The Administrator from the Great White North, eh?
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Northern British Columbia
Re: Development question: To ScH or not?
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!
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Keeta BH, OB1, TR1, AD
Rottweiler/Hairy Dog mix?? 2004-2015