Hello, everyone first post on here ! Recall with northern breeds and independent dogs??

This is a place to gain some understanding of dog behavior and to assist people in training their dogs and dealing with common behavior problems, regardless of the method(s) used. This can cover the spectrum from non-aversive to traditional methods of dog training. There are many ways to train a dog. Please avoid aggressive responses, and counter ideas and opinions with which you don't agree with friendly and helpful advice. Please refrain from submitting posts that promote off-topic discussions. Keep in mind that you may be receiving advice from other dog owners and lovers... not professionals. If you have a major problem, always seek the advice of a trainer or behaviorist!

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the duck
Barked: Wed Jul 24, '13 8:49pm PST 
So I own a Native American Indian Dog (basically the biggest most anti-handler oriented dog ever a mix of malamute, GSD,northern breeds, and theres some debate on whether or not theres wolf in the lines). Regarless of breed, she's an escpae artist with no recall. I can hardly go tot he park unless I have a solid 5 hour free time block because I can't catch her there, I can't catch her in my fenced yard until she jumps in the pool and I catch her at the stairs and I DEFINITELY can't catch her when she jumps the fence. We're talking overnight chases, 9 hours long, local PD, dozens of people watching, chasing and generally making the situation worse. How did you train recall? I've always been positive reinforcement only (Karen Pryor, Nicole Wilde, Victoria Stilwell type nerd) but nothing I do helps. The science behind it all makes perfect sense and the idea is to be more reinforcing and rewarding than the environment but how do you do that with such an independent individual who knows freedom and when the breakouts are SO self reinforcing? How could I, mom with a leash and some raw meat, be anywhere near as reinforcing as the whole wide world or a park full of smells and dogs? Any trainers here? I feel as though at this point I have to break away from positive only, as a veterinary student and someone who reads obsessively about dog training I feel like I should stay the scientific and humane route but is it more humane to train with an E collar and do remote recall training when her life is on the line every time she runs off? A few shocks to me seem to be preferable to a car accident or death.Anyone got some advice? How did you teach recall or are we in the same boat? shrug

Woo-woo- whineybutt
Barked: Wed Jul 24, '13 9:50pm PST 
The problem is that a 'few shocks' won't cut it. That is for proofing a recall.. making it better.. Plus there is no saying that she'll take off the other direction anyways.

If you can't catch her in your own home, then you need to have her on a leash 24/7 and start from there, have her on a long line outside if she needs to roam / run.

You need an Animal Behaviorist to help you with this one, or a trainer who knows NAIDs very well, sorry.

Im just a little- guy
Barked: Wed Jul 24, '13 11:21pm PST 
You have to appease her instincts to roam and run. It's better to work with them, than against them. How much exercise is this dog getting, what do you do with her? I have seen this with another independent breed. This dog did the same thing. The only time the dog received adequate stimulating exercise was when she was being chased around the entire county. She loved it and getting caught meant being locked up or chained up with little fun.

On your days off, do some long hikes with this dog. Consider getting a ski-joring harness and having this dog run with a bicycle, skateboard, or roller blades. This dog needs to run a lot and needs to roam. If she does not get it, she will find her own way.

You need to find something for this dog to do other than run away. If you can't provide adequate exercise for this dog, please find someone else who can, like a daily runner or other very active person.

Recall training is the same for this dog as it would be any other breed. She won't listen to you if she is not happy.

Jackson Tan

Lad about town
Barked: Thu Jul 25, '13 1:02am PST 
Okay, first off, get a long line. No more off leash time for this dog until she becomes reliable. On a long line you will have control and no more chase games. The game would be very reinforcing to her and why would she come back when returning means end of fun? You are going to have to work on check ins (return, treat, release) so she understands coming back doesn't mean the end of all fun.

A good (read good!) Ecollar trainer could help in this situation, but in no way should this be solved with a few shocks. That is generally what is used in aversion training ... Instead you need remote control. Don't buy an ecollar and put it on her, it is so easy to make a bad mistake. A good trainer would train the fundementals with positive reinforcement, then proof it with the ecollar.

Start your recall work at home, associating the word come with a high value treat, then slowly up distractions, move to the yard (on long line), and look up either a good positive trainer, or a good balanced (ecollar trainer). If a trainer says this can be fixed with a few shocks, run. There is so much more to remote work than that. I do know of harder dogs that have been trained recall all positive, but you need a really precise trainer to do it. Not petco trainers or anyone like that, but someone who can come over and work with you at home.

Eta: From what I've heard, some lines of native american indian dogs do have wolf in them. Where did you get this animal? Did the breeders have their dogs in compounds? If she really is a wolf dog, you may have to practice containment ... Build a wire pen with a roof.

Have you taken this issue to wolfdogforum.com? At the very least, the folk there could confirm if Lacey has wolf in her. I think she MIGHT from her pic, but I'm no expert. Anyway, the wolfdog people there might know which trainers are best for you.

Edited by author Thu Jul 25, '13 1:13am PST


Herr Bello ist- nicht ein- Mensch!
Barked: Thu Jul 25, '13 2:17am PST 
Can't help you much, but I was going to say if she's a huge escape artist like you say, instead of a long line, you might consider a tether so she can't chew through it (for when she is attached to you in the house or in the backyard, for running in parks I would think a normal drag line would be fine since she won't be focused on needing to be free, watch out for rope burn though!). And if you start tying her out in the backyard make absolutely sure she can't reach the fence with her tether. And I do suggest tying her out in the yard so she can no longer jump it. Also, Bello, who has husky in him, and only acted up when he was younger and wasn't allowed to get as much exercise (injured), would dig up tie outs when he was in the backyard, and just run around with a chunk of metal behind him. So find something to attach it too that is chew proof and dig up proof (like a tree). I also suggest more exercise as another dogster said. If you could do biking with her, you can get more exercise in for her with less effort from you, and it doesn't require her to be free to do it. Good luck!

I know you said you like people like Karen Pryor and what not, I'm assuming you have done clicker training with her? And have used it for teaching recall? Starting in the house where there isn't an environment to compete with. How is she inside with recall? Have you tried running away from her to get her to come back, especially if she is on a line, call her name, and start running away from her while still calling excitedly and pulling on her line, applying pressure, but not forcing her to come to you, but at least head the direction you are going (to come she would have to put slack in the line on her own, instead of being at the end of the line and encouraged to go your way). It also might be worth looking into the premack principle if you don't already know what it is. Use the environment to your benefit. For Bello, he loves to run, so I would ask him to come, and if he decided too, no treats for him we would just take off running down the street for a little bit. I didn't do it with him long, mainly because I'm not a runner in any form (I prefer walking thank you very much), but while I was I noticed a better response from him. If she wants to go sniff a tree or bush, don't let her until she does something you ask (like come!).

The line will be your bestie until she starts learning to come. I know it is tempting to let her offleash, to let her be free and run (such as at the park, in your backyard), but you can't. Because when she gets free and refuses to come, and you have to chase her down, it isn't going to be good for her overall training and could become a set back when it comes to teaching recall.

Edited by author Thu Jul 25, '13 2:34am PST


the duck
Barked: Thu Jul 25, '13 3:44am PST 
that's the thing I've done the start at pre-school and doing come from 3 feet away then distance then add distraction then move to outdoors and start at pre school again to help her bridge the gaps and generalize,but she knows so well between her leads and long leads, we even got some that lessen in weight as she learns (and she does) but all bets are off when she knows she doesnt have anything on. I'm not about to slap a shock collar on her myself as I'm much much too inexperienced and know it's out of my league as I'm not familiar with that kind of training. Lacey has a bicycle attachment and gets to run alongside my bicycle twice a day for 45 minutes usually,I knew this breed was a huge runner so I invested in some nice bike stuff for her and although it's helped and we can manage the breakouts from the house and bought her and escape proofed her outdoor run, it's more of a "woops" a family member left the front door open because everyone is a little bit inconsiderate of freaking coronary im having when i see her going for the busy street (yes I hold it together until after she's safely inside because what dog wants to come back to a panicked mom rolling around and crying)and just the ability to call her off things, here in South Fl we have those god awful frogs and I just would love to be able to let her do things like the dog beach and the park more without knocking over a little kid's sandcastle in her long lead, of course that's not happening anytime soon so her leads are my best friends but hey what can you do. Thanks all for your awesome feedback!

Akita Pals- Always.
Barked: Thu Jul 25, '13 5:49am PST 
While she may eventually learn to be off-leash, please for her own safety and your peace of mind ALWAYS keep her on some type of leash, long line or other type of tether. As far as the Oops, someone left the door open, you need to try to limit her access to open doors by training the family that what opens also closes. Given some of the breeds that went into creating her, she is also most likely still an adolescent. Those teen years can be awful for getting even a formerly well-behaved dog to listen. Consulting a behaviorist/trainer as the others have suggested is an excellent idea as is the continued work with her using high value treats. Chasing her when she does escape only makes it a fun game for her. You have been given excellent advice by most of the others so following it will be your best bet and in all honesty some dogs are just not trustworthy off leash. Good Luck.
Sanka- I'll Miss- You

The ground is my- newspaper.
Barked: Thu Jul 25, '13 6:36am PST 
How could I, mom with a leash and some raw meat, be anywhere near as reinforcing as the whole wide world or a park full of smells and dogs?

You can't. I've always hated that idea. You can never be better than everything.

Change that idea a little bit. Instead of trying to be better than everything, make yourself a gateway for everything. The dog can find fun things through you.

For example, my dogs like digging for mice. When out and about with them, I'll point out various mouse holes for them to sniff. And once in a while, we'll get a hit. The dogs learn that when I call them, they have a chance of finding something super fun in the environment.

I also like, when training, calling them to me, give them a big handful of treats and then releasing them back out into the environment to continue their adventures. That way, I'm a bonus to their exploring. Don't do it too often though as it will get annoying to the dog to constantly break away from their fun.

Having said all of that, not all dogs even with the greatest training in the world will be reliable off leash. Sanka is one of those dogs, but the training I have done with him has given him more freedom than he would have ever had without the training. It's never a waste of time.

I agree with others too about keeping the dog on a long line. Don't use the line to train your dog...like tugging on it to get the dog to come when called. Just use it as a safety device so that if the dog tries to take off, you won't have to go chasing them all around the neighborhood.

Lenny -The- Wrecking Ball
Barked: Thu Jul 25, '13 11:54am PST 
Sanka, I love calling my dogs and giving them a bunch of treats and then releasing them back out. I like the idea of them seeing me as a bonus, they look so excited to get treats and even more excited the fun isn't over. I notice they stay closer to me too since I started doing this.

To the OP: I would say keep this dog on a leash of some kind until you begin to improve her off leash behavior to keep her safe and to keep your life less stressful. Lots of good advice here to follow to help you improve your dog's recall.

Serious Face
Barked: Thu Jul 25, '13 11:55am PST 
We were at the dog park and I was watching a border collie and was just utterly astounded at the handler focus, the dog really was incredibly excited and eager to please.
Northern breeds?? Not so much. They've got other priorities.

Seconding what Milton said, something that could help is taking her on lots of long hikes in new locations (on-leash of course) with lots of tasty treats ready for any moment she looks at you to check in. The idea is to get her to value having you along on the adventure. Going to new places is pretty rewarding too for those types of independent breeds. New challenges, new sights, new wildlife smells. Not a good place to practice recall, but definitely a good way to bond with your dog so your companionship becomes an important part of her agenda.

I also love Sanka's idea of pointing out things that your dog likes when out adventuring together! Your dog will think you're very useful. XD

I can't believe your family isn't taking this more seriously. frown
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