3 min read


Why Dogs Run Away When Called



3 min read


Why Dogs Run Away When Called




Has this ever happened to you? As soon as you call your dog to come back, he starts running away as if you’ve just told him the opposite. This is called active disobedience and it is regarded as a major training emergency. So what seems to be the problem? When it comes to passive or active disobedience, it always goes back to… the owner. Yes… you are essentially the reason why your dog keeps running away when called. From boredom to fear and apprehensiveness, the causes vary by situation. Let’s find out more about what drives your dog to run away from you and what measures you should take in each case.

The Root of the Behavior

Dogs are curious by nature and have an innate need to be active and explore their surrounding environment. Not to mention the need to play. Which brings us to the focus of today’s topic: why does your dog run away when you call him? Most likely because they have discovered play and training are mutually exclusive. Whenever you call him back, your dog immediately knows playtime is over and is afraid to do as you requested. More so, he might be afraid to return for fear of punishment. It’s possible you’ve put your pup in an impossible situation in the past and he is now unsure of whether you are worthy of trust or not. If you’ve punished your dog for not coming before, don’t expect him to listen to you next time you do it. Your dog's breed can also play a big role in this.

Take Greyhounds for example… they aren’t very likely to obey you, simply because they are not programmed that way. Apart from being scared, your dog could also be tired, bored, or lethargic. In this case, you are dealing with a passive type of disobedience, which means that your dog will simply find it irrelevant when they hear you call. Either the dog is apprehensive about approaching (a major temperament emergency), or it fails to see the relevance of your request. More so, lazy dogs often refuse to come when called because they know the owner will eventually come to them. You need to take this situation more seriously, in case you haven’t done so until now because dogs who run away when called are often injured. They can chase cars and get hit, fall into ditches, or even get into fights with other dogs. You need to work with your pup until they learn that it’s not okay to run when they hear your command.

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Encouraging the Behavior

Every dog should love coming when called. If that is not happening, then there’s something wrong with the relationship between you and your furry friend. Your dog does not find your call to be authoritative enough or he is too scared to approach for reasons you’ve reinforced throughout time. Proper training is essential to getting your dog to come when you call them. You have to make it so that your call overshadows the distraction and reassures them of your complete love and support. Which is why you should never punish him when he does eventually come back to you. No matter how long you have been chasing your pup and no matter what he has done when running at large, you should always praise him and refuse to get angry. If you “sweet talk” him over then start yelling at him, your dog will learn that he can’t trust you, no matter the tone. You want your dog to know that coming to you is much better than anything he’s going to find out there. Motivate him with treats and make it fun. He will be less tempted to chase after distractions and learn that coming when called is a rewarding experience for him — not a scary one.

Other Solutions and Considerations

Dogs are social creatures who need constant attention and something interesting to keep them busy. If you can never find the right time to spend with your pup, do not expect him to listen to you when you call him. Pay attention to your dog and make spending quality time with him a priority in your life… or at least one of the priorities on your to-do list. Set aside time for daily walks and make sure you provide him with plenty of affection. Keep him well exercised and consider hiring a specialist if your training methods do not seem to be working.


Every dog should be made to feel that coming back to their owner is the best thing ever. When things turn south, you need to reconsider your training methods and arm yourself with lots of patience to “confront” your little furry friend. Take your time, make it fun, and eventually, you will have a dog who will come to you not just because he has to but because he wants to.

By a Amstaff lover Marieta Murg

Published: 03/28/2018, edited: 01/30/2020

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