Are You Training Your Dog to Come or Not to Come?
Many people unknowingly teach their dogs NOT to Come to them long before they start formal training.
The dog always has a choice – respond to you or ignore you… It is your job to teach the dog that coming to you is by far the best thing in life. It is natural for puppies and most newly adopted dogs to want to head your way, so take advantage of the opportunities that occur naturally and stack the odds in your favor.
Practice: Every time your dog is headed towards you, encourage him with praise and toys. Hold a delectable treat against your pant leg to get him completely all the way to you (as opposed to stopping an arms length away). Praise, pet and play with your dog when he approaches. This way you are showing him that coming to you is a wonderful thing.
Never call your dog then punish or scold them…
Dogs don’t live in the past. Scolding them or punishing them for something they did while you were not there doesn’t teach them anything other than that you are not trustworthy. If you call them to you, then punish them, you are punishing them for being good and coming to you. If you got in trouble when someone called you, would you come the next time they called? Why would they ever want to come to them?
What if they run rather than come?
What should you do when your dog is Off Leash or playing that “catch me if you can game”?
- Picture in your head your dog turning around and coming to you. Keep this visual in your head until your dog arrives.
- Ask for HELP from others – Many people will gladly assist you in getting your dog, and many dogs will approach other people (or dogs) while avoiding you when they don’t want to get “caught”, especially if they can be lured with tasty treats!
- Play Chase ME – Run away from your dog. This may go against our human instincts, but dogs love a good game of chase. You’re sure to get them to come to you then.
- Open your car door – If you can get your dog into your car (or someone else’s’) you now have them confined.
- Bribe them with anything you have that they may want.
- Do not chase your dog. Instead, run AWAY from your dog.
Do not punish or scold your dog once you’ve got them, no matter how frustrated you are. Doing so will teach your dog NOT come to you in the future.
In my next article, I’ll give you some helpful ways to teach your dog to come…
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.