I found this description of the Frankish herding dog Berger Picard’s temperament on Wikipedia and thought how perfectly it describes the seemingly close relative, the German shepherd dog:
The Berger Picard's attributes include a lively, intelligent personality and a sensitive and assertive disposition that responds quickly to obedience training. By and large, Picards are laid back and mellow but they are known for having a stubborn streak and being reserved towards strangers. They require a lot of socialization during the first two years of their lives. Picards are energetic and hard working, alert, loyal and sweet-tempered with children. They are happiest when they have a job to do. They also have a protective nature, making them good guard dogs. However, they are not excessive barkers (at least should not be)…
…the breed also has a well-developed sense of humor, making them an endearing companion, and they continue to be used very effectively as both sheep and cattle herder in their native land and elsewhere.Like many herding breeds, Picards require human companionship and lots of it. Since they can be demonstrative to their owners and enthusiastic friends towards other animals, formal obedience training and plenty of positive socialization is a must. Athletic, loyal and filled with a desire to work a long day, the breed excels in any "job" as long as enthusiasm and praise is a part of the task.
Continued and varied positive socialization for a puppy is vitally important to his future stability. Dogs that are separated from new experiences and environments in their youth tend to be “wild”. The task of polishing a dog’s behavior by involving him in as much of your life (in and out of the home) as possible can seem trying, but the work you put in now will pay-off.
The goal is to increase your puppy’s confidence so that he faces life with assurance, instead of timidity, which may result in a fear-based aggressive dog.
Although I don’t feel a German shepherd should be described as “happy-go-lucky”, he should be relaxed in truly non-threatening circumstances.
Dog training occurs every moment you are part of your dog’s life. If you are not actively engaged in any variety of formal training, then most likely some degree of pack structure training is occurring.
By formal training, I mean any canine discipline, such as obedience, tracking, scent training, agility, etc.
As I’ve promoted earlier, using local resources for formal training guided by an effective trainer will pay in dividends. Your investment in your animal appreciates as your dog becomes more valued as a willing worker and an obedient companion.
Other training resources exist in books, video, and the web. I feel the more effective methods you know and can apply, the more ideas you will have to draw from in future need.
Dogs are so thoroughly entwined into human civilization that nearly all dog owners are to some degree dog experts.
There may be those who are well schooled or more importantly, those that have years of successful dog handling that may deserve the title “Dog Expert.” However, I cannot presume that one method of dog handling is more successful to another.
One variable is that dogs individually, are dynamic. The energy state, intelligence, loyalty, etc., vary, as do the humans that interact with them.
Dog handling can vary remarkably from region to region around the planet. With all the working breeds of dog and all the jobs asked of those dogs, it behooves dog handlers to educate themselves in as many human-dog interaction methods as practical. By using objectivity and logic, the best methods can be implemented and adjusted for specific needs.
The ultimate goal is a human that uses the dog to help decide what communication is needed to get to the end result. The totality of the tools and tricks to use is truly infinite. Reading the dog correctly facilities quicker and more effective results. Arriving at this point requires putting your time in with your dog.
The pack is shrinking but the puppies seem to be business as usually here.
Pflaume and Wasser were invited to one of our grandson's kindergarten class. This was a great socialization opportunity for both pups. It is hard to duplicate 16 excited 5 and 6 year olds in the same room, at the same time. A great experience for all.
The whole German shepherd pack, including parents, visited the vet two days ago. The exams continue to be favorable and the inoculations remain current. All went very well except for Kohl. We now know he hates to have his temperature tested.