I'm not sure uf this is too much to ask from this forum, but how can I train my gsd to not step on sticks or leaves or overall make noise? I want to take him hunting and such. Maybe have him be quiet in an emergency; me hiding from a killer or the like.
This isn't too much to ask from a forum, but it IS too much to ask from your dog. Some dogs are more light on their feet than others. No training can effectively make your dog silent in the forest yet move comfortably and naturally. General training, like teaching your dog to stay, move forward little by little, or be focused on you, can help with situations that require stealth. Though if you are hiding from a killer, I am afraid your dog would be the least of your worries.
Some dogs stalk instinctively, some don't. It depends on their inherited hunting style. You can teach your dog self-control but I doubt you can teach him not to step on twigs. I have seen a video of a dog who had been taught to crawl though. Do a search on "teaching a dog to crawl".
don't know about the hunting thing never done it. Did teach my GSD's about the wait till they closer stay quiet and still... Military housing wanting to bark at the big picture window all night long for cars coming and going for all the shift work on post. I just sat with them as cars and people were driving up and leaving. work on not making a sound to wait, as long as they on the side walk we just wait.. but if they take the walkway up to the front door that is when it was good to bark. but until then we just wait silently very still and watch. "wait until they closer" then you don't have to run so far to get them lol lol I know my Darien loved that one.. Seen him teaching it to one of the puppies at our new place while in the yard seeing a guy walking up the road towards our house. Wait until they get closer....
There were not exact commands GSD's know your words when you just talk to them. sitting with them and going through it as it was happening they picked it up really well. . After that they were sneaky SOBs for all things... little monsters with what they had learned... Be careful what you wish for in a GSD they take what they learn and apply it to all things ...
Teaching this (or accessing the dog's natural drive to do this) is largely genetic. That said, I have shown two dogs how to "sneak up on" rabbits and squirrels around the house. I have a THIRD dog who has learned to sneak up on deer (but she lacks the speed to catch one and when she gets to the woods she doesn't have enough nerve to go in there so she stops and comes back.. ya know.. might be bears in them thar woods... Haha). She will kill anything she catches and would do that to a deer if she could catch it.
The WAY I did this was first invoking prey drive. One dog I taught using a long line (because you also have to teach the call off and recall out of prey drive). Another dog I used an e-collar to teach not to blow off a recall well ahead of ever doing the chase rabbits and squirrels thing so even tho she WORE and e collar when we were going after something her recall was spot on and I never had to use it calling her off prey. The current dog who sends deer packing has never worn an e collar other than a bark collar many years ago.
So, the dog learns first the word "Rabbit" or "Squirrel" and gets excited in the house.. I send them and they are unsuccessful catching because they are seen before they get close enough. It doesn't take long for them to "get" what those words mean.
Next I used a flat collar and a lead and when I see the offending animal outside I say the word, but we go out a different door so we can "sneak" around the house and MAYBE get close enough for the dog to have a shot at catching the thing. I used the line to stop the dog.. I used body language and I used my voice low.. and quiet in a whisper.. so we would slowly sneak around the house until we could see the rabbit/squirrel or whatever.. and then IF the prey moves I released the dog. If the prey does not move we would sneak forward until the pressure makes it move at which point the dog is released. IF the dog is successful and catches the prey that can either cement the sneak up on it lesson (or help to) OR it can mean MORE work because the dog may rush it next time. Depends on the dog and your partnership with the dog in my limited experience.
The current dog (who sends the deer packing) has successfully caught a squirrel, two rabbits along with a few woodchucks and a raccoon. It takes a quick dog to stalk and get a rabbit. Raccoons can be very tough. She is very efficient with those species. The deer not so much and between age and arthritis she has slowed down a good bit so there is that.
I have not taught the "sneak up on it" game for a long time. I think if I were to do it now I would teach the dog to stalk a Jolly Ball (or similar toy type prey item) first to simply cement the stalking behavior based on my voice and body language. I could also teach the call off followed by a release to go back to that item without the concern of the prey item running off and having to use an e collar to get the dog back. Just my thoughts on this although I have no intention of teaching this to my young dog at all and it is unlikely I will teach it again to another dog.
I also have had dogs you could never teach to stalk for a variety of reasons.
good thing is local wild rabbits run in circles.. that's how intune smart they are applying what they learn from failures they know not to chase the rabbit but to swing wide and catch them on the way back at them once they have run.. There is a youtube video of a dog stalking a ball very intense control for every movement of that ball. Anyone remember this video.?
The dogs have learned to run the open range cattle off our barb wire fencing by taking them out on long lines . they learned the boundary of not going going past the fence and only doing the activity when the cows were on the fence and then we leave when the cows are not on the fence line. They able to do it on their own if they see it happening or be sent to go do it and come back once accomplished. It is all about doing it with them using simple already instilled commands towards a task.