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My Dog Won't Come Inside! Tips and Tricks for Getting a Dog to Come

You're standing by your back door, calling your dog's name to come inside. It was just supposed to be a 2 minute potty break. You have to go to work. And, they would like to ignore you. They are not coming when you call them!

Let me tell you right now, standing by the door and having your dog come from 10, 20, 50, 100 feet away is a privilege. You and your dog work for that and you earn that right to call from a distance with all the distractions of the outside world.

dog wont come
The look your dog gives you when you tell them to come inside.

Come is an important command and if you find that your dog is ignoring the command constantly, a change is required. Here are some things you can do:

1. Teach come!

The dog trainer says train?! How creative! But seriously. Come is a command just like any other and you have to practice over and over in order for your dog to understand the behavior expected.

Teach it when you don't need it so you have an understanding of how good your dog is at come. How far away are you? Can he come with distractions? Teach the behavior first. Then use it in real life.

2. Use a different command

Your dog might not be good at come. That's ok. That means you work on it. They might be better at another command like their name or 'touch'. Use commands they are good at. You can build off success and increase confidence for both you and your dog.

3. Teach a new command

If you want your dog to come inside, that's different than come. Come is come to me. Inside is four paws in the house.

Inside would be a luring command. Here is how to teach it:

Step 1: Get a treat and have your dog right outside the door.

Step 2: Put the treat close to their nose and lure them inside.

Step 3: When all four paws are inside the house, say "yes" and then give them the treat and say "good inside".

Step 4: Repeat a few times.

Step 5: Remove the luring and try pointing. Stand right outside and point inside the house and say "inside". When all four paws are inside the house, say "yes" and then give them the treat and say "good inside".

Step 6: When they are reliable (you say the command once and they do it), start backing away farther from the door and see if they go inside.

Step 7: Try being inside and saying the command when your dog is outside. Start with your dog being just a few feet away from the door and as they are successful, say inside when they are farther and farther away from the door.

4. Use treats!

As a reminder, we use treats to reward a dog for doing a behavior (coming to us) when we want it (a minute before we have to leave for work or when the baby is crying or when it's cold out or when he's barking). If you are not using treats for rewarding a dog to come when they want to do anything else, they are not going to be motivated to come to you. Call it bribery or call it "my dog comes when called".

dog come inside
Use treats until the behavior is reliable. Then randomize. If your dog doesn't come when called, you are not ready to get rid of the treats.

5. Lure them inside

They won't come to you? Go get them. I say this tip because I do not want them ignoring you. Their command is a name. Come is a command. If they are not doing the command, they either don't know it or don't want to (too distracted, too hard an environment or not motivated).

I repeat, I do not want them ignoring you. If you have somewhere to be, go get them. If you say a dog's name ten times and then go get a treat, you are teaching them that you will reward them for ignoring the command - or doing the command on the tenth time. Furthermore, you are not teaching them a command and to do it the first time.

6. Put a leash on the dog

A leash is a power move. A dog loses control and independence when the leash is on (and they know it). They are either going to be more likely to listen or you'll have a tool to use to follow through on the command. Either way, you win!

dog come
Change up the game and you'll see your dog's behavior change with it. You can have a dog that comes when called!

Dogs take time to learn commands. They take more time to perfect those commands. They take even more time to perform those commands in highly distracted environments. Sometimes you need some tips and tricks to help you find success; and, there is nothing wrong with that!


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