Frustrated new owner....needing to vent!!!
My name is Jennifer and I am from Australia (so I apologise in advance if you don't know any brand names that I use...though if you do please help me!!)
We are now the proud owners of our first ever puppy, a very lively 4 month old called Penny. Whilst we have never owned a puppy before I grew up with a GSD and know the breed well and felt we would be a good match (also I am a major researcher and don't do or buy anything without researching everything to death!! LOL!) However, I am so frustrated by all the different advice we have received on just about every topic from just about every expert. I need to vent!!!
I remember the same happening when I had my first child (I now have 3). Every midwife etc said something different. But I very quickly learnt how to deal with that and it helped that my mothering instincts kicked in quite quickly and strongly and I was fine. But I don't have any canine instincts. I admit I am pretty clueless when it comes to much ingrained knowledge of dogs. So I am relying on the experts i.e. the breeders, vets, dog trainer and pet supply store staff right? Problem is they all say something different. Even 2 different vets at the same practice. My husband isn't at all bothered and I'm sure everyone else expects it but for some reason it is driving me insane.
It started with the breeder: "puppy has had 2 vaccinations and doesn't need any more no matter what anyone tries to tell you"; only 5 min walks building up to only 20 mins by 12 months of age.
Go to the vets and they freak out and make me pick up Penny because she hasn't had her 3rd vaccination and could get parvo. But I was told very firmly that she only needed 2?? Ok. We went with the 3rd. Oh and I can clearly tell that a 5 min walk is not enough. Yes I tire her through play and training but a 5 min walk is not going to cut it for this very boisterous shark of mine!
This vet said: tapeworm tablet twice a year (Penny is on monthly dose of Advocate which covers her for everything else such as fleas, heart worm, etc just not tape worm). If you need a chew treat give her a rawhide bone.
Next vet: no no no. Tapeworm tablet needs to be 3 monthly. Pig's ears and rawhide bones are the worse culprits for upset tummy (not to mention loads of people on the internet saying to stay away from rawhide totally!)
Pet trainer: use rawhide for your puppy shark that won't stop biting myself, my husband and children over and over and drawing blood. Oh and the treats I like are Wanpy and Jerhigh. A little look on the internet tells me that Wanpy are made in China. What??? Jerhigh are made in Thailand and have preservatives. Are they really ok??
Lady at Pet supply store: if you have a GSD with a sensitive stomach stay away from rawhide. Gave me some vegetable based chews. All good.
Various books and internet suggestions: feed dog the following treats:
cheese: really? first vet said no dairy plus cheese is high fat right?
sausage or hotdog: really? I know from having a sensitive stomach myself that I have to avoid sausages because of the fat, sodium and sulphites.
.....and you get the idea. I am so annoyed. I kept saying to myself to just pick which expert sounded the most sensible and stick with them. But then they all said something strange. I'd like to believe the vet since they train for 5 years. But each vet says something different.
To be honest though I guess my main concern is what to use for training treats because I really want this little rascal trained before she gets any bigger and becomes too unmanageable. Secondly I really need to know what chews I can give her. She really is biting us a lot and unfortunately if we do shout in temper (I know I know, we're meant to stay calm but sometimes it's a shock and really hurts, especially when she launches herself at us with a wild look in her eyes and just won't stop) if we do get cross, she gets aggressive and barks at us. I have tried everything. Substituting a chew toy (of which we have lots but I rotate them and only have 3-4 out a day), turning away, walking away (she follows and keeps biting and hangs off my clothes), leaving the room and putting her outside in a time out. But nothing is really working. She just keeps on and ignores the toys at times and gets really insistent on chewing us. She's not at all safe to leave around the kids. I guess my main strategies are keep her tired and have lots for her to chew. Hence, I really need something tasty and long lasting that she can chew on like a pig's ear but what??
Anyway, I'm sorry to have written such a long post but if anyone has any words of wisdom or can point me into the right direction or even if you can just relate....pleeeeeease let me know.
Thanks for reading.
I'm neither an expert nor a canine professional, but I have owned GSDs and/or GSD/wolf crosses for 55 years. I worked for a vet for a few years, and he was my vet until he retired, current vet says the same thing--NO RAWHIDE CHEWS, for a number of reasons. And I have nothing against any nation of people, but I do not buy anything for my dogs that is made in China or has ingredients from China. I lost a sweet female GSD from acute renal disease, and my current vet feels that although I have always fed premium dog foods, even some of those ended up with a protein base from China, thus the kidney disease that took my sweet Sarah.
I am currently looking for a recipe so I can cook for my dogs and not rely on dry dog food, also trying to research a raw diet. One observation I have made over the years... When I was young, I never heard of 'bloat,' but then our dogs ate what we ate, supplemented with a little canned dog food when necessary. In my heart I believe that bloat and twisting of the stomach/intestines became as common as it is when 95% of dog owners (or whatever percentage) began feeding dry dog food. And in my research, I am also finding conflicting information--very frustrating. And this is something close to my heart, because in the last 15 years I have lost 2 GSDs that way.
So while I can't really point you in one direction, perhaps it helps to know that others share your frustrations!
As far as your puppy goes, they don't call them land sharks for nothin'! The best training I have ever seen as far as dealing with puppy biting was by a female wolf/shepherd we had (and we were blessed to have had her!). She contributed to the raising of 2 or 3 of our puppies, and she mannered them very well. She never drew blood, but she would bite and hold them by the neck or whole head, depending on how large the puppy was, and she would hold them until the puppy relaxed, then she would let them go. She would also take one big front foot and push them down to the floor, and again hold them until they relaxed, then let them go. For the serious biters, that worked for us. Yelping or crying in pain when a puppy bit did not seem to work for the real determined ones. And a vocal correction, no matter how loud, often only brings a loud bark back at you, sounding almost as though he is imitating you! Again, you're going to read all sorts of advice, from some people much more knowledgeable than me, but imitating our old Amber's methods worked for us.
The only reassuring thing I can tell you is that this will pass!
I am not an expert either. But one thing that I did learn is that all dogs act differently and respond to certain training methods differently than others. However, I do believe that following the actions and discipline of a mother dog (how she disciplines her pups and teaches them manners) is the most consistant best way. This is just my opinion, but it has work extremely well with training my dogs.
I read so many books and talked to so many people about how to train and how to make the dog happy and what to feed the dog, etc.
After trying several different approaches (clicker, reward/treat, positive reinforcement), I went back to the basics. Solid discipline and consistancy. I teach my puppy a command using positive methods (no physical corrections) until they know and understand the command and until they are at least 16 to 20 weeks old. Then I use physical correction to reinforce commands when they don't immediately obey and to correct them when they misbehave.
I used the method that Susan described above for correcting biting and jumping. It worked very well. I would simply grab the dog by the back of the neck and hold them down until they calm down.
Most people think my methods are cruel and unnecessary, but it has worked very well for training my dogs. They listen and obey very well even when highly distracted with other dogs and people running around.
Bottomline: don't get too caught up with all the information floating around. Common sense and logic is always the best approach.
Good luck and have fun with your dog.
NO rawhide for us!! Bully Sticks are the best in my opinion for long lasting chew!! We get them from BestBullySticks.com. They are listed as 100% natural and digestible. I do take them away from our pup once they have been chewed down to approx 2-3 inches to be safe and to prevent possibility of it getting stuck in his throat. Quax is now 8 months old and a STRONG chewer....we get the 12" jumbo sticks but you may not need that size yet for your girl (the jumbos are pretty pricey)...maybe the thick diameter 12" long. We get the odorless (also more expensive)...not completely odor free but better than the regulars. I can not speak highly enough about the Bully Sticks....he LOVES them and they are MY sanity! I can actually empty the dish washer, fold towels and even eat dinner in peace when he has one. Good luck with your pup....I feel your pain!! Hang in there, around 5-5 1/2 months our boy really slowed down on biting us....which is about the time his teething seemed to be done and he had his adult teeth. Which by the way....are not as sharp as those wretched baby teeth! :D
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As long as you have "common sense" you should be able to make the right choices for your puppy.
As far as the wormer I would only treat if my pup/dog tested positive. I used cut up pieces of steak for training a nice london broil goes a long way in small pieces. Are you crate training? It takes a lot of patience training a puppy but it's worth it!
Oh, another trick I learned from this forum that saves my sanity is a stuffed frozen Kong....see attached picture. I mix some of his canned food with some of his kibble (more canned than kibble) then stuff it in the Kong and freeze so it will take him longer to work it out of the toy. He LOVES these too and they can give me 25-35 minutes of peace. I think the ones I use are the extra large Kongs. I have two I rotate...darn things are expensive, too. I wonder if your breeder meant to say work up to 20 minutes of exercise by 12 WEEKS...?? 20 minutes by 12 months just can't be right. I used to use the flirt pole to help tire Quax out and still will at times but I worry how hard he chases that thing and worry about the stress it puts on his joints etc with the tight turns and all. I just try to be careful when we play with the flirt pole. I prefer Chuck It....a stick that helps you throw a ball farther than what I can throw. We play with two balls so we can really keep the game going in both directions and he runs & runs. A tired Quax is a good Quax!! If you haven't already tried the tricks I listed, I hope this helps. I learned all I listed from this forum and it really helps!
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I have heard 5 minutes for every month. I never depended on walks to drain energy though. Flirt pole is what I used. Once he became enamored of balls, fast games of fetch (throwing again as soon as it is brought back .. using 2 balls if he was reluctant to turn loose of the first one) tired him out. Uncontrollable landsharking can be a sign of not enough exercise or a too tired puppy. If you know it's had sufficient exercise, then maybe it's time for a nap! Mine wouldn't nap unless crated, so if he become obnoxious in his crate he would go. However, I will say that his siblings/mom taught him pretty good bite inhibition so that wasn't as much of an issue as it would be the cruising around getting into trouble, just like a toddler.
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