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.