My fault-don't let this happen! - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-09-2013, 02:23 PM Thread Starter
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My fault-don't let this happen!

I waited for years and years for a Czech puppy. I was in love with Grim before I ever got him to my home. He was (and is) everything I wanted. However, I made a mistake. I am writing this so that others don't make the same mistakes. Maybe it's just me because I misunderstood some things that were told to me, I don't know. I tried all the suggestions for the biting when he was younger, and nothing worked. I just waited it out. He was always very head strong. I should have laid down the law and put some rules in place from day one. It's not like I wasn't told to do this by his breeder, I was. It was my fault because I didn't do that. I thought "let him be a puppy" meant less rules and restrictions. He got away with a lot. I never corrected him. (Well, I scruffed him for biting a couple times, but that's it) That was a HUGE mistake!! I tried bribing him with treats when he was doing something he shouldn't. He didn't really get into anything because I followed him all over the house when he was out of his kennel. I enjoyed his antics, but raised him differently than previous shepherds.

Then, one day he found his 'voice'. I tried to think of 'why' he was barking because he'd never done that before. Instead of trying to figure out 'why' I should have just corrected him for it. Every time we've gone for a walk, he's been so full of excitement that I can barely handle him for the first few minutes. I didn't correct him for that, either. I just let him do it. So we go to class... and my unruly, un-corrected pup starts barking and acting like a maniac. Why? Who knows? Because he can is the most likely answer. I tried to distract him instead of correcting him. Took him out to other places after that, and see none of that behavior when we go into the building. Back to class... same behavior. I FINALLY corrected him, but I don't think it was 'enough' of a correction, because he just got more wound up.

So now, I have a 7 month old young dog who has NO manners. It's not his fault, it's mine. I'm not going to blame this forum or anyone on it. I've learned a lot, met some REALLY great people, heard some opinions and thoughts on things that gave me something to think about and new things to try. However, I think that I listened to too many people and didn't ask enough specifics about what they meant. Again, MY fault. I won't say I've 'ruined' my dog, because I don't believe that's true. However, I lost time that I could have used to train him to behave. It was MY choice to do it this way, even though I had reservations about it. My gut was telling me that it was wrong, especially for him and who he is. We're going to be working really hard on manners now. We're going to be working really hard on when I say something, I mean it and he needs to listen to what I have to say. I think this will improve our relationship in the long run. I don't think "let him be a puppy" meant what I thought it did. I don't know what that really means, I guess.

I've read a lot on that thread I started about him being 'kicked out' of obedience class. I read through the entire thread more than twice. After I was over being angry and mortified. I never blamed the trainer. I really, really like how she trains. I'm still going to go and finish the class. She didn't know that I'd let Grim basically run wild at home. How could she? She had no idea why he was acting like that. I'm sure most people would think he was being 'reactive' but I'm with him all the time, and I can tell you that's not the case. He simply had little rules. He wasn't corrected for that behavior, so he had no idea it was wrong. I failed miserably as his handler. Not because I'm incompetent, not because he's "too much dog for me" but because I deviated from my 'normal' path of raising a pup to try something new. It probably would have been fine had I understood what was meant. So please don't blame the trainer. I would certainly recommend her to others. I already learned a lot. I hope that after Grim is re-trained to have some manners and some respect he can continue on with classes to get the foundation he needs to get his titles. Sometimes I don't realize how much my brain has changed from my illness. I think I understand something, and I don't. I usually run things by my wife when I'm confused about something to see if she sees something I don't. I didn't do that. I thought I 'got it'. Again, my fault. Grim has paid the price, though. I can do this. I just have to listen to myself first. I have to ask questions, and I need to just raise him how I've been raising shepherds for 2 decades.

My point is this. If you're trying something new, ask questions. If your dog isn't doing well with it, ask more questions. Take advice, but think on it before you put it into action. Don't let your puppies grow up with no rules. Correct when needed. No correction doesn't help the pup. Then people think you have an uncontrollable maniac, because they assume that you've been correcting them all along. I am really ashamed to post this. However, I don't want anyone else to do what I did. Things will be fine with Grim. He's a good boy with a great temperament and great nerves. He's a brat because I allowed him to be. Thank you for everyone's input. I will still ask questions, but I will think before I just start doing something with him that's different than what I've done before. That's all. I just hated for anyone to blame the trainer or think Grim is not a good boy. It's not his fault, it's mine.

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post #2 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-09-2013, 02:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Jag View Post
My point is this. If you're trying something new, ask questions. If your dog isn't doing well with it, ask more questions. Take advice, but think on it before you put it into action.
That's great advice, and it doesn't just apply to raising a puppy and dog training! The best advice in the world is useless if it's not the best for your dog, and nobody on the internet knows your dog as well as you do. Sometimes we just need to sift through all the advice and learn to trust our gut.


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post #3 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-09-2013, 02:44 PM
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Even being consistent and patient, lots of people have trouble around 7-10 months. You really have to measure your correction and praise to the personality of the dog. Corrections are not bad. But all dogs are not the same. Often times my dogs just need the hairy eyeball and a change of voice tone.

Not every dog needs NILIF, correction collars, and strong corrections.

I know a guy that waits for 10 months, then puts a prong on the dog and does obedience training in a week. He likes to let puppies be puppies.

On the other hand, 7 month old GSD puppies with no manners can be a handful.

I prefer to take puppies to classes when they are about 3 months old and just go once a week until they are about a year. And usually after a 2-3 week break in the action, they go back to the next session and see a dog they never saw before and suddenly they are 7 months old and decide to act like an idiot. Really embarrassing. But after a week or two they get over it. Usually. Some take longer. Some would do better with a good tug on a prong collar.

You haven't ruined your dog, you have just reached his adolescent stage. Train him how you feel confident, and he will most likely be fine.

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post #4 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-09-2013, 02:54 PM
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Learn from your mistakes and move on.

"If you're trying something new, ask questions. If your dog isn't doing well with it, ask more questions. Take advice, but think on it before you put it into action"

"My gut was telling me that it was wrong"

Trying new things is great, but if your instincts/gut feelings keep telling you something wrong then it's time to listen.

You've lost some time, no biggie, pick it up and move on.
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post #5 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-09-2013, 03:12 PM
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My fault-don't let this happen!

You are not alone. My trainer has told me I let Fiona walk all over me. It is hard for me to put rules on her, because she is so cute. The funny thing is my job is about teaching and enforcing rules. I am getting better. It help to see my mom with her dog. I saw everything I did wrong. But I still let her get away with stuff like barking at work. I am working on it and you are too. Don't feel bad, Fiona is almost 9 months and has 2 more months of " I run the house" than Grim.

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post #6 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-09-2013, 03:58 PM
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One thing that I'm compelled to mention....Learning about dog training and figuring out what to do with your particular dog from a forum can really be a double edged sword. I know when I give my opinion on issues on a forum it's regurgitated info that I have learned from reading dozens of books and watching dozens of training DVDs, a lot of info is going to be lost in translation. My point, EDUCATE YOURSELF with materials that are written and produced by professionals. Take from there what works for you and your dog. I have also learned an insane amount from WATCHING other trainers work their dogs, watch as many people in as many different sports as you can (and ya even you tube videos count if you can't go physically watch people train.) There are so many excellent books and videos out there about behaviour, training and competing you might as well read/watch it all and use what works well for you!

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post #7 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-09-2013, 04:14 PM
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one thing I can say... ever hear about an extinction burst? The behavior gets worse before it gets better when you start correcting. You're not out of time. You just need to be strict with him now. Best of luck.

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post #8 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-09-2013, 04:23 PM
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My fault-don't let this happen!

It's better to have "messed up" in the sense. Lost of sport people wait til almost a year before any obedience. Than to over correct and make a scared robot puppy. That's harder to fix. Grim will adjust to new rules in no time. Don't be so hard on yourself. I give it a month and you'll have a whole new dog.

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post #9 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-09-2013, 05:02 PM
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Don't beat yourself up too badly, Delgado went through a butthead stage around 8 months. This was a dog that DID have rules and manners from day 1 suddenly blowing me off and acting crazy

I consulted a behaviorist who's a family friend, he encouraged me stating he was young, intact, and full of hormones. He told me to up his exercise from 3 hours off leash playing to 1.5 hour onleash walks which were mostly obedience sessions. Within a few weeks he showed great improvement.

My point is, it's not wholly your fault. Thete ate outside factors coming into play. You've recognized your mistakes and are actively correcting them. It's not going to help to look back, keep looking forward and envision where you want to be


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post #10 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-09-2013, 05:21 PM
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I've read a lot of good interesting tips on these forums and I've read a lot of garbage too. What you need is a huge imaginary toolbox, to put all of the ideas and tools into. The ones that work you take out and use the ones that don't you remember and learn from. What works for one dog, does not always work on another dog. I personally have found strictly positive does not work with butthead shepherds, but is the only thing that works on my little lab mix Ivan one little tiny thread of annoyance in my voice and he shuts down. Wiggles you have to be firm with or she won't listen. Each dog is an individual and you learn what works and what doesn't work by making mistakes. The awesome thing about dogs is they love you no matter what. At 7 months he is still very much a puppy, you will have years and years to make mistakes and to correct them.
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