Dog Training: When a Dog Refuses to Come When Called

By Yona Williams

One of the healthiest training obstacles to conquer in regards to your dog is to train your
companion to come when he or she is called. Not only will this prevent serious problems
pertaining to the well being of your pet, but also you can rest assured that your dog will not
become a menace to others within the neighborhood, including other dogs and animals. When a
dog follows the basic command of “Come,” you will be able to avoid the mishaps that often occur
when a dog has broken free from their collar or leash. The last thing you want your dog to
encounter is a busy street, which can end with irreplaceable consequences.

In regards to this type of training, allowing dogs to run off of their leash and without supervision,
teaches them a damaging association. The dogs will relate running free and having fun with the
absence of their owner’s watchful eye, establishing a connection between the end of this fun with
the presence of their owner. This applies to dogs that are allowed to run free on beaches, parks
and other designated areas for animals. When it is time for the fun to end, the leash and the
owner’s demands become a negative part of their outing. This leads to many dogs trying to
extend their fun by refusing to come when they are called.

This hesitation to come when called is the dog’s way of spending more time doing the things that
they enjoy. This behavior comes from learning the positive outcomes of ignoring their owner’s
commands. When a dog has not exhibited this sort of behavior, it is highly recommended to avoid
your dog from picking up this habit. Paying more attention to your dog at times of play, as well as
making playtime more enjoyable with you, rather than with other dogs or on his/her own, can
achieve this goal. If a dog is already refusing to come when called, it is very important to retrain
your pet to obey this command. When a dog listens to their owner, it is a respect that is better for
the safety of both the dog and owner.

One of the best ways to train a dog to come on command is to associate good things when a dog
is expected to come to their owner. Some of the activities to establish this connection is feeding,
walking, playing and other exciting activities. Actions that a dog is not as eager to participate in
should be avoided when first associating the “come here” command. An owner should wait a
decent amount of time before using this command to call a dog for outings to the vet; baths;
clipping of the nails, as well as brushing their teeth.  

Dogs are always learning new behaviors and habits, whether or not an owner is focusing on a
particular training lesson. Dogs also learn from their owners, whether they pick up on negative or
positive habits. This is why it is important that owners are constantly aware of their every
interaction with their dog. Positive relationships equal positive results.

An effective way to train your dog to come on command is to reward him every time he/she listens
to what you want them to do. Rewards don’t always have to come in the form of an edible treat;
dogs will also respond to a quick pat on the head, scratch behind the ears, as well as a simple
“good boy or girl.” Sometimes you will get the best results from some dogs when using food for
motivation, but the important part is to present some sort of reward for coming when called. You
must be constant with this sort of training to instill this good behavior within your pet.