Dog Listens Inside But Not Outside???


Experienced Member
Does anyone else have a problem with their dogs listening when they're inside but not outside? Onyx does that, and I can't find anything to motivate her for all her tricks. She will not roll over outdoors, at all! Whether I use treats, or tennis ball. Anyone have any ideas? Thanks!



Honored Member
Hi tenniskitty, you're not alone. Lots of dogs go through the same thing. It's not that Onyx won't listen to you, it's partly because she's so distracted she just can't do her tricks, and the other part of the equation might be that now you're asking her to do something totally 'out of context'.

You've trained her to do tricks in the house. Now you need to essentially train her to do them outside. You don't need to start over, but start with simple things in a quiet area outside, good treats, just you and her, no distracting toys around, make sure the neighbor's cat isn't sitting on the fence, and just ask for things she knows without thinking ... sit, down, stay, walk on a leash. Treat her generously for doing all those wonderous things. Get her used to 'working' outside. Give treats like you would during a normal training session. Once she's comfortable with a training session outside, then ask for a really simple trick - maybe shake? Oh, good girl, and a treat. Back to a few basics. Get her totally comfy with working outdoors then move on to another trick, then back to a few basics. She'll give you what she can, when whe can. It won't take long, she'll soon realize she can do all the same things outside that she can inside. But - move her from the back yard to the front, it's possible the same thing could happen. Quickly, tho, she'll get comfortable doing all her tricks no matter where she is - it just takes some dogs longer than others. The main thing is, don't get frustrated with her, just go slow. I bet it will go faster than you think. :dogsmile:


Experienced Member
i think jackie is exactly right. distractions outside are huge and she simply isn't used to having getting in training mode anyplace other than your house. I would first start with eye contact work, as you aren't going to get her to rollover if she won't even look at you. If she doesn't care for treats at that moment (although try some extra good stuff at first like real meat or cheese) then use the premack principle to reward her with what she does want. I usually don't use the leash when I'm training a dog, but I do if I need to control outside rewards. So you could have her on leash, wait her out until she looks at you, and then click and release Onyx to sniff, or chase the squirrel, etc. Let her sniff for a couple more seconds as you follow her around the yard, and then again stop and wait her out. Eventually she will learn that she can earn the right to do whatever by listenign to you. then you can up the anty. but by that point onyx will likely understand that this is a training session and since you've done alot of work with her already, you can probally go back and have her do some very simple cues and switch back to using toys or food as a reward.

I wrote a post on getting attention (basically distraction work) in my blog here.


New Member

I agree with what Jackie and Fickla said...Fickla is actually right about eye contact. If your dog does not look at you in the eye, there is absolutely no way you can teach her/him any tricks. Distractions are really inevitable but keeping it slow and sure will give you much joy later on. Good luck! :dogsmile:


New Member
my puppy listens outside when we're walking, he doesn't leave my side, comes back straight away, BUT once he's in the house or in the garden he ignores me. odd really!