Your Dog Doesn’t Listen When You Are Outside? Here Is Why

Written by: Bojana Radulovic
For some dogs, being outside is just too much. This can often reflect how well they follow commands. Here is what you should do if your dog refuses to perform a command outdoor.

Do you have that feeling that no matter what you do your dog just won’t listen outside?

You may have tried everything – recent training methods, best treats available on the market, and effective tips from dog trainers, but nothing still seems to work?

First of all, you should know that many dog owners go through this, and it’s perfectly normal to have to deal with challenges during various stages of your dog’s life.

Secondly, you should always repeat that training your dog eventually pays off.

So, you have just mastered a new skill, and your dog responds to it perfectly, but once you are out the skill simply disappears?

You train a certain skill your dog indoor and your Fido does it perfectly – but once outside he loses it? Here are a couple of reasons why your dog won’t listen outside.

Poor Generalization Skills

Little is known, but dogs are situational learners. In practice, this means that what was once learned indoors, won’t necessarily be performed outdoors.

Important: The safety of your living room cannot be replaced with anything outdoors. Plus, your living room is extremely comfortable compared to the outdoors.

How is this related to performing tricks outside? Well, your dog may not clearly understand that when you say ‘sit’ outside he has to put his back to the floor and “sit”.

To overcome this obstacle, you need to teach your dog what ‘sit‘ means no matter the background – therefore, you should use different areas inside your home to master this skill.

Your goal should always be to teach your dog to generalize certain behavior in a variety of different contexts.

Once you teach your dog to ‘sit’ inside, make sure that you use treats to repeat the same command outdoor.

Always reward him after he successfully performsbasic command.

Lack Of Proper Socialization

Owning a dog is sometimes very similar to handling children, in terms of energy, time, love, and rules that you need to get them on the right track.

That’s why proper and early socialization is so important when it comes to having a well-behaved dog.

Early exposure to new places, people, and smells can do owners so much for a dog’s mental growth and behavior.

If you have a puppy already, how often do you take your puppy out? Do you know when it’s safe to take your puppy out to mingle with other dogs? Or how often he should do outside pee and so on?

Is your puppy fascinated with the outdoors? If so, it’s usually a sign that you aren’t taking your pup enough outside. If you miss delivering on this matter, outdoors will be seen as a big deal.

If your pup is super excited when he realizes that you are about to step outside, you shouldn’t look at it as something cute, but as a potential future problem.

Your dog needs to be exposed to the outdoors in the right way. Do not force it, but make it an everyday thing, as it should be.

If you tend to take your dog out from a maximum of two brisk walks, know that your dog won’t listen outside due to the lack of proper exposure. Again: how often do you take your pup out?

When a dog doesn’t get enough time outside, he will be pushed naturally to explore everything.

After all, there is so much to notice and explore, including places, people, and wonderful/different smells.

Dogs explore the world using their nose, so smell is what matters to them the most. They can get lost in numerous smells than they refuse to perform any command.

This is why walks on leash are important, especially in puppyhood. A proper walk can help him remain focus and treats should be there to reward him whenever he does something good.

Treats are your best friends when it comes to puppy and dog training.

Are You Relevant Enough To Your Dog?

Dogs are pack creatures, and they need to have a leader. They bow to the strongest one, and they listen to the one that they respect.

Unless you are first time dog owner, your dog shouldn’t feel any hesitation coming your way.

This is why you need to be relevant to your dog. You can do this by becoming more rewarding to your dog than anything around him.

Do you reward your dog for giving you his attention while surrounded by countless distractions? If not, you are making a huge mistake – use treats as your secret weapon to melt his heart and inspire him to respect you more.

Your Dog Doesn’t Know What You Want

Just like with humans do not assume that dogs know what you want them to do. The assumption is a common mistake and a decision that usually leads to a real disaster.

Very often, owners are the ones at fault. When a pack leader, in this case, a human, is being unclear or inconsistent while training it undoubtedly leads to confusion.

Eventually, your dog will have no idea where to go, or what to do.

Remember, basic commands work only when using them directly, and if you use treats afterward.

Be sure to use commands until your dog gets them right and in different surroundings. As with any skill, make sure that you have a bunch of treats of hands.

Add more challenges and more complex commands over time, but keep treats nearby.

Your Dog Is Scared

Some dogs are naturally more sensitive than others are.

In fact, some dogs may develop separation anxiety as puppies, while others have no idea how does it feels to be sad or stressed (in the dog world).

Since dogs can feel fear and develop it for many different reasons, it’s only normal to be outdoors to overload their senses. This is mostly true for puppies who were not properly socialized during the critical socialization period.

We are talking about that important period between 3 and 16 weeks – during this period puppy’s brain is developing and creating neuropathways to new stimuli in her environment.

If your dog has been underexposed/or exposed negatively to stimuli during this critical period, your dog may experience fear and stress by anything new.

Some of triggers may include:

  • New sounds, or any sound
  • Vehicles
  • People
  • Other dogs
  • Smaller animals
  • Anything moving

Some dogs are so scared that they can’t even leave their front doorstep, or are just too scared to go outside at all.

Dogs who are fearful and often overwhelmed with anxiety. This can push them so much that they cannot focus, or can even become hyperactive.

Some may even ignore their favorite treats, and that’s usually the first clue that something is wrong.

If this is the case with your dog, make sure that you address these issues with a professional dog trainer. What may seem like not a big deal now, can be a real disaster over time.

What Can You Do To Help Your Dog?

Luckily, there is no situation that proper training cannot improve. This is something that every responsible dog owner knows.

As a dog owner, especially if you have some experience with dogs, you know that working with dogs demands time, energy, and dedication.

As with anything else in life, persistence is the key.

Here is how you can help your dog be more obedient when outside:

  • Try practicing in less distracting environments
  • Start training your puppy in the backyard
  • Keep training sessions in new environment short and fun
  • Always be realistic with your expectations
  • Try higher value treats to keep the dog’s focus and attention
  • Be patient
  • Always reward good behavior
  • Sign up your puppy into puppy school

Don’t forget that dogs need to be taught how to do a task before you can ask them to do that. This may sound simple, but in practice, it’s challenging and much more complex than people believe it to be.

Don’t be shy to ask more experienced dog owners, or trainers how to do something, how to help your dog master a skill.

Sharing is caring, and people are willing to help if you ask the right questions.

The Bottom Line

Helping your dog to behave as you like takes time. Learning to behave properly in house, in class, and outside will demand time, a lot of practice, and dedication.

Be responsible with your dog and ask him to do only what you know he can do.

Start on an easy location, be clear with your commands, set objectives for yourself, use treats, and have patience.

The more you teach your dog, the more places you will be able to go together. At the end of the day isn’t that what dos is all about – going on adventures together?