The 3 most common errors when calling a dog

December 16, 2019

You call, but your dog turns a deaf ear. Could you be doing something wrong? Here are 3 common calling errors and simple ways to correct them.

Error #1: The trap
Dogs often dread being called because they associate it with negative events, like leaving the park or being given medication. If this is the case with your dog, even if you give them a treat, there’s no guarantee that they’ll obey.

To remove the negative association, call you dog back several times during their favourite activities … and give them a treat. Then let your dog go back to their fun.

Error #2: Repetition
It’s tempting to repeat a command. But it’s counterproductive. It can even impede your dog from learning. When you repeat an order 6 or 7 times you’re giving your dog the message that it should only be obeyed once it’s repeated several times. And, as your impatience grows, your tone of voice will likely change, which can make the order more difficult for your dog to comprehend.

It’s important to give a command just once, which will give your dog the chance to think and understand. If you don’t get the desired result, simply go and collect your dog. By doing this, your dog will understand what was being asked.

Error #3: Overuse of the word “come”
“Come” is overused. The multiple uses and interpretations of this word can result in misunderstandings and lead to the word losing its meaning.

Use another word to call your dog over. Call your dog in a distraction-free location, using a leash. Gradually increase the level of difficulty to reinforce your dog’s understanding.

Several training sessions—just 2 to 3 minutes in length, each—interspersed during the day are a good way to teach your dog new commands. Your dog will be motivated and more able to concentrate. Remember to make sessions stimulating and fun … anything to make your dog come back in a flash!

Karen Orellana is a dog enthusiast who worked for many years in human health before making the switch to animals. She has been a certified canine interventionist since 2013 and has followed numerous animal behaviour courses. Karen has worked at Accès Vet since 2017, where she combines her interests in animal health and behaviour.


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