How to Spot a good Trainer/and Training Tips For Your German Shepherd

Hello German shepherd puppies lovers:

 

In this blog I would like to address some issues about finding a good trainer when your German shepherd puppy is ready.

First, many people ask at what age you start training your dog. I say that you should start immediately upon receipt, but that the training is different until they are of the age of responsibility for their actions, or when they know what they are to do and understand the expected response to a command.

From about 8 weeks until that point, the training is mainly motivational without any coercion except for limited undesirable behavior (relieving themselves in the wrong place, aggressiveness, biting on expensive furniture, things that a threatening to their lives, etc). One should always be in training mode. At this age, they are “learning to learn”. When you pet them, for example, work on excessive licking (sign of dominance) and jumping up. When eating, they must sit and wait for the food. When walking, on the left side. When walking out a door, you first.

Word to the wise: From the day you get your pup, always be in training mode, always be confirming pack order.

As they get older, training becomes more demanding, using both tools of punishment and praise as a normal part of overall training. Now, if there is not an immediate response to a command, there should follow an immediate correction. One of the hardest things to correct is slow reaction, delayed reaction to commands, which can denigrate into outright disobedience. ALWAYS BE IN TRAINING MODE. Even when they are with you in the house lounging around. Don’t relent. If they are to lay in a certain area, don’t let them change that location themselves. Make your relationship be one of pack leader to pack member, all the time. Leave no room for question. Sure, you must be kind. But the best parents are those that care about their children’s behavior and stick to a regimen.

When you are looking for a trainer/facility here are some pointers.

1. First, for show line dogs, stay away from most, though not all, k-9 handlers who deal exclusively with working dogs. They take normally take too hard an approach and can put your dog into avoidance. Their approach is effective with working lines, but can be counter-productive with show lines, which may need more coaxing. They can be impatient with show line dogs. Actually it takes more expertise to train a lower drive show line dog.
2. Go to the training facility and watch the trainer’s personal dog. Does it slink in fear next to him/her? Does it wince when they yell or raise their hands. Or is it head up, tail wagging, prancing and enjoying it? This is what you want, a dog enjoying serving.
3. Do they use shock collars? Does everyone have on a prong collar?
4. Is the attitude about showing whose dog is tougher or bites harder?
5. Does everyone give lip service to obedience, or is this treated as the most essential part?
6. When a dog doesn’t release from a bite on command, do they brag about it? If so they have what I call the “tough man” complex and don’t realize it is never good for a dog to disobey, especially when biting.
7. During an average training day do they rely on shock collars, physical corrections, and overuse of prongs?
8. Do they offer to take your dog for you for a few days and forbid your participation, to train your dog? I would never leave or send my personal companion dog to anyone to be trained. Understand their motivation is to get paid and therefore they will do what they can to get it done. This can have long-term deleterious effects on your dog’s personality.
9. Before they launch into training, do they take time to observe your dog? Each dog is very different. As people have different learning styles, dogs also need a tailored approach.
10. Are the people friendly and helpful?

Any of our customers can call us anytime for advice about trainers. We will look at websites and help you out. This is part of our “Lifetime Support Guarantee”.

I hope this is a help to you.  Visit our German Shepherd K9 University by clicking on “GSD K9 U“.

 

 

 

Some Feeding Advice: German Shepherd Puppies

Hello German shepherd puppies lovers:

This is a subject I could spend a long time discussing.  But I will try to focusing on a few important points and on the early years with your new German shepherd puppy.  A couple of key points:

1.  Try not to switch foods in the first couple of months.  GSD digestive systems, especially when they are puppies, are very sensitive.  You don’t want to go through bouts of diarrhea and then have to go through the boiled rice and chicken protocol as you attempt to re-equilibrate their systems.  So unless there is a problem, stick with what you have until they are more mature (maybe 6 months-1 year).

2.  Don’t overfeed, especially at this young age.  We need to protect developing joints.

3.  Always have water available when they are eating.

4.  Please do feed at least two meals.  There are some logical reasons to think that eating one large meal a day could contribute to bloat.

5.  Don’t give supplements.  Unless the vet has identified a critical need, use a top choice, balanced puppy food.  We use Royal Canin Maxi large breed puppy.  They also now have a GSD specific puppy food.  Supplements may over-balance nutrients and can have deleterious repercussions (example:  joint laxity for too much calcium).

6.  Never free feed or they will never be able to learn to control their bowels.

7.  Don’t feed table scraps.  This can lead not only to obesity, but can destabilize their digestive systems (especially puppies).

8.  I wouldn’t use raw diets especially if they are not puppy specific, and I would wait until they are at least one, when all of the joints are set and the growth plates developed, height complete.

Remember always put your food down for 3 minutes then take it up. Don’t relent.  They must learn to live within your time frames.  You don’t want to play the waiting game as you watch your watch and get to work late again.

Now, puppies can be finicky. But do, I repeat, do not start throwing everything in the food to make it more palatable.  You will just make the situation worse.  They can become increasingly picky, and you will be at their whim, rushing into the kitchen to concoct some culinary delicacy, as if you were their own, unpaid, personal chef.

The time to stop using puppy food is when they are growing more quickly than normal.  Americans tend to attribute value by the size.  They think a bigger dog is better and brag when they grow unusually fast.  But they need to grow within standard, or at least close to it, or they may be overgrowing.   Overweight stresses joints, hyper-growth can lead to improper bone development.  I have heard it said, one can palpate the heat in the hips of a dog that is growing too fast.  If they are growing normally, keep them on the puppy, if not, take them off.   Some breeders say to take them off puppy very young (4 months) to protect hips.  I don’t know if this is advisable as they need the nutrition a puppy food has for proper development.  But, certainly, if they are experiencing hyper growth, take them off.  You can also mix adult with puppy to reduce the puppy rich content.

I hope this is a help to you.  Visit our German Shepherd K9 University by clicking on “GSD K9 U“.

 

 

What to look for in a German Shepherd Puppy

Hello German shepherd puppies lovers:

It is interesting how I can get a call saying that a client wants a big male, one with some dominance and lots of drive to do schutzhund and they have 3 younger children and they want the dog to be great with people and other animals.  After talking to them they decide on a female German shepherd puppy.

I have already written another blog on male Vs. female so I won’t repeat that here.  But the question still remains, what do you look for in a GSD puppy.  Well, if you are buying a German shepherd, likely you either just think want one or you know what you want and you respect the breed for it typical characteristics.

I know all of us guys want the biggest toughest dog in the world bar none.  But, if you look for extremes you may get just that, a dog which is too extreme and unliveable and then you wish you had never seen the little ball of energy. I recommend you look for a balanced puppy.  It should be up around the mid to top of the standard, but not way over.  He/she should have good pigment, but not to the exclusion of other traits.  You want a dog which is confident yet not dominant.  What you want is a BALANCED DOG, one in which the GSD typical traits expressed.  The dog should have energy and confidence but not dominance or nervousness.  Look for good pigment but, as importantly, good structure.  You want some retrieve and prey drive, but one who is also content sitting by your side.

I hope this is a help to you.  Visit our German Shepherd K9 University by clicking on “GSD K9 U“.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DANGER: GERMAN SHEPHERD AT RISK!

Hello German shepherd puppies lovers:

I just feel drawn to list a number of very irresponsible things some people do with their German shepherd puppies and older dogs.  I hope the list just might caution someone against doing something they may have done had they not read it.  I think I will make it a list so that it can stand out:

1.  Don’t overfeed your dogs:  No, it is not cute that Klaus is grossly overweight.  Shepherds have a breed standard.  Unless you have an unusually large dog, the standard is a good guide.   American buy dogs by the pound and believe bigger is better.  Also, for some reason we fear underfeeding our dog.   We are an obese culture and our animal reflect our own obesity, as we feed them into oblivion.  With a shepherd, lean is good and how they should be.  It is alright to see some ribs.  They are not dying.  If they have energy, do not excessively shed, don’t have a strange odor, don’t have overly flaky skin, and are just lean, that is good.  Their hips joints are finite in terms of use, and overweight reduces the longevity of joints.

Sorry I took so long on overfeeding.  But there are just so many other related health concerns regarding obese dogs.  You can look at a picture bird’s-eye view of a representative healthy weight and overweight at our K-9 college at “GSD K9 U“.

2.  Don’t leave dogs with things near them they can injest:  Like tennis balls.  By the way, the glue on normal tennis balls erodes the enamel on dogs’ teeth.  When they have bitten a bone in pieces, take it away right away.   My dog destroyed a kong and then vomited up the pieces.  I should have been watching.  I know a dog who swallowed a tennis ball whole.  Watch out for those plastic packing peanuts.  They are toxic.  Antifreeze is sweet but deadly.

3.  Don’t leave your dog tied to a tree or post with a choker on the live link:  They can easily wrap themselves around the post and strangle themselves.

4.  Dont feed only one big meal a day:  Although I have read that bloat (too much air and fluid in the stomach) can be caused by other things (older age, stress, acidic foods), one cause attributed to bloat is eating one large dry dog food meal a day.  Instead give your dog two medium sized meals.

5.  Don’t use the “knee” correction for jumping up: Some people, and I have also, use the knee correction for dogs which jump up.  They just throw their knee into the dogs chest as they jump up.   But this can lead to broken bones, and painful bruises.  Better is to “block” the nose, cupping your hands and letting them run into it.  Or have someone hold their leash and yank back as the jump up.

 

I will give you some more on another blog.  But those are just a couple of things to think about.

 

I hope this is a help to you.  Visit our current and planned world class German Shepherd litters by clicking on “current litters“.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

German Shepherd Pigment: HOW RED SHOULD THEY BE?

Hello German shepherd puppies lovers:

So many times when people buying puppies from me preface the purchase of a German Shepherd puppy with the statement “I really want this puppy to have rich reds”.  I think it might be a good thing to discuss this issue a bit.

First of all, the German Shepherd is a very unique dog.  It is one of the top three most intelligent dogs in the world.  It is more multiutility than any canine on earth. Though some dogs may be better at some individual task, no dog on earth is as capable at a multiplicity of tasks as this amazing breed.  There is just so much more to the breed than pigment.  You might buy roses based on color.  You might even purchase a toy dog largely on outward appearance.  But not a German Shepherd.   In the next blog I will discuss the term “temperament” when it comes to the German Shepherd.  But, certainly buying one of these magnificent beasts based on pigment is a critical mistake.  In fact, people who do, and don’t appreciate the multifaced metrics you must consider might end up being unhappy owners. They might insist on a certain pup based on color and end up with a dog with drive they can’t handle or might settle on a litter without considering other important variables such as confidence, dog aggression, timidity.

How red should a German Shepherd puppy be?  First of all, although you can tell a good deal about the final pigment from a puppy, it is clearly not definitive.  For example, Ulk Arlett, the 1995 world sieger, didn’t really red out until 4 years old.  The Arlett kennels had actually sold him to someone, I believe in Italy, only to buy him back later.  But one way to determine the potential pigment in a puppy is to lift up the tail and look underneath.  If you see red/orange/rust there, that is a good indication.

But, although one thing we breed for is pigment, it is clearly only one characteristic.  Conformation, health and termperament are equally important.  The old Rin Tin Tin black and tan has somewhat been replaced by black and red (more mahogany).  But, the amount of pigment varies quite a bit.  It is nice to get some rusting, but don’t expect a distorted deep red.  Most of the pictures you see of World Sieger champs, those done by Urma and others, are all enhanced.  Some of the pictures I get are clearly doctored.  I know because the tongue of the dog is a rose red and the person’s hand which is holding the dog is pink and the grass is way too green.  It makes us expect our pups to also be that red.

So, bottom line, with German shepherd puppies, while we would like some browning/rusting on the lighter parts of the shepherd (chest is usually lighter), on the legs, mane, and maybe face, we shouldn’t expect really rich deep reds, which rarely if ever exist.  And look for balance.  Don’t exclusively look for red or you may get what you want in pigment but not what you will want as a dog.  I would take wonderful conformation, health, temperment and moderate pigment in a German shepherd puppy over a beet red mess anyday.

I hope this is a help to you.  Visit our German Shepherd K9 University by clicking on “GSD K9 U“.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Introducing Dogs to Your Pack

Hello German shepherd puppies lovers:

This is for all of you who have asked me how to introduce new German shepherd puppies / dogs to your pack.  Here are some helpful techniques:

First, a good way to start them off on the right foot is to put the puppy in a crate and then tell you other dog to go find his/her new friend.  Lead them into the area calmly but with enthusiasm.  When they find the puppy, have a treat ready and reward them for finding them.  Do this five times or until your dog is really enjoying the adventure.  Then switch.  Put your dog in the kennel and have the new puppy go find your dog.  This time, when the puppy finds your dog, reward them both.  Do this a number of times.

Once you have done this, it is time for the walk matriculation as I have explained in another article/blog.  You take them both for a walk, dogs on the right, shoulder at your hip, and then stop one dog, control the head and let the other go behind and sniff.  Then continue walking and let the other do the same.  Do this a number of times.  This allows then to scent without challenging and is a good way to break the ice.  And having them go face to face can lead to pack warfare, especially in an amorphous pack.

Continue this with the walk matriculation a few times.  Remember to always watch your dogs together as long as tails are up.  When they drop to their normal position in each others company or wag, accompanied by a relaxed countenance, they are starting to get used to each other.  Still, always watch your dogs for a few months and never leave them alone together.

I hope this is a help to you.  Visit our German Shepherd K9 University by clicking on “GSD K9 U“.