Need help with training - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-13-2017, 01:07 PM Thread Starter
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Need help with training

I am a first time GSD owner and I would like to ask for help in training him. I have had Yogi now for 6months and he is currently 8 months old. In previous posts I have discussed how I live in a remote forest in Poland and concerns I had. Being new at this I have been working with a trainer who from my understanding and discussions is very good and it is also helpful that he speaks English. Everything was progressing nicely in his training but I think I have made major mistakes.

Being a first time owner I have felt it is important and proper to give my boy a little freedom and let him run while we are out in the forests. Apparently this has became a problem. The first major issue is his complete lack of attention to me when I let him run. I don't exist. He dosen't run out of sight of me but recalling him is a waist of air. The major problems I'm facing with this behavior is the dangers of the hunters in area and the wild animals he loves to take off after. His desire to smell and run about is obviously his priority and coming back to me takes him away from these activities. Another problem I have is a local dog that he is crazy about playing with. Same problem in that I don't exist when they are playing. When he goes out in the morning he lays by our fence and will only pay attention to the neighbors dog and has no other desire but to go out and run with him. I thought the exercise being at such a high level when he does was a good thing but my ability to work with him is impossible when the other dog is around. I tried getting in the car and driving to another part of the forest only to be shocked that the dog had actually followed us down the road for almost two kilometers and the same problems occurred. (getting the neighbor to control his dog is not an option...it simply is not going to happen)

I explained all this to his trainer and today he saw first hand Yogis' progression and told me if we can't get this behavior under control that this would get worse with time. What I am wanting with Yogi is the ability to enjoy the forest but have the capability to get him back to me when I see a dangerous situation for him. I don't want a dog that has to be continuously on a leash. He behaves beautifully when on his leash and when I have him in the yard trying with a toy. What the trainer now is wanting to do is have me work with him 100% on leash with him, no playing at all with the neighbor dog...basically focusing Yogi completely on me. (I understand this) He also wants me to go back to a prong collar and work with that in conjunction with a really nice training harness which i got him today. He also wants to start working with him off leash in our training periods and introduce a shock collar. His hopes are that it won't be needed for long. The prong collar I excepted and it worked but Yogi hated it so I perhaps incorrectly backed off on it because I really couldn't utilize it for recall problems anyway. The shock collar makes me uncomfortable but the idea of not being able to recall him in bad situations make me more uncomfortable.

If I put all the specifics here the post would go on forever. I simply can't recall Yogi off leash and I feel like I'm not able to control him in a manner to keep him safe. Looking for any supplemental advise anyone might be able to give me.
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-13-2017, 01:45 PM
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Welcome Dennis. I sent you a pm.
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-13-2017, 02:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DennisTinsley View Post
What the trainer now is wanting to do is have me work with him 100% on leash with him, no playing at all with the neighbor dog...basically focusing Yogi completely on me. (I understand this) He also wants me to go back to a prong collar and work with that in conjunction with a really nice training harness which i got him today. He also wants to start working with him off leash in our training periods and introduce a shock collar. His hopes are that it won't be needed for long. The prong collar I excepted and it worked but Yogi hated it so I perhaps incorrectly backed off on it because I really couldn't utilize it for recall problems anyway. The shock collar makes me uncomfortable but the idea of not being able to recall him in bad situations make me more uncomfortable.

.
It all sounds reasonable and the trainer is correct....it will get worse as time passes if you don't make the necessary changes.... because your dog will learn to blow you off......I also think that having a trainer showing you how to use an e-collar is a good thing.....I wouldn't abandon the prong collar because of the notion " I really couldn't utilize it for recall problems anyway.".....try and look at the big picture.....all the "pieces" are important to the final product.

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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-13-2017, 03:48 PM
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My only question would be how carefully you vetted your trainer, how much and what experience with the e collar, what kind of e collar....because I am personally pretty picky about e collars.

I started my pup on an e collar last summer after he chased a deer out of my sight and I could not call him back. It was a huge success. He still wears it on every off leash walk because I would way rather have it and not need it than need it and not have it.

Wouldn't you know, on our regular hayfield walk today he sprung a rabbit. Once or twice I have just let them chase rabbits, they don't go far and don't catch them. But this one was on the other side of a barbed wire fence which he was running at full speed. So I called him off because I didn't want him to get torn up on the barbed wire. And he turned and quit the chase just like that mid stride from 100mph. I did tap the button, he might have recalled without it but I didn't have the luxury if time to test that because if I was wrong he would have hit the barbed wire. I have called him off deer with no button because he was running straight and I knew I had enough range to tap him after the fact if he failed and he came in with no stim.

I love e collars for this. I still carry a special toy so in instances like this when he gave up a really exciting chase for me, I have a really high value reward so he doesn't feel like he is losing out by quitting the game. He is young still so I feel like it is important to try and give him something as close to the value of what he gave up as I can. His recalls are literally as fast him chasing game, I held his ball on a rope out to my side and let him just take it as he blew by because he came in so fast and hard he could not stop. He will swing back around to play with me with it as soon as h e can stop without crashing. Thats my kind of recall.
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-13-2017, 04:08 PM Thread Starter
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I am in a unique position that I can't do a lot of research about Yogis' trainer. I am an American living in Poland and am a long way from being able to communicate at all in Polish language. I have spoken only with other people using his services when I meet one who can speak English and they speak highly of him. I figured I was lucky to find a trainer who spoke English here and had my fingers crossed. I will check the type of e collar (he is getting me a new one) and continue post with that information. Thanks for your reply. I know this problem is my fault to begin with. The trainer advised me not to allow him to run off leash in the forest until certain training goals were reached and I thought I knew better. He does great when I have him on leash and with just him and I but remove leash and am in area that excites him to check things out or have him around another dog that is not being "controlled" and all bets are off. At this point I have to trust the trainer. This dog is everything to me and I made a promise to myself before bringing him home I would give him a good life. I just want to be able to keep him safe when needed.
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-13-2017, 04:18 PM
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Most dogs can learn recall on an e collar with a fairly skilled person with out any trauma or upset. You are calling it a shock collar. But it does not have to be "shocking", frightening ect to work. You do have to keep the dog on a leash or a long line until they truly get it, I prefer to proof all the real life situations with a long line and if I don't need to use the long line during all the levels of proof then I am ready to let the dog run again. For me that meant I had to find a deer and call him off it successfully before he got his offleash privileges back, I use the collar like this: I apply the level that is just irritating enough that the dog is not willing to stand there and tolerate/ignore it, but not so high you are getting vocalizations (yelping), tail tucking, stress or fear response.

I would call my dog pretty soft, when he gets corrected it is pretty mild. But with w good e collar like a Dogtra, you can be as soft as you need to be in the dog. I wouldnt train with a 10 level e collar because the jump between levels is so high that you can't be sensitive enough.

I understand wanting to let your dog run free, I think my dog was on lockdown for 3 weeks or a month before I had found all the things I wanted to proof (turkeys, deer, ect). He was showing great understanding of the collar but I wouldn't risk him running through the stim because if I chose the wrong number and he wasnt on a long line that could happen. If they ever learn they can blow through it and take the hit and then chase the game you are in big trouble, sucking it up fir the lockdown period is worth it
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-13-2017, 04:43 PM
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I agree with cowboys girl.The e collar is the perfect tool when used properly and humanely for proofing a solid recall.
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-13-2017, 05:36 PM Thread Starter
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e collar

Yes, I was out of line with the term "shock collar"...the trainer wanted to make sure I understood that the collar could be set to little more than a vibration similar to that of a cell phone vibrating. He assured me the device was not cruel.
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-13-2017, 05:49 PM
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It's not cruel, but to stop chasing that is self-rewarding and already practiced by the dog, you do need to use the e-collar at a higher level. Anyone who says you don't either doesn't know what they are doing, or isn't successful.

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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-14-2017, 03:34 AM
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You do "need" to understand ... that training a "reliable" recall is ... one of the most difficult things to train ... I do belive??? That is an "assumption" on my part as I train recall ... as a last step.

I'm a "Boxer" guy and I like to "keep it simple" for my dogs! And to my way of thinking training "recall" takes to much "processing power" for them.

To "recall" a dog must first "Stop, doing whatever it is I am doing?? Turn around and come back??? Yeah ... no!!

I don't have time for that crap! I train "Stay and Down!" They get that ... "Stay" means "Stay" and "Down" is a hammer! Works out fine ... I do that with every dog regardless of "breed," with me no dog is allowed "off leash" until they understand "Stay and Down!"

None of that is to "discount" an "E-Collar" not my thing but if your dog has "already" started "blowing you off" then your gonna have to "roll hard!" But he should "still understand" Stay and Down in anycase.
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