The abilities of the dog cover a wide field, far wider than any we know at present. This field is limited because man has not attempted or that of teaching thousands of acts that dogs do perform. Most animals have not had the opportunity to show their ability. Cats have suffered greatly for their minds are capable of doing many acts which we little realize; they never have had the opportunity of training. A coyote for instance can be taught to hunt just as does a dog. The dog itself can do hundreds of things which we have not yet witnessed; as soon as these things are taught to the dog, he will do them for us.
First, sound and object should be associated to eye and ear of the dog early, precisely, persistently-early, when he first comes in contact with it, if possible; precisely, so that he does not confuse it with another object; and persistently, so that he is not allowed to forget.
The number of objects may he as many as two hundred. If I want my dog to have in his mind the idea of keys, I show my keys to him; I say “keys,” I repeat it clearly. I throw them in front of him, repeating “keys” several times. ( do this every time opportunity offers so that when I say “keys,” he looks about him to locate the keys. Note the following i chapter on vocabulary.
The second mental background of the dog is that if his part does not follow quickly and properly after the certain sound, there will be disapproval and punishment; and that if it does, there will be approval and reward.
He believes fully in his master. One half of his training is not training but confidence in his master to the utmost. Success must be the end of every act of the dog. He holds the command of his master to be the cause of the act of obedience thereto. If the dog does not find his goal, his confidence is shaken. On the trail, he must find his man, else doubt will arise. He must not lose faith in the ability of his master to gain the goal with him.
It is highly true that differences exist in the intelligences of dogs as among humans. Some are dumb and cannot be taught; some learn very quickly to do certain things and are dull in other things; others are quick to learn in their particular fields of desire whether it be a stomach always hungry, an inclination to be at ease or an eagerness to be outdoors.
The mind of the dog meets situations in different ways. Three dogs were crossing a railroad track in Georgia. A train approached: one of the dogs immediately jumped into the river and swam safely to shore. The second dog lost a part of his tail under the wheels of the train and fell into the water but he was unhurt otherwise: the third dog was paralyzed with fear, remained on the track and was crushed to death under the wheels.
Bozo, my bullterrier, loved his ease and most of his intelligence arose out of this desire. A lazy dog usually for this reason is a smart dog. Bozo on hot nites would go to the rear of my apartment and lie on the porch for the nite. He had done this numerous times; on the particular nite, it was rather cool: just as before, the moment we arrived inside of the apartment, he rushed to the rear door and lay down on the porch. Of course after a short stay there, he realized that it was not warm there or inside and so he came back into the apartment.
General Judy, my doberman pinscher, looks ahead. Just as I was writing this very chapter, he was lying by my side with his long nose interrupting with his accustomed interruption. I feinted with a pencil to the right side of his head. For three times he reached over quickly with his mouth to seize the pencil on the right side of his head and of course each time he was fooled: the fourth time, he didn’t move his head he had learned that I was only feinting.