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Old 07-28-2015, 12:53 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default 7 1/2 Week old GSD Questions

Hi, I am new to the breed, I have wanted a GSD for about 6 years, but could never devote the necessary time that a GSD requires, so I had to fight the urge. Now that I have the time, I found a good breeder and picked up Achilles last week. He is young, but training is going well. I used chopped up boiled chix for treats or chopped up boiled steak. Now that I shared some background, here is my questions.

1.) I hear that German Shepherds are one of the most loyal of all breeds, at what age will they start showing that loyalty. I ask this because he just does his own thing almost all the time. He doesn't really follow me around and is more interested in my 4 mo old terrier mix. I do play tug with him and train him about 3-4 sessions a day for about 5 min. (I know the attention span is short so I try to keep these sessions short) I just don't know what I have to do to keep him more engaged with me. Or at what age, they become the "Velcro dog" that I read about.

2.) He loves eating rocks and pebbles. I read the rock eating thread, and will begin working on the leave it command today. I was just wondering if this is normal behavior in GSD pups or do I have to read into this from a medical standpoint. It is frustrating because I take him out to eliminate and all he does is lay down and eat pebbles. I live in AZ so my whole yard is pebbles mind you, so I keep saying no, opening his mouth and making him spit them out. This can go on for hours, he just won't stop. I am hoping this isn't ruining his trust in me.

3.) What order of commands do I need to train first. A rundown of what he knows to follow. Any other tips on what to work on would be appreciated.

Its only been a week, but this is what he knows so far. He can ring the bell to go outside, we have worked on charging my markers, luring and spatial pressure, sit. Focus drills are coming along and the recall is coming along. He comes when called, only if he know I have a treat, otherwise he ignores me.

The questions are labeled in order of precedence that I would like to know. Thanks for reading this and hoping to hear from you fellow owners.

Mike
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Old 07-28-2015, 01:32 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Right now he is exploring his new surroundings, just continously play and train, his bond will continously become stronger with you. But for the next several months, he is always going to be exploring and eventually will test his limits like a child/adolescent. Congrats, you have an independent puppy who is going to test you to your wits end lol

It took me 2 months and a lot of slobbery fingers to break Bear of picking up rocks, he still does on occasion but immediately drops them when I say drop it. Just keep working at leave it and never take your eye off of him.

As for order of commands, everyone is different. I taught Bear to sit first, then got him to sit and make eye contact with me, not the treat I was holding. Next came lay down, stay, and leave it.

The only thing that is going to ruin his trust in you is aggressive behavior in which scares him. Be consistent and if you get frustrated end the session.


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Old 07-28-2015, 01:39 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Addition to the first section, some dogs never become velcro dogs, and some dogs will greet a masked gunman at your door tail wagging ready to lick them to death. Just continue playing and training making everything fun.

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Old 07-28-2015, 01:41 PM   #4 (permalink)
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First, you need to lower your expectations. This is an itty bitty baby. Too young to even think about too much formal training.

1. To promote the "shadow" dog behavior you want to see, you need to not only make yourself the best thing on the planet, but reward his engagement with you in tiny steps. Stop giving him lots of free time with your other puppy. Most on this board will say raising two puppies together in a no no. So separate them for 90% of the day. Next, reward him when he focuses on you, for a millisecond even. If he looks at you praise him and give him a treat. If he gets up when you do, praise him and give him a treat. Rinse repeat. At this age the focus should be building the bond and laying the foundation for formal training. If he sits near you "good sit" reward. But don't force or pressure him into a sit. You want him to learn how to learn. You wNt him to start throwing out behaviors to see what gets him a reward. It's basic "free shaping". You want to make him want to work for you and try things.

2. If you let him out and he just lays down and eats stones, then he does not need to potty. Get the stones out of his mouth, I said "yuck" when I did this, then "trade up" for a better thing. Chicken or beef or cheese. Make the exchange happy not angry. Then put him in his crate. 20 minutes later, try again. Rinse repeat until he does his business. Reward big time when he goes potty. Teach him that outside is for potty only.
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Old 07-28-2015, 01:42 PM   #5 (permalink)
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1. It may not ever happen. I know I saw a thread here once where someone was very disappointed that their GSD had grown up with an independent attitude and was not at all "velcro". See it's mostly genetics. What were your pup's parents like? If they displayed this loyalty and velcro behavior you seek then odds are the pup will show it when he grows older. And it sounds like you are doing you're sessions just about right, but make sure when you do these sessions that there are no distractions (like the other dog).

2. It's not ruining his trust, but ruining his respect. I doubt he knows what it is that you are asking him to do and by repeating this command that he is obviously not obeying you are making him numb to the word. When he eats a rock he gets put back in the crate. Period. He wasn't born knowing what the word "No" means. You have to teach him that when you say no something he doesn't like will happen unless he stops.

3. There is no order that has been established for what command should be taught first. I taught my dog to take, drop (leave it), sit, stand, down (lay down), on (jump on object), off (jump off object), house (go in crate), place (lay on dog bed) simultaneously within the first 4 months of his life. But generally you do want to focus on obedience first.

And a question, does your pup play with toys?

Also this,
Quote:
=amburger16;7112137]The only thing that is going to ruin his trust in you is aggressive behavior in which scares him. Be consistent and if you get frustrated end the session.
You should read this to yourself everyday. Never get frustrated or angry at the dog. THAT will destroy the trust you are trying to build.

Also I recommend reading the book Team Dog by Mike Ritland. It is just what you need I think.
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Old 07-28-2015, 02:13 PM   #6 (permalink)
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He's very young. All of the wonderful GSD traits everyone raves about will grow and develop, with time and training.

As posters have said above, make yourself the happiest, most exciting thing ever. Sing his name in a happy voice, feed him some of his meals directly from your hand, pets and praise when he focuses on you. Play simple games, build trust, give lots of small treats/pieces of food.

I'd second what CountryGirl said, remove your other dog from the equation for periods of time when you're working on fun bonding. Set "adult" time aside when you can be with your other dog, while puppy naps or works on crate training.

I'm working with my 8.5 week old puppy right now, doing these things. Time spent during "puppy time" is totally different than when I'm alone with my 6 year old GSD that understands hand gestures, sentences, etc.

Build a good foundation of trust. It goes by very quickly, make it fun.
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Old 07-28-2015, 02:27 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default 7 1/2 week old GSD questions

Thank you for the replies, that makes sense to me. I was very nervous about having two pups in the same house together. I may look for a good home for the other dog. That dog was unplanned and my fiancé just decided to rescue him one day.

His dad was a big "working line" sable that was a complete one person dog. He almost had no idea I was even there his focus was so on point. The mom, I only ever saw her with the pups.

He does play with toys a lot, plays tug, great prey drive. I like the idea of going into crate if he eats rocks. I will continue to stay on top of it.

And again, my expectations aren't too outrageous, I know he still isn't even 8 weeks of age yet and is still just a baby. Just things I want help correcting right away before he gets older.

Thanks again. You are all a huge help
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Old 07-28-2015, 02:41 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Achilles0557 View Post
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He does play with toys a lot, plays tug, great prey drive. I like the idea of going into crate if he eats rocks. I will continue to stay on top of it.

Just to clarify. Don't use the crate as punishment for eating rocks. Use the crate to assist with potty training. Take him out, if he doesn't potty, then back in the crate for 20 minutes. Then try again. It's just to shift his focus a bit. The eating of the rocks is just because he is bored/doesn't need to pee. We redirect it, but we aren't punishing it by using the crate. We are using the crate to help with housebreaking.
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Old 07-28-2015, 04:54 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I have a velcro dog, and before I rehomed my litter, they were velcro pups as well. It wasn't fun. I couldn't move two steps without tripping over someone. Even after the pups have been rehomed, my GSD is still attached at the hip, and I'm having to teach her about boundaries and my personal bubble. I sit down, she's at my feet. I get up, shes up immediately and following me where ever I go. I go to the bathroom, she lays outside the door until I come out. I'm constantly having to tell her "space" and move her away from me. She is literally a tripping hazard. And my children get jealous because she only focuses on me, and follows me. I wish she would focus and follow them from time to time!!!

Is there a reason you want yours to be a velcro dog? I guess maybe I'm just seeing the "grass is greener" thing. If I had an independent dog that wanted little to do with me, I'd may be asking for help on how to get her more attached as well
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