One of the most important commands you can teach your dog is to come when he is called. It is frustrating to let your dog off the leash so that he can enjoy himself only to be be ignored when it is time to catch him and go home.
There are a number of reasons why your dog could be ignoring you.
Have you taught him not to come when called?
You should ask yourself if you have taught him that coming to you is a less enjoyable option than staying where he is.
He may believe that coming to you will lead to a negative outcome.
At some stage, you may have called him when he is in trouble. You may returned home to find something chewed or some urine on the floor. You call your dog and give him a telling off. Unfortunately, your dog doesn’t have the reasoning skills to work out what he is in trouble for. He will associate the telling off with being called. This is negative reinforcement.
You may call him when it’s time for a bath. Some dogs enjoy a bath – most don’t. Again, he is associating being called with a negative outcome.
If you think through your routine with your dog, you may come to realize that there are numerous times you have shown your dog that coming when called leads to a less desirable outcome than just staying where he is.
Does your Dog Understand The Command?
Don’t forget, your dog doesn’t speak English. The only way he is going to understand what “come” (or whatever word you are using) means is if you have taught him. This takes time and effort.
An ideal time to teach the command is when you are calling your dog at dinner time. You will find he will definitely respond then and he will begin to associate the come command with a pleasant outcome.
You should start to train your dog the come command in a quiet place where there are no distractions. Your dog should be on a long leash so he can’t run away. Call him and when he comes or even approximate the behavior by moving towards you, reward him with praise and a treat.
As the training progresses you start with him further away. Then off the lead with no distractions. Then introduce distractions and so on. Be patient and be prepared to go back a stage if necessary.
Related Article: Teach Your Dog To Come When Called.
Don’t Give Up and Make The Command Irrelevant.
Continue to practice the command in more and more complex situations. If on some occasion the dog ignores the cue, keep at it until you finally catch him. Then practice again in a less distracing situation, always rewarding him when he does the right thing.
Avoid scolding or punishing your dog. He will want to please you, but it may just take him a little bit of time to understand exactly what you want. And don’t forget, if he is at the dog park and enjoying time with his friends, you are seriously interrupting his fun, so a little understanding is called for.