Dogs are the best. They are loyal, playful, and always up for an adventure. They are also known for being fiercely loyal and protective of their humans, but there is one aspect of the dog-human relationship that owners can never seem to figure out: why do dogs sometimes ignore us? This post will show you likely reasons and what you can do about them.

So, why does my dog ignore me? Likely reasons why your dog ignores you are that your dog does not understand what you are trying to tell it, not enough training, over excitement, boredom, or inadvertently rewarding the behavior.

There are many possible reasons why your dog has been ignoring you and it might be due to a combination of reasons. However, there are some things you can consider when figuring out the main cause and there are some things you can do about it.

Why does my dog ignore me?

Below are likely causes and what would make each of them more likely.

Your dog does not understand you

The first possible reason is that you’re trying to communicate with it only with words. If you try to communicate with your dog solely through words, without training it to learn their meaning, you’ll have a hard time getting anywhere.

Instead, dogs are better at understanding emotions and actions. If you’re trying to teach your dog to sit then it would be easier to initially lure it into sitting using a treat than to simply try telling it to sit without any other kind of direction.

Not enough training

If your dog has not been getting much training it will not know how you want it to behave, what it means when you tell it to do things and it will behave the way it feels like behaving. The way it feels like behaving is not likely to be the way you would like it to behave.

This is why it is important to make sure to give it lots of training so that it learns how to behave and what you want it to do when you ask it to do things. If it has not received much training, it would help to start with the basics in an environment without many distractions and to build up from there.

Over excitement

It could be the case that something has been causing it to become overly excited. If something is causing your dog to get overly excited, such as someone being at the front door, then it will be less likely to listen to you.

To fix this it’s important to train your dog to be well behaved in these situations and to give it lots of exercise so that it has a chance to expend its energy.

Boredom

When dogs do not get enough exercise they can be much more difficult to manage and it might be the reason why yours has been ignoring you. This would be more likely if your dog tends to ignore you more before getting exercise and if it has been ignoring you more since it started getting less exercise. In this case, it would help to ensure your dog is able to get the right amount of daily exercise for its age and breed.

A change of location

The cause could be that there are distractions in the environment that are causing it to struggle to keep its focus on you. This would be more likely if you are able to get it to listen to you in environments where there are not many distractions.

To fix this you can try re-doing the training at the different location. You’ll probably find that it is much easier the second time around.

A lack of trust

If your dog did listen to you in the past but it has stopped doing it suddenly, the issue could be that it has learned that listening to you results in it getting things that it does not want.

For example, you might have been tapping on its food bowl to get it to come inside when it’s not actually time for its dinner.

Over time, doing things like that will teach your dog that doing what you say won’t necessarily be rewarding for it so it doesn’t listen as much.

To correct this it’s important to employ lots of positive reinforcement training where you reward it with treats for doing the things that you want it to do.

Encouraging the behavior

Another possible cause is that it has learned that the behavior gets rewarded. If you tend to give it things such as toys, treats and extra attention, when it ignores you, it will likely do it more in order to get more rewards.

Depression

It is possible for dogs to become depressed and it could be the reason why yours has been behaving that way.

If your dog has suddenly become unresponsive after an event like losing its friend, changing homes or a change of owner then it could be the cause.

Here, you can try giving it lots of attention and exercise but you might also want to get help from a vet as well.

Command nagging

The problem could be that you have been command nagging. This is where you tell your dog to do something repeatedly without it complying.

It’s important to remember that your dog can only respond to you the way that you want it to if it knows that’s what you want and that it will get it what it wants. This is why it’s important not to make large jumps in what you ask of it when you’re training it and to take it in small steps instead.

Hearing issues

It could be the case that it has a ruptured eardrum and it has been causing it to struggle to listen to you. This would be more likely if it has started ignoring you suddenly. If you think that this might be the case then the best thing for you to do would be to take it to the vet and to get it checked out.

Training it the wrong way

It could be the case that the training method you have been using has not been appropriate.

An effective way to get your dog to listen to you is with the use of positive reinforcement. This is where you reward your dog when it does things that you want it to do. This is why many trainers like to train their dogs by giving them treats or access to a toy when it does the training exercise the right way.

It would help to start by getting it to do basic things in an environment without too many distractions and then to build up to getting it to do more challenging things.

Things to consider

Below are likely reasons why your dog ignores you and what you can do about it.

If your dog always ignored you

If your dog did not always ignore you, it would help to consider what else happened when your dog first started doing it. If it started doing it suddenly, it might be the case that it got an injury in its ear, it learned that doing what you say results in things it does not want or that it learned that it gets rewards for not listening to you.

What is different when your dog does not ignore you

If your dog does not always ignore you, it would also help to consider what is different when your dog does not ignore you. For example, if your dog does not ignore you at home and it only ignores you outside, the cause could be due to all the distractions there are outside.

What to do about your dog ignoring you

Below are some options you have when encouraging your dog to stop ignoring you.

Train your dog the right way

One option would be to give it lots of positive reinforcement training. This is where you encourage your dog to behave a certain way by rewarding your dog when it shows signs of behaving that way. By doing this you will not only be able to teach it to listen to you in certain situations but you’ll also get it used to listening to your command which will make it more likely to stop what it’s doing when you tell it to.

Give your dog exercise

If it is healthy, it would also help to make sure that your dog is able to get the daily amount of recommended exercise for its age and breed.

Regain your dog’s trust

If you have been trying to trick your dog into behaving the way that you want it to in the past then it would be a good idea to change your approach.

Instead of tricking it you’ll likely find that it is much more effective to train it in small increments using positive reinforcement.

Get help

If you cannot get it to stop ignoring you, it would likely help to get help from a dog trainer or behaviorist. By doing so, you should be able to see why it has been ignoring you and how you can get it to start listening to you.

Be consistent

It is important to be consistent when training your dog. If you just train it once or twice, it is not likely that you will be able to get noticeable results. But, if you train it consistently over the course of weeks and months, you can get much better results.

Why does my dog ignore me when I call him?

Possible reasons why your dog ignores you when you call it are that it has learned that listening to you is punished, it has learned that it is rewarded if it does not listen to you, or having not trained it to listen to you properly.

Why does my dog ignore me outside?

If your dog only ignores you when outside, the cause would be likely to be that it struggles to focus on you due to the distractions and excitement of being outside.

Why does my dog ignore me when I come home?

Possible reasons why your dog ignores you and does not get excited, when you arrive home are that it is tired, has depression issues, or because you have inadvertently encouraged it to ignore you.

Why does my dog ignore me sometimes?

The reason why your dog ignores you sometimes is likely to be due to things such as distractions, excitement or boredom.

Why does my dog ignore me when I call its name?

Likely reasons why your dog ignores you when you call its name are that it has learned that it gets punished for listening to you or you have inadvertently encouraged it not to listen to you.

Why does my dog ignore me when I have visitors?

The most likely reason why your dog ignores you when you have visitors is that your dog is excited.

Why does my dog ignore me at the dog park?

The most likely reason why your dog ignores you at the dog park are that it is distracted and excited.

Why does my dog ignore me when I cry?

Your dog might ignore you when you cry or are sad because it does not understand that you are sad or that it thinks you want it to leave you alone.

Why does my dog ignore me at night?

Your dog might ignore you at night due to things causing it to be distracted or to be anxious.

Why does my dog ignore me in the morning?

The reason why your dog ignores you in the morning could be that it is excited to see you or because it is hungry.

Why does my dog ignore me and nobody else?

The reason why your dog only ignores you might be that you have inadvertently rewarded it for not listening to you or given it things it does not want when it does listen to you.

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Author

I created and currently manage Pet Dog Owner, the website you can go to when you have questions about your dog's behavior. It is my hope that you find Pet Dog Owner to be a helpful resource. It is also my hope that it will help you to improve your relationship with your dog. You can read more about me and my website here.