Dog training isn’t breed specific, it’s temperament specific. Those who have one style of training, whether it be training with consequences, avoidance training, purely positive training, T Touch, or any other method, are limiting themselves greatly.
The first step in training is to decide what your goal in training will be, family obedience, advanced obedience, competition, sport, personal protection or some other desired goal. Then shape your dog to fit that goal, dogs don’t do well when you don’t start out the way you mean to continue.
Knowing where you want to end up in training will determine the path you should take, it’s not a good idea to work things out as you go, switching methods is a good way to teach your dog how to get out of training. Many people attempt one style of training, and then when the dog reacts poorly, they switch methods, this teaching the dog to act poorly so the training can stop.
German Shepherds by design often have high prey drive, or at least should have. One of the best methods to train a high prey drive dog is through my Training in Drive System. The short description of this is that we utilize the dogs prey drive to get fast accurate motivated compliance in obedience.
Most people will tell you that their dog is obedient at home, but when he sees a cat he just does what he likes. The reason for this is that those people have not trained to that level of distraction, a level that would exceed the drive of the dog when he chases the cat.
The prey item has the highest value in the world to a high prey drive dog, when trained correctly. If you can teach the dog to go into drive on cue, and that he must complete a known movement, such as sit, to get the prey item, you will have a dog that will sit no matter what the distraction is. Reason being is that the dog needs to satisfy his drive, and training in drive teaches the dog how to do that.
Training in drive can be more difficult to perfect than most other training methods, it’s very active, physical and most importantly instinctual work, but it produces a very solid dog that looks great when it works.
What I do like about training in drive is that you can couple it with leash corrections and or an e collar cue to communicate more effectively with your dog. If your goal is sport, competition, personal protection, advanced obedience or work of that nature, I would seriously consider training in drive.
It also provides a balance in the dogs temperament, for example you have a high prey drive German Shepherd, and he isn’t getting enough drive satisfaction in the life your providing for him, so in a desperate search for drive satisfaction, he chases cats, pulls washing off the line, has become dog aggressive, just to name a few of the things he does. Why? Well because he is in search of something that his genetics say he needs, if we don’t provide that, he will find it himself, you end up with a dog that self designs rewarding activities, you may not like that.
This term is what I reserve for the family that owns a dog and would like some level of control, but don’t want to spend their lives training. For a start, I would not suggest these people get a high drive dog, because it will likely be too much dog for them, ending up way out of control and more trouble than they were looking for.
I encourage families to install the NILIF (nothing in life is free) program in their household. This is a mindset that the whole family must undertake, and the basic premise is that the dog must work for all things that it desires, just like you and me.
This can be as simple as having the dog sit before petting it, it can be as advanced as having the dog stay for a period until he gets a reward, be it food or praise it doesn’t matter.
This is easy to uptake but it rarely will produce a dog that is solid under distraction; these dogs should always be kept on a leash as restraint will be required under certain circumstances.
I also advise that these people give their dog plenty of controlled exercise and at least training your dog in my Triangle of Temptation Program to develop some impulse control.
This term is thrown around loosely by trainers worldwide. Some state that it means off leash control, others feel its competition level obedience. I personally deem advanced obedience as training the owner to understand and train his own dog. The level reached will depend on the individual goals, but regardless, they will possess the knowledge and understanding to teach their dog new commands, proof their dog under distraction etc.
Some of those reasons might be: –
Owning one of these dogs comes with high responsibility and a good understanding of the dog. It is also a liability if handled incorrectly.
Putting a dog through personal protection means that the dog must have the correct temperament, it must also have or be trained in advanced obedience. This criteria must be met prior to beginning any protection work.
People should understand that a dog cannot be correctly trained in a few days or weeks. Police, military, SAR groups etc all train consistently longer than that.
I advise this level of obedience to people who will spend time weekly training their dog, take the time to learn the dogs thought process and keep up the work.
We only provide this type of training to people with a genuine reason for needing it.