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Hi everyone!

I am hoping to add an 8 week old male GSD to my dogless life by end of January and wanted to get a head start on learning how to raise him right. This will be my second GSD (first one passed away 6 years ago) and while that may suggest I have some experience with the breed, I will be the first to admit that I did a LOT of stuff wrong. Luckily the dog was smarter than I was and quite forgiving of all my shortcomings. I intend to be much more prepared this time around and give both, the dog and myself, more purpose while creating a strong bond.

I was initially only looking to train in just obedience and tracking as the protection part of Schutzhund seemed overkill since the dog will be a family companion to my wife and I. However, after spending a lot of time reading posts on here, I've come to understand that training in protection doesn't mean I'm arming the dog with a skill that could make him dangerous, but rather I am teaching him to manage his genetic disposition and making sure he has the right temperament. This forum has definitely helped me re-evaluate and zero in on what I'd like to achieve with my new best friend.

I have found an IPO club that isn't too far away from me that I plan to visit soon (before I get my puppy), and it's the only one in my area. It has a good reputation too. Having said that, I was hoping to get some online courses (and/or books) on early training and engagement that I can do before we venture out to the club. Things I should and could be teaching the little fella that will help us bond, keep him mentally stimulated and get him ready to be the best dog he can be.

I would really appreciate any suggestions or advice.
 

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If you do facebook you can ask to join Schutzhund 101. And Google Schutzhund Life. Some good common sense real life tips there.
 

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the biggest thing is to housebreak them, play with them, and redirect with a toy instead of correcting them for biting. Engagement and bonding is critical. Throwing food and calling them back is great. Letting them chase toys. Throwing balls for them. Anything that builds that relationship.

Your training, when you are ready, should be shaping, luring and reward based. Amanda has some good videos that show the use of the clicker
https://www.facebook.com/completecanine10/

Look at the puppy videeo on this page
https://complete-canine.com/videos-links
 

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If you do facebook you can ask to join Schutzhund 101. And Google Schutzhund Life. Some good common sense real life tips there.
Thanks car2ner. I'd already signed up to the Schutzhund 101 FB group and have been going through various blog psosts on Schutzhund Life. Actually got a few books on order based on their resouce list. By the way, love the illustrations on your Little Tech: robot series - very cute.

Thanks MineAreWorkingLine, I hadn't seen that book by Sheila Booth and have actually got her other book on my list - Scutzhund Obedience: Training in Drive. I'll add this one to the list too.

the biggest thing is to housebreak them, play with them, and redirect with a toy instead of correcting them for biting. Engagement and bonding is critical. Throwing food and calling them back is great. Letting them chase toys. Throwing balls for them. Anything that builds that relationship.

Your training, when you are ready, should be shaping, luring and reward based. Amanda has some good videos that show the use of the clicker
https://www.facebook.com/completecanine10/

Look at the puppy videeo on this page
https://complete-canine.com/videos-links
Jax08, the engagement and bonding is exactly what I am looking to do. I see videos and these dogs don't seem to think anything else exists bar their handler; I love that. I'm not saying I don't want my dog to have a life, but I think it's important that he gives me his undivided attention when we're working. Something I failed to accomplish with my last GSD. He saw a dog, a rabbit, a bird and he'd be like, "Dad who?"

Thanks for the links.

I was looking at leerburg but I'm not entirely sure where to start on their courses. Emailed them a couple of weeks ago but never heard back.
 

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Ditto on the recommendation for Denise Fenzi, she has a series of Dog Sports Skills books that are great for foundation stuff you'll need no matter what you end up doing with your puppy. Book 1 is Developing Engagement and Relationship, book 2 is Motivation, book 3 is Play!, and book 4 is Focus and Engage. You can buy them on Amazon or her website. I have never taken one of her online courses, but they are supposed to be excellent. https://www.amazon.com/Dog-Sports-Skills-Book-Relationship/dp/0988781808/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1541867792&sr=1-2&keywords=denise+fenzi+books

There's actually a photo of Halo at a flyball tournament in book 3, but she's mistakenly referred to as "he".
 

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You can participate in the fenzi foundation classes. There are different tiers from observer to participant.
https://fenzidogsportsacademy.com/index.php/schedule-and-syllabus

Where are you located? Maybe you could find a trainer and slide into their puppy classes to watch for a small fee.
I'm in Scotland. I've already identified the ONLY IPO club that is in my area and will definitely be attending. I do however want to do stuff with my puppy at home so we can form a bond; much like you suggested earlier. I'll order the Fenzi books today and I'll also email them to find out which online course(s) they'd recommend I start with.

Ditto on the recommendation for Denise Fenzi, she has a series of Dog Sports Skills books that are great for foundation stuff you'll need no matter what you end up doing with your puppy. Book 1 is Developing Engagement and Relationship, book 2 is Motivation, book 3 is Play!, and book 4 is Focus and Engage. You can buy them on Amazon or her website. I have never taken one of her online courses, but they are supposed to be excellent. https://www.amazon.com/Dog-Sports-Skills-Book-Relationship/dp/0988781808/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1541867792&sr=1-2&keywords=denise+fenzi+books

There's actually a photo of Halo at a flyball tournament in book 3, but she's mistakenly referred to as "he".
Thanks Cassidy's Mom, totally appreciate your input in the recommendation. I promise to stick an S in front of the he in my copy of the book :smile2:
 

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Jax08, the engagement and bonding is exactly what I am looking to do. I see videos and these dogs don't seem to think anything else exists bar their handler; I love that. I'm not saying I don't want my dog to have a life, but I think it's important that he gives me his undivided attention when we're working. Something I failed to accomplish with my last GSD. He saw a dog, a rabbit, a bird and he'd be like, "Dad who?"
One quick thought on this point, whatever videos you end up with. There's three things I think are the most helpful for that type of focus. Something the dog really wants, toy, food, praise, whatever has value to him. A clear start to let him know its time to pay attention, and a clear end to tell him he doesn't have to. Something as simple as "Ready" means pay attention, we're going to do something and that will get you what you want and "Done" go sniff around. Expectation in him will always keep a certain amount of attention ,along with the fact that they're an attentive breed anyway. It makes those other distractions mean a lot less.
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
One quick thought on this point, whatever videos you end up with. There's three things I think are the most helpful for that type of focus. Something the dog really wants, toy, food, praise, whatever has value to him. A clear start to let him know its time to pay attention, and a clear end to tell him he doesn't have to. Something as simple as "Ready" means pay attention, we're going to do something and that will get you what you want and "Done" go sniff around. Expectation in him will always keep a certain amount of attention ,along with the fact that they're an attentive breed anyway. It makes those other distractions mean a lot less.
@Steve Storm, so basically like a "release" command that let's him know he doesn't need to focus any more? That's actually a great point and something I wouldn't have thought about. Thank you.
 

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I use a release cue to tell my dogs they can stop doing a particular behavior, such as sitting and waiting while I put down their food bowls, waiting to be released while I open a door, or if we're training and going to be working on something different now, for example. That is separate from an "all done" cue to end a training session, as Steve describes, that tells the dog it's free to do whatever it wants. Good to have both.
 
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