clearly. When calmness prevails in your relationship, you can enjoy a dog who connects with you, listens to you, and obeys you without any need for you to shout.
To know more about The Dog Calming Code, click here.
~ Doggy Dan 😄
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