I offer free unlimited advice to all of my puppy owners for the life of their dog. Most issues can be resolved by speaking or emailing together to create a solution, then evaluating later how it is working. I can not express how many times people have put off speaking with me, enduring some issue with their dog, only to find the problem disappears completely within days of discussing it.
I train obedience, specializing in Home Behavior Modification for all breeds. Most of my methods have come from my personal experience with horses and dogs in my life. While watching dogs interact, I observed the behavior of the leader. As a child I experimented with mimicking that behavior strictly through body language and responses of greetings. I have spent 30 years reading and listening to anyone about the training and raising of dogs, and
practicing it with my pack. I know what works and what doesn't work.
The level of training is your choice, most people train just what is needed to exist peacefully with their dogs. But keep in mind; certain breeds require more formal training for you to have control of them in your home. Guard breeds or large breeds need more leadership for the first year to 2 years.
I have used a dog pack psychology with my 15 dogs. I have my adult Germans raised as a pack. I am the leader through subtle leadership methods ingrained in each dog when they were pups joining my pack. By using a loving leadership method early in your pups life you can avoid the need for most corrective training in their adulthood.
Each dog is as unique as each individual person. I would keep you reading all day if I went into great detail on my training method, so I will share the basics. What might be a good method for one dog could be too much or too little for another dog. First thing: I acknowledge the difference between pack behaviors and trained behaviors. While a pack behavior must be corrected every time it occurs, trained behavior needs patient repetitious training and reward until it occurs consistently. With some breeds pack structure needs understood and followed. Yet there are breeds where understanding pack is not as important.
All dogs can be placed into one of three nature categories in order to decide the level of the training collar, correction level, and training sessions.
1.Soft Dogs: They are easily trained dogs usually submissive and gentle. Often training is done through subtle life experience.
2.Moderate Dogs: They are dogs that need consistent leadership to accomplish training. In general they look to please and serve but have ideas of their own to investigate.
3.Hard Dogs: They are dogs who would be pack leaders, decision makers. They require a firm, consistent, fair pack leader.
This applies to all breeds of dogs. Approximately 15-20% are soft dogs, 75% are moderate dogs, and 5-10% are hard dogs. Regardless of the breed, the ratio of these three categories will only vary greatly if the breeding program is purposefully breeding hard to hard to get more hard dogs or soft to soft to get more soft dogs, etc..
Training of pups and dogs :
Relationship, relationship, relationship. Discipline and Praise, yes much like a good parent does when raising well behaved children. Great dogs are not born they are raised; yes genetics are key but the best of genetics will do no good if raised without loving, consistent leadership. How the dog responds to correction is connected to numerous factors but they all link back to your relationship with the dog, and the dogs nature: soft, moderate, or hard.
We suggest to everyone getting a German Shepherd pup to purchase the book "The Art of Raising a Puppy" by The Monks of New Skete. And "The Canine Good Citizen" by Jack and Wendy Volhard.
Our training of puppies begins the day they are born, using the environmental socialization method similar to the Monks of New Skete. We use daily handling and desensitization of the feet, tail, and ears. Exposing the pups to many different experiences at key times of their developmental stages. Such as: a variety of floor surfaces, steps, car rides, strange dogs, unknown people, children, the vet, grooming, nail trimming, town traffic, etc. We teach a recall at 3-4 weeks of age using positive reinforcement and then show you how to use that to teach the puppy his name in a few days. German pups are trained to go outside through flap doors in their runs to potty outside at the age of 5-6 weeks. This does not mean the puppies are house trained. But it is a good beginning for them to understand at an early age to go outside to potty. We let the mothers naturally wean the pups so she remains with the them until 1 week before they go home. The final week the pups are slowly separated from each other preparing them to sleep alone in their new homes.
When the pups go home at 8 weeks of age you begin positive reinforcement training in brief 5 minute sessions. From 8-12 weeks establishing the name, collar and leash, the sit, and the come. At 13-16 weeks introducing 10 basic commands taught during the day to day relationship. This is also the key time to tether the pup to you as you go about your daily duties. This tethering is the crucial method we use to mature the pup quickly.
Then at 17-20 weeks some formal training can begin by reinforcing the commands taught previously. again tethering should be done at least 2 hours daily to build relationship and teach the dog proper house behavior. Then at 21 weeks- 1 year formal training can become advanced if desired.
Puppy aptitude test for better puppy placement:
We aptitude test every Aussie and German litter to help us place each pup accordingly.
Example of the tests:
1. Social attraction: degree of social attraction to people, confidence or independence.
2. Following: willingness to follow a person
3. Restraint: degree of dominant or submissive tendency, and ease of handling in difficult situations
4. Social Dominance: degree of acceptance of social dominance by a person
5. Elevation: degree of accepting dominance when in a position of no control
6. Retrieving: degree of willingness to do something for you. Together with social attraction and following is a key indicator for ease or difficulty of training.
7. Touch sensitivity: degree of sensitivity to touch and a key indicator to the type of training equipment required
8. Sound Sensitivity: the degree of sensitivity to sound such as loud noises; ie children!!
9. Sight sensitivity: degree of response to a moving object, such as chasing squirrels, kids, bikes, etc...
10. Stability: degree of startle response to a strange object
***This is from the Volhard Puppy Aptitude Test***
Our breeding program for German Shepherds is geared toward family guard dogs. I breed Western German, Eastern German, and some American German bloodlines. We breed for the traditional large bone, nice head, black saddle, deep pigment Germans of times gone by. The disposition of a German Shepherd has to be the number one priority in a breeding program. The test scores, and feedback from our puppy owners help me determine if breeding should be repeated. We place each German according to its test scores, and consider placement of the Germans a serious responsibility. They want more from you then many other breeds.