So you think your dog is dumb?

Michael Peer, Dog Behavior Specialist, East Falls Church, Va: Posted on Sunday, May 19, 2013 8:55 PM

Often owners convey to me that they think their dog may be stupid! Rest assured I haven't met a "stupid" or "dumb" dog yet. What may be troubling these owners or maybe yourself is probably the frustration you feel with your dogs. Many dogs, especially young, old or anxious ones, can take a long time to process the information we are giving them. It can take approximately 45 secs for a dog to process our command and perform the behavior. Best advice- try and be patient, holding your position and give your "clown" a chance to perform. Try averting your eyes from his because sometimes we freeze them with our stare. You can repeat the command but don't get into a habit of voicing repeated commands (frustration) because that reinforces Tiny to not listen the first time. If she fails to perform then help her, by placing her in the position. With more difficult behaviors, break it down into parts, making each successful eventually linking them to complete the behavior chain.