I have a 3 year old Nova Scotia DT Retriever. She is a very sweet dog, and wants so hard to please; but she is very dumb.
I have taught her to sit, down, stand, stay, take, heel, and come. Come, take, heel and stay she is fine with; but she does not know the difference between the others.If she is standing and I tell her either sit or down, she will randomly down or sit and look up in hopes she is right. If I repeat the command, she will try something else and hope for the best. I don't know how long I have spent on this, but she just doesn't get it. She just cycles through the behaviours she knows until she happens to hit the right one. I thought it might be here hearing, but she hears come from a distance easily enough.

No, it is not me; her predecessor (also a toller) learned every command perfectly in 5 minutes. He was neither so sweet nor as eager to please though. Well, sure it is me... I don't know how to train a dumb dog. Any suggestions? It is not worth hiring anyone; I mean, how often does the difference between down and sit matter? As a practical matter it is unimportant, but I would just like to make some progress.
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There's a communication gap here - somehow she's missing the marker for the desired behavior. It could be timing, multiple signals being sent, the reward/marker being insufficiently motivating. Hard to tell from here. Think about quieting your body language and putting all your energy to immediately telling her which of her offered behaviors was the one you had asked for, as clearly as possible. Then work on getting 3 repetitions 3 times a day for 30 days.
I have a 3 year old Nova Scotia DT Retriever. She is a very sweet dog, and wants so hard ... down and sit matter? As a practical matter it is unimportant, but I would just like to make some progress.

Are you using only voice commands? Seems to me that some dogs do better with hand signals, or a combination of hand signals and voice commands. It sounds like she isn't differentiating the commands well.

Maybe you could try hand signals, along with a food reward. Decide on a signal for "sit," and pick a completely different hand signal for "down." Start from the beginning, as though you're teaching her the commands for the first time. It will be kinda new to her, as your commands will be somewhat different - waving your arm or whatever you're gonna do, in addition to the voice command.
I think of training dogs as "forming a habit." You can form a habit even in a dog that ain't a rocket scientist. Give the command/signal for "sit." If she doesn't do it Right Away, push her butt down and give her a treat and a "good girl." She sat, even though you made her do it. IOW, you do an action, she should have this reaction. Don't wait for her to "decide." Form her habit - she hears/sees the command, she immediately does the action *even if you have to push her butt down.* And give her a little treat for it.
flick 100785
I have a 3 year old Nova Scotia DT Retriever. She is a very sweet dog, and wants so hard ... nor as eager to please though. Well, sure it is me... I don't know how to train a dumb dog.

It's highly unlikely that the dog is stupid. It's far more likely that this dog is different than your last dog, and that what worked for him does not work for her. Instead of assigning all the blame to her "stupidity," I'd suggest you going to a training class and getting an in person assessment of what is going on.
Pretty much I find that when my dog is having trouble learning something it's me, the human, who is to blame. Not the dog.
It's highly unlikely that the dog is stupid. It's far more likely that this dog is different than your last dog, and that what worked for him does not work for her.

You are right there. The class I went to for the first dog used choke colllars exclusively.
The class I went to with her used food exclusively. In desparation I tried a choke collar on her, but she just looked up in surprise; having no idea at all why she wass being hurt. I don't think she even knew I was responsible for it. So I never tried it again. (The first dog knew exactly what was going on, and I rarely had to correct him)
You are also correct that the fault is mine; I am not experience enough to train a dumb dog; but I said that in the OP.
I expect the advice the other respondents gave will be helpful.
You are also correct that the fault is mine; I am not experience enough to train a dumb dog; but I said that in the OP. I expect the advice the other respondents gave will be helpful.

You're still not getting it. It is extremely unlikely that this dog is dumb. The liklihood is that she is very smart. I've never yet met a Toller that was stupid, and I don't think any dogs are dumb unless they are born with a congenital brain defect or have a brain injury. Some are more interested in pleasing their owners than others, but "dumb" is a human construct. And you've already said she really wants to please, and in fact is offering you all kinds of stuff in order to try to please you. So you've established that she is, in fact, very smart. It is YOU who are failing her, not the other way around.

I recommended you go to a trainer because you haven't told us enough about how you trained her for me to help you, and also because this is something that needs in person help. Good luck.
I have a 3 year old Nova Scotia DT Retriever. She is a very sweet dog, and wants so hard ... just doesn't get it. She just cycles through the behaviours she knows until she happens to hit the right one.

That, to me, is a very intelligent dog. She's trying to figure out what you want in all of the commands she's been taught and has demonstrated she does knows.
I thought it might be here hearing, but she hears come from a distance easily enough. No, it is not ... and each one learns at their own pace. None are/were dumb, they each just have/had their own way of learning.

He was neither so sweet nor as
eager to please though. Well, sure it is me... I don't know how to train a dumb dog. Any suggestions?

Begin at the beginning again. The dog already has demonstrated she knows what to do, it's WHEN to do it she's having trouble with which means she's confused.
That can be cleared up by you showing her clearly when she associates the proper command to the proper end result. Be consistent and choose one word for example: her sit.
"Dogs name , sit." Dog sits then: "Good GIRL!"
(I don't like to use a lot of extra unnecessary words with a dog who is trying to master basics so I keep my commands short and clear with only the dogs name and the request.)
When she chooses the proper action for the command reward and/or praise her, whatever your choice of reward is for your dog works. Work on just one command for a couple of days or so then move onto another word for another action. Maintain your consistency and praise for that command and so on. If she chooses an action different than the command you've asked her to do, ignore it until she does the one you asked for then praise/reward her to the high heavens.
Terri

Your rubber and I'm chocolate, whatever you say bounces off me and lands in fondue. No, wait, I told that wrong. Wiblur-alt.religion.kibology
I have done precisely that for hours and hours. Hey, I got her to come, stay, take, and heel, didn't I?
She just can't distinquish between sit, down and stand.
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