Answers with Annie - Would your dog rather sniff the ground than listen to you?

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Some of my furry friends attend obedience classes and learn basic commands like sit, stay, and come. Many of them pass with flying colors until they get home and go for a walk. At that point, a green light goes on and so does their nose. Some owners think these sniffing machines will wonder off and get hit by a car, or maybe even get lost. Why does he act this way?


All hound breeds, were bred specifically to track prey by following scent. The scent is on the ground and that is where the nose is placed. Breeds like this has been used for 100's of years to hunt squirrels, rabbits, fox, and other small creatures.


The olfactory (smelling) power of a dog's nose is about 10,000 times stronger than humans. So if you ever tell your wife "Something really smells good in the kitchen", you can imagine how good it smells to us dogs. My furry friends get so focused on searching out wild game, they are difficult to control especially off leash in the park or woods. We hear your voice, but find it hard to listen to. Thus we have a real problem.


Don't repeat your dogs name over and over. It only helps teach us dogs NOT to listen. I suggest using a long check cord or clothes line while taking walks in the great outdoors. Call our name, if we don't listen the first time you give us the "come" command, begin reeling us back to you. That will teach us that we are to come when called. I suggest trying this in an area without a bunch of bushes and trees unless you like untangling things.


Bring some treats with you and when you give the command and your dog listens, you can give them praise and a treat. We dogs will do alot of work for food. After several successful days of on leash work, try it without the leash. If your dog doesn't return on the FIRST command of "come", then put him back on the leash and repeat. Let's face it, you may be setting your dog up for failure by trying for total recall in a wilderness area. Try it in a more controlled setting. Does this information smell good to you?