So often dog owners want to know why they can’t get their dog to come every time he is called no matter what he happens to be doing or where. “He can be stubborn.” “He has a mind of his own.” “His breed is like that.” These are all reasons I’ve heard people use.
While I haven’t seen as much of it lately, I do still see dogs chained in yards. It is a worrisome sight. Even a dog that will wag its tail, approach people with loose body muscles, and lower itss head for head scratches in other situations can…and more than likely will become reactive to stimulus in its environment when constrained on a tether, alone outside. For a dog that already barks, growls, or lunges at stimulus in other circumstances, it is likely to exhibit those behavior at even heightened levels.
A dog who jumped at the sound of a heavy box falling to the floor can become frightened by other sudden noises down the road. A dog who has had many different positive interactions with children will come to learn the presence of kids means good things happen.
Just a reminder, you will see more of the behaviors that you reinforce. If your dog gets a bigger pay off from running away from you, that is a choice you may see more often. If you want to teach your dog a reliable recall, your consistency in teaching your dog that the choice of running toward you will be followed by something of value is very important.
Have you ever felt like you are being completely ignored by your dog when you ask your dog to do something? It happens between two humans too…and the problem has destroyed relationships. It can be so frustrating, grrr!
Why is this happening? Is it a case of a suddenly very dumb, obstinate, stubborn, bull headed or all of the above irritating animal?
A woman was telling me the other day about how she couldn’t understand why her dog ‘out of the blue’ barked and lunged at someone he sees and solicits pets from all the time. Someone else was telling me about how his dog, that is very friendly, ‘out of the blue’ growled at a child who walked up to him as they were leaving the groomers.
You may have experienced or witnessed an ‘out of the blue’ fear reaction in your pet at some point too. It can happen to any animal – even people, but the thing is, although it may seem like it is some strange, rare phenomenon without explanation, there is always a reason for behavior to occur.