There is nothing more frustrating than calling your dog over and over again just to have him ignore you – or worse, if your dog runs away in the opposite direction. The basic steps to training a dog when he’s called are straightforward, but many pet parents don’t realize how much work is involved in building a long-term, reliable recall. Add to this the fact that we can inadvertently “take the behaviour out of training” and you have a recipe for a very frustrating dog training scenario.
The following are some typical mistakes made when trying to teach a dog to come when called.
The dog has been punished in the past
Sometimes frustration can get the best pet parents when a dog will not come, who can always be scolded in the dog lead, or worse, physically punished when he finally does not listen. Unfortunately, it will not teach him what to do when he gets angry with your dog when he is at your side. it will just make him less likely to run to you in the future because he knows you will be angry when he gets there.
You want your dog to think it’s a wonderful thing to come to you. Even if you are disappointed by his less quick reaction, you should not call him names when he comes to you. Then try to prepare him for success in future training sessions by making it easy for him to “win” the recall game. Always reward him with quality dog foods like Pet Botanics Training Rewards , which have a bacon flavor that is sure to speed up your dog’s recall reactions.
You sounded angry when you called your dog
If someone shouted, “Come here now!” Would you like to listen? The same goes for our dogs, but many pet parents let their tone of voice cause anger when they call their dog. A loud, crazy voice reduces the likelihood that your dog will run to you because he may find that you are unhappy.
Instead, always keep your tone optimistic when you call your dog and remember to praise your dog when he starts his journey to you. You may find that he gets faster when he hears that he is doing a great job!
Remember to reward your dog with a small, meaty treat every time he reaches you, especially if you are in a distracting environment. If you switch to a novel protein like Merrick Power Bites rabbit and sweet potato treats, your dog will be interested in what’s in your bag.
You have trained your dog to come in limited environments
The early training you did with your dog was probably in a dog training facility and continued in some rooms in your house and garden. Your dog probably responded well in these environments, so you were confident that your dog fully understood the recall.
However, dogs do not usually generalise behaviour well, which means that although your dog responded well in familiar environments, he may not be able to translate the call when he is called to brand new places.
To increase your dog’s ability to remember, it is important to train your dog to come in a variety of settings. Practice with your dog in new environments, such as a friend’s fenced yard or off-season tennis courts, then gradually expand into more distracting areas such as the dog park.
The word “come” means that the fun is over
Some dogs ignore the callback because they understand that the word “come” means that they have to leave the dog park or stop chasing squirrels in the yard, or go to their dog crate because you are going to work.
If you consistently combine the recall cue with something your dog doesn’t like, you will end up with a dog that equates the word “come” with negatives. This is not to say that you should only use your recall word in positive situations, but you should be aware of how your dog might perceive what the word “come” means.
To counter the idea that coming when called is the end of the fun, try to do a “surprise” recall exercise in situations where your dog is just hanging around the house, and reward him with a tasty treat and a quick pull.
Or call him from the yard, praise and reward him, and send him out to continue playing. This way your dog won’t know if the fun is really ending or if it’s just a practice run! If you’re worried about the number of treats you give your dog, choose a low calorie treat like Fruitables Skinny Mini’s Pumpkin and Berry Treats that contain less than five calories per treat.
They repeat the word “come” so many times that it is “verbal wallpaper.
“Fido, come” is a completely different keyword than “Fido, come, come, come, come on, come on, Fido come!” A lot of dogs have a delayed response to a callback because they’ve figured out they don’t have to do it until you say it a few thousand times.
Rather than having a conversation with your dog when you want him to run, it’s better to use a single-word keyword such as “come” or “here” and then use optimistic kissing sounds, whistling or hand clapping to encourage him to run.
It is also important to continue rewarding your dog with a quality treat like Crazy Dog Train Me ! Minis, longer than you might think necessary. Remember that running to you is a great compliment, especially if your dog is hanging out with a dog buddy or enjoys a good smell. It makes sense to pay your dog for a good job!