• Caryl Wolff

You Can’t Train Your Dog When…

Updated: Jan 22



You Can’t Train Your Dog When You’re Doing Something Else


What does this mean? If I handed you a scalpel and told you you had to do brain surgery and then got mad at you because the patient died, how would you react? Now, that’s an absurd example — or is it?

  • Well, If the UPS guy is at the door and you don’t want your dog to dash out the door, you can’t train him because you’re doing something else — answering the door.

  • You can’t train your dog to stop barking in the car if you are driving.

  • You can’t train your dog to like children if the only time he sees a child is when you’re screaming at him for barking at them.

  • You can’t train your dog to walk nicely on a leash if you’re in a hurry to go somewhere or you're texting or talking on your cell.

  • You can’t train your dog to not bark at dogs walking past your yard if you’re watching TV or are on the computer.

These are just a few examples that we encounter in everyday life. We’re doing something and expect our dogs to read our minds as to how we want them to act and then get frustrated because they don’t.


What we CAN do is set up those scenarios when *we* are in control and THEN show our dogs what we want them to do. Is it going to happen on the first attempt or overnight? Not likely.


There’s a huge difference between prevention and training — and we use both of those. We CAN prevent “the bad thing” from happening in the first place, i.e., close the door so our dog can’t see the dogs walking outside. That’s a pretty easy but necessary step in training. Why? Because it prevents him from rehearsing “bad” behavior. How does anyone get better at something? By rehearsing. Some things are easier to prevent than others. Unfortunately, we don’t have control over everything that goes on in our lives. But we can make the effort.


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Disclaimer: This article is for information only. It does not replace a consultation with a dog trainer, dog behavior consultant, or veterinarian and may not be used to diagnose or treat any conditions in your dog.


If you need help with puppy or dog training, we do both private in-person and virtual lessons via Zoom. Please contact us by calling or texting (310) 804-2392 or sending an email to caryl@DoggieManners.com . We look forward to working with you.