Schutzhund Vs. Behavior Counseling - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 51 (permalink) Old 06-20-2011, 06:19 PM Thread Starter
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Question Schutzhund Vs. Behavior Counseling

In past threads I have mentioned Birbo and his "issues".
Please understand that I cannot communicate every detail in one post, if you need clarification please ask and I will give more info. I have experience with aggressive dogs (I habitually rescue dogs with aggression issues), this is not my first trip out.

The issue he has is aggression with people. He had a difficult start in life, he had 4 different homes by the time he was 1yo. One of his "owners" kept him shut in a room by himself all the time. They also kept a shock collar on him and shocked him frequently when "new" people were around. I think this has taught him new people = bad.

Birbo is not the kind of dog that will actively go after someone with intent to kill. He is safe in public on a leash.
Trouble seems to arise when a stranger tries to pet his head. When someone he does not know tries to pet him on his head he will snap at the air in their direction. It appears to be an attempt to scare them off and he does not appear to have a desire to inflict serious damage.
If someone new appears nervous (or is a new person who happens to be drunk) in his presence and he is not on a leash he will follow said person and nip them gently on their rear. The nips are never enough to even leave a red mark, but are inappropriate.

I have met with a professional trainer (of K9's) Birbo completed a basic obedience class as well as some one on one attention.
Over the year that I have had him he has made marked improvements. The next step for us will be with another professional, as I was not 100% on board with some of the first guys opinions.

Based on research and opinion from others well schooled in canine behavior my 2 options are to meet with a Schutzhund club or take him to a Behavior Counselor. I am looking for input on what may be more helpful for him. I am torn as to which may be more beneficial. The link to the Behavior Counselor (whom based on the info available I am not sure I have a lot of faith in) is Green Acres Kennel Shop | Behavior Counseling Pet Behavior Counseling Gre... | ?, Behavior, Pet, Animal, Days, Bach, Dog, Apdt, Training, Ceu?s
Because of my location it options are limited.
Thanks in advance for input!

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post #2 of 51 (permalink) Old 06-20-2011, 06:31 PM
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A SchH club will have members who are knowledgeable of the breed, but may not know how to manage a dog that is reactive to people.
Then again there may be some awesome people who could really help you.
So you need to maybe visit a club, explain the situation(have the dog eval'd too) and a club member or two may be the right person to help you.
I'm not suggesting you train your dog in the sport(I don't think you are thinking this either)but visiting, making contacts with some good trainers can't hurt.
Especially if you have limited options. Just go into it with eyes wide open!
I think first, I would go with the behaviorist.
Some schh clubs don't even want deal with people who are trying to "fix" their dogs behaviors...the time training at club is so limited.
I know our group would suggest other options, or the TD would set up private lessons to help, if he felt he could.

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post #3 of 51 (permalink) Old 06-20-2011, 06:31 PM Thread Starter
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Info I forgot to add;
With people he knows he is an absolute love. Anyone in his "inner circle" can do whatever they want with him (even take coveted marrow bones out of his mouth) and he will do no more than wag his tail and lick their face.
He takes time to warm up to someone, and once he does he will not forget them. Once they win his approval, all is well.

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Birbo(rescue)-GSD

Until we meet again . . .
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Kai-(rescue)GSD, my forever baby.
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post #4 of 51 (permalink) Old 06-20-2011, 06:32 PM
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What are your goals? I get all the inquiries for my SchH club and I don't think we've ever had someone contact us and/or come out to visit based on dealing with a behavior problem and actually stick around. Our club has a limited number of resources which means we can't accept infinite members. Most good Schutzhund clubs are looking for people who are committed to training in those three phases. No dog is perfect, and often people find that other "issues" disappear or become non-issues while training for Schutzhund but it's training for Schutzhund. If you are interested in doing Schutzhund, check out all the clubs you can.
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post #5 of 51 (permalink) Old 06-20-2011, 06:40 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by onyx'girl View Post
I'm not suggesting you train your dog in the sport(I don't think you are thinking this either)but visiting, making contacts with some good trainers can't hurt.
Especially if you have limited options. Just go into it with eyes wide open!
I think first, I would go with the behaviorist.
Some schh clubs don't even want deal with people who are trying to "fix" their dogs behaviors...the time training at club is so limited.
I know our group would suggest other options, or the TD would set up private lessons to help, if he felt he could.
It is not my intention to go all the way with Schutzhund (he is likely to nervous to be a success). I do think the advanced obedience and tracking may be of benefit though. I have gotten the O.K. to meet up with the powers that be in our local club. They are interested in the situation and are willing to do their best to help.
I am considering both, but the fact that I work with many veterinarians who have referred to the Behavior Counselors and have no input on results with people aggression good or bad is kind of swaying me away. I am all for putting money into him, but I want it to be beneficial.

Sydney(rescue)-Pit cross
Birbo(rescue)-GSD

Until we meet again . . .
Bear(rescue)-GSD, my soul mate.
Kai-(rescue)GSD, my forever baby.
Kobie-Pomeranian, my tiniest dog with the biggest heart.
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post #6 of 51 (permalink) Old 06-20-2011, 06:52 PM Thread Starter
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Also, the thinking behind joining the Schutzhund club is that it may help him differentiate between a real threat and and and what his crazy mind perceives as a threat. As well as, give him more exposure to new people.

If I were to go deeper into the training and he were a success, I would absolutely take it further. I am not trying to waste anyone's time the SCH club actually invited Bibo and I. With his issues known.

Sydney(rescue)-Pit cross
Birbo(rescue)-GSD

Until we meet again . . .
Bear(rescue)-GSD, my soul mate.
Kai-(rescue)GSD, my forever baby.
Kobie-Pomeranian, my tiniest dog with the biggest heart.

Last edited by shannonrae; 06-20-2011 at 06:55 PM.
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post #7 of 51 (permalink) Old 06-20-2011, 09:52 PM
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It will depend a lot on the club and the experience of the members. It used to be I would have recommended SchH people to help you with aggression issues, but now....... not always the case.

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post #8 of 51 (permalink) Old 06-21-2011, 11:01 AM
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It sounds to me like he needs more leadership from parent as to who is bad and who is not i.e. look to mom as to if she can handle the situation or not. I don't know if your local Sch. club will be able to help you with this or not. After all most of the time the clubs goal are to get a dog trained and ready to compete in the sport. Also looking at the green acre place oyu may want to get some client names and numbers to talk to about their success and failure rate, since their training methods may create more problems.
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post #9 of 51 (permalink) Old 06-21-2011, 11:07 AM
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Just as an aside, I had/have a dog who was approachable, but not touchable, like the one you describe. I taught her to touch-the-hand for a treat with a clicker. Started with me, then moved on to people she knew, then acquaintances, then strangers.
It worked quite well. Now she sees hands in front of her as positive things.
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post #10 of 51 (permalink) Old 06-21-2011, 11:24 AM
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I would try a behaviorist first unless you want to seriously train in SchH, which you said you did not. I would approach finding a behaviorist the same way Jane suggested for finding a club - go visit, watch some lessons and one-on-one time with other clients etc. With my reactive dog that flipped when being touched on the head, I did both the behaviorist and the SchH training - but, I am serious about being involved with the sport. I don't think I'd put the time/money into it if I wasn't wanting to actively compete.
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