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I took my 71/2 month old female GSD to be evaluated by the head of the K9key training school on Long Island. I have been training her myself using German commands. I hoped to eventually have her be a drug detection dog. The evaluation: she us smart, very well socialized, affectionate and smart, BUT she is probably not a candidate for Schutzhund competition or drug sniffing because drug sniffing is started much much earlier. However, obediecnce classes were suggested so she can be a working dog in some capacity. Having her live with the trainer for three weeks with intensive hands on training (I would work with them at least once a week) and then 4 private additional lessons (included in price) afterward.

Two members of the Schutzhund club, one with champion Schutzhund dogs trained by boarding, said it is remarkably effective.
Opinions are really asked for from this group. Boarding training is not cheap, but my dog definitely needs to attain a higher level of near perfect obedience for any kind of work. BTW, the trainer admits 20 minutes cannot rule out drug snuffing, etc. Three weeks would show her actual potentials.
Is this a legitamite and effective way to train? He also gives 8 week group lessons, etc., but the club members felt boarding training was most effective. Advice, please!!!!
 

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It comes down to the trainer: knowledge, skill, patience, and effort put into the dog. If these things are all there it can be great. If they are not then it is just a way to get your money.

I do not know the trainers or what knowledge they have. I went to K9KEY Canine Education Center to see what they had to say. Their listed accomplishments are all in schutzhund competition, not drug detection. I don't see a DEA license or anything like that listed.

To the best of my knowledge, most trainers will begin drug detection training with dogs older than 7-1/2 months. They want to see solid nerves and excellent drives (not just a nose) and it is hard to evaluate young puppies for those qualities.
 

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Our department (and I know there are others) pulls shelter dogs older than 7 1/2 mo to train as narcotics dogs, so the age comment is odd. That said, the dog either "has it" or doesn't.

Regarding in kennel training, our trainer provides this service as well although I haven't personally done it. From what I have seen and heard, it is VERY effective and he's the first to tell you that you need to keep up on the training. I think some people get a week or two put on their dog early on and then expect them to be perfect until the day they die. It sounds like you aren't that kind of person, so it would likely be very effective for you.
 

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Why do you want her trained as a drug detection dog?

Personally, I don't think board and train is the best way to train a pet. Training is as much about teaching you as it is about teaching the dog. Training your dog is also a great way to build and strengthen your bond...I wouldn't want to lose out on that opportunity or have someone else benefit from the bond created by working with and challenging my dog.

If you want a mostly working dog (instead of a pet that works) then I guess it is a good way to go. A lot of places that train your dog for you use complusion to get it done quickly and I've heard stories of dogs that don't listen to the owner when they get back or revert because the owner doesn't train the same or as often. Sending your dog for training isn't going to make them magically perfect and obedient, that will still require a lot of work and commitment from the owner everyday.
 

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I know a police officer that had a green dog and sent her off to board for 3 weeks for scent detection(not obedience) training. When she got her back she performed her tasks right on and the officer has kept up with her training. The owner/handler is active in competitive AKC obedience, so her dog is doing well on the job and at other venues. She did come back with a bad case of Giardia from the board & train facility. She was doing SchH but decided not to persue it, and as an active LEO search working dog, focus on her job instead.
 

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For detection work, it is not about the age, it is about the dog. I have pulled a number of dogs from shelters who were as old as two/three years of age and placed them as detection dogs on departments. The dog must have extreme interest in a toy or ball, great hunt drive and really strong nerves. I have never seen someone take two weeks to evaluate aptitude for that work .
As for training, in kennel training for what? SchH? Obedience? If they are good trainers both classes and in kennel are effective. It is teaching the handlers to handle and work their dogs that is the hard part. The in-kennel should offer sessions with you afterwards. Otherwise, in my opinion, you will not be getting your monies worth. Most of the training involves the owner, that is my experience anyway. The dogs are the easy part.
 

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I can't address the board and train but you mentioned they told you she was too old to start drug detection work? That's crazy. Years ago (in the 80's) I started a canine drug detection business with a retired police chief. We utilized a K-9 officer/trainer in choosing our first dog to train from scratch. She was a 2 year old golden retriever (working line) with no training but crazy ball drive.

We hired him to train with us and she was DEA certified easily. He was so impressed with her....couldn't get over how easy she was to train and how impressive she was working. So all that to say a dog does NOT have to be stated as a very young puppy to do drug work.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Boarding training: replies to my request for advie

I am a Private Infestigator, which is why I wanted to use my GSD for drug detection. I found the remarks about trailing older dogs interesting: so a 7-8 month old dog CAN be trained? As for "drive", the trainer used a ball on a stick and said she did not have enough " drive". At home, however, I myself trained her to "bring", aus, sook, in German with toys and balls. She also chases squirrels, and will try to climb the tree, so she must have a prey instinct!
On the k9key site they do mention drug and bomb detection. Since most of my friends are in law enforcement, I will ask them to check on their DEA status.

There are around two other Schutzhund groups near NYC that are reasonably close. One is Professional Dog Trainer Serving New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. John Soares. associated with professional dog trainer servicing the new york new jersey philadelphia area - obedience, protection, sport. Another is Mid Island Schutzhund Club on Long Island. Maybe members of the forum would be kind enough to scope those out? John Soares also offers boarding training.

I would like Bella to be evaluated by another trainer with K9 and Schutzhund background. It is not easy to evaluate a young dog in 20 minutes. To give the first trainer credit, he did NOT push for boarding training. He said I could do the 8 week group class which is quite reasonable. But I need to have a very high level of obedience from Bella, because she could also be a therapy dog, or a service dog. I have a bad back, etc, and she could assist me!

Is boarding training more intensive and thorough? I would still be involved. Problem: who is legit? Your replies are terrific: any further advice really appreciated. I am pretty good as a non-pro trainer, but no way can I take Bella to the very high obedience levels by myself.
 

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Regarding drive, training a retrieve is not the same thing as drive. A dog with the ball drive necessary for narcotics detection is a dog that will go through a brick wall to get a ball because they want it, not because they were told to retrieve it.
 

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... a dog that will go through a brick wall to get a ball because they want it, not because they were told to retrieve it.
I have one of those... :whistle:
 

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Me too,lol except for her it's stick not ball. I don't think 7 months is too young either nor would I want to board my dog with someone who made such an ignorant statement- thats just me. If you continue the training she learns anywhere she'll be solid so to me if you have the time invest it training her privately with an instructor and let her be home with you. They can learn from someone else in 3 weeks, but if you don't continue it it was 3 weeks wasted:)
 

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I have one of those... :whistle:
Yes, we do too. Akira is obscessed. She brings us every single ball in the house or yard 24/7. Every cuz, kong ball, treat ball, everything. If it's even remotely "ball shaped" it's in her mouth.

She even holds whichever ball she has (prefers the cuz's and kong ball) while she POTTIES! If you go out with her, she will totally forget to stop and potty and immediately breaks into a pretty good gallop doing a solid perimeter search for a ball in the yard.
 

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I found the remarks about trailing older dogs interesting: so a 7-8 month old dog CAN be trained?

As for "drive", the trainer used a ball on a stick and said she did not have enough " drive". At home, however, I myself trained her to "bring", aus, sook, in German with toys and balls. She also chases squirrels, and will try to climb the tree, so she must have a prey instinct! It is not easy to evaluate a young dog in 20 minutes.

Is boarding training more intensive and thorough?
Yes, an older dog can be trained.

You can usually get a pretty good impression of a dog in 20 minutes and if this trainer doesn't think your dog has enough drive, she probably doesn't. She has some drive as you have described, but for a SchH or drug dog, she needs to be high drive. There is no reason you can't get a second opinion from someone else though.

Boarding training can be very intensive and thorough at the right place and with good follow up on your part, but my opinion is that if you don't know how to train your own dog - with help - then it's almost impossible to keep that training once you have the dog home.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Bella won't go through a wall for a ball, but she would try to climb a tree for a squirrel! Anyway the trainer just swung a ball on a stick a few times. I think she got bored. When I play fetch and seek and release using German commands, at home, she definitely likes it! For a while! Being a puppy still, she gets bored and tired or distracted. I don't know if he assessed her correctly. As for training, I do need a real pro. She deserves to be a working dog, and an obedient one. Advice is just terrific on this forum!
 

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A high drive dog will not get bored with a ball on a string and should have gone nuts when he did that. I know you want her to be a working dog, but it may not be in the cards for her. Get a second opinion as you aren't happy with the first one.
 

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I do know how to train my dog.... In a few weeks, she went from an adopted country dig to a dog who heels almost perfectly, stays, sits, waits for my command to eat, retrieves, searches, releases, knows I go first through every entrance... Not 100% of the time by any means, but darn well! All in German and English! She is probably one of the few dogs in NYC who actually walks on a leash properly by my left side and slightly behind me. Not to say I am a professional trainer, I am not, but I do not wish to be categorized as an owner who can't or won't train their dog. I AM her trainer!
Only a fool thinks they know it all. I know I am not a Pro. It is SMART , not lazy or weak, to seek help from pros. My sister-in-law WAS a schutzhund and guard dog trainer, for businesses like Macy's, etc., and SHE says for an amateur, I have done a terrific job! Her health makes training difficult for her now. Otherwise, she said SHE would take my dog and work with her'...of course expecting me to follow through! Please, don't think seeking high level obedience training means the owner is ineffectual. In my world, it means the owner is smart! If seeking help from others and professionals meant owners are lazy or incompetent, then why does this forum exist?
Wise people always are willing to LEARN. I have learned much from this forum. Dies that make me a dog Mistress(I am not her mother) who is lazy or ineffectual?
 

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I don't think anyone was implying you couldn't train your dog- most of us train our own dogs but do professional obedience with them to fine tune skills or get through rough patches we don't understand. IMO board training is great if you have the time to keep up what they learned there and are willing to use their methods, but the money could easily be spent on private training that would be just as effective.

Have you inquired about the methods they use to train, seen a training session, or spoke with past clients? If anyone is taking my dog anywhere or training my dog in any capacity those are things that are on the top of my list to ask. I would want a place that tailors training methods to my dogs personality. For instance my female GSD is high drive, but not super hard. She doesn't require much compulsion to get the job done though she doesn't react to it negatively either. However, a softer dog will not do well with certain methods that would be successful with another dog. In a nutshell this place has to be a good match for Bella which is why I would consider some private lessons with them first to see what their philosophy and styles are.

On drive a high drive dog will not tire at her age with a flirt pole though those of us with crazy dogs wish they would,lol They will not bore or even consider giving up even after successfully getting to "win" the game- they want more and you have to end the game for them. Zoe will yank your arm out of socket when playing tug, never stops fetching a stick, and goes psycho over her flirt pole wild dog growling and all. I wish I had the time, money, and a local place to hone her drive into something productive to be honest, but alas I don't:(

I think though even a moderate drive dog could still be a great working dog so don't be too bummed about this places assessment of her drive. Motivation to work will just be more of an issue but you can find what makes her tick- it's different for every dog. Since she won't be working as a K-9 and will be for your use only go for it with the narcotics training and definitely get a professional to get you guys started. If this place isn't a good fit find another:)
 

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I do know how to train my dog.... In a few weeks, she went from an adopted country dig to a dog who heels almost perfectly, stays, sits, waits for my command to eat, retrieves, searches, releases, knows I go first through every entrance... Not 100% of the time by any means, but darn well! All in German and English! She is probably one of the few dogs in NYC who actually walks on a leash properly by my left side and slightly behind me. Not to say I am a professional trainer, I am not, but I do not wish to be categorized as an owner who can't or won't train their dog. I AM her trainer!
Only a fool thinks they know it all. I know I am not a Pro. It is SMART , not lazy or weak, to seek help from pros. My sister-in-law WAS a schutzhund and guard dog trainer, for businesses like Macy's, etc., and SHE says for an amateur, I have done a terrific job! Her health makes training difficult for her now. Otherwise, she said SHE would take my dog and work with her'...of course expecting me to follow through! Please, don't think seeking high level obedience training means the owner is ineffectual. In my world, it means the owner is smart! If seeking help from others and professionals meant owners are lazy or incompetent, then why does this forum exist?
Wise people always are willing to LEARN. I have learned much from this forum. Dies that make me a dog Mistress(I am not her mother) who is lazy or ineffectual?
Whoa! I have read this whole thread and haven't seen anyone attacking you. What in the world are you talking about? Is this because your dog might not have enough drive to be a working dog? Nothing wrong with that, most dogs don't but that doesn't mean they can't be great pets or do obedience.
 

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I think for what the OP is looking to do with her dog drive may not hinder him/her honestly. This isn't a dog that is going to be a K-9, compete nationally, or work daily. The person is a private investigator and wants to teach some tracking and scenting skills which any dog regardless of drive can learn and use. Obviously the duration this dog may be able to effectively work may be shorter but I don't see this dog working from 9-5 regardless of having a lower drive anyway. I also think the OP does want to get into obedience if I read his/her initial post right which shouldn't be negatively effected by drive either, but I do get being a little bummed by this place's comments about age and drive.
 
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