Teach vs. Train

“Why is the alphabet in that order? Is it because of that song? The guy who wrote that song wrote everything.”

- Steven Wright, Comedian  

Training is rote learning. I'll grant that memorizing the multiplication tables helped with long division. Memorizing facts can be handy, but better so is learning how to utilize the library and the Internet.

Training is A then B then C. And no reasoning involved.  (Hum the ABC's to different words and you suddenly have, "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.")  Great for the mechanics of military life, the elementary basics; good for your average pet, but not enough for an assistance dog...an assistance dog needs to think.

Thinking requires teaching, not mere training.

To think, one must understand options and consequences. To be effective, one must be agile with decisions and solutions.

As humans we strive to be effective decision makers. It's difficult to imagine that a canine partner can be strong and wise enough to make decisions that can ease, save, or protect our lives.

Yet that is what an assistance dog does.