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How I Trained A Strong Willed Dog

Have you ever had a dog that constantly tests you? A dog that will look at you when you give a command with an expression that says, “What do I like?” Someone who will obey for a while and then sneak away or adapt your command to suit their needs?

I call this type of dog STRONG WILLING. and the first time I met one happened to be my fifth and current dog.

My first childhood dog was a Manchester toy, Mickey named after Mickey Mouse, which my mother chose for his size. The next dog, Pooky a pound mutt, was a gift from my brother when Mickey died. Again, I was gifted a dog, an Irish Setter puppy, as a wedding present by my husband. Sterling and I were inseparable friends, and I was saddened when she died at 15. It was two years before I could love another dog. I chose a Golden Retriever, Lacey, who lived to be 13. The hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life was putting her to sleep. Eveny, the STRONG-WILL DOG, came into my life a few months after Lacey died, when my two children decided that their mother was too lonely without a dog.

Did you know you can shop for dogs online? Yes! All animal shelters and rescue organizations are searchable and include photos. After several phone calls we just drove 90 miles to SEE a sibling trio of Black Lab/Border Collie puppies. Ebenos came to me.

I should have seen it in my eyes. There was something special about the look he gave me. I would soon learn that the mischievous meanings behind the eyes were an indication of her WILLING nature.

The first thing I learned from Ebony was that she had to be watched CONSTANTLY like a toddler. One thing after another was either chewed up or destroyed in record time. Now, I know you’re thinking it’s just a puppy hood, and rightfully so. But as Ebony did this destruction, she looked at me with ‘those eyes’. They focused directly on me and then moved away as she ran off with her bounty baiting the chase.

The good news is that Ebony cured me of SAD, Seasonal Affective Disorder. I started taking her on 2-3 mile walks everyday to wear her out so she would sleep and I could get something done. It has now become a daily ritual that provides me with rays of light physically, emotionally and spiritually. I no longer need my lightbox. “Those eyes” watch my undivided attention if we are late on our morning walk.

I taught her basic obedience commands at home first with a leash and then without. I started training her on the “come” command with treats when we were out walking and she ran loose. She was happy with this game for a while. One day when I called her “come”, she looked at me, looked around and decided there were better things to do. I was no longer an alpha dog and that was NOT a good thing.

Having trained four dogs, I had never encountered this problem. I started my research and decided on the SportDog remote control electronic collar. It was very simple to implement because she was already trained on an invisible fence after many episodes of escaping the yard through the blueberries.

Ebony learned quickly and garners lots of praise on our frequent rides. But she knows and I know that any opportunity she can get, she will push to have it her way. Of the five dogs I have raised over 50 years, Ebony raises the bar for the title DOG OF POTENTIAL.

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