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Best way to train my dog not to run outside?

If my dog runs away - often scarpering when the door gives him the slightest opportunity, he often refuses to come back when called, leaving me to chase after him in order to get him back on a lead, (lest he get in a fight with another dog being walked or in a neighbour's window).

However, sometimes he eventually does come when called, or perhaps "submits" in the sense that he will crouch down to allow me to put the lead on his collar.

My question is, how do I react in this case? Do I reward / praise him for finally being obedient, or scold him for running away and refusing to come back before? I feel that if I scold him he will not learn to come when called, but if I praise he'll think it's OK to run away.

2 Answers 2


You must always react to the most recent event or behavior. If your dog ran away 5 minutes ago, then came back 5 seconds ago, and then you punish him, he will associate the punishment with comming back to you and avoid that in the future.

Running away is a self-rewarding behavior. For your dog it's so much fun that, given the choice, he always choses running out over staying inside. By getting him back inside, you cut the fun short, which makes it a punishing behavior.

To get him to come back to you reliably, you should make that more rewarding than running out. You can lure him with treats or his favorite toy, and you should always exaggerate when rewarding him for comming back. Either give him some very special treats that he likes but doesn't ever get otherwise or play excessively for a minute with him. And don't forget to call him a good boy in an overly excited manner (that adds another reward on top). That teaches him that comming back to you is more fun that continnueingly running away.

You should also start rewarding him with your voice as soon as he moves towards you. Don't wait until he's at your side, but start as soon as he does something right.


Reward him whenever he returns; I know it is aggravating and you really want to punish him. You want him to associate a reward with coming home, not punishment.

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