Why Does My Dog Ignore Me When I Call Him (And How To Fix)

Dogs enter our worlds and our hearts and just change them forever. You wouldn’t want to be without your furry friend, but sometimes, training them can be a struggle.

You may be trying your hardest, but your dog just is not listening to your commands, or even seeming to ignore you. This can be incredibly frustrating, and you may not understand why this is happening. 

Luckily, we can help you uncover the reason why your dog ignores your calls and commands, and help you fix the problem. 

Why Does My Dog Ignore Me When I Call Him (And How To Fix)

Why Does My Dog Ignore Me When I Call Him?

Recall is one of the most important things that you can teach your dog. It’ll prevent your dog from getting into dangerous situations, and will give you better control over your dog, as they will come straight to you when you call them.

Recall is also essential if you want to be able to walk your dog off the leash, and let them run freely around grasslands and beaches for exercise.

Without good recall skills, you cannot trust your dog and let them off the leash, because they may not come back to you when you call, which poses a great risk of you losing your dog, or for them to get in trouble with other dogs and animals. 

So, why isn’t your dog listening when you call them back? According to the American Kennel Club, the most common reason that dogs don’t come to you when called is due to distractions, confusion and fear.

If your dog is highly stimulated, and there is a lot going on around them, then they may ignore your calls, and they can also ignore them if they feel that they are in trouble. 

If your dog thinks that it is in trouble, and that’s why you’re calling them back, they may be fearful and anxious about returning to you. This is why positivity, patience and positive reinforcement is so vital in training your dog to come when called. 

Reasons Why Your Dog Is Ignoring You

Here are some of the main reasons why your dog is ignoring your calls and commands.

Your Dog Is Not Bonded To You

This is a common reason. If your dog feels that you don’t spend much time with them, or that you do not have a close bond and relationship with them, then they simply will not waste their time listening to your commands, because they don’t respect you. 

Your Dog Is Spoiled

If you tend to spoil your dog, offering them treats and toys and lots of affection for no reason, then they’re not going to want to work for their rewards, or listen to you.

When all of their needs and desires are already met, they see no need to respond to your calls and commands. You will need to motivate your dog, and show them who the boss is! 

You’re Not Consistent Enough

The key with training a dog is consistency. This means being consistent with commands, actions, rules and rewards all of the time.

If you shout at your dog for jumping on the couch some days, and then let them up other days, your dog is not going to know what they should and should not do. 

To ensure that your dog responds to your calls and commands, you’ll need to commit to a term, such as Come or Here, and stick to it. Don’t call them by their nicknames, or say ‘come on’ and various other phrases, just use your chosen command. 

You’re Training In Public

Don’t try to train your dog in public places or they may become too distracted to listen to you. Instead, start at home, work up to the backyard, before moving on to public places or busy, stimulating environments. 

You Get Mad

Always remain calm, positive and collected when training your dog, and they should respond positively to you.

The Rewards Are Not Interesting

If you need to encourage your dog to listen, then you might have to up the treat game to something really delicious that will tingle their taste buds. 

You Talk Too Much

Dogs are visual learners, so if they are not responding to your command and your calls after repeating them multiple times, then try a different approach. 

Bad Timing

When it comes to rewarding, it has to be done ASAP after your dog has done what you have asked. There’s no use rewarding them 5 minutes later or even a minute later, as your dog will have forgotten all about it.

The same goes for chastising dogs, they do not realize why you are shouting at them, and will react very negatively. Instead, make sure your treats are at the ready and there to positively reinforce good behavior. 

How To Fix Your Dog Ignoring You

How you fix the problem depends on what is causing it. For instance, if you think that your dog is ignoring you because they are distracted and highly mentally stimulated when you are trying to train them, then maybe it’s time for a change of environment.

Dogs are just like toddlers when they are in training, and they will be distracted by everything. New sights, smells, places and people will just blow their minds, and they’re going to want to explore, play and enjoy themselves. 

To start off, you’re going to want to try calling your dog in a controlled environment, such as your backyard where there are no distractions. Reward your dog with treats every time they are successful, and be patient and calm with them.

Once they seem to have mastered this, start adding in distractions and practicing more. 

After this, you can try in different environments and situations, until your dog gradually begins to understand that they must ignore distractions and come to you when called.

If your dog is afraid to come to you because they have gotten in trouble in the past, then this is an issue that you will need to fix. Dogs may not listen and come when called if they have gotten shouted at because of it in the past, or if you’ve lost your rag with them before.

Dogs do not respond well to negative or angry behavior, and will become anxious and fearful of you. 

If this is the case, then you are going to have to be more positive, and all of the time.

Even if your dog is driving you crazy or embarrassing you at the dog park, keep a high-pitched, happy and welcoming tone when calling, and always reward when they come, even if it takes a few minutes and multiple calls. 

In addition, if your command was Come, when you shouted or got angry with them in the past, then you may need to use a new, positive command in the future to train your dog to come when called. 

Other dogs will not come because they think that it means that they have to go home, or that the fun has to end. If a dog thinks that you calling them means that they have to leave the dog park, then they may avoid you entirely.

The best way to prevent this is to offer high value treats as rewards, or things that your dog really likes so that they think it’s a great idea rather than a bad one to go to you.

One of the mistakes that many dog owners make is that the treats are not worth it. Some dogs just don’t like the treats you are giving them, and they may think that the risk is worth the reward.

This can make owners feel like they’re failing at training, but they’re not, it’s just that the dog doesn’t like the treats, and it’s more fun for them to carry on what they’re doing.  


To summarize, there are a range of reasons why your dog may be ignoring you when you call them. However, it is not an issue that cannot be fixed. With this guide, and a few handfuls of treats at the ready, you can have your dog coming to you in no time! 

Daniel Johnson