The last thing a pet dog wants to do is to run away from his family. However, if he is driven away through lack of understanding and poorly timed corrections, he has no choice but to run.
Young puppies have a built in security system. They tend to stay with the pack; canine or human. "Safety in numbers." As puppies get older, usually between the age of 4 to 6 months, they start to become independent. This is why the young puppy that followed you everywhere begins to ignore you. This is normal. However, In an attempt to correct the problem, the owner begins to scold the dog once he's caught, further compounding the problem.
A second reason a dog won't come when called: This stems from the dog being corrected inappropriately during early training such as housebreaking, chewing, or other behavioral issues making the dog fearful of the owner.
The third reason a dog decides not to come: Through improper training, the dog has been allowed to become dominate, and in control. A top or "alpha" dog will only go to a lesser ranked pack member if he desires what's being offered at that particular time; treat, rub, etc. If the owner wants the dog to come for the sake of coming, he will be ignored.
It happens to everyone. Your puppy is playing outside. You call him to come, but now he's at the age where he's starting to ignore you. You approach him and he moves away. You go after him with more intensity and he still stays out of reach, playing a game with you. You start yelling at him and charge after him. He takes off running. You finally corner him in a neighbors yard or he runs to a total stranger. No matter how you were able to get him, you start to scold him. You may yell at him, shake him, swat his rear, or all of the above. Congratulations, you have just taught your dog not to come to you when called. What started out as normal puppy development, is now an major behavioral issue.
Dogs learn through "cause and effect." This means, whatever happens at an exact moment is what registers with the dog. In this case the dog was scolded when he was caught. Since dog's can't reason, they don't understand the concept of "being corrected for something that happened in the past." The dog is not going to willingly go to someone knowing he will be punished once caught. Even if you praised him when you caught him, there was still no deterrent when he started to run.
Conditioning the dog to come for a treat creates it own set of problems. Treat training indicates to the dog that you are a pack member, not the pack leader. Dogs taught in this manner often view their owner's wishes as "optional." The dog will happily come for the treat until something more important comes along. Then there's a real problem. Pack leaders don't go to pack members. Once the dog is free you stand little chance of getting him back until he's ready to come.
Electric Collars only work as long as the dog is wearing it. Once the collar comes off, the dog will be gone. The same is true for long leashes, ropes, and string. Using the right technique, this is an easy problem to correct no matter how much the dog has been conditioned to run away.
This Website Updated: 10-22-2022 All information contained in this website is current, and up to date
JCM's Obedience Training Program adheres to the regulations and standards set forth by the AKC (American Kennel Club).