Training and its specific characteristics of Caucasian Shepherd Dog
As it was mentioned before the Shepherd dog belongs to a very specific breed and requires a very thorough approach to its training. By the age of 9 months you should be sure about obedience of the dog, it should already have been formed. To make this task easier we would recommend that an expert starts to train it when it's 7 or 8 months old. However, the training should mean only teaching to obedience!
When training your dog you should be aware of the following:
So, you are starting to train the dog. First of all, you have to be patient, persistent and able to use not only the hands but your intelligence too. Training the dog to obey with your feet or goodies isn't effective and in 80% it's fighting a loosing battle. In the rest of 20 or 15% you will break the dog's natural characteristics and in 5% they likely do not exist. In this regard I would like to quote the Charter of Brazilian breeders, chapter 6 which is "You should take fila brasileiro as it is. If someone needs an obedient dog, they should not attempt to change fila they should change the breed." This goes for the Caucasian Shepherd dog as well. So, should not you train it? You should but bear in mind that the only base for training is a good relationship with your dog and the only means allowed is an intonation, a gesture and pulling a lead. The Caucasian Shepherd dog being taught to the commands of obedience with the eyes covered is not a myth. However, it would make no sense to train those dogs without having a good contact with them! Another important question is what to teach them to. Let's look at the example. The owner trains its dog to obey the command "come". He has goodies and offers the dog to exchange them into free walking. As a result of this the dog is getting used to ignoring owner's commands. At the same time, you can achieve obedience by using a lead and your voice modeling a situation you want.
In our opinion, the dog has to learn:
command "heel" to walk alongside you
To obey such commands like "sit", "down", "give foot" the dog should be trained at home before the age of 7 months. Commands "No" and "Come-to-Heel" should be learnt with meat in front of the dog and followed without failure.
What makes the Shepherd dog different from other working breeds?
The Caucasian Shepherd Dog and the Central Asian Shepherd Dog are very "real" dogs. We often face the situation when a dog at the second or third session refuses to work. The reason for that is not the absence of "working ability" but misunderstanding of the nature of the Shepherd dog. To make things clear you should go to its territory. When it's trained on a different territory it has nothing to guard and has bitten a training slave one or two times it understands that the actions make no sense and, finally, it ignores them at all. So, while for other breeds it's better to train them preliminary on a training field and only then to put them into conditions close to real for the Shepherd dogs it should be done quite opposite: first they should be trained on their territory and then be put into an "artificial" environment. For that reason training techniques based on a game don't work.
To sum up, training of these dogs should be based exclusively on the instincts of aggression, protection food and a territory.
As a consequence of what was described in cl.1 is the fact that the Caucasian Shepherd Dog and the Central Asia Shepherd Dog are always trying to avoid acting with an outfit. They prefer to attack open parts of a human body, namely, the wrists or the head. There is a point of view that a tendency to bite into the throat, which can be considered as attacking the head, has a genetic origin.
When the breeds deals with an enemy that has to be eliminated majority
of these dogs choose exactly this tactic and the part of a body.
Since the dogs absolutely don't have the ability to show off in contests teaching them to it needs lots of work and using specific tricks. That is why their owners don't like participating in contests and shows. Doing well in protection of the territory and the members of their pack these dog may demonstrate their character refusing to do exercises.
The Caucasian Shepherd Dog doesn't like being in pursuit of a trainer. The dogs accept only real opponents and in their opinion, an enemy running away is not an enemy. At the same time they are readily attack a coming to them vehicle or when rushing on an enemy they can break a window with its frame.
What do we finally have?
Having trained your Shepherd dog in obedience, which may take you from 3 to 4 months, you still shouldn't overestimate your power to control the dog. When it comes to performing a guardian function the dog is becoming more disobeyed since it's absolutely sure that it's more efficient in a such situation than its owner. For this reason the Caucasian Shepherd Dog and its Middle Asian relative are considered to be the best guardians in the world. That's why you shouldn't leave them near a shop or let them walk without a lead in places where people may appear unexpectedly. Nevertheless, these dogs do need to be trained to obey, especially walk alongside you and follow the command "Stop!".
By the age of 2 a dog should have been familiar with situations possible to happen during doing its guarding job. Remember the Caucasian Shepherd Dog starts acting depending on a situation and not waiting for its master's command. It's great in terms of protection but at the same time it causes specific requirements to its master's ability to control the dog.
Extracts from "The Caucasian and Central Asia Shepherd Dogs and other wolfdogs" by V.Vysotsky