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  Topic Review (Newest First)
03-21-2014 01:20 AM
Originally Posted by critterlady View Post
My GSD, Zeus, will 12 weeks old this Saturday, I brought him home quite early, 5 weeks old, he was living in very bad conditions and I thought I was rescuing him, now I'm not sure I did the right thing. I have religiously followed training techniques from a german shepherd training guide I got from a GSD group, for the most part they are working quite well, he sits, lays down, doesn't jump up on people and is doing very well with his leash training, the problem I am having is he sometimes shows aggression, sometimes if I have to pick him up he growls and even tries to snap at me, when he does this I give a low, almost growl like, "ah ah", this is what the training guide said should be done, he has even started this growling when I try to pet him sometimes. The other thing that worries me is that he seems to act like a loner, he sleeps behind our recliner or in his kennel, sometimes when we attempt to pet him he walks away like he wants nothing to do with us, is this normal for his age or am I right to be worried? I'm wondering if I need to change something I'm doing. Thanks in advance for any help!

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My puppy just started this. I also got mine at 5 weeks and he is almost 7. I teach him bite inhibition, and so far he does "ok".But...if I pick him up, for instance, as soon as I get him out of the kennel to take him out to pee((so he doesn't have time to pee inside) he grawles at me and bites hard. =( I hope he grows out of this because I don't want some big dog bite.

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03-20-2014 06:51 PM
critterlady I guess the was not if I made a mistake in bringing him home so early, but what I could do to ensure the developed as healthy and normally as possible, I know there are things that he now has to learn from me because he didn't learn them from his mother, I think having the other dogs around, his sibling and my chihuahua, has helped, but I just want to make sure I am on the right track and doing what I need to. Zeus has a lot of chew toys, several tug ropes and multiple balls to play with, we have one training session a day and countless play times, I take the time during the day when everyone else is gone to play and train one on one, he has a huge fenced yard to run and play in and we go on walks. The only thing I am seriously concerned with was the biting and growling, I want to get that addressed as soon as possible.

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03-20-2014 04:16 PM
selzer The question, whether you made a mistake in taking him so young, is not helpful. Really. You can't turn back the clock.

What is telling to me is that the mother was dried up and would have nothing to do with the pups at 5 weeks old. Puppies get half their genes from their mother, and half from their father. But you do not know which genes come from which. But the dam also imprints her puppies.

If the bitch has a poor temperament, is aggressive to the puppies, or is overall nervous, her responses to regular and irregular events will effect the puppies. I like a bitch who loves her puppies. Ok, that is humanizing. But some dams are extremely patient, gentle, involved with their babies right up to the day they go home, whenever that may be.

In order to be totally dried up by 5 weeks of age, they had to start weaning the puppies at about 4 weeks. Yes, we offer solid food by then, but the puppies also continue to get some of their sustenance off of their dam. I let this continue. I let the dam wean the puppies.

If you wean the puppies, then you remove the dam for a number of hours each day, and increase it to 12 and then 24 and then 36 hours. And the dam will then dry up. But the puppies will still see teets and go to the warm, comfy place, and want the happy juice. Unfortunately, their aggressing tugging on teets that are dry, and their sharp toenails, that less than stellar breeders often fail to keep up with, become painful for the bitch -- and THIS is why such a bitch wants nothing to do with the little buggers.

Genetically, it may not be a problem at all. And it may not have done any damage to the puppies, but your pup was deprived of both the dam and its littermates. So, some of the learning the pup would have done, even in less than stellar conditions, has been lost. A litter of puppies makes a lot of poop in a short time. One uses old newspapers, of course. One starts collecting them and needs every one and more usually. Newspapers are absorbant and cheap when recycled from friends and relatives.

What one needs to look at is whether the puppies are crusty, filthy, thin, wormy, lethargic, etc.

But any breeder who lets the puppy go at 5 weeks isn't going to have many people sticking up from them here. It is too young. Yes.

Now, you need to just put all that behind you and look at the puppy before you. I think you need to engage this puppy more, and find out what things it likes to do. Get a flirt pole, and a tug, and a ball, lots of treats, lots of praise. Make yourself exciting to the puppy. Make yourself she from whom all good things comes. Make yourself a strong pillar of safety. Give kind tones not hyper, loud or high pitched. And figure out what makes that puppy tick. And use it.

You can feed 1/2 of the meal by hand. That might help your puppy realize you are a super being. Keep something soft and tempting in your pockets at all times, and when your puppy comes up to you, offer a little tid bit.

PLAY with your puppy. Engage your puppy. Help your puppy to use its mind, and praise your puppy.
03-20-2014 04:04 PM
Jakesworld The young pup I got at 6 weeks was Judaea, back in '88. He was my first GSD. After raising Collies growing up. Quite a change. Judaea's mother too stopped nursing at 5 weeks. The pups were big and rough. They all had scabs on their necks from playing so rough. Anyway, he and I were so tight. He went with me almost everywhere. Turned out to be a truly extraordinary family member. I don't think him coming home early had any negative effect on him. There were other dogs to play with and learn from. I talked to him a lot, I swear he understood. So smart. So don't be hard on yourself , sounds like he'll be healthier with you. No worries, just enjoy him. Get him a teddy bear
03-20-2014 03:40 PM
Stosh You might read some articles about raising an 'only' pup since he was taken away from litter mates at a young age. There are also lots of articles and dvds about relationship games you can play to work on your bond. And like others have said, it may just be his personality. Our last female was very bonded but aloof. Remember, he's just a baby!!!
03-20-2014 02:10 PM
critterlady His mother is a good dog, she is untrained, but otherwise good, she's protective of her family, but trying to get her to sit or stop jumping on you is a joke, she's very loveable, I'm not really worried about genetics, I was more worried that I had "messed him up" by bringing him home too early. My Zeus is already better behaved at 12 weeks than his adult mother is, I take that as a good sign. I want him to be happy, healthy and well behaved, I'm already very proud of him, everyone in our family sees how well I've done with him and are amazed at how good he is for his age.

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03-20-2014 01:34 PM
martemchik The dog will bond, trust me. I have a great bond with mine. It's just his personality, he doesn't need to be on you or near you every moment of his life. If I call him, he's there. If we're out and about and he's off leash...he doesn't go very far away from me. I have a female that is all about cuddling, she'll lay on the couch with you and would sit in your lap all day long if you let her.

I would focus less on where he came from and what he "could" be. You have no idea what his genetics are and he could end up just fine. If you're reading all his signs from an already biased POV that he's been "messed up" you're going to see a lot of the things he does as issues and want to fix them when in reality he's probably just fine and the problem doesn't need to be fixed. Books, other people, will tell you to be proactive and that your dog will end up being a mess because of where he came from, but they don't know if he will or won't they just expect things to end bad and when your first reaction is to judge something he does as "wrong" you'll always be biased towards thinking whatever he's doing isn't normal.
03-20-2014 12:40 PM
critterlady The conditions were very poor, dirty, filthy would be more like it, there was urine and feces everywhere in his area, layers of old soiled news paper, he was fully weened, the mother had already dried up and wouldn't have anything to do with him or his litter mates, it was a tough choice for me to take him so early, but I couldn't stand seeing him in the horrible conditions. He has had a vet check and has checked out ok, no injuries. I'm hoping this is just a phase, one minute he wants to be petted and loved, the next he wants to be left alone. As much as I hate to admit this, he came from the home of a family member, my brother-in-law also took one of the puppies a week after I did and I would puppy sit her during the day so he had some interaction with one of his litter mates. Thankfully the family member has agreed to not allow her dog to have anymore puppies and is going to have her spayed. I've read as many articles and books as I can find, I'm a book worm, and am trying my very best to make sure Zeus gets as much socialization as I can give him and to make sure he gets proper training. I'm just worried I made a mistake taking him so early.

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03-20-2014 12:09 PM
Jakesworld You said he came from very bad conditions, but didn't elaborate. Could it be possible he may have an injury that maybe still bothers him when you pick him up? Taking him home so young didn't really allow enough time to learn from his mother or interact with his sibblings. I, also had to pick up my first gsd at 6 weeks, he turned out to be an awesome dog, but he did have a thing for sucking on his teddy. My GSD now, Jake, wasn't a cuddler the first bit after bringing him home ( at 9 weeks), but now at 8 months, he likes to be a big couch potato and lay on your lap. Give him time. Leash walking's a good way to bond. He might just be a little fearful too.
03-20-2014 10:40 AM
critterlady I make sure to set aside play time, I also make sure to randomly play with him during the day, I am the only one home with him during the day, in the afternoon my 6 & 7 year old sons and my husband come home. I also have an 8 month old male chihuahua, Zeus loves to play with him in the mornings. I try to be fun with Zeus, he's not going to be a working dog, we got him as a family pet and I was hoping he would grow and bond with my boys as well.

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