Dog on the Couch

2015-12-03 06:00

Hi Susan, why doesn’t my dog take me seriously? I take her to the beach daily and we play a game of catch but when I need to stop and call her she carries on playing and refuses to come back for me to put her leash on. Thanks,


I believe an easy solution can be found. Try the following: Stop playing the game five minutes before you plan to leave. Then sit down and feign interest in the sand. It is likely that sooner or later your dog will approach, intrigued.

Continue to play with the sand a bit, and try to get her to accept some other diversion, such as a belly-rub. Persist in this way for a few minutes and then offer her a high value treat while you put on her leash. In this way you will change the routine and add some cuddling time as well as ending off with a tasty snack.

Dogs pick up on our energies and moods. When we are in a hurry to end an activity they are often still in an over-stimulated state and need to be calmed down. Impatient calling is liable to escalate their excited state. Dogs calm one another by sitting or lying down quietly, which should send a clear message.

But we usually repeat the recall command with increasing volume and pitch, which obviously sends the wrong message. We also tend to go after the miscreant. It is far better to call once in a low voice and then turn away. Your dog should be taught to respond to this as a matter of course. Dogs learn to get us to come to them, and so many owners unwittingly oblige.

Better train the dog than the other way around.

I hope this helps.

- Susan Henderson (accredited animal behaviour consultant).

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