Lately, it has become harder and harder to get Cody to come inside from the back yard. He's always had a problem with the "come" command, although we regularly work on it. Even after all this time, although he's doing a lot better than he was last year and we continue to work on it, he's still a skittish B, bolting at sudden sounds and movements from people, and he'll bolt when people (even me) are too close to him while he's outside. When we work on training outside, he always keeps about a 3-4 feet distance between us. If I get any closer, he'll either run off or he'll back up until he's back in his preferred comfort zone. This is also something that has slowly gotten better, though, because he used to have to keep at least 6 feet between us.
Until recently I hadn't worried too much about making him come inside and usually let him come in when he's ready. I suppose it's partly guilt on my part because I leave for school at roughly 11:00 am and return at about 6 pm on most days, so although he's not crated as long as some dogs, he doesn't get to run free in the back yard until after dark. Since he doesn't really like to be outside alone in the dark, he usually comes in after about 30 minutes to an hour. I walk him in the mornings because it's so difficult to get him to come inside now, but he seems to enjoy the walks and new smells. He goes outside to run and play several times in the evenings.
My problem is that now it's winter, and even though he's shivering from cold, he still won't come in. Even as I type this, he's been out for a little over 2 hours; it's 36 degrees and we still have some snow on the ground. I'm sitting by the window watching him, and go out to check on him about every 15-20 minutes (which I regularly do regardless of the weather). The last time I went to check on him, he was huddled under the porch shivering, but wouldn't come out. When I tried to pick him up, he bolted further under the porch where I couldn't reach him. I tried luring him with treats, but it's like he knows I'm trying to get him to come inside.
While I would like to get him to come inside when I tell/ask him to, am I overreacting about the cold? I know it's not nearly as cold here as it is in the areas where some of you are living, but I'm originally from the FL Keys, so to me it feels like I'm encased in ice when I go outside.
Does anyone have any tricks (for lack of a better word) for getting skittish Bs inside? I've tried bribing him with toys, treats, food, etc, which all works only a few times until he catches on to the fact that I'm tricking him. Like I said, we regularly work on basic commands and such, but he refuses to "come" while he's outside, no matter what I bribe him with. The only thing that really works is when he sees my roommate's cat running by the door, but I'm not sure Gizmo would appreciate being used as bait every day.