How to Teach a Distracted Dog to come when Called


Most dogs will come to their owners when called if there are no other distractions, but once something more interesting is around, such as another dog, a cat, or some food, the owner is fast forgotten. However, it is important that your dog knows it should come whenever called, no matter what is happening around it. Here is the way of ensuring that it is reliable with the “recall.”

With your dog still on the lightweight lead, throw its ball or favorite toy. Allow it to chase the toy five or six times and enjoy the game. Then, the next time, stop the dog’s progress to its ball or toy by standing on the lead and yelling “Bah!” or “Bad!”

Now crouch, encouraging your dog to come to you by saying its name, and following this with the command “Come,” uttered in a soft, inviting voice. Praise the dog as soon as it arrives at your side. If your dog is charging after an object or another animal, you must be able to stop it in its tracks. If you use the reprimand word before the command “Come,” the dog will learn the “recall” faster, and will also stop in its tracks much faster. In order to know when to stop, it does not have to hear a complicated set of instructions, just the growl that is already very familiar to it and means it is doing something wrong–something that it should stop doing immediately.

So, if your dog is running away and you yell “Bah!” or “Bad!”, it will stop on the spot and return to you. Then, if you use your dog’s name, followed quickly by “Come” every time this situation arises, it will eventually learn to “come” on command. In the meantime, while it is learning this command, you will still be achieving the desired result— your dog will come when called whenever you use the one-word reprimand.

If your dog refuses to respond to the reprimand word when you throw its ball, and persists in running after the ball, keep using the reprimand word, and also tugging on the lead. Persist in this, because it you can stop a dog chasing its ball, you will eventually be able to stop it chasing anything. Using this technique will not stop your dog from chasing its ball in the future, as you can vary the training by, say, allowing the dog to chase for six throws of the object, and then stopping it on the seventh throw.

Once you have been using this regular pattern for a while, use an irregular one instead: sometimes allow it to chase the ball only on every second throw, and then at another time stop your dog’s progress on the first throw.

Make sure, even as you vary the pattern, to allow the dog many chances to chase, in order to keep its interest in its toy or the ball.

Then repeat the above exercise using food to vary the training; it may also be needed if you have a dog that will not chase a ball or a toy. Just throw the food, sometimes allowing the dog to get it, and sometimes requiring it to come back at the ‘recall” command.

The reprimand chain

If you have a stubborn dog that refuses to respond to all of your efforts, you will require the use of a reprimand chain. This can be made by purchasing approximately 2 feet (60 cm) of zinc-coated high-tensile steel link chain. The chain is the equivalent of the check chain, and makes a similar sound.

Unlike the check chain, however, the reprimand chain will allow you to reach the dog when it is refusing to respond to your command or reprimand—you can throw the chain so that it falls near to the dog. The dog will usually respond, because of the similar sound this chain makes to the check chain: a reprimand chain, when thrown, sounds the same to the dog as if you were pulling the check chain close to its ear.

Throw the reprimand chain as close to the dog as possible, at the same time yelling “Bah!’-‘ or “Bad!” Praise the dog lavishly as soon as it heads in your direction.

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Related posts:

  1. How to Control your Dog off the Lead
  2. How to Teach your Dog to come when Called
  3. How to Train your Dog to Master the off-lead “recall”
  4. How to Teach your Dog you are in Charge
  5. How to Teach your Dog the “Stay” Command

Filed Under: Pets & Animals

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About the Author: Fred Goodson has a passion for pets and animals. He has 4 dogs and is planning to have another one. He is also a blogger who writes about pets and animals. Currently, he is living in New Jersey.

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