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Old 12-20-2011, 12:48 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Can a working dog be a good house dog?

So we have attended two training classes and after listening and taking in as much as I could, therefore I decided to kennel my boy a bit more and really focus on some drive. Basically only taking him out to go outside and work on a few drills and chase a ball, then he gets put back up.

Now when he comes out he goes nuts and really goes after things. Granted his drive has really improved but the wife and kids aren't too happy. He goes bonkers and plays really rough. AS long as you can keep him focused on a ball, tug, cat , he's fine but if you don't watch it... your ankles, fingers, and arms are at risk. He nipps, barks, and runs away like its a game.


So am I overanalyzing this or is this normal for a 4 month old pup regardless of kenneling more. I don't want to correct him and squash his drive but the family ain't too happy. They still want a dog that knows that he needs to be calm in the house and around people. Is there such a thing or is this just a phase of GSD puppyhood.

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The Pin Cushion Family.
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Old 12-20-2011, 12:52 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Give him more exercise, if you wear him out he will be more calm inside.

I also suggest giving him a toy to keep him busy, I love the Everlasting Treatball, that keeps my dogs busy for a while, maybe a kong with peanut butter.
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Old 12-20-2011, 01:02 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Phase of puppyhood, GSD owners call it "landshark". You do need to establish some rules, redirect, etc but keep in mind he is about the human equivalent of a 2 or 3 year old. The good thing is that the phases don't last as long as they do in human kids. I would work on establishing the rule that the family is not a toy, and that will probably require some correction. I did it, and today I still have problems capping his drive so I definitely didn't knock it out of him.

I crated from 10 weeks to 2 years of age, the latter just when we were out of the house. I had that same drive to deal with, so I was always on the floor with him. I had the puppy kong, leather rag, other toys, and still got torn up. He was crated by my wife for misbehaving when I was gone. I literally felt like I could not let him out of my sight but it resulted in the only item in the entire house that got chewed was the laces on my summer tracking shoes.

One advantage I had was it was April when I got him, and we spent a lot of time together outside. Depending on where you live, this is not exactly the best time of year to do that.

As far as being calm in the house, they say a tired puppy is a good puppy. Aside from that, it will come with age, and you are in the terrible twos. The behavior needs to be corrected because a nip from a 10 month old's not gonna feel too good...
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Old 12-20-2011, 01:04 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Lots of threads on this subject recently. Yes, a working dog can be a housedog too! It depends on the individual dog and how you raise him--some folks like to keep their working/sport dogs kenneled when not training, and that does seem to increase drive. Some people crate their dogs for an hour or two before a training session, but I don't think that is necessary if you have a high-drive dog to begin with.

I have two working line dogs that live in the house. One is ten years old and settles very nicely in the house, but is a maniac when outdoors. The other is 12 months old and has a lot of energy, but does not go bonkers in the house. She likes to snoop around, play with the cat, steal socks, and clean the litterbox, then will settle down for a nap. I still crate her when I'm not directly supervising. I personally don't expect a dog to get free reign in the house until they are about 2 years old.
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Old 12-20-2011, 01:12 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SystemCritical View Post
So am I overanalyzing this or is this normal for a 4 month old pup regardless of kenneling more. I don't want to correct him and squash his drive but the family ain't too happy. They still want a dog that knows that he needs to be calm in the house and around people. Is there such a thing or is this just a phase of GSD puppyhood.
A 4 month old puppy cannot be expected to be calm anywhere, around anyone. They are easily stimulated and interested in everything, like a human 2 year old! You will have a landshark until he's done teething. Calmness comes with time and maturity.

I think too much of a big deal is made over "squashing" a pup's drive. If you have a high-drive, confident pup, there is not much you can do that will squash it. If you figure out a way to do it, let me know, as my dogs' drive makes ME crazy at times! You don't want to "correct" a pup at this age, any more than you would "correct" a 2-year old child. You want to re-direct with toys and games so that his energy and drive can be used in positive ways. Are you planning on training for SchH?
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Old 12-20-2011, 01:52 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I am training him for PSA and his drive has really devolped over the last few weeks which is good. We really try to work with him as much as we can. We go on long walks, car rides, different training environments etc. He is really a good boy but quite the "landshark". We have had plenty of other dogs but this our first GSD so it is new territory for us. Trying to set the rule that people are off limits without correction is TOUGH!!

He's gonna be great... Please just let the blood-letting stops.

Ouch!! (redirect), Ouch!! Ouch!! (redirect), Jager Ouch!!!, Let's go for a wa.. Ouch!!!

LOL, sound familiar people?
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Old 12-20-2011, 02:26 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SystemCritical View Post

He's gonna be great... Please just let the blood-letting stops.

Ouch!! (redirect), Ouch!! Ouch!! (redirect), Jager Ouch!!!, Let's go for a wa.. Ouch!!!

LOL, sound familiar people?
Yup, to just about ALL of us.
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Old 12-20-2011, 02:59 PM   #8 (permalink)
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At this age, he will be wild regardless of being kenneled or not. If you want him tired, you are just going to have to work him more They don't tend to get tired from good things if they are left to their own devices around the house at this age. If he's tired from being out of a crate and all he's done is be loose around the house, it probably means he just wore himself out chewing up your couch
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Old 12-20-2011, 05:15 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I don't believe that kenneling will build drive. The kenneling will build energy which is not the same thing.
The only time crating benefits a dog or pup as far as training goes is before/after you have a session, so the dog can have some down time to process what went on. Before a session will have the pup/dog more relaxed so when they come out learning is more focused.
Crating is fine, but it shouldn't be a reason to build drive, IMO...either the dog has it or not.
Most pups are energetic and need exercise so they will be more stable mentally and physically, crating just builds up energy, not drive. I'd rather have a puppy with a bit more balance, not crazy energy.
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Old 12-20-2011, 05:32 PM   #10 (permalink)
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How old is your pup? If he is really young, I think you would be better off to set a foundation of teaching good behavior rather than trying to get him fired up. If he has working ability it will come out on the field when you need it.
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