What would you do?: Mind game, challenge 'dances' and temper tantrums - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-16-2014, 06:57 PM Thread Starter
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What would you do?: Mind game, challenge 'dances' and temper tantrums

I'm trying to create a NILIF environment for my dog, but he keeps challenging me, especially in public being so melodramatic and over amplifying his tantruming mind games.

When we are at home, he never pushes it this far. Once we're outside, it's like he will physically fight me to gain control of what we do, where we go, etc

How do I establish leadership that is not to be crossed? The more I put my foot down, the harder he fights back, the more I feel embarrassed when I don't have control.

Ho?I feel

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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-16-2014, 06:58 PM Thread Starter
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Oops lol


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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-16-2014, 07:09 PM
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It's very common. Tantrums usually escalate until they realize they don't get what they want EVER, then the extinguish.

If it were my dog, I would just stand stick still. Let him toss him self around, bark, jump, be a jerk. But I would not move a muscle. Sometimes the battle is won by the one who keeps his calm.

If people give you a weird look, I would appease with a " temper tantrum, trying to keep my cool". Most people get that. As long as you are not getting frustrated and taking it out on the dog. Just standing still, take a breath. I have actually been known to check my email. Keeps me calm.

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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-16-2014, 07:11 PM
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I've been there.

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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-16-2014, 07:40 PM
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What exactly are you asking, in what situation, and what is his reaction?

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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-16-2014, 08:54 PM
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When ours doesn't listen, my husband just steps on the leash and stands still, arms folded. To the side of the road ofcourse, if we are walking. And waits till the dog sits and looks at him and has become much calmer. A couple of times the dog tried to grab the leash and pull, we put an end to that by rubbing some Vicks on the leash. Also playing a good game of fetch before a walk or just going outdoors to a vet or a training class helps get rid of some of their energy. We would also sometimes run with the dog for 5 - 10 minutes before settling into a walk.
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-16-2014, 09:15 PM
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How old is he? How long have you had him? How much training has he had, and what kind of training? Is he not obeying commands in public that he complies with 100% at home in a low distraction environment? Or are these commands still a work in progress even at home?

Without more information it's really difficult to give any kind of decent advice, but basically, in general, I'd lower the criteria any time I'm asking for behaviors in a new, more distracting environment. It's always better to set your dog up for success rather than failure, by not asking for anything you don't KNOW he's capable of giving you under those exact circumstances. In that case, I'd simply wait for my dog to offer up any sort of rewardable behavior, (such as eye contact or redirecting from the environment to me) then mark and reward it, rather than cue it and have him blow me off.


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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-17-2014, 01:33 AM Thread Starter
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Here are the details:

He's almost (2)
I've had him since he was 3/4 months old
He has not had any training that was 100% enforced until about a month ago
So far I'm working on bonding, basic obedience, and leash walking.

An example of a current problem I'm working on is getting him to quit testing boundaries. It all starts with his crate.

He'll exaggerate nervous behaviors (lowered ears and head, wide eyes looking up, lip licking, and passive aggressive submission) to speed up the person by placing guilt or peer pressure tactics to open the crate quicker as if he has to go pee right that second. But the very second the release word is cue-ed, the sad puppy drama stops and he's all happy doodle.

As he exits the crate, he does a play bow with a yawn and body shake where he gives off this "Ok so from this point on everything is just a game." Because that's what he does to avoid anything I ask him: play bow, stretching, shaking his body like he just had a bath, and huffing/puffing avoidance. So it's like a control dance with him, he throws out these 'in between buffering' behaviors whenever he doesn't want to be told what to do.

When I try and control him from getting what he wants without working for it or while he is purposely wrestling me to gain his way, he throws large, HUGE tantrums: body rolling, belly flashing, heavy panting and forced breathing, eyes looking for contact, wailing, screaming, yelping...and as mean as it sounds he's totally faking it. I think he can smell my panic attacks as I deal with him...because that is exactly what happens. Or outside at least.

Inside the home, I enforce the NILIF and he get's it, but is still very anxious to be quick about getting the reward. Like he's not patient, and waiting for him to calm himself down takes a really long time.

I honestly feel like I'm fighting him for position to be alpha/leader all the time

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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-17-2014, 03:12 AM
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If you have not really worked with him until a month ago and he now is almost two. It is going to take a while, you can't fix two years in a month. I would forget about the alpha stuff. This dog sounds more fearful. Work together as a team, Use a lot of rewards, and try to remain calm. He knows when you are angry with him. He is not human, does not think like one. It would be worth it, to get a good trainer who knows shepherds.
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-17-2014, 07:09 AM
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Many of the behaviors you are seeing is calming signals. He isn't understanding what you are asking for. He is picking up on your panic attacks, more confusion.

Forget the alpha stuff, you aren't a dog; but be a leader. Calm deep breathing will help you work through the drama queen antics and remain in control.

Locate a trainer experienced with GSD and working breeds. I would suggest to think about some private classes to begin with to work on the relationship between you and handling skills. That will give *you* the confidence needed as you progress through training.
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