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Discussion Starter #1
Hey! It’s been a good bit since I last posted but I wanted to share and maybe get some expert advice on what to expect and prepare our household for coming up. Hopefully this is an okay board for it!

Well Luna is coming up to 11 months old and the last few months have been rough, she started really overpowering me on walks, pulling, and barking/jumping at people, your basic untrained dog behaviors and I realized that I just didn’t have the knowledge and experience to train these things away myself.

So after talking to several trainers in the state, we settled on a 3 week boarded training program for behavior modification and basic obedience with a wonderful woman that we met and had a consultation with. We met her dogs, introduced Luna, and talked about the kinda way they go about training. After just one hour consultation and demonstrating the proper use of the prong collar and corrections, I couldn’t believe my dominant do-what-I-want girl behaved like an angel for the trainer.

So for 3 weeks she’ll be with the trainer, and we will meet once a week for at he sessions to learn ourselves what we need to do to help reinforce the training at home and teach us what we need too. We will do the last few sessions out in public.

They really seemed to understand the concerns we had with her including the jumping, barking, anxiety, pulling, no heeling and not responding to commands, and just overall reassured us these were just symptoms of lack of training and obedience and I’m hoping we made the right decision. We really want to be able to take her out in public without fear of scaring people (what a loud bark!) and without the embarrassment of apologizing that our beautiful yet wild girl was untrained.

So my questions would be, what should we prepare for once the boarding is over? The trainer reassured us the boarded training will be skills taught that will be transferable to us and that we will be able to lead her just fine. I’m concerned she won’t see us as the leaders since she’ll be gone so long (the fear she will listen to just the trainer not us I guess). I’m a bit anxious about using the prong collar and i know it’s going to be a game changer. If there’s any advice on new, more or less untrained owners, making sure we do our part to understand and follow up with this kind of training? I feel a bit overwhelmed!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I am surprised she needs three weeks for this. IMO it is better to do the training yourself under the guidance of a good trainer and you learn better that way because it's YOU who does the work.
Sorry, I need to correct myself - she will be boarded two weeks and be home for in home sessions once a week for the next 6 weeks (including coming home during the boarded part too.)

I absolutely think it’s important we learn to do the work too. We are going to 100% learn and implement what we are taught during these sessions. And after the 2 weeks boarding, I know the rest of the sessions will be for us to continue building on the training at home.

We got extremely overwhelmed trying to overcome a lot of the behaviors we saw building up and had a lot of life changes (career) going on ourselves and after meeting with the trainer and discussing the boarding too it felt like a good fit. I’m starting to feel really nervous though. Guess I’m the one with the separation anxiety hah.
 

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It's great that you're hiring a trainer and getting the help that you need while your pup is still young. I feel confident that you'll be able to control/manage this behavior with the guidance of the right trainer. Some people dislike prong collars and feel that they are unnecessary, but I think they are great tools for certain dogs when they are used properly and fitted well. Definitely let your trainer teach you how to use one.

What is making you feel nervous about sending your dog away? The people at the facility will have control of your pup's health and well-being for 3 weeks, so you must feel confident that they will make good decisions on her behalf. If you don't feel comfortable with them, don't send her there.

If you do a search for board and train on this forum, I think you will find that a lot of posters are reluctant to recommend them because you are the one who ultimately has to learn to handle the dog. A good trainer doesn't just train the dog, he or she also has teach to teach the owner. Your dog may act one way with the experienced trainers at the facility and another way with you--so make sure that they offer you enough training and support so that you can continue on with the good habits that your dog has learned at the facility. I think that the six week in-home sessions after the boarding sounds like a good plan. I feel neutral about board-and-train facilities. I am sure that there are some good and bad ones. What matters most, I think, is your motivation and willingness to implement what you are taught. As long as you're aware that you'll have to learn, possibly change some behaviors, and work with your dog, I think that you could get some great results at your board-and-train. What I think won't work is expecting an instant fix to your problem without having to make any changes or put forth any effort yourself (and this is not the vibe I get from you).

Good for you for taking action to help change your pup's behaviors before it becomes to ingrained. Keep us updated on her and your progress!

Full disclaimer I'm not a breeder, trainer, or an expert in any way, just an owner of GSDs. :)
 

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I really like the structure of the board-and-train (BAT) you found! IMHO where most BATs fall short is that not enough time is included at the end to help the owners. So I'd say relax! And good for you for realizing you needed help and getting it! My guess is that you'll be very pleased with the results, and having a trainer come to your home to help you maintain that training and answer your questions should be plenty to help you with any issues that come up. For many busy people a BAT like this is an ideal choice!
 

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This is just a suggestion for you while your pup is away for two weeks.

Based on my own novice experience and something that I struggled with while working out our issues, was building my own confidence. If I caught myself slouching I would straighten up or thinking negatively, I switched to more positive thoughts. I also envisioned how I want us to look and act and envisioned all the things I wanted us to do together.

You can also write a short paragraph or two stating what you love about your pup and how and why you are confident (even if you are not yet confident write it as if you are) that you both will succeed. Once written, say it daily several times. Make it all positive and nothing negative.

The written exercise was actually a NoseWorks assignment that my instructor required to mentally prepare us for trial. The theme was "why my boy and I make a great NW team" It was a very powerful exercise and I'm positive it was a big factor in why we titled that day.

I'm sure that the decision to send Luna was hard and would be normal for doubts to wiggle in while she is there so maybe keeping focused on what you can change about yourself might help.

I just used confidence as an example since that is what I had to work on the most.

I'll double what Tim said. Especially the 6 weeks of instruction after the boarding. B&T wasn't my choice nor is it a suggestion I'd offer someone but that's just based on personal preference. The thing is (and I've been there but I wasted way too much unnecessary time before getting there) is that you have to do what you feel is best for you and your dog, that's the first step towards making a vision a reality.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Hey there everyone!

It's been a while since we updated anything. Just wanted to let you guys know what's up!

Luna came back 2 weeks ago and we've been continuing her training once a week with the trainer at home!

She has been doing fantastic guys. It's so much more manageable with her energy now to have all these things to work on with her and I don't feel like I have to crate her when I work and have things to do now (I hated that, working from home!) Right now we are continuing to build on:

1. Down Stay (SO helpful! She does so great with it now and it helps us keep her out of trouble when we are busy.)
2. Heel (We go on walks now!!! Without pulling! We LOVE it!)
3. 180/90 L+R degree Turns
4. Backing up in stand, forward in down.
5. Sit & Stay
6. Sit & Wait in Crate/at Doors (until in/out command)
7. Basic manners, not jumping up on us/not jumping up to the counters/leave it.

We're also working the next few weeks on her off leash manners and walking calmly and ignoring people at the park (with the trainer in our next sessions.) We are still struggling with her anxiety with other people and overall suspicious-ness of just about everything, but to be able to take her out and to do our walks, ride in the car, and take her to her grooming at petsmart is such a big change to before. We're happy she's got some stability that we can get her more stimulated now. We're coming to accept she won't be a people puppy by any means, but her comfort zone and ignoring others when out is getting much better. She's also doing much better with other dogs (she loved her training with the other dogs.)

The only other thing is her confidence with the corrections. She absolutely is to the point she's self correcting most of the time, but her confidence isn't the best. So I'm putting time into making sure we bond and build her confidence more.

I'll do some recording of our next training when we work with her this week so you guys can see how far she's come! Overall, I think I would've preferred a more involved training style but it definitely worked out alright.
 

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I'm very glad things are working out for you! Good job. Not many people honestly want to put in the work to make things change. Most just want an easy fix where someone else does all the work while they sit back. You are a great owner.
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
Hey everyone! Thought I would share some pictures and updates of Luna. We moved her training to the park (where the splash pads are at!) and worked on distractions. She's accompanied by her new training buddy, Nitka, today! It was a great experience, Luna ignored the family and children (even running!) and did not act defensive or fearful as she previously had before her training started. She worked well with the other dog and did not react at all (minus the initial trying to sniff which we worked on.)

She did great visiting the vet recently, as well as taking some trips to petsmart and other outings. It's incredible to be able to take her places and she's been so well behaved and she loves the trips. No more anxiety in the car and she's been bonding a ton more with us.

I still haven't gotten any videos but I will soon, promise! I get so caught up in how fast our training times go that I forget to record her progress haha.

But here's some pictures I've taken during our session at the park, her trip to the store, practicing her stay in her spot (which apparently is my giant teddy bears, her regular "spot" now especially during my work.)
 

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