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Old 12-12-2012, 03:44 PM   #1 (permalink)
SWM
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Default New to German Shepherds, off leash training questions..

Hey I will be picking up my first GSD at the end of the month. I have a wife and 1 year old son that she will be around. My goal is to have her trained to walk OFF the leash with my wife and son while I am at work. They go running around the neighborhood (he is in the stroller of course) and I would like for our GSD to run right by their side the whole time and keep an eye out for them but not run off towards distractions.

How difficult do you think this would be to train her to do? I know many will stay right by their side but as soon as a distraction comes up they will sprint off after it.

My plan is of course potty training and crate training starting on day one. Then just begin working on sit, stay, and heel. I guess if I work with her on heeling well enough and not running off for distractions that will pretty much accomplish what I am looking for right?

I love the thought of having a family dog/working dog to be very well behaved and accompany us when we are out and about but not pose a threat to any neighbor kids or anything.

Any advice for a new GSD owner?

Thanks!

Last edited by MaggieRoseLee; 12-12-2012 at 06:07 PM.
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Old 12-12-2012, 03:52 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Do you have experience training German Shepherds?
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Old 12-12-2012, 04:03 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Not in the slightest. I grew up with Labs and have worked with one of them a reasonable amount. But this is my first GS
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Old 12-12-2012, 04:08 PM   #4 (permalink)
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100% off lead reliability with real world distractions is a fairly large and long term task. The dog has to first have the genetics to handle this task. You will also have to invest significant time, patience, and training into the dog. If the dog is cut out for it, and you/your wife do your part with training, then in a few years you have the possibility to manage this. Read through the info on how to prepare for a puppy. Find a good trainer that you can trust and start working with them. At this point, I would put this whole off lead GSD personal bodyguard plan on the back burner - it's a lofty goal (don't even know if it is legally feasible - what are the leash laws in your area?), you can certainly work towards it, but I would not make it my primary concern at this point in time.
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Old 12-12-2012, 04:15 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I don't believe we have a leash law but I could be wrong, it is Middle Tennessee. But I am not wanting the dog to be a bodyguard so to speak, I don't want a lawsuit on my hands unless there was a really good reason for it to attack which if that was the case then obviously a lawsuit would be the least of my concerns. But just more to give the dog exercise also and to just accompany them on the runs. It doesn't hurt as a deterent either of course. We don't live in a bad neighborhood or anything though.
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Old 12-12-2012, 04:29 PM   #6 (permalink)
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What is the necessity that the dog be off lead? It will still get exercise when it is on lead on the walk. Even with my off lead reliable dogs, I leash them when we are in high traffic areas. Even if your dog is reliable, that does not necessarily mean that external distractions will not pose a threat and cause a liability. In addition, there are lots of people that are scared of large, guard dog breeds - no reason to subject them to a large loose dog. You might know she is friendly, but that does mean everyone else will be comfortable with a loose GSD. There is widespread bias against certain breeds (rotts, pits, dobies, mastiff breeds, GSDs etc). If I have my little Golden Ret. fluffy mix off lead next to me, most people just find it cute and hardly anyone will react negatively to her. If I have my large serious male GSD next to me off lead, I will get a different reaction so that's something to take into consideration. Many insurances have limitations or biases against GSDs and certain breeds. What will insurance say if something happens - also something to look into.
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Old 12-12-2012, 04:38 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Ok ok lol bad idea on the off leash. I just thought it would be neat to be able to train her to do that well off the leash.
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Old 12-12-2012, 04:39 PM   #8 (permalink)
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And you are most definitely right about people being scared of a GSD vs a lab. Haha whenever I take my lab anywhere people ALWAYS want to come up and pet her. I have a feeling people will be a bit more skeptical with a GSD.
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Old 12-12-2012, 04:40 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Yeah, distractions. You don't want a "Fenton". (Notice how he never actually tells the dog to come.)

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Old 12-12-2012, 04:44 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I start my pups at a very young age to be off leash in remote areas and incorporate teaching recall with having fun. Really good treats, like hotdogs in your pocket help a lot.

I never let my dogs off leash anyplace with traffic, people, other dogs, or in my neighborhood full of rabbits and squirrels, but every weekend we go to our "field" and they get a good run and sniff session.
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