>>The dog is alert,
>>can focus her attention at a moment notice, is happy, enjoys pleasing
>>her owner and is highly adaptable. The basic commands you will learn
>>in obedience training can be imparted to the average dog very quickly
>What changes do you make when you're dealing with a, let's say, not
>too bright dog? We love our dog dearly but she's a pretty dim bulb.
>She's the kind who, when the ball rolls under the couch, doesn't
>think to look behind to see where it comes out -- she tries to
>follow the ball. If she puts down a toy to go do her business, she
>forgets that she had a toy and you have to lead her back to it.
>She's learned sit, down, stay, etc. She will remember not to jump on
>people once she's been reminded. I don't think she'll ever learn
>fetch, and we'll never be able to trust her not to bolt if she's off
>the leash -- which is a shame, because she loves to run and she's
>*much* faster than we are.
>Are there modifications to training for dogs who really would like
>to do well (at least I think she would) but really can't figure out
>what you want unless it's forced on them? (I mean, she learned to
>sit by the yank-down-on-leash method, which forced her to do what I
>wanted. But there's no direct way to teach "don't bolt.")
>>In the case of my dog, I am
>>constantly telling her to Stop thinking!! (:
>Not a problem for us. :(
You and your dog sound wonderful. Lynn's follow-up post was excellent. I
am not a professional dog trainer and I have not been exposed to a large number and
variety of dogs/dog behaviors. I just happened to be trained by a dog that is (I feel)
uniquely sweet, brilliant and beautiful. However, I am biased!!
I will give you one "tip" however. You may find it a bit strange- but here it
Tasha (my dog) while she was in puppyhood and adolescence was not always so easy. She
could be quite stubborn and deliberately not coming when called was certainly in her
repertoire. During a time of "crisis" or desperation (on my part), I would
gently sit her down, stare into her eyes and softly talk to her about HER problems for
10-15 minutes. I would explain in detail what was expected of her, why it was important,
etc. Perhaps I happened to time these "father-daughter" talks just when she was
about to make a breakthrough or perhaps I found a way of getting her attention and somehow
transmitting my thoughts and feelings. For whatever reason, Tasha made important strides
and there was noticeable improvement.
Brian Kilcommons wrote in a prologue to his book, "Good Owners, Great Dogs" a
short piece about the late Barbara Woodhouse, one of the world's greatest dog trainers. He
".. She also believed in telepathy between human and canine. By picturing in her
mind's eye a dog happily doing exactly what she wanted, she believed she was showing the
dog what she literally "had in mind""
Final note: This telepathy is of course two way. You dog can also transmit her feelings
and thoughts ever so subtly- if one just observes. I can remember one day raising my voice
to Tasha in an effort to get her attention. She looked up a me and in a half knowing, half
ironic expression smiled and "said" quite clearly "You don't really think I
am going to do what you ask with that tone of voice". I promptly softened my voice
and of course she obeyed. The "conditioning" works both ways. Most inexperienced
owners fail to think and carefully observe their OWN behaviors with their dogs. In the
hands of a bright, sweet dog they are putty (easily molded). In the hands of a bright,
overly protective, naturally dominant dog- they are in trouble. Actually one of the chief
reasons I "trained" Tasha is that I figured I would be totally dominated,
however, sweetly by this wonderful dog if I did no at least insist she obey perfectly.
She's happier that way anyway.