Should I continue? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-24-2010, 06:36 PM Thread Starter
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Should I continue?

I was told by some German people that Yukon doesn't show much interest in Schutzhund training. I know it looks like that, however it is a huge thing for him that he is THAT relaxed. When I first got him he panicked when he saw or heard anything Schutzhund related. It was really really bad.
He ducked and wanted to run away from it.

He went through a lot and most of you know his story, I've been talking a lot about it already.

Today he played for the first time in his life tug-o-war and that is only because of the Schutzhund training. You should have seen him. He had so much fun playing with the rope. He really fought for it.

So I am wondering. Is it because of his genes? Is it because he is well bread that he recovers from everything? Since he now even started to play tug-o-war I am sure that we can build him up even more. Maybe even to the point where he really gets to the point that he shows more and more drive in Schutzhund training.

I know he is old, he's almost six years old now and I don't have any experience in Schutzhund training at all, I am learning with him.

So what are your thoughts about him? I really want to know. I always hear that I should stop building him up because it wouldn't be fair to put him through that since he was abused so bad in Schutzhund training.
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-24-2010, 07:40 PM
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What about doing obedience (and using his favorite tugs and toys as motivation and a jackpot release) and tracking, but not protection? I guess I feel different about protection training than the other phases, and other sports. I would not do it if it took so much desensitization just for the dog to be comfortable trying. Even if it is or was there genetically, to me that part would be too big a risk if you already know that the dog was put under too much pressure in that phase.

I have a pure working line female with a decent pedigree and do not do bitework with her even though her father was very good and her half siblings very successful. To me it is just not worth the risk of stress or worse when there are so many other activities we can do that she already enjoys, such as conformation, obedience (Schutzhund and Rally), agility, sheep, etc. It's not that I don't think my helper would know how to train her, but that it's really not my goal to get Schutzhund titles at the possible expense of the dog.

Also I think protection phase should be "real", it should not be a game, so I would not waste my time with a more timid dog trying to get her to accept the helper and play with the helper in order to progress with bitework. To me that is not what it is about and even if it is a working line dog I don't think there's any harm in seeing that the dog is not cut out for it.

That's just my humble opinion, also as a Schutzhund novice and someone with a softer working line dog.
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-24-2010, 07:52 PM
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Where I train, there is a dog from good working lines, and was purchased for the purpose of SchH. Came from a well-known importer/breeder...this dog had no socialization in his formative months(kenneled til he was a yr) and the owner who has GSD experience has been moving slowly along with him.
He is barking at the helper now, biting the sleeve, but still has a long way to go.
Not that the owner is pushing the dog, but is giving him a chance to gain confidence and just live normally! Otherwise, he would be still timid and not moving forward if it weren't for his club visits with the exposure to people who know GSD's and how not to threaten him with overwhelming stuff(body language, eye contact, etc).

I feel bad for the owner as this dog was not supposed to be this way, he bought this dog thinking he was stable and of good temperament....and I feel worse that the well known(who should be trusted) breeder/importer knew better and placed the dog with him anyway.
A year from now this dog may just surprise everyone and do well in protection, but for now it is just a smile on everyones face when he carries the sleeve back to the truck with more confidence than the last week.
I say, if you have the time, and the $ to train and not ruin the dog by overwhelming him, helping him with his confidence, then keep going forward.
Think of the dog first...I quit with Onyx because she clearly didn't have what it took and wasn't fair to her to continue. There are so many other venues to train. SchH isn't the end all,be all(though in Germany, I'm sure it is!!) When you get stateside, get him into agility, a great way to build confidence, as long as his 6 yr old body can handle it.

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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-24-2010, 08:24 PM Thread Starter
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@Liesje: I hear you. As soon as he would show signs that he's scared or falling back into old behavior I would stop right there and then. We only train him in Schutzhund once a month. It's not really playing with the helper, he is training Yukon like he would train a puppy, however you can see that he's clearly too old but he is the only one that was willing to do it. He is a great guy and I love him to death that he took the time, in his age, to build him up.

We are already doing obedience and agility. We only train Schutzhund once a week and not longer than 5 minutes with each dogs, sometimes even less than that.

Until today I couldn't use any tug at all because he wouldn't touch them. Today was the first time (one day after the training) that he did tug-o-war with me. If he continues playing tug-o-war I will definitely use it as a reward. He had so much fun doing it. He really really enjoyed it and I have the feeling that without the Schutzhund training he would have not started it.

@Onyx: Wow, that sucks. But it definitely speaks for the owner that he kept that dog. Others would have sent the dog back or sold it instantly. It is awesome that the owner is taking the time to build up the dog and I know how hard it is to work a dog that's only been kenneled for their whole life and what issues come with it.
So kuddos to him/her that he/she has taken onto the dog.

So far it isn't a problem to train him in Germany. I don't know about the States and I hope we can continue with Schutzhund but if it isn't meant to be, it isn't meant to be.

As long as we can stay active and continue learning new things and especially new ways, I am happy



Anyhow, does anyone else have any thoughts and input on this?
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-24-2010, 08:43 PM
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I think the ultimate answer in this sort of situation comes from the dog. Watch Yukon and see what he tells you. Does he enjoy it, or is he stressed, or does he just not care? If he enjoys it, keep it up for as long as he does and ignore what other people think. If he's not cut out for SchH, or past history means he won't be able to do it, and he never gets a title, who cares? It's about you and the dog having fun together, being fair to him and letting him do what he enjoys. If he enjoys SchH, do it! If he enjoys 1 or 2 phases, but not others, then do those. If he enjoys something else entirely, then do that.

On the idea that a dog who can't do protection for "real" has no business in SchH, I really have mixed feelings on that. The purest part of me who views this as a breed test far more than a sport, agrees completely. But the dog loving, fun loving, hanging out with club loving, hobbyist in me says that training your dog and having fun with your dog is NEVER a bad thing. If that means doing prey game style protection to have fun, and maybe to help build some confidence in a dog who needs it, that's ok. (At least so long as the person doesn't suddenly think that dog is something it isn't and try to market or breed it as such.)

So if you and Yukon have fun with the training, he is enjoying it and looks forward to it and it is fair to him, then keep it up. If not, find something else to enjoy together.


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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-24-2010, 09:35 PM
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Can you keep going and try for your BH with the dog? If you can get the BH then you can decide if you want to keep going.
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-24-2010, 09:45 PM Thread Starter
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I don't have a doubt that he'll pass the BH.
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-24-2010, 09:57 PM
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On the idea that a dog who can't do protection for "real" has no business in SchH, I really have mixed feelings on that. The purest part of me who views this as a breed test far more than a sport, agrees completely. But the dog loving, fun loving, hanging out with club loving, hobbyist in me says that training your dog and having fun with your dog is NEVER a bad thing. If that means doing prey game style protection to have fun, and maybe to help build some confidence in a dog who needs it, that's ok. (At least so long as the person doesn't suddenly think that dog is something it isn't and try to market or breed it as such.)
True. I guess there is nothing wrong with this, so long as the helpers are on board. My problem would be I don't know if I know enough yet to really be my dog's advocate as far as knowing when there is too much stress or how to train in ways that are just fun and games. Good helpers would know I'm sure but I'm such a control freak, I can't just take someone's word for it, I really want to understand before I'm on board with it. Also to me there is a difference between a dog that may not be high drive or just want to play in prey and do that sort of bitework for fun than a dog who really is nervy and/or already had a terrible experience with this sort of work. I guess with the latter type of dog, I just wouldn't want to risk it, assuming there are other ways to train the dog and build confidence (like in Yukon's case, if he's had a breakthrough with tug, just playing tug games or loading him into a tug for obedience rather than doing bitework).
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-25-2010, 03:54 AM Thread Starter
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I know Yukon. We went through so much together that I can literally read him like a book. I know when he is comfortable, scared, skittish or when it's just not his day.

As for the training we always stop with giving him the feeling of success. We don't overdo it. Like I said, we train once a week for not even five minutes.

And Schutzhund people in Germany usually train two, three or even four times a week.

By the way, I am not sure if we will ever get that far where you have to put pressure on him and I don't even think that far yet.

I can trust my helper. He may be old and slower than usual helpers but he's exactly what Yukon needed. I know there are different ways to build confidence but you can't compare that to the boost that he gets out of biting into the sleeve and winning "the game".

That is something he doesn't get out of agility or obedience or any other discipline. He literally gets a kick out of it and gained so much confidence in those past two months it is amazing. He even found his deep, very manly deep voice which I NEVER heard before.

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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-25-2010, 07:07 AM
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I think the ultimate answer in this sort of situation comes from the dog. Watch Yukon and see what he tells you. Does he enjoy it, or is he stressed, or does he just not care? If he enjoys it, keep it up for as long as he does and ignore what other people think.
I think Chris summed it up!

It all comes down to the dog in what's good or fair or fun to him! Not every dog is cut out to do SchH or bitework and there's nothing wrong with that, because we can always do other activities..

Leesa~

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