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Keep away in the yard...

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Almost always my young dog has pretty great recall and wants to make the right choices and she tries very hard to be a good dog. Lately though we've been having an issue where she does not want to come back into the house after playing or going potty. She'll walk right up to the door and then she gets this gleam in her eye, jumps back and won't come in or get within arms reach.

I cannot just leave her in the yard for a lot of reasons. Also, she doesn't particularly dislike being alone.

I have started taking her out on leash to use the bathroom. She happily does this. 

When taking her out to play now I do a lot of recalls and collar grabs, with rewards of food or continued play and a few times of bringing her in and rewarding her for coming in by letting her right back out. 

She always gets a bit of food for coming in as well.

I can see we are having some improvement, but, it is slow going, and the fact that she has learned this game/behavior makes me nervous she might do it in a more dangerous or urgent situation. 

Any suggestions, ideas or critiques are welcome!

Thank you!

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I think you are basically on the right track, especially with calling her in the house and then rewarding her with a quick treat and letting her go right back outside.  I would do that A LOT.  The other thing I would do is play with her ("play" meaning possibly a fun training session, or a game of find the hidden treat, or something else she finds really enjoyable) for a couple minutes after you call her into the house for the last time.   You want to instill two thing here: a) calling inside doesn't necessarily mean the outdoor fun is over, she may get to go right back out, and b) even if she doesn't go right back out, there's even more fun stuff that happens when she does come inside.   Also, until she gets really, really, really reliable about this, a 50-ish ft long line attached to her collar whenever she is outside is your friend.

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Immediate play inside is tough with the weather, but I'll try and figure something out she can do on towels to clean her paws haha. Catching thrown treats is hugely rewarding for her so we'll increase that while I think of other fun ideas haha

And I completely forgot about long lines! Oh my gosh thank you. I'll get something she can drag around tomorrow! Thank you so much!

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I agree that you are on the right track. Make coming in the door highly rewarding, and don't allow the pup to choose otherwise (- use the long line or leash). And, as Hooper said, do this a lot. 

One thing that I always try to do is make everything that I ask the dogs to do rewarding in some way for them when they do it. This is of course most important with a dog you are training, but I am mentioning this because it pays to continue this practice for the dog's whole life, constantly reinforcing the good behavior. This doesn't mean a whole play session or great treats every time, might just be a snuggle or a little petting and a few words, but there is always some acknowledgement of what a good dog he or she is.

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2 hours ago, D'Elle said:

One thing that I always try to do is make everything that I ask the dogs to do rewarding in some way for them when they do it. This is of course most important with a dog you are training, but I am mentioning this because it pays to continue this practice for the dog's whole life, constantly reinforcing the good behavior. This doesn't mean a whole play session or great treats every time, might just be a snuggle or a little petting and a few words, but there is always some acknowledgement of what a good dog he or she is.

110% agree with the bolded statement. Some people believe that a dog should obey just because you give a cue. My belief and practice is that dogs who get rewarded/reinforced for specific behaviors are much better at consistently 'behaving' in the way you want them to. I also believe/practice variable quality of reward. Some times the reward is a yummy treat. Some times it's a head scruff or butt scratch. The reward needs to be meaningful to the dog, as well. Some dogs do well with praise, a LOT of dogs like food, some dogs like a game of tug. I like to mix it up, so the dog (and I) don't get bored with the same old thing. Keeps me on my toes, as well.

Ruth & Gibbs

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Just a thought here that may be way off base ...   In your original post you mentioned that this behavior has started recently.  In your second post you mention cleaning feet in the current weather.   Is there any chance that this behavior started when the weather changed and you started cleaning paws  more frequently when she comes in?   I dunno.  Maybe you've been wiping paws all along.   But, lots of dogs hate having their feet messed with, and even if they have been conditioned to accept it, that doesn't mean they like it.  So, IF her reluctance to come inside coincides with her having to have her feet messed with more than she had previously been accustomed to, maybe that's why she's avoiding coming in.    Just something to think about, but if you think there's been a change in the foot cleaning that coincides with her starting to evade coming inside, maybe you can adjust your foot cleaning procedure.  Some people are more fastidious than others, but unless the feet are really bad, I just let my dogs in the door, and figure that god gave us Swiffers for a reason.   I don't mean to suggest that you can never clean your dog's feet, but if suddenly every, or nearly every, time she walks through the door she's faced with something she dislikes, well, that is sort of like punishing her for coming inside.  Again, I could be totally off base here, but give it some thought, and see if you think there could be an association in her mind.

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Lots of good stuff above -- especially the possible coinciding w/ foot cleaning. Just one thing I'd like to add, and that's doing lots of practice recalls in the yard and even to the door with some enthusiastic praise and/or food reward and then releasing her to go back to playing. There's a good chance she's associating the recall with end of play/going back into the house or whatever (and this is where cleaning her feet could come into it).

On some of those recalls you could snap a leash on and then release her. Maybe take it off the next time and do it several times. Then when you know you're ready to take her in, snap it on one or 2 last times w/out removing it so you have it to grab onto id she resists going in.

If there are lots of recalls that are just for fun then she should eventually stop associating it with going inside.

 

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You guys were 100% right on with the foot cleaning being what she was avoiding! I got myself a fancy floor mat for drying dog feet. After buying it I changed our routine so when she comes in I ask for a few tricks for high value rewards while she stands on it. We did this for a few days while leashed and she's now RUNNING in the door and waiting on 'her rug' for me to ask her to spin around or come one step forward/one step back (the best tricks I can think of for drying feet on a small mat.) 

I'm not generally so obsessively fastidious but we just bought this house a few months ago and moved in a few weeks ago after doing major cleaning to make it livable. Haha

We've also majorly increased our fun recall practice as she has now learned this new possible behavior and I'm worried she'll do it when it matters more than just coming in from the yard. But that too is going very well :)

Thanks for all the great advice everyone!

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On 12/8/2019 at 7:50 AM, GentleLake said:

Just one thing I'd like to add, and that's doing lots of practice recalls in the yard and even to the door with some enthusiastic praise and/or food reward and then releasing her to go back to playing. There's a good chance she's associating the recall with end of play/going back into the house or whatever (and this is where cleaning her feet could come into it).

You can also randomly toss in some easy trick training right after the paw cleaning. If you search for dog trick training, on these boards or on the Web, you'll find scads of silly, easy things to train your dog to do. If you have another way to quickly engage in her in some activity with you that SHE finds rewarding after paw cleaning, that's another plus. These dogs LOVE to work as part of a team with their human. It does take a few extra minutes but might be worth it.

Ruth & Gibbs

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