Every person wants an obedient dog that behaves well and obeys commands upon instruction. However in the modern World this has gone way too far, and the reason is dog owners who are in reality ” Control Freaks ” and shouldn’t have a dog. Then there are greedy so called trainers who actually know very little about dog behavior, and have people bringing in their sub 12 week old puppies for structured training, puppy classes and such. Remember that there are NO requirements to become a ” dog trainer ” in the U.S. So Called training Certification is very easy to obtain. Remember that there is a place and time for everything. Think of the human parent that expects their sub 12 year old child to play baseball, football, the piano, ballet etc. whether the child wants to do so or not. If the child isn’t really interested, then this builds frustration and stress among both the parent and child. The child will ultimately despise the unwanted activity and rightly so. Most sub 12 year old’s should be riding their bicycle, going fishing or hiking with Dad or Mom, flying kites, or just playing in the dirt. Those other activities should only be introduced and encouraged. The same applies with adolescent dogs, especially European West German Shepherds which function at a higher level emotionally than do other dog species. Dogs highly respond based on voice tone and body language. So the sub 12 week old should only be learning your various voice tones in correlation to what those sounds ” the words ” mean. They should also be learning your body language for the same reasons. Along with learning the meaning of ” Good ” and ” NO ”, and some basic potty training skills, the sub 12 week old should NOT be required to mentally focus and such, as their cognition is too immature.
At 12 -16 weeks you can apply some obedience, however puppies should NEVER be required to learn and express such behavior as to sit, stay, down, or heel until around 5-6 months of age. Puppies should be allowed to be Puppies as their cognition- intelligence, intellect and instincts are highly developing during this time. They should learn to think for themselves, and to build a loving, fun relationship with their ” Parent ”. This can include hiking and walking OFF LEASH, playing ball, exploring the woods and water, playing with their toys, chasing bugs and eating dirt, but just NOT allot of demands and structure. There is a difference between dog owners and dog PARENTS!! Most modern dogs are rarely off leash, can NOT think for themselves, and totally rely on their OWNERS for EVERYTHING. Yes these dogs are dumber than a rock, but only because their cognition was not allowed to develop. Remember the following- STUPID PEOPLE will have STUPID dogs!!
While mentioned in our training article, remember that treats, shock devices such as E-Collars, choke collars etc should NEVER be used to reward or deter behavior. This is all achieved thru PHYSICAL praise, and VERBAL discipline.