Dog Training and Dog Care advice from UK Professionals

Why Do Dogs Not Come Back When Called?

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Why Does My Dog Not Come Back When Called? Poor recall is a common problem and one that is caused by incorrect recall training. The owner shouts “Come” and Fido thinks “quick run the other way”.
What has actually happened is the owner has unintentionally trained their dog NOT to come when called.

The first mistake the owner makes is to take the dog for a walk in a heavily populated area such as the park and unclip the lead releasing Fido to run free before doing any recall training. Just as the dog spots another dog, squirrel etcetera, the owner shouts “Come Here Fido”. The dog has quickly realised that fun times do not include its owner being present and to obey means stopping what it is doing so chooses to ignore its owner’s call.


The second mistake the owner makes is to repeat the command over and over again getting more frustrated and angrier by the minute as their dog runs further away. What the dog has learned is that he doesn’t have to return to its owner until they have shouted at least a billion times. When he finally does choose to obey and arrives back at his owner’s side, he is greeted by an angry owner who promptly puts him on lead and marches him home, hence punishing him for finally obeying the command.

Now the dog is totally convinced that ignoring the “Come” command is infinitely more rewarding than obeying it! This is now a no-win situation. If the dog obeys its owner and returns he is instantly put on lead thereby in the dog’s eyes he is being punished and if he doesn’t return he is learning not to come back and the unwanted behaviour becomes self rewarding.

As with all dog training, teaching the dog to return to you should be done at home where there are less distractions. Until you are confident that your dog will return to you, don’t let him off lead.

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