Level of smarts for a GSD? - German Shepherd Dog Forums

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Old 04-28-2014, 01:48 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Level of smarts for a GSD?

How smart are GSD's compared to other breeds?

Is every GSD different in terms of how smart they are (silly question, I know, but I'm asking in terms of your experience if you've had multiple GSDs)?

Can you describe the average level of smartness a GSD possesses in terms of how quickly they can pick up new training and retain it?

I ask this because I wonder if my husky is above the average husky in terms of breed standard smartness or if Zeeva is a bit below. And I know it's all relative but I'm just asking more in terms of your experiences...

Smokey, my husky, is EXTREMELY food motivated which I think makes him unlike most huskies. He will attempt new behaviors if I ask him something that he hasn't done before. And if I can get him to do the task at hand, he'll remember it after about 2 successful consecutive attempts to complete it. He knows about 15-20 commands/tricks which I also think is far above what most huskies can achieve.

On the other hand, Zeeva my GSD, won't attempt a new behavior when I ask her to do something she hasn't done before. She simply stares at me, very focused, but doesn't attempt anything. If I can force her to for example, give me a paw, she'll understand after about 5-6 attempts. She knows about 10 commands.
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Old 04-28-2014, 04:15 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I would say that dogs are very much like humans in this regard. They are all different and will learn in slightly different ways. My challenge as a owner of two dogs with different learning styles is to figure out what works for each dog and to be fair to them.
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Old 05-05-2014, 03:44 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Well I have a master's degree and my GSD seemed to train me pretty easily, so take that for what it's worth ;-)
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Old 05-05-2014, 04:55 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I haven't come across too many dogs that just aren't smart. In my experience, it's just a matter of figuring out what style of training works best and what motivates the dog the most. There are definitely some dogs that are easier to train. Some Border Collies, Labs, and other breeds come to mind that tend to catch on quicker but that seems to be mostly because they were bred to work very closely with people and tend to be rather driven to please. I've had some hounds and lap dogs in my classes that everyone assumes are just stupid because they don't catch on immediately when they just needed a different training style or a different form of motivation (toy instead of treat or something). Of course, this can all vary depending on the individual.

I don't have too many years of experience with GSD's but from what I've seen they tend to be rather sharp, but sometimes have their own ideas of how something should be done. Not quite as handler obsessed as a border collie but very intelligent nonetheless. Again, it can change depending on the individual, so it's hard to make consistent generalizations.
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