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Discussion Starter #1
So, when Amaya and Ryou are outside, I sometimes have difficulty getting them to come back IN, and I can't just corner them somewhere in the yard, because our yard is a MESS of trees and bushes and all kinds of other stuff, so they're constantly able to dodge us or trick us. Treats work...SOMETIMES....toys...yeah, big fat no. I've tried taking them out on the leashes to go potty and not letting them outside, and they'll come in when called when we start letting them venture out by themselves, but after a week or so, they're back to their old antics of dodging our every move. I've tried chasing them into the house, but that doesn't work, and usually ends up with a cat outside. I can usually corner Amaya in the kennel, but I've only done that twice, and she'll learn that trick soon enough. I've tricked them into chasing the laser pointer in...Amaya quickly learned that trick, too. I've tried positive reinforcement by going outside and sitting on the ground with a couple of treats and getting Amaya to come to me (she's generally our biggest problem) and praising her and letting her continue to roam around outside, or going outside and playing with her, showing her that I'm not always going to take her inside, but she's SO SMART!!! I've tried punishment by sticking them in their crates and giving them a small thwack on the nose, but that just seems to make it worse. I've been working with them both, giving them treats every time they come in when they're called and profusely praising them and rubbing their heads, but sometimes treats just don't work. Lately it's been biscuits, but I fear that Amaya will soon grow bored of getting biscuits when she comes inside, too. I would put in a doggie door so they could just go in and out as they please during the summer, thus giving them a bit more comfort that they'll be able to go out, but the cats would just get out, and I can't have that, given that we've got so many coyotes around here, and the same problem with leaving the door open, especially unattended. I literally have to sit right there and watch the cats to make sure they're not sneaking out, because they've managed to do it while I AM sitting there watching!

So, what can I do to get Amaya (and sometimes Ryou) to come to me when called from outside? They have no problem coming to me when they're in the house!
 

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I taught my last two dogs to come the same way I taught them their names.
I sit them down, right in front of me. treats in hand. I use tiny tiny bits because I go through A LOT of them teaching this.
I say the command I tend to say come on, but kind of condensed into one word "cummon" just because it is more natural for me to be saying in real life situations.
Anyway, I sit right in front of them, and say the command, and give a treat. At this point they aren't even doing anything, just associating the commant with a positive reaction. Then I move further away, and give the command, and by then they've associated it with a treat and come running.
From there, I just keep taking it up a notch, add distractions, go outside, etc.

Remember to NEVER call your dog to you for something they don't like. For example, Annie HATES getting her ears cleaned, so I'd never call her to me to do this. Grissom hates his nails clipped, so I'm not going to call him to me for it. Even if you're livid angry, never ever do any form of negative reaction when your dog finally does come, you never want that command associated with anything the dog wouldn't want.
 

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What kind of treats are you using? High quality treats are a necessity. High quality means what the dog considers to be high quality...it might be total crap as far as ingredients, but if it works in training your dog to come when called that is more important.

I would start from the very beginning and go slow at training this. From the sound of it, there are just too many distractions outside that cause them not to listen to you, but inside there aren't the distractions to keep them from coming.

Start in the lowest distraction environment as possible with the highest quality treats/reward as possible. If you notice the dogs not wanting to come to you for any reason, that means you have skipped a step or you don't have the reward that is high quality enough.

You could also take the dogs outside on a long tether in the beginning and work on from there. That way you can be in control of the dog in a high distraction environment.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Well, they're actually pretty good with coming when called. They come to me ANYTIME I call them in the house. They'll come to me about half the time when outside, even come to me when they're out front not on leads....
 

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But if they are not coming to you 100% of the time, they need to work on it. What if you are in the situation where one of your dogs is about to run across a busy street, you call them and they don't come? Possible disaster. You should be able to call your dog to you in any situation. Their biggest priority when hearing you call them should be coming to you...not continuing to play or run, etc.
 

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Well, they're actually pretty good with coming when called. They come to me ANYTIME I call them in the house.
That's great, actually, start there! When they're not perfect at recall yet, you do want to set them up for absolute success. Call them only when you know they will come to you. I would work on rewarding and reinforcing the behavior more in an environment you know they can handle it in, and slowly work them up.
 

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Never ever ever punish your dogs when teaching them to come to you. All they will learn is to be scared to come to you! I've found one of the best tricks to get a dog to come to you is to run away from them. Get their attention, call their name and then take off in the other direction. They'll want to chase after you and of course they'll catch up pretty quickly because dogs are way faster than us, then repeat the command and give lots of praise and treats and play with your pups so it's a fun and enjoyable experience to come when called.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Yeah, I think that's what caused all the problems to begin with, Rach, was punishing them once I finally did catch them. DX That's why I don't do it anymore. If they won't come when I call, I'll just call the other dog and give them treats when they do come. I figure it's punishment, but not in a negative way. That's how I taught Amaya to come when called originally, was by using Ryou as an example. I put her in her crate where I knew she wouldn't get in the way and had Ryou come back and forth to Adam and I while giving him treats and praising him. She got the picture RIGHT away! Right after she came out of that crate, she came whenever we called...inside the house, that is.

I have tried the running away thing. It only works partially...meaning, if I have the door open so they can come in and out of their own free will. Otherwise Amaya will be, like, "I'm too smart for that!!!!" Or if I race to the front door and act as though I'm gonna let them roam the neighborhood. haha. She fell for that one twice, then realized that I wasn't going to let her actually go out.

I'm going to try working with her more on coming to me in the house (which she already does perfectly) and getting her to come to me when she's outside (which, if she knows she's not going back inside, she'll be all fine with it), but the thing is that even if I do reinforce her come command, it's as if she just doesn't want to come because she's not as motivated by treats as she is to go run around and dig outside and have freedom....
 

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You have received some great advice. Nothing I am going to say will contradict any of it. It has all been spot on. I do have a couple of points to make. When I teach a behavior, I use treats to teach the behavior and then ween the treats away as the behavior is learned. In the case of coming, I ALWAYS treat when I call the dogs into the house forever. They know it and they are expecting it. They always sniff my hand as they walk in the door and if I don't have a treat in my hand, they immediately go to the fridge to sit and wait for me to get there. I keep the treats on top of the fridge. They know they are going to get it and don't mind coming inside to do it.

Now about getting 100% response from them. I developed a theory that dogs have around them an imaginary circle that I call the "Circle of Influence". When you are in their circle, they will obey 100% of the time. When you are outside their circle, you don't exist. Ok, knowing that, all you do is to begin working with them a close range being sure you are inside their circle. Work at a distance that they are always coming every time. Concentrate on how far you are from them. Gradually each day, work from a further and further distance. This will increase the diameter of their Circle of Influence. Never work outside that circle. If they start not coming, back up a step or two and work closer again. Eventually you can make the circle a mile wide if you have the room to do that. You want them to succeed AT LEAST 80% of the time so when you have grown the circle faster than they are ready for and they are starting to fail, close up the circle a little and begin again.

I'm not good at explaining things with the typed word. I could do better in person where I could also demonstrate it to you. I hope my explanation was clear enough.

Like the others said, always be positive. Don't call them to you to do something they won't like. No matter how angry you are at them, never show it when they do come. Always praise and reward just as if they came perfectly. I think as soon as they learn that a treat is waiting just inside the door, 90% of your problem is solved.
 

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I get it RFD, and that's the first time I've seen it explained that way.
A fine job you did:smile:
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I'm also wondering if perhaps it could be in their nature as Siberian Huskies, because everything I have ever read about the breed states that they're strictly leash dogs. You can't let them off the leash for anything, because they're run, and they won't be coming back.

Amaya got out of the front door today. Scared the living BAJEEBUS out of me! I drove around the neighborhood several times, and she must have been hiding somewhere, because I couldn't find her, so I went and grabbed Ryou, and when she saw Ryou, she ran right to him. I was lucky, because she followed us home, and when I got back, I opened the car door and she jumped in, like, "Okay mom, let's go!" I immediately gave them both a few pieces of hot dog, especially to reward Amaya for not running away again.

I'll definitely have to work on the come command, and I think it'll be something that I have to retrain every now and then, because I had it down with them. I had it to where I could take them out front and let them run around for a bit and they'd come right when called. Heck, I'd take them to the dog park, and every time they were across the field from me, I'd call them back and they'd come right to me! So I'm not really sure anymore. I mean, when I've had perfect success with them with all kinds of distractions like that, and to have them just slowly stop listening again, it's confusing. Could it be that I do have to retrain them every now and then?
 

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Training is a continuous effort, no matter the dog and no matter what the "command" or lesson. Dogs need reinforcement in their commands and behavior to keep them up to par. We work with training on a daily basis making them work for everything, or adhering to the "nothing in life is free" mentality (link below). Never assume that you are done with training. Always work on the most basic commands and the most difficult commands as much as possible. Adding in new commands is a great way to keep your dogs mentally stimulated as well.

Nothing in Life is Free

I don't think that you should give up on your huskies just because of their breed disposition. We have a wolf hybrid dog that breaks all the rules...they are supposed to never be taken into the "wild" or they will take off and never come back, not true at all in our case. We have her so well trained that we can take her back country camping with us on free roam. She stays within a few hundred meters at all times and always comes when called.
 

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We have a wolf hybrid dog that breaks all the rules...they are supposed to never be taken into the "wild" or they will take off and never come back, not true at all in our case. We have her so well trained that we can take her back country camping with us on free roam. She stays within a few hundred meters at all times and always comes when called.
I'm so glad we were able to get her to "hang around" :biggrin: It's really nice to be able to get shots like this
 

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Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
Oh, I'm not giving up on them. I know they're capable of coming back when called, because they used to do it when off the leash in the front yard. And I always put them through their commands. If I give them a treat, they always need to sit first, and I'll make them talk to me before getting their food ready. I always make Ryou lay down and WAIT for his food (because he gets a big hasty with things like treats and tries to bite my fingers off, not on purpose or anything, but yeah). Amaya I always make sit, talk to me, shake, high five, lay down, and roll over. I taught her more commands before we got Ryou and just stuck with some of the basics for him. I randomly call them to come to me and give them treats and lots of attention. If I call their names and they come, I just give them attention. If I say "Come," I give them a treat. It's just the going out back thing. I think I'm going to periodically work them with the "come" command while in the house and out on walks (while they're on their leashes), using the ideas you guys gave me. So that way, if Amaya gets out again, I'll call her back and she'll come.

I'm REALLY hoping to get some friends to go out to the dog park with me one night when there's no one else there with their dogs, dogs I KNOW aren't going to attack mine, because that's what's happened the last three times I've gone, they've had other dogs literally bullying them, hardcore picking on them, AND being attacked, so I just don't trust ANYONE at the dog parks anymore unless they're WITH me and I know their dogs get along with mine. Or at least go over to someone's house with a nice, big backyard and let them play, then work on them there with the "come" command as well, because there'll be lots of distractions, lots of space to run away, but incentive to come to me rather than get distracted or run away.


BTW - I absolutely love that picture. XP She looks like she's stalking her prey. I could photoshop out the collar if you want. XDDDD
 

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I have this same problem with my boxers. We lived in a city before so they were always on leashes and when we went to the dog park they almost always came. Now that I live in Big Sky Mt and there is no leash law and there is tons of area to roam. It is partially because both of my boxers are pretty young and easily distracted. I have been working with them lots and there is no quick fix. I have been working on it for 3 months now and they are getting better but it has been really rough lately because it is spring and the kind of weather boxers thrive in so they do not want to be inside. Good luck and i hope it works better for you.
 

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That's great, actually, start there! When they're not perfect at recall yet, you do want to set them up for absolute success. Call them only when you know they will come to you. I would work on rewarding and reinforcing the behavior more in an environment you know they can handle it in, and slowly work them up.
This SO works!!! I have been very consistant in working on recall with my two for a very long time. I practice it everyday in the yard and they always come, but I have been careful not to call when I think they may not come and reward every time.

SO, the big test finally came the other day. A (not very smart) cat came over the 6' fence while my pitty was in the yard. When I ran outside the two of them were rolling around on the ground. I called Lulu and to my shock she came and the cat was hanging by his teeth and claws from her belly! I was shocked she came and shocked the cat was strapped to her belly and wouldn't let go. After a few seconds I picked Lulu up and the cat finally let go. Luckily, I believe the cat was OK and Lulu was OK except for several scratches.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
So I've been working with them on and off. Amaya doesn't seem to care for hot dogs anymore than she does her Yummy Chummies. Actually, she seems to like them less. haha. So I'm trying out liver treats now, and she really seems to like those. I'll try out dehydrated liver, as per Rannmiller's suggestion.

Also, we took them on their first off-leash walk the other day, Rannmiller and I. Well, Ryou got off the leash at the beginning, and Amaya got let off at the very end because she wouldn't listen. She did....OKAY. And Ryou did AMAZING. Then I took them on another walk with my dad and husband on Tuesday...they didn't do so great, but I did make a LOT of progress with Amaya. I let her off the leash and she immediately took off. When she finally came back around, I pulled out a treat and held out my hand. She KNOWS that means that I have a treat or am offering her peace, so she hesitantly stopped and looked at me, judging me. YES, SHE JUDGES ME! haha. So anyways, she finally came to me, and I gave her the treat, rubbed her a lot and told her "good girl!" Both boys were, like, "Aren't you going to leash her up?" And I was, like, "Um...Heck no! If I leash her up, she's going to learn that coming back means she's losing her freedom!"

After that, I had some issues getting them to come back when I called, but each time they eventually would, until we encountered the big thicket of trees where all the birds were hiding... Had to wait up to ten minutes for them to get their butts out and come to me!!! Amaya actually did better than Ryou on this one. haha.

All in all, though, I feel that Amaya really learned a LOT that day, that if she'd come to me when called, even if slowly, she'd get a treat and get to still run around.​
 

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I was reading eveeryone's advice, wondering if I would be able to add anything. Yay, I can offer something that hasn't already been said! :smile:
In Khan's puppy class we used the "treat can" method.
Take an empty Altoid or Sucret can (metal cans work best) and put a few treats inside so when you shake it it rattles and makes noice. Everytime you shake it give the dog a treat (not from the can) so basically you are teaching him when you hear this noise good stuff follows! Don't use any words, just shake=noise=treats. Believe me, they will catch on really fast!
This now becomes your Plan B. When you call your dog and they don't come, instead of repeating (which is a bad idea anyway, cause they can count!:wink:) you now just grab your treat can and shake it and watch out cause they'll come running! Make sure you are ready with the treats!!
I know it was mentioned to not use the command "Come" when you know they won't come. This is perfect for those situations. I use this when we are at the dog park of all places, works like a charm.
good luck and happy training!!
 
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