If your dog slips from his collar or sees a fight breaks out at the dog park, will he respond to your “come” cue? When your dog is in harm’s way, a solid recall can save him from danger. These are some of the most frequent errors that handlers make when teaching their dogs to come when called. Do you make any of them?
Mistake 1: “Come” means “the fun is over”
One of the biggest mistakes is to cue “come,” and when your dog runs to you, he is confronted with a negative consequence. For example, if you only call him when it’s time to leave the dog park, it’s no wonder he doesn’t like the word “come.” Imagine if your friend called you over and, when you arrived, she promptly threw a pie in your face. Wouldn’t you think twice the next time she asks you to come close to her? The fact is that, particularly with recall, your dog can choose whether to comply with your cue or to blow you off. Make sure he wants to choose you.
The solution: When you practice recall (which should be often!), make sure there is a positive consequence to coming. When Fido comes to you, start a game of fetch. Or reward with a treat. Or provide any other positive result. When it’s time to leave the dog park, reward Fido for coming with a piece of cheese, and then clip on the leash to leave.
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Kate is a certified dog behavior consultant, certified dog trainer, certified Fear Free professional, certified dog parkour instructor, and award-winning author.
The views expressed on this website belong to Kate Naito and may not reflect the views of the agencies with which she trains.