Has anyone got tips on leadership generally? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-12-2015, 07:04 AM Thread Starter
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Has anyone got tips on leadership generally?

I'm not talking about alpha type leadership for the record.

My dog responds when I am very relaxed and in the moment - it's like telepathy....the problem is how do I maintain that? Do I need to work on changing myself (it would be for the better anyway)

Thanks.
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-12-2015, 10:01 AM
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It's like psyching yourself up for any activity.You get in a particular mental state for work,exercise,a night out,etc.If I'm feeling tense, a walk or play time with my dogs relaxes me.Watching them being carefree I can smile and get back into "dog mode".
If I start feeling frustrated when training,I stop,have the dog do something he/she is always reliable with,then play a game for a few minutes.We can work on whatever it was later!

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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-12-2015, 10:05 AM
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I find staying in a calm state of mind does help,as they will react to what we are feeling.
As an example in our household....the leashes and collars hang by the door,if I hurry to get their leashes all calmness has left the house as both dogs excitement has increased off the scale! But if I go calmly to get their leashes of the hooks,I can tell them to "sit" which they both do,and I can then put collars and leashes on with no problems.Dogs have a very keen sense of what we are feeling.



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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-12-2015, 11:06 AM
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I think one thing is to be aware of your tone of voice. My tone, I think, was far too tentative with Newlie at first. With my first dog, a yellow lab, it was OK because Max was so gentle, he would always comply with what I asked. While most of the people on this forum would say Newlie was a soft shepherd, he was a little bit more of a challenge for me than Max was. When I used that tone with Newlie, I think he would hear "Come" as "Come if you are not too busy right now" and Sit" as "Sit if it's not putting you out too much." Needless to say, that didn't work out too well. I am not saying that you have to yell or curse or anything like that, just that you have to say things like you mean them and that you expect the dog to comply and comply now, not two hours from now. I am far from perfect, I still have to remind myself because old habits are hard to break, but it's definitely better. One trick that I use, particularly if I see that Newlie is doing something he won't want to stop, is to say "Come NOW" instead of just "come." For whatever reason, and it may be something he learned before I got him, that seems to resonate with him.
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-12-2015, 04:52 PM
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Dogs tend to naturally follow a confident, relaxed, calm person. This is why Cesar can usually get most dogs to respond to him without trying. It is just his natural demeaner. Any training method/thought would work for him because he is 90% there by not being anxious of afraid of the dog, or afraid of doing the wrong thing. I am not a Cesar fan. But that just seems to be true of him.

Some of us have to work a little harder at it, and age, experience, both improve our leadership skills over time. We often have a much easier time with dog number two, because dog number 1 trained us, and we are not as worried about being the perfect pet parent, with the perfect puppy. That frees us up to be able to help each dog's individual requirements, when we aren't stumbling over our own impediments.

Relax, you will make mistakes, and the dog will not be perfect. But if you are relaxed, it will make the mistakes you make less onerous, and the imperfections in the dog less serious.

In fact, I believe that the long-term effects on our pup's from outside stimulus is 95% our response to the reaction/situation. If we remain calm, and do a "shake it off" type reaction, where we remain in control, the pup will soon be romping and playing like nothing even happened. If we rush to the puppy and pick it up, and hold it, and make a to-do over it, it is likely to imprint a more lasting response. If we are angry and start shouting at another person, that is going to imprint a more lasting response in the dog. Don't panic, don't get angry. Maybe what would be best is a prescription for valium for new puppy owners. Just stay calm.

Even if the pup is a bloody mess of broken bones, or ate a bottle of IB profin, panicking is not going to help you or the pup. Remain calm and act appropriately for the situation.

Good leaders form bonds with puppies, and training is a great way to solidify the type of leader you are.

Praise the dog. If it does something wrong, help it do it right and then praise. Temper praise for the situation and how well the action is performed.

Do not repeat commands. That encourages the dog to ignore you.

Do not give commands that you cannot or will not follow through with. If the dog is halfway across the yard going after a squirrel, don't tell him to COME! The dog will learn that he can listen to you when he wants to. Teach him first, and get it solid and then give him more reign. Then make sure he is solid before expecting him to do it off lead. Practice that, and learn your dog. Even if he is good at complying off lead, don't give the command if there is a serious distraction if you think he may not comply.

Instead of trying to make the dog what you envision him to be. Learn who your dog is, and tweak that into the dog that works well in your life. I mean, if you want a top level obedience dog, and your dog is a crazy happy goofy flyball type dog, then maybe you can work with him in agility or flyball or free style or frisbee. Don't try to press a square dog into a round hole. Help your dog reach his potential by learning his strengths and building on them. The weaknesses will improve as the dog's confidence and desire to work with you increases.

Good luck.

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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-12-2015, 06:31 PM
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my dogs are always looking to me for something, direction or fun. Aware of all movements and emotions. It is what GSD's do.
They can be independent thinkers of course, but my leadership in their life is just a natural thing....nothing forced or proven to 'make' them look to me(or other family members) and be biddable.
I know there are dogs out there without that biddability, Onyx is one, yet she still needs structure, and knows that.
My dogs have more freedom than many, they are allowed to be free together, no crates except for the pup, and don't wear a collar unless they are off property or training.
I think training a proven recall or platz/down command is the most important thing to give to a dog. Most often done motivationally and without conflict.

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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-12-2015, 06:31 PM
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Selzer,well said.I especially like your last paragraph.

Terri

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Devo Yorkie Mix at the bridge
Dakota Wht GSD at the bridge
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-13-2015, 07:20 AM Thread Starter
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I think this clicked last night - for the first time she walked in the proper position. I walked around town and it was very hard to maintain this demeanor....it looks like she is going to improve me significantly in this area.

That demeanor being relaxed and naturally holding my head high....feeling my whole body and I found that a firm grip on the lead worked better than having a pure relaxed arm hanging on the lead....anymore tips?

Thanks a mill.
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-13-2015, 09:46 AM
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I find I'm most relax when I'm home with my dogs. If I didn't come home at lunch from work I would be completely stressed out daily. They seem to know what I need at the moment. Mine also have more freedom then most. They aren't in crates and unless we are training, they are out and about being dogs. They have choices and can be outside all day long but they will all be where I am. Just last week in training class, there wasn't lots of room and I was getting frustrated trying to teach Apollo the side finish. It wasn't his fault but he stopped responding because he sensed it(the dog at this time was smarter then I). We came home and the next day I worked on the side finish, he did it on the first try. The difference was my state of mind. When I got Robyn I was stressed and not sure what she required, I researched the breed. I then took the time to regroup and I took the time to get to know her Robyn, not the GSD. The best thing I ever did, I noticed an immediate change and we never looked back. I have done the same with all the dogs that have come since her and it has proven to build a solid beautiful relationship

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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-14-2015, 12:26 AM
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I second the tone of voice. I normally baby talk my dog who therefore turns to mush. They are such a big love bug fur ball!!
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