I have a 9 month old GSD and she has been to two different training classes..
at 3 months, we did a "puppy" class, I wasn’t expecting to get a whole lot out of that class, just wanted her to be socialized. It was a 6 week class where she was taught (and caught on VERY fast) most commands, i.e. sit, down, stay(she has “forgotten” this one), etc.
At 5 months, we took her to Man’s Best Friend for a 2 week board & train program, with a lifetime of trainer classes to follow. They promised to help with house breaking, barking, jumping- you name it.. Well, she came back MUCH worse- relieving herself everywhere, whining loudly when put in her kennel, jumping on EVERYTHING, she even cleared our dining room table- imagine my surprise to see my puppy laying on that! My biggest problem was that they did not tell me they were going to use a Prong Collar to train. I have NOTHING against Prongs, just that when we went back, the trainer said that because we had not been back in a week and had not used that specific collar for a week, she would have a reaction and would probably whine when it was put on- that being said, he proceeded to literally DRAG my puppy across the floor while she was screaming!(or at least, the sound they make when they are highly distressed) I said UM, I don’t think I am okay with this, I really think you might be hurting her!! And he said a lot of owners have to leave the room when he does this because it upsets them and that the dog is fine. I replied that I was not okay with that, and promptly took my dog back, and left. To hear her make those sounds, and seem so pitiful and distressed was NOT worth getting her trained there!
Now that is she 9 months and starting to get very STRONG, I have been looking at different in-home trainers, hoping 3rd time is a charm!! I want to work on her barking (she uses this as a way to get my attention- even going so far as to grab my hair in her mouth and pull when I refuse to give her attention due to barking), JUMPING!, and walking better on the leash and listening and performing commands when I ask, not when she feels like it. My point to this post is that I’ve got two trainers I am looking at- they are both very professional and have excellent backgrounds in dealing with GSDs. One is a K-9 Police Trainer & Handler (Remy is NOT getting trained to become a K-9 cop, just very interested in having him train my dog to the Police Dog standard), and one is a trainer who uses remote collar training. I have had a meeting with both of them, where they met Remy and evaluated her, and both said she is a very good dog, she just needs to learn her manners. The K-9 trainer thinks that a 9 mo. dog (or really any dog) does not ever need to be on an ecollar at all. But with the ecollar trainer, she responded and reacted very well to him. She responded well to BOTH of them, and they BOTH had her acting like a stellar dog when they were handling her.
I guess my question is, which route should I go?! Has anyone had experience with either? Or just any suggestions would be great.