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Does it seem like your dog just doesn’t get it sometimes? Does one family member have a great relationship with him while another seems to be his doormat? Well, you’re not the only one who’s frustrated.

Your dog really does want to know what he should be doing. Trainers often hear that Rover jumps on, nips, or tugs Family Member A but never does these things with Family Member B. Why? Because he has no idea what you are talking about!

In order for a dog to understand what is expected in his daily family interactions, each person he lives with must be on the same page. Everyone should use the same cues and techniques for training. If one person says “sit” and another says “siddown!” it will take a long time, if it ever happens, for Ginger to learn what you want her to do.

If some family members allow the dog to jump on them and others don’t, it’s going to be very hard to stop him from jumping on people. If you don’t like begging (by the dog, that is) at the table, then no one should ever give the dog anything from the table.

Dogs are not born understanding English. They are very good at learning words, but need to be taught word meanings very clearly and concisely. Spot has no idea that “down” and “lie down” mean the same thing. Or that “down” means something different when it’s hollered at him as he greets you by jumping than it does when you want him to put his body on the floor. Therefore, if Mary says “Spot, Come!” and Tom says “Here!” it really isn’t fair to expect him to understand.

Learning how to train dogs is not easy. Luckily for us, dogs are forgiving of our mistakes. Everyone in the family doesn’t need to be a professional, but make sure everyone in the family uses the same cues with the dog. This will make it easier and more fun for all involved, especially your dog.

You can talk about it during dinner, while your four-footed friend is politely waiting in non-begging mode!

Talk to a trainer today and get your training questions answered by the AKC GoodDog! Helpline team. The telephone support service is open seven days a week for its clients. Enroll at
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What’s he thinking?

Dogs exhibit all sorts of bewildering, funny, and sometimes worrisome, quirky behaviors. Ever wonder what he's thinking and where the behaviors come from? Download this e-book to find out.
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