Why Your Puppy Is Not Responding To You And Performing The Asked Behaviour

When your puppy does not respond to you or what you have asked of it, it is not trying to be disrespectful or naughty. There are many reasons why your puppy may not be responding such as but not limited to:

  • Your puppy doesn’t understand what you want from it. You aren’t being clear in your request. A good analogy to remember is you are asking your puppy to do a command in FRENCH but your puppy only speaks and understands ITALIAN. You both need to learn ENGLISH and it is up to you to help them learn.

  • The environment is too exciting or distracting.

  • The reward is not high enough in value for the dog to exert energy to perform that desired task. The motivation to do it is not strong enough. Don’t forget that what we want and what your puppy wants could be entirely different and we need to acknowledge and respect that. E.g. Your puppy will sit and stay for a treat easier if they have not had dinner yet and are really hungry (motivation for food is higher as puppy is hungry). However, if your puppy has eaten dinner and they are no longer hungry, their drive to sit and stay for a treat will be smaller, instead their drive to go outside and run around may be higher and what motivates them to perform that behaviour. Like our needs and motivations are constantly changing so are your puppy’s. 

  • Your puppy is tired. Remember they are still puppies and are young. Keep things short, sweet and simple. Keep training sessions no longer than 5 - 10 minutes. Several short sessions a day is more effective than one long training session. Rather than doing training sessions try and incorporate your training activities into everyday life. The best analogy to go by is rather than saying you are on a diet say you are making a lifestyle choice. So if you really want that row of chocolate you can and without feeling guilty. So in regards to dog training, if you have a really busy day and have had no time to squeeze in your training sessions guilt doesn’t eat away at you. Training needs to be fun and engaging. They moment it is not and it is a chore, you will get nowhere with your puppy.

  • You are moving forward too quickly and asking too much from your puppy. Break the big picture of what you want to achieve down into smaller achievable steps to build confidence in your puppy and avoid frustration. Your puppy is a living creature and your expectations should be flexible. Remember to always finish your training sessions on a positive note even if you didn’t achieve what you set out to do..


All interactions and training sessions with your puppy need to be positive. If you or your puppy is getting frustrated, simply end your time or training session together and try again at a more appropriate time. A good thing to do is have a think as to why your time together did not go as planned. Refer to the above points.