All dogs, no matter what breed, benefit from training - whether it is done at home or at training class.
Puppy Socialisation/Basic Training/Ringcraft/Agility etc
Check if you have a GSD club near your home, see details below. If there is, join and take your dog for socialisation and training. If not, check in your local Yellow Pages or with your vet for details of training classes in your area. Some vets hold puppy socialisation classes at their surgeries. Clubs will vary in their training, some will do obedience/good citizen; others may do agility or flyball and breed clubs will hold ringcraft classes for those wishing to learn to show their dogs. Any club is worth joining for socialisation not just for your dog but for you to make new friends as well. The Kennel Club has a Good Citizen Dog Scheme, visit the Kennel Club website for full details : www.thekennelclub.org.uk
SPECIALISED GSD TRAINING
In 1901 German specialists keen to protect the best qualities of the breed introduced the Schutzhund Test to ensure that dogs were of correct temperament.
"The tracking phase includes a temperament test by the overseeing judge to assure the dog's mental soundness. When approached closely on a loose leash, the dog should not act shyly or aggressively. The track is laid earlier by a person walking normally on a natural surface such as dirt or grass. The track includes a number of turns and a number of small, man-made objects left by this person on the track itself. At the end of a 30-foot leash, the handler follows the dog, which is expected to scent the track and indicate the location of the objects, usually by lying down with it between its front paws. The tracking phase is intended to test the dog's trainability and ability to scent, as well as its mental and physical endurance.
The obedience phase includes a series of heeling exercises, some of which are closely in and around a group of people. During the heeling, there is a gun shot test to assure that the dog does not openly react to such sharp noises. There is also a series of field exercises in which the dog is commanded to sit, lie down, and stand while the handler continues to move. From these various positions, the dog is recalled to the handler. With dumbbells of various weights, the dog is required to retrieve on a flat surface, over a one-meter hurdle, and over a six-foot slanted wall. The dog is also asked to run in a straight direction from its handler on command and lie down on a second command. Finally, each dog is expected to stay in a lying down position away from its handler, despite distractions, at the other end of the obedience field, while another dog completes the above exercises. All of the obedience exercises are tests of the dog's temperament, structural efficiencies, and, very importantly, its willingness to serve man or woman.
The protection phase tests the dog's courage, physical strength and agility. The handler's control of the dog is absolutely essential. The exercises include a search of hiding places, finding a hidden person (acting as a human decoy), and guarding that decoy while the handler approaches. The dog is expected to pursue the decoy when an escape is attempted and to hold the grip firmly. The decoy is searched and transported to the judge with the handler and dog walking behind and later at the decoy's right side. When the decoy attempts to attack the handler, the dog is expected to stop the attack with a firm grip and no hesitation.
The final test of courage occurs when the decoy is asked to come out of a hiding place by the dog's handler from the opposite end of the trial field. The dog is sent as the decoy runs toward the dog and handler. The decoy runs directly at the dog, threatening the dog with a stick. All bites during the protection phase are expected to be firmly place on the padded sleeve and stopped on command and/or when the decoy discontinues the fight. The protection tests are intended to assure that the dog is neither a coward nor a criminal menace."
There are clubs in the UK which are now offering Schutzhund Training, contact your local GSD Breed club for further advice.
Breed Clubs and Societies (information correct to best of my knowledge)
ALLERTONSHIRE GSD CLUB. Sec. Mrs T Hunter. Tel No: 01748 812251
BIRMINGHAM & DISTRICT GSD ASSOC. Sec. Mrs Hood. Tel No: 01922 457615
BOLTON & DISTRICT GSD CLUB. Sec. Mrs C Morrison. Tel No. 0161 368 4928
BRITISH ASSOC FOR GSDS. Sec. Mrs K Dunkason. Tel No: 02380 263999
CLYDE VALLEY GSD CLUB. Sec: Miss A Dickie. Tel No: 01236 604833
CREWE & NORTH STAFFS GSD CLUB. Sec. Ms A Doran. Tel No: 01782 388402
DERBYSHIRE GSD CLUB. Sec. Miss P Roe. Tel No: 01142 336262
FIFE GSD CLUB. Sec. Mrs H Christie. Tel No: 01307 466373
GSD CLUB OF THE UNITED KINGDOM. Sec. Mrs J Leadbetter. Tel No: 01388 730111
GSD CLUB OF BRISTOL. Sec. Mrs L Dodds. Tel No: 0117 957 3925
GSD CLUB OF DEVON. Sec. Miss S Tucker. Tel No: 01626 833260
GSD CLUB OF ESSEX. Sec. Mrs S Rankin. Tel No: 01708 342194
GSD CLUB OF HERTFORDSHIRE. Sec. Mrs J Green. Tel No: 01438 832525
GSD CLUB OF KENT. Sec: Mrs E Lowe. Tel No: 01843 846572
GSD CLUB OF NORTHERN IRELAND. Sec. Ms J Allen. Tel No: none available, please contact the Kennel Club for further information
GSD CLUB OF SCOTLAND. Sec. Mrs A Mathieson. Tel No: 01241 439230
GSD CLUB OF SUFFOLK. Sec. Mrs M McCrae. Tel No: 01473 719514
GSD CLUB OF WALES. Sec. Mrs S Evans. Tel No: 029 2021 9253
GSD LEAGUE OF GB. Sec. Miss C Lister. Tel No: 01630 638540
GRAMPIAN GSD ASSOC. Ms Dawson. Tel No: 01224 848201
HEADS OF THE VALLEY GSD CLUB. Sec. Mrs M Davies. Tel No: 01443 412975
HUMBERSIDE GSD CLUB. Sec. Mrs Bryant. Tel No: not available, please contact the Kennel Club for further information
LEICESTERSHIRE GSD CLUB. Sec. Mrs D Walgate. Tel No: 0116 222970
MIDLAND COUNTIES GSD ASSOC. Sec. Mrs Macdougall. Tel No: 01636 813764
NORFOLK GSD CLUB. Sec. Mrs J Mann. Tel No: 01603 754713
NORTH EASTERN GSD CLUB. Sec. Ms S Hall. Tel No: 0191 241 1096
NORTH WALES ALSATIAN CLUB. Sec. Mrs C Wilson - 01407 840486
NORTH YORKSHIRE & SOUTH DURHAM GSD CLUB. Sec Ms Ingham. Tel No: Contact the Kennel Club for further information
PRESTON & FYLDE GSD CLUB. Sec. Mrs A Height. Tel No: 01942 867010
SHEFFIELD GSD SOCIETY. Sec. Mrs A Hardy. Tel No: 01777 703417
SOUTH WESTERN GSD CLUB. Sec: Mrs H Gray. Tel No: 01380 850483
SOUTH YORKSHIRE ALSATIAN ASSOC. Sec. Mr R Brandon. Tel No. 01302 721015
SOUTHERN GERMAN SHEPHERD DOG CLUB. Sec. Mrs V Kimber. Tel No: 01992 301585
TYNE VALLEY GSD CLUB. Ms I I'Anson. Tel No: 01207 543439
WEST YORKSHIRE GSD CLUB. Sec. Mrs Belfield. Tel No: 0113 237 4223