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Categories: Basic Obedience , Leerburg Online University

Q. I just adopted a 1 year old male German Shepherd and am wondering if the Basic Obedience course is right for me or if I should be looking at a different course.
Hi. I was interested in taking the Basic Obedience course offered online, but I am unsure if it is relevant for me. I have just adopted a 1 year old male German Shepherd from a very good breeder that recommended me to your site. He does know a bit more than the basic commands. I would like to learn the recall, better walking on a leash... he's not bad, but could be better. Basically I think my question is, is this course for teaching a puppy and should I be looking into a different course? Or is this course relevant for a teaching a 1 year old as well? In the short time we've had him, he has learned to play fetch, and learned the command to come when in the house, but basically ignores it half the time when we are outside. (I did read briefly a few mins ago that I am only to call him for a recall if I am sure he will come). Currently he is being walked on a prong collar, and he does know that look command, and will go into a fully submissive position by saying shhhhhh. I have not gone to obedience training yet, as nothing was really available over Christmas time (we've had him for 1 month), and the place that I was recommended is about an hour drive each way (in the snow), which I will end up going to, but I wanted to get started. A bit of background, this is our first dog, and we are a family with two kids 7 and 8. I know this is a pretty long message. I appreciate any info you can provide, or any suggestions of a different video that would be more suitable. Thanks in advance.

A. A couple of points. When I used to import selection tested police service dogs (in the 1980's) I quickly learned that even though a dog may have had previous training (many times they were Schutzhund titled) that meant nothing to the dog following my directions. They may for a while but sooner or later they found out that I didn't handle them like their previous owner or owners.

So I changed my ways. When I got a new dog, I assumed he knew nothing and I took him from the beginning through my training. Doing this taught the dog "my commands" and "my reinforcement methods" and it learned how I approached mistakes he made in training -- sometimes corrections sometimes with holding rewards. That training often went quickly if the dog had good training before or it took longer if the dog was not fully trained (which was to be expected).

So my answer to your question is "Yes, take the course!" Based on what you have said in your email you need it. It contains 150 videos and is open to students for a year.

We have a course overview video that you can watch. This web page also contains the course outline.

Now, on your comments on the "COME COMMAND." You are making huge mistakes in how you are handling this dog. When it is outside it should be on a leash (either a long line or a Flexi) all the time. By not having him on a line and calling him you are training the dog that he can be selective on when he comes and when he doesn't come. You are allowing him to practice bad behavior.

There are a ton more things that need to be set in the foundation of the dog before you worry about off-leash recalls. If you are managing the dog properly you don't need an off-leash recall for a long time.

Here is a free video on I recently produced on Management for one of our newsletters. Learning how to provide good management is a huge part of training. I hate to say this but it sounds like you dropped the management ball. The fact is this is a very common thing for dog owners to do.

Frankly, you have much more to learn than your dog. That course is open to you for a year. Study it, have your husband study it.

Read the articles I have written on kids and dogs.

I hope this helps

Regards,
Ed Frawley
  
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