I could have titled this – When your dog gets too smart for his own good.
You are training your dog and you notice that he has already moved on to the next trick. Or, you ask him to do something and he does every other trick he knows. Or, he does the last trick he finally learned no matter what command you give him.
Cross your arms. Don’t look at dog. This will usually calm the dog down.
If at first you thought this behavior was cute, you probably gave the dog positive reinforcement even if you didn’t realize you were doing so: a smile, a laugh, telling him/her it was cute. (I am so guilty of this. Sinatra always learns the tricks first so when Mr. Beans learned Scoot (going through my legs backwards) before Sinatra, I was so thrilled that I overdid the praise. Now he wants to Scoot all the time.) So, be mindful that you aren’t giving positive reinforcement unless the dog does the trick you want.
Work on one or two commands only per session. Make sure the dog does only those commands. (This is boring, right? I hear you.)
Ask for only one command at once. I am also guilty of this. Sit and Down seem to go so well together, but I can see how saying them one after the other could make the dog do them one after the other all the time. So mix it up.
Watch your hand signals. Dogs really cue in on hand signals. I realized how close my hand signals for Scoot and Spin and Go Through were so I changed them up a bit.
If the dog does something you don’t want, absolutely no treat. It might be cute that the dog gets your slippers, but if you didn’t ask for them, don’t treat out of guilt.
Slow down. Here’s another one I’m guilty of. Once the dog knows a trick, I am anxious to move on. Sinatra is an especially fast learner so I have to give Mr. Beans time to catch up. This means putting Sinatra in a sit position and leaving him there to “watch”. He doesn’t like it, but I do reward him for staying put, so he does it.
Dogs are show offs. Sinatra finally learned “You’re under arrest.” He is so impressed with himself that he wants to show off his new trick all the time. I ask him to “Go Around” and he does his new trick. He learned “Go Around” a long time ago so he doesn’t find it a challenge anymore. He’d much rather do his new trick. Again, no positive reinforcement.
Here’s a story that will illustrate just how much a command can get into a dog’s head. My husband and I were visiting my mother-in-law. She was buzzing around – as mothers often do when their children visit—and my husband wanted her to sit down and just enjoy our visit. So he said, “Ma, sit down.” And didn’t our dog sit down obediently.
We used to clap whenever the dog caught the ball off the wall without having to chase it down. In other words, she was catching it right off the bounce on the wall. One summer we were traveling with her across the country and we stopped at a free outdoor Jazz Festival. Every time the audience clapped, she thought it was for her and she was looking around very perplexed. So, choose your praise signal carefully.
I have always found this dog to be super attractive. Unfortunately, its size has kept me from actually getting one as I feel it is prudent to get only as much dog as you can handle.
This breed was bred for hunting waterfowl. It takes 8 to 12 months to train the dog for this work. In addition, this breed is excellent in obedience, agility, tracking (rescue operations) and as a therapy dog.
As its name implies, this dog is a golden color with shades ranging from light to quite dark.
Height is 20 to 24 inches. Weight goes from 55 to 80 pounds.
Some retrievers are super affectionate while others are independent. It is best to respect the dog’s character and not try to mold it to something it is not. So, even if your friend’s retriever has exactly the qualities you want, your retriever may come out quite a bit different. Generally though, they make good pets as well as working companions. Like any working dog, they will need exercise.
Life expectancy is 10 to 12 years. This breed is prone to hip problems, heart problems as well as eye problems, but then every dog has its day, folks. The breed I have is supposedly prone to hip problems also and yet none of my 5 shelties has had hip problems.
Easy to groom. Sheds no more than most dogs even with that beautiful coat.
Here in Northern Ontario, Canada people love blueberries and we have them in abundance. Sinatra and Mr. Bean even enjoy them. I had one dog who would sit right in the patch and munch away.
Unfortunately, this year a late frost killed off the blueberry flowers so that in August, when both people and bears go blueberry picking, the crop was very small. The bears were extremely hungry as blueberries are one of their main food choices. As a result, the bears came into the city in large enough numbers that someone saw one nearly every day. Sadly, our Natural Resource Department has been short staffed for close to 10 years and they have reneged their responsibility for the bears. It fell to the local police to kill a number of bears just to keep people safe. This is a choice they made only when the bears seriously endangered people by displaying aggressive behavior like ripping up doors to get into a house.
What does this have to do with dogs? During the time this was all going on with bears digging into garbage right in people’s yard — tearing apart steel garbage containers to get at the bags —someone called the radio station and suggested we bring in some Karelian Bear Dogs to deal with the problem.
A dog willing to chase a bear? Never heard of it. After some research here is the lowdown on this formidable dog.
KARELIAN BEAR DOG
Canis lupus familiaris
2-1/2 to 3 feet
90 to 600 lbs
44.1 to 50.7 lbs
Black with some brown
Black and white
Solitary animals, though you will see a mother with her cub(s) as we did. The mother abandons cubs when they are 2 years old.
Very social with humans but not other dogs, prone to separation anxiety.
Widespread distribution and large population due to admirable ability to adapt.
Smart enough to hibernate in winter.
Originated in Finland where it is highly regarded for its quick reflexes and fearlessness.
Looks for home with fireplace to past the winter. (kidding)
I believe my way of training is the best for my dogs or I wouldn’t use it. I think my method works best with dogs that are “people pleasers”, dogs like the Border Collie, the Shetland Sheepdog, the Labrador Retriever, the Golden Retriever.
Some dogs were bred for a purpose (like getting rid of rats on boats) and they are not interested in doing tricks. On the other hand, personality plays a big part. For instance my dog Sinatra (jumping in picture) is much more of a “people pleaser” than my other dog, Mr. Beans. Mr. Beans seems to think that being cute should be enough. He only recently began to show a keen interest in training. I’ve no idea what finally clicked for him—most likely the type of treats which are now very small (for his small mouth) and soft (he has bad teeth). (This kind of goes against the old adage that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks…because it is only now that Beans is in middle age that he wants to learn more than ever.)
What follows is a list of training sites. It is not extensive. I took my own training locally, and they hold training only periodically so I did not include their site. The training was given by the local kennel club and if there is one in your area you could definitely start with them. If you have a PetSmart, they also have training. I list Cesar Millan first, only because he is the best known right now. However, I am not promoting one method over the others (except mine of course!).
Frank: We have a bird feeder near the house which acts kind of like streaming video for Beans. He can spend hours in front of the patio door watching tree sparrows and juncos come and go. I think his brain is going to mush. Too much screen time.
Beans: You should take more interest in what is going on in our backyard. Check out who came today.
I live in northern Ontario which is known to be bear country. Yesterday, while walking my two shelties, I saw a big black creature coming around the bend. I knew it wasn’t a bear because they are in hibernation this time of year. This dog was huge — and absolutely beautiful. In addition he was one of the most calm dogs I had ever come across. The owner said that the dog was very independent and had a mind of his own. When I encounter temperament like that I wonder if it’s training or part of the breed’s characteristic. So I researched the Chow Chow.
The Chow Chow’s origin seems to be unknown. Even though the dogs are seldom seen in China today, the Mongolian tribes in China did keep this breed. The breed then appeared in England in the 1800s.
aloof and indifferent like a cat
wary of strangers
17-21″ at the shoulder
color varies from black to mahogany
mixed breeds can be white or even blue merle
younger Chow Chows are more pliable so training should start early