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What does good GSD leadership look like?   Behavior and Training

Started Nov-9 by DW (GSDogwalker); 343 views.
DW (GSDogwalker)

From: DW (GSDogwalker)

Nov-9

You posted in another thread that your dogs started showing better behaviors over the years as you developed better leadership.  What does that mean? What is good leadership and what in particular does our breed need?

Solitaire13

From: Solitaire13

Nov-9

Who are you talking to? Do you need a break from the keyboard?

DW (GSDogwalker)

From: DW (GSDogwalker)

Nov-9

I posted to Selzer so she can join us.  

DW (GSDogwalker)

From: DW (GSDogwalker)

Nov-9

What does good leadership in owning a German Shepherd look like to you? 

DW (GSDogwalker)

From: DW (GSDogwalker)

Nov-9

There, I changed the title.

selzer

From: selzer

Dec-23

I just saw this.  

I dunno the answer.  I always hear about people saying they got their first GSD from a BYB or shelter, and then years later, they got a pup from a breeder and it was so different, the pup from the breeder was easier.  But in reality, yes, the genetics may make some difference, but we always discount the difference that that first PITA dog beat into us, that we no longer even think of, but the new puppy picked up on immediately.  We learned to manage that crazy dog by our body-language more than the stuff we did deliberately.  Our bodies learned to manage the dog without much conscious brain-work involved. 

You all have seen Cesar (not really a fan) do it though.  He is interacting with a dog, the dog does something, he does something and then he explains what just happened.  I don't want to call it instinctive.  I think our body language becomes trained by the dog, because domestic animals and humans have such a drive to communicate and animals communicate with body language.  We do too.  With people.  All the time.  We don't think about it.  Sometimes we have to think fast not to do it.   When we take a dog to the vet for something unpleasant, we sometimes have to mask our body language and our own fear to not make our dog more nervous than he has to be.  Like when you kid has had an accident and is bleeding badly, and you say, "It's ok, let me press this up on your forehead," instead of "OH MY GOD THERE IS SO MUCH BLOOD!!!"  

So I don't know.  I think with each dog, I become more dog-like in how I communicate with them -- body language.  I don't make the same mistakes I made as a novice.  I have realistic expectations for the dogs depending on age, personality, and what they have been trained to do.  I am sure sometimes we are conscious about leadership decisions that we make in the moment, but I really think the vast majority just becomes second nature.  The problem is too many folks haven't had enough dogs to get them there that way.  They have to try to learn it second hand.  It is like the difference between a first language and a second language.  Learning through experience is almost natural, while learning it by watching others explain what they are doing and why is almost an up-hill battle all the time. 

In reply toRe: msg 6
Solitaire13

From: Solitaire13

Dec-23

I agree.  Our body language, facial expressions,  tones of voice, etc., are so critical when handling a dog yet they seem to be the most under utilized of tools.

In reply toRe: msg 6
DW (GSDogwalker)

From: DW (GSDogwalker)

Dec-23

Yes, that is so true.  When I was having challenges with  my working line and my old training methods didn’t work, I found a WL specialist.  I was very lucky.  He commented that my handling skills are good, and I honestly had no idea what he was talking about at first.  He meant my leashwork, the way I stand, tone of voice, personal strength of character.  I didn’t realize I was different from other owners until I got into a small class with the trainer and people with varied other breeds.  My attitude and demeanor is different.  I’m not saying I’m a good handler or my dog would not have been acting out at times, but I’m much better now than I used to be before GSDs and probably better than the other dog owners who do not need to handle their dogs well, as the dogs do what they will do, almost no matter who is working them.

In reply toRe: msg 6
Beystar

From: Beystar

Jan-8

Being a German Shepherd Breeder its been interesting to see nature vs nurture in my pups. There are so many personality traits that are hardwired into them- that I seek out potential owners who understand and can learn how to accommodate/deal with these traits. We work with a network of dog trainers since training for this breed is SO important..... and we receive a lot of feedback from the trainers that they are also seeing a trend of specific traits in our pups. 
Since they know, and now expect those traits, its easier for the trainer to teach their clientele how to be better handlers of their dogs. 

selzer

From: selzer

Jan-9

It's true that your line tends tends to develop a set of traits that you can kind of expect.  When you outsource a dog into your line, especially when you are working with outside people, who are not blinded by being too involved with the lines, they can help us see what this outsourced dog brought into our lines, and then we can make decisions on that feedback.  Breeding is like a blend of science and art and skill/work/experience, and maybe something more.  

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