German shepherds are a great choice in service animal because they are highly intelligent and easily teachable. Since they are a working breed, they love to have a job to do.
We recently came across a German shepherd that despite being in an excellent service dog training program, just didn’t have what it takes. It seemed that this smart dog had other plans on what his life should be about.
Ryker had been in training to be a service dog by the professionals at the Double H Canine Training Academy in Louisville, Kentucky. Since his breed is so reputably teachable, the staff was looking forward to transforming him into an excellent service dog.
The Double H Canine Training Academy is different than most because they don’t have a formalized training program. Rather, they design each of their programs around the individual dog and their philosophy is “every dog can be trained.”
Apparently, they had not yet met Ryker. Early in Ryker’s training program, it became clear he was interested in more than learning. For example, when they taught him how to pick up a water bottle from the floor, he’d rather bite holes in it and spill the water everywhere.
Not to be deterred, his trainers came up with a new plan. Next they started training him how to heel next to a walker. This started out okay until he discovered that the tennis balls on the legs were more fun than heeling and he started having a great time biting them. His trainers could not help but laugh at the fun loving dog’s antics.
Still not ready to give up on his program, the trainers then started training him on how to open the refrigerator. Ryker thought that was great fun too and pulled so hard he would nearly topple the refrigerator. Although funny, it was obvious that this task was not going to work out either.
Since Ryder was great at pulling, they decided to harness that skill. They taught him how to pull a wheelchair. Well this was right up his alley because he loved to pull but he went way too fast and in the end it ended as just a pulling game to him and he joyfully gave “Ryker Rides” to his trainers.
In the end it was clear Ryker was more interested in having fun than training as a service dog. Although service dog drop out, we know he’s brilliant and he’ll make a wonderful fur friend and companion to someone who wants to share a play-filled life with him.