Grim is changing, class was HORRIBLE!! - German Shepherd Dog Forums

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Old 01-21-2013, 04:37 PM   #1 (permalink)
Jag
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Default Grim is changing, class was HORRIBLE!!

The other day at Petsmart when Grim was barking and vocalizing the entire time, I had no idea what was up with him. I thought at the end that it was him needing to go poo because he'd had diarrhea. Well, not so! We missed class last week (which would have been the first time he was there), so today was his first arrival there. Well, he started all the barking and vocalizing as soon as we got out of the van. I tried to walk him around and get some energy out and have him go potty before we went in. He was being so obnoxious that the trainer (who was shoveling snow out front) said if he didn't stop when he came inside, we'd have to 'figure something out'. Well, he didn't stop. He wanted to meet all the dogs and people... which never happened. Some acted afraid of him, or like he'd hurt their dogs. He was staring at some of them, but not in a mean way. He never met a dog he didn't like! The trainer asked what I did for correction for the barking. I said nothing, because this was all new. We spent the whole class away from everyone else, with him blocked behind a plastic curtain most of the time.

He didn't pay attention to me at all. He wasn't focused at all. Heck, when it was his turn to come to me when called across the room, he didn't even acknowledge that I was over there calling him almost every time! I had his favorite thing (cheese) and that didn't work. The trainer gave me a piece of hot dog which worked a little better. I also had a lick stick that I just bought that he loves. It didn't matter. He looked at me a few times, but not enough. He was totally tuning me out 90% of the time. Now I've had him out to Petsmart, etc. for months and months. I've made him sit, etc. when we're there, too. He was SO amped up... and no other dog there was acting like this! I spent most of the time 'hushing' him. I think that if he'd been allowed to greet the other dogs, he'd have done better. However, he can't always have what he wants.

The very worst thing, though, was when I was putting on my coat and hat, etc. to leave. An older woman came in for the next class with a female shepherd. Grim was watching her... but not doing a thing. The instructor said "don't let him stare like that".... and the old woman said "Yes, he's giving her the evil eye." THAT made me mad!! He doesn't have an 'evil eye'. He's freaking 6 months old and loves every dog and person he sees!!!! I had to get him to potty before we left, and I kept wanting to go back in and tell the old lady that I was offended by her comment. I didn't, but it was all I could do to not say anything. How can you make a judgement like that about a dog you don't know?? He's a PUPPY!!!! Of course he's going to watch other dogs!

I guess I'll be getting up REALLY early next week to take him on a very long walk before we drive up there. The only thing is, he'll have two hours to sleep on the way there and will probably be full of energy again when we get there. I tried to get there a half hour early today to walk some of it off, but the weather turned really crappy and I lost most of my extra time. He's so very high drive and energy that it takes a lot to burn it off. It's not something that can be done fast. I know he may look intimidating, but he's just a baby. He wasn't trying to 'stare down' any dog. He just wanted to play. Should I really be correcting him every time he looks at another dog? Somehow I've got to figure out how to get his attention around other dogs. This is new... all the barking and vocalizing. He's also never blown me off this bad. First day of class with him there.... and I already feel like I've failed as his handler. I don't understand this sudden change in him. I swear, he's not being aggressive. I don't know why he's barking, whining, and nearly howling all the time now when we're out of the house and around other people.
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Old 01-21-2013, 04:45 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I am not nearly as experienced as many people on this board, but I have seen in my own dogs that they can have "bad" days. Particularly with Niko, who has reactivity issues, some days he is super cool and he can handle minor stresses like seeing a cat running away or a horse going by. Other days we might be in the car and seeing a cat in a yard will make him bark. I really think that some days are just going to be sucky days. It probably has to do with your dog's age too.

I wish I had advice for you on how to handle him when he gets like that, it's something I never figured out!
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Old 01-21-2013, 04:47 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Quote:
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Should I really be correcting him every time he looks at another dog?
No. You can try distracting him and, at the very least, turning him away from the other dog.

Staring IS a challenge in dog language but it's not always a negative thing. My Cresteds stare at each other before they bolt off chasing each other. That's all in fun. But if one has something and another one wants it - they will stare at each other to see who 'blinks' first.

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Somehow I've got to figure out how to get his attention around other dogs. This is new... all the barking and vocalizing.
How often does he get out to see other dogs? If possible, get him out and around other dogs as often as you can so seeing new ones isn't all that exciting.
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Old 01-21-2013, 04:48 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I meant to add - he sounds like your typical 6 month old puppy who wants to playplayplay with everyone!
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Old 01-21-2013, 04:50 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Sorry but he's not a puppy anymore. He was probably giving the other dog an "evil eye" and eye contact is probably the number one thing that will set off dogs. Staring and constant eye contact is something that is very frowned upon at our club since its something that humans do not understand. Dogs communicate/challenge each other through eye contact and you really never know when it will set them off.

You have to look at it from the other people's point of view. I know you love your dog and think he's an angel, and know him better than anyone else can. But they're trying to train their dogs (whatever they maybe) and there is a barking 6 month old GSD right next to them that the owner can't seem to get through to.

I would really concentrate on working with your dog and not getting angry at people judging his actions. From everything you've described I would've thought exactly what the lady told you and also been quite the worried dog owner trying to train my dog in the same class as you. You're also at Petsmart...a place where people train for 8 weeks and once their dogs know sit/down/stay, they're done with training. Not the most knowledgeable of dog people and so they will just assume that your dog is being aggressive/dangerous. 6 months is the age that your puppy will stop getting slack from other dogs. Although he is a puppy, he might not know that he shouldn't stare at other dogs or be vocal or whatever else he does, and at this point the older dogs will correct him. He might actually be challenging them at this point.

He's what? 50-60 lbs by now? That's bigger than most full grown dogs you'll meet...so I really suggest you start thinking of him more as a dog and less of a puppy. And don't get mad at people that are actually giving you their first opinions of him for the way that he is acting.

Staring is never an initiation of play...its usually a challenge and only ends in play when the other dog backs down without a fight.
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Old 01-21-2013, 04:53 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Staring is never an initiation of play...its usually a challenge and only ends in play when the other dog backs down without a fight.
Actually, staring CAN be an invitation to play.
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Old 01-21-2013, 04:55 PM   #7 (permalink)
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If I were you I'd let the comment go, its not a big deal, you are there for you and your dog forget about the comment. Tuke is super easy going and gets along fine with 95% of the other dogs, however every now and then she'll give one the stink eye. This was pointed out to me in a similar way and so I paid more attention and they were right, no big deal. Our new pup barks like crazy too, but loves everybody at the same time. We just keep taking him out in public/stores as much as possible and its starting to subside. It was his first class, I'll bet after a few classes he'll be fine. You might need to bring something of higher value for treats though.
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Old 01-21-2013, 05:01 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I don't have much to help except just to say Ollie's started doing a big boy bark at other dogs only when he's on leash and its really random, the only thing I've been able to discern so far is if the dog is looking at him. He just started doing this so I'm still trying to figure out what exactly the trigger is.

Took him to the beach a few days ago and one dog just set him off, big boy bark and hair standing up... but then we walked by a bunch of other dogs and nothing, only difference was this dog he barked at was staring at him. And then at the park there was a guy walking a husky and Ollie just went off on him too(same thing, dog was staring at him) and in those instances I'm not able to get his attention, only thing I've been able to do is just keep walking.

Right now I'm working really hard on being the most awesome thing ever, works great at home but with distractions not so great. Possibly it's a lot to do with a surge of hormones...

I think the main thing is not letting them get in that state in the first place, so my plan is to carry high value stuff, let him see the dog but then immediately get his attention with the food and praise, praise, praise as the dog goes by. And then also take him places with people and dogs and practice focus exercises with a lot of distractions.

I know this might not help you much since our dogs are very different line wise and drive wise but I do feel your pain!

Also wanted to say that I agree with getting him out around dogs and people more... When I was sick for a few weeks and Ollie didn't get out much I noticed a HUGE difference with how he acted when seeing another dog so these last couple weeks we have been going out almost every day around dogs and people. He's met a lot of dogs and played with a lot of dogs but even just that short time away affected him.

Last edited by Carriesue; 01-21-2013 at 05:06 PM.
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Old 01-21-2013, 05:13 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I'm really sorry but I kinda had to laught at your post I know I'm evil lol. Remember a few months ago when I said he sounds like Havoc and you are in for a heck of a ride? The good news is it gets better when they are around 18 months...I would get the Michael Ellis DVDs (food, tug and advanced concepts in motivation) or rent them from Bow Wow Flix and learn how to channel his drive.

With Havoc that stare turned into his patented "stink eye" which is ABSOLUTELY a challenge, which around 10 months he started to act on when people and dogs made eye contact with him or squared off with him etc etc. If he is a stable dog he will learn as he matures what is a challenge and what isn't, until then...have fun, figure out how to distract him.
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Old 01-21-2013, 05:14 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lauri & The Gang View Post
Actually, staring CAN be an invitation to play.
Agreed, my dogs do this all the time... It is pure play in those cases, only challenge might be who chases who first.

Although I will say this is between two dogs of the same pack that know each other, staring at a strange dog is not something I would allow.
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