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Thread: New member of the family - help!!! Reply to Thread
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Topic Review (Newest First)
12-27-2013 10:03 AM
rumhelka Hi there, I'm glad that you are trying to solve the problem before it's too late. The puppy can still be saved! How? it depends on your whole family. You all have to show him that he is the lowest member of your "pack", you are his leaders. How do leaders behave? Watch some of the National Geographic Cesar Milan's videos or programs on TV. Read books like "The leader of the pack", etc. This should have been done before your family got the puppy. It looks like Kaiser does not have any direction in his life and is begging for it. All dogs, and German Shepherds in particular, need clear boundaries because they just don't know what you expect of them. "Is peeing on the carpet allowed?", "Can I bite or growl at you". You have to "tell them" what behavior is acceptable and what is a No, No.
Does he know any commands? Sit, down, stay, come? You can ask a trainer, an experienced dog owner, local rescue, or look on internet how to teach your dog basic obedience. Teach him the rules first then enforce them. He will love you more if you'll train him.
He also needs to be exercised at least for an hour a day. Walked around the neigborhood to "fire those circuits", to see "what's there" (He should be walked on a prong collar and a short, 5-6 foot leash to give you more control over him). Only then he will be a good, relaxed and happy dog you want him to be.
Before you feed him in the morning and evening make him do something: sit, give me a paw, etc. Then praise and reward with food. Nothing should be free for him. All food and pleasures come from you, from a human and you can achieve it without abusing the dog, just when you understand how dogs think and how they see the world.
Good luck with your "project" and don't give up. You can train even an old dog and yours is just a puppy!!! I know he is a big dog, but people can control even bigger animals like horses and elephants.
12-27-2013 01:08 AM
zweed4u
Quote:
Originally Posted by selzer View Post
When you give treats, how do you hold the treat?

Dropping the treat is ok to start with. The thing is eye contact. When you are staring at the dog to see if he is going to bite your fingers off, he thinks you are challenging him. He wants the treat, but he is afraid you are going to clobber him. So, he might snatch and run, and he may growl out of fear/frustration.

When you offer a treat, open it in your open palm and avert your eyes. Do not look at the dog. Say quietly, "Take It, Gentle."

If you offer it between your finger and thumb, you are presenting a lot of finger to be taken. with an open palm, the dog will have to come from the top, and take it nicely.

As you and he get good at this, you can begin to make it a little more difficult by putting a thumb on the treat and saying "Take it, Gentle" and he needs to work it out of there, but gently.

Start with no eye contact, and as you progress start to have some eye contact.

Once he will take it from you when you are looking at him, it is time to try a different game:

Get a really good treat, hamberger, hotdog, steak, cheese. Cut it in small pieces and put half in each fist. Hold those closed fists out 180 degrees parallel to the ground. Let him know you have good stuff in there, but do not open your fist. When he looks at your face, open the fist nearest his nose and say, "Good Look." When he gets this, start telling him "LOOK" and if he looks at your face, then give him a treat.

He needs to know good things come from you, but on your terms, not on his.
That's the thing. I was at first dropping the treat and he was okay and we progressed to him taking from my hand. He would even sniff around a bit and I could just sense that he didn't intend any harm. He's never put up a real fuss when I've fed him. I do all of the aforementioned and there hasn't been any problems. He's always been fine taking food from me whether it be from my hand or tossing it to him. It's like he flips a switch. He'll be fine for that but then in 20 minutes or so it'll be like he just realized I'm still around and bark and growl at me.

I'll work on those games though. I think we can start from having some fingers involved because 80% of the time he'll take it out of my palm and the other 20% of the time I'll call him with my palm out and he won't come so I just toss it to him.

Thank you for your insight.
12-27-2013 12:51 AM
selzer When you give treats, how do you hold the treat?

Dropping the treat is ok to start with. The thing is eye contact. When you are staring at the dog to see if he is going to bite your fingers off, he thinks you are challenging him. He wants the treat, but he is afraid you are going to clobber him. So, he might snatch and run, and he may growl out of fear/frustration.

When you offer a treat, open it in your open palm and avert your eyes. Do not look at the dog. Say quietly, "Take It, Gentle."

If you offer it between your finger and thumb, you are presenting a lot of finger to be taken. with an open palm, the dog will have to come from the top, and take it nicely.

As you and he get good at this, you can begin to make it a little more difficult by putting a thumb on the treat and saying "Take it, Gentle" and he needs to work it out of there, but gently.

Start with no eye contact, and as you progress start to have some eye contact.

Once he will take it from you when you are looking at him, it is time to try a different game:

Get a really good treat, hamberger, hotdog, steak, cheese. Cut it in small pieces and put half in each fist. Hold those closed fists out 180 degrees parallel to the ground. Let him know you have good stuff in there, but do not open your fist. When he looks at your face, open the fist nearest his nose and say, "Good Look." When he gets this, start telling him "LOOK" and if he looks at your face, then give him a treat.

He needs to know good things come from you, but on your terms, not on his.
12-26-2013 11:00 PM
zweed4u
Quote:
Originally Posted by llombardo View Post
Do you wear hats or hoodies? Glasses? Something that is not the same as everyone else? Any medical conditions the dog can sense(long shot)?
Not particularly. In fact, being home from college, I don't have too much in my closet so my outfits are similar from day to day. As far as I know, I'm healthy as an ox.
12-26-2013 10:55 PM
llombardo Do you wear hats or hoodies? Glasses? Something that is not the same as everyone else? Any medical conditions the dog can sense(long shot)?
12-26-2013 10:52 PM
zweed4u
Quote:
Originally Posted by llombardo View Post
I'm thinking that isn't normal. My son also goes away for college and we only had our male GSD before he left, but when he comes home for a visit the dog follows him everywhere and loves him. Have you tried taking over the care of the dog while your home...like feeding, playing catch, or going for walks? Height even sense your fear and using that against you.
I don't know about the whole thing. The first time I met him, when I came home for Thanksgiving break, he was barking and pulling on a leash the whole night, during supper.

I haven't tried to do anything alone with him but have been very active with the family as there is always someone else in the house. Like you said, I guess the dog is just sensing me as fearful and is playing off that.

My mom is convinced that it's just him asserting his dominance over me. Any suggestions on how to rectify something like this?

Thank you.
12-26-2013 10:47 PM
zweed4u
Quote:
Originally Posted by gsdsar View Post
A pup that age should not be acting the way he is acting. Your patents need to seek the help of an experienced trainer. Now. He is a liability.

If you can, take him for walks, start trying to bond with him, feed him, excersise and train him now.

This behavior is only going to get worse if not worked on immediately.


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Thank you for the response. We've seen a local trainer and he said the exact same thing - "...the concerning part is that he is too aggressive for his age."

Would family walks be just as beneficial? To be completely honest, I don't foresee me walking him by ourselves going swimmingly. My parent told me food is the motivator, so I'll keep up with that. He doesn't always take food from my hand. Is tossing it just as good?

Thank you for your help!
12-26-2013 10:46 PM
llombardo I'm thinking that isn't normal. My son also goes away for college and we only had our male GSD before he left, but when he comes home for a visit the dog follows him everywhere and loves him. Have you tried taking over the care of the dog while your home...like feeding, playing catch, or going for walks? Height even sense your fear and using that against you.
12-26-2013 10:43 PM
zweed4u
Quote:
Originally Posted by selzer View Post
Yikes.

Well, They have had the dog for 5 months? The boy is seven months old and you are afraid of him? And you were afraid of him a month ago at under six months old? Well, I can't assess the puppy, no one can without actually seeing him, but dogs are really good at recognizing our negative emotions. He may read your apprehension as something to be afraid of. The barking and growling is most likely a fear reaction to you. He is even more uncomfortable because you are uncomfortable. You and he both need to build your confidence.

And being gone back to school for the next several months means you will come back to a GSD that is even bigger and more formidable, and in its full-blown teenager stage. He may be more mature, and if your parents take an active role in training and getting him more acclimated to people during those months it may not be so bad.

I am not sure what you are wanting to hear, though. After you come home on break, I think that it would be helpful for you to take an active part in training and exercising the pup.
That is correct. They've had him for almost 5 months now. I'm not so much afraid as uncomfortable. He's pretty decent sized; 64 pounds. I'm mostly distraught that things sway back and forth. One minute we seem to be able to hangout and the next he is growling and charging at me. This is all when I have unwavering confidence because we are getting along prior to his, for lack of a better word, attacks. We've gone on multiple walks, my sister, step-dad and myself with him and he's fine. I'm guessing to just keep plugging at it?

I've tried to help exercise him by throwing the ball for him with the supervision of others. During one of these recent times, he's fetched the ball for me and returned it and all but then, out of nowhere, about 5 minutes in, he went to fetch the ball and when he came back to return it, he locked eyes on me, dropped the ball, growled and started to dash toward me. It seems like I can't win him over.

I project myself as confident and accepting and I want to be friendly with him but it seems like he doesn't want me in. I just want to know what/how I can do to be proactive and if I'm doing anything wrong.

Thanks again.
12-26-2013 10:36 PM
gsdsar A pup that age should not be acting the way he is acting. Your patents need to seek the help of an experienced trainer. Now. He is a liability.

If you can, take him for walks, start trying to bond with him, feed him, excersise and train him now.

This behavior is only going to get worse if not worked on immediately.


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