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Help! My Dog Ignores Me!


Have you ever been utterly embarrassed by your out of control dog as he continues pulling on leash and ignores your every command? Now is not the time to give up! Your dog is ignoring you for a reason, and it is something you can change in a relatively short amount of time!

Why Does My Dog Ignore Me?

Simply put, your dog has no positive emotions that he finds more reinforcing than whatever it is that he is doing while he ignores you. Don’t feel bad, though! It is not that your dog doesn’t love you, he just doesn’t know what else to do when you are trying to get his attention. Instead of giving up, it is time to give him a reason to pay attention to you!

Dogs that have been rescues or gone through trauma are especially prone to ignoring their humans. This is because they either have not had a positive relationship with a human in the past, or they are having a difficult time trusting humans again.

Positive Associations

You see how your dog reacts to his favorite toy, the sight of the leash as you are ready for a walk or the sound of kibble pouring into his food dish. These reactions are due to positive emotions that he associates when these items. He can feel the same way with you if you put in a little effort and jump in with a positive attitude full of love for your pooch.

Start in your home where you both are comfortable. Have a handful of high value treats like real meat or cheese. Say your dogs name and wait for him to give you eye contact. When he does click your clicker or say “Yep!” and give him a small bite! At this point he is sure to be excited over the food, but simply wait for him to give you eye contact again. He may try to do other behaviors like sitting, lying down, barking, whining and pawing at you. Ignore them and wait for the eye contact! When he gives it, mark the behavior with a click or “Yep!” and treat again. This exercise will only take 5 minutes or less and you can do it 2 or 3 times a day, every day!

He Loves You!

The treats bring about a positive emotion for your dog. Learning a new behavior, such as giving eye contact, intrigues him and keeps his attention. He will associate you with both, and with time, practice and patience your dog will stop ignoring you because he will choose to give you attention!

Photo Credit: The Dogington Post

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