Training the Pack

I have a fairly simple goal for my dogs to achieve in 2015: Pass Canine Good Citizen. It’s a pretty simple goal and should be easy to achieve. The benefit though is that I’ll have an excellent baseline to build on for further training.

The real goal is that I want to feel confident taking all three dogs with me places. Walking the three of them at the moment is doable but can quickly get a bit overwhelming if they get excited about something (other dogs tend to be the greatest challenge).

I’ll be working with a trainer (Specialty Pet Training’s Anne ONeill) and we’ve already discussed this stuff. The first thing I’ll be doing is journaling so I can keep track of the various things I observe. We’ll also plan out some training opportunities once I have my work plan straightened out.

The biggest issue I have is that I have 3 German Shepherds. Working with just one is a huge pain and takes more effort because the other two want to participate. I need to learn how to give the other two something to do while I work with the third. Ideally I should be able to put all three in a down, call one over do some stuff and then have it return to the other to and down with them and then take another one to work with. We’ll figure it out.

Another thing I want is to

For fun I’m also getting a harness that will hold an action camera (I use a Drift Ghost). I can’t wait to see how it works. Hopefully I’ll have some great video to post.

After the Canine Good Citizen thing though I’m not sure exactly what we’ll do. A few things that come to mind are:

  1. Cats  – I need to get the entire pack to ignore my cats completely.  They’re not aggressive toward the cats, they are just really interested and want the cats to play.  The cats on the other hand want nothing to do with the cats.  My desire is for my cat Lorie to go back to sleeping with me at night.  When I only had Kaiser she slept with Kaiser on the bed with me.
  2. Perfect return – I want all three dogs to return to me on command regardless of the distraction.  On return I want them to sit in front of me facing me.  Whether alone or in a group I want them to perform this behavior perfectly every time.
  3. Barking – First: I actually like that my dogs bark at people who approach the house.  However, I want them to stop when I tell them to stop.  For instance: I’m good with them barking when the pizza guy shows up, they’ll start barking when he comes up the drive way and I like that, but once I know it’s the pizza guy I want them to stop barking.  In some ways this could be related to the perfect return.  The key is that I want them to stop barking when I tell them to stop barking no matter what is going on.
  4. Perfect stay – This obviously is related to the perfect return.  I want to be able to put the dogs in a down and have them stay there until I release them no matter what is going on.
  5. Search – Search is related to my interests in SAR.  I’m not sure what I want here and I need to do more research, but I’d love to be able to train my dogs to work in SAR.  This however might not be realistic.  On the other hand some of the skills should be teach able whether or not we actually get involved in SAR.
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