German Shepherd Commitment: Strengthening the Bond and Concentration very helpful

German Shepherd Commitment: Strengthening the Bond and Concentration in German Shepherds

Concentration First: Key to Successful Dog Training :

start with concentration. Never attempt to train an unfocused dog! Concentration is an important part of Schutzhund, competitive obedience and all other forms of training and is closely related to engagement. Concentration work and concentration games help lay the foundation for the steps to engagement.

Concentration work teaches the dog that focusing his attention on you is very rewarding and enjoyable. Then, when it comes to bonding, we cultivate focused movement, not just stationary concentration. It is important to use natural, voluntary concentration rather than controlled concentration (e.g., the “look” or “watch” signals).

German Shepherd: Isolating Engagement:

Work (initially) on engagement separately from other things. If engagement is what you want to work on, train it separately and not during other activities.

Bonding and relationship, as well as a close “pack drive” or strong attachment to the owner, go hand in hand. A dog that is totally bonded to you wants to work for you, not just for food or toys.

Using Markers for Training Success:

Be fully committed to your dog. We expect our dogs to be fully engaged, so we need to be. At this point you also want to introduce the concept of marker training, sometimes referred to as “clicker training”. You need to give the dog a way to signal that they did exactly what you wanted at that moment and received a treat. You want to “mark” the exact moment the dog did the right thing.

The Impact of Environment : The Ideal Duration for Training Sessions:

Choose a training environment that is appropriate for your dog. The environment is the number one reason dogs don’t engage. There is no point in working on bonding in a stimulating environment if your dog is not even capable of doing it at home! Choose the environment that is least stimulating for your dog and go from there. This means practicing at home in your kitchen first, with just you and the dog, no distractions.

You will gradually eliminate the distractions when your dog has learned the commands after 150 or more repetitions. Also remember that your training sessions should be short. It is better to train 10 minutes at a time three times a day than 30 minutes in a single session. The frequency of repetitions is important.

Give Your German Shepherd Time to Explore:

When you move from the home environment to the park, give your dog a chance to look around and acclimate. You will not achieve true bonding if your dog is stressed, curious or nervous about his surroundings, so give him a chance to look around. This can take a few minutes, even ten minutes or more depending on the dog. You don’t have to show him EVERYTHING in his environment, but let him sniff, look around, do his business, and sniff again. Then return to the bonding work, not necessarily the commands.

Avoid Correcting Bonding Lapses for Success :

Do not correct the lack of bonding! You will experience the failure, and this is NOT an opportunity to physically correct the dog to re-engage. Throughout the bonding work, do NOT correct the dog. We teach him to accepty, happily, and enthusiastically engage with us; corrections diminish this picture, and can create reactive or even forced engagement.

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