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Old 09-25-2012, 04:44 PM
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Default Have you ever wondered?

If your dog might just genuinely be slow? Do learning disabilities occur in dogs like they do in humans?

As some of you know, I got my Rhodesian Ridgeback, Malyk, when he was about two-ish. He had basic training...sit, lay down, leash manners... But that was about it. I have been working every day, tooth and nail, to try to get him further along than that. I am beginning to think that I should stop, give up, and accept that I may not get any further with him. I wanted to get him CGC titled, but he just doesn't get it. Nothing I teach him sticks.

He sits (when he wants to), lays down (when he wants to) and has leash manners (unless there is something he really wants to get to.) I have tried reinforcing sit and have tried to teach him that I don't have to have a treat in my hand for him to get a treat, but it just does not work. I am truly beginning to think he may have some sort of mental glitch.

A few weeks ago, I thought that it may be that he just isn't paying attention. So we tried to work on some eye contact exercises where he recognizes his name as a cue to pay attention or look to me for direction. (Never had a dog that didn't do that anyways.) And he just didn't get that, either. This is part of the method I used:

http://youtu.be/9oo6tcSxWWg

He wouldn't gravitate from looking at my hand to looking at my face. (I even tried holding the treat in my teeth, YUCK.) We workd on that for two weeks, he hasn't got it, and here I am now.

So my question is I guess, can there be mentally handicapped dogs? I love Malyk to death, no matter what.
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Old 09-25-2012, 04:51 PM
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I'm still getting to know Joey but I definitely have to say I've noticed he is different than my other dogs in areas of smartness. I don't know if I would say he is generally slow, but he definitely just doesn't seem as smart as Bamm and Cricket. Maybe he is smart in his own way and I just haven't quite figured him out yet, but my husband and I like to joke around that he is a derpy airhead because most of the time he is really is. He knows a few behaviors right now that we have been working on, but sometimes you'll ask him to perform a behavior he knows and has done numerous times and he'll look at you like, "ummm... urrr..."... so maybe he is a little slow lol. As much as I LOVEEEE intelligent dogs, there's just something about him that I completely adore regardless if he is smart or not or slow or not.
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Old 09-25-2012, 04:56 PM
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I agree, Skittle. Malyk is like that, too. Something we have done thousands of times I can ask him to do and he just gives me this clueless look. But, while he may suck at obedience, he is an AWESOME cuddle-bug and protection dog.
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Old 09-25-2012, 05:10 PM
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Rhodies do get the reputation for being slow when you try to train them because they are not motivated the same way more traditionally biddable dogs are.
They are very smart, but they are problem-solving smart, not handler-focused smart.

I bet if you give Malyk a problem to solve he***8217;ll figure it out faster than a dog who looks to the handler for guidance. Yet the dog who looks to the handler for guidance is going to ***8220;get***8221; obedience cues way faster.

For dogs like this the book ***8220;When Pigs Fly***8221; by Jane Killion is a real eye opener.
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Old 09-25-2012, 05:17 PM
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I'd agree with that. Makes sense how he figured out how to open the door with his mouth. (It's a door KNOB, not a handle, and he figured out that with his teeth, lips, and paw, he can get it open.)
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Old 09-25-2012, 05:21 PM
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Have you ever tried free shaping him?
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Old 09-25-2012, 05:27 PM
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I am pretty sure I know what free shaping is, but just to be sure... Is the video I posted free shaping that behavior?
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Old 09-25-2012, 05:39 PM
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There are so many different styles to teach that I have hard time thinking some dogs (who otherwise lead normal lives) really can't get it. Have you read When Pigs Fly by Jane Killion? She has great ideas in it for the non biddable dogs.
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Old 09-25-2012, 05:43 PM
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No. That video is luring, which is very effective too, but not so much with dogs like rhodies. They see it as a bribe and they lose interest really quickly.

No, free shaping is clicker training where you simply sit, and wait for the dog to offer behaviors. There is no end behavior in mind really, though sometimes end behaviors create themselves. The point though is for the dog to figure out the “game” of how to make the treats happen. For dogs like Malyk (and my Bates) its not just the treats that are the reward, but the problem solving involved in figuring out what behavior will make a click happen.

Have you read any books on clicker training?
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Old 09-25-2012, 05:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Danefied View Post
Rhodies do get the reputation for being slow when you try to train them because they are not motivated the same way more traditionally biddable dogs are.
They are very smart, but they are problem-solving smart, not handler-focused smart.

I bet if you give Malyk a problem to solve he’ll figure it out faster than a dog who looks to the handler for guidance. Yet the dog who looks to the handler for guidance is going to “get” obedience cues way faster.

For dogs like this the book “When Pigs Fly” by Jane Killion is a real eye opener.
I'll have to look in to that book, sounds interesting.

I was lucky and Chloe was both super intelligent (her problem solving abilities are awesome) and handler focused. I've grown to really appreciate that.
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