Can't Get Your Dog To Come When Called? Here's What You Need To Do Instead

Does your dog come when you call her? It can be both frustrating and dangerous if she doesn’t.

Frustrating is…

when you’re in a hurry to leave the house, and you’re trying to call your dog in from the backyard and she all of a sudden plays deaf. You stomp out there to get her, and find yourself chasing her around like a mad woman.

Dangerous is

when your dog is at a dog park and another dog starts lunging towards her, his hackles up, because he’s scared and his mode of defense is to attack. You call your dog but now she gets reactive and won’t listen to you. A dog fight erupts; your dog is badly injured; and your emergency veterinary bill is enormous.

So how the heck DO you get your dog to come when called?

The Reward Must Equal the Joy

The secret is that you need to make the reward for coming equal to the joy of the activity your dog is giving up.

For example, herding breeds love to chase cars, but since cars are not sheep, this is not exactly a safe hobby. How rewarding is the reward if the command “Come!” is followed by going inside and being told to lie down? Much better is to couple the “come” command with her favorite squeaky toy and have her chase you. When she reaches you, play tug for a minute or two and then let her have the toy.