Would You, Come to You?
I took a few years off from teaching classes.
I lived in the country and it seemed silly to drive an hour each way to teach classes or even do in home dog training.
Recently having moved, I decided to get back into it.
Honestly I didn’t realize how much I had missed it until I got knee deep in it again!
But you always run across some interesting consistencies in dog training.
One of them; is people who literally have NO CLUE how to get their dog to come to them.
And it isn’t until you actually SEE and HEAR them that you can instantly realize WHY! Usually its because they are making one of these 5 mistakes that train your dog to NOT come.
When I Teach Classes
So when I teach classes I simply take everyone’s dog (one at a time of course), ask the owner to walk about 20 yards away and then have them call their dog.
I would say that about 90% of the dogs jump on me, wander around and pay attention to anything but their owner.
And, it really isn’t hard to understand.
Dog after dog refuses to come or slowly saunters around before finally coming close.
Some dogs dart toward their owners and then dart off inches before their owner can grab them.
Why, Why Do Dogs Do This?
Because a good percentage of the time the owners already sound angry.
“ZIPPY, COOMMEEE” (insert angry voice and icon here).
Even if the dog hasn’t gotten in trouble for not coming or the owner hasn’t completely misused “come” before…. Would you want to “Come” to this person?
No, you probably wouldn’t.
But humans have some common sense and we realize when we hear an angry voice telling us to “come” or “get over here” that it is best to deal with it before the person becomes even more irate.
However dogs don’t understand this, they are going to avoid that person at all costs.
Not realizing that the person is getting more and more livid and there will likely be physical corrections or abuse at the eventual time that they do come.
This abusiveness or anger only solidifies their idea that “coming” sucks and should be avoided at all cost.
So In Fact You Are Teaching Them the Opposite
So, in fact you are teaching them the opposite of what you want to or think you are teaching them.
Sometimes, in severe instances I have the person change the word so that the negative connotation goes away completely.
Instead of “Come” use “Here” or “Com’ere” or “Let’s Go” anything that tricks the dog into thinking it isn’t the horrible thing that it once was!
It is essential that you NOT correct a dog that has actually come to you, no matter how angry you are.
Then in My Classes
So next in my class, after the person is totally frustrated, I simply ask them to play with the dog at the end of the leash, tease him and run away.
Then they are to use a “baby voice” and praise the dog the whole way. None of that stern commanding voice crap ha ha ha.
“Zippy, come! Good boy, good boy, good boy, good boy!”
It is amazing how quickly the dogs respond positively.
They pin their ears and dash toward their owners with pure glee.
This is how I teach my puppies COME, I tease them and run!
They don’t understand why their owners raced off without them, or why they sound like they are having a party but they don’t want to be left out.
Sometimes even turning around away from the dog, so that they dog can’t see your face, and crouching down while doing the above with some clapping will send those darting dogs straight up into your space.
They don’t want to miss out on your party!
You see, dogs have the intelligence and temperament of a toddler.
Yell, COME HERE to a toddler and watch them break into tears and avoidance if they think you are mad.
Dogs don’t do tears but they do avoidance pretty well!
You have to be good enough to come to, and be consistently good enough to come to!
Hopefully you have had an epiphany and a look into your dog’s tiny brain, and will change the way you call him.
But one last point.
I mentioned misusing come… what does that mean?
It means you call him and then you do rude stuff to him.
Not only is it rotten to call him when you are mad or using your “commanding” no nonsense voice (remember dogs like FUN), but people call their dogs and
Smack them for something they found chewed up
Spank them for an accident they found on the floor
Put them into a crate or confine them
Put them outside (when they want to be inside)
Trim their nails
Or basically anything they don’t like
If I call you on the phone and say or do nasty stuff, will you answer when I call?
NO, probably not!
If you are always doing things your dog doesn’t want… don’t call him!
Instead, go and get him!
I have been a professional dog trainer and pet sitter for over 20 years. I am a Certified Professional Dog Trainer, through the international Certification Counsel of Professional Dog Trainers. I have trained and worked with police, Schutzhund and personal protection dogs. I trained Assistance Dogs in a men’s prison and ran my own nonprofit organization to take adult dogs from shelters and to train them to assist children and adults with disabilities, at no charge to my clients. My nonprofit organization and I were nominated for several awards of merit and even made the front page of the Denver Post. I was a veterinary technician for many years, where I learned about all aspects of health and preventative medicine. I have trained and worked with exotic animals and cheetahs. I introduced a temperament testing program in my local shelter and sat on the board of directors. I volunteered with my dog “Mr. Snitch” and helped local children learn to read. I have attained obedience titles and several blue ribbons. I am constantly in search of ways to continue my education and excellence when it comes to animals, their behavior and their health.