When it matters. But I try to give them orders only when it matters or I’m simulating a time when it matters. I’ve never had a dog from a breed that really liked doing tricks or lived to please its owner. Most of my dogs have been working dogs which means they have a brain already wired for a job. Only Dusty T. Dog gets joy from obeying me. But there was an exception.
Cheyenne T. Wolf (the husky in front in the photo above) was a completely untrained and very stubborn Siberian husky. Lucky for me, she was also friendly. When she came to live with me, she knew NOTHING. When she jumped up on the kitchen counter and opened the door to the cupboard, I knew I had a problem.
I found a professional trainer. She was reluctant to take on a husky saying, “They can’t be taught. I don’t even like the breed that much.” Well, what trainer would? Finally she agreed and Cheyenne went to live with Lisa for a month. Lisa got NO where with that dog for the first three weeks then, out of a kind of rebellious desperation, she put an electric collar on her. She had to work at that, getting the pointy-zappy things to the skin through Cheyenne’s thick ruff of fur. And out they went.
Cheyenne responded not just WELL to the E-collar, but happily! She LOVED it. She really GOT it. She walked at heel and got treats. She sat and got a treat. She did tricks and got treats. When Lisa brought her up to my house to show me how to work with her, Cheyenne was a happy dog. I realized she WANTED to do things right but somehow voice commands weren’t penetrating her Siberian husky skull.
She did tricks. All I had to do from then on to make my stubborn wild girl obey was put the collar around her neck. She didn’t even need to be zapped, in fact, I never even brought out the hand device that was my end of the training program. If the collar was on her, she started showing off and obeying like it was the greatest thing in the world. She LOVED that collar. It occurred to me that Cheyenne was just not an aural learner.
Dusty T. Dog went to the same trainer, but not so much for obedience training as to have a shot at becoming a well socialized and less fearful canine companion. He LOVES obeying. It makes him so happy to do what he learned to do. Bear is another creature completely from any dogs I’ve had before. She learned everything I had to teach her pretty much the first time. She does what I ask about 90% of the time. If she doesn’t, she has a reason. Sometimes her reasons are good and sometimes they’re pure whimsy like, “C’mon, Martha, I want to run around out here and hide behind this lilac bush just a little longer.” What matters to me is that the time she ran off, she came to me the moment she saw Dusty and me, before I even called her.
I don’t think I’d like an obedient dog or a dog who depended on me to know what to do. I have always enjoyed being surprised by some of the really wonderful things my dogs have done because they wanted to. ❤