Help! Advice Needed - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 3 (permalink) Old 09-08-2012, 12:46 AM Thread Starter
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Help! Advice Needed

I started protection training for around 4 months but hasn't seen much improvement. This is my first time doing protection training. My dog is around 2 years old. The dog has a pretty good drive. He likes to play with a ball. He passed the obedience test. However he has some nerve issues. When he was still a puppy he was quite afraid of strangers in new environments. However He is not afraid of strangers when he is inside the house. he actually barks quite aggressively. As we train in protection his confidence builds up. Now he is not afraid of biting the sleeve even though the helper is a stranger. The problem is that the dog bites the sleeve firmly but releases the bite and backs off to when he is applied some pressure such a tapping him with a schutzhund stick.

My trainer tries to reduce avoidance in the dog by doing defense training which is similar to this website: Schutzhund Village

"In the next step in my program I tie the dog to a tree along the trail (if that's where we are doing this work) and the handler leaves the sight of the dog. Again, the helper makes some noise, to alert the dog, then he shows himself. After a short approach, if the dog shows us the desired behavior, the helper runs out of sight."

He said that the dog might not improve due to his temperament and it is up to me whether to continue doing protection or choose another sport. Right now it is not possible for me to get a new dog. Should I continue protection training? I am afraid that if I force the dog, his personality will be permanently negatively affected. Thanks.
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post #2 of 3 (permalink) Old 09-08-2012, 01:50 AM
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If your dog is having fun and it is helping him gain confidence, and your trainer is okay with keeping things light and to his level, I don't see the harm in it. If you see stress, avoidance, then stop. When you get to training, is your dog exited and can't wait to get out of the car for his turn? Or is he indifferent, or visibly stressed? When the trainer approaches, does you dog light up with energy and engagement, barking and pulling towards him, or does he avoid looking at the trainer, sniffing the ground, yawning, looking around, or when told to alert, barking not AT the trainer, but at the empty space around him? The latter are all avoidance behaviours, and would show that your dog is stressed and uncomfortable.

On the other hand, if your dog is enjoying himself, and readily engages the decoy, and as long as your trainer has the skills to not push your dog past what he can handle, and your dog enjoys the work and improves, it won't cause any harm or negative effect. If you are okay in continuing the work just to build his confidence, while understanding and accepting his limitations, then I don't see a problem with continuing on.

If you feel that your dog would rather do something else, and you are 'forcing' him in protection work, then yes, the training, even if kept light and unthreatening, could put more stress on your dog than what he can handle, and it would be better to stop.

Even if he is enjoying himself, but is not likely to improve, then up to you about what you want to do next.


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Last edited by Castlemaid; 09-08-2012 at 01:57 AM.
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post #3 of 3 (permalink) Old 09-10-2012, 08:01 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you for your advice.

The dog is excited during training. He will pull towards the helper and wants to bite the sleeve. However, with only a bit of pressure he will back down and sometimes even tries to run away. Also when he watches other dogs in training, he seems to be indifferent, while the other dogs in the club always barks excitedly when they watch other dogs in training.

I think I will keep the training light but also look into other sports that is more suitable for him. Thank you.
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