Last week I was at a new Home Dog Training client in Alpharetta working with him and his German Shepherd, Shultzie. The training went very well and Shultzie quickly understood that he needed to pay attention and respect my client. Shultzie’s issues of running out the front door, jumping on guests, and counter surfing quickly disappeared. My client was thrilled with the results and we agreed that our next session would focus on outdoor leash etiquette and appropriate redirection on command. As we were finishing up, he mentioned that his brother was thinking about getting a dog and was wondering if a Shepherd would be good for his brother.
I have several Shepherds and find them to be great dogs. The one thing that all Shepherd owners will tell you is that having a Shepherd takes a slightly different skill set than having any other breed. This does not mean that they are harder to train or harder to control. They are just different. This can be no problem for most people, but is can cause a challenge for some.
German Shepherds are often headstrong. They need a strong leader to direct their actions and tell them what to do. You can’t “baby them” and let them get their way by telling you when they want to play ball, go for a walk, or demand a treat. You must show them “tough love” and always be in charge. This is sometimes hard for some people and is one reason why some people aren’t a good match for Shepherds.
If you are willing to take charge, show some tough love, and always make sure you are the one directing and challenging your Shepherd, you are on the right track.
Next, Shepherds are working dogs. They always “need a job”. A toy poodle is completely happy sitting on the couch all day sleeping and watching TV. This is not the situation with a Shepherd. They need to work and that mostly involves guarding something. It doesn’t really matter what, it is simply gives them an active sense of purpose. Our Shepherd loves to guard the backyard from the birds. Yes, I know the birds can easily fly away, but that does not matter. She keeps the birds off the grass and she feels complete in performing this activity.
The Shepherd’s job provides them with a sense of belonging in the pack and helps position their role as subservient to your leadership role. If you do not have a situation where you can provide a “job” for your Shepherd, you may think about another dog breed.
Shepherds are very protective. They are naturally “Guard Dogs” and will step up and confront anyone or anything that shows harm or malfeasance towards you or your family. This does not mean that they are dangerous or bad dogs. They watch your body language. If you show fear or weakness, they will take that as a signal to assist you in protecting the pack.
They will go into what I call the “Shepherd Mode”. They will posture, focus on the “bad person”, growl, flare their nostrils, show their teeth, and display the whites of their eyes. This is their warning to “the bad person” to back off or for you to redirect them and assure them that all is well.
This “protectiveness” of the Shepherd can be a wonderful thing for many people. It can easily be a deterrance to many bad things. Many times, the mere sight of a Shepherd can eliminate the possibility of a bad situation. Some people may not want to take on this responsibility. If you are one of those people, you may want to look for another dog breed.
Please call us at (770) 718-7704 it you are in need of any dog training help. We have a lot of good dog training advice at Best Dog Trainers Alpharetta Georgia. Find all our phone numbers, text addresses and email contacts at Dog Training Help Center Alpharetta Georgia.