Does your family pooch have a training problem or a relationship problem? I work with lots of dogs who will simply not sit, stay or walk to heel for their owners, particularly outside the home. “He needs training,” is the common explanation.
Often I take the lead and the dog immediately walks to heel sitting and staying on command. Obviously this is NOT a training problem but a relationship issue. The dog knows perfectly well what these commands mean he just doesn’t feel he has to obey his owner.
Imagine a pack of wild dogs. There’s a leader and a clear hierarchy. You wouldn’t really expect a dog at the top of the pack to take much notice of one at the bottom. It just wouldn’t happen. Pack animals take their orders from above not below.
If your dog understands the commands but only obeys when it suits him he believes himself superior to you. This problem needs to be addressed before disaster strikes.
You may think you can live with your dog’s disobedience but what are you going to do when he chases a cat across a busy road? How are you going to stop him if refuses to listen? I’ve seen too many dogs killed in this way to be blasé.
If you are not your dog’s leader you are his follower and no pack animal worthy of the name listens to a follower.