Why do some dogs ignore their owners daily…
but then seem to bond with a skilled dog trainer in seconds, and listen attentively to that trainer forever?
Hint: It’s a matter of repetition, but not the kind you might think.
“You called? I’m listening!” Attention and eye contact like this are a rare experience for many dog owners unless it’s dinner time.
Repetition can be a bad thing. Many dog owners accidentally teach their dogs to ignore the most important cues they want their dogs to listen to! This will happen when you repeat the same communication over and over, without any specific consequence attached. The science of how the brain works tells us that when a signal is repeated over and over with no meaning attached – it will become background noise. Here’s an example I always give when teaching dog training classes in NYC: If you live in a city apartment, you pay no attention to wailing sirens that pass by your window every day. If you just moved here from a rural environment then maybe you notice them for the first few days. But after that, you’ve heard them so much – with no consequence to you personally – that your brain literally “tunes them out”. Don’t become a wailing siren to your dog!