Perhaps it might be a good idea to change the tittle of this thread.
Might not be a bad idea. It seems that most people came into the thread thinking that I was suggesting shocking the landshark phase right out of the puppies, which was not what I meant.
I have been called archaic and old school, but I generally believe in letting puppies grow and discover things throughout the first 6 months. Yes, I do some small corrections, but most of the time, I am simply trying to use distraction as a means of surviving the puppy stage.
I don't want the puppy to live in a world of No.
For me, the point where I first begin to start
serious training is at 6 months. That's when he wore a pinch collar for the first time. That's when I bought the e-collar.
The other dogs I had were actually pretty well behaved during the puppy-phase (I see that now. At the time I thought they were a handful, but I had no idea...) The biggest problem I had with either of my other two GSDs was pulling in the leash when we went for a walk -- something that is not a big deal and is easily corrected once we start working on training.
This guy is different. He didn't pull on the leash, He spun around, bit feet, tried to herd cars... all sorts of things. That is more of a challenge. And the car chasing thing was a real concern. I can accept working through things, but that was dangerous, and had to be stopped.
As far as the people who seem offended that I would want to "assert my will" on the puppy -- I guess I just don't understand why that bothers you so much...? Ninja joined my pack
. He needs to fit into it -- for his sake as well as the rest of the pack. As the head of the pack, it is my responsibility to make sure he fits in. That is exactly the same as would happen in the wild. The new puppy doesn't come along and make new rules, and everyone else tries to adjust. When a new pup gets out of line, Alpha brings him back into compliance.
I'm not running a democracy here. He needs to fit in. And he is doing very well at that. The upside is that he is much happier now. He goes for rides, and gets to explore new places. He gets several walks a day. Everyone is more willing to engage him in play because they don't have to worry about it ending with bruises and lacerations. Yeah, sometimes he still plays too rough, but he's starting to understand that when that happens, he needs to dial it back. Over all, he is a lot more calm these days, and sweeter to everyone in general. His aggressive behavior in play has been tempered mostly, and he is not nearly as pushy as he was before. He is more fun to be around.
All of that isn't because of the e-collar, of course. (He doesn't wear it inside at all). What the e-collar did was bring back two very important activities: The walk and the car-ride. Two things I had to discontinue because of his over-aggressive attitude towards cars. Getting those again -- and more of them -- makes him calmer in general. And makes me happier, because I love taking him places.
I really don't care if this makes me out to be Attila the Hun in the eyes of some people (who have never met me -- or Ninja). I'm trying to do what is best for Ninja -- and my family. The e-collar helped that. Tremendously.