Dogs are creatures of habit. Once they learn a command, they mostly find it easy to repeat the behaviour. But what about when they struggle to understand an exercise or are making incorrect choices? How do we go about resetting the training?

In this blog post, LWDG Group Expert and LWDG Founder Jo Perrott discuss how to reset your dog’s behaviour and start again if they don’t seem to be getting the hang of things. So, whether you’re a first-time dog owner or an experienced trainer, listen to this week’s podcast episode, or read on for some helpful advice!

Resetting Versus Correcting – What’s The Difference?

When resetting your dog’s behaviour, you are essentially starting from the beginning again. This means going back to the start and attempting the exercise again.

Correcting your dog’s behaviour is different. This is when you intervene at the moment to stop them from doing something wrong. So, for example, if your dog jumps up at someone, you would say ‘no’ or ‘off’ to prevent them from doing it.

Both resetting and correcting your dog’s behaviour are essential. But, if you’re having trouble with a particular command, resetting may be the best option to help your dog learn.

Why might you need to reset your dog’s behaviour?

There are a few reasons you may need to reset your dog’s behaviour.

  • If they are having trouble understanding a particular command, going back to the beginning and starting again may help them understand it better.
  • For example, if you’re teaching your dog ‘sit’, but they keep standing up, you may need to reset their behaviour.
  • Resetting can also be helpful if your dog is becoming distracted during training. For example, if they start sniffing around or playing with a toy rather than paying attention to you, starting the exercise again may help your dog focus.
  • Finally, if your dog is making too many mistakes, you may need to reset their behaviour to help them learn.
  • If they get a particular exercise wrong more than 50% of the time, they will likely become frustrated. In this case, resetting may be the best option to help them learn the correct behaviour.

How To Reset Your Dog’s Behaviour

It would help if you did a few things to reset your dog’s behaviour.

First, you need to ask yourself why the dog is failing at the exercise? Where is the breakdown occurring? Is it in your asking or the dog’s understanding?

Next, you need to ensure that you are in a quiet environment with no distractions. This will help your dog to focus on the task at hand.

Finally, you need to be patient and keep trying. It’s important not to get frustrated, as this will only make things worse.

If you keep calm and carry on resetting your dog’s behaviour, eventually, they will get the hang of it!

Two Time Rule

LWDG Group Expert Claire Denyer has a two-time rule. If she asks twice and both times it goes awry, she then looks further into what’s going wrong and where the ongoing communication breakdown between her and her dog may be.

This is a beneficial rule of thumb because often, when we’re asking our dogs to do something, and they don’t respond, it’s not that they don’t understand – they maybe didn’t understand us in the first place.

Our Body Language

Dogs are very good at reading our body language, but they’re not good at understanding our human words. So, if you’re asking your dog to do something and they don’t respond, ask yourself first – am I using the correct body language for my dog to understand?

Remember that dogs are brilliant visual learners. This means that they learn quickly when they can see what you want them to do. So, if you’re asking your dog to ‘sit’, make sure that you are using the correct hand signal for ‘sit’.

If you’re unsure about what the correct body language is for a particular command, have a look online or ask for help.

The Importance of Rewards

When resetting your dog’s behaviour, it’s important to remember to reward them when they do something right. Dogs learn best through positive reinforcement, so if you can give them a treat or some fuss when they do what you ask, they are more likely to repeat the behaviour.

Of course, rewards will only work if your dog understands what you’re asking of them. So, if you’re still having trouble getting your dog to do what you want, it may be time to seek help to see where the communication breakdown may be.

Staying Patient

When your dog is struggling to understand your command, the first thing to do is stay patient. Dogs are not humans, and they will not understand everything immediately. Like young children, they need time to process information, especially if it’s new, and figure out what you want them to do. If you get frustrated or angry, this will only make things worse. Just take a deep breath, and try again.

When Your Dog Knows The Command But It Goes Wrong Again

If your dog is still struggling, it’s time to reset their behaviour. This means going back to the beginning and starting again. For example, you might need to go back to earlier exercises or commands that they already know. Once they have mastered these again, you can start slowly introducing the command you had problems with.

Remember to take things at your dog’s pace, and be prepared to repeat the process several times. With patience and repetition, your dog will eventually understand.

So, next time your dog isn’t responding to a command, think about whether they understand what you want them to do. Then, stay patient and keep trying – with repetition, your dog will eventually understand.

If you’re finding that your dog is struggling to understand your commands, or you need some extra help and support, why not join our monthly membership? With our expert trainers on hand, you can be sure that your dog will be learning the right behaviours in no time.

Sign up today and get access to our exclusive online training course and monthly group training sessions.


Join Our Online Community!

Jump on our email list for free tips and insights delivered to your inbox monthly. No spam - just quick bites of value.