View Full Version : How NOT to teach your dog to come!

20th August 2009, 11:56 AM
This is a great blog post with some real food for thought! Which of us hasn't done this at some point -- maybe even regularly (eg heading home from the park) -- and then wondered why our dog is so poor at recall...?

August 19th, 2009 by Nicole Wilde
How to Teach Your Dog NOT to Come When Called

Call your dog to you, then give him a bath. Or clip his nails, your choice; just be sure to pick the one he really, really hates.

Take your dog someplace he loves to go, like the park, or to play with a friend’s dog. Wait until he’s really having fun, then call him to you. Immediately load him in the car and drive him home.

This one works especially well for small dogs: Call your dog to you, then swoop down on him with both arms, making sure to look as frightening as possible as you pick him up. Now, that might not stop him from coming to you altogether, but it pretty much guarantees that he’ll stop just out of arm’s reach.

Call your dog, then immediately put him away somewhere (crate, behind a gate) and leave, preferably for a full day. A great choice for dogs who hate to be left alone.

Now, how many people do you think have trained their dogs NOT to come doing one or more of the above?


Cathy T
20th August 2009, 04:22 PM
What a timely post!!! Lately Jake hasn't been coming when I call him (big surprise it's Jake :o) so I rethought what I was doing. I was calling him to come inside and he loves "hunting" outside, I'm ending his fun. So, I started treating and petting him when he does come....and guess what, it only took a time or two for him to get his recall back. Our trainer had originally told us "you have to train every day" and sometimes I forget that. All it takes is a "stubborn" dog to remind you that it's your fault....not his.

20th August 2009, 04:39 PM
I agree with Cathy. I somethime wonder why they don't come when I call their names. Probably because I'm calling them to come get groomed or to clean their eyes etc :lol:

Time for a rethink! It's funny.. they always come when I shout "c'mon get a bit" :D

20th August 2009, 04:40 PM
This reminds me of when my ex-hubby and I split up, and Declan went to live with ex and his mother.

When my ex-mother in law passed away, I had Declan back and to my "delight" (NOT), she'd taught him to bark and bark and bark ....

by giving him a treat to shut him up each time he barked. His back was like a table top and he had developed MVD, not that I'm blaming her for the MVD, but his weight may not have helped.

20th August 2009, 05:28 PM
That is very good advice. Max's recall has slipped a bit and I realized just the other day that I am also calling him to "come" when I want him in the house! :bang: I know better than that. I also have to remember not to do the same for Rylie.

Kate H
20th August 2009, 05:50 PM
My two always get a treat when they come in from the garden when called, especially if they also stop barking when told. However, they are now sitting looking hopefully at the treat pot when I come in from the garden on my own - in the belief, presumably, that anyone or anything crossing the garden door warrants a treat! They'll be so lucky!

Kate, Oliver and Aled

20th August 2009, 05:53 PM
Our trainer had originally told us "you have to train every day"

That's a great line!

20th August 2009, 08:32 PM
:oOh dear im guilty of doing the above sometimes,usually if in a rush you forget & call them for easiness-note to self,think every time!!
tho yesterday on our cliff stroll(lots of grass& winding paths) a youthful springer-off lead-just would not leave my girls alone& was repeatedly trying to hump Ru,i was having to drag him off her by his collar,we were next to a picnic table so i put Jels on the table & Ru on the bench,lots of hullabollu & went on for at least 10mins with the owner standing at the top of the cliff feebly calling this dog until finally he ran up the cliff to her where i saw her swing back & give it an almighty slap:yikes If i hadnt had to calm my girls id have run up & slapped her i think!

20th August 2009, 09:21 PM
This is a great reminder to all of us, and as Cathy said, training is not a one time thing, but a daily routine. :thmbsup:

Also good to remember that if they do get away from you in a dangerous setting and you are screaming for them to COME!!!...please, please remember to make it a happy reunion with love, petting, and preferably a jackpot of treats when they do come back to you. We tend to want to yell and grab them up (out of fright) but the dog is certainly not going to be in any hurry to run back to you next time if he is met with a stern punishment. I have to keep all of these things in mind day by day.

I have found that if either of the girls gets away from me, I just excitedly, and happily yell, COOKIE, COOKIE!!!....and they both come running back inside excited for their just reward. This is when I am actually thankful that my little furballs are total foodies at heart! :)

21st August 2009, 12:21 AM
Bradley's recall's a little off at the moment - time for some liver treats again and a bit of back to basics. He returns, but grins and veers off for another sniff before reaching us!

We have to look stern and ignore his cheeky grin, because one day it may be vital he returns immediately.

21st August 2009, 12:22 AM
My trainer always stresses that "COME" should be for something positive. Never, ever negative. When it is time to crate, I use "crate", if it is time for the dogs to go to the family room where they are separated from the rest of the house with a barrier, it is "pen". For baths, meds, brushing, nails, etc. I just go and pick up the dogs without saying anything. "Crate" ALWAYS comes with treats. "Come" from the backyard is treated sometimes and sometimes not. If the dogs respond to "come" when they are barking at the neighbor's dog, it always comes with jackpot treats.

Another thing people do wrong, is to spank their dogs when they catch them after door dashing. That sends the message...don't get caught.


Cathy T
21st August 2009, 02:22 AM
Good thoughts Jay. I never really thought about it but when I want the dogs to go to their crates I say "time to go night-night" (where they going happily since they get a dab of Petzlife gel) for bedtime or if I have to crate them to leave the house it's "go to your crate" and they know they are getting a treat. I know you're only supposed to use one word....but I can't help it:rolleyes:

Definitely on not reprimanding the dog for dashing....it does say don't get caught next time.

Our trainer said she puts notes in various places in the house; kitchen cupboard "so and so....sit", medicine cabinet "so and so...lay", closet "so and so....stay" as reminders to vary things.

We tend to want to yell and grab them up (out of fright) but the dog is certainly not going to be in any hurry to run back to you next time if he is met with a stern punishment

Applies to kids too :shock: I had my friend's twins over, they disappeared, I couldn't find them anywhere and was getting desperate, screaming their names....my tone of voice scared them so bad they hid from me. I learned that lesson.

21st August 2009, 06:43 AM
growing up we had a dog that used to hate baths. i mean hated getting bathed, but one day my dad said do you wanna bath like a punishment and she ran into the bath tub waiting for us to turn the water on...i found the post comical but accurate!

21st August 2009, 04:56 PM
that's a good reminder
he comes to me in the house and occasionally on his leash walk..but getting him to come to me in the yard is much more difficult, how do i accomplish this when he is so distracted?

he ran through the open gate twice to the front and i got scared and chased him yelling come!....i was afraid he'd run into the street but he made it as far as the sidewalk when i threw the leash at him and grabbed him. i scolded him...but i guess i should praise him for stopping?

22nd August 2009, 03:51 PM
The thing to remember is when ever you praise or scold a dog they associate it with what they were doing when you praised or scolded them. So while you were scolding the dog for running out of the yard, your dog's interpretation is "I am being scolded for stopping and having my leash put on". In that case, I would have praised the dog for waiting.

I have one dog who is a major door dasher and unfortunately, when she attempts a great escape, the other three follow. Each of my four have different degrees of recall. In the park where we train week after week, they have virtually 100% recall. We have practiced over and over IN THAT SITUATION and my main door dasher, Sapphire, will come to me even if she is off leash and chasing the ravens that frequent the park. In the front yard, I couldn't get her to come to me to save either her or my life. Soooo..... with her especially we are working on "stays" at the front door. All the dogs must sit quietly and politely before they are allowed out the front door. It can take up to five minutes to get out the door sometimes especially with all four. I am also working on recall in the front yard.

Starting with a short leash, you call your dog and step backwards. As they come, you treat and praise. Do this in different parts of the yard. As they get better you can use long lines or connect several leashes together to make long lines. I have 25 foot long lines that I use for training. We have also trained our dogs to come to a whistle. The whistle works great in the backyard when the dogs are barking at the neighbor's dog. When the dogs recall to the whistle, they always get jackpot treats.....lots of treats.

What I also found is that Sapphire, who is my most active dog, needed an outlet so we started her in agility which has really helped curb the dashing.

I know she will never be reliable 100% so we are careful to "pen" the dogs in the family room when bringing in groceries. Sapphire can also climb over the pen when motivated so we are extra careful whenever the front door is open. We don't have many guests, but the dogs are penned in the family room when we know company is coming or if we need to open the door for deliveries.