Thursday, July 21, 2011

Part Deux

So I previously had included the complete list of commands that Janka understands as well as my personal philosophy on how I train my own dog in the last entry. But it was such a long post, I decided to break it up and create a new entry just for Janka's vocabulary and her training.

I teach new commands using positive reinforcement and adopt appropriate corrections when necessary. I use different training equipment, from a soft tool (flat collar) to a training aid that allows for instant, well-executed correction (e-collar). I make it a point to rotate them, with the addition of using the reward system to reinforce a desired behavior. It takes more work, but I do not believe in sticking to a specific method all the time. The importance is consistency, variation and expecting the same results on all platforms. Besides, it makes it more stimulating and enjoyable for me and Janka.

I also believe in using the lowest resistance (starting with a flat or martingale) that achieves the desired results before moving onto something stronger, depending on the dog's personality and soft/hardness. If one chooses to use an e-collar, proper handling, understanding and knowledge of how it works is a MUST. I did not jump to an e-collar right away. I held off till I tried all other methods of corrections to encourage her to toe the line, and I certainly would not use that to teach a puppy or a new command. The e-collar's function, in my opinion, is to correct an undesirable behavior. Nothing else.

Would I do the same over with my next dog? No. Because we all learn from experience, and I do not expect my next German Shepherd to be an exact clone of Janka. Different strokes for different folks, it is all about custom-fitting to the dog's personality.

Janka's Commands:
*sitz (long)
*platz (long)
*steh (long)
*halt (long)
*place (long)
*rats (bark on command)
*up (jump with all 4 legs off the ground)
*over (jump over obstacles)
*free now
*through (going through the legs)
*watch me

(I am not a trainer. I am not giving advice of any kind. I am merely talking about my own experience with my German Shepherd.)

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