Photo Submitted

How to grow a German shepherd

Local breeder, Jan Zerebeski, shares what it takes to train dogs well

Several years ago, we ran a story on JanzHaus, a German Shepherd breeding business located west of Sylvan Lake. Owner, Jan Zerebeski contacted us to provide some updates to the story and clarify a few points.

Original story: German Shepherds an alternative to security systems

With the current increased concern about rural crime Zerebeski has noticed a corresponding increase of interest in people asking about security dogs.

“Just in the last week I’ve had numerous calls asking for security dogs they can adopt to protect their acreages because there’s been some recent break-ins around the Sylvan area,” she said.

Zerebeski said she sees people as wanting to raise their puppies to be a family pet first and foremost but that they also feel safer and more secure with a German shepherd for protection.

“Our dogs have particular personality traits which make them suitable for police work, detection work, search and rescue and wonderful family pets.”

JanzHaus has imported and bred German Shepherds for 20 years. Her motto is the “Proof is in the Pup.”

“We look for even temperaments, hunting instinct and sound character, and strong nerves. This is the complete package for a good sound Shepherd.”

While Zerebeski does not provide training programs for owners once the dogs are sold, the puppies are trained from the time they can hear. A dog is born deaf and cannot hear until approximately it’s 21 days old.

Training starts with the “come” command that’s done by offering food when the command is given so the puppies smell the food. Zerebeski explained there is an order of importance to the five common senses of a dog as a means of communication starting with the most important being smell, then hearing, sight, touch and taste.

Zerebeski stressed the importance of training your dog as it’s growing and said official training is required at eight weeks.

“If you don’t start teaching from the eight week point, they’re not learning or developing mentally.”

Zerebeski refers her dog owners to top trainers in the industry and says the training is about both teaching the owner as well as the puppy so the animal is raised properly. She said if a German Shepherd is aggressive or mean, it can be traced back to a lack of training.

“Usually it’s the owner that makes the mistake of not training their pup and that’s where you encounter problems with any dog not just specifically with Shepherds… When people adopt from me, my requirement is to seek out a reputable trainer because that’s crucial.”

There are a few misconceptions about German shepherds Zerebeski felt it important to clear up. One in particular is the idea that they are mean. She said the dogs are only mean when they’ve developed what’s called “fear aggression” that can be imprinted in them when they are puppies and often happens at dog parks, an area Zerebaski stressed her owners need to stay away from in the early days of training.

“I say to stay away from dog parks when you have a puppy because if they’re attacked by another dog, they develop what’s called ‘fear aggression’ where now when they become a young adult, a dog approaches them and and then they want to lunge at it to protect themselves because they remember what happened to them when they were puppies.”

Zerebeski explains the mind of the dog responds to memory, whether the memory is that of fear or pleasure. To memory or association is added the ability to imitate. These, together, form the main background of the dog’s mental processes. They may be acquired through the instinct handed down generation after generation or through the training of the dog by its owner/handler.

Before they are adopted, the puppies are socialized with kids and other dogs.

Owning a German shepherd is something people need to be prepared for according to Zerebeski. She encourages people to do their homework before owning German shepherd and recognize the commitment they are making.

“They’re one of the smartest dogs in the world, that’s why the police use them. [Potential owners] need to do their homework and they need to have time for that puppy. It’s just like having a child. You need a full commitment when you have an animal.”

Expanding on the unique qualities shepherds bring to police work, Zerebeski said their heavy coats allow them to work under extreme climatic conditions while their training and genetics gives them the skill to search a car in approximately three minutes. She added their presence seems to have an inhibitive psychological effect on potential wrongdoers and that German shepherds trained to apprehend will invariably make a successful arrest despite the fact they are trained only to hold, never to be savage.

When people leave the kennel with their new dog, Zerebeski says they are fully prepared for their new adventure and have all the support they need.

“When someone leaves my kennel they have all their information on trainers, vaccination protocol, diet, and life-long breeder support.”

Puppies that exhibit a high interest in fetching balls are the ones to focus on as potential working dogs Zerebeski says.

“You want dogs that have lots of ball drive because that ball drive gives you the foundation to train them for anything you wish such as search and rescue and detection which is sniffing for bombs, explosives, gas line detection, or anything that a handler is wanting to train them in.”

One of Zerebeski’s puppies is now about three and is on active duty with the New York state troopers sniffing for bombs and drugs. She also has active dogs working as part of search and rescue that work with police officers.

Upcoming litters will be offered throughout the summer and early fall.

For more information, call Zerebeski at (587)447-4046 or email her at: info@janzhaus.com. Please visit their website for further information at www.janzhaus.com.

Just Posted

Protect your pets from ticks, says Sylvan Lake vet

The number of ticks in Alberta has increased, and has put people and pets in danger of Lyme disease

Check online to make sure you’re registered to vote in upcoming provincial election

Advance polls open Tuesday, April 9th to Saturday, April 13th

NDP Leader Rachel Notley stops in Red Deer on campaign trail

Notley promises hospital expansion, cath lab, pipelines and energy industry expansion

West Central Peewee Tigers crowned SCAHL league champions

The Tigers are set to continue their dominating season at Peewee AA Provincials March 28

VIDEO: Restaurant robots are already in Canada

Robo Sushi in Toronto has waist-high robots that guide patrons to empty seats

‘Families torn apart:’ Truck driver in fatal Broncos crash gets 8-year sentence

Judge Inez Cardinal told court in Melfort, Sask., that Sidhu’s remorse and guilty plea were mitigating factors

WestJet sticking with Boeing 737 Max once planes certified to fly

WestJet had expected to add two more of the planes this year to increase its fleet to 13

Fierce house cat spotted as ‘aggressor’ in face off with coyote in B.C. backyard

North Vancouver resident Norm Lee captures orange cat versus coyote in backyard showdown

Wilson-Raybould to reveal more details, documents on SNC-Lavalin affair

Former attorney general has written to the House of Commons justice committee

Anti-discrimination group wants to map offenders with cross-Canada hate atlas

Morgane Oger Foundation issues call for volunteers to help build Canadian Atlas of Populist Extremism

GM announces jobs, electric vehicle after Trump criticism

The company says it will spend $300 million at its plant in Orion Township

Trucker who caused Broncos crash likely to be deported: lawyer

The Crown has asked that Sidhu serve 10 years in prison

China chemical plant blast kills 47, injures hundreds more

This is one of China’s worst industrial accidents in recent years

Most Read