Hi...
I'm the proud new owner of a 10 week-old female german shephard. She seems very smart and relatively quick to pick up the do's and don'ts, but being pretty new at all this training stuff I was wondering if anyone could recommend a web site that will give reliable, detailed info on training from the ground up. My goal is to have a dedicated family pet that will be good with children, yet protective of the house and very obedient overall. So I'm looking for some direction on everything from house-breaking to strict obedience of commands (in a perfect world I'd like end up with a dog very much like the police K9's). Does anybody have some advice? The only sites I see out there offer very generic information and/or want you to pay in advance for their two-cents.
Thanks in advance...
Rob
Rob, find a good puppy kindergarden class to start right after the holidays, then move on to a good basic obedience class. The staff at the vet clinic can tell you which are the best sources for training in your area.
In today's home owner insurance environment, you do NOT want to train this dog in ANY kind bite work except as a sport (schutzhund)... or you could loose your homeowner insurance. You don't need it... the bond you will develop (and your wife, too) with the dog through training together will be sufficient. It would be an EXTREMELY rare situation requiring a dog to actually do some laying on of teeth.. one in which the dog would likely be killed or disabled by gunshot, anyhow. A big dog that barks does all that you are ever likely to need.
Now... if you do want to progress in training to the sport of schutzhund, note well that this is a very time consuming hobby that is a year-around outdoor sport requiring specific advanced obedience skills, tracking skills, and specific skills in personal protection work (which are Never practiced at home; only on the training field). Train only with a club or trainer that has titles in the sport.. lots of people claim to be qualifed, but aren't.The book Dog Training for Dummies is excellent for background and getting started, as is Puppies for Dummies , but you will progress faster and better in a good class. Remember that she's a baby dog now and don't make all of your time together training time; play and groom, and cuddle... and keep training to short (5-10 minute) sessions several times a day. Of course, some training IS play... and vice versa...

Concentrate now on getting her out to CLEAN places (until her puppy shot series is finished... walks in the neighborhood, to friends' homes if they have nice dogs that like puppies, but NOT pet supply stores yet, NOT dog parks yet) to meet the maximum number of people of all kinds and shapes, and just new experiences. Rides in the car to places she'll enjoy, not just to the vet...
And take lots of photos. Like children, they are puppies for so little time..
Jo Wolf
Martinez, Georgia
Hi... I'm the proud new owner of a 10 week-old female german shephard. Sheseems very smart and relatively quick to ... The onlysites I see out there offer very generic information and/or want you to pay in advance for their two-cents.[/nq]Frankly, you do not want a dog like a police K9. Those dogs are specifically chosen for particular levels of drive and temperament that do not mesh with the average household, and their training goes far beyond what is needed in a pet, both in terms of type of training and time and skills for the handler. What you actually need is a well mannered pet, something that is not necessarily difficult but will take time and comittment from you. I'm getting a kind of vibe from your post, and please correct me if I'm wrong, that you have an idea that you will need to be very hard with your dog in order to get the results you want, and I don't believe that is the case with most pets.

Instead, you should seek as much information as you can about dog behavior, what/how to motivate your dog, and how to work as a team in order to have a happy relationship with your dog. There are multitudes of books that can help you, and unless your local library is very well equipped with modern dog books, you will probably have to invest some money in developing your own library. I'd suggest posting a request on the behavior group for suggestions on which books to start with, as that is a more highly trafficed group.

You should also investigate the Dog-Play website, particularly http://www.dog-play.com/behavior.html , which has a ton of links to information sites, most of which are highly detailed and not pay sites. But while you are doing that, remember your puppy is just a puppy for a short period, and enjoy each and every day with your baby. You are training every moment you are interacting, but sometimes it is best just to sit back and enjoy your puppy as it views the world around it in the way only a very young creature can!
Christy
I'm the proud new owner of a 10 week-old female german shephard. She seems very smart and relatively quick to ... only sites I see out there offer very generic information and/or want you to pay in advance for their two-cents.

YOu really need to go to a class and get in person help. Trying to dog train from books or video tapes is like trying to learn to dance by books and without a partner. To efficeintly learn you need the feedback of someone who (a) knows what you should be doing and (b) is observant enough to tell what you ARE doing. An in person trainer can help you decipher dog body language, so you will better recognize how what you are doing affects her.
And it is vital that you do not overtly encourage protectiveness. As your dog is growing up you want her to have trust and confidence. If she is going to be properly protective that will develop at maturity, when hopefully you will have already taught her that she can trust your judgement as to who is friend or foe. Until she is mature she needs to be "young" and able to look to her humans for defense and protection of the pack.
There is no such thing as being "too friendly" if her temperament is correct, especially where children are involved. You need to trust that the neighbor child popping back in to retrieve a forgotten jacket will not be treated as an intruder and bitten. Exposure to a wide vareity fo people in a wide vareity of circumstances is critical so that she is comfortable with differnces and does not treat the guy with a limp as an enemy.
Your breed is a highly observant one. Failure most often happen because people aren't aware that the dog pays attention to just about everything they do and everything is teaching the dog something. Want to make the dog - dog aggressive? Easy just show her through your actions that dogs aren't to be trusted and pull her away from any dog she sees. In person help will help you avoid these kinds of mistakes - it will make you more aware of what you are doing and the affect on the dog.

Diane Blackman
In today's home owner insurance environment, you do NOT want to train this dog in ANY kind bite work except as a sport (schutzhund)... or you could loose your homeowner insurance. You don't need it... the bond you

Actually training in bite work of any kind including sport can cause loss of insurance. It will also, in some states, change the status of the dog in criminal law. In those states if an unexpected and inappropriate bite occurs for the untrained dog there is rarely a risk of felony charges for the owner. For the bite trained dog, sport or not, felony charges are a real risk for the wrongful bite.
Diane Blackman
Thank you all for the input... This is a learning experience for both us and the dog. She's very a pretty quick learner and I don't anticipate too much trouble, but I hope to make the most of the advice you've given me to avoid making any mistakes along the way. I DO hope to socialize her with other dogs (she's already curious about the cats in the house, but they don't want anything to do with her!) so I hope she won't be aggressive with other non-threatening animals.
Thanks again, and if you think there's anything else I should know feel free to post/email me again!
Rob
Thank you all for the input... This is a learning experience for both us and the dog. She's very a pretty quick learner and I don't anticipate too much trouble, but I hope to make the most of the advice you've given me to avoid making any mistakes along the way. I DO hope to socialize her with other dogs (she's already curious about the cats in the house, but they don't want anything to do with her!) so I hope she won't be aggressive with other non-threatening animals.
Don't wait to socialize her with other dogs. Now is a critical time to familiarize her to other dogs, different types of people, different situations, etc. The longer you wait, the less good it will do, and you may end up seriously shortchanging your dog.
I highly recommend going to a puppy obedience class and starting your training there. High-level training of the sort you're interested in (although I agree with the others that you really don't want to be getting into protection training or bitework) is pretty much impossible to do in a do-it-yourself manner, by reading websites. That's not to say that you can't learn a lot by reading, and there are a lot of great sites out there and fantastic books available. But they should be an adjunct to your "live" work with a real trainer, in a class with other dogs.

Melanie Lee Chang > Form ever follows function. Departments of Anthropology and Biology >
University of Pennsylvania > Louis Sullivan (Email Removed) >
: Thank you all for the input... This is a learning experience for both us : and the dog. She's ... etc. The longer you wait, the less good it will do, and you may end up seriously shortchanging your dog.

Most intelligent beings go through developmental periods During which they are most open to learning new skills, or most likely to react to situations in a particular way. It is important to pay attention to these periods or your socialization opportunity may be lost.

"In conclusion, species identification (filial, fraternal and sexual imprinting) is acquired during a sensitive phase of development, and depends on "play-fighting" among puppies (litter-mates). This begins about the third (3±½) week and ends somewhere between 11 and 17 weeks (12±5), when the dogs loose their ability to play with unfamiliar dogs and become "serious" in defending their group."
.....
"The relative absence of other dogs between 3 and 12±5 weeks leads to relative, total or no handicaps depending on circumstances: "

...
" At 12 weeks socialization requires active manipulation (mimicking play-fights), at 14 weeks socialization seems to be impossible."
http://www.nwk9.com/dehasse pupdev.htm
I, unfortunately, learned the importance of the socialization period the hard way, by not doing it properly. I learned by seeking answers to why I was having problems. (Taht was twenty years ago) And my behaviorist consultants tell me that the behavior of my oldest dog is similarly likely to be due to missing critical periods. Since I got him long after those periods passed I'm not to "blame" but neither could it be "fixed" only managed and moderated.
Diane Blackman
Thank you all for the input... This is a learning experience for both us and the dog.

Congratulations on your new puppy, Rob. Where did you get her from? If you got her from a good breeder, that breeder should be an ongoing resource for a lot of the information you're asking for. I'd also advise you to join the GSD breed club in your area. I wouldn't worry about bitework yet - most trainers don't recommend beginning any kind of serious training until the pup is over a year old. If you'd like to learn a lot more about it, and basic training, I'd recommend Dildei's "Schutzhund Obedience: Training in Drive".

Lynn K.