I've noticed WAY more of a difference in trainability for different breeds rather than for different dogs.
As in those dratted Border Collies really are amazing. I swear they could talk if they had the proper mouths/throat.
As far as my GSD's are concerned, they all have the brains to learn but MY ABILITY to teach comes more into play. Much more about how once I learn WHAT makes them click and what a reward is FOR THEM....the learning really takes off. Some learn faster, some slower, but I've found it's more about my skills and abilities to learn new ways to teach that are key.
If I keep 'teaching' the same way and they aren't learning, turns out (brace yourself
) it's not that the dog CAN'T learn, it's that I'm not TEACHING it in a way the dog understands. So I need to have a bunch of training methods in my 'training toolbox' to pull out and use instead.
One of the many reasons I love the clicker to train is because when MY lack of training skills is showing, it doesn't result in my correcting and punishing and pulling/popping/leashing my dog into doing the whatever. Instead, when I use the clicker, I have to THINK of how to break down the behavior in a different way so my dog will understand to get the click/treat.
I'm trying more and more to use a 3 Time Only rule when training. If my dog doesn't do it the first time, I may not have had the dogs attention, I may not have done the command the way the dog is used to, or I may not have been clear.
So I take a sec to make sure I have the dog's attention and give the command/cue properly.
IF THEN, the dog again doesn't do it right, I need to STOP and do something different. REally think what's going on. Because when if I ask for the same behavior again and my dog messes it up AGAIN.......then BAD MOM BAD MOM BAD MOM BAD MOM!!!!!
Three strikes and I am out! Bad Mom, bad trainer for that session. Because I KNOW my dogs. I KNOW they are trying. I KNOW they want to be there. I KNOW they want that click/reward. So if I know they are 'in the game' and trying, but failing, the failure is MY FAULT.
Dog classes are the best way I have found out to challenge me and give me the skills to then have another thing to try, another way to go at the problem, another way to break it down to have my dogs suceed the NEXT time.