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    Thread: Tough Question

    1. #11
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      Archie does some of both. He's one if you let him get away with not doing what you ask he has figured out that next time he does not have to do it. I know he knows what to do, stinker has his own mind. Then again, he never fails to bark when the doorbell rings or he thinks someone is at the door (and he's usually right). I always thank him for alerting me. Also, he alerts to the phone ringing with a whine/howl type sound. Really helpful if I'm vacuuming. Again, this is reinforced by thanking him and tons of praise.

      Lately two of the younger grans are putting him through his paces in the morning before school. They have him sit, down, come, all types of stuff and then pop a treat in his mouth. I've noticed how quickly and readily he "performs" for them vs me, LOL. He seems to be very tuned into them and the more they ask of him, the more he does.

      He never, ever, refuses to come when called. Really tested it the other day when a squirrel was chattering at him just out of reach in a tree. He was going crazy (fortunately without barking) trying to get to it. I called, he looked and immediately returned to me. That was a tough one for him and he did not hesitate.
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    2. #12
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      Not sure. All our dogs have been purebred, some from more careful breeders than others, 3 boys, 4 girls, 3 different breeds. From my very small sample, I'd say overall our girls have been more willing to please than the boys. The bullmastiff boys were pretty stubborn and maybe Chase just seems more stubborn because Lark is more biddable. All have had a couple rounds of obedience classes. Of my current 2, I probably spent more time with Chase's training since he was an "only child", we had just moved to another state right after we got him so I wasn't working, the kids were in college or working, so my high beams were pretty focused on him all the time. Lark caught on to training very quickly despite having Chase as a distraction/role model and me working. She continues to respond to commands more quickly than Chase and was always willing to try to learn new tricks that Chase would have nothing to do with, such as shake, roll over, spin, just little tricks like that.

      I think a dog's personality probably plays into it a lot. I encountered one couple walking on the beach with their dog off leash and that dog practically had his nose touching the back of the man's swim suit at all times. They'd stop, he'd sit down, they started walking again, pup was back walking immediately behind them. I asked them how they had trained him to stay so close. They said he'd received no training whatsoever, he had just always been that way and they'd had him since he was a wee pup.

      Circus animals, dolphin shows, that training is probably much different than what most house pets get. Their interactions with their trainers is probably all training, that's the trainer's full time job. The trainers don't spend time in the elephant enclosure cooking meals, working on computers, watching TV, sleeping. The interactions are episodic, time-limited, intense, focused, consistent, unlike how most of us spend time with our dawgs. On the other hand, how some house pets turn out so very obedient and others not so much may have more to do with the individual dog than where they came from.

    3. #13
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      offically jealous of all of you with examples of dogs with natural recall :P
      that's been the bane of my existence with Rocky and with Penny :P
      Rocky and Penny (Feb 10 2013 - July 23 2016)
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    5. #14
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      My dog wants to please me and I have taught him how to do that. Just like kids, they need to learn what you want. Sometimes something else, another driver, will encourage them to make a mistake. For a dog, that can be another dog, person, food, ball, bird, etc. For a kid, that could be another kid, food, fun, etc. For dogs it's not always a conscious decision, but a reaction. Same goes for kids. For example, a puppy is born biting, using their mouth to play and explore and it's hard for them to keep their teeth off of people because it's in their brain, hardwired, to do so. Kids use their hands for the same reasons, and you have to teach them not to touch things in a store, but sometimes they do it out of natural inclination. So, you have to teach the child to think first. Same goes with the puppy. Especially when there is not an immediate, direct and consistent cause and effect; for example, touching a hot burner.

      Labs are one of the most naturally biddable breeds you can get and if bred correctly, there is a natural willingness to please. They were bred to work closely with humans. They are also extremely forgiving. You can train them using a variety of methods and they will find a way to please you and/or to not cause you to be unhappy with or disappointed with them. The world really is your oyster when you have a Lab in regards of what you can do and how. That is why they do so well in nearly if not all sports as well as SAR, TSA, guide dogs, etc.; often despite us and not because of us. I have seen Labs who are relatively well trained despite being trained by a young child, an inexperienced adult, an adult with very little in the way of developed motor skills due to a disability and in that vein, I even know a woman who competes and does well with her Lab in Rally from a motorized wheelchair.

      Because they are all over the place when it comes to temperament, there are some Labs who are bred to care too much and some that are born with a ton of drive. Some dogs are bred without regard to temperament and some are bred for a certain sport where a ton of drive is preferred. There are pros and cons to each, but the proper temperament for a Lab is somewhere in the middle. Often, people don't realize that the puppy they choose is going to be a product of the breeding or they don't know that there are different temperaments within the breed, and they end up with a dog whose temperament does not suit them. They are also intelligent dogs, problem solvers and dogs that are bred to work, so if the owner is not putting their dog's brains to use, they'll figure out other ways to do it themselves. They are working dogs, after all, and working dogs need to work.

    6. #15
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      Quote Originally Posted by Labradorks View Post
      My dog wants to please me and I have taught him how to do that. Just like kids, they need to learn what you want. Sometimes something else, another driver, will encourage them to make a mistake. For a dog, that can be another dog, person, food, ball, bird, etc. For a kid, that could be another kid, food, fun, etc. For dogs it's not always a conscious decision, but a reaction. Same goes for kids. For example, a puppy is born biting, using their mouth to play and explore and it's hard for them to keep their teeth off of people because it's in their brain, hardwired, to do so. Kids use their hands for the same reasons, and you have to teach them not to touch things in a store, but sometimes they do it out of natural inclination. So, you have to teach the child to think first. Same goes with the puppy. Especially when there is not an immediate, direct and consistent cause and effect; for example, touching a hot burner.

      Labs are one of the most naturally biddable breeds you can get and if bred correctly, there is a natural willingness to please. They were bred to work closely with humans. They are also extremely forgiving. You can train them using a variety of methods and they will find a way to please you and/or to not cause you to be unhappy with or disappointed with them. The world really is your oyster when you have a Lab in regards of what you can do and how. That is why they do so well in nearly if not all sports as well as SAR, TSA, guide dogs, etc.; often despite us and not because of us. I have seen Labs who are relatively well trained despite being trained by a young child, an inexperienced adult, an adult with very little in the way of developed motor skills due to a disability and in that vein, I even know a woman who competes and does well with her Lab in Rally from a motorized wheelchair.

      Because they are all over the place when it comes to temperament, there are some Labs who are bred to care too much and some that are born with a ton of drive. Some dogs are bred without regard to temperament and some are bred for a certain sport where a ton of drive is preferred. There are pros and cons to each, but the proper temperament for a Lab is somewhere in the middle. Often, people don't realize that the puppy they choose is going to be a product of the breeding or they don't know that there are different temperaments within the breed, and they end up with a dog whose temperament does not suit them. They are also intelligent dogs, problem solvers and dogs that are bred to work, so if the owner is not putting their dog's brains to use, they'll figure out other ways to do it themselves. They are working dogs, after all, and working dogs need to work.
      And some are born to not give a damn about the person in the house.
      If he "needs to work" I wish he'd get a 9 to 5 and at least help with the bills.

    7. #16
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      Appreciate all the input, been a busy day here, will take the time to reread all.

    8. #17
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      Interesting thought Bernie.

      With Maverick, he was about the easiest and most trainable dog ever. He knows regular commands but also other ones like toy names, mom and dad, give me a kiss, and a bunch of tricks.

      You mentioned being able to let dogs off leash and have them reliably check in with you. I wonder if they were more bonded to you. I walk Maverick off leash thru a nature preserve with a walking path and numerous ponds. He would never get more than 100 yards from me without stopping to check in. I didn't train this, but he knows that he can't go far. Like a 6th sense. Maybe some dogs are entitled. Maybe some are dumber. Or maybe, as owners, some of us are lazy and unrealistic with expectations. This is not accusative or directed at anyone. We all have unrealistic goals at times and do the same with dogs.

      I do think the recommendation for training comes because most board members want every lab to be a wonderful ambassador for the breed. And we want everyone to love labs. Many problems can be worked out with training so I think that just becomes a default recommendation.


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    10. #18
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      Labs are working dogs and as such they need a job. If you don't give them one, they will find one, and it generally won't be pretty.

      Brooks is the first Lab I got for competitive dog sports, and I started training him for this the day I brought him home. We've been doing classes since he was about 15 weeks old, and doing 3-4 training sessions every day. I can honestly say he has the strongest bond with me than any dog I've had but my first girl Ella. I do truly believe that by training you dog a bind is created that is something special. Even at his young age, I can tell Brooks wants to please me, and will work very hard for my approval. I get a lot of positive comments on this from people I train with.

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      Annette47 (02-15-2017)

    12. #19
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      Quote Originally Posted by Jeff View Post
      It's like this with all intelligent breeds. The mind is going to work, if the mind is not guided in the right direction then it will make it's own direction. You have this with Border Collies, Golden Retriever, German Shepard and so on. They are highly intelligent dogs and the mind needs stimulation. You really see this more with border collies if their mind isn't stimulated they really seem to develop a lot of weird ticks. The poorer bred dogs or shelter dogs, do not need as much mental stimulation and are quite happy with whatever. They do not have a need to advance their own mental knowledge and understanding. When I look into Hemi's eyes I see extreme intelligent. I never see a sense of entitlement. This might be because I have since the day he came home nurtured his mind.

      It is comparative to humans as well, you take an incredibly intelligent child and you put them in regular school they are more often than not disruptive, the class clown, quite simply their mind is not stimulated enough. You take that same child and challenge his mind and suddenly you have a perfect student excelling at life. However if not noticed or addressed this mind will find it's own path. Many well known and high profile criminals are genius level. Take Ted Kaczynski for example, the Unibomber. IQ of 167, entered harvard at age 16. Quite often it is very hard for the extremely intelligent to adapt to normal life as the mind needs to be under constant stimulation. Where those with lower IQ can simply watch reruns of I love Lucy and that's more than enough stimulation for their mind to keep them happy.
      The next time we're out in the yard at 11:15 p.m., 30' ft. apart and he decides to take off running 1/2 mile down the dirt road, you walk after him with a flashlight, he'll be at the neighbors farm, up the drive another 300', you'll find him waking up his dogs that are barking their brains out right now, surely my neighbor doesn't mind someone walking around his place with a flashlight, he's a nice guy, after you hoof it the 1/2 mile back with dog in tow, you and I can sit down and discuss the need for "mental stimulation".

    13. #20
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      Quote Originally Posted by Bernie View Post
      The next time we're out in the yard at 11:15 p.m., 30' ft. apart and he decides to take off running 1/2 mile down the dirt road, you walk after him with a flashlight, he'll be at the neighbors farm, up the drive another 300', you'll find him waking up his dogs that are barking their brains out right now, surely my neighbor doesn't mind someone walking around his place with a flashlight, he's a nice guy, after you hoof it the 1/2 mile back with dog in tow, you and I can sit down and discuss the need for "mental stimulation".
      He's running off because it's the better option in his opinion and because he can (no environmental control -- fence or leash -- plus a history of self-reward in the other dogs, neighbors, etc.). Aside from being intelligent, dogs in general are self-interested, much like humans. If a dog doesn't know or feel that what you have to offer is better than what the neighbors/dogs/etc. up the street have to offer, he may choose the better -- in his opinion, since the reward must appeal to the dog -- option. You must also build the habit of making the right choice (controlling your environment + rewarding the dog for making the right choice).

      So, you have two choices. You can teach your dog that what you have to offer is the best and only option (control environment + rewarding with something that he enjoys + building the habit) or you can teach your dog that by choosing what you want him to choose, he can avoid punishment (probably an e-collar, in this case). What you are dealing with is typical of any dog, any breed, who has been given too much freedom without training or maturity. This is nothing unusual. Would every dog do this? No. Would most dogs? Probably. Your dog sounds fairly independent and it sounds like building a better relationship with your dog might help.

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