Hi all:) Learned more this month about my GSD and wanted to share. I got so frustrated with her this last 6 weeks. Loong winter, then I've had some medical problems and it's my fault totally she slipped in her training.. pretty much all winter.
She wasn't listening to me at all. Barging past me to get out the door. Not listening outside. (She'll be 3 tomorrow). I spent some time yesterday reviewing some very good older articles about drives, nerves, inherited traits vs learned responses. Took a chance this evening that I actually learned to try the best approach to get back on track... and it worked 100%! Every once in a while even us dummies get lucky:)
I ordered her a new round of balls and a "flirt pole" last month. The pole is actually a horse whip (lime green). Took it out back and practiced using it as a whip on an old bush and it really makes a noise. She kinda spooked. I told her it was ok but stay back. Just watched her, called her over, let her sniff it, pet her - she was cool but not up to her crazy run amok antics. The noise brought a natural fear to her.
So, took her in the front yard and for the next 1/2 hour I played good guy/bad guy ball with her re; long distance sit/stays. 1st 2 minutes, she bolted and barked at a couple walking by (the woman actually screamed). I cracked the whip (no where near her) and told her "NO" "DOWN" and she dropped. I apologized and said sorry! she's in training.
The next distractions were ignored- she had total focus on me. She obeyed me! Ball in one hand, several throws and retrieves and then I'd tell her to sit (70 feet away) and we'd to the long down. She was 100% on our session from there on out.
Do dogs take advantage some? I think yes! There's no way this session could have brought results so quickly and consistently if she had not known what I wanted in this exact scenario (which were total failures) in the previous 2 weeks. The whip in my hand brought respect. The last 10 minutes of the session, I just had the whip laying on the ground beside me - same positive results. Now, that leads back to what kind of dog you have... nerve, drive etc and I would appreciate more feedback on that...
But, I'm a pretty happy camper right now:) Thought I lost it all forever with her because of such a long winter break with no training. All I lost was respect (rightfully and understandably so) but - This goofy looking horse whip is my key to get us back in the program.
I realize that I got lucky with this breakthrough and have to be on this training every day now. I will have the whip laying beside me and will only pick it up and crack it if she breaks training but I think she won't need it at all ... until it comes to the prey drive problem - she's a fence fighter.