The young couple adopted mix breed Buddy at five months old. He is now nearly two. They were told he had Beagle in him, though it’s hard to tell.

There really is nothing wrong with the young dog that a bit of motivation and consistency won’t solve – along with some systematic training exercises to get him to pay attention to them.

Buddy goes deaf when they call him.

Some simple exercises over a period of time should do the trick. He will enjoy a bit more work.

Buddy goes deaf when calledThey will begin by getting him to clock in with them when they say his name and to come to them when asked – at home to start with. He goes deaf when they call him outside at bedtime, so he’s unlikely to take any more notice of them when they want to call him away from something he really wants to do. Most particularly when he wants to run off and play with another dog.

Apart from anything else, having a boisterous young dog rushing over and jumping on a scared or reactive dog, particularly one on lead, isn’t good. It’s not fair on either the dog or the owner. Buddy may even end up injured.

Following through.

‘Commands’ (I prefer the words ‘Requests’ or ‘Cues’) are pointless if not followed through. Just because I ask the dog gently to do something, it doesn’t mean I am permissive. There’s no point saying it at all if I don’t mean it.

Once we ask the dog to do something we must follow it through.

Therefore I suggest that they now consider before they ask Buddy to do something – consider whether they are prepared to see it through. If not, it’s better to say nothing. It renders the cue word useless.

They can say the word once and use their body language as well to encourage him. Humans have a way of repeating a word that the dog may not have actually been taught – and when the dog doesn’t obey we increase the volume!

This is commonly the case with recall. The person yells the word ‘Come’ many times with absolutely no way of making it happen. The dog goes deaf. The word ‘Come’ becomes optional. Meaningless.


They will find Buddy a different dog if they ‘pay’ him for doing each thing they ask for now. We would be unwilling to work for nothing, wouldn’t we.

For instance, at bedtime Buddy may refuse to go out. If they now teach him ‘Off’ the sofa then reward him. Then call him to the door – another small bit of food. Then they can call him outside with them (reinforcing the word ‘Come’) and reward again. Finally they can reward him when he has done his job.

This may seem excessive, but I’m sure he will soon be readily going out each night. When he no longer goes deaf when they call him, they can cut down the rewards or make them random.

A new baby

Apart from the work at home on getting his attention and motivating him, it’s a good time to plan ahead as they are having a baby in in three months’ time.

The young lady finds her walks with Buddy very stressful. He pulls on lead and goes deaf when she calls him. While they work on Buddy’s recall he will now be on a long line.

‘Come’ will no longer be optional.

We will also be working on Buddy walking nicely on lead so that he can do so beside a buggy.

With work, the lovely, friendly dog will be able to run free again. Where he now goes deaf he then will come back to them when they whistle or call him.

NB. For the sake of the story and for confidentiality also, this isn’t a complete report. If you listen to ‘other people’ or find instructions on the internet or TV that are not tailored to your own dog, you can do more harm than good. Click here for help