We have all been there chasing after our dog red faced and embarrassed as they are bolting away from us. We try yelling and flailing our arms in the air. When that doesn’t work and in our frustrated state we yell instead at the people around us “they’re friendly!”
What happens after this stressful event is what always shocks me as it is a critical part of what the dog learns.
When we finally catch our dog we grab at them quickly and abruptly as we try to get a hold of their collar. Then it’s a scolding, “no”, “bad dog for running away”, and sometimes this scolding turns into full on lashing for the dog's poor choice.
What did this experience teach the dog?
I will give you a hint: it wasn’t that coming back to you is a better choice. In many of these cases the dog learns 2 things. (1) Getting away, running, being chased, or chasing is super fun. 10 out of 10, highly recommended, and likely will do it again. (2) My pet-parents are kind of scary sometimes. Note to self I should be sure to avoid them better next time so that I don’t get into that situation again.
Did your dog learn to “come” to you? Nope, they sure didn’t.
Learning is happening all the time and a mistake that can really catch people up when trying to train their dog is that they think they can use human logic and talk their way through the dog's lesson. Dog’s don’t speak human language.
How do you form this relationship that fosters communication?