A lot of people from the US and Canada are interested in how smart dogs are.
According to the findings of a recent language development test the average dog has the mental abilities of a 2-year-old. In terms of the ranking, the top three are Border collies, Poodles, and then German shepherds.
But when it comes to training, German Shepherds are considered to be the best. Police and special forces use them almost exclusively.
Border Collies and Poodles might be more intelligent, but they are not used for training as much as GSD’s.
About German Shepherds
The German shepherd is a highly intelligent breed of dog with a great deal of stamina and a ‘sharp’ mind. In spite of the findings of the test described above, most dog experts consider the German shepherd as the most intelligent dog breed in the world as well as one of the easiest breeds to train.
The German shepherd has a fast and retentive memory. This helps it to remember words of importance, commands, and tricks that you may teach him or her. The intelligence rolls over directly from the days whereby the level of intelligence was critical for a keen herding and working dog. The German shepherd had to be sharp, attentive, and logical to effectively watch out for the sheep under its custody.
The shepherding is mostly a thing of the past now, but the dogs are very focused on their owner and have strong retentive memory. German shepherds watch out for the people they care about and respond to stimuli quickly. This is the reason why they make for excellent protectors.
Quick Learner = Intelligent?
With all this talk of intelligence you might mistakenly believe that you will get your German shepherd already magically knowing basic commands. Your German shepherd will not come understanding when to ‘lie down’ or ‘sit’ or roll over, or when to ‘start’ or ‘stop.’ German shepherds are quick learners but are not psychic.
You should therefore not be surprised in case it takes some time for you and your German shepherd to start learning how to understand each other. You must also be aware that German shepherds are constantly learning so be careful of the kind of example you set for your dog.
How My German Shepherd Made Me A Better Dog Owner.
When I first got my GSD, I was super excited. For the longest time, they seemed like the Ferrari of dogs (weird analogy I know, but it can be hard to put a feeling into words). When she grew up, I started having some real problems.
House-breaking was tough, but I got there in the end. What I couldn’t get right was her constant barking and biting at other dogs. And her pulling on the line. So living with her became a constant struggle:
- Going for a walk meant sore hands and trying to evade other dog owners.
- Having people over meant I had to leash her outside to be able to have any reasonable conversation.
I tried a lot of advice and went to a lot of training sessions, but the problems kept coming back. I wondered whether to keep her because this was not what I signed up for. It wasn’t until I came across a book called The German Shepherd’s Handbook that I could change things around.
- By understanding some specific details about GSDs, I could adapt to her peculiarities. For example, the difference between the German and American bloodline needs to be taken into account during training.
- A different grooming technique allowed me to spend 35 minutes less per week. And grooming never was my favorite way to hang out with my dog.
- I learned a few simple training tips, specifically for GSD, that finally got rid of 80% of her barking and biting.
- I could act as an expert and help my friend pick out the right puppy. I wish I had known this before I got my own. Don’t get me wrong though, I love my dog with her imperfections.
So if you have, or plan to have a German Shepherd, I would recommend you check out this book. It really helped me understand and train my girl better. Without it, she wouldn’t have passed her Therapy Dog certification!
German shepherds are a highly intelligent dog breed. Therefore, respect your dog’s intelligence and ensure that you set a positive example and offer both negative and positive reinforcements when attempting to train your dog. While behavior may be partially inherited, it is also learned. It is as much your responsibility as it is the breeder’s to ensure that you train your dog properly. Good owners make for good dogs.
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