Can a Dog Forget His Training and How to Fix It?

A common question among dog owners is that is it possible that one day the dog forgets his training? Yes, but only temporary. It comes down to utilizing full training techniques and behavior.

If you only teach your dog to sit and wait before going for a walk, and only apply this command and training to that specific area; the dog knows that this is the only spot where this action happens.

Focus on Complete Behavior Training

Teaching a dog full behavior is a follow through technique. Once you have begun to train your dog, you start using common commands. Sit, stay, and yes and no, but did you use these command words in every type of setting? Did you teach him how to wait at the front door to go outside? What about when he wants to be let back in? These repetitive training steps have to be used for every aspect.

Remember that it begins with basic training. If you have not mastered the basic training skills, it will be harder to train your dog otherwise.

Examples would be:

  1. Waiting for a bowl of dog food, but doesn’t know how to wait for the water bowl,
  2. Knows the sit command when you’re inside of the home, but not outside.
  3. Offering a treat without offering a command.

Common Forgetful Commands

When a dog forgets a command, it’s because the animal is in a situation that is unfamiliar. This is referencing to new places, or even offering a command in a different part of the house. Yes, something as simple as offering a treat randomly in a different part of the house can cause confusion.

Stay, sit, lay down, come here, and get in the car

What Can Cause a Dog to Forget His Training?

Did you reward your dog when you started training? If not immediately but instead introduced treats a few months later, this can cause confusion. It may seem that your dog has lost all knowledge of his prior training.

All because you are introducing a new reward that was not there from the beginning. Consider this the first step to starting all over again.

How to Prevent Forgetful Training?

Set up a planned training session with your dog. Be sure to have all of the basic training steps written down before attempting more difficult tasks. If you go from the command sit but expect your dog to know how to not bark at other dogs… then you’re in for the long haul. Take it step by step.

Prevention Techniques

  1. Be patient
  2. Do not get irritated because animals pick up on anger and frustration
  3. Tend to use the same vocal tone when commanding
  4. Only reward your dog when they complete an action

1. Over-Stimulated Reaction

This mainly concerns newly adopted dogs who have never been trained before, no matter their age. You’ll notice if your new best friend has not acquired any previous training, they certainly can learn them now. The old saying you can’t teach an old dog new tricks is untrue.

Over-stimulation happens when a dog must become accustomed to their new found surroundings. This can happen for anyone moving to a new house, yet you’ve had the same dog for five years. You haven’t changed, but your house has.

Expect a bit of puppy-like antics because the change results in a stimulation meltdown. He may even have more energy than before but, that’s part of the stimulation and an excess of excitement. Know that this hyper reaction is normal.

And we will provide a few points to help calm them down:

  1. Sit down with them, preferably on the floor
  2. Let them sniff all around the house, this is a territory action
  3. Before entering the house, walk your dog around the perimeter of the home. This gives the dog time to adjust to the new surroundings outside
  4. Start using commands the moment you arrive, ask your dog to sit before entering the front door

2. Start with Your Own Yard

The front or backyard, it depends on which one has fewer distractions (kids playing, busy road, etc.) and use this as the basic training ground. Why? When it’s the time to introduce your dog to the local park, it can be unnerving.

Try going at a time of day where it will be less crowded. Set out to teach your dog that the park is no different than his own yard. By slowly integrating your dog to the local park will help him to not be over-stimulated by the sudden change in environment.

Dog in yard

3. Household Obstacles That Cause Forgetfulness

We may find it endearing but, when your dog exhibits a fear of the vacuum cleaner, this can aid towards forgetfulness. This is by far not on purpose. Your dog is reacting to a loud machine that doesn’t seem to fit with the rest of the house.

What about when you ask him to sit on a certain type of floor? Does he look at you as if to say why? The simplest answer is because the floor is uncomfortable and his paws slide out from underneath him.

We have to take into consideration that our pets can feel discomfort in the same ways we can.

There are also some household hazards which you should avoid when your dog is spending lot of time indoors.

4. Talk to A Professional Dog Trainer

Unsure about why your dog is not responding to commands, even though they have before. Contact a professional dog trainer in your area to get a free consultation.

This is a great idea for new dog owners. A professional can quickly point out what may be going wrong and suggest vast improvement ideas.

5. Potential Memory Loss

No one wants to consider memory loss, but as all beings age, memory is the first to go. Dogs have a short-term memory that falls around the span of 5 minutes. Consulate with a veterinarian to see if your dog is exerting a different attitude, restlessness, or looks as if they are having trouble remembering where they are.

6. Loss of Hearing

We don’t like to think about our pets getting older, but they do. Hearing loss can be caused by a number of traumatic events such as a loud explosion. K-9 dogs tend to develop hearing loss from these events.

Another reason could be a built-up blockage in the canal. If your dog is experiencing a blockage, you’ll know by excessive ear scratching. Hearing loss is common amongst dogs. We suggest six month or yearly veterinarian check-up to see if this may be the case.

Symptoms of Hearing Loss:

  1. Does not respond to noises
  2. Does not respond to name, commands, or any voice
  3. You have to gain their attention
  4. Easily scared
  5. Will bark a lot, more than standard

Other symptoms may include:

  1. Anxiety
  2. Irritability
  3. Continuous licking
  4. Lack of playful behavior

7. New Medication

Some dogs have to be placed on allergy medications to even be able to enjoy the outdoors. Because of severe allergic reactions to morning dew, grass, fleas, and dirt, the medication your dog is on can play a factor in basic training rituals.

Keep a close eye on your dog to see if there is any change in behavior. At times the dose may be too high, if so, immediately contact your Vet and ask for a lower dose.

Medication can and will have a profound impact, it may be good or bad. To ensure the safety of your dog, please keep a watchful eye and notice when something they do seems unusual. Look for a change in mood, irritability, and social activity.

8. Old Age

Your dog may exhibit some grumpy behavior. Whether he is taking his time getting up or taking his time to walk out the door. Old age can often be met with arthritis and achy bones. A number of vitamins are available to support joint and bone health.

I have also written a complete guide on taking care of senior dogs which covers the most important points and has already benefited other dog owners just like yourself.

9. Introducing a Second Pet

Here is sibling rivalry of a different species. Yes, your dog may go through a rivalry episode when it comes to introducing a second household pet. No need to panic, this simply means to treat both dogs with the same respect and love, equally shared of course. For a short time, a second dog can interfere with training, causing your first dog to become forgetful.

There has to be a specific way in which the introduction of puppies and grown-up dogs should be done. All of that is also covered in a separate article on introducing puppy to grown up dogs.

10. Hand Movements

Have you noticed that you call your dog’s name and he ignores you? What about when you call his name and wave at the same time? If your dog only responds to his name when you are using a hand motion, it could be because you did this in the basic training segment. Dogs notice hand movements quicker than command words.

This is easily realized when you come home from work and clap your hands together asking “who has been a good boy today?” That action alone is cause for happy licks and hugs. However, for anyone who experiences this problem, hand movements could be the culprit. Your dog is responding to the command based on what movements you display.

Dog Hand Commands

Learn More With the Help of Video

Conclusion – Persistence Wins the Race

This is true when it comes to training a dog, persistence is the main ingredient. Don’t give up on your dog and they won’t give up on you. This act of persistence also acts as a lesson in itself, your dog is witnessing the dedication to keep going. Thus, your animal feels the encouraging love you are bestowing onto him.



Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *