German Shepherd Dog Training | Our Girl Gemma
I made contact with The K9 Centre Australia after hearing of a program that you could board your dog for 2 weeks and have it trained at the same time. We were at our wits end with our 12 month old German Shepherd called Gemma. We were at the stage where we couldn’t handle the dog and our family were starting be scared of her. We were thinking we should
find her a new home.
Gemma is a hi energy dog who just wants to play all the time. The issue with that was she was big and was starting to boss the kids around by jumping on them. Mouthing their arms, starting to stop the kids walking away from her and pulling them to play with her. She would also jump on people when she first met them. We found this cute when she was a puppy but she was 30 kgs and could
really knock you down if she caught us off guard. This wasn’t the only problem, she is dog aggressive. When she was a puppy we were walking her and 3 little white fluffy dogs attacked her and one of them bit her on the back leg breaking the skin. After that she would go crazy out of fear at any dog she saw, it was scary. I’m a big guy (about 95 kgs) and I had to fight a lot to keep her under control.
Anyway this meant we were confined to our house with the dog and the kids didn’t want to play with her. We had “dog listeners” come to our house to assist with Gemma and they spoke about standing tall and gesture feeding to show the dog who was boss. Lets just say we didn’t have much luck with that and if anything it drove the dog crazy with us taunting it with food.
Our Trainer came to our house about 3 months ago and listened to our concerns. He spent a little bit of time with Gemma and told us that she was a good dog and he knew how to calm her down, as long as we followed his techniques. He recommended that we didn’t send the dog away to be trained and showed us a technique called Calm Pressure. It is very simple and involves using a lead to teach the dog to be in a calm state. We also use our dog crate to create a safe haven for the dog to chill out in which she loves. He showed us (Me, my wife and 3 kids) how to do this and it is very simple. We have been using this technique and we couldn’t be happier with the results. It wasn’t a one visit deal where you’re given a few tips, hand over your money and they’re gone. I regularly discuss with our trainer how Gemma is going and
he has organised time to catch up and check on how we are progressing. K9 is more than happy to take calls when you need extra support and provide advice, he genuinely cares about how things are going.
We recently had a family vacation and we needed to kennel Gemma, we decided to board Gemma with The K9 Centre so they could train her while we were on vacation. She came back a different dog.
So does it work? Yes, absolutely. It’s been 3 months and my dog has gone from a high energy nut bag to a dog that still has a lot of energy but will sit, drop, stay, come and be corrected all by verbal commands. This means she plays when we say she can and she doesn’t intimidate anyone. If she over steps the mark its a quick ‘Ahh!’ followed by a drop and stay. The dog responds and calms down. Then the play can start again.We are still working with K9 on the dog aggression and have made good progress. On our last visit Gemma was able to play with his dog ‘Slam’. It was the first time we have seen Gemma do this I can’t describe how excited we were for this to happen. The Dog aggression will take some time to resolve but with K9’s help and support we’re sure we will get there.
Here is Gemma on news years eve, she was calm enough to wear the hat.
Matt Macdonald & Family