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Hello, we decided to send our 7 month old GSD girl to a professional trainer who has a good reputation and has been in the training business for a couple of decades. She has been there a little over 3 weeks. Early reports from the trainer said she was timid and he had to go slow with her. Now, he says she is too sad or just not into the training and we should pick her up before the training is complete. Says we can perhaps try again when she gets older.

Is this normal? Maybe separation anxiety? I understand that she may be sad about not being at home and living in a kennel. We may have spoiled her and she just does not like the life at a training facility.

We will pick her up tomorrow. My concern is.. will the separation issues lead to bad behavior? Will this time away cause more issues with seperation? We thought that sending her to professional training would help since she just does not like to listen to basic commands like stay, come and no. Now the trainer seems to have issues with her lack of interest as well. How should we handle the return and work with her to get over her lack of interest in listening and obeying commands? I know how to work through separation anxiety. Our last GSD overcame the issue with very little training. Our new girl is stubborn.

Any thoughts would be appreciated!
 

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That is a strange diagnoses for a professional. Never heard of a home-sick dog. Did he spend enough time with her? Why did he need three weeks for this to report?
 

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I'd find another trainer...I'm not a fan of board & train myself... and in this case it sounds like the trainer just threw in the towel and gave up.


I agree with sebrench find a one on one trainer (preferred method) or locate a kennel or dog club (not a petsmart or petco) that offers group classes....in the end the trainer...any truly good trainer....teaches YOU how to train your dog.... how well your dog is trained depends on you and the time and work you put into your dog....at 7 months she's starting to be affected by hormones it's a perfect time for training...not later
 

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I had a female that was extremely timid. It was VERY difficult to do anything with her when she was at training class. All she wanted to do was hide underneath my chair!

That COULD be what is going on here. She was so frightened, she would not even take high value treats from me for the first 3 weeks of classes (home-cooked chicken).
 

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Hello, we decided to send our 7 month old GSD girl to a professional trainer who has a good reputation and has been in the training business for a couple of decades. She has been there a little over 3 weeks. Early reports from the trainer said she was timid and he had to go slow with her. Now, he says she is too sad or just not into the training and we should pick her up before the training is complete. Says we can perhaps try again when she gets older.

Is this normal? Maybe separation anxiety? I understand that she may be sad about not being at home and living in a kennel. We may have spoiled her and she just does not like the life at a training facility.

We will pick her up tomorrow. My concern is.. will the separation issues lead to bad behavior? Will this time away cause more issues with seperation? We thought that sending her to professional training would help since she just does not like to listen to basic commands like stay, come and no. Now the trainer seems to have issues with her lack of interest as well. How should we handle the return and work with her to get over her lack of interest in listening and obeying commands? I know how to work through separation anxiety. Our last GSD overcame the issue with very little training. Our new girl is stubborn.

Any thoughts would be appreciated!
To me it seems like there's a lot going on here...

Since you gave so little in terms of what your dog is like at home, what sort of training you've tried, how you motivate your dog to learn, and maybe even a more complete account of what all the BAT trainer actually said, it would be difficult to hazard a guess on any of these things!

A board-and-train can be an awesome option for some people, but I would prefer one that does some initial intake evaluation of a dog so they can set reasonable objectives for your dog, and customize their goals to align with your desires and expectations for their services.

3 weeks is a long time for any trainer to not to have been able to find some sort of motivation for your dog and make training progress. But, like I said, without knowing more about your dog and her general behavior prior to this, who knows. It could be separation anxiety, but it could be other things as well...hard to tell.

Does your puppy know any commands that she complies with dependably? How much time does she spend outside of her home territory, like walks or parks or other places? How is she with car rides? How does she react to other dogs or new people? Do you crate her when you're gone? How much time on average is she alone during the day?

Just for perspective, I am always amazed by the fact that any dog is even the least bit willing, much less enjoys, paying attention to what a human says! Why should they? There has to be "something" in it for them! Some dogs will do anything for food, others like toys, and others are willing participants just for praise...but there has to be something that motivates them!

But please, tell us more about your puppy. How old was she when you got her? What have you done to train her up until now, and what were your observations of her during any training you have done? What is she like with new dogs or people? Do loud noises scare her?
 

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It is pretty rare, but I do run into cases where a dog will take a long time to adapt to new environments away from an owner. Generally it happens with dogs with very weak temperaments that lean heavily on their owners for security and strength but every so often it happens even with strong dogs.

Qenny Ot Vitosha (won IPO worlds twice) was a dog owned by someone who made a deal with Ivan Balabanov to be trained and handled by Ivan but go home periodically to live with the owner in the off season. Ivan knew the dog was special from seminars and things like that. When the dog first showed up to Ivan's the dog was inconsolable for almost 10 days. It didn't eat normally, didn't want to play, didn't want to bite or do sport work. Ivan almost gave up and considered sending the dog back, but he finally came around and started acting like his normal self.

I've got pretty good at identifying that type of dog, and I will not train them for their first week. I prefer to let them settle in and get used to the routine of being boarded away from home. Once they are over the shock of the change in environment they take to the training better. Every so often I run into one where I will opt to send them back and forth between home and training a few times to help ease their transition. Rare, but it does happen.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thank you all for your comments! She is home and to be honest is just the same as before. We don't see a bit of change. We will look for an in-home trainer and take our time with her. Baillif, I think you hit the nail on the head. I will read a lot from the forum, looks like a lot of good advice around here.
 
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