Does Your Dog Come When You Call?
Come Ranger, come….Ranger come…Come Ranger! Ranger’s not coming! Where did he go? Why won’t he come when I call him?
When your dog doesn’t respond to your call, it’s frustrating, because he’s not listening, it’s irritating, because he is not obeying and worst of all, it’s frightening, because you don’t know where he is running off to, will he get lost and never come home and will he dart into the street and get hit by a car?
Teaching your dog to come every time you call is probably one of the most important obedience commands (often known as recall) you can teach him/her.
There is no “1” reason your dog is not complying, but it’s important that you understand what’s going on with your pooch…this will help you to better teach your dog what you expect, which after all is your main goal.
Reasons your dog won’t come when you call…(it isn’t always about disobedience)
- More often than not, your dog simply doesn’t understand your command, especially when you complicate the command by adding additional words. For example, if your command is “come”, don’t add in such phrases as come here right now…get over here! Your dog isn’t sure what you’re talking about. Keep your commands short (one word is the best) and consistent. Which leads us to the next reason your dog won’t come…
- There hasn’t been enough practice. The concept of come is a little bit abstract and hard for your dog to understand, in the beginning, this command needs to be practiced several times throughout the day.
- Your dog might be easily distracted, so when you call, he’got something more interesting on his mind…it’s up to you to make “coming” more enticing. Especially when you’re first training your dog, this could be treats, a toy, or special attention from you. Keep the rewards random, it will make the reward more enjoyable and interesting. Make coming to you exciting. Also, you need to remember, you could be taking your pup away from something he is doing and enjoying.
- Some dogs are simply escape artists. At the first sign of freedom, they are off to bigger and better adventures. One way to keep your dog from needing to take off is to make sure he is getting plenty of exercise.
- Sometimes your pup could be a little bit afraid of coming if the tone of your voice sounds angry, or if you are acting way to excited in your efforts to get him to come. Stay calm before and after he comes…if he knows he’s going to get into trouble when you call him to come, he will be less likely to come other times in the future.
My 3 steps to teaching a reliable recall:
- “Fido, Come!” Choose a cue word (come) that isn’t associated with getting a bath, nail trims, taking away a shoe or being put in crate for the day (these are examples that will be perceived as “punishment” for coming if you do them right after you call the dog)
- Encourage and keep them coming! “Whooooohoooo! Yay! Good Boy!” etc., your dog will feel the excitement and keep on track. This also reduces distractions, plus it makes you INTERESTING!
- In-close.… hold the treats, toys, or rewards in super close (back of hand is touching your own knee or shin at dog nose height) …and REWARD!!!! Reward! Reward! Touch the collar! (gets them used to being “grabbed”) Pet!!! Play!!!!!
As a dog trainer, I believe that the most effective method of dog training revolves around teaching your dog what you want them to do, how to behave, how to act in their environment, and what appropriate behaviors are under given circumstances and situations.