Fastest way to teach your dog NOT to Come
How to teach your dog to come reliably is something that stumps a lot of dog owners. The average dog is pretty hit or miss outside of their home when it comes time for them to respond to their owner’s call. So many distractions, and opportunities for mischief!
At the same time many owners don’t know what exactly to do when their dog doesn’t come. And like many other parts of dog training, this isn’t your fault, the information just isn’t mainstream. Truly it’s unfortunate because teaching recall or teaching come to your dog is something I think every owner wants.
But that’s not what this article is about. Let’s instead tackle what NOT to do when you want your dog to come to you! (A process some of you will be familiar with)
What not to do when you teach your dog
The first mistake that I see owners making is not training their dog to come EXCEPT in the places that they need their dog to do so. This would be like only trying to teach someone how to do something at the moment they need it, like giving someone a 10 minute crash course in algebra in the 10 minutes before the big algebra test. It doesn’t make much sense, or work, but the reality is that many people approach training this way. And never get the results that the pros do.
Now onto the nitty gritty step by step of what you SHOULDN’T be doing when you’re wanting your dog to come.
Step 1 - Call them
Make sure your dog hears you. Be as firm as needed, use your “you better listen or else voice” to make sure that your dog knows you mean business. If this means that you need to yell to get your point across, do it. Louder in this situation can be better!!! After all we need to know that there is no way the dog did not hear us.
If you are unsure on whether or not your dog heard you, it is perfectly acceptable to call them multiple more times in various tones of voice, and you can also include some threats. Once again we want the dog to know we mean business and give them fair warning before we begin the rest of the process.
Step 2 - The grab
This step will vary depending on your dog, but is extremely important because it sets us up for the next step. One of two things needs to happen. Either your dog approaches and gets close enough for you to try to grab, or you must approach them to try to get ahold of them. The way that you try to grab your dog is worth noting too. We want to keep in mind that most dogs are quite athletic and nimble, so we have to be very quick and potentially even lunge towards them a little when we try to grab them.
This sets us up beautifully for the next part because the average dog will try to dance just out of your reach when you try to perform the grab. This is 100% normal and to be expected. When this happens, move on to step 3!
Step 3 - The chase
This is the most critical stage of the process. When your dog jumps out of your loving and grabby reach, this is our moment! The chase is on! Start the chase slowly, moving towards them, almost like you want to corner them. You can remind them how serious you are with this particular process if you’d like by talking to them. For some dogs, threats work, or saying their name loudly in “the Tone”. Our goal is to make sure our dog still knows how serious we are about this process. This will potentially make them move faster, which is great! Because then we can chase them with more gusto.
The chase should continue to escalate from a speed walk up until you cannot keep up with the dog any longer and they are successfully evading you. It is ok to be winded a little, this is a sign that you’ve put in the work as well! Move on to the next step.
Step 4 - Step back and enjoy your handiwork!
By going through these steps you’re well on your way to teaching your dog not to come to you, so pat yourself on the back for a job well done! At this point you should leave and go back to what you were doing beforehand and let the dog go back to doing their own thing. Mission accomplished! Next time you go through this process your dog will be more familiar with it and should do an even better job at not coming!
It sounds pretty silly when it’s laid out like this doesn’t it. Yet I meet many owners who are doing parts of this pattern, or even the whole thing, getting frustrated about their dog not coming to them. The fact is that your dog is doing what they’ve been taught and have learned.
There is no shame in doing something wrong when no one has taught you how to do it. If you find that your knowledge and knowhow about training your dog to do what you want is running dry, get it touch! I will help you get things set right and well on your way to being the team you want to be.