Dear TCC,

How do I get my dog, Sassy, to ALWAYS come to me when I call her to come?

Andrea M.

Catonsville, MD

Dear Andrea,

We will never guarantee a dog ALWAYS does something, though we can certainly give you tips on how to increase the probability that your dog will perform a specific behavior.

Think of the times when you have asked Sassy to come to you and she hasn’t. What was she doing instead? Was she playing with one of her favorite toys? Or laying in the lap of a visitor? Whatever she was doing, it was better to her than whatever you were offering her when you asked her to come to you. What was that? You didn’t offer her anything? Well, get in the habit of offering her something awesome every time she comes to you, whether it be a treat or lots of praise and petting. Give her a reason to come to you when you call her.

This is something you can practice all the time without even trying. Every time she decides to come to you, whether you asked her to or not, reward her. There will probably be times when she’s doing something you don’t like (like digging in the trash can) and you call her out of frustration. It’s these times, especially, that need to be rewarded and never punished. Every now and then, throw in some really special, super tasty rewards to keep her guessing. She will eventually make the association that coming to you is always a great thing, and will remember that next time she is sleeping on her favorite pillow and hears you calling her.

Happy training!

The Canine Clique

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