Siberian Huskies > Siberian Husky Discussions

Training my Husky to not run away...

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--- Quote from: MaroonKellBells on June 06, 2005, 07:59:19 pm ---I hear a lot about "clicker training" but don't really know what it is...whatever it is, does it work?  

--- End quote ---

OK, I will try not to bore you too much with this (speaking on this subject used to be part of my job, and I could literally give a 20-minute lecture on this subject.  No one wants that!  I already talk too much as it is.).  But, I am no expert.  I have been familiar with the principals of it for quite some time, but have only just actually started using it.  There is probably someone on here much more qualified to speak on this than me!

Here is a very thumbnail version of the history/principles.  Clicker traning is a form of training that uses positive reinforcement - basically rewarding the good stuff and ignoring the bad.  It was originally developed by dolphin trainers (mainly Karen Pryor) for working with animals that were not easy to train using "normal' methods.  

You teach the animal to associate the sound of the click with something good, usually food.  You click and treat, click and treat, until the animal  knows that the click sound means something good is coming.  Essentially, the click sound says to the animal "Yes!  You did a good job".  It becomes a way to tell them that they are doing the right thing.  If I ask Ranger to sit, and he does, I click and treat and he knows that sitting was the behavior I wanted.  If he offers a sit without being asked, and I click and treat, he thinks "Oh, ok, she likes it when I sit down.  Good things happen when I sit".  Eventually, over time the click may even come to be rewarding in and of itself.  

The other thing the click can do is act as a bridging signal - way to bridge the amount of time between the animal performing the correct behavior and the animal getting rewarded for it.  It specifys the exact instance in time that the correct thing was done, and can help you "shape" a behavior.  Let's say Ranger walks over to me, puts his paw on my knee and then lays down.   I tell him he is good and give him a treat.  What was good?  What did he just get that cookie for?  Was it coming to me?  Pawing me?  Laying down?  How does he know?  Now imagine that same sequence of behaviors, but this time I click when he lays down.  He knows that out of all those things he just did, laying down was the one I liked.  

BTW, it doesn't even necessarily have to be a click.  Dolphin trainers often use a whistle.  You can even use a word, like "good".  Most trainers prefer the click, or other non-human sound, because it is consistent and sounds the same way every time you make the sound.  The human voice carries a lot of tones and inflections, and therefore can be inconsistent to doggy ears.

So, that is my lecture.  Hope it wasn't too boring!  I recommend giving it a try.  You will probably need to so some background reading to get started, but eventually you would probably be able to shape the behavior of your dog staying by your side, or at least coming when called!

Hands down, that was a spot on intro to clicker grumpybunny  :D I love clicker training, the first time I really used it in training was with a Border Collie I fostered, he didnt have a good start in life and did not listen too well. The clicker worked wonders with him.

Kellbells..... I would also definately try the clicker, you have lots of different books on the subject and I am pretty sure youll love it. The Border Collie I talk about, used to be a lot like your husky, he choose not to listen, but after awhile with the clicker, he did a big change and even if he didnt become a perfect obedience dog, the family who adopted him could handle him and it gave him so much more freedom.

Good Luck and please let us know how things go


Very interesting Grumpy.  I did not know the history of clicker training, now I do. That makes sense about it beginning with dolphins.  Everytime I read books on training and, like your advice, it has to do with common sense.  There is a world of great information on this site and the price is right.  Thanks


Rocco is a runner.  Once he busts through the open gate, over the fence, or out the open front door, there is no command that will stop him.  Getting the invisible fence has stopped him completely.
I don't know if he would run somewhere else, I haven't let him get out of my hands to find out.

When he runs he looks back to make sure I look like a big a-hole chasing him alternating between yelling at him and trying to bride him to stop.  If I stop he will run back toward him and when I reach for him he will run away.  He won't follow him home because as soon as I turn my back he takes off again. 

He has only gotten out 3 times at my house in the past year, once when my step sister left the front door open ( I don't really know what she was thinking), once when one of the neighborhood kids let him out of the fence ( I now have a chain and deadbolt on the fence) and once when he took a flying leap over the fence.  All three times I caught him two streets over the a  nasty yard with half a dozen nasty lunging doors barking at him.  My idiot wanted to play with them.

I also have a shock collar with the hand remote that I put on him when I got to my Grandmother's in the country.  He stays close with that thing on because he knows he gets one warning then a shock.  He got a couple shocks last time and ran right back to me to whine about getting hurt.  He knows where the shock comes from (the little black box in my hand) but still runs back to Mommy to make him better.

I know Rocco loves me, so that is NOT the reason he runs.  Someone had told me in the past that was his reason.  I was pretty upset about it but then I realized it was a bunch of hog wash. ;D

What's funny about my girls running off (ok, it's funny now, not so much at the time) is that if I bring out their leashes and yell "wanna go for a walk?" the will come running up to me cause they LOVE going for a walk. Maybe someday they'll figure out that they were already on a walk!!  But for now they can't resist... they come running every time.



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