Training – Sometimes Easy and Sometimes Not

Why is this Dog Smiling?

Dogs enjoy training , if done right, and so should we. In fact, if we are able to develop, direct, and funnel a passion for learning then the chances are excellent that you will have a mutually rewarding relationship with your dog pal.  There was a time before anyone even heard of “clicker training” when  training dogs was really hard work, and not much fun. In fact I remember a time in my life when I looked at training as a necessary evil. Thank goodness for clicker training, as it has changed the world of training in profound ways and has created dogs who are eager learners and people who are eager trainers. Frankly it has had a profound impact on my life  too as now I am as eager to train as are my dogs. We all love it now. More on clicker training later. A trained dog is a much easier dog to live with than an untrained dog. And, you can have fun while building a great relationship with your dog.

But My Dog’s Not Lassie!

Not every dog is, but they are all trainable. Certainly there are some dogs more eager to please than others, and there are breeds that are known to be particularly easy to train. But trainability does not necessarily reflect on your dog’s IQ. Various people have come up with supposed IQ tests for dogs, but what most of them end up testing is actually their eagerness to please. Stanley Coren does a nice job discussing intelligence in his book The Intelligence of Dogs.

The downside of living with an intelligent dog is that they often require  a lot of exercise and mental stimulation.

Top 5 Most Trainable Popular Breeds

Below is a list of the five breeds that are generally considered the easiest to train. But before rushing out to get one, make sure you study up on their personalities. Not all of them are easy to live with!

  • Border Collie
  • Poodle
  • German Shepherd
  • Golden Retriever
  • Doberman Pinscher

Top 5 Most Difficult Breeds To Train

These five breeds were considered by a group of AKC judges to be the most challenging to teach a particular command. Bear in mind that if we were asking them to do what they were actually bred to do,  they would fare far better. Often the breeds that are considered “less trainable” are actually  breeds that don’t easily fit our lifestyles or temperaments. A difficult to train dog can be any breed and the easily trainable breeds can be difficult as well.

  • Afghan Hound
  • Basenji
  • Bulldog
  • Chow Chow
  • Bloodhound

How difficult was it to train your dog? If you have an easily trainable breed, was it in fact so easy? And if you have a less tractable breed, what problems did you have? What successes did you have?

Image Credit:  hyku on flickr

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4 Responses to “Training – Sometimes Easy and Sometimes Not”

  1. Tina Harper 27. May, 2010 at 8:26 pm #

    My current mutt is one of those dogs that is “easy to train”, depending on what I am doing. Metric isn’t quite CGC test ready, as he still has an issue greeting people and likes to pull on the leash when he gets too excited.

    However, when I give him a trick to figure out, especially one that requires use of his paws or entire body, it will take usually between 5 and 10 minutes to solidify the new behavior for a relatively non-complex trick. For example, he learned how to pick out a red, white or blue Frisbee in about 10 minutes, but we have been working on our leash walking and dog/people greetings for about 1 year now.

    If you train to your dog’s talents, and what they are naturally born to do, you’ll find that they are BRILLIANT. My dog is apparently a mix of breeds that were meant to take direction and respond physically, thus pointing to having at least one working breed taking over the majority of his temperament. That also means he has high exercise requirements.

  2. Rod@GoPetFriendly 29. May, 2010 at 4:59 pm #

    When you think that a dog has an average lifespan of, say, 10 years … and the cumulative amount of time we INVEST in training is probably, only, many months. Well, it is just a no-brainer to invest that small amount of training time so you can enjoy – instead of yelling at – your dog over those 10 years.

    We have a GSD – very smart, very easy to train.
    We also have a Shar Pei – very smart, not so easy to train.

  3. Elizabeth Deitz 01. Jun, 2010 at 4:43 pm #

    Thanks Rod. I am currently writing a post that is somewhat related that you might enjoy. Should be up some time today.

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