Hi. Second post on the forum!
Wow. Plethora of great advises.
Maybe folks still read this thread, just wanted to add my two cents.
Training is the key here!
Personality in general is definitely a big factor. My 9 months old male (gonna see if i can add his pic to my profile somewhere after this post
) is a very sweet boy. He never barks outside. I got him at 4 month of age and he was such a determined sniffer! He would be walking around me nose to the ground. Now we finished the beginners obedience classes and just last week started novice polishing (or something like that) and will keep going until there are no more courses left for us. Around 1.5y/o we'll start agility I think and if there is nothing left in between, maybe I'll take another course just somewhere else, maybe we'll pick up some new tips and tricks
Anyways, as I mentioned, training is a HUGE factor here, especially with gsd's being very intelligent. The more you spend time training him, the more in tune you both will be and the more obedient he will continue to grow.
- My trainer teaches only positive training without treats - only verbal/physical praises. We did use little bit when working on recall, and it was more for distraction purposes for stay before recalling. Because we care for them so much, they want to repay us in magnified kindness and genuinely want to please you. You just need to be truly happy for their every success, doesn't matter how small it is. When correcting, just use your voice with authority and they learn the difference very quickly between praise and correction.
- Use his name only for positive experiences (call for play or walk and etc. [Name] food!/come/walk time and etc.). For correction just make some common sound to get his attention (again, when practicing at home or some very calm environment without distractions). The more you do it, the more they will get accustomed to the expected behavior and and will be happy to react to anything coming from you even without you noticing. They are amazing readers of body language too because this is one of the ways they communicate with each other. So make sure you are consistent with what your body does when you give a specific command. Try as best as you can to maintain slightly different body language for different commands whenever possible and/or applicable. They will have another "tool" in addition to hearing your voice for reinforcement of expected behavior when they are very excited and there is a tiny doubt in to obey or do their own thing. Their instincts are very strong and the more reassurance you give them that you want them to do something and it's actually a good and fun thing, they will change in how they act towards others and when you command.
- When I trained mine's name, Bim, I rewarded only when his eyes lock on mine. Slowly increasing the time and then varying how long he looks into my eyes. Now we can comfortably do about 30-40 seconds before he looks away. I'm happy with that for now. Then call his name, wait a little, then give command. And just practice different random sequences of just call their name and reward/name, command, reward and etc. This way he learns that the name is only to get his attention. Also always finish with release, such as ok, alright, free and etc. This way he know he has to wait until released.
So for example if someone comes towards your house or walks along it and the dog moves - call his name and they will lock on you until released. Especially being a service dog who is trained to attack, it's only on command - in a way release that tells to attack/catch and w/e.
Just LOTS of patience and consistency.
Yikes, post got pretty long. Sorry for the wall of text. I can keep going for hours talking about it