32 Not out - Just a few German Shepherd Dogs
I have been privileged to live with over 30 German shepherd dogs, many of these have been rescue dogs and have come to us at all sorts of ages. I have trained many more and this has taught us a lot! I have been delighted to help many owners of this magnificent breed and although would never hold myself up as an expert, is there such a person? I have had plenty of experience with them and they have taught me a lot. When my daughter was a youngster, I welcomed a young working GSd into our household and suddenly realised that this breed is different. Venn, was bred by a very responsible breeder who wouldn’t allow me to have my first choice of puppy, as he felt that living with my other dogs and my young daughter, the pup I wanted would struggle. And so, Venn (Avenger) came home and took over. Venn worked his way around the competitive obedience circuit but wasn’t too happy with Border Collies - eeek, especially as most competitive dogs at this time, were Collies or Collie crosses. Just under two years later, Jette joined us as I wanted to try teaching Working trials - hmm not sure that was a great idea but fun to try anyway. Jette was a black heavy coated GSD with four gold paws. She was huge fun and spent her puppy hood, visiting my daughter’s primary school and teaching the children all about care for a young pup. Some of the kids did amazing projects all about her. Jette also helped me fundraise for the ITV Telethon and teach people about being “Responsible dog owners”. The "clear up after your dog" campaign began in 1990 and got us lots of press coverage and as a puppy she had lots of exposure. Along came Freya and Fina - litter sisters who although when we brought them home, we couldn’t tell the difference apart from their ear tattoo numbers, they developed into completely different dogs. Fina, was total pickle and would chase anyone she could and Freya was really slow – she was lovely dog but not at all like her sister. She even managed to trap her tail in the door! The result was she lost part of her tail. She never ever played much until she got older and became the eldest in the pack. Then she taught the youngsters all she had learnt. She was our first teaching dog. Stuart had many dogs too and they often met up with mine which meant that at one time there was 9 GSD’s running free on the Army training grounds. They loved to meet the soldiers training there - Putz was well known as a breakfast thief and Troy could be guaranteed to give away their hiding places by jumping all over them when they were in camouflage. Happy days. Here are somethings we have learn along the way:
1. To control a group of dogs, keep the instructions short
2. “This Way” is better than to call 9 names!
3. Stand still when dogs are running towards you and they usually swerve round you!
4. Keep still when they pick up a stick/branch and carry together
5. Sit is a magic word
6. Watch is almost as good.
I now specialise in working dogs especially German Shepherds and at our training centre based on the South Downs between Petersfield and Portsmouth in Hampshire, I can help owners work with their dogs on all aspects of training. Whether it is the basic obedience or recalls, manners around other dogs or perhaps something to get your dog working with you, such as scentwork, tracking or searching< my secure field is the venue for your start. If you would like some extra help working with me over the next few weeks, I have the last few private training appointments for December left so get in touch soon. In the meantime check this on my website. Circuit Training with your dog and find some ideas of what you can do with your dog this December.