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Home / Nutrition Advice / Behavioural Advice / Training & Behavioural Advice


Calling Your Dog


by CHRISTINE EMERSON, dog behaviourist at Drove Veterinary Hospital


Who hasn’t had a free-running dog that was reluctant to come back? Who is too scared to let them off?

Yesterday, I met a man who was cross and embarrassed that his dog would not return when called, but he still retained the sense to reward the dog when he did finally return all lolling tongue and partied out. He wanted to wring it’s neck, but if he had told him off, it would have taken a lot longer and the dog would have associated the act of returning with punishment.

Young pups stick to you like glue but when their sexual hormones start to rise at about six to 12 months, they start to feign deafness and go looking for some fun.

Whatever the reason for the lack of control, you need to make yourself more entertaining than what is across the field. When a dog hears “Alfie come” they consider why they should. If the treat, toy or affection is too easily available at home they will think “Nah, I can have that at home anytime I want – I’ll chase this dog instead and have that later”.

So ensure that his favourite toy and treat are saved just for walks and you decide on when he gets attention a home, not him. That way, when he does hear “come” it’s party time and he will appreciate you and your rewards to much more.

Remember, it’s your walk and he is invited on it but be unpredictable and entertain him – otherwise he will entertain himself!



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