MINNEAPOLIS (KMSP) - When it comes to good manners, these German Shepherds are the definition of good conduct. Walking around Lake Harriet, they’re quiet, polite and proud.
Ron Halling is a trainer with the German Shepherd Club of Minneapolis-St. Paul. The club is a way for German Shepherd owners to connect, and even do a little learning.
“The German Shepherd Club is probably the second-largest in the nation. We offer obedience; got some of the best dogs in America if you're looking for breeders and we offer something extra called the workshop,” Halling explained.
Before many of them are ready to strut their stuff, they need a little guidance. Halling does one workshop a month and he says the dogs pick it up pretty quickly.
“If we don't, as owners, set boundaries for them if we don't that's where we run into trouble. That's where you'll have the dog that barks -- one that barks over the fence on the other side.”
One or two sessions, and even the most vocal dogs are good to go.
“Some of the dogs still need to realize that when they see an approaching dog, they look at the rest of the pack and see no one else is getting excited, why am I?”
They are such pack animals that one of the exercises is a choreographed weave that helps them follow a calm lead.
"Some of these dogs have been aggressive; reactive part of what we do is we weave dogs, then they care less about the other dogs and other people and then they are happy and settled in their environment."
And then their humans can enjoy a nice walk around the lake, too.
"What it's turned out to be is something to do with their pet,” Halling said. “It gives people a chance to get out in the elements with the dog and get their dogs to behave nicely."