Book: "Stop! Sit! And Think" (Eisenmann). Anyone? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 41 (permalink) Old 08-30-2015, 10:30 AM Thread Starter
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Book: "Stop! Sit! And Think" (Eisenmann). Anyone?

Hi folks.... I was wondering if anyone else has read, and utilized, the training methods discussed by Charles Eisenmann in his book(s).

I inherited a number of old dog training books a few years ago. Many of them are autographed, nearly all are out of print, and I treated most of them like family heirlooms - stored carefully away - instead of books on the bookshelf. I pulled this one out last week on a whim and started reading it, and.... wow. Lots of different ideas.

After I read a few chapters I started looking online to see if I can find current discussion. The first thing I found is this book had a limited printing and is difficult.... and expensive... to come by. I only found one or two threads here that mention the author, some in regards to the line breeding of his dogs, only one or two mentions of the author himself. I found a few references on the BC Boards.

I'd really like to discuss the book, I'm hoping that some of you may own a copy or have read it in the past? Eisenmann is the Wisconsin based trainer who raised, bred, and trained a number of GSD's - London, Thorn, Toro, Hobo, etc - that were quite well known several decades ago.

It seems like sometimes trainers who train for film/Hollywood get written off as "gimmicky", and in today's world you can certainly digitally edit and create whatever you want. I was pretty skeptical myself until I spent some time around some of Orin Benson's dogs (years ago). He was a family friend, and it's my understanding that he used some of these same concepts in his own dog training..... this particular copy was actually given to him (he was a contemporary of Eisenmann) and passed down through a family member to me.

Thanks in advance, hope to hear from some of you!



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post #2 of 41 (permalink) Old 08-30-2015, 01:06 PM
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I don't have the book,but will definitely be searching for a copy now.I remember the littlest hobo movie from years ago.I fell in love with that dog!

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post #3 of 41 (permalink) Old 08-30-2015, 05:42 PM
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Charles Eisenmann stated any number of times that he was glad he knew nothing about training dogs when he got them, else his dogs would never have learned what they did.
I have never read his books, I wish I could find/afford them. I am however acquainted with his method, which is commonly referred to as 'conversational'. He believed that we limited our dogs by never giving them the opportunity to learn more then simple commands. I have to say that while I am by nature a sceptic, I am inclined to agree with him. I am not certain though that all dogs have that capacity to learn.
I had the pleasure of meeting the man and his dogs as a child, several times. He was an acquaintance of my step-fathers. It had a definite affect on the way I treat my dogs, and old as I am I remember wrapping my arms around Thorns neck and feeling the patience and calm that exuded from him. It was these dogs that probably started my love affair with the breed.
I always appreciate seeing a well trained dog, it's beautiful. But those dogs had something 'more' . There was something truly special about the dogs themselves, and his relationship with them.
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post #4 of 41 (permalink) Old 08-31-2015, 10:30 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sabis mom View Post
Charles Eisenmann stated any number of times that he was glad he knew nothing about training dogs when he got them, else his dogs would never have learned what they did.
I have never read his books, I wish I could find/afford them. I am however acquainted with his method, which is commonly referred to as 'conversational'. He believed that we limited our dogs by never giving them the opportunity to learn more then simple commands. I have to say that while I am by nature a sceptic, I am inclined to agree with him. I am not certain though that all dogs have that capacity to learn.
I had the pleasure of meeting the man and his dogs as a child, several times. He was an acquaintance of my step-fathers. It had a definite affect on the way I treat my dogs, and old as I am I remember wrapping my arms around Thorns neck and feeling the patience and calm that exuded from him. It was these dogs that probably started my love affair with the breed.
I always appreciate seeing a well trained dog, it's beautiful. But those dogs had something 'more' .
There was something truly special about the dogs themselves, and his relationship with them.
Wow. Thank you so much for responding, that's really awesome. I am jealous.

I also don't know if his methods would work on all (or even most) dogs. It would seem to me like a lot of dogs would just hear noise, and not be able to learn/focus when given entire sentences with multiple verbs and descriptive adjectives. Kind of like the wah-wah-WAH-wah teacher noises in Charlie Brown.

Some examples he gives in his book are things like "Last one in the house, please shut the door"... the last dog in line pushes the door shut. "Hop up on the left side of the couch, move the pillows to the right". "Open the cupboard and bring me two small balls" from a closet full of different round objects. And lots of even more complex dialogue.

He went out of his way to prove that his dogs actually understood the directives, by giving demonstrations where he'd stand behind a screen, or a blind, or on the other side of a wall, to prove that he wasn't giving hand signals or using body language to direct their actions. It's really interesting, and knowing that you met him - and one of his dogs - adds another layer of credibility.

Some of his ideas might not be realistic in today's world (never ever using a leash, etc), but I would strongly recommend it to anyone who can get their hands on a copy, it really opens your mind up to possibilities.... Sabis Mom especially, I hope you have the chance to read his book.
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post #5 of 41 (permalink) Old 08-31-2015, 12:42 PM
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Here is what I can tell you for sure.

A friend we were visiting said to Sabi, 'Please don't climb on the new couch. I don't mind if you get on the old couch' She did not point or otherwise indicate, but it seemed as if Sabi got the message, not during that visit or subsequent ones did she attempt to get on the new couch.
One example of the many times it seemed that she understood.
When I chat at Bud, he simply looks at me with that blank, adoring expression, then goes and pees on something
And Shadow? Flashes of brilliance liberally sprinkled with bizarre insanity

I believe some dogs are capable of learning this way. Since you got the puppy that I would have wanted, it would be interesting to see what she can do
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post #6 of 41 (permalink) Old 08-31-2015, 01:29 PM Thread Starter
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I believe some dogs are capable of learning this way. Since you got the puppy that I would have wanted, it would be interesting to see what she can do
Awww... Well, she's the reason I dusted off some of these books (this one in particular). I'm excited to see how many pieces of the "language" puzzle we can put together, over time.

I love your anecdote about Sabi and the new couch - that's exactly the kind of directive that Eisenmann talks about.
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post #7 of 41 (permalink) Old 08-31-2015, 02:23 PM
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Sabi was an oddly, and sometimes inconveniently, intelligent dog. Because my mentor was a Koehler student-ex RCMP dog master-that was the method we trained with. However it quickly became evident to everyone that she was capable of much, much more.
This was the dog that learned to nod yes, raise an eyebrow, snort in disgust and flip me off. Yup, flip her nose at me and saunter off, universally understood.
I am not overly fond of sables, and Carmen has informed me that I look a superficial things. But your little girl captured my attention with her expression, the look in her eyes. Please keep posting, because I have a hunch that she is going to be one of the special ones.
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post #8 of 41 (permalink) Old 09-01-2015, 07:56 AM
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I spoke to Chuck a number of years ago on the phone and he was kind enough to send me autographed copies of several of his books. He told me he believed all dogs were capable of being "educated" the way his dogs were. One advantage he had was the luxury of being able to be with his dogs almost 24 hours a day, so that his conversational approach could be used more extensively.
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post #9 of 41 (permalink) Old 09-01-2015, 09:17 AM Thread Starter
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Oh how cool.... Sabi's mom, if you keep looking and still can't find a copy, maybe send me a PM.

Chip, did you utilize any of his methods in your own training?
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post #10 of 41 (permalink) Old 09-01-2015, 09:39 AM
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When I get a pup, I lay a foundation by training in drive using food and a toy, so I don't use his approach for that. But clearly, there are other things I have said repeatedly to my dogs and they understand. For example, my dog lives in our attached garage and has a doggie door. If I am leaving and headed to a vehicle that is outside of the garage, I can say, 'Ill be back later on" and he knows what I'm saying and doesn't bother to get up and follow me out. I am skeptical when Eisenmann says things like, "Toro, I want you to remember this chalk board eraser, because in about 15 minutes I'm going to ask you to bring it to me." After 15 minutes go by doing other things he say, "Toro, go get the object I told you about 15 minutes ago." But apparently the dog demonstrated the behavior and Eisenmann always claimed he wasn't using trickery.
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