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post #1 of 22 (permalink) Old 09-13-2009, 01:32 PM Thread Starter
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Development question: To ScH or not?

So we're facing a little bit of a dilemma.

When we got Zeus from his breeder, we were asked not to neuter him so that he could later on be bred. She saw something exceptional in him and was pretty adamant about it. We said we'd make a decision when we got to that point in his/our life.

Well right now we're kind of getting there. The trainer we have been working with for two months now is an international ScH competitor. He is encouraging us to create more drive in Zeus, as he says it's the key for him to develop into a dog with the potential to do ScH.

However, we have noticed that Zeus has turned from a good, well balanced dog into a little bit of a butthead. He has not snapped out of the biting phase and at almost seven months old, he now has grown up teeth and can be a real handful. My better half is alone with him and our daughter since I am deployed and won't be back for a little while.

So we looked into a place called "The Local Bark", where a family friend of hers took her two GSD's who had a lot of problems, mainly because she didn't have a clue what she was doing and bought a male and female from the same litter etc. Anyways, they had very "real" problems and went to their Doggy Bootcamp. Looking at them now you'd never guess they were borderline out of their minds. They listen well and can coexist in peace.

The Mrs went there there on Friday and spoke to their head trainer, who mentioned that she believes Zeus has a very dominant personality. He was constantly trying to mount and chew on her GSD who is full grown and way bigger than our boy. I have noticed that before myself and since we're really completely knew to GSD ownership, there are a lot of questions going through our minds. She also mentioned that it would be a good idea to neuter him in order to prevent aggression issues later on.

Of the many questions I am asking here, one of them is whether ScH is what we really want to do or if we'd rather have someone conduct "normal" obedience training with him if we're not hellbent on getting him titled and breeding him. I feel like a first grader confronted with an algebra test on this whole topic.

Breeding him is not something that's important to us in the sense that we never wanted him to be a stud later. If that was the case, great, but it's not a deciding factor. I/we also don't want a dog that we can't keep up with...and we're an active family.

So far, he gets three walks a day, two hour long daily training sessions and we play with him multiple times throughout the day. He's a happy camper by all accounts. But we're just wondering if it even makes sense to continue doing the ScH training if we don't necessarily have the time to compete later on.

Does any of this make sense?

And lastly, how does everyone here feel about neutering? I've read articles pro and con, but I'd like to hear from our board members here who do/do not compete in ScH and other sports or activities, what decision they made in that regard.

Thanks for listening!


"Axel" v.H. Tyson (2017-)


RIP "Zeus" v.H. Tyson (2008-2014)
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post #2 of 22 (permalink) Old 09-13-2009, 01:42 PM
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Re: Development question: To ScH or not?

I would think that two hour training sessions is much too long for a pup of 7 months. Are you working his brain too or just his body?
If the breeder saw something special worth reproducing in a young puppy, they would have kept him back or at least had a co-ownership. He shouldn't even be considered for breeding until health/hip/elbows have been done and he has some titles to prove him breedworthy.
If you do decide to do SchH with him, you really have to commit to it.
I would not send him out for training, but be hands on in all aspects so you know how to deal with his dominant personality. Sometimes dogs act this way because the have gotten away with it since they were a young pup.
As far as neutering, he is still young, I would wait on that anyway, let him mature before doing it-by then you can see whether or not he is something special to reproduce.
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post #3 of 22 (permalink) Old 09-13-2009, 01:47 PM
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Re: Development question: To ScH or not?

Have you called your breeder? If they plan to use them in their breeding program I would assume you have him on a co-ownership type deal (not sure why else they would be adamant about not neutering him).

Your pup is still just a pup even though he has adult teeth. Most "pet" type trainers have no clue how to work with a teenage WORKING dog and they will essentially be working exactly opposite of how the SCH trainer would have you work him. A good SCH trainer should be able to help you train him AND live with him.

Before you take him to another trainer I would first contact the breeder and second talk with the SCH trainer.


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post #4 of 22 (permalink) Old 09-13-2009, 01:49 PM
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Re: Development question: To ScH or not?

Quote:
Originally Posted By: Amaruq
Your pup is still just a pup even though he has adult teeth. Most "pet" type trainers have no clue how to work with a teenage WORKING dog and they will essentially be working exactly opposite of how the SCH trainer would have you work him. A good SCH trainer should be able to help you train him AND live with him.

Before you take him to another trainer I would first contact the breeder and second talk with the SCH trainer.
So true. Who knows, you may just have an awesome dog on your hand but a pet trainer who wants to turn every dog into a newfie wouldn't know it.
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post #5 of 22 (permalink) Old 09-13-2009, 01:59 PM
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Re: Development question: To ScH or not?

Exercise and training are what makes a dog easy to live with NOT neutering. I have seen plenty of neutered dogs that are butt heads and plenty of intact dogs that aren't.

Personally, I would wait until he is at least 2yo to neuter.(If at all.) I don't believe in neutering (or spaying) puppies.

There are also plenty of dog aggressive neutered males. Neutering alone is NOT a guarantee that a dog won't be "aggressive" later on.

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post #6 of 22 (permalink) Old 09-13-2009, 02:00 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Development question: To ScH or not?

Quote:
Originally Posted By: onyx'girlI would think that two hour training sessions is much too long for a pup of 7 months. Are you working his brain too or just his body?
If the breeder saw something special worth reproducing in a young puppy, they would have kept him back or at least had a co-ownership. He shouldn't even be considered for breeding until health/hip/elbows have been done and he has some titles to prove him breedworthy.
If you do decide to do SchH with him, you really have to commit to it.
I would not send him out for training, but be hands on in all aspects so you know how to deal with his dominant personality. Sometimes dogs act this way because the have gotten away with it since they were a young pup.
As far as neutering, he is still young, I would wait on that anyway, let him mature before doing it-by then you can see whether or not he is something special to reproduce.
Thank you for your service, btw!!
Jane,

He is getting two "one hour" sessions a day. Usually one in the morning and then later on one in the evening. They're about an even mix of having fun and training. We understand that he's got a limited amount of mental focus right now.

The adamant is more along the lines of her asking us not to neuter him. There is no contractual obligation to keep him intact. Personally, I don't want to neuter him in the first place. Not because I want to breed him but because I don't want to hinder his mental and physical evolution.

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post #7 of 22 (permalink) Old 09-13-2009, 02:04 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Development question: To ScH or not?

Quote:
Originally Posted By: AmaruqHave you called your breeder? If they plan to use them in their breeding program I would assume you have him on a co-ownership type deal (not sure why else they would be adamant about not neutering him).

Your pup is still just a pup even though he has adult teeth. Most "pet" type trainers have no clue how to work with a teenage WORKING dog and they will essentially be working exactly opposite of how the SCH trainer would have you work him. A good SCH trainer should be able to help you train him AND live with him.

Before you take him to another trainer I would first contact the breeder and second talk with the SCH trainer.
We have discussed it with the trainer. He is heading out to Italy in a few days and will be competing there. She has mentioned the local bark to him and he wasn't against it. He also offered for us to leave Zeus with him for two weeks so he could work more with him and get him to stop biting.

The thing about the biting is that it happens out of nowhere. He'll sit there and our daughter will be playing and all of a sudden he'll nip at her leg. Tears etc of course follow. Since I am not home, I am getting all of this second hand, so I'm trying not to draw too many conclusions.

Last but not least, the last thing I want is a Golden Retriever. I want a GSD. I work around them for a living and the list is long on why I love the breed.

"Axel" v.H. Tyson (2017-)


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post #8 of 22 (permalink) Old 09-13-2009, 02:04 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Development question: To ScH or not?

Quote:
Originally Posted By: Jason Lin
Quote:
Originally Posted By: Amaruq
Your pup is still just a pup even though he has adult teeth. Most "pet" type trainers have no clue how to work with a teenage WORKING dog and they will essentially be working exactly opposite of how the SCH trainer would have you work him. A good SCH trainer should be able to help you train him AND live with him.

Before you take him to another trainer I would first contact the breeder and second talk with the SCH trainer.
So true. Who knows, you may just have an awesome dog on your hand but a pet trainer who wants to turn every dog into a newfie wouldn't know it.
Jason, right on. I don't want a Golden in a GS body.

"Axel" v.H. Tyson (2017-)


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post #9 of 22 (permalink) Old 09-13-2009, 02:27 PM
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Re: Development question: To ScH or not?

DorianGray,

I think you are on the right track to listen to you own instincts about your Zeus.

The problems that you are having with Zeus are just normal, but-head, strong working dog PUPPY behaviour. As other have said, training (which you are doing), excercise (which you are doing) and maturity (which you will have to wait for) will all help in getting him past that stage.

For a dog like Zeus, I would AVOID like the PLAGUE any doggy boot camp where you send the dog away and they train the dog for you. You and your wife need to stay involved in his life, show him constant fair leadership (which I am sure you both are doing), and work on building a relationship with him. Sending him away will work against you in this situation. You will have no control over how he is trained, what methods they use, and it may harm your relationship. Plus, he is still just a baby. Sure, he has a grown up body, and grown up teeth, and almost grown up strenght, but his mental development is that of a small child, and positve, nurturing environment with clear boundries and rules is what he needs - not a reform school. The doggy boot camp may have helped the person who had no clue what she was doing, but you have a clue. Being on this board and posting your concerns and questions shows that you are more aware than your "average" dog owner.

With high-drive working dogs, accidental and play bites are a given. Yes it hurts. Yes it may bleed. But the dog ins't "bad" nor aggressive, just being a crazy butt-head energetic dog. I agree with the others, you best bet is to stay with the SchH trainer and have him show you and your wife HOW to play with Zeus in a way that will teach him self-control, but without squashing the joy and spirit out of him. And you know your dog best. This trainer may have done wonders with his dogs, but remember that Zeus is YOUR dog, and if he wants you to do something that doesn't sit well with you, don't be afraid to say no.

Schutzhund is also about obedience and tracking - so more brain games for Zeus to help him behave. and find outlets for his mental energies. Also, the protection phase can really help in teaching dogs how to focus and express their drives in a positive, disciplined and productive manner (if taught properly, of course).

Your first goal if you want to continue with Schutzhund is the BH, which is Obedience and a temperament test - by that time, you should have a more mature dog, and have a clearer picture of who he is, and if this Schutzhund thing is something you want to continue on with. It certainly won't do any harm, other than maybe a few accidental bites from an overly exhuberant, HAPPY dog, doing work that he loves!

Lucia


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post #10 of 22 (permalink) Old 09-13-2009, 02:32 PM
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Re: Development question: To ScH or not?

Just read the part about Zeus nipping at your daughter - as a seven month old puppy, this is how he plays, this is excitment and or wanting to get your daughter engaged in playing with him.

This may just be something he needs to outgrow - (or I could be totally wrong, others may have some insight!) in the meanwhile, I would use a lot of management and supervision, and keep interactions short and controled.

Lucia


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