Acts out for my attention
My fiance and I have a beautiful, pure bred 10-month-old GSD who has been with us since he was 8 weeks old. He is incredibly smart and has been easy to train, but he has become MUCH more attached and affectionate with me than my fiance, Mike. The issue is that when Koby isn't receiving my full attention, he acts out by taking laundry out of a tall laundry basket and carrying around the house, or taking things out of the garbage, or by nipping at my butt, thighs or anything else. He does not hurt me but my correction methods haven't fully worked yet and Mike is not having the same problem. I tried ignoring it, as bad attention is still attention; I've tried putting him in his cage to punish him so he can't have my attention; I've used a stern "no" and a combination of all of these but nothing is working. He does this typically when I am brushing my teeth or putting makeup on, washing dishes or working on my computer.
As he is our first, but definitely not our last GSD, I don't know if this is normal puppy behavior he will eventually grow out of or not. I would love any advice! Thanks!
How much exercise is he receiving? How much training? Do you practice NILIF (nothing in life is free)?
Oh aren't they just the cutest when they're being puppies!!!
At 10 months, I believe it's time to ramp up that training, and being consistently consistent about it.
You want to brush your teeth in the morning? Put him in a sit / stay ... and reward when done (of course he might break it 5 times ... but don't give in!)
You want to do something in the kitchen? Put him in a sit / stay in the SAME spot you want him in all the time you're in the kitchen ... and be consistent ... and reward and reward!!!
He's having a field day right now because he doesn't have a lot of rules ... and he's a puppy ... and he doesn't know what he can / cannot do!
A simple NO won't do it!
When he takes the laundry out of the hamper ... it's your fault ... where were you that he was able to GET there in the first place? AHA ... you say ... I see ... yes ... every time your dog gets into something it shouldn't it's because you didn't teach him he can't BEFORE he did it!!!
So now that he knows he can do it ... it's going to be that much harder to stop! He self-rewards every time he takes something out of the hamper!
Don't let him out of your sight ... seriously ... attach his leash to you if you have to so he doesn't have the opportunity to get into trouble!
And yes, NILIF ifs awesome ... and so is exercise ... a happy dog is a tired dog!
Good luck, and have fun!
Yep, at that age (or at least at that age with those issues), you need to either be giving him your full attention or have him somehow restrained (crated, tethered to you, or in a stay are all good options) so he can't get into trouble.
He's not acting out for attention necessarily, he's acting out because it's fun! What dog doesn't like getting into smelly laundry and garbage? If he's bored and he can do it, why not? Even nipping you can be described that way. Sure he wants attention, he wants you to play! And when you turn around and swat him or chastise him, that's the start of play, right? Kind of? It's something to do, anyway!
So what you need to do is make extra sure that his need for exercise (both mental and physical) is being met--and young GSDs can be very smart and very energetic, so that can take a lot! And then otherwise, control his life so that he doesn't have the opportunity to get into trouble. As he matures a bit more (and you continue to provide him with enough exercise and mental stimulation), you should be able to relax your control without him getting into trouble, but at this point he's very much a baby still and is just trying to play and explore his environment.
Also, if you do choose to go the "stay" route, remember his age...don't expect him to stay there too long. Young'uns of all species only have so long of an attention span and you want to set him up for success by not expecting too much of him too soon. I personally prefer tethering the dog to me for that reason, because they have some freedom to move and figure out how they want to be but they're still not able to get into trouble.
Finally, one thing that worked for me with the playful nipping/jumping my dog used to do is to give a clear "I'm ignoring you" cue. I turn my back to him, cross my arms and look at the ceiling. He can do what he wants, I don't speak at all or move except to turn my back again if he comes around to my front, and I don't relax until he's been calm for a couple of seconds, at which point I'll pet him--going back to ignoring him if he reacts rudely. After a week or so of doing that consistently any time he was rude, all I had to do was cross my arms and look up for a second and he'd immediately chill out. I initially learned that trick for jumping but I found it very successful with nipping too, as long as you trust your dog not to escalate into biting.
My dog does this too, she will take things she knows she is not suppose to and then she will show me, when I tell her to drop she runs, prob laughing at me. It seems like she acts out when I am there and when I'm gone she's very calm and isn't destructive. She has all the toys, tug kong and etc. she gets plenty of exercise, but she is quite frustrating. She is just shy of 11 months, so I feel your pain.
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