Everyone always seems to be yelling at their dogs.
What most people tend to forget, or are not informed of, is that dogs have significantly better hearing than we do. What I can hear at 20 feet, my dog can hear from 80 feet away. That means your dog can hear a noise from four times father away than you can. So when he is off playing with other dogs and not responding when you call him — do you honestly believe that he just didn’t hear you? Raising your voice will help? Nope, sorry! That’s not the problem this time!
He definitely heard you loud and clear, even if you were using your “inside voice” and he was playing with ten other dogs. He heard you. Trust me. Playing with those other dogs outweighs his desire to return to you, that’s all.
Instead of yelling his name over and over again, teach him that there is a consequence for not listening! I’ll switch this up and use an example of a human child with their parent. It’s a sunny day and your child is at the playground, romping around with some little buddies. You call their name because you need to head home and get some errands done. Your child didn’t hear you, so you call out one more time. Now you know that you’re just being ignored. Do most parents simply keep yelling their child’s name constantly with no result? No! I have never seen that happen. When your child doesn’t come when you call them in a certain situation, most parents will go over and get them. That is the consequence. If the child doesn’t respond to their name, the game ends. Or they at least have a conversation about why they should listen next time.
But seeing as our dogs won’t understand our well-intentioned conversations with them, we need to simply end the game.
I honestly won’t call my dogs more than twice, before something in me changes. Either I start moving towards them to get them and put them on the leash, or my voice changes in a way so that they know I have gotten serious.I didn’t say that I raise my voice or yell, but the tone changes. The first two times were friendly and the third time is very serious.
Many people think and don’t hesitate to say out loud: But the dogs are just playing! Let them be happy! That poor dog has such a strict owner!
Here’s the bottom line: Dogs should play daily with other dogs and that is not where the problem lies. They can also play for a long time – there isn’t a limit necessarily. The issue comes up when we never teach our dogs to come when we call and then the dog doesn’t listen when we really need to call them. To list a few examples: Your dog runs up to someone who is terrified of dogs (especially small children), chases joggers, goes hunting, runs to another dog he shouldn’t go to, or even runs into a street and gets run over! Anything can happen, and we need to teach our dogs that certain things need to be taken very seriously.
To bring it all back to the main point of this post – your dog has amazing hearing. So there is no need to raise your voice, many time there isn’t even a need to speak. It all lies in the trust and respect behind your words and how you use your voice. Your voice carries your intention and the mood.