The artful dodger

Admit it; you've done it. You've tried to catch your dog with less than successful results. I have heard many stories of people trying to catch their dogs for numerous reasons and their question is "why does my dog run away from me?" There are many reasons why your elusive dog may not be whole heartedly running into your arms each and everytime to call them to you. And the most common reason is a biggy.

#1 reason a dog does not come when called or runs when approached; a negative association to coming. This is the biggy; the one reason I can guarantee will keep your dog at bay. Back when I started training (let's just say a very longtime ago) if your dog didn't come to you you yanked on the leash and reeled them in like a fish. It was really a stupid way of teaching a dog to come because you were actually teaching them to retreat.

What dog wants to approach an angry person? There appropriate reaction to the yanking, angry owner should be to move away and only approach with great caution. But no, we humans think "I'll show him that he better come next time." Ah the human mind; great isn't it?

#2 reason is that your dog has something better to do than come to you. They may be reading their p-mail or found a funky dead mouse to sniff. Why should they drop doing what they love best to come to you? Because you want them to? Uh no.

#3 reason is the chase. Don't all dogs love to be chased? Most love it; and even the best of dogs will grab an off limits item if they think it might encourage a chase. NEVER, EVER chase your dog, NO!!!!!! NEVER It always backfires and if it is life or death you better think of some other way to get your dog, but don't chase them.

#4 Control, who is in control? Many dogs don't come because they don't actually feel like they should do what you ask them to; afterall they are the alpha dog, king of the domaine, leader or boss right? Time to burst their bubble.

The best way to have your dog come to you is the reward system. Reward in the form of treats and praise; treats when starting out and moving to praise as they "get it." If everytime your dog was called and came; they got a piece of chicken, I bet they'd be coming all the time infact I know they would be.

Never, ever associate coming to you to a negative. Never be angry when calling your dog; and if by chance you are angry, pretend you aren't.

And consequences, there must be consequences. What if your dog tries non obedience on for size like my boy Luke does every now and again? He learns quickly that if he does not listen and come to me I am coming to get him. My body posture changes and I make a direct approach. There is no mistaking my approach. I do not chase, it can be difficult and as each dog is different you learn the degree speed, posture and approach direction that the dog can tolerate. Too much and the dog will turn and run which is what you don't want.

Your goal is to get around your dog and herd them to their destination, abruptly. Typically I clap my hands and use my "git" along with it. Once at the original destination I ask for a sit, I udder a simple "good." And we try again, it is always amazing the second time, Luke comes flying in like the good boy I know he is. He just needs a refresher now and again.

Coming to you must be the best thing in the world; otherwise why bother?

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