How to Train Dogs That Don't Want to Mind

If your dog knows what you expect, you can teach it to mind you.
dog image by Mat Hayward from

Your dog has its reasons for disobeying you, according to Kevin Salem, master trainer, dog psychologist and operator of In order to change its behavior, it is important to understand why your dog ignores your commands. By understanding the factors driving your dog's behavior, you can adjust your training methods to ensure that your dog knows exactly what your expectations are and learns to work with you instead of against you. No matter the age or breed of your dog, bad behaviors can be reversed, and your dog can learn follow your commands.

Step 1

Be consistent. Always use the same commands. For example, if you choose "down" to get your dog off the furniture, do not change the command to "off." Such inconsistencies will confuse your dog.

Step 2

Check your voice tone. Your commands should not be tentative or sound like questions. Your tone should be firm, but you do not need to yell at your dog.

Step 3

Maintain authoritative body language, suggest the dog trainers at If your voice tone is authoritative but your body language is not, your dog may ignore you. For example, look directly at your dog when correcting it.

Step 4

Utilize tools for assistance. Choose training tools that fit your dog's needs and personality. For example, use a squirt gun on a small dog to stop bad behavior. Use a shaker can (see final Tips entry) followed by a firm "no" to get the attention of a large dog and to stop it in the middle of inappropriate behavior.

Step 5

Praise your dog when it obeys. For example, after using the shaker can method, pet, praise and look directly at your dog to reward it for stopping the undesired behavior.

Step 6

Follow through after every command. Your dog will test you, and if you do not consistently enforce your commands, it will think it is not necessary to obey.


  • Disciplining your dog after the fact will be ineffective, according to the American Dog Trainers Network.

  • Do not combine commands such as "sit down." Separate the commands so as not to confuse your dog.

  • Try not to compare the behavior of your dog with that of other dogs, as each dog is different.


  • Keep your training fresh. Dogs get bored and need to be challenged. Keep your training sessions short, too. For example, do not make your dog sit 20 times in a row, as your dog will tune you out.

  • Use your dog's name when it behaves appropriately rather than when it disobeys commands, recommends the American Dog Trainers Network. Your dog will begin to associate its name with something positive, and will respond when it is called.

  • To make a shaker can, put 10 pennies into the opening of a soda can and cover the opening with tape. Keep a shaker can in every room in your house, if necessary.

Items You Will Need

  • Small squirt gun
  • Shaker can