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About our Breeding Program

German Shepherd Dogs have always been a part of my life. My family has raised and titled German Shepherd Dogs since before I can remember. Caro vom Allerswald, Gildo vom Koerbelbach, Olko vom Baerenfang, Wotan vom Baerenfang are just a few of the names and dogs I grew up with. My parents have left an entire legacy to the German Shepherd Dog breed and with this breeding program I want to continue what my parents have started to preserve our bloodline. Mainly because it is a connection to my home in Germany.

That being said, it takes a village to build a breeding program. I am not doing this by myself. Sturmfalken would not be Sturmfalken without Angie Leonberger (C-Wire and Essayons), Kelly Smarr (Bruna, Lou and Juju), Megan Flynn (Eros and Freak) and Tracey Cartland(Direwolf and Halo). We are a tight knit community of friends who are dog sport enthusiasts and love the breed. Each of them have either raised and titled a dog and/or whelped a litter for me. These Ladies are what I like to call “The first generation of the Sturmfalken Family”.

However, due to the majority of us being military families or having been a military family, we get quite the turnaround of people coming into our circle. The second generation of our family consists of Meagan Alvarez with her male Bolvar who was sired by Champ but bred by “vom Rhodes Haus” kennel, Kelsie & Donald Hoffer who have put countless of hours into training our dogs and Brian Baxter who owns Deegan.

The third generation is already in the works with Kevin and his dog Jax, Kenzie and Jovie and last but not least Tracy and Josie.

No Kennel can exist without having a strong community and friendship.

The Puppy Trap

“Canine College, this is Sandra, how can I help you?”

Hi, I have a puppy and we need him to stop biting! He chews everything, chases the kids, jumps up and I just can’t take it anymore.
She will not stop jumping on me. She constantly bites and scratches me. I have a feeding tube, I can’t have her do that.

Pretty much every third phone call is about a puppy that is biting and sometimes it’s very hard to stay professional because that’s what puppies do.

A lot of times we get calls about families with two small children, a third one on the way while the pregnant mother is also disabled and waiting for a surgery. With all of that, they thought it would be the perfect time to bring a puppy into the house because the mom wants a Service Dog. Or just families with small children and then two weeks after getting the puppy, the kids get scared of the puppy because they are being chased around the house and bitten.

Puppies are supposed to be fun, cuddly, clumsy and cute. They are not supposed to be chasing and biting, but that’s exactly what they do, especially with small children.

Children are fun, they scream, run, wrestle, they are the perfect target for a puppy that is bored out of it’s mind. So chaos ensues. In these moments we trainers often wonder “Why? Why would you bring a puppy into all of that? Why now?”

Its true, its never a perfect time to bring a puppy into your life, but there are times where it is best to choose an adult dog, or no dog at all for the time being.

So when is not the right time to pick a puppy?

  • 6 months pregnant with a husband that is ready to deploy. You are literally by yourself with a newborn and then having an infant animal on top of it. Do you really want to raise two babies? One of which chases and bites – A LOT? Or think about being 9 months pregnant, you just got ordered to be on bed rest and you have to take the puppy out every three to four hours for potty breaks?
  • You got orders and will be pcs’ing soon. Your orders are for Italy/Hawaii/Korea/Germany. Flights can cost upwards of a $1000 for your pets (it cost me $2000 to fly a puppy from Germany to the USA in November 2021) and the military does not cover shipping costs. It’s not just overseas orders, many families have a hard time finding a new place to live when they PCS half way across the country. Most duty stations have somewhat the same pet policies. Just be aware that it’s not easy to find rentals with dogs, let alone, Doberman, Rottweiler, German Shepherds and Pit Bull Terriers. Know your host country’s laws. In Germany you cannot import Pit Bull Terriers or their mixes for example. So do you really have the money to take a dog with you? Buy a house? Pay pet deposits?
  • You are disabled with small children, upcoming surgery and want/need a service dog. Listen, I get it. I am disabled too. But right now is not the time. If you can hardly handle your small children because you are exhausted and in pain, you are only adding more stress to your plate. A puppy is not the answer. It takes two years and a lot of money to train a service dog. The dog will not be of help to you. On the contrary. Especially if you are already suffering financially due to medical bills, only having one income and raising two small children.

Puppies are hard work, not cheap and go through developmental stages. You are raising a baby predator. They chase, bite, and destroy. They need mental and physical stimulation. Often times we don’t even give them enough time to potty train and expect adult behavior out of a baby.

So before you get a puppy, evaluate your situation before you commit to bringing a baby predator into your life and if you do, find a trainer right away and start with classes. Manage your puppy, give them a physical and mental outlet and I’m not talking about sticking them in a backyard. A backyard does not provide a physical outlet in itself, unless you like them digging holes all the way to China.

Physical exercise is a mix of play, chase and fetch in small increments. A Flirtpole is a fantastic tool that gives high drive breeds a mental and physical outlet. They can chase, grab and pull and you can implement rules from the beginning and implement self control games.

Mental Exercise can make up for the lack of physical exercise if you can’t get them out due to weather. You can train them to do a trick, use puzzle games, or enrichment toys such as treat balls, licky matts, stuffed frozen kongs, or slowfeeders filled and frozen. Hiding yummy treats around the house, playing hide and seek, chewing on bully sticks, shredding a cardboard box etc. all that can help to fulfill your dogs needs of chewing, sniffing, shredding, searching, and training.

If you don’t know what chews or toys to get, we have a great list here!

Teething puppies are especially bitey. They pretty much chew on anything and everything. That’s because teething is painful. Their gums are inflamed and teeth are pushing through. It’s very similar to teething human babies. Luckily teething in puppies does not last nearly as long as it lasts in babies. Give them frozen carrots, watermelon, ice cubes, frozen washcloths (only supervised), bully sticks, trachea, Nylabones, etc.
If you don’t know what chews or toys to get, we have a great list here!

Arousal or Overtired? Sometimes it’s hard to tell whether or not your puppy is over-aroused or just tired. In both cases, the puppy needs to be taken out of the situation and put up. Don’t feel bad to utilize your crate. We manage toddlers, why wouldn’t you manage your puppy? We have cribs and playpens for toddlers, you can have the same management tools for your puppy. As long as they are not abused, there is nothing wrong using them. That is where your stuffed frozen Kongs, licky matts or slowfeeders come in. A frozen carrot or simply a Kong Wobbler filled with treats. That way your puppy does not look at the crate as punishment and will soon go to sleep.

Puppies and Toddlers or young children… there is no easy answer. Supervise! Supervise! Supervise! Keep your puppy on a leash, because toddlers and young kids run and make high pitched noises. That’s when your puppies prey drive kicks in. This is where you have to remember that we are not in a Disney movie. Puppies are baby predators. They are hard wired to chase, tug and bite. Puppies WILL bite! So you have to control the environment and use common sense. Exercise, Train, Enrich, Manage!
If your puppy is biting your feet or chasing the kids, don’t push them away. They’ll only turn it into a game. Grab the flirtpole instead, redirect your puppy and then put your puppy up with a stuffed Kong.

Training System

Canine College uses a training system that is unique in the local area.

Sandra bases her approach to dog training on the working dog clubs of Germany where she grew up. Dog sport clubs meet once a week and groups therefore include dogs at different levels of training: puppies learning foundation skills, young dogs progressing toward goals, and older dogs maintaining what they’ve learned. In classes, some work is done in a group (keeping in mind each dog’s current skill level) and some work is done individually while others watch and learn. The latter is the norm for training seminars as well, which offer working slots and audit (spectator) slots.

Canine College brings this approach to its own training for pets and working dogs. Each individual dog and handler is evaluated and a training plan is created based on the dog’s needs, the problem behaviors (if any) that need to be addressed, and the handler’s goals and interests.

We don’t offer one-size-fits-all dog training, like the 6-week classes offered at most training facilities. Our system takes into account the individual dog, how they learn, and where they need to start. Sure, it’s possible to teach a handler how to make a dog sit, lay down, walk on a leash and come in 6 weeks, but it isn’t possible to teach the dog to generalize those behaviors and ensure they happen no matter the environment or distraction. Many dogs who complete one-size-fits-all training are great in class or at home, but unpredictable and uncontrollable in new situations. Our focus is on helping you train a dog that’s great anywhere.

At Canine College, we start by building a solid foundation comprised of engagement and impulse control. Not only does this approach help us train individual skills more easily, it prevents common problems from happening as you and your dog progress.

Engagement training builds a bond, creates focus, and helps the dog understand that good things happen when interacting with the handler. Dogs who practice engagement are easier to train, work better around distractions, and are more eager to learn. These are the dogs who are excited for training and always want to do more.

Impulse control teaches a dog to control itself. Many problem behaviors, such as chasing the family cat, nipping at children, and dragging you by the leash are impulse-based and continue despite corrections because they are self-rewarding. Teaching a solid foundation of impulse control helps your dog make the right choices rather than forcing you to address problem behaviors after they occur. By building value in working with you and controlling themselves, you’re creating a solid foundation for all training.

At Canine College, group classes are offered on an ongoing basis. You never wait for a new class to start, and you’re not limited to attending 6 sessions with the same dogs and people even if your dog is progressing at a different speed.

Our drop-in classes offer flexibility. You don’t have to worry about missing 20 minutes of class because you’re running late or your work schedule changed, just come anytime between 7pm and 9pm to train. You also don’t have to worry about missing a class you’ve paid for. Miss a class? Drop in another day!

Additionally, you get a chance to observe other dogs and handlers. Watching others who are at a different level of training improves your own training, from little tips on addressing or teaching a specific behavior, to getting ideas for new activities to try.

Canine College also offers private classes if our group schedule doesn’t work for you, or if you prefer working one-on-one with our trainers. Private classes are available on any weekday before 6pm, by appointment.

If you’re not sure whether our training style is right for you, or you just want to take a look and see what we’re all about, please stop in and observe any of our group classes. Watch what we do. Ask questions. We’re looking forward to having you!

Basic Manners Class

Cost: $250

What you need:

  • Clicker
  • Lots of yummy treats (Hot Dogs, Red Barn Food Rolls, Happy Howie’s etc.)
  • Vibration/Pager Collar or a very good E Collar like a Dogtra, Garmin or Mini Educator
  • 12 ft Leash
Manners for dogs of all ages.

This class is limited to 8 dogs and runs for 10 weeks. It revolves around Basic Manners in the house, like not counter surfing, not stealing food, not rushing through the door, not jumping on people, not chasing a vacuum cleaner and not getting overly excited around running and playing children.

Please fill in our online questionnaire, download, print, and carefully complete the Training Agreement and Liability Waiver below. If you don’t have a printer, you’re welcome to stop in during normal training hours (see above) and pick up a print copy of our enrollment packet.

Week 1
  • Bed Games
  • Jumping
  • Crate Manners
Week 2
  • Bed Games (Food Refusal)
  • Door Manners
Week 3
  • Bed Games (Tossing Food and upping distractions)
  • Counter Manners (Vet Office, Kitchen Counter etc.)
Week 4
  • No stealing food
  • Simulating Deliveries (Door Manners/Food Delivery/Mail Man)
Week 5
  • Vacuums and Sweeping
  • Leave it around other dogs (rolling ball, dragged flirt pole and other distractions)
Week 6
  • Leash Manners around other dogs
  • Out of sight stay
Week 7
  • Recall while other dogs are placing
  • Manners around children
Week 8
  • Giggling children
  • Polite greeting with adults
Week 9
  • Running children and screaming children
  • Playing children with ball
Week 10
  • Social Gathering and Graduation


If you need more information or  have any questions please message us.

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Puppy Practical (Community Obedience)

Requirement: Puppy Basics

Cost: $210

This is the last package of our Puppy Series.  You will take everything you have learned during your previous classes and take it outside into  public settings and situations. Each week you will go into a new location and work your dog through new and exciting situations. By now you have build a strong bond and relationship with your puppy and you will go through a test and graduate from our Puppy Program by the end of the Program.


To get enrolled into the Puppy Practical you have to go through the Puppy Basics Class first.

Class 1
-Generalizing Place
-Sit or Down Stay

Class 2
-Leash Pressure
-Friendly Meet and Greets

Class 3
-Door Manners

Class 4
-Food Refusal with Bed Games
-Leave It

Class 5
-1 Minute out of sight stay

Class 6
-Friendly Meet and Greets

Class 7

Puppy Manners

For Puppies from 8-14 weeks

Cost: $100

What you need:

  • 4ft Leash
  • Clicker/Marker Word
  • Lots of yummy treats

Puppy Manners ( a 4 week class/not on drop in basis) is about how to live with your puppy. It covers crate training, potty schedule, biting, jumping and how to properly manage your puppy. This is not an obedience class. This is a “How to live with your new puppy” class.

Please fill in our online questionnaire, download, print, and carefully complete the Training Agreement and Liability Waiver below. If you don’t have a printer, you’re welcome to stop in during normal training hours (see above) and pick up a print copy of our enrollment packet.


Class 1

  • Crate Training
  • House Breaking
  • Eye Contact/Clicker Training/Engagement
  • Consistency with words

Class 2

  • Biting and Jumping
  • How to hold the leash and treat

Class 3

  • Luring
  • Leash Walking

Class 4

  • Teaching to give space
  • Intro to place

For more information please send us a message.



Canine College Public Access Test

Disclaimer: We primarily train light Mobility, Psychiatric Service Dogs as well as Seizure Response Dogs.


Please fill in our online questionnaire, download, print, and carefully complete the Training Agreement and Liability Waiver below. If you don’t have a printer, you’re welcome to stop in during normal training hours (see above) and pick up a print copy of our enrollment packet.


Dog should not exceed two and a half years of age and has to pass the initial evaluation. Your dog has to go through Basic Obedience, Advanced Obedience and pass a Temperament Test before he/she can go through our Public Access Test.

servicedogsAmount of Training: a “Canine College” Service Dog requires a minimum of 250 hours of training over the period of at least 10 months or more. At least 35 hours should be devoted to public outings to prepare the dog to work in public settings obediently.

Obedience Training and Basic Manners:  your Service Dog must master the following skills:

  • Sit (under any distractions)
  • Down (under any distractions)
  • Stand
  • Stay
  • Come (including a dropped leash recall)
  • Heel
  • Place (tucking under a chair, table, or anywhere else in public)
  • Most of all a Service Dog should have manners
  1. No aggressive behaviors towards animals or humans meaning: no fear aggression, no biting, reactivity, snarling, snapping, growling or lunging at them while working in public settings.
  2.  Your dog shouldn’t solicit any food nor pets from people while being on the job.
  3. Your dog should ignore any food on the ground, or dropped within the vicinity of the dog while working in a public setting
  4. Your dog should not sniff people, intrude another dogs space nor sniff any merchandise in public
  5. Your dog should be well socialized and not show any fear of lights, sounds or sudden changes while in a public setting
  6. No unnecessary unruly behaviors or vocalization while working in a public setting, your dog must be able to work calmly on a leash without being a nuisance.
  7. No urinating or pooping unless you specifically take the dog for a potty break

Task Training: Your dog must be individually trained to perform at least 3 identifiable tasks on command, hand signal or cue that directly mitigates your disability i.e. retrieving, two way hearing alert, blocking, guiding, medical alert, seizure response etc.
Spontaneous behavior or Emotional Support is not considered a task. Your dog must be reliably trained to exhibit an individually trained task.

Training Records: You will have to keep Training Records to track your hours. Training Records can be downloaded here:  Public Access Training Log

Training Tools: You are allowed to train and test with the training tool of your choice.



Crate Train and Manage your Puppy

You just got home from work and walk through the door. You can see the first piddle and pile of poop in the hallway. Toilet-paper is all over the place, a trashbag halfway dragged through the living room, your underwear chewed up and a plant knocked over. Your brand new couch has a hole chewed into the armrest and your blinds are torn down. Your 4 month old puppy comes running from the bedroom and jumps all over you, scratching your arms with those razor sharp needle claws. He’s excited to see you and does not understand why all of a sudden you get angry and push his nose into the poop and pee.

You go online and ask for help, some suggest to crate train your puppy but you don’t feel comfortable to put your puppy up for 6+ hours. Other suggest a dog walker, but your puppy doesn’t walk very well on a leash and you don’t like when a stranger comes into your house anyways.

So you get some hard bones and antlers, those are durable and should occupy your puppy throughout the day. You also lock your puppy into the bathroom since there isn’t much he could destroy. When you get home everything seems to be fine and it’s easy to clean up the pee and poop since the bathroom has tile floors. You can see the scratch marks on the door and the corner has been chewed on. Three days later you get a noise complaint and there now is a small hole in the door.

You don’t crate your puppy over night either. He’s allowed to sleep in bed with you, but he’s restless, pacing all over the place, whining and is trying to get your attention by constantly nudging and pawing you. But again, crating is for lazy people. You don’t want to do that. You don’t want to be one of “those” people that just lock a puppy up.

When you sit on the couch he’s still biting your hands and legs. You push him away and yelp “Ouch”, that’s supposed to help with the biting.

A month later there is a hole in your bathroom door and your puppy has chewed up the couch, your brand new shoes, through the TV cable, gone through the trash, and probably eaten half a bag of coffee beans and chocolate that was on the counter. Your comforter is shredded, your pillow has been peed on and your puppy is standing in front of you trying to throw up. You have to call the vet and if they can’t pump the stomach you are likely looking at a couple thousand dollars in surgery.

These are the type of stories that we get to hear on a daily basis. People have tried to crate their puppy but given up after the first two nights because the puppy wouldn’t stop crying. Instead of waiting the puppy out, or trying a different approach they gave up on the crate and give the puppy too much freedom which almost always ends up with a destroyed house and/or vet visit and in some cases even death due to the puppy having ingested something toxic.

Instead of giving into the puppy here are some tips to make crate training a little easier:

  • You need the right size crate. Your crate shouldn’t be too small or too big. Your puppy should be comfortable enough to stand up, turn around and lay comfortably down. If you have a large crate, use the divider.
  • Keep the crate in the main living area. It’s much easier to get a puppy used to the crate if they can still see and hear us. Now, the pup is still going to cry in the beginning but it shouldn’t last as long as it would if the pup was entire secluded from the family.
  • Feed your puppy in the crate. I do things a little different. For the first week my puppies don’t get normal meals. Instead I ration the meals and everytime they come back from a potty break or after I’ve worked with them, I toss a handfull of food into the crate. That immensely raises the value of the crate.
  • Crate your puppy in the car whenever you take them along for a ride.  Your puppy learns that there is value in the crate. The easiest way to get a puppy used to the crate is to crate them whenever you take them on car rides.
  • Play Crate Games from Susan Garrett with your puppy. You can buy her DVD online and it’s an invaluable training tool to not only build value in the crate but also patience and impulse control in your puppy.

Don’t feel bad to manage your puppy. Whether your are home or not doesn’t matter.  If your puppy is out of control, super bitey and overall obnoxious, take them out of the situation. Put them up. Utilize the crate to your advantage. If your puppy is just 10-12 weeks old, pushing them away from you isn’t going to help the situation, they only come back harder. So don’t feel bad to utilize the crate and manage the puppy. It not only protects your household good but also the puppy. Most puppies can’t handle the amount of freedom you are giving them. They are not adult dogs. If they are bored, they’ll have a party and destroy your entire house and themselves in the process. If you have two puppies of the same age, it’s going to be an even harder time to keep control over the situation. Your puppies will feed off of each other and have a party. They won’t pay much attention to you since they have each other. So you have to crate train and sometimes rotate them in and out of the crate to build a relationship with them. They will also need individual experiences so you won’t have dogs that later suffer from litter mate syndrome.


Let your dog decompress!


We’ve all been there. We’ve all brought a new dog home, and we’ve all got excited about our new family members and immediately taken them places. To the pet store, family gatherings, into overwhelming social settings all the while the dog never even had the chance to settle in.

We get a lot of shelter dogs and the first thing most owner do is to give them the free reign of the house without establishing any boundaries or rules which sometimes results in uncomfortable situations. The dog just got out of a very stressful environment and we expect them to be incredibly resilient. After the shelter comes the decompression phase and within the first few weeks we don’t get to see the “real” personality of the dog. Usually it takes about a month before they truly settle in.

What we usually do with any dog that comes through our house is to implement a structured routine and shut down period.

When we first bring a dog home, we take them out into the front yard first and make sure they pottied. Then we bring them into the house and give them a quick tour. They are not introduced to our own dogs. That comes way later. We then crate the new dog to let them decompress and put them on a schedule. Dogs thrive off of structure and clear expectations. Through the shutdown period our already existing dogs get to know the newcomers. Our dogs are used to having a constant stream of new dogs coming in and out, but that doesn’t mean we toss them into cold water each time a new dog comes in.

Anyhow, here are some quick rules for bringing a new dog into the house which are widely used in the foster community. These rules also work for new puppies or already existing dogs that have had too much freedom and ignore their owners and are out of control:

– Don’t take your dog on a walk. Walks are overstimulating and there are way too many variables that are out of your control. You don’t know your dog, and your dog doesn’t know if he can trust you yet. Instead, exercise your dog in your front or backyard on a longline and get to know each other to build a bond.

– Do not take them to the dog park or pet store. Don’t visit your friends place or social gatherings until you’ve gotten to know your dogs quirks and built a bond. These situations can be overstimulating for your dog and you don’t know how they are going to react in these types of situations.

– Implement structure, boundaries and rules. That means if you cannot actively supervise your dog, your dog is crated. Do not allow your dog on furniture, do not allow your dog on the bed, it’s a privilege that has to be earned and a new dog shouldn’t be allowed these privileges without earning them, ESPECIALLY if there is another dog already living in the household. Put him on a schedule just like you would do with a puppy. It gives them routine and clear expectations. You control the environment. Do not let the new dog take control over situations.

– If you already have a pet, the new addition is an intruder and the new dog does not know the routine of the household. You have to set structure and a routine for the new dog without inflicting your existing dogs freedom and privileges. The already existing dog was here first.

– Handfeed! Nothing in life is for free! Food is money, it’s how you pay the dog. Do not give him anything for free. Let the dog work for his meals. Hand feed his meals for the first week and make him work for his food. This is a very important step, that resources in your house have to be earned.

– This is the most important rule of them all: DO NOT PUT YOUR FACE INTO A NEW DOGS FACE! YOU DO NOT KNOW THIS DOG! It can be incredibly intimidating to a dog that does not know you and most bites happen within the first two weeks due to this very reason. Do not make kissy noises and try to kiss the dogs face or give them any unstructured affection.

Most of the time, this is a two week protocol. In dog training, slow is fast. The slower you take things, the faster your dog feels safe and builds a bond with you. This is merely a guideline. How you implement it, is up to you. We’ve had great success with shutting dogs down, whether they’ve been new, or unruly young adults that needed a little more structure or puppies, boarding or foster dogs… it’s always worked.

Don’t feel bad about taking control, don’t feel bad about controlling the environment. Dogs are not made out of glass, they can handle it. And always remember: Slow is fast, fast is slow. You’ve got all the time in the world to build a bond with your dog.

While this guide is primarily for new dogs coming out of a shelter you can also apply these same rules to a dog that just went through a tremendous amount of stress. Especially military families with anxious dogs and pcs’ing every few years. Give your dogs time. Not all of them handle change well. Let them decompress!