|08-15-2013 03:47 PM|
We're in Ann Arbor and have a SchH training group. You'd be welcome to come visit training sometime and meet the dogs and people (and see that they're totally normal and not superhuman!). Contact me privately if you're interested. Member lhczth here on the board also has a club that you may be able to visit as well.
|08-15-2013 03:33 PM|
|Asiakp||Oh my goodness, I would LOVE to spend time around people who participate in Schutzhund. I will admit, I'm a little bit intimidated by schutzhund because I see handlers who actually compete in schutzhund as the absolute elite in dog handlers. I mean, I know everyone starts out somewhere, but people who compete in schutzhund are absolutely dedicated to training and handling their German shepherds, and I see them as the best, whereas I walk shelter shepherds that are almost always from terrible lines, and have shoddy if any training at all. And then there's the GSDs that compete in schutzhund! I have watched some schutzhund training sessions, and I swear, those dogs are smarter than a lot of people I know! I get goosebumps watching them, I have never been more impressed or proud of the GSD breed then when I see dogs performing in schutzhund! I would love to be able to observe it firsthand, and talk to people who train and handle schutzhund dogs. I'm a little nervous though lol. The handlers are so restrained and calm and seems like they are all business, and the same with the dogs! I almost feel like the dogs would even look at me with disdain, probably sensing my urge to hug them and whatnot I am not trying to avoid showlines! Far from it! I don't think I could avoid any GSD to be honest. I just personally would love to have an eastern working line within the next year, and as I have never actually worked with one, I think it's important that I spend time with them and around them before I bring one into my home, so that I have a better sense of what the dog will need from me physically and mentally. The German shepherds I have owned in the past might as well be a different breed of dog from the way my GSD books describe the working GSD. But I would love to be able to work with all shepherds! I would really like to see some professionals in action, and learn to do everything the right way when it comes to training. It's one thing to read a book or watch a video on the subject, but I feel like I need to see it up close and personal to really get a feel for it. I don't want to work with these shelter shepherds and find out down the road that I did more harm than good. So if there's any professional trainers of schutzhund handlers, or a GSD rescue or whatever, if you could use some free labor, or wouldn't mind me observing you working with GSDs, and maybe giving me some helpful hints, please let me know! I am very willing to work hard, there's nothing in the world that I'm as passionate about as I am with German shepherds, and my passion would be pretty shallow if I weren't willing to shed some blood and sweat and tears over them. I'm currently taking some college courses, but aside from that my time is pretty much free, and there's really nothing else I care to do at this point in my life, aside from work with and spend time around German shepherds. I know that sounds weird, but I've never been happier than when I am around them, so naturally I want to be around them all the time! But I definitely need more experience in order to be able to actually benefit the breed.|
|08-15-2013 02:14 PM|
What about joining a local GSD of America Club? Or do you want to stay away from American Show line?
Regional Clubs - Great Lakes
German Shepherd Dog Club of America - Information and resources for owners of German Shepherd Dogs and German Shepherd Puppies
|08-15-2013 12:10 PM|
|Jax08||I would find a SchH club to go to or look up obedience clubs in your are. Explain that you don't ahve a dog at this time but want to observe and learn. There are lots of MI people on here so definitely post your area! They can give you input on where the clubs are.|
|08-15-2013 12:07 PM|
I think it's GREAT that you want to work with shelter dogs.
But what may also work for the time being is to find a breeder/trainer in your area and also help them, learn from them. So you can take that knowledge with you when you are helping out in the shelters/rescues.
Where do you live in Michigan (generally?). There is quite and active Schutzund community around there you may want to link into. If you are a willing worker, ready to listen, learn and work hard, you may be able to find some great connections there.
|08-15-2013 07:10 AM|
Thank you for the responses everyone! Great advice! Lol, I have never actually hugged any of the shelter dogs, but I always want to! Everytime I see a new GSD face I get butterflies in my belly and I just want to run up and hug them, but I've restrained myself My husband thinks I am way too trusting with the shelter dogs, as their cage aggression is usually what he witnesses first and he's really not much of a dog person, so he believes all dogs that are aggressive in the cage will be aggressive outside of the cage. Maybe I am a little too trusting with shepherds, and I guess that's come about because I've been around them my whole life and never once have a been bitten by one.
I have personally known two Siberian huskies, and one of them gave me about fifty stitches in my face when I was seven! And they aren't even considered to be aggressive for the most part! Then I had a golden retriever chow mix when I was ten that the shelter ended up coming and getting because my brother and his friends were playing with a frisbee, and the dog went beserk and attacked one of the friends so badly he needed around 80 stitches.
So I guess the most positive experiences I've had have been with shepherds. They are such good dogs! Even the fearful aggressive ones, once they learn to trust you they are so loving! I know they don't fall all over themselves to lick your face the way a Labrador would, at least not at first, but they are so sweet! That is kind of how I approach the cage of 'aggressive' animals. I try to lower myself to look less threatening, and I avoid looking them in the face, with my body tilted away from them. I haven't done the treats yet, that is good advice! I'm sure it will speed up the trust! Spartan would not wag his tail at me for a long time, he just started off by ignoring me rather than barking at me like he did everyone else. I was a little concerned with the no wagging tail, but when he realized he would be take out when I came around, I started getting the tail wag The other ones aside from him almost immediately gave me a tail wag.
I was interested in SAR just so I can have something to do with my dog once I do get him, only because if I were to have a working line dog, which is what I so desperately want, I want to have an activity for them to do. I'm pretty active as far as hiking goes(love it!) but I want to provide some mental stimulation for my dog as well. But as I said, I still find it a bit intimadating to even begin, as I'm not even entirely sure of the how tos of SAR. I've read the theory, but its a lot easier to read how something's done then to actually do it! I will check out the books you guys mentioned, they sound like really helpful books! This is the kind of information I really needed, so I appreciate it! I'm so glad this forum exists!
|08-15-2013 01:29 AM|
|Merciel||Just want to pop in to second Magwart's advice. As usual, it's excellent.|
|08-15-2013 01:25 AM|
Shelter managers get busy. I think there were a few days I just showed up and asked "can I get started with the dogs?"
Do you have a trainer you know and trust? That person might be able to mentor you.
One thing I highly recommend is reading a copy of Patricia McConnell's book, The Other End of the Leash. Your local library will likely have it. It will give you a lot of insight into working with dogs at a shelter, or anywhere.
Be very, very careful with cage aggression as you work on learning to read dogs. There are some GSDs who will bite your face off, if given a chance--they are thankfully rare, but I don't mess with them. I don't have the skills to rehabilitate human aggression. Part of my credibility with the shelter is that I am very honest in my evaluations--if I think a dog can't be safely adopted, I say so. Then we can call in a professional to do a more thorough temperament test.
Most of the dogs I see are simply scared of the pandemonium and noise. I often spend a good ten minutes with a new dog who is displaying any uncertainty while it's still in its cage, letting it get to know me. One thing I do a lot is crouch down with my ribcage to the dog, looking down at the cement in front of me. Without looking, I talk to it and send a few high-value treats in through the cage and watch the reaction. If the bluster stops and I get a wagging tail, that's a good sign. I have been known to play bow with a dog through the gate too, with a fearful dog.
There are a few I have taken several visits sitting outside the cage, without opening it, letting the dog get used to me. One was so feral (terrified) that I called my trainer to come help, and it took him three weeks to get her out of the kennel -- he came and just sat in her cage day after day, letting her get used to him. He ended up fostering and adopting her -- and she's an awesome dog now, but she was a big project. We eventually learned that the only human she had ever seen until the shelter was her one owner, and she had never been out of her backyard, until the shelter. She wasn't a "bad" dog, just a totally unsocialized one who was almost like a new puppy encountering everything new in the world!
I would also caution you about the "hugging" you mentioned. As much as you want to wrap your arms around them, you honestly have to hold back. I know it's sometimes hard--but for your safety, it's important. Hugging can be very, very dangerous with a dog you don't really know. Hugging can trigger bites in some dogs with hair-trigger tempers. With a dog you don't know, respectful gentle caressing is good. Leash walks are excellent. Just avoid leaning over the dog, and train yourself to approach from the side, never front-on. It all becomes second nature -- and the book I mentioned will give you lots of insight.
Keep reminding the shelter staff you want to come help. You could be a great rescuer in the making -- get started! Good luck!!!
|08-15-2013 01:19 AM|
I am sure your help would be appreciated at the shelters . You don't have to aim for SAR or (anything but simple) simple therapy. SAR isn't for the benefit of the dog , is long and complex and requires one handler prepared with many skills and dedication to go to call outs and a special dog .
You would do wonders for the dog , and wonders for the adopting family, if the shelter allowed you to do basic obedience and manners - all dogs , not just gsd. You will get excellent experience .
I know when I was in the working world - a bunch of us "girls" would give up part of our lunchtime to go to the shelter to walk dogs around a parking lot so that they could go pee. Some of the older dogs used to "house" manners would hold on to their bladders and would only relieve outside. Since the dogs were "property of the shelter" until adopted we had to stay in the parking lot scrub area of the shelter - could not leave property. So we devised little back and forth heeling exercises, proper doggy social etiquette , some good manners. Dogs looked forward to the extra personal attention . They seemed to adopt better .
There are lots of ways where some volunteerism benefits the dog, the shelter, the adoptee , and you.
|08-15-2013 12:55 AM|
|Asiakp||Thank you so much for responding Magwort! I do love walking the dogs, and I have signed up to volunteer, but they haven't responded to me yet. Oh, I have become VERY familiar with people at my local shelters lol! They are all so nice, but I know what you mean! A lot of the volunteers and even the staff show a lot of fear of German shepherds, pitbulls, Rottweilers, ect. I have noticed though that the German shepherds are far more likely to show cage aggression than most of the other breeds. It always turns out to be all talk though, as soon as I get them out of the cage, they couldn't be more affectionate. I dont think i ever remember being in fear when with a german shepherd, maybe because I dont have enough common sense lol, because all i want to do when i see a gsd is hug it! I'm in Holly Mi btw I do not mind traveling at ALL if there's a rescue in the vicinity, so if anyone knows of one that's like an hour and a half or less, and could use some help, please please please let me know! Magwort I would dearly love to be in your position right now! Lol everyone in my personal life thinks I'm a nut job, because I collect German shepherd books and talk about them nonstop, so I'm glad to know there's other people out there that have so much passion. I just want as much experience with them as possible. I feel like I could do so much more to help if I was more 'professionally' experienced. Professional as in using techniques accepted and acknowledged by people in the dog world. And not just techniques I make up on the spot wish I loved near you Magwort, I would probably be begging to come with you to work with the GSDs everyday!|
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