Need some advice about my almost 4 year old GSD - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-20-2014, 01:09 AM Thread Starter
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Need some advice about my almost 4 year old GSD

Hi everyone, I haven't been on here for a long time. My GSD Elle will be 4 on May 4th of this year. She is a great dog all around. She is very obedient and listens (most of the time) and is very close to both me and my husband, but I am her master. I feel like she isn't socialized. We don't have a lot of company so usually it's just me, my husband, and her. We took her to puppy obedience school when she was around 12 weeks old, but that's about it. When I try to take her out to like Petsmart or something she whines in the car here and there. I have driven her around ever since we got her because I wanted her to feel comfortable. She seems excited when we go for a car ride so I don't know. When we get there I take her seat belt off and put her leash on and she jumps out. The problem with taking her anywhere is that I feel like I have no control over her whatsoever. She is so consumed by other people and her surroundings that I feel like she basically could care less the commands I am giving her. I need for her to listen to me out in public. When we go for walks she listens, but it's just places that she's unfamiliar with. It's embarrassing to me to take her because I feel like I have no control and that's the last thing that people want to see is a person who looks like they can't control their German Shepherd. I'm just at a loss and I actually paid $50 for a dog trainer to come out to my house for an evaluation of Elle, but the price of training is not in our budget right now. It was like $150/hour. Any advice is greatly appreciated. Sorry for the long post, but thanks in advance.

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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-20-2014, 01:52 AM
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I have the very same problem with my animals. I rarely have guests and I don't go out with them in large public area's.

So we started a training course for general socialization and so I felt I had more control over them when they do meet new people or things.

One thing that has helped sooo extremely much is learning how to use a choke chain CORRECTLY. We also bought a new chain, one that does not sag down on their neck/shoulders.

I hope that might help you when you are out more. Just helped me so much with my male, he pulled really hard. Now he walks/heals like a pro.

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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-20-2014, 03:14 AM
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Sign up for a basic obedience class. Like through the park department or something. There is no need to pay 150 an hour. The most rudimentary class will give you lots of practice with your dog around other people and other dogs.
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-20-2014, 06:26 AM
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Even though it would be a basic class, it will allow you to work on these issues away from home. I think your dog is just overwhelmed and excited about the big world that is out there.

Think about how you would be if you spent your life in a cave then someone dropped you into Times Square?

Have you taken her to other places less stimulating than petsmart like a park when there are not a lot of people and dogs there, etc.?


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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-20-2014, 08:07 AM
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An obedience class will be more cost effective and work better in this case. She is excited about going places and I'm smiling as I type this because I can picture her dancing around until she is able to see everything.

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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-20-2014, 08:43 AM
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This link has good information for socializing. While it is in the puppy section, I think it could apply for any dog that needs help with socializing. rethinking "popular" early socialization

A class would be the best option, there are things you can do until you locate a good one - not the petsmart variety . Begin with quiet parks, shopping centers etc - work with her on her ob routine. Make it fun. keep her attention on you. As she builds focus with that, gradually increase the distractions. Petsmart would be a high level of distraction.

Something I do with Woolf that may help you. When we go somewhere, before I release the seat belt, I leash him, when he is quiet I then release the seat belt. He exits the SUV and is immediately placed in a sit. Once I have his attention, we then begin walking. If he starts wanting to pull ahead, he is once again put in a sit, then we proceed once his attention is back on me. While I do this for management and control, something like this may help your dog contain her excitement.
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-20-2014, 10:11 AM
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Sensory overload. So excited she can't control herself. Training would be good but you can also do your own. Figure out places you can go where she's not in a confined area with so many people like a pet smart. Maybe your down town area, a train station, a garden center etc.

Short trips at first and build up. Teach her to WAIT before she gets out of the car. If she can't proceed calmly and listen, back in the car go home try again in a couple days.

I have that big spaz. He's 5 1/2. Since he was an 8 week old puppy he's been to training, been socialized, been out in public, gone trick or treating. Then he goes a few months without getting in the car for a trip to the park or the beach and we're back to square one 'I'm so excited, I just can't hide it, I'm about to loose control and I think I like it' I just remind him who's in charge and how he's expected to behave. Don't behave, we can go home. Oh and he knows what that means for sure!


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