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ok just a little rant here but some days i wish my dog was dumb. I KNOW she understands me when i tell her to come(and other things). but she has a mind of her own and only listens when SHE THINKS its in her best intrests...

i'm sure it has something do with her being part husky and also part GSD....i'v heard both can be too smart for their own good...

anyone else feel same some days???
 

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Smart dogs are the easiest to train. I'll take a smart dog over a dumb one anyday. Your IQ is much higher than your dog's so sit down read some stickies and figure out how to get him to do what you want.
 

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ok just a little rant here but some days i wish my dog was dumb. I KNOW she understands me when i tell her to come(and other things). but she has a mind of her own and only listens when SHE THINKS its in her best intrests...

i'm sure it has something do with her being part husky and also part GSD....i'v heard both can be too smart for their own good...

anyone else feel same some days???
Snag the book "When Pigs Fly" off of amazon. You should be able to get it for like 15 bucks and it's the best training resource out there for learning how to deal with dogs just like yours.
 

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Smart and INDEPENDENT can be a training challenge. My dog's breed, rat terrier, was bred to be an independent hunter (humans want the rats killed, but they aren't too keen being in on the hunt:D so rat terriers have to be able to think on their own and not overly people-focused).

It makes training a little harder than it is with a "velcro" dog whose total focus is their human.
 

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Oh Yes! Some days I wish for a "dumb" dog that just wanted to please and didn't have to think about commands before doing them.
 

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Heh, I know the feeling. Our older dog is so smart that we started having to spell certain words in front of her... well, she quickly figured out how to spell! :rolleyes:

She knows perfectly well what all the basic commands are... but she prefers to think of them as "suggestions," which she may or may not choose to do. *sigh*
 

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Well, I have one of each. A 'dumb' dog (velro dog) who is completely focused on me and HIGHLY food motivated...so he'll do just about anything I ask him to, and with GREAT enthusiasm. Then I have another who is a little more challenging. She is independent, and will also think about what I'm asking her to do, before doing it..and make her own decision about whether she wants to or not. It's frustrating, but I love her just the same. I just have to tailor my training methods around it to get her to do what I'm asking.

I actually went out and did some 'clicker' training with her a few minutes ago, and it seemed to work beautifully.

Anyway, I feel your pain.
 

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Does obedience really make a dog "dumb", or is it an issue of personality? Why would you call a dog who is more motivated to please/be treated with food than a dog who is more independent "dumb"? I don't know--I just feel like that word doesn't really describe what the OP is talking about.
 

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I'm not sure I would call an obedient dog dumb. I think independent vs. not as independent is what I see the difference being. This is my experience from my last dog, a Chocolate Lab (rip Big Ben), and my dog now who is a Boxer. Ben was the star of the class and did everything I asked him to when I asked him to. Champ thinks about it first. I swear, you can see the wheels turning in his head! Boxers were bred to be independent and problem solvers. You can really see that in Champ... he will assess the situation before doing anything such as barking at something unfamiliar. He's definately an independent thinker!
 

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when I first started to really train dogs, someone I knew who had Obedience titles told me, 'You never want the dog to think.."

I thought that was just TERRIBLE! What did that mean? What she meant was that the dog is not supposed to anticipate a command, is not supposed to move to the next command or cease doing the current command untill told to do so.

This did not mean the dog was not to "think" but that the dog was not to ACT on those thoughts.

I now will say exactly what she said, because when I got it figured out, my dog was the best behaved dog you could ever ask for. Sure she did think, and she surely figured things out... she worked cattle for me and that REQUIRED her to think.

BUT the bottom line was MY CUE ALWAYS over rode what she was thinking of doing. If she was thinking and doing what I needed on her own, fine. However, if I needed he to stop doing that and do something else, she needed to STOP thinking and do what I asked.

I would invoke NILIF with this dog.. and never ever let the dog move on to a new command or release until told.

It does take huge consistancy and a lot of commitment but you will be so glad one day when your dog just does what you ask.
 

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I know exactly what the OP is talking about. I'm not going to add to the already good suggestions of how to deal with it, but I can say that with time, patience, and consistency it can get better; all is not lost.
 

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I have a shep/husky too and completely agree with you!! She was especially challenging as a puppy. She liked to try to argue with me and I must admit she was funny. Actually she still is. I think huskies have a real sense of humour. I think as she gets older though, she'll be 3 this month, her shepherd brain kicks in more. Her fave thing when I get home is to steal one of my socks or my slippers and prance around with them. I can't get mad at her cause she looks so silly and never actually chews them or trys to destroy them, she just wants me to play.

She's super smart and loves to learn new things. Personally I love the combination of breeds. I also think she may have a bit of border collie thrown in for good measure. When I can afford it, I'd love to have one of those DNA tests done to see if I'm right :)
 

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I think Elana hit the nail on the head here. An independent mind is so important to me in a dog. If I ever met a dog that didn't think for itself, didn't offer a really amusing behaviour now and then, didn't surprise me... I would be really unmotivated to train. It's one of the highlights of working with a dog for me: seeing Spunky's sense of humour come through, watching her solve a problem and so on is always marvelously rewarding.

Having said that, what you mentioned about them deciding to do their own thing instead of follow a command. I think that's less an issue of intelligence, and more an issue of motivation. Take your average Border Collie -- much easier to train for 99% recall than say, a Husky or a Beagle, but certainly not what anyone would call dumb. It's just an issue of willingness. Border Collies will do something just because you said so, but Huskies will want to know what's in it for them. It's how quickly they learn a cue that indicates intelligence, not their willingness to obey it.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
pattymac-- lol! Maybe always runs off with my socks too! Like when she wants to play she grabs them and runs off cuz she knows it'll get my attention.

-i really do love her and all the personality that comes with her...but it does add it's challenges, which can get frusterating-. thanks for all the suggestion everyone!..

mm and ya sorry about the whole "dumb" thing..ya i was really meaning independant thinker vs. extreem people pleasing.

and i'm most definately going to try the clicker thing..i'v never really thought much of it..but from all the reading i'v done on here it seems the clicker has better results than "good girl" does.
 

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Yeah, I think the idea is more about whether a dog is 'biddable' than ''smart' or 'independent.' I guess it's all in how you define the terms.

For instance, I would call my Kim is smart *and* independent in that she can and will think for herself, and is quite comfortable working away from me, staying out in the yard by herself (okay I'm watching from the window but she doesn't know that), etc. However, she is highly biddable as well, in that she enjoys working with me, and is to the point where she will work with me even when she knows for certain I have no other rewards on me.

On the other hand, she does like to add her own flare to things...but that's something I like about her ;):D
 

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i've got 5 Border Collies....they are all very much thinkers and that's great...what is really hard is when they think "for" me and tend to be right....there have been times w/ goosing that one of them will totally disregard what i have told them and i have found that when they do this, it's b/c they are actually right in what they are doing....i can always tell when they are just giving attitude, which Tir is good at, or really know what needs to be done at that time...w/ my 3 girls (Titch is still being "formed") Lacey will follow every command pretty much to the letter or at least try extremely hard to do so....if she's not quite sure what i want, she stops and watches me for a minute or 2 and then resumes doing what needs to be done...here, she's thinking on what i want and paying close attention to get it right; Tir, she tends to pull attitude a lot and will do what she wants about 50% of the time, until i refuse to play by her rules...then she buckles down and pays attention (still giving attitude, however, "fine, have it your way, but i don't like it..."); Saoirse wants nothing more then for me to tell her almost constantly what is required of her, constantly looking for the next order.....that being said, however, give any one of them a "problem" to figure out and they do it quite quickly on their own...their own thinking things out....

what's real fun to watch is them trying to out-think each other.....
 

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Ditto for me,
Give me a dumb dog that wants to please, much easier than a smart dog that doesn't.
Serious question, as you're probably the most experienced trainer here by volume.

When you start with a "dumb" dog that wants to please, is the finished product generally better or worse than a "smart" dog who doesn't? I know the smart dog will be harder to train, but which ends up being the better dog after all is said and done?
 
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