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rdgpjen 01-19-2014 08:15 PM

Looking for some GSD mentoring...
My husband and I picked up our fabulous boy, now 9 months old, neutered, german lines, when he was 8 weeks old and we were stationed in Colorado. Both in the military, we've since been moved to DC and we live in a great, yardless town home in a very dog-friendly town (Alexandria VA). Based on some recent behavior, we are looking for some advice!

Know that we're actively looking for some behaviorist help in the area, but this forum has a lot of experts and anything you can tell me about the normalcy (or not) of Jake's behavior and any tips for our own habits would be greatly appreciated!

He went to a three-week intensive course here with a GSD "expert" and it seemed to go ok. But after the initial 3 weeks on the prong collar, we believe it's turned his leash-reactive. (Obedience seems to be great.) He goes nuts when he sees other dogs...AND he's on the leash. But he spends every day at doggie-day-care with lots of dogs. We know he's not aggressive. We must walk him out and about as we have no yard. So you'd think we'd be 'socializing'...strangely, it doesn't seem to be so. We recognize this, though, and have taken him off the prong...he got way better with a gentle leader.

This week, however, something new cropped up. Our weekend norm is to take him to the dog park (and has been since he was 5 months old and up on his shots). He's finally learned how to fetch and frankly, is addicted to it...loves it...doesn't want to do anything else! And heaven help the poor pup who shows the least bit of interest in his ball. Although it's kind of any ball. It's never an individual one. There are 20-30 or so just laying around.

He seems to be growing into his confidence. Even with us he's getting a little pushy: wants to be up on the furniture, get closer to where we're eating, forceful nose where it's not welcome, too strong mouth when we're treating him for good stuff.

I'm convinced there's a common thread with us, but I'm just not sure. I've contacted a GSD club here in northern VA that does training as well, plus our doggy-day-care folks have said they'd help us (we're in with them tomorrow), plus I just ordered some Dr. Sophia Yin books. We will do what it takes, but i'm convinced that if we don't do something specific we're ending up with (or creating??) a bully...

Thanks so much for any comments here!

Mary Beth 01-19-2014 09:58 PM

I don't think your dog is becoming a bully, but he is a teenager, acting up and testing the boundaries. Since he has a strong ball drive, I would suggest you work with that - use the ball game a reward and to help focus.

rdgpjen 01-20-2014 07:27 PM

Thanks much! We're definitely working on it!

debbiebrown 01-21-2014 07:00 AM

i agree, with strong ball drive you can train around anything. as far as being leash reactive, maybe you should take him for more one on one walks with a doggie friend and work on that. i am not a big fan of doggie day care because i think some dogs can become bully's in that atmosphere, especially GSD's. i would continue with the group your looking at and practice setting him up on leash slowly with passing dogs on walks etc. and use his ball to get his attemtion before he gets all excited. eventually the goal is for him to look at you when a dog passes, or understand that a passing dog is a good thing because he gets his ball. if the ball isn't enough to get his attemtion, use a special treat he only gets when training, like chicken or something he really likes. with consistancy you should be able to work on it. as far as the doggie day care, i guess thats your call. if it were me, i would take him out of doggie day care while working with the other issues. JMO..........

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