For those of you who have or are training your own SD, how does it differ from training your other dogs?
It doesn't differ too much, but I'll only be on my second SD starting this fall/winter.
Do you take your candidate puppy to puppy classes and beginning obedience? Do you do any modifications i class?
That's my plan. I think it's best for the dog if they're in a good socialization class, along with the stuff I do outside of class.
When you get to actual training of obedience do you work your SDIT differently? For those training a dog for mobility do you have your dog remain standing while others in the class have their dogs sit during a heeling exercise?
Again, I do not work my dog too much differently. I do a little less face focus work once we have progressed, because I don't want my dog staring at me all the time.
I actually have my dog sit/lie down over standing. When we are waiting in line shopping, for example, I often lean on the counter, to minimize the use of my dog if I can. Mobility work is hard work, and I do not want to overwork my dog if I do not have to.
Lie down is my overall preference for waiting around. Floors in shopping areas are often slippery, and though my dog can try and hold a sit, it's really not fair to require it when it takes more effort than it should.
Do you do nosework games in class such as looking for treats on the floor?
No, but I do work on targeting the floor to get a "look" command down, so I can tell my dog what I need him to pick up for me. "Look" means "look at the ground, please".
Do you allow other family members to help with the training of your SD? Do you feed and groom the SDIT yourself or do other family members also help with this? Do you allow others to snuggle with your pup?
My husband is allowed to give the basic commands to the dog (sitz, platz, off, etc). That's just part of general house manners, and Jon doesn't get left out just because the dog is a working dog.
When it comes to the overall training of the dog, it is largely on me, but there are certain things I need help with, and will ask Jon to do. Jon helps teach basic commands and with housebreaking, but actual task training is all me.
Sometimes he does feed the dog, because I am unable. He will also exercise the dog for me if I am unable that day. But these are all things that are outside of the dog's "work", and so there's no real strong bond that forms between them. There is mutual respect, and love, but not adoration like the dog has for me.
Jon never gives my dog any commands when he is in harness, and leaves all that up to me.
Grooming falls on me, simply because I am rather particular about it (and enjoy doing it).
At home, when I need the dog, I will use him, sans harness, but largely he is off duty, as I can get Jon to help me, or use things around the house. He is "just a dog", and snuggles on the couch, plays ball in the back yard, and, at times, even sleeps on the bed.