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Old 08-31-2014, 10:32 PM   #21 (permalink)
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When someone knocks or rings the bell Zoe is told to go to her bed. Every. Single. Time.
It is not how I want it to be forever and we are working with a trainer. Zoe isn't aggressive or fearful she is just super duper over the top want to climb inside your skin excited when people come over. We mostly have children coming over and it's worth the extra step of crating her so she doesn't wipe anyone out or scratch them up jumping. I don't have any advice. Perhaps revisiting training with a professional is a good next step. Good luck! !
***and Zoe has managed to slip out the door twice when I was opening it. Once right when my son's bus was pulling up. I think I sprouted a few gray hairs. You aren't alone!
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Old 08-31-2014, 10:39 PM   #22 (permalink)
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He is still being trained and is very cooperative on leash and cooperative in practice. The problem is that when an actual person comes to the door, he freaks out like crazy, shows his teeth and barks. When he sees that I allowed the person in, he calms down then licks their hand. The "Place" command and "Heel" work in training but the defensive urge overwhelms what he has been reinforced to do in training.

No I was not familiar with NILIF but reading up on it now.
If he is still going nuts at the door, you are not controlling the situation well enough. It shouldn't matter how much prey drive he has. He could be the most prey driven dog in the world. If you control his environment, reinforce the correct behaviors, and show him that there are consequences for disobeying or taking his own action, you can solve this issue.

You need to start looking at his whole life as "in training". People run into issues where their dog listens to them in a training ring but nowhere else because the dog is only really reinforced in the training ring. If you want him to listen in every place at all times, be ready to train at all times. You should also build behaviors from the ground level. If he is going nuts when people are at the door, practice a place command when there are no people there. Be sure he knows exactly what he is supposed to do and build the distraction and stimuli that he reacts to slowly. If he doesn't know what he's supposed to do and he is thrust into a situation where he is face to face with a stimulus that makes him crazy without any clear training on what he is supposed to do, he will react in a way he feels is appropriate.

In short, this is not about you being "alpha", this is about you needing a better control on him than you currently have as well as a better training and conditioning routine.
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Old 08-31-2014, 10:40 PM   #23 (permalink)
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So even if a dog has a very high prey drive, it can be controlled? It's not a genetic drive that varies in degree from dog to dog? He did crunch a squirrel in half at a few months old after going potty in the backyard.
My male has high prey drive and he redirected on me once when I first got him. He was about 8 months old. He was also reactive on a leash. I spent hours at the park just watching the world go by with him. I wasn't training him not to chase these things but he was exposed to it, while I was working on his dog issues. Keeping your dog away from it is not going to help him IMO. You have to get him out there and teach him.
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Old 08-31-2014, 10:48 PM   #24 (permalink)
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So even if a dog has a very high prey drive, it can be controlled? It's not a genetic drive that varies in degree from dog to dog? He did crunch a squirrel in half at a few months old after going potty in the backyard.
It can be controlled with continuing training, which should be complemented with good management. This includes constant and persistent awareness of where he is when a door is opened, it could include a good fence in the front of your house, it can include a tether or handle on him at all times until he has a solid recall. There are a number of different options as far as management, but GOOD continued training is a must. And it doesn't stop, it should be refreshed throughout his life. He is still a puppy, this is the time to shape his future, to build his confidence in you.

Also keep in mind the prey drive that you said he has. That means kids on skateboards, joggers, bicycles, anything that moves, can excite that prey drive, and you must be aware at all times. Your trainer must work with you on how to train for and handle these situations.

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Old 08-31-2014, 10:54 PM   #25 (permalink)
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You should also build behaviors from the ground level. If he is going nuts when people are at the door, practice a place command when there are no people there. Be sure he knows exactly what he is supposed to do and build the distraction and stimuli that he reacts to slowly. If he doesn't know what he's supposed to do and he is thrust into a situation where he is face to face with a stimulus that makes him crazy without any clear training on what he is supposed to do, he will react in a way he feels is appropriate.
Well, yes. You even quoted me stating that he knows the "Place command". The problem is that the "In theory" and real world training and situations are different.

As I mentioned, I am a previous owner of a well trained GSD. Just wonder if there are any cases of the dog being a little overly aggressive and not the trainer's doing. I was just reading other threads of dogs attacking children, etc. Is it always the training?
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Old 08-31-2014, 10:58 PM   #26 (permalink)
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My male has high prey drive and he redirected on me once when I first got him. He was about 8 months old. He was also reactive on a leash. I spent hours at the park just watching the world go by with him. I wasn't training him not to chase these things but he was exposed to it, while I was working on his dog issues. Keeping your dog away from it is not going to help him IMO. You have to get him out there and teach him.
Actually, when I have him on leash, he has no interest in squirrels, birds or kids on skateboards. When he is in the fenced backyard playing, I don't know how on earth I can reduce his drive to grab a bird or squirrel. At some point Mother Nature wins.
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Old 08-31-2014, 11:05 PM   #27 (permalink)
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i know you are upset and freaked out but your original post is like
"i know he wants to guard the house"
at 9mos his guarding instinct has barely kicked in
so you are misread and excusing the behavior and that is the wrong thing to do right now
I really do appreciate your advice. If I was excusing his behavior, I wouldn't have started this thread out of concern. I never stopped working with him.

Regardless of what the reason is curiosity, prey drive, etc, we live in a very litigious society.
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Old 08-31-2014, 11:09 PM   #28 (permalink)
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Well, yes. You even quoted me stating that he knows the "Place command". The problem is that the "In theory" and real world training and situations are different.

As I mentioned, I am a previous owner of a well trained GSD. Just wonder if there are any cases of the dog being a little overly aggressive and not the trainer's doing. I was just reading other threads of dogs attacking children, etc. Is it always the training?
Some dogs require more work than others (some much more work) but unless the dog is severely off in the head, the correct training will fix the problem. I have trained hundreds of dogs at this point and have only come across one that was truly off. He had a diagnosed neural condition and had to be put down. So, yes, more training is needed. Blaming accidents on prey drive or on protecting the family is covering up a lack of management or lack of continued training on the handler's part.

And when I am training a dog for public behavior, I don't separate "in theory" and real world training. Every time you train your dog in public behaviors and manners like these it should always be in preparation for the "real world" and should be introduced to and reinforced against real world stimuli as soon as is reasonable. If you need to invite friends or get family to help you introduce a controlled stimulus at the door, then do it. Don't wait for a visitor to just pop by. Work with him in a controlled situation where you can control things like the position of an entering guest, their excitement level, their method of entering (knocking, doorbell, etc) so that you can proof his behavior in a real world situation of gradually increasing difficulty.
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Old 08-31-2014, 11:11 PM   #29 (permalink)
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Actually, when I have him on leash, he has no interest in squirrels, birds or kids on skateboards. When he is in the fenced backyard playing, I don't know how on earth I can reduce his drive to grab a bird or squirrel. At some point Mother Nature wins.

This is my high prey drive male. This picture was taken yesterday at 4 am when he found two baby squirrels. Lots and lots of training. It can be done, but you have to be on top of it 150 %.


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Old 09-01-2014, 12:21 AM   #30 (permalink)
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Some dogs require more work than others (some much more work) but unless the dog is severely off in the head, the correct training will fix the problem. I have trained hundreds of dogs at this point and have only come across one that was truly off. He had a diagnosed neural condition and had to be put down. So, yes, more training is needed. Blaming accidents on prey drive or on protecting the family is covering up a lack of management or lack of continued training on the handler's part.
Well, I am going to continue to work very hard with the dog. I don't recall blaming anything on the dog's behavior. The prey drive , etc was info on the dog's background. I am the one who can't control the dog. That's why I posted the dilemma here. You have a great track record training hundreds of dogs, successfully I would imagine. I guess it would be safe to say that out of 99 percent of the accidents/attacks that happen, it's poor training and not a certain dog's genetic disposition?

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