GSD training dilemma - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-11-2019, 09:23 AM Thread Starter
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GSD training dilemma

My GSD is now 8months old and we started his training last month. I am confused why he listens and obeys the trainer while he is reluctant to take commands from me. He pulls on the leash during the walks with me and with the trainer he walks obediently on relaxed leash. I have been informed by the trainer to be more loud and authoritative in giving commands to get is attention and show who is the leader .. with pinch collar he is more continues while he is walking with me is that the only solution? He gives hand shakes to the trainer and does not give me any even after repeated instructions.. ☹️
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-11-2019, 10:54 AM
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I'm not a trainer or an expert, but I've had GSDs for a long time. Body language, tone, and confidence can make a big difference in training. Pay attention to how your trainer moves/behaves around the dog and try to emulate that. Be clear, calm, confident, and consistent. If you tell your boy to do something, and he doesn't listen to you, physically help him to obey (remember not to repeat commands multiple times). Speaking in a slightly lower, firmer tone of voice sometimes helps. He may fall back into old patterns with you because it's a habit, he's used to blowing you off. But now you know he can obey, so just be firm and consistent and have lots of fun and give him rewards when he does do something right. Also, if you find you're getting aggravated or frustrated while training, you might go do something else for a while and then go back to training. I've found my dogs respond best to training best when I'm calm and when we're having fun. GSDs are really good at picking up on our feelings.

It's great that you're working with a trainer. Getting guidance from someone experienced is the best thing you can do to gain confidence and get things under control. I'm sure others will chime in soon.
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Last edited by sebrench; 07-11-2019 at 10:59 AM.
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-11-2019, 11:09 AM
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First question, why did you wait until he was 5 months old to start training? Did you get him when he was 5 months?

He listens to the trainer because the trainer is 100% confident when handling your dog, and your dog responds to that confidence. Then he goes back to you, and you have zero confidence in yourself that you’re dog will obey you. He reacts to that by getting away with poor behavior when you are handling him.

You don’t need to raise your voice any, just put some steel into it. Tell yourself over and over and over again “I got this.” Some of us owners are naturally inclined to be confident in handling our dogs, and to give our dogs good boundaries.

I’ve yet to have a dog not respond to me in, because I have a leader type personality, and don’t set myself up for failure by thinking of all the bad things that can happen during walks or training.

We have 3 dogs. All three listen to me extremely well. Sometimes I don’t even say anything, just snap my fingers, and they stop whatever they are doing to come check in with me. My DH has a weak personality, and always wants to make everyone around him happy and comfortable, and that comes to the dogs as well. They know he’s a doormat, and they can run all over him because he allows it, and then gets angry and depressed when I say one word and the dogs stop. He just doesn’t have the right demeanor and voice. But he is the first one the dogs run to to play. He loves playing with them, while I love working with them. So we make a pretty balanced team. Even if he does pout sometimes because they won’t listen to a single command from him.

You need to train yourself as much as you train your pup. Put on a tight pair of jeans (tight at the waist), and attach the dog to your pants (via a belt loop), and see if that doesn’t make a difference with him during walks. (Make sure you have a backup leash and collar in case your belt loop breaks). Pay very close attention to the way your trainer acts. The way he stands, his body language, his tone. Try replicating that at home in a mirror.

I’m sure you’ll get some really helpful advice on this forum, good luck to you both!
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-11-2019, 12:10 PM
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This can happen for a variety of reasons. It could be you are unsure and your dog is reading this. It could be the trainer is just louder. I'm not sure what "louder" has to do with training. I don't yell at my dogs and "show them whose boss". I motivate them. I lure them. I reward them.

Without video of what you are doing vs what the trainer is doing, I think it would be hard to tell what exactly is going on.

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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-11-2019, 12:20 PM
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Beautiful puppy!

Iíd recommend you start all over with a new trainer. A puppy can and should be trained with positive reinforcement training and your trainer should be training YOU how to work with your pup.

It doesnít matter how well your pup responds to them if they arenít teaching you how to handle your dog.

The training methods that were considered appropriate even 10-15 years ago have been debunked by science. Tradition isnít a good reason to put a prong on a puppy for example. There may be times when a prong might be a necessary tool (a weaker handler with a large hard dog) but you didn't mention that sort of situation here.

Iím not going to criticize you for not starting training earlier. Iím going to applaud you for recognizing that you needed assistance and seeking it. I just think you found the wrong person. (Old school trainers love to stick prongs on GSDs, rotts, dobes, etc. Maybe that tells us something about their training skills?)

My goal with my pups is that they are so attentive to me that I can whisper commands or just glance in a direction and they comply. I can simply tip my head and my older dogs know what I want. Serious dog handlers - those working with service, therapy, herding, or agility dogs ó donít get loud with their dogs. They whistle, use hand signals or slight body motions.

Loud is not necessary, especially with German Shepherds who have big ears and great hearing. I use mostly a soft voice followed by cheering and clapping when my puppy complies. Training at my house is a party. I recommend it. My goal is 98%+ accuracy with the first cue (command) I start new skills for him to learn every two days. He trains/practices all day long. But we have a great time. My older dogs rush over to show yes! They know that skill too, and they want to be part of the fun.

Iím guessing you prefer that for your puppy?

(Oh, Iím training a working dog. Training is serious business, but ton of fun)

First, get a martingale collar for safety so your dog canít slip out the buckle collar. I like RC Pets martingale collars; preferring chain martingales over webs a little. They last a long time, are sturdy and are comfortable.

Get yourself a pouch for treats. Delicious small soft chewy treats are best.

Check this out:

Do NOT tether a strong dog that does not know how to walk loose leash to you. Thatís a recipe for injury and/or a runaway dog. Never tie one to your clothing, which can easily rip. If you ever want to tether a dog to you, a working dog leash is what we use.

Next, get this book:

Amazon sells it too.

Start reading it ASAP so you understand the sort of training you want to do. Then call local trainers and ask them if they do this sort of training. Look for classes too. (I do both with my pups)

I can recommend books and Videos to you all day, but a *good* local trainer is best.

An inappropriate harsh trainer can ruin a dog. Iíve walked out of classes Iíve already paid for because the trainer was too harsh.

Your pup needs some leadership and guidance, but we can give that while being kind and having fun.

Youíve got this!

(Previously 3K9Mom)
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-11-2019, 12:51 PM
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Most people are too quiet and uncertain when they give commands. Trainers are brisk, sharp, clear, and say it like they expect the command to be followed. Fake it 'til you make it. Only give the command once, and if they don't obey, either forget it or take a new approach. Having good posture, head high, is also good. Look where you want to go, not at your dog. Act like a leader, or else the dog might ignore you. None of this will solve all the problems, but it should help.

Also, most trainers create consequences when the dog disobeys, which most owners do not. That consequence can be a "no," physically making the dog do the desired behavior, a snap of the leash, or a zap of the e-collar--all are forms of consequences. The dog is probably used to ignoring you and not having any downside.
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-11-2019, 12:56 PM
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He is gorgeous. :-)

I agree, I'm puzzled by your trainer. In our basic cheap OB class, the trainer would tell us all to have our dogs sit. Then she would have us back away and call our dogs. etc. etc. She would show us how to get our dogs in a Down, and we would practice doing it several times.
She did practically nothing with our dogs herself, except to borrow a dog for a demo once in a while.
Then we got homework, which was to train 5 minutes twice a day repeating what we did in class.

Through weeks of training, you should feel a bond growing with your dog, you should see your dog grow more attentive and more confident because he understands you...
if he's ignoring you, your trainer should be showing you how to succeed.

For example I had so much trouble getting my dog in a Down, and she had to show me exactly what to do with my hand and the treat, etc and it was all focused on training ME, not my dog.
(apparently my dog is smart, I'm not...he would looseleash walk perfectly, following his owner...who went the wrong way around the cones, he he)

Rumo ~ rescue shepherd/husky mix
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-11-2019, 01:06 PM
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Posts: 29,724 are in the Middle East. You are limited in your choices. My impression of your post above is the trainer is mainly compulsion? My suggestion to you is to do some online classes/videos. Denise Fenzi is good. Dave Kroyer is excellent and is VERY affordable. Look these two trainers up and see what you think.

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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-11-2019, 02:09 PM
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