Every dog owner has been frustrated at one time or another with their dog’s behavior. Perhaps he won’t come on command, or he barks at the neighbor’s cat, or jumps up on visitors. These are all common dog behaviors, and most dog owners have similar problems with their pets. But if your dog suddenly starts behaving in a way that you never had a problem with before, it can be disconcerting. This post will show you why your dog might suddenly stop listening to you and what you can do about it.

So, why is my dog suddenly not listening to me? Possible reasons why your dog is suddenly not listening to you are that it has learned that the behavior is encouraged, a change in its environment, a change in how you interact with it, or medical causes.

There are actually multiple possible reasons why your dog is suddenly not listening to you and it might be due to a combination of reasons. However, there are some things you can consider to help figure out the main cause and there are some things you can do about it.

Reasons why your dog is suddenly not listening to you

Below are likely reasons why your dog is suddenly not listening and what would make them more likely.

Encouraging the behavior

It could be the case that your dog has learned that the behavior is rewarded. If you have been giving your dog things such as toys, treats, or extra attention, when it does not listen to you, it likely will do it more in order to get more rewards.

Medical causes

It could also be the case that there are medical reasons why it has been behaving differently. This would be more likely if your dog has started behaving unusually in other ways as well and if it has also been doing things such as be fatigued when awake, have seizures or move around unusually. In this case, the best option would be to take it to a veterinarian.

Depression

Dogs can become depressed like humans can and it might be the case that your dog has been behaving differently due to something causing it to be depressed. This would be more likely if it started behaving differently since an even such as an owner or another pet leaving or dying.

A change in how you have been training it

The cause could also be due to a change in how you have been training it. If your dog has started behaving differently since you started training it differently, it could help to change the way you have been training it.

You stopped training it

If your dog stopped listening to you since you stopped training it as much, the cause could also be due to you not training it. In this case, it could help to try “nothing in life is free” training which involves training your dog when doing routine activities such as while feeding it.

A change in its environment

The cause could also be that a change in its environment has been causing it to struggle to pay attention to you. This would be more likely if it has started doing it since there was a change in its environment such as if you got a new pet or you moved homes.

You trained it in a different environment

If you have been training your dog in a different environment and trying to get your dog to listen to you in a new environment, the cause might be that dogs don’t always carry training over well into new environments.

A change in its diet

It could also be the case that a change in its diet has been causing it to behave differently. This would be more likely if your dog stopped listening when you changed its diet or if it does not listen when it eats certain food.

Getting less exercise

It could also be the case that a lack of exercise has been causing it to be under stimulated and unable to maintain its focus. This would be more likely if your dog has stopped listening to you since getting less exercise and if it listens more after it does get exercise.

A change in how you interact with it

If you have been interacting with your dog differently, the cause might also be due to a change in the way you have been interacting with it.

Things to consider

Below are things to consider to help figure out the main cause.

What else happened when your dog stopped listening to you

It would help to consider what else happened when your dog first stopped listening to you since it could be due to an event that occurred. For example, if it stopped listening since you started rewarding it when it did not do what you wanted, it might be the case that it learned that the behavior is rewarded. Whereas, if it started behaving differently since moving home, it could be due to a change in its environment.

The body language it shows

It would also help to consider the body language your dog shows when it does not listen to you. If it has been doing things such as wag its tail, run around a lot and jump up at you, it would be more likely to be due to things such as being under stimulated or something causing it to get excited. Whereas, if it has been doing things such as hiding or crying, it might be due to a change in its environment causing it to be anxious.

What to do about your dog suddenly not listening to you

Below are options you have to help deal with the behavior.

Get help from a vet

If it seems like your dog has been doing it due to medical issues or it has been behaving very unusually, the best option would be to take it for a checkup. By doing so, you should be able to get expert advice tailored towards your particular dog and to rule out medical causes.

Give it training

It would also help to give your dog training so that it learns to listen to you. Ways to give it training could include giving it positive reinforcement training or “nothing in life is free” training.

Avoid encouraging it

As mentioned above, it might be the case that your dog has learned that the behavior is rewarded. Instead, it would help to avoid rewarding it when it does not listen and to give it rewards when it does show signs of listening to you instead.

Limit reasons why it might be anxious

If it seems like your dog has been being anxious, it would also help to limit reasons why it might be anxious. Ways to do so could include letting it stay in a room that is cool, quiet and not too bright and to let it outside to pee and poop before leaving it.

Get help from a dog trainer

If you are unable to get your dog to listen to you, another option would be to get help from a dog trainer in your area. By doing so, you should be able to see what has been causing the behavior and how you can train your dog effectively.

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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.