lol @ trackie88 -- That would be my guy HaHa: )
, Yeah, I have a slightly retarded golden retriever, I named him HaHa. His head never developed fully, it's rather smallish, as is his snout, and he has kind of wonky eyes, one more wonky than the other one..lol To me they look too big for his head, but in a way they are kind of pretty too.
HaHa's a little bit of a slow learner, but he can learn things. The problem with him though, is that unless what he's learned is experienced every day, he will forget it. So if I teach him to sit. I have to tell him to do so several times a day every day. If I forget to tell him to do that for like 1 day...the next day, he can't remember having learned the command.
He also sometimes will come across something he's seen every single day, but act like he's never seen it before Ever in his whole life !!! Like the back porch roof...he's in and out of the house 7 or 8 times a day, but sometimes he'll be heading back in and just slam to a stop - and look up at that roof. He starts bobbing his head up and down, and pacing back and forth like he's never noticed that thing above his head, even as he comes up the steps he tilts his head up so he can keep an eye on that strange structure above his head.
He does the same thing in the house, with a floor fan, or a decoration on the wall, or the vacuum that sits in the same spot in the bedroom that he walks past several times a day....etc.
While HaHa's mental issues are due to a birth defect, it could be that your dog, is the way is just because it didn't have some training when it was a puppy.
There's that saying "you can't teach an old dog new tricks". I kind of think you can, but I also think it's a slower process.
I've read about research on human behavior and learning, that seems to indicate that at around age 3, that is the time when a lot of our learning abilities and the way we respond/behave to things is getting pretty much hardwired into our brains. So, I think early 'work' with a puppy is important if a person wishes to teach a dog something new later on in life.
I believe that dogs that have had some kind of training early on, just pick up on things faster even as they become older dogs, and that, that training just doesn't just involve commands like 'sit' or 'stay' but also socializing and letting them experience different situations under a human's guidance so they do learn how they are expected to behave. Like for example, when someone visits...a person should be teaching their puppy not to jump on the guests, or growl and bark at everything while on a walk...etc.
I've had a lot of dogs in my life and so this is just my own '2 cents' based on comparing all of them with each other too.
I hope that you see other things in your dog that shine, even if his learning might be slow. Maybe he does other things that are unique to him.
HaHa's not the sharpest tack on the corkboard, but he's curious about things, super friendly, and always doing weird things that make me laugh.
For example, every morning, he goes to his toy collection and picks out a toy...and I call it 'His toy of the day." He will take that toy with him from room to room, and outside...ignoring for the most part all of his other toys. He might keep that toy of the day for just one day or sometimes 2 or 3 days. But then when he decides on a new toy...then that's the one he dedicates to taking care of for a day or two.
I think that shows some kind of intelligence that is different from a normal dog...that he has a need to take care of something like that, and doesn't forget which toy it was he selected.
No matter though how smart or not so smart... I've enjoyed all my dogs, but yeah, life is a little easier when you have a dog that can learn things...lol. Note, I said, 'easier'....but that doesn't mean less enjoyable..lol. : )