Help with anxiety - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-17-2014, 01:57 PM Thread Starter
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Exclamation Help with anxiety

Hey guys, haven't been here in awhile.

I have a beautiful German Shepherd boy named Apollo, he is now 21 months old, intact.
He listens to me beautifully, is an off leash dog, and gets along with everyone he meets, other dogs and people alike.

However, I have noticed a couple issues I'd like to address before they get out of hand. One being his initial barking (which I know is very common for the breed, as they are protectors) but I have noticed that lately he has been barking much more than usual. I'm not really sure what steps to take to correct this behavior.

The other (and more pressing) is his constant anxiety.
It's not so much that he's afraid of everything, it's mainly that he gets overexcited about something to the point where he stresses himself out and can't calm down.

I currently live with my mother (not for much longer, I'm moving out in a couple weeks) and I leave Apollo with her when I am working. My mom is very stubborn and doesn't like to listen to my rules for Apollo, and I can pretty much guarantee that she's the one responsible for his worsening anxiety. She encourages him to bark and get excited before she takes him outside.

I have tried all kinds of things from ignoring him when he starts to pace, cry and shake, to being calm and firm, as well as making him wait inside and let me out the door first. Nothing seems to be working, and I feel bad for him when he gets himself so worked up.

Now that I am moving out, I'd love to hear tips and advice on what to do, since my mother will no longer be in the picture to reverse his training.

He is crate trained, in case that helps any.

Thank you in advance for your responses!
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-17-2014, 02:18 PM
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Having someone encourage him to bark and get excited must be very aggravating! My pup carries on too, but he's trained to wait in his crate while I get ready (and only released when quiet) and also has to wait at the door for the release word - which again, he only gets when his whining stops. So this is reinforcing him to 'relax' somewhat, although he's still excited. If someone was encouraging him in his frenzied state, IDK how loud he'd get, lol! Very! You can work on this when your mother isn't in the picture, no problem. Good luck
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-17-2014, 02:33 PM Thread Starter
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ooh, I like your suggestion of crating him while I get ready. I will most definately be trying that.

And yes, it is incredibly frustrating. x.X I can't tell you how many arguments we've gotten into over this. She thinks crating a dog is cruel - even after I explain to her that it simply means it's 'quiet time' for him, and it helps him to relax. It's not like he has a tiny crate for him to squeeze into. He had room to stand up and turn around in it.

I feel like maybe if I can get him to focus better on me, it will help a lot.
I have trained him to sit and look at me on command, however once he starts getting over excited, this command goes out the window.
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-17-2014, 03:07 PM
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Do you think it could be due to his high energy that he gets overly excited? Maybe you could try jogging with him before anything exciting is going to be taking place.


Varick vom Haus Jeffery
Dark Sable, intact male
DDR/West German Show Lines
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-17-2014, 04:15 PM Thread Starter
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Me and Apollo take jogs every morning in the spring summer and most of fall.

When we have something planned coming up, I usually do let him burn off some of his energy beforehand, but it's just not always practical with smaller things like - going for a walk, going out to go pee, pulling into the parking lot at the pet store or vets ect.
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-17-2014, 04:21 PM
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Stand by the door calmly and yawn, and do your best to relax. If you get agitated when he does, he will pick up on it and it will escalate.

It will take a while to un-train what your mother trained. But if you are patient, and he understands that nothing happens unless he sits and is calm, he will eventually get it and you will both be happier.
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-17-2014, 05:31 PM
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Just want to say that I saw this same thing happen with my husband's younger brother. He lived with his mom and she would completely undermine his training attempts and also felt that crates were cruel. She would even let his 2 dogs out of their crates while he was at work. The good news is that he bought a house and all is well, now. Don't lose hope, you are almost free!

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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-17-2014, 07:56 PM
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My boy become very anxious which I attribute to EPI. Since treating him for EPI he calmed down a little bit, but was still very anxious which made me wonder if this was now a learned behaviour? Anyway I did a couple of things, gave him 6 x weekly B12 shots (B12 only, no other B's) and then another shot 1 month later and give him 1 x Wonderlabs B12 with Instrinsic Factor capsule everday and I can say he is much calmer, still a very naturally excitable dog, but calmer. I tried Adaptil Pheromones but I don't think this helped. I also found putting a weighted packback on him during walks seemed to help as well. So maybe think about B12, talk to your vet about it.

if your GSD is eating and eating and eating and losing weight - please consider testing for EPI.

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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-17-2014, 08:17 PM
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Maybe sitting on dog??

No experience with this approach but I like to seek a solution that goes beyond the problem at hand.
Take a look at this thread. I never dealt with SA personally but if I did, I think I would be likely to start with the "Sitting On Dog" thing.
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