Retraining in german commands - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 09-09-2011, 11:02 PM Thread Starter
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Retraining in german commands

How hard will it be to retrain my 18 month old from english to german commands?
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 09-09-2011, 11:05 PM
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All depends on the dog and your level of training expertise. As long as the dog already knows the commands, assigning a new word to the skill isn't usually that big of a deal.

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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 09-09-2011, 11:07 PM
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It's not hard to do, but why would you? Are you German? Do you speak German?
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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 09-09-2011, 11:50 PM
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It took me very little time to re-train my 4-year-old dog who had previously been trained in all German, to re-train her in English so I would say not very long. I kept mixing up the German commands so I decided it would be easier to switch to English, although Bianca will sit, down, and 'aus' in both languages even though I rarely use the German commands with her anymore (she knew others too but was rusty on the rest when I got her.)

Does it really matter if you're German? I'm half, my dad majored in German and taught German (and English, to high schools) but I never learned it myself except for the basics...


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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 09-10-2011, 12:20 AM
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Of course it doesn't matter if your German. That was not the point of my question. The point was if you don't speak German as your native language on a daily basis and the OP's dog already has been trained in English, why confuse both the owner and the dog?

Really, this whole "train in German" thing is comical to me. My wife is German, born and bred, German is her native language. I lived in Germany for seven years and speak German fluently. My wife and I also speak a couple of other languages. Neither of us can understand the usefulness of people trying to train their pets in languages they don't speak. And...if the pets actually spoke German they would probably not be able to understand that absolutely horrid pronunciation we typically here coming from non-German speaking owners.

In the end, I think you should train however you are comfortable. As long as you're consistent it doesn't really matter to the dog at all.
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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 09-10-2011, 12:26 AM
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I've known several dogs who are bi-lingual and two who are tri-lingual! i dont think it matters but one of the bi-lingual dogs is my aunt and uncle's border collie. My uncle spent time in germany when he was a kid, as did my grandmother (oldest of 9). They known German and my aunt speaks fluently. So Gracie is trained in both English (for the vets office and my cousin Angie) and she's trained in German because it was something else for her mind to work on being a BC.

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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 09-10-2011, 01:16 AM
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It's not hard to do, but why would you? Are you German? Do you speak German?
I'm doing it with my 9mo female and she's now responds to either german or english variants. The reason I switched to german is that I started Shutzhund with her and all the trainers and other students use german commands. It feels a little odd to have everyone in the line saying Platz and me saying Down.
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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 09-10-2011, 09:57 AM
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I really don't think it would be at all difficult. I started training Sheva the first week...in English. At 4 months, we started training and they said I had to use German so we switched. At 8 months, we got a special one-on-one trainer who said I need to use non-sensical words (she was purchased to be a guard/protection dog, too) that no one would think to use like, say, "red" for letting go of something. She never even batted an eye at the switch...and we won't switch, again, no matter what. In fact, I have pretty much given up on finding a trainer that I like. They all seem to just get weird.
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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 09-10-2011, 10:48 AM
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Really, this whole "train in German" thing is comical to me.
For us there are a few reasons. Back in the early 80's when my husband first got involved in Schutzhund, all the judges were flown over from Germany to judge trials. The judges just preferred if you were giving German commands, so that's what everyone did. That of course became habit.
Also, we don't want the average joe to know what we are telling the dog if it comes down to it. I once had a guy follow me to my car at night (he was a homeless guy looking for change) which made me understandably nervous. The dog that was in the car waiting for me was a young girl just starting in Schutzhund. When I got close enough to the car I told her "Gib Laut" and she totally went nuts since she loved being given permission to bark. The guy hit the high road and of course had no idea all I'd done was tell her to speak.
German commands (the ones we use) are a bit more demonstrative, especially at a distance. It is very hard to make the words down or come heard from a distance we have discovered, whereas platz and hier can be said loudly and still sound right. There are other words that some people use, we don't insist that people in our club use German, some use Czech, some use French, whatever works. But we do tell people to go out on the field and yell the words they are planning to use to make sure they are easy to hear and say. Some people at our club use a combination and that is fine, too.
And finally, we use German for Schutzhund, but will use English around the house for similar commands. For example, Platz means drop immediately and stay there until told otherwise, whereas Lay Down means go find a spot in the house and lay down out of the way. They absolutely get the difference and it goes a long way in not confusing the dog about when they should lie down at attention awaiting the next command or just chilling out.
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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 09-10-2011, 01:01 PM
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Also, we don't want the average joe to know what we are telling the dog if it comes down to it.
Half the people I meet in my neighborhood seem to either know German or Yiddish so they understand her German commands anyway (and the people who know Yiddish always giggle when I tell Bianca "platz")


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