Skip to content
Wish Lists Cart
0 items
Language / Currency Sidebar



BigPawShop's Dog Blog

My Dog Won't Listen to Me, But She'll Listen to My Partner

27 Mar 2024 0 Comments


Ever noticed how your dog seems to have selective hearing, especially when it comes to following commands? You're not alone. Many pet owners find themselves puzzled and a tad jealous when their furry friend listens attentively to their partner but turns a deaf ear when they speak. This peculiar behavior can leave you scratching your head, wondering what magic spell your partner has over your dog. It's not just about who feeds them or takes them out for walks; it's about understanding the dynamics of communication and respect between humans and dogs. In this post, we'll dive into why your dog might be giving you the cold shoulder and how you can turn things around, ensuring your commands no longer fall on deaf ears.

Key Takeaways

  • Recognize that dogs may have preferences for certain people, but this can be influenced by training methods, tone, and body language. Understanding these preferences is the first step towards improving communication.

  • Consistency is crucial in dog training. Ensure that all household members use the same commands and rewards to avoid confusing your dog.

  • Your tone of voice and body language play a significant role in how your dog perceives commands. A confident and firm tone, paired with consistent body language, can make instructions clearer.

  • Establishing authority doesn't mean being harsh; it's about consistent and confident command enforcement. This helps in building respect between you and your dog.

  • Trust and bonding are foundational for effective communication. Spend quality time with your dog to strengthen your bond, making them more likely to listen and respond to you.

  • Collaborate with your partner on training strategies to maintain a united front. This ensures that your dog receives consistent messages from both of you, reinforcing good behavior.

Understanding Dog's Preferences

Training Approach

The way you train and interact with your dog matters. Dogs respond well to positive reinforcement and clear commands. If your approach is inconsistent or lacks confidence, your dog might not listen.

Your partner’s demeanor during training could be why your dog listens to them. Dogs pick up on our energy and emotions. A calm, assertive approach often leads to better listening habits than an anxious or frustrated one.

It's important to use the same commands and rewards system consistently. This helps in reinforcing good behavior in puppies and adult dogs alike.

Quality Time

Spending quality time with your dog is crucial in building a strong bond. This goes beyond basic care; it involves playtime, training sessions, and cuddles.

The amount of quality time you spend can influence your dog's preferences. If your partner spends more time engaging in activities that strengthen their bond, it's natural for the dog to listen to them more.

Try dedicating specific times for training and bonding with your furry friend. It can significantly improve their responsiveness to you.

Exploring Training Differences

Training Styles

Different training styles can significantly impact a dog's response to commands. It's not uncommon for dogs to favor one owner over the other based on how they're trained. One partner might use a more direct and firm approach, while the other opts for gentleness and patience. This contrast can confuse dogs if not properly managed.

They might respond better to strictness if it's consistent with clear expectations. Conversely, a gentler method can foster trust but may lack the immediacy of obedience seen with firmer techniques. The key is finding a balance that works for both partners and the dog.

Command Enforcement

The way commands are enforced plays a crucial role in a dog's obedience. Dogs thrive on consistency, and mixed signals from owners can lead to selective listening. If one owner is stricter about enforcing commands and the other is more lenient, the dog may choose to listen to the person whose commands predictably result in either rewards or corrections.

It's essential for both owners to be uniform in their enforcement of commands. This doesn't mean one has to change their inherent style completely but finding common ground on command execution helps ensure that the dog doesn't develop a preference based solely on command enforcement.

Joint Involvement

Involving both owners in the training process is critical for maintaining uniformity in commands and ensuring that your dog listens to both equally. Regular training sessions involving both partners help reinforce this uniformity and allow the dog to understand that commands from either owner should be respected.

These sessions also provide an opportunity to discuss and align on methods, command words, and enforcement strategies, reducing confusion for your furry friend. Consistent joint involvement ensures that your dog sees you as a unified front when it comes to what’s expected of them.

Analyzing Tone and Body Language

Voice Impact

Dogs are keen listeners. They detect nuances in our voice that we might overlook. A firm, confident tone can command a dog's attention better than a hesitant one. This difference explains why your dog may respond more readily to your partner.

Your partner’s voice might carry a certain authority or assurance that your dog finds compelling. It's not just about being loud but about the confidence conveyed through the tone. Dogs can sense insecurity or uncertainty in our voices, which might make them less likely to obey.

Body Signals

Body language plays a crucial role in communication with dogs. Confident body language establishes you as the leader of the pack in your dog's eyes. If you stand tall, make eye contact, and use decisive gestures, your dog is more likely to see you as an authority figure.

On the other hand, if your body language is hesitant or submissive—avoiding eye contact, slouching, or making small, uncertain movements—your dog might not take your commands seriously. They look for cues about who is in charge and will respond accordingly.

Emotional Sensitivity

Dogs are incredibly sensitive to human emotions. They can pick up on how we feel without us saying a word. This sensitivity means they react differently depending on each owner's emotional state and confidence level.

If you approach training sessions feeling frustrated or anxious, your dog will notice. These emotions can affect their response to commands. Conversely, if you're calm and assertive, your dog is more likely to be cooperative and attentive.

Importance of Consistency in Commands

Unified Training

A unified approach to training is crucial. It ensures both you and your partner use the same commands. This helps your dog understand what is expected.

Using consistent commands reduces confusion for your dog. It makes it easier for him to follow through. Imagine being told different names for the same item; it's confusing, right? That's how your dog feels with varied commands.

Clear Expectations

Setting clear expectations is another key aspect. Both owners must enforce rules consistently. If one allows the dog on the couch and the other doesn't, it creates mixed signals.

This inconsistency can lead to disobedience. Your dog might start listening to only one owner who is more predictable in their commands and expectations.

Compliance Improvement

Improving compliance starts with uniformity in training methods. When both owners use the same commands, it strengthens the dog's understanding and obedience.

Regular practice of these consistent commands enhances the generalization of skills across different contexts and people. It means your dog will listen not just at home but also in public spaces or when interacting with others.

Techniques to Improve Communication

Clear Cues

Effective communication hinges on clear cues. Dogs respond better when verbal commands align with physical gestures. It helps them understand what's expected. Start by choosing simple words as commands and pair them with distinct gestures. For example, a hand wave could accompany the "come" command.

Both owners should use the same words and gestures. This consistency reinforces the dog's understanding and response to commands.

Regular Practice

Practice makes perfect, especially in dog training. Set aside time each day for training sessions that involve both partners. These sessions don't need to be long; even 10 minutes can make a difference. The key is regularity.

During these sessions, focus on one command at a time. This approach prevents confusion and strengthens the dog's association between the cue and action.

Positive Reinforcement

Dogs thrive on positive reinforcement. Praising or rewarding your pet when they follow a command correctly is crucial. Rewards can be treats, toys, or verbal praise like "good job".

This method not only encourages good behavior but also strengthens the bond between you and your dog. It shows them that following commands leads to positive outcomes.

Patience and Understanding

Patience is vital in dog training. Not all dogs learn at the same pace, so it's important to remain calm and supportive during training sessions. If a technique isn't working, try another approach rather than showing frustration.

Understanding your dog's perspective can also help improve communication. Pay attention to their body language and energy levels during training sessions.

Establishing Authority with Your Dog

Consistent Rules

Consistency is key when it comes to rule enforcement. If your partner allows the dog on the couch but you don't, this mixed messaging confuses your pet about who to listen to. Both owners must agree on house rules and stick to them firmly.

This could involve using a collar for training sessions or setting specific times for meals and walks. Such routines help dogs understand what's expected of them, making it easier for them to follow your lead.

Empathy Balance

Balancing assertiveness with empathy builds a healthy relationship between you and your dog. Understanding their needs and emotions can make training more effective. For instance, if your dog fears loud noises, being patient and comforting during thunderstorms can strengthen their trust in you as a protector.

Empathizing with your pet doesn't mean letting them break the rules. It means communicating what's wrong in a manner that respects their feelings but still asserts your authority.

Mutual Respect

For dogs to listen consistently, they need to respect both owners equally. This requires both partners actively participating in training sessions, walks, and playtime. Sharing these responsibilities ensures the dog sees both of you as authoritative figures worth listening to.

It also helps prevent favoritism towards one owner over another because of perceived leniency or stricter rule enforcement.

Building Trust and Bonding

Shared Activities

Engaging in activities together is key. It turns mere coexistence into a deep bond. Walks, playtime, and training sessions should involve both owners.

Owners should take turns leading these activities. This approach ensures the dog sees both as leaders. It's not about who fills the bowl or who's home more. It's about shared experiences that build trust.

Positive Reinforcement

Rewards go beyond treats. They're affirmations of good behavior. Choosing the right reward matters. For some dogs, a belly rub beats any treat.

Consistency in rewards strengthens bonds. Both owners must agree on what deserves a reward. Mixed signals can confuse the dog, hindering trust.

Patience plays a huge role here. Dogs learn at their own pace. Pressuring them only builds anxiety, not trust.

Mutual Respect

Respect is a two-way street. Dogs sense pressure and react to it. If one owner uses bribes while another uses authority, the dog gets mixed messages.

Respecting the dog's personality and preferences helps too. Some enjoy cuddles; others need space.

Building respect involves understanding limits—both yours and your dog's.

Partners Collaborating on Training

Joint Sessions

Joint training sessions are crucial. They show your dog that both partners command respect. This approach ensures the dog doesn't favor one person over another.

In these sessions, it's essential to work together seamlessly. This might mean taking turns giving commands or simultaneously engaging with the dog using the same cues. The result? A more harmonious environment where the dog sees both owners as leaders.

Consistency is key in these joint efforts. If one person uses "sit" and the other uses "sit down," it can confuse your pet. Agreeing on specific commands prevents this mix-up, making learning easier for your furry friend.

Common Goals

Setting shared goals is another step towards successful training. It involves deciding what behaviors are most important for your dog to learn and in what order.

Both partners need to be on the same page regarding training techniques and outcomes. For instance, if one aims for a perfect heel during walks while the other focuses on stopping barking at guests, you'll need to prioritize and tackle these goals together.

This strategy not only streamlines the training process but also strengthens your relationship as you work towards a common objective.

Learning Together

Sharing responsibilities in training offers an excellent opportunity to learn from each other. One partner might have better patience during challenging sessions, while the other could excel at teaching new tricks with enthusiasm.

By observing each other's methods, you can pick up new strategies that may work better with your pet. Plus, sharing successes and setbacks fosters a deeper understanding between partners and creates a supportive atmosphere for everyone involved.

Discussing what works and what doesn’t allows for adjustment of techniques in real-time, enhancing the overall effectiveness of your training sessions.

Maintaining a United Training Front

Consistency Key

Consistency in training and command enforcement is crucial. Dogs thrive on routine and clear expectations. If one partner allows behaviors that the other discourages, it confuses the dog. This confusion can lead to selective listening, where the dog may choose to obey only the partner whose commands align with their desires at the moment.

It's essential for both partners to sit down and agree on a set of commands and rules. Whether it's deciding not to allow the dog on the couch or setting specific times for walks, consistency across both partners reinforces these behaviors in your pet. This uniform approach helps your dog understand what is expected of them, leading to better obedience.

Open Dialogue

Ongoing communication between partners is vital. Sometimes, one partner might notice something that works well in training, while the other might be struggling with a different approach. By keeping an open line of communication, both can share insights and adjust strategies accordingly.

This doesn't mean every training session needs a debrief. But regular check-ins can ensure both partners are on the same page. These discussions can also be a great time to celebrate successes or brainstorm solutions to ongoing challenges.

Positive Impact

A united front in training does more than just improve your dog's behavior; it enhances household dynamics too. When both partners work together harmoniously, it sets a positive example for everyone in the home, including your furry friend. This collaborative effort can strengthen your relationship with each other as well as with your dog.

Dogs are keen observers of human behavior and can sense tension or discord among household members. A consistent and united approach to training shows your pet that you're both leaders worth listening to. This not only makes training sessions more effective but also fosters a sense of security and stability for your dog.


Navigating the tricky waters of training your dog to listen to both you and your partner boils down to understanding, consistency, and teamwork. You've got the insights on why your furry friend might favor one over the other, from their preferences to how you both communicate with them. It's clear that establishing a united front in training, along with building trust and bonding, is key. Now, it's about putting these strategies into action. Remember, dogs thrive on clear communication and consistency. By harmonizing your training methods and ensuring you're both singing from the same hymn sheet, you'll not only improve your dog's obedience but also strengthen your bond with them.

Ready to get your dog listening to both of you? Start by revisiting these techniques together and commit to a consistent training schedule. Your four-legged friend is part of the family, and like any family member, they need guidance, love, and understanding from everyone in their pack. Dive in and watch as your collective efforts pay off, creating a happier home for all. Let's make those walks in the park enjoyable for everyone involved!

Frequently Asked Questions

Why does my dog listen to my partner and not me?

Your dog may respond better to your partner due to differences in tone, body language, or consistency in commands. It's crucial to analyze these aspects and work towards uniformity in training approaches.

How can I make my dog listen to me as well as my partner?

Establish closer bonding through consistent training. Also, focus on building trust and bonding by spending quality time together. Collaboration with your partner on training techniques is key.

What role does body language play in dog training?

Body language significantly impacts how dogs perceive and respond to us. Dogs are adept at reading our gestures and posture, so maintaining confident and consistent body language can improve communication with your pet.

Can inconsistency in commands confuse my dog?

Yes, inconsistency in commands or cues can lead to confusion for your dog. Ensure everyone involved in the training uses the same words and signals for commands to maintain clarity and effectiveness.

How important is it to establish authority with my dog?

It's very important. Establishing authority helps in effectively communicating your expectations. This doesn't mean being harsh but rather showing consistent leadership through commands, rewards, and setting boundaries.

What techniques can improve communication between me and my dog?

Improving communication involves being clear with commands, using positive reinforcement, understanding your dog's body language, and ensuring consistency in training methods. Techniques like reward-based training also strengthen the bond between you and your dog.

How can my partner and I maintain a united front in training our dog?

Collaborate on a consistent set of rules, commands, and rewards. Discuss training techniques together and ensure both of you are aligned on how to approach teaching your dog. Consistency from both partners is crucial for effective learning.

Prev Post
Next Post

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.

Thanks for subscribing!

This email has been registered!

Shop the look

Choose Options

Recently Viewed

Edit Option
Back In Stock Notification
this is just a warning
Shopping Cart
0 items