Even the most well-behaved dog can lose their minds when they unexpectedly get out of the house or the yard. The freedom! The smells! What’s that over there? Oooh – let’s go check that out! Who’s that yelling at me? Can’t they see I’m busy doing important dog stuff? Hooray, we’re going to play chase! Bet you can’t catch me!
While some dogs will get joyously distracted by the adventure of escaping the house or the yard, others will become frightened and skittish. However, both situations can make them reluctant to obey your command to “Come!”. Here’s what to do if your dog gets loose and won’t come when you call:
1/ Don’t chase! It’s instinct for you to chase them, and it’s instinct for them to run – they may perceive it as a game or worse, a threat to their safety and they’ll run away faster.
2/ Stop, drop and lie down or curl into a ball. While it sounds silly, dogs find this behavior to be very strange. Their curiosity will usually get the better of them. On the ground or curled into a ball, you no longer pose a threat, so they will often come back to see what you’re doing. Don’t react – let them sniff you. Once they’re close enough, you can pet them and grab their collar.
3/ Run away! Most dogs love a good chase. By running away from them, they’ll often decide it’s a game or that you’re just acting weird, so they’ll begin chasing you or simply come over to check you out. That’s your chance to stop, drop, and get them under control.
4/ Sit down with your back or side facing the dog. Wait for it. Yep – pups think this behavior is totally weird, so they will eventually get curious enough to approach you. Since you’re not facing him, you’re no longer threatening, so he’s more likely to come and see what you’re doing.
5/ Go for a ride! Open the car door and ask, “Wanna go for a ride?” Most dogs associate the car with good things, so they’ll forget they’re playing hard to get, and jump in. Gotcha!
6/ If all else fails, break out the treats. Bribery can usually get you everywhere. While it’s not great to reinforce bad behavior, it’s more important to get them safely back home. Grab a handful of their favorite treats, and sit down or curl up. You can make a trail up to the door or gate if necessary, so they’ll get their tail back home.