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Dumb dog, smart dog...dealing with frustration

5855 Views 23 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  ThoseWordsAtBest
I'm having a difficult time dealing with my frustration with training more than anything. I have two dogs. One is a 1.5 yr old cocker spaniel. He's a very sharp dog, eager to please, motivated by food and affection and learns very quickly. I can usually teach him a simple trick in just 5-6 repetitions and can get it down very solid in just a session or two. He's fun to train because he learns so quickly. My other dog is a 10 year old basset hound. I swear he's as dumb as a box of rocks. He's motivated only by food and even then, he's very easily distracted. I can be holding a hot dog and he's distracted and wondering what's on my counters or what's in the trash or what's behind the refrigerator or whatever. I'm still working on getting him to sit on a regular basis. He will sometimes do it on command to get something from me but other times he looks at me like he has no idea what is expected of him. Getting him to sit and getting him to sit calmly are a completely different thing. The latter seems to rarely happen. At one point I thought I had trained him to not jump on the counters. He never did this when I was around at least. Now he doesn't seem to care and seems to have forgotten all the training.

How do you deal with frustration in training two dogs with such different learning speeds and capacities? I'm afraid I'm getting really frustrated with the hound and it's not helping the training process.
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My other dog is a 10 year old basset hound. I swear he's as dumb as a box of rocks.
You're not the first person to say that about a Basset Hound. I've never had one, but that is their rep.

I did have a dull dog once, and it is frustrating. To make matters worse, she tried very hard and was extremely sensitive to my attitude. If I started doing a slow burn, she would immediately shut down. There was no way I could put a happy face on if I was feeling stressed. She always sensed it.

The only thing I can tell you is to muster your self discipline and control your emotions, don't press a training session if things are not going to end on a positive note, and always end a session on a positive note. That may mean starting a session and, as soon as you see it's not going to go well, going to something the dog can do well.

The dog controls at least 80% of the training process.
But they have to be able to take human direction, do they not, even if they are doing a job close to what they were bred for?

Whenever I hear "bred to work independent of man/humans - I always wonder, "then how do you get them to work with you?" They don't take directions - yet they will need some direction to know what the human(s) want, no?
The big hounds will sometimes operate miles away from their "handler". A pack of hounds on the trail of a mountain lion or bear may go very far, very fast.
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