German Shepherd Dog > Train or not to Train, what is the answer? (48 replies)
Train or not to Train, what is the answer?
by Swifteagle on 07 February 2010 - 02:19
I was wondering if you would be able to share your thoughts with me as I am a bit confuse.
I am getting a working line German Shepherd (4months old from german imported lines) from a breeder that has plenty of experience and also trains dogs for the police department here in Australia.
He was saying to me that I should wait until the dog is 1 year old before I begin with any type of training...that includes to sit, etc. He says that you have to let them be dogs for this period of time and then begin the training. He said in the mean time to play with the ball and also taking to places and kids and parks, etc.
On the other hand I have spoken to other trainers that said that you should start as soon as you get them...
I do trust the breeder, but I am not sure the reason for waiting until the dog is a year old.
can Anyone please let me know their thoughts?..
Thanks a lot for your time.
I think guide dogs here in Australia are allowed to be just dogs until they are a year old before they begin with the training. May be there is a good reason for that.
by Two Moons on 07 February 2010 - 02:39
|Training depends on what you plan to do with the dog.|
I start very early teaching a puppy lots of things and socializing as soon as its old enough to respond.
Learning to recognize its name, coming when called, sitting, good manners, crate training and maybe house breaking.
I begin real obedience work anywhere from four to six months but I do not train for show or Schutzhund and those who do have their own ways of doing things.
Waiting a year makes no sense to me period.
Socializing never ends and starts as soon as the pup is born in one way or another.
Working lines can be demanding.
by hodie on 07 February 2010 - 02:46
There are essentially two schools of thought on this issue. My approach is to mix the two schools. The question is, what do YOU intend to do with the pup? Is he going to be a pet, or do you want to do a sport with him? I do not recommend too much obedience, and if you are inexperienced, whatever you do should be done with the guidance of your breeder who sounds like he subscribes to the concept of making the dog confident and social initially. That is, regardless of which school you adhere to, very, very important. The trick, in my way of doing things, is to do things that actually prepare, or promote activity and experiences that the dog will later learn and use. If you are going to do a sport with the pup, for example, teaching it to pay attention to you at this point is important, and it is also very important if you want him only to be a pet. If you are going to participate in a sport, you are penalized for slow responses to a command, such as sit. So the trick is to encourage the pup to sit quickly, give him an immediate reward (toy or food) and immediately "break" him from that command and play tug, as an example.
My suggestion would be that you spend some time with the breeder watching how he trains and trying to understand the skills and tasks you will end up expecting from the pup. Whatever you do, everything at this age must be addressed to building confidence in the dog, and teaching him you are the center of the universe and all good things come from you. He should play and play and play. Don't do anything for very long with him, including play. Keep his attention and understand his ability to pay attention is limited to only a few seconds, to perhaps a minute or so.
In my opinion, it is as much about HOW you work with him at any age, as WHAT you do with him.
by blair built gsd on 07 February 2010 - 02:48
|If your breeder thinks you are going to work the dog or train him for a certain job you may want to wait to keep from confusing the dog or makeing him sensitive to handling what that means is hard corections on a young dog can make him scared of working or even being on the lead if you just want a pet use your comin sence and you will be fine and take all advice and use what you like and forget what you dont|
by Two Moons on 07 February 2010 - 02:50
How ya doin?
by Two Moons on 07 February 2010 - 03:00
Hope your doin fine.
I'm outta here,
by hodie on 07 February 2010 - 03:58
| Hi Moons,|
I was waiting to learn whether you would get the guys together and make a nice calendar for your nearby shelter.....LOL
I am ok. Not great, but here, waiting for another damn snowstorm and cold. I am sick of winter and we have several more months to go.
Hope you are doing well.
by Vixen on 07 February 2010 - 11:32
|Hello Swifteagle, |
"To let them be dogs......." Consider, what else can they be? A dog is a dog, is a dog. That means everything it is genetically predisposed to be and expect to be.
If we were to compare to children (not something I like to suggest as obviously humans and dogs are entirely different species, but sometimes a way of recognising what is familiar to us) ..... Would you not do anything with a baby, toddler, child, and only begin any kind of guidance, boundaries, teaching, good discipline, parenting when they were older? Imagine perhaps the surprised reaction; "Who do you think you are"!!! lol.
Equally, would you only be 'Entertainment Parent', playing and having fun! A good parent recognises that this is good and enjoyable, but serious and thoughtful focus to guidance and teaching is just as necessary and important too. And why should the very idea of teaching, guiding, boundaries and good discipline suggest a spoil sport or upset a young dog???? Dogs play, but dogs also instruct on boundaries and respect with one another, helping the youngsters to learn about their Pack and their place within it. Thereby growing into well-balanced, respectful confident adults.
by DebiSue on 07 February 2010 - 12:55
|I recommend basic obedience and the sooner the better. This doesn't mean that the dog will be "on" all the time. He will be a dog regardless of training or not. What he will be with no training is a pain in the ass. All youngsters need guidence and boundaries. You and the dog will be very unhappy if he isn't trained to behave. Puppies are little sponges and will soak up everything and whether you realize it or not, you are training him every moment he is in your presence. So start now, let him know what is expected of him and you won't have to undo what you trained him to do when you thought you were not training him. You can hold off on the heavier stuff for when he is older and his body is more mature but don't dare let his little brain work things out all by itself or we will be reading another sad rescue story about how you had to give him up because you just couldn't deal with it.|
by Red Sable on 07 February 2010 - 13:36
|I would do basic stuff too, all with food, or toy as a reward, all positive. |
Things like ( if he is a house dog) sitting before he goes out, waiting before he gets in or out of a vehicle,( for his own saftey), same through doors etc. As soon as he come in from outside, he goes in his crate (food as a reward). Saves your house, and your sanity, may save his life, and makes you and him much happier.
Also, if he is a chew monster, redirect his chewing to a tug or toy, so he doesn't use you as a chew toy.
Read some of the other threads on here where people let their pups away with everything, it creates a monster.
by K9Sport on 07 February 2010 - 14:06
|My dogs are pets, they live in the house and sleep on the kid's beds. I also do sport with my dogs, I compete at the national level, and my training starts the day they come home. I shape behaviors in the early months which teaches the dog how to learn.. they become active participants in the learning process, not reactive participants. This is soooo important. I use lures for heeling in the beginning which teaches them correct position, how to move the front and back of their bodies independent of each other, and gives them a sense of spacial awareness. Weather permitting I start scent discrimination in scent pads as soon as they're home. I also start to develop prey drive through chase, with different textures of cloth, leather, burlap, balls, etc... My puppies think that this is all play... they are having a BLAST and they totally drive the process... so if someone were to tell me that training shouldn't start until a dog was a year old... I'd just smile and nod...|
To each their own.... my puppies are learning through play... I find it works quite well for me ;)
by melba on 07 February 2010 - 14:09
|Let me start this by saying these are the methods we use and we have had a 100% sucess rate with raising our puppies to be K9s in their adult life.|
We teach the puppy his name, obviously, a recall from a long distance which is not difficult using the dogs natural pack instincts and loads of praise, sit with a clicker and thats about it until they are around 8-12 months old. We take our puppies out to all kinds of different places.... Tractor Supply, busy parking lots, empty training building etc... They are played with and walked daily by my 2 children, and by walk I mean the kids are holding a leash and the puppies are allowed to investigate to their hearts delight. They are brought from the kennel at about 4 months old on rotating nights in a crate in the house, play with a rag or ball on a daily basis, and are generally allowed to be rambunctious puppies. The only ones they are not allowed to bite or jump on are children and everyone else is given fair warning.
This is just my way and it works for us. Obviously if you are just raising your puppy as a pet you will want to instill manners and obedience much earlier then we do.
Wether you agree with this or not, 100% sucess rate is hard to argue with.
PS The green collar male, Nitro, passed his narcotics certifications at 10.5 months and is in training in apprehension. He was the male I picked for whelping and raising the litter for someone else.
by ShadyLady on 07 February 2010 - 17:17
Swifteagle, your dog needs socialization, but also enough obedience/manners in order to be managed.
Your breeder probably wants you to avoid any type of training that is too advanced & will dampen your dog's drive and willingness to please.
Guide dogs are not allowed to run wild until they start formal training as service animals. Their foster families don't just lock them up in a kennel until they are a year of age. They live as a member of the family.
Like others have said, play training will only add to your dog's abilities later on. With a ball, tug and/or food rewards, you can build drive, get your puppy exercise and build a foundation for a year later during formal training.
Teaching your puppy nothing for a year will give you an out of control dog that will be a nightmare to live with. Using food and toys for a positive approach with young dogs only helps them (and builds your relationship together). Besides, it's fun!
by k9ulf on 07 February 2010 - 18:12
|Who said "let them be dogs until they are 1year old?" And after that, are they not dogs anymore or what? |
It does not matter if you train a "sit" at 12 weeks or 12 months or much older, its how you do it,whatever the age is.
From dogs point of view, its always in training.
All the best
by GSDXephyr on 07 February 2010 - 21:53
|I think training with little pups is just fun, works thier little brains, gets a foundation set for the "idea" of learning new things in an interactive way with the owner. When we raised guide dogs, we also took them to training classes right from the first week, there at the school. They started learning basic early commands young, with lots of food rewards. They didn't just stay home and not learn anything. No punishments involved at this sensitive age though, maybe that is the type of training they want you to hold off until the pup is mature? |
by happyday on 07 February 2010 - 22:36
|Funny thing is when you get an opinion - today------ it will be one way today and tomorrow it will be some other way. The same person that told you today to do it THIS WAY will tell you to do it ANOTHER WAY TOMORROW...... and then ask when you did it the way they told you in the beginning to DO IT THIS WAY will be the person that says - who in THE HELL TOLD YOU TO DO IT THAT WAY........ |
My opinion - you got a puppy.... start training when you get it.... cause when that puppy gets to be a year old the person that told you not to do anything - will be the one that asks you ---what have you been doing with this puppy? - -you will say "nothinhg"---they will say "you haven't built a foundation in this puppy and that is the one thing you needed to do when he was young.......lol... you will shrug your shoulds and say - but you said not to do anything - and they will say- I didn't mean not do anything!!!!!.....
Then they will say - "Oh well - maybe you can learn on the next puppy."....... rest in peace 12 month old puppy that you did nothing with...you didnt build the foundation and now you are hercules and don't have a foundation that you should of got when you where less than a year old. .....
by Red Sable on 07 February 2010 - 23:36
|LOL Happyday, so true!|
by Two Moons on 08 February 2010 - 05:20
Where'd ya go swifteagle?
What's your plans for the dog?
by ShadyLady on 08 February 2010 - 16:59
|Happyday, I agree with RedSable - that's a fact!|
by Adi Ibrahimbegovic on 08 February 2010 - 17:25
|Let them be dogs, huh? He can be a dog with interacting with you just fine.|
Your breeder is describing a method that has been used a while ago, absolutely NO training till the dog is 1 year old.
I do not agree with this, a year in a dog's life is a long, long, ong,long time to waste. So, don't waste it.
He can be a dog just fine while playing with you.
What he is talking probably/maybe??? is using compulsion (force) with the dog to comply with your requests. That is also, old school thinking and has been abandoned for a long time by pretty mcuh any trainer of note nowadays.
You can teach your dog to sit while using hot dogs and pettign him, you can do ALLKINDS of thingsand WHILE HAVING FUN WITH HIIM- stress free, teach him many,many things that will come useful later.
Am I against using complulsion in dog training? No, I am not, I have used it and am using it and will use it -WHEN IT's NEEDED.
In conclusion... I don't like toantropomorphise dogs, but for the sake of argument, just use this example. if you have a kind, will you wait till he is 7 years old to teach him/her to speak, to hold a spoon, tohold a cup of juice, teach letters and spelling, to teach numbers, to teach words and so on and so on. Of course not. So, just make it fun with your dog, say watch me and when he looks you in the eyes - BAM! he gets a hot dog piece. Stomp some ground in the backyard, sprinkle some hot dogs in there, say go track - BAm, you are teaching a puppy to track. Throw a rag or a puppy bite tug, say bring and BAM! you are teaching retrieves.
You can do all that and much more when the puppy is really young, practically a baby. Later on, there will be time to teach in a more structured manner. Willthe puppy retain all the stuff from earlier "fun"sessions? You bet, cause while for him it's"fun", for you it's a training session. Dog training is an art and a lot of common sense, little bit of acting and a lot of creativity and consistency at the same time.
Hope that helps.