Why Dogs Don't Come When They're Called?

By Kathy Santo | Updated: Mar 13 2019

1. The environment is better than you (squirrels, rabbit poop on the ground).

2. You play the “chase the dog” game when your dog doesn’t come.

3. When your dog did come, you rewarded with “non-rewards”…
or didn’t reward at all

4. You ruined the “Come” command (with anger, or by repeating it, or just gave up)

5. The word “Here” = “Loss” to the dog (they lose a possession, freedom, attention)

6. Your dog came, and was punished (literally or just in his mind)

7. Your dog has a history of being tricked into coming when he refuses. For example:

– TRICK #1: The dog doesn’t come, the owner shakes a box of cookies, and he doesn’t actually give any to the dog when he eventually comes.OR WORSE – HE GIVES A COOKIE TO THE DOG and teaches him that ignoring the command will result in a reward.

– TRICK #2:  The owner pretends to have a cookie in his hand – ‘air cookie’ – and again, the dog doesn’t get a cookie when he comes.

8. Your dog hasn’t had the opportunity to run free and explore (first-year college students who live off campus – woohoo).

9. Your dog suffers from a lack of exercise.  

10. Your dog had too much freedom early in life (and maybe he still does!). He’s learned that the environment has lots of options, and that they accessed by him, at any time, without permission needed from you.

The dog hasn’t come, but still received (took!) rewards from the environment (the squirrel he chased, the pool he swam in, the rabbit poop he ate).

If you’re looking to teach your dog “come,” or any other commands, then click here!

Kathy Santo has spent her entire career as a dog trainer and handler, training dogs and winning over 500 obedience, agility and Canine Good Citizenship titles. Working with her own dogs, she has achieved every competitive obedience title the American Kennel Club (AKC) has offered and earned the prestigious AKC “Obedience Trial Champion” title (OTCh) multiple times.

In Waldwick, Kathy teaches classes, private lessons, and oversees the training of her student’s dogs using her extensive knowledge, experience and intuition to handle problems from the benign to the serious. Her engaging personality has won her the respect and friendship of her many students, who now consider themselves part of her extended family.


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