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Old 03-18-2014, 10:40 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Walking Ruger off-leash

I've had Ruger for 4 weeks and have been working on having Ruger walk off-leash (I drop the leash and let it drag behind him). We can pretty much do our walks like this. Throughout the walk I'll zig-zag across the path, start-stop abruptly, just to make sure he's paying attention to me.

Ruger walking off-leash - YouTube

I'm a first-time dog owner. So I'm not sure if I'm being too strict, too easy, or what. I just figured that if I get him behaving well (he's 2 years 3 months) now, I will really appreciate it later.

One trainer told me to stop it! Stop with the "foos! (heel)" and "sitz! (sit)" stuff and just let him roam and do what he wants and let him have fun.

Not sure what's right, but I like that he sticks by me and is well-behaved.

I've had to exert my dominance on him a couple of times to accomplish this when he's challenged me for pack-leader status (pawing me, jumping up) and this always results in me forcefully tackling Ruger with a full-body tackle, pinning him down under me, and snarling in his ear. I figure if that's what dogs do to be pack leader, then I should do the same! I'm not a controlling or alpha type at all but one of us better take control! What I get from this is a submissive, well-behaved, obedient, and happy dog.

He still wants to eat my cat, though.
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Old 03-18-2014, 10:42 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Lol. Not sure if serious.
But if it works then it works. Enjoy your gsd


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Old 03-18-2014, 10:54 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Lol. Not sure if serious.
But if it works then it works. Enjoy your gsd
The full-body tackling? Serious.

I know it looks ridiculous, and believe me I feel ridiculous pinning a 90-lb dog down and snarling into his ear. I only do it if he paws at me or jumps up on me (only did that twice, ever, and he got promptly tackled, pinned, and snarled)

But Ruger seems to really respect and listen to me, and won't leave my side even in the house.

Maybe it's unnecessary and weird, oh well.
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Old 03-18-2014, 11:04 PM   #4 (permalink)
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He's very handsome and his walking looks great. You should try for a CGC.

Just make sure if you correct him for jumping on you, your correction needs to match his behavior and not be completely unfair. IMO, full body tackling a dog and "growling" at him is overkill and might just escalate things. When I observe my dogs correcting each other, if one dog gives an unfair correction, the other dog makes sure to let him/her know! A stern verbal correction paired with a body block or just raising your knee if he tries to jump up on you is really all you need (or if he's got his prong on like in the video, give him a leash check). You don't need to use a situation like that to prove a point to him. Be the leader because you have a relationship built on mutual respect and trust, not having to flatten the dog just for being a little over-excited. If he's occasionally jumping on you or pawing at you he's not trying to "dominate" you, he just wants your attention. GSDs are notorious for having no concept of personal space. If he's clinging to you even in the house, he actually sounds a bit insecure so I would not be getting physical with him. Set him up for success and reward him for being a good dog. He looks like a really nice dog.
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Old 03-18-2014, 11:27 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Ok, I watched the video, he looks lovely.., I do think that you need to establish a good recall and then just let him be a dog and trot around, have a sniff and explore a bit when he's off leash. at the moment it looks a bit too much like "all work and no play"..as they say...

Both of my dogs are allowed to wander and explore off leash, and when I call, they immediately focus on me and return..the beauty of a good recall.. I never let it go unrecognised when thy come back to me, a "good boy / girl" makes such a difference to them, they love to know that I am pleased with them!

If you are worried about the recall, you could get a longer lead for him to trail.. I always train recall from behind the dog so that the act of turning and coming back is not an alien one. Invariably, when you really need your dog to come back to you, it'll be when he's heading towards something and you're way behind him!

A good stern "no" when he paws or jumps up, and turn away from him, he'll get the message...Save the harsh correction for teaching him that cat is off the menu (if a stern "no" isn't enough)..
He looks lovely..enjoy
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Old 03-19-2014, 12:28 AM   #6 (permalink)
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I'd rather see a video of you tackling him and snarling in his ear.
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Old 03-19-2014, 12:32 AM   #7 (permalink)
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I'd rather see a video of you tackling him and snarling in his ear.
No chance. I'll probably get locked up. Not for dog abuse -- but for mental "thinks he's a dog" issues.

I thought this was something all dog owner did. Now I'm questioning the source of this advice. He told me he also bites his dog (not hard, just puts the dogs neck in his own jaws). I drew the line there. Didn't want to be spitting up dog hair for a week.
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Old 03-19-2014, 12:36 AM   #8 (permalink)
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pawing could be attention seeking , submissive solicitous --- not warranting that full body tackle --- same with the jumping up -- a bit anxious , a bit excited , not warranting a full body tackle.

one question --- where's the praise ? I take it the dog is still in learning mode -- dog is a little stiff - so you may want to lighten up a bit
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Old 03-19-2014, 12:43 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by carmspack View Post
pawing could be attention seeking , submissive solicitous --- not warranting that full body tackle --- same with the jumping up -- a bit anxious , a bit excited , not warranting a full body tackle.

one question --- where's the praise ? I take it the dog is still in learning mode -- dog is a little stiff - so you may want to lighten up a bit
Good observation. I think I know what you mean that he's a little stiff, like he wants to make sure he's doing everything right.

I usually praise him 3-4 times on a 0:45 minute walk. Just for little stuff like sitting automatically when I stop. Sometimes for no reason he just turns his head down and across in front of me into my right leg and I can tell he wants to be told he's a good boy, so I do, give him a "you're a good boy" and pat and rub his chest and side briskly. I could probably do a little more of that.
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Old 03-19-2014, 01:03 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scottkeen View Post
I thought this was something all dog owner did.
No.

Quote:
Now I'm questioning the source of this advice.
Yes!

Quote:
He told me he also bites his dog (not hard, just puts the dogs neck in his own jaws). I drew the line there. Didn't want to be spitting up dog hair for a week.
Yikes, good for you. Who is the person giving this advice?
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