If your Golden Retriever won’t listen to you this post will show you why that might be the case and what you can do to get it to be more responsive to you.

So, why won’t my Golden Retriever listen to me? Possible reasons are that it needs more training or that you have been training it the wrong way, it could also be that it is fearful, needs more exercise, there is an issue with its diet, a medical issue or you might have inadvertently rewarded the behavior.

There are actually many different reasons why your Golden Retriever might not be listening to you and it could be the result of a combination of different reasons. However, there are some things you can consider when trying to figure out the exact reason. There are also a number of options you have when getting it to start listening to you.

Why your Golden Retriever isn’t listening to you

Below are a number of common causes and what would make them more likely to be the main cause.

Fear

When you punish your Golden Retriever for misbehaving you might think that it will encourage it not to continue doing what it was doing.

However, what you’re actually punishing it for often won’t be the same thing that your Golden Retriever thinks you’re punishing it for. If you punish it for running away then it will likely associate the punishment with the last thing that it did which is coming back to you.

There are also other problems with using punishment as a training method. It can lead to things like depression, aggression, destructive behavior and can cause it to become distrustful of you.

Instead, a better approach is to use positive reinforcement training where you reward your Golden Retriever for behaving in the right way. By doing this you will be able to reinforce its good habits while preventing bad ones.

You haven’t trained enough

If you have not given your Golden Retriever any training then it will behave the way that it wants to behave and it will be much less likely to listen to you. The way that it wants to behave is also unlikely to be the way you want it to behave. This is why it is important to give it lots of positive reinforcement training. It would help to start by training it to do basic things such as to sit and then to build up to more challenging things gradually.

A lack of exercise

Golden Retrievers are a breed that is meant to get a lot of exercise daily. When they do not get enough exercise, it can cause them to become more energetic and to struggle to maintain their focus when you are training it or trying to get it to listen to you.

Generally, it is recommended for them to get at least an hour of exercise per day when they are healthy. If yours is healthy and it has not been getting that much exercise, it would help to make sure that it does start getting more exercise daily.

Excitement

Another cause could be that it is excited. When Golden Retrievers become excited it can cause them to be more hyperactive and to listen less. If your Golden Retriever gets overly excited then it will be important for you to make sure that it gets lots of exercise and you’ll need to employ the training techniques in the video in the section below.

You’ve been rewarding it for ignoring you

It could also be the case that you have been encouraging it not to listen to you by giving it things that it wants when it doesn’t do it. If you give it things such as extra attention, treats or toys when it doesn’t listen to you then it will likely do it more in order to get more rewards. Instead, it would help to reward it when it does listen to you and to avoid rewarding it when it does not.

You’re command nagging

The cause could also be something known as “command nagging” which is where you repeatedly tell it to do something such as to sit despite it not knowing what you’re saying. If you tell it to sit and it doesn’t do it the first time then it’s better to go back a step and to lure it into the sit using a treat instead of repeatedly saying sit.

Ruptured eardrum

It could be the case that there is a medical cause for your Golden Retriever not listening to you such as a ruptured eardrum. This would be more likely if it stopped listening to you suddenly and if it has been behaving differently in other ways as well. In this case, the best option would be to take it to a vet.

Depression

Dogs can become depressed like people can and it could be the reason why yours has not been listening to you. This would be more likely if it has stopped listening to you after a stressful event. Possible causes would be having recently moved, having recently changed owners, having recently lost one of its friends or having not been shown any affection.

It’s distracted

The cause could be that there are too many distractions around for it to be able to keep its focus on you. This would be more likely if you are able to get it to listen to you in environments without many distractions but it won’t listen in more distracting environments. To prevent this, it would help to give it positive reinforcement training in more distracting environments as well.

Training it the wrong way

It could also be the case that you have been training it the wrong way. When training your Golden Retriever, it would help to start out in an environment without many distractions and to start with simple tasks and then to gradually build up to training it to do more challenging things. If you train it in distracting environments or you ask too much from it too soon then it is unlikely that it will understand what you want it to do and it will lose focus more quickly.

How to get your Golden Retriever to listen to you

Below are some options you have when getting your Golden Retriever to listen to you more.

Exercise

As mentioned above, it is important to give your Golden Retriever daily exercise so that it is fully stimulated. Generally, it is recommended for them to get at least an hour of exercise per day when they are healthy.

Training

In order to get your Golden Retriever to listen to you, it will be important to give it lots of training. The training technique I would recommend would be positive reinforcement training. This is where you reward it for showing signs of doing what you want it to and avoid rewarding it when it doesn’t.

You can watch the video below to see an example of how to make use of positive reinforcement training.

When you’re teaching your Golden Retriever to keep its attention on you it’s important that you do it in a variety of different locations. If you don’t then it will be harder to get it to listen to you when you’re not at home.

If you have a hard time getting your Golden Retriever to pay attention to you then you’ll likely find that giving it exercise beforehand will make it easier for you. By exercising it you will be able to make it less hyperactive and more responsive to you.

Take it to a vet

If your Golden Retriever has stopped listening to you suddenly or it has been showing other signs of illness or injury, the best option would be to take it to a vet. By doing so, you will be able to rule out the possibility of it being due to medical conditions and to get expert advice tailored towards your particular Golden Retriever.

Get help from dog trainer or behaviorist

Another option would be to get help from a dog trainer or behaviorist. By doing so, you should be able to see how to train it in an effective manner.

Things to consider

Don’t expect sudden changes

It is unlikely that you will be able to achieve drastic results with just one training session. However, you will be able to achieve much better results by training it consistently over the course of weeks and months. This is why it is important to be consistent when training it.

Don’t punish

If you punish your Golden Retriever, it will likely not know why it is being punished and it could cause it to develop feelings of resentment. Instead, it would help to give it lots of positive reinforcement training.

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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.