The trainer came over today. We talked about everything from basic obedience to Protection training. I really don't have interest in protection training right now. So how do you know if you have a good trainer on your hands ?
Ask them what to do if a dog is given a command that it knows 100%, but does not obey (in a scenario without "new to the dog" distractions). If that answer does not involve giving a correction, thank them for their time and walk away.
Ask what results they have personally achieved in dog sports, working activities (police K9, search and rescue, etc.) or other competitions. Nada? Walk away.
Ask them how many years of experience they have with training mature
German Shepherds. Any answer other than "X years", walk away.
Some GSDs can achieve reasonable results with "regular" trainers, "positive-only" trainers, etc. Many trainers can achieve reasonable results with GSD puppies, before any of their serious instincts kick in.
I have worked with such trainers before and had good results (for my levels of knowledge/understanding/goals at the time). With my experience to date (now having a mature GSD), I'll never rely on training with anyone that doesn't have years
of experience with GSDs, and results to show for it.
It is very
easy to overlook certain signs or behaviours in a younger GSD that will cause issues down the line if not immediately & properly dealt with. You need to be in the company of someone that can recognize those signs and not only address them, but educate you in the process.