I have to admit that I thought Wally would be further along in his training by 14 weeks, and I can only blame myself for any lagging. But then I have unfairly high standards for myself, and thankfully there are people around who remind me of that. Like Marion, Wayne, and Sandi!
So what does Wally know? As far as “on cue” skills we’ve got down (verbal & visual), stand (mostly visual), watch (verbal), drop it (verbal), and leave it (verbal). We also have things like bite inhibition, potty training, coming (no cue formally introduced yet), and interacting with dogs. The dog part has been a big challenge because Wally initially was completely obnoxious, barking and darting about until the other dog noticed, then running away like a wienie. He’s incredibly better now, probably in large part because I’m proactive about distracting him and encouraging good behavior.
Something that has really helped me (other than Sandi, who rocks!) is the book When Pigs Fly! Training Success with Impossible Dogs by Jane Killion. The author has Bull Terriers and wrote this book particularly for owners of “difficult” breeds like Terriers, Hounds, and certain Working breeds. I’ll do a review of this once I finish reading it, although I’m forcing myself to read it step by step so I don’t rush things.
The thing that made the most sense to me is that some breeds (like Borders) are non-biddable, as opposed to biddable breeds like Labs, Shelties, Goldens, and Border Collies. Non-biddable breeds aren’t naturally inclined to leave the smelly dead thing just because you say so; they need convincing that your game is more fun than theirs. Plus they’re less inclined to offer behaviors. In so many books and articles they just assume your dog will naturally offer all kinds of behaviors. Or maybe they just assume your dog has learned how. Either way, this book has opened up a new perspective for me and I’m excited that I discovered it!