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Refusing to Come when Called


Many puppy owners face a problem with the command “Come”. The command  “come,” means recalling your puppy. However, many times a puppy will refuse and not come when called. This behavior can be irritating for the owners and also it can be a precursor for disobedience and arrogance in your puppy.  

Before we move on to finding a solution to this problem it is necessary to find the reason for the problem. This is very important for the solution for this behavior because the problem lies in eliminating the reasons that your puppy disobeys. Once you are able to address the reasons, the puppy will have no reason to disobey.

The reason why a puppy will not come when called may be that the puppy associates the “come” command with a host of unwelcome and painful consequences. Recall in your mind the situations when you call your puppy, it may be either for taking her back home after the walk, confining her to the crate, giving a bath, putting on the leash & collar or to give punishments.

Now imagine what would be the reaction of the puppy to a command that means the end of her freedom and play, confinement, taking a bath, punishment or any other unwelcome situation.

The failure of recall training is mostly because puppy owners do not adopt the proper approach for recall training. The tactical way should be to make the command “Come” enticing and inviting for her. You should try to dispel her thoughts of unpleasant activities associated with “Come” and associate the command with activities and experiences that are fun and enjoyable for your puppy.

The more you associate the command with pleasant activities, the more your puppy will obey the command. Gradually you have to make it less predictable and hold some surprises for the puppy so that she can associate it with a mix of activities.  

If your puppy does not obey the “come” command, review your behavior and analyze what you have been doing that makes the puppy that has been trained to obey the command show signs of disobedience. The most important aspect of preventing failure of recall training is the timing of rewards and punishments. Never make the mistake of punishing the puppy when she obeys the command after three or four repetitions.

If you punish her for coming after three or four calls, she actually will believe that the punishment is for coming. How can you expect your puppy to obey the command when she has learned that coming means punishment?

You should not punish or reprimand your puppy when she comes. The most you can do is not reward her if she does not obey the command at the first call. Last but not the least, you must keep on rewarding the puppy with surprise treats and goodies even after she has perfected the “Come” command because puppies are situational learners and need positive reinforcement for good behavior.

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