How much thinking a dog can do? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 01-20-2017, 11:57 AM Thread Starter
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How much thinking a dog can do?

Not sure if it is actually thinking or ability to focus on the task, but I wonder if I expect too much from my dog or he can still learn in time.
He has this issue of pacing (compulsive behavior) and in order to control this I was advised to stimulate him mentally . So we have this game: I ask him to bring a specific item and when he does he gets praised. So far, he learnt what is stick, toy and ball. He brings what I ask for even if I hide it but only if the item is in the same room. For example if I leave it in the kitchen or in the garden he wouldnt go searching there (let alone the upstairs). Does it mean he never will? If you ask your dog to bring something, how far would it go to search for it?
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 01-20-2017, 12:03 PM
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An enormous amount of it depends on your ability to teach and the dog relate what is asked of it.. I had a dog called Hineni and he was unbelievably amazing in finding whatever was asked of him to bring by simple hand and voice gestures ('no not that, yes, no, over there, yes, no, no YES! GOOD BOY! ') he would bring rakes, pencil, halters, buoys, sticks, clothes, cups, etc... Whatever was asked... But I played with him on it.. Both my dogs right now do the same although not as well, but I am more focused on their searching capabilities for SAR, so don't work with them on it much.. All dogs I've had have found it enjoyable though
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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 01-20-2017, 12:15 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Hineni7 View Post
An enormous amount of it depends on your ability to teach and the dog relate what is asked of it.. I had a dog called Hineni and he was unbelievably amazing in finding whatever was asked of him to bring by simple hand and voice gestures ('no not that, yes, no, over there, yes, no, no YES! GOOD BOY! ') he would bring rakes, pencil, halters, buoys, sticks, clothes, cups, etc... Whatever was asked... But I played with him on it.. Both my dogs right now do the same although not as well, but I am more focused on their searching capabilities for SAR, so don't work with them on it much.. All dogs I've had have found it enjoyable though
This is very interesting, thanks! I may expand on the choice then. Was thinking to teach him to search for an item anywhere in the house but perhaps I should expand the selection instead (or to start with). He enjoys the game, yet I'm not sure if he is bright enough in general (sorry to say, I love him regardless!) But he is only 14 months, perhaps he will learn
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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 01-20-2017, 02:17 PM
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Originally Posted by El_rex View Post
Not sure if it is actually thinking or ability to focus on the task, but I wonder if I expect too much from my dog or he can still learn in time.
He has this issue of pacing (compulsive behavior) and in order to control this I was advised to stimulate him mentally . So we have this game: I ask him to bring a specific item and when he does he gets praised. So far, he learnt what is stick, toy and ball. He brings what I ask for even if I hide it but only if the item is in the same room. For example if I leave it in the kitchen or in the garden he wouldnt go searching there (let alone the upstairs). Does it mean he never will? If you ask your dog to bring something, how far would it go to search for it?
You start at a level he is good at (find it in the same room as where you are). Then you place the items a little out of the room, where he can still see you and gradually make it harder. This worked well for me and Deja. But I never rescued her by giving her cues if she didn't succeed or else she would have become too dependent on my help. Instead I stopped and took a few steps back the next session where he would be successful. Also make sure you give him time to think by waiting too see if can figure it out.
Sometimes she still comes back to me for help but then I pretend to be a lamp post, upon which she continues her search.
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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 01-20-2017, 05:47 PM
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You might be interested in the book "Chaser: Unlocking the Genius of the Dog Who Knows a Thousand Words." I have read it before, but it's been a while. I believe the man who wrote the book was maybe a retired scientist. He and his wife got a new dog, a border collie they named Chaser, and he proceeded to start training her to see how many words she could really learn. Being a scientist, he did rigorous testing with each word to make sure the dog really knew the word and wasn't being given even inadvertent clues and, of course, kept copious notes with the idea, I think, of publishing his findings. It might give you some ideas to read about the methods he used to train his dog.
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Last edited by newlie; 01-20-2017 at 05:49 PM.
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