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Sending Grimm out for training?

1803 Views 15 Replies 10 Participants Last post by  DancingCavy
For anyone following Grimm's story, here's a synopsis:

Grimm is 13 months, and has a foundation of sit-wait-give-focus at doorways before being released to come through, same sit-wait-focus required before he is released for his food, water, to get a toy, treat, etc. He knows sit, down, come, stay, heel, take it, gentle, bring it, out, go potty, go in crate, and jump up on/in. He is not tight and perfect with all, but pretty good for a 13 month old being trained by a novice. He has learned to ride a city bus, walk on a busy sidewalk, ride an elevator, walk over bridges, accept babystrollers passing him, heavy bicycle traffic, road traffic, and is EXTREMELY FRIENDLY with people of all ages and types.

I am looking for a trainer to supervise doggy socialization for Grimm, so he can learn dogs aren't space aliens to woof-and-lunge at, and so he can learn correct doggy behavior in this dog-crowded city with so many off-lead dogs. Second, the trainer must then teach Grimm to work around/ignore other dogs. I don't have the handstrength, due to disability to give a correction Grimm responds to in such a moment of titilating distraction-- someone else MUST do this. And, he can pull me off my feet in a doggy meet-up, so, I do need someone else to handle Grimm during.

My two training choices seem to be: 1) a man who breeds Labs for guide dog work (ideal type of friendly, calm dogs for Grimm to meet for socialization), who only has in-house training where the dog lives there, gets worked with 3 times a day, and does get to work around other dogs, or 2)trying to find someone at a Schutzhund club willing to work with a non-Schutzhund dog on a non-Schutzhund issue...... the benefit would be, ideally, NOT sending Grimm away, the drawback is communicating to Schutzhund folks that Grimm needs to meet CALM dogs in CALM situations in CALM settings.. not having them bring their wildly anticipatory, excited sport dogs to the club grounds that the dogs expect to do thrilling bitework on, setting a tone of charged energy that Grimm does NOT need to be exposed to in his socialization. Yup, many folks doing sport have stable, lovely, calm dogs-- but meeting on the grounds of the club, where these dogs expect thrills, can send energy to Grimm that may not at all be a calm vibe.

The send-away trainer is well-known, but for Labs and guide dog work... not for being familiar with Grimm's Czech lines GSD type of dog. (eerily, they keep harping on the neutering theme... without knowing my dog at all, without hearing our needs, etc-- methinks they get hefty kickback from vets as they work with assistance dogs who need to be neutered to get freebies here) Grimm would be trained off-lead and socialized around other dogs.

If (that is a HUGE 'if') I find a Schutzhund person, and they can help Grimm overcome his nerdy barking/lunging at seeing another dog, then I could myself be in a club training him and improving his training.

One other weird thing here: In Germany, nobody dares to seriously question anyone with a piece of paper saying they're an expert. I can imagine with all the questions I have for the send-away trainer, including that I would want to meet him alone withOUT Grimm for the first meeting, to evaluate HIM, would not make me especially popular here.

I sure could use the training the send-away guy offers-- it would solve the remaining issues that are making life either difficult or dangerous here for us on walks. I am just very, very cautious in sending my Grimm anywehere, to anyone, who may not take the care of him that I would wish. I normally do NOT ever believe in send-away training!! My trainer options here are extremely limited, though.
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I don't have an opinion about the send away plan but I have been reading about your situation and if someone approached me with a similar one, I would recommend neutering the dog. I get no kickbacks from anyone and have never heard of a set up like that.

I have fostered plenty of male dogs who were intact when they arrived and some who had to stay intact for a while because of some medical issue. Some of them were unchanged after neutering but in most we see a dramatic reduction in exactly the kind of behavior you're experiencing.

It might or might not help the behavior in your case, but it's not going to hurt, and I think the odds of it reducing some of the lunging and social confusion are actually pretty good.

If my 14 year old son is any example, surging horomones in the adolescent male contribute hugely to nerdy, goofy, social behavior.
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I posted this link before for a trainer in Regensburg which is in Baveria or near . He is an excellent trainer and knows GSD's very well, having owned, trained and titled many and does helper work and "coaches" people as well. He has a ladies obedience class as well. His name is Michael Pahlke. All his contact information is on his website and he speaks English. I have trained with him when he was here in CA visiting friends. If he can't help you he should be able to give you the name of someone who can.
I'm not a fan of sending a dog away for training. Certainly, the guy may be very qualified and know what he's doing, but HE is training Grimm. Not you. Since you are the one who needs Grimm and lives with Grimm, I think you should be the one in charge of his training. I mean, I could take and train Grimm but unless I train you too, it isn't going to help. I suppose if he's willing to take the time to train you as well as Grimm then it could work out. But most of dog training is training the owner how to communicate with their dog appropriately. It's not so much training the dog itself.
At least in my limited experience.

As far as not needing to prove credentials, it's the same in the States. To be a dog trainer here, all you need is a sign or an ad that says "I am a dog trainer." That's why so many people recommend going to classes and seeing how the trainer works with the dogs and their clients before enrolling your dog in classes. It's not always that simple, of course. Some places are limited--like Montana.

To me, it sounds more like Grimm just needs to work on focusing on you. I would recommend, if you can, finding someone with a laid-back dog who can work around you guys. Start with that dog just outside Grimm's 'reaction range' and work with him on commands. As he gets better, move the other dog closer.

Probably easier said than done. That's actually what I'd like to do with Ris. . .but the only laid-back dog I know is in PA. So no dice.

Good luck.
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GSMom-- thanks for the idea. Regensburg is very far from me, but <I may ask who he reccomends. Thank you!

Pupresq, I feel certain that neutering wouldn't resolve this behavior, he's not even slightly trying to dominate, assert rank, or mate with any of the dogs.. this is simply that dogs are unfamiliar to him.

Jamie, you and Risa are a great model to learn from.. you two have really come a long way! Unfortunately, it's not possible for me to hold Grimm at all during a doggy-meetup situation, let alone use a correction noticeable enough to Grimm during working around other dogs.. that's why we need a trainer do one particular this for me. We have a good foundation in place, mainly since we kinda live training throughout the day with little moments mattering.. know? The trainer merely needs to facilitate the meet-ups, handle Grimm during them-- and lastly do what my impaired hands cannot do, in helping Grimm focus around this distraction.

Anyway, I hate the send-away idea. It would be my LAST choice, no matter how wonderful his references may be.
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The behavior I see it resolving here isn't necessarily either dominance or mating-based (though it can be helpful there too).

What I see it help with that seems relevant to your situation is what I'll term that "spastic uncertaintly" - it's like they've got these raging horomones and lots of energy and they aren't sure where they fit or how to act so they just act crazy.

Neutering seems to chill them out some and improve their focus in social situations with those that were having trouble. All our neutered males are as active as they were before and they have the same amount of drive; it's more like neutering seems to reduce some of the static interferance in their little furry brains.

ETA - maturity often has the same effect and I'm not saying that intact males are unfocused - just that this could be another tool to help in this situation, so I wouldn't be too quick to write off the trainer's suggestion as financially motivated. It could really help.
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I've been following the Grimm Story :)) and I'll throw in my 2cents here..I agree with pupresq regarding the neutering.

I have a very very slow maturing ddr male, (he's mature now:)) when young, I showed him infrequently, therefore did not neuter him..He has ALWAYS been the "perfect" dog (if I do say so myself), have not had any of the issues you are seeing, however, having him neutered when he hit 3, was a definite improvement in "brains" :)) Don't get me wrong, again, he was very nearly perfect prior, however, neutering put his "brains" back where they should be in his head. Better focus, less distraction.

As for sending Grimm out,,I guess to that I would say, I am not a fan of sending a dog out..If I were you, I'd think more on that,,I had read you met up with a trainer who sounded great, but was unimpressed when you met them with Grimm,,how would you know, if not there, that this situation wouldn't be the same? That would be my worry.

The guy DOES sound like something to explore, however, I just wouldn't want the dog "sent" out to him.

I totally understand your situation/limitations, I'd still be looking in my own area for some type of training, and maybe even see if you can find someone that could handle Grimm (other than the trainer) at a class you can get in on until he calms down a bit.

Check with the local vet's, they sometimes can direct you as well.
Just throwing some ideas out there
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Patti, how long have you been over in Germany? With the list of things that Grim has learned to accept I think you are making good progress.

You talk about correct doggy behavior, the correct doggy behavior is what YOU want Grim to do. I want my dogs to basically ignore other dogs, even when a dog gets in their face, unless the dog tried to bite or dominate my dogs I want them to be quite and calm and neutral. I do that by taking charge, I know that with your physical limitations make that a bit difficult so that is a big challenge for you and Grim.

I don't think I see your problem as a socialization problem, but a communication problem, it is difficult for you to physically control Grim when he gets over-reactive. Does Grim know the "Leave It" command? I use this when my dogs want to do things like chase cats, start fixating on things they shouldn't or trying to pick up something they shouldn't have.

I teach the "Leave It" command in the house starting with lower value treats, after we work and work on the command and I think my dog is pretty solid I bring out the highest value treat I can find. Have my dog settle on the floor and bounce these really yummy treats near them and off their body. If they "Leave" the treats then I know they have a good understanding of the command. Then I use it outside. Also once I have told a dog to leave a treat on the floor, I only let them have it IF I pick it up and give it to them.

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I understand that it isn't easy for you to be the trainer especially when he gets 'wild.' There are even times when Ris gets reactive that I have trouble holding her back and she's a lightweight compared to Grimm.
I think if you could be in the situation 'as normal' with a trainer holding Grimm and you still giving the commands it could work. Y'know, like taking a normal stroll with Grimm, just the trainer holding the leash. That way someone with better physical control would have ahold of Grimm but you would still be there to issue commands and have it more like normal life. My biggest concern in sending him away for training would be that even though he knows how to behave he might not realize he has to behave that way for you. That's why I think it's important for you both to be involved in the training process.

I agree with Val, though. You guys have come a long way. I have no doubts you'll reach your goals. Just keep up the good work!
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Update-- Grimm's send-away training

Update: Some very kindhearted angels have decided to pay for an in-house (send-away) training program, basicly the one I mentioned before.. with a man who trains guide and service dogs, and has Labs on his property.

This send-away option is one most all of us here in this forum, me included, usually do not reccomend.. but I now have no option. I need to stay with me newlywed husband in the hospital as he is having his lung removed due to lung cancer. Unlike in USA, Ulrich could be in hospital for anywehere from 2 weeks to an entire month.. they get you mobile and on your feet following lung surg, but, the do things differently, and stays in hospitals tend to be much longer than in North America. Because I am disabled and low-income, i cannot travel an hour every day to visit my hubby, so, I will live also at the hospital with him. Grimm now has a place to stay-- and training, too.

Not ideal. But, in an emergency situation, send-away is neccesary. After the training program, the trainer works with both Grimm and I together for a while. I have been working with Grimm on focus, long down-stays, retrieval, out-of.sight down-stays, and the usual heeling and stuff... so we have a relationship of me being the boss, that will not be new, per se, to Grimm.. the trainer will just afterwards work with us both to make the training snug.

I wish it were not this way. The positive, is that Grimm, according to the trainer's secretary/wife, "Will be able to walk without a leash through Schweinfurt-- even past other dogs." He will have advanced work done re being able to be city-sure.

No idea yet if he has really worked with police.type dogs and not only mellow pets and Labs, no idea if he understand reactive dogs, if he has experience with 'Grimms.' He does come reccomended.

Sorry I cannot translate the site, but here it is:

I will also ask several of Ulrich's family members rutinely call the trainer to get reports on how well Grimm is doing. (of course, I will be calling, too...but more people will be keeping tabs on how well things go for Grimm this way)
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Re: Update-- Grimm's send-away training

Patti, in a perfect world every thing would be the right way; Ulrich wouldn't have cancer and need surgery, Grimm would be the perfect angel and service dog, you wouldn't be disabled and Grimm would be the perfect goofy pet.

But in the real world; Ulrich has cancer and has to have surgery, Grimm is a goofy adolesent working dog who needs more help than you can give him, you need to be with Ulrich and Grim has to have a place to stay. So it sounds like this might be the answer. Labs can be real hard heads, I think any trainer that has the patients to put up with Labs can work with Grimm.

Sending positive thoughts to you, Ulrich and Grimm that everything works out well.

Re: Update-- Grimm's send-away training

The poor trainer's going to be so busy answering phone calls he won't have time to work with Grimm. LOL

All things considered, it sounds like this option may work out well for you. As you said, not the ideal, but definitely workable. We'll be keeping our fingers and paws crossed for you three during this time. Keep us posted.
Re: Update-- Grimm's send-away training

Ditto to both above!

And I think that a trainer used to working with labs, who like positives a lot, will do well with Grim. I think you mean anticipatory really and not reactive and I think that labs can be that way as well because they are so people oriented.

When things like this kind of fall into place it makes you think it might have been meant to be. Have faith that is the case!
Re: Update-- Grimm's send-away training

I think it sounds like the best option right now. Think of it this way - you have to be with your husband, so regardless of training, Grimm needs a place to stay. Better to go away for training than to be boarded at a kennel, right? It's obvious you want the best for Grimm and are not doing this as the easy way out.
Re: Update-- Grimm's send-away training

I fostered a few labs and they can be as crazy as GSDs (in a different wasy maybe).
This is definitely a good solution in your current situation.
Re: Update-- Grimm's send-away training

Actually this sounds like it will work out well for you guys. Circumstances are different for everyone and though 'away from owner' isn't my perferred method, I think it may be your best option given the current situation. I agree that having Grimm receive training instead of just being boarded while Ulrich is in the hospital is a great idea. As difficult as everything has been for you guys as of late, this might be a blessing in disguise.

Of course I wish you, Grimm, and Ulrich the best of luck with everything that comes your way. Take care. And keep us posted.
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