Thursday, September 8, 2011

Clicker training my German shepherd

Obedience training my two-year old German shepherd is my current challenge.

When a dog weighs as much as his handler (which is the case with Major and me), training for instant obedience becomes essential. Major disgraced himself two weeks ago by pulling free of my grasp and chasing a little dog back to his house. He didn't attack the dog but he did give it a scare. I was extremely disappointed and cross!

Therefore, instead of long walks along the river, we drive to the Mitchell Show Grounds and do lots of training on the oval. I'm trying a new method of training using a clicker and food rewards. So far it's working well. For example, I say, "Sit", click as he obeys, then give an instant food reward --with all of this happening in very quick succession.

Major was taught to sit, drop, stay, watch (look at my eyes), and come when called when he was a young pup. Consequently, most of the work is done, I just need to reinforce the commands with the clicker and sharpen up his obedience. Pulling on the lead while heeling is another problem area that needs more work.

German shepherds are intelligent, keen to learn and want to please. Therefore, the process of training is enjoyable and I feel we are making steady progress.

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