Dr. Wayne Davis: How to train an untrainable dog | CraigDailyPress.com

Dr. Wayne Davis: How to train an untrainable dog

Gracie, the Border Collie/Sheltie mix I have, is a very sensitive creature. If someone steps on her tail hairs, she screams like you’re trying to break her tail. When she was very young I would try and teach her things. She would freak out about it. It was almost like her mind shut down. I had the same problem in grade school and middle school when asked a question in front of the class. I could imagine her thinking: “What’s this big scary, anemic looking, practically hairless gorilla trying to do to me?” (No, I didn’t think that about my teachers… except one.)

It didn’t seem to matter how encouraging and how idiotically sweet I acted, Gracie would just lose it. I realized it was going to take a lot of time and extreme patience to train her. (Ahem, my poor parents and teachers.)

One day, though, I told my other dog Charlotte to do something. “Lay down,” I said. I looked over at Grace and to my amazement she was in a down position also. Other than praise, as long as I acted like she was not a part of it, Grace would do what Charlotte did, remember the command and obey it when Charlotte wasn’t present. I was jubilant. All I had to do is go on walks and have Charlotte obey commands while Gracie was there.

It was interesting that Charlotte knew exactly what we were doing. I would tell her to do something and she would do it, look over at Gracie and then look at me.

I remember watching my dad work on an engine when I was very young. I was so inspired that I dipped my hands in oil, rubbed them in the dirt and smeared it all over my shirt and pants… just to be like him. My mother was inspired too, but in a very negative way.

“Before you remove a fence you should ask yourself why it is there in the first place,” said G. K. Chesterton.

Sometimes, people have no real understanding of why “the fence” is there in the first place. Down and stay could very easily save Gracie’s life if she’s next to a road.

Dr. Wayne Davis is the owner and veterinarian at Craig Animal Hospital.
Dr. Wayne Davis is the owner and veterinarian at Craig Animal Hospital.

Dr. Wayne Davis is the owner and veterinarian at Craig Animal Hospital.

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