5 Tips For Training Stupid Humans

You take your dog to puppy class or hire a private trainer. You work on training when you go on walks.

By now, your dog is shaping up into a polite companion.

Don’t you wish you could figure out how to train the stupid humans you meet on your walks?

Training stupid humans.

Techniques For Training Stupid Humans

Here are my suggestions for dealing with stupid human behaviors you may encounter with your dog.

Men Who Thump

Why do men feel they need to thump on dogs?

It happens to Honey all the time. Hearty men come striding over to her saying, “Hey boy, howya doing?” And then they thump her on her sides. Because, ya’know, dogs really like being hit in the ribs.

Training Tip – You have to anticipate the thumper. Usually they’ll get in a few gentle strokes before starting to thump. As soon as they stroke your dog gently, open the pull tab on a cold beer.

The sound of the pull tab signals to the thumper that he has done something right and that he’ll be getting a treat soon. When the thumper looks at you, hand him the beer.

Moms Who Let Toddlers Grab Your Dog’s Face

Luckily this is not the majority. In our travels, most parents work hard to teach their children to behave appropriately around strange dogs (or any dog).

But there’s always that one chatting on her phone who ignores her child toddling up to your dog and grabbing her by the jowls.

Training Tip – You can’t train a human if you can’t get their attention. And you have to protect your dog first.

I suggest that as soon as the child runs toward your dog you turn and walk away at a quick pace. In most situations, the child will follow. I find that stepping out into the street is an effective way to get the attention of even the most oblivious mom.

Honey the golden retriever in the woods.

I bet if we lured toddlers into the woods that would get somebody’s attention.

Humans Who Let Their Dogs Run Off-Leash

One of my neighbors lets her dogs off leash when they’re working around the house. They’re very nice dogs. But their humans have absolutely no voice control over them off-leash.

It’s not a problem for us. Honey loves them both. But if I had a reactive dog, I’d walk miles out of my way to avoid that house.

Training Tip – When the loose dog comes running up to you, attach a spare leash to his collar and say, “Hi there. Are you lost?” Then walk away with the dog.

Neighbors Who Never Scoop Their Dog’s Poop

Just one careless human can make walks less fun. By training a human out of this bad habit, you’re protecting your watershed as well as your sanity since it’s nearly impossible to get dog sh*t out of a pair of sneakers once you step into it.

Training Tip – I’m all for being nice. But sometimes you need to rely on the other side of behaviorism to train a behavior.

The positive punishment for this behavior is to pick up the poop with a bag over your hand and smear it on the door knob of the person who left it behind. If you’re at the park, car door handles work just as well.

Honey the golden retriever.

I don’t normally chew up stuffies. Someone must be encouraging me to misbehave. Let’s pan out.

Relatives Who Encourage Your Dog To Misbehave

We begged my mother-in-law not to feed Agatha and Christie from the Thanksgiving table. Of course she didn’t listen to us. And then she seemed surprised when two 35 pound dogs tried to jump into her lap to get better access to her plate.

Training Tip – Training good behavior is ideal. But sometimes you have to resort to management instead.

When your relative visits, use a slip knot to tie a canvas line around her nose. Hold the other end of the line in your hand gently. If your relative coaxes your dog to jump up or sneaks tidbits under the table, gentle tighten the line around her nose while working to redirect her attention to more positive activities.

Honey the golden retriever.

See, I told you. He’s the instigator.

People Training vs Dog Training

Don’t you find that most training involves getting people to do the right thing? Because once we do what we’re supposed to dogs are sensitive enough to our cues to follow along.

So don’t put up with poorly trained humans. Use your experience and training skills to set them on the right path.

Disclosure: I am not a certified human trainer. This post was written for entertainment purposes only. I will not be held responsible for training advice taken from this post.

Your Turn: Any bad human behaviors you’d like to retrain? How would you do it?

Do Dogs And Their Humans Look Alike?

At the end of September, we’ll give you the chance to see if dogs and their humans really do look like.

If you want to join the fun now, send us a picture of you and your dog for our experiment. To learn more, click the picture.

Do you look like your dog.




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  1. LOL….All very good tips. But was it 7 or 5?

    • Oops. That’s what happens when you post after only a few hours of sleep.

      Tip #6 is don’t take advice on training stupid humans from stupid humans. And Tip #7 is No, really, don’t take training advice from stupid humans. :)

  2. I’m real busy training Mom to read my alert signal for nose work so we can pass my trial on Monday. I really don’t know why she finds it so difficult, but I’m being patient.

  3. I’m still trying to train my own human that she needs to give me food all the time.

  4. You nailed this post! You don’t like cracked ribs either?! BOL! Honestly, what’s wrong with a simple stroke or two?! Thanks for the laughs!! Have a great Friday!

  5. I agree with all of these. Sheesh. But your idea of stepping into the road when a toddler is coming? Brilliant!! I’m adding that to my repertoire (which, previously, was just yelling “HEY! Get your kid!”).

  6. Fabulous! Best training tips ever! I’m going to try out the “lost dog” next time we try to navigate around a loose dog. Pamela, you’ve opened the door to a new school of thought. 😉

  7. This makes me so glad I’m a hermit and 99% of the time we don’t have contact with humans and their errant dogs and children! I could be seriously tempted with all your training tips otherwise :)

  8. Funny post! I think I’ll start carrying a can of beer around with me on my walks so when I meet a thumper I’ll already be prepared!

  9. Excellent suggestions. Maggie is attempting to train me to follow HER on our walks, but it’s not working too well.

  10. Ha! Great tips!

  11. Great tips! I love the tip about stepping out into the street. Off-leash dogs and roaming toddlers are the most common problems I run into, but clueless dog owners with retractable leashes can be a real hassle sometimes.

  12. My neighbors don’t leash their dogs and it drives me insane. My dog just so happens to be reactive. Luckily we haven’t had any real incidents with them, I’m always having to politely ask if they can keep them in their yard since they wander all over the place. It’s tough because you don’t want to get on a neighbors bad side; we’ve got to live right next to them.

    The men who thump made me laugh. I’d never noticed it before but it’s so true.

  13. Ha ha! I love the poop smearing on a door knob. I’d never do that personally, but I’ve been known to make a short comment as I pull out a poop back and pick up their dog’s stuff.

    Here’s one that annoys me… people who let their dogs outside at midnight then let them bark for hours on end. Really? It makes me wish I could record it and then play it really loud in their bedroom window when they are fast asleep.

    • That’s one problem I’m glad we don’t have. But it appears you have a great way to train humans out of it.

      If you ever try it IRL, please let us know.

  14. I’ve experienced quite a few thumpings in my time. Will definitely try out your tips!

  15. Some very good tips. I always find it strange that some people send their dogs away to be ‘trained’ and then get them delivered back. Surely the whole point of training is training the person!!