German Shepherd Training 101: How To Pick A Trainer

With proper training, GSDs can not only be the best possible companion you can think of, but also a great asset to your family. These brainy land sharks, if disciplined early and well, are quick learners and will promptly pick up ways   to utilize their immense drive and infinite pool of energy in constructive ways. All they need is consistent and regular training sessions under the supervision of a good trainer.

Now what’s the definition of an ideal trainer, someone you can really rely on for best in class German Shepherd training? Someone with years of experience, someone who loves dogs, someone whose schedule matches that of the GSD owner, someone with a great on-paper track record and well accomplished alumni to show off: how do you actually pick a trainer when you’re just starting off with the training of your first GSD ? Here’re some quick identifiers.

1. How regularly can he train ?

When it comes to training GSDs, Regularity is the key. You need to know how regular the training sessions are going to be. Make sure the sessions are spaced out at regular intervals, may be weekly or bi-weekly. It shouldn’t be like the trainer finds time to catch up with the dog once a month or once in 6 weeks and tries to pack more lessons in fewer classes. It’ll be difficult for the GSD (more so for a puppy) to remember what he learnt in his long gone previous session and catch up with new stuff after a long break.

2. How well he understands canine psychology?

Many trainers, even the some of the “experienced” ones, don’t. They need to know what exactly motivates a particular GSD. Every GSD is unique and you just can’t come up with a generally standardized rule book that’ll work for all GSDs across the board. Some dogs are more motivated by food while some others with a lower food drive but a higher prey drive, may be more driven by toys. Not responding to just one kind of reward doesn’t mean a dog has obedience issues. Run from a trainer who believes in a “one-size-fits-all” school of thought !

3. Does he use all humane training tools ?

Many trainers, to build an impeccable track record, turn trainee dogs into zombies, with the excessive use of tools like electric collars or inhuman use of prong collars. While both prong collars and e-collars, if used with appropriate moderation, can be used as great training tools, their indiscriminate and at times needlessly cruel uses, as practiced by some trainers, are not at all justified.

4. Is he running a Schutzhund factory?

The more GSDs you trained clear the different Schutzhund levels and win titles, the more money you can charge from future clients: this philosophy prompts some trainers to literally run Schutzhund mills with extremely strict training regimes. While strictness is definitely required while training for Schutzhund, steer clear from a mechanically professional task master you or your dog doesn’t feel comfortable with. Too much of anything is no good; even a medicine administered at a dose higher than required can be very toxic to the body and would do little to cure the actual illness.

5. What chemistry does he share with YOU ?

Lets face it: it’s more of you than your pet who’ll be actively interacting with the trainer. The trainer will teach you the commands and show you how to reinforce those commands consistently with your pet on every single occasion. Your dog will spend at the most an hour a week with the trainer at the training field and the remainder of the week with you at home. It’s you who needs to master the training techniques. Whatever you learn from the trainer, needs to be practiced at home relentlessly until your dog picks the lessons up. If you and the trainer fail to strike the right chord, and there’re gaps in communication and you feel he’s not doing a good job teaching you how to train and handle your GSD better, time to say good bye and look for another option.

 

Article written by

Born and raised in Kolkata, the Indian City of Joy, I immigrated to the United States as a graduate student in 2005. I now live in Danville, California with my husband, two gigantic German Shepherd puppies and a bunch of Discus fish. An engineer and MBA by background, a marketing designer by profession, a voracious reader and a compulsive movie addict by hobby, I can't stop talking about interesting, exciting, intriguing and inspiring stuff I stumble up on.

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