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 it a command with an expression that says, “What’s in it for me?” One who will obey for a while, then slip away or adjust his command to fit his needs?

I call this type of dog STRONG WILL. and the first time I met one it turned out to be my fifth and current dog.

My first childhood dog was a Toy Manchester, named Mickey after Mickey Mouse, which my mother chose for its size. The next dog, Pooky a one pound dog, was a gift from my brother when Mickey died. Again, my husband gave me a dog, an Irish setter puppy, as a wedding present. Sterling and I were inseparable friends, and she broke my heart when she died at the age of 15. Two years passed before she could love another dog. I chose a Golden Retriever, Lacey, who lived to be 13 years old. The hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life was put her to sleep. Ebony the STRONG-WILLED DOG came into my life a couple of months after Lacey’s death when my two children decided that her mother was too lonely without a dog.

Do you know that you can buy dogs on the internet? Yes! You can search all animal shelters and rescue organizations and include photos. After several phone calls, we drove a mother 90 miles just to WATCH a trio of Black Lab/Border Collie puppy sisters. Ebony came to me.

I should have seen it in the eyes. There was something different about the look he gave me. I soon learned that the mischievous meanings behind the eyes were an indication of their STRONG WILL nature.

The first thing I learned about Ebony was that you had to watch her CONSTANTLY like a little girl. One thing after another was chewed up or destroyed in record time. Now, I know you’re thinking that she’s just a puppy, and rightfully so. But while Ebony was doing this destruction she looked at me with “those eyes”. They focused directly on me and then backed away from her as she fled with her bounty as bait for the chase.

The good news is that Ebony cured me of SAD, Seasonal Affective Disorder. I started taking her for a 2-3 mile walk every day to tire her out so she could nap and I could accomplish something. It has now become a daily ritual bringing me rays of light physically, emotionally and spiritually. I no longer need my light box. “Those eyes” track all my attention if we’re late for our morning walk.

I taught him basic obedience commands at home first on leash then off leash. I started training her with the “come” command with treats when we went for walks and she let loose. He was happy with this game for a while. One day when I said “come” she looked at me, looked around her and decided there were better things to do. He was no longer alpha dog and this was NOT good.

Having trained four dogs, I have never encountered this problem before. I started my research and settled on the SportDog Remote E-Collar. It was very simple to implement because she was already trained for an invisible fence after her many episodes of escaping from the yard through the blackberries.

Ebony was a quick learner and collects many compliments on our frequent rides. But she knows and I know that any chance she gets, she’ll push to get her way. Of the five dogs I have bred in a span of 50 years, Ebony raises the bar for the title designation of being a STRONG-WILLED DOG.

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