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Old 02-19-2013, 04:07 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Need Puppy Help-everything I do not working!

Hello all,
Long time lurker, first time poster, need some advice

I bought my female GSD puppy in early January. According to the breeder, she was 8 weeks old, but she was only about 6 lbs, still really fuzzy and sleepy, squashed face, folded ears, and would still suck on my finger if I placed it on her mouth. She looked just like pics of 4-5 week old pups. I took my concerns to the vet, who said due to her canines being out, she really was 8 weeks old, but I dunno. According to weight charts, she was right around average for a 4 week old puppy. Seems more likely to me that she was younger than we thought, rather than half the normal weight of an 8 week old puppy.

Background on me-This is my 3rd GSD. My first GSD was a rescued adult, my second was a puppy I adopted when she was 10 weeks old. My new puppysleeps in my room, and spends the majority of her time inside with the family. She spends about 6 hours a day outside while we are at work, but my husband and I take turns coming home and playing with her during lunch, and my son comes home from school and walks and plays with her around 3pm. I am physically active and walk her for about an hour each day, plus my husband and I play with her and work on her commands each night for about half an hour or more. On weekends, she is inside 24/7.

I can say fairly that I am working with her as much as I have with my other GSD's, but it isn't sticking. She is seemingly house-trained, and not very destructive, but that is about it. If she is awake, she is either biting, or whining, or both at the same time. She is smart- will "peepee" on command, and knows her name, but will refuse to come when called, and sits only when she feels like it. She is very drivey and bitey, and doesn't respond at all to yelps, NO BITE, scruff shakes, re-direction, or squirt bottles. In fact, all of those things seem to rile her up even more.

She hates being petted or held. She squirms, bites, whines, and yelps when we try to pick her up or put her in our lap, and goes crazy biting when we try to pet her. She also flips out completely when we take her anywhere in the car-not just a little, I mean FLIPS OUT.

She also hates her crate- we have filled it with cool food, toys, comfy mats, etc, but it is always a struggle and she still yips and whines for like an hour, until she falls asleep. Then we repeat the process several times during the night when she wakes up to go to the bathroom. Aside from bedtime, she won't go in at all.

With my other female GSD puppy, I was able to socialize her easily, because she would ride in the car, go off-leash at the park, and all sorts of stuff without being really difficult. Yeah, she bit a little and ate a couple of my shoes, but that was the worst of it. My new puppy gets so out of control that I can't take her anywhere, and it gets in the way of her socialization.

I suspect it may be due to her age when I got her- I know the vet says she really was 8 weeks, but I just really doubt it. I keep reading that if they are separated from the litter too young, they will be screwed up for life. Also, maybe since the breeder wasnt reputable, she has a screwed up temperament, genetically. Is my puppy a lost cause? We love her and have been diligently working with her for about 7 weeks now, without much progress. My husband is talking about re-homing her and starting over with a GSD from a good breeder, but I don't want to give up yet. Has anyone else experienced this? How did you fix it?
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Old 02-19-2013, 04:34 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Hopefully one of the breeders here will answer your questions, but just as a comparison, our 8 week old pup weighed 18lbs. She did not like being held and was never a cuddler but sure enjoyed the car rides. She also did not like her crate at all.

I wonder if this was a premature pup or there were complications at birth that caused some brain trauma. I've raised two cats we found at our business - they were about 5 days old, eyes still closed. Being raised without their birth mother caused no negative effect on them, but they had my dog, a couple other cats and my two daughters all there to nurture them.

If she is actually her age and healthy, all I can say is she is very independent and just may need a lot more play time or different type of play than your other two dogs. Have toys all over the house that you can stuff in her mouth for the biting, and maybe she is so smart she needs more intelligent games like "search" or hide and seek, or if old enough agility seems very satisfying to many GSD's. Good luck and hope your patience holds out.
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Old 02-19-2013, 07:07 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I do not have a lot of GSD puppy experience as mine was adopted as a young adult. But, I thought i would bump this thread back up for you.




Hope everything works out with your pup!
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Old 02-19-2013, 07:27 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LifeofRiley View Post
I do not have a lot of GSD puppy experience as mine was adopted as a young adult
Just to clarify the bolded part. I meant to say I adopted my dog when he was a young adult... not that I adopted him out as a young adult.... ohhh... sometimes I hate that you can't edit posts after a period of time

Well, now that I am posting again, I'll add a bit more...

I really hope folks with lots of puppy experience chime in on this thread. I would hate to see you re-home your pup for what may be very normal puppy behavior and not something that is indicative of insurmountable problems.
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Old 02-19-2013, 08:37 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I got my first GSD bitch when she was just under 6 weeks old and 6 pounds. I can't tell you if her canines were out yet though. I think you have to go with the vet on that. She just may have had a rough start. I know Cupcake was exactly 8 pounds at 8 weeks and I was darn lucky to get her to that point, she had such a rough start.

7 and 8 weeks is what? 15 weeks old, 3 1/2 months old. Puppies are so different. It seems like often times working line pups tend to be a bit mouthier and higher energy. I had only the one and that was enough for me, but it is just a generalization. A few of my German Show line dogs have higher drives and are a bit more independent.

I think your puppy is normal. It is mouthy and it is more independent so it may be a bad fit for you and your family. Or you just need to figure our what makes her tick, how to bond with her, how to motivate her. Remember that it isn't the easy ones that we learn from. Intelligence and good aren't both used to describe the same puppy most of the time. The really intelligent ones tend to get into more trouble.

For some dogs, a negative tone of voice is the only correction you will ever need. And other dogs a negative tone of voice can be just blown off. And some of that has to do with conditioning too. What you need to find is how to be consistent and patient with your pup and still not be a human bite sleeve.

I have never seen a 3.5 month old pup that needs as much exercise, and training as your pup is getting. Normally, I would suggest that you back it down a whole lot and play with the puppy more, and maybe even tether it to yourself when you get home, and spend hours tethered to her, rather than specific training and exercise. On the other hand, if she is working line, she may need that level of exercise. I just don't know.

I would go with a three prong attack if you choose to go forward with the puppy. Remember the puppy is young and cute now, and rehoming the pup to a more suitable home would probably be easier now that when she is several months from now.

First I would read up on NILIF (nothing in life is free) or another over all management structure, and figure out the best way to explain it to each member of the family. You want to raise the puppy from this point onward consistently and it sounds like this is a puppy that will probably need to work for the goodies in life.

Secondly, for training, I would go with just the very basics to start with, and NEVER give a command you cannot immediately enforce, and NEVER repeat commands. Telling the dog to come, when she is across the room is fine if she comes, every time. The problem is, what happens if she does not? Well she just learned that she doesn't have to listen to you. And if you then go and get her, she may have just figured out that if she doesn't do anything when you say come, then you will start a game of chase. And Chase is a very fun game. Load up on treats. Keep them in a crunchy bag in your pocket. Grab the bag and crunch it to get her attention. show it to her. When she comes, give her the treat and do whatever you wanted to do with her.

Definitely teach the basic come command, but for now, ONLY give it to her when she is on lead. Because then if she does not come immediately you can help her with a small tug on the collar. and if she still doesn't come you can real her in. But letting her ignore the command teaches her to ignore you.

Repeating commands teaches her to ignore you. It is nagging. Loopy Sit. Sit! Sit, Now! C'mon, Sit will ya? Loopy, Sit. I see these people in training classes and don't understand how the instructor doesn't break down and start smacking people with newspapers: NO NAG! Instead, Loopy, Sit. If she does not, help her into the proper position, pause slightly and say Good Sit!

The third thing I would do is play with your dog. Don't pick her up. In a few months she won't be a lap dog anyway. Lots of GSDs do not like being picked up. Play with her. The moment she gets too ramped up that she is mouthy, end of game. Teach her the GENTLE command and then REMIND her to be GENTLE with your fingers. If she gets too roudy, get your hands out of the line of fire and if necessary leave her in her play area, ending the game so she cannot eat you further. She is intelligent, she will get it. Also, she needs games that will exercise her brain mentally. Teach her tricks. Teach her hide n seek. Give her toys where she has to work at it to get to what's inside.

I would get an x-pen or a baby gate and maybe go easier on the crate. Put it in her area, and take the door off. Give her her food and water in her crate -- no door. If you have a wire crate, get a airline fiberglass crate. If her crate is the fiberglass kind, get her the wire kind. But I would mostly keep her in a puppy safe area, and give her a bit more space. Being totally crate trained is a good idea, as is being able to ride in the car. Having a very special meaty raw bone that she only gets at night in her crate might work.

As for riding in the car, I don't think I would let my puppy's antics stop me from putting her in the car. At this point she is small enough, load her in a travel crate and put it in the car. Just do it. Stay even tempered, just matter of fact, do NOT apologize. Just put her in there, whether she likes it or not. Make no fuss about it. Ignore her sounds.

This pup is little now, but she isn't going to stay little. Working with someone who can evaluate her and how you interact with you and give you suggestions may be your best bet.
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Old 02-19-2013, 08:48 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Need Puppy Help-everything I do not working!

I think getting involved with a good trainer would help a lot. Where are you located? I'm sure someone here could give some good references for a trainer.

My puppy was Awful in the car. Biting my hands, the ****ter, the seat etc. I swore I was going to end up in an accident. So I stopped taking her in my car and only took her in the back of my husbands truck in a crate on the weekends. She doesn't mind it at all. And now that she has more manners and is done teething she rides well in my car.

What motivates her? Is she food motivated? Toy motivated? Praise? Etc. what gets her excited?


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Old 02-20-2013, 12:02 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gretchen View Post

If she is actually her age and healthy, all I can say is she is very independent and just may need a lot more play time or different type of play than your other two dogs. Have toys all over the house that you can stuff in her mouth for the biting, and maybe she is so smart she needs more intelligent games like "search" or hide and seek, or if old enough agility seems very satisfying to many GSD's. Good luck and hope your patience holds out.
Thanks for the advice. I think that she is more likely a very intelligent dog than the other alternative. She seems to need a great deal of stimulation.


Quote:
Originally Posted by LifeofRiley View Post
Just to clarify the bolded part. I meant to say I adopted my dog when he was a young adult... not that I adopted him out as a young adult.... ohhh... sometimes I hate that you can't edit posts after a period of time

Well, now that I am posting again, I'll add a bit more...

I really hope folks with lots of puppy experience chime in on this thread. I would hate to see you re-home your pup for what may be very normal puppy behavior and not something that is indicative of insurmountable problems.
Thanks for bumping the thread

Quote:
Originally Posted by selzer View Post
I got my first GSD bitch when she was just under 6 weeks old and 6 pounds. I can't tell you if her canines were out yet though. I think you have to go with the vet on that. She just may have had a rough start. I know Cupcake was exactly 8 pounds at 8 weeks and I was darn lucky to get her to that point, she had such a rough start.

7 and 8 weeks is what? 15 weeks old, 3 1/2 months old. Puppies are so different. It seems like often times working line pups tend to be a bit mouthier and higher energy. I had only the one and that was enough for me, but it is just a generalization. A few of my German Show line dogs have higher drives and are a bit more independent.

I think your puppy is normal. It is mouthy and it is more independent so it may be a bad fit for you and your family. Or you just need to figure our what makes her tick, how to bond with her, how to motivate her. Remember that it isn't the easy ones that we learn from. Intelligence and good aren't both used to describe the same puppy most of the time. The really intelligent ones tend to get into more trouble.

For some dogs, a negative tone of voice is the only correction you will ever need. And other dogs a negative tone of voice can be just blown off. And some of that has to do with conditioning too. What you need to find is how to be consistent and patient with your pup and still not be a human bite sleeve.

I have never seen a 3.5 month old pup that needs as much exercise, and training as your pup is getting. Normally, I would suggest that you back it down a whole lot and play with the puppy more, and maybe even tether it to yourself when you get home, and spend hours tethered to her, rather than specific training and exercise. On the other hand, if she is working line, she may need that level of exercise. I just don't know.

I would go with a three prong attack if you choose to go forward with the puppy. Remember the puppy is young and cute now, and rehoming the pup to a more suitable home would probably be easier now that when she is several months from now.

First I would read up on NILIF (nothing in life is free) or another over all management structure, and figure out the best way to explain it to each member of the family. You want to raise the puppy from this point onward consistently and it sounds like this is a puppy that will probably need to work for the goodies in life.

Secondly, for training, I would go with just the very basics to start with, and NEVER give a command you cannot immediately enforce, and NEVER repeat commands. Telling the dog to come, when she is across the room is fine if she comes, every time. The problem is, what happens if she does not? Well she just learned that she doesn't have to listen to you. And if you then go and get her, she may have just figured out that if she doesn't do anything when you say come, then you will start a game of chase. And Chase is a very fun game. Load up on treats. Keep them in a crunchy bag in your pocket. Grab the bag and crunch it to get her attention. show it to her. When she comes, give her the treat and do whatever you wanted to do with her.

Definitely teach the basic come command, but for now, ONLY give it to her when she is on lead. Because then if she does not come immediately you can help her with a small tug on the collar. and if she still doesn't come you can real her in. But letting her ignore the command teaches her to ignore you.

Repeating commands teaches her to ignore you. It is nagging. Loopy Sit. Sit! Sit, Now! C'mon, Sit will ya? Loopy, Sit. I see these people in training classes and don't understand how the instructor doesn't break down and start smacking people with newspapers: NO NAG! Instead, Loopy, Sit. If she does not, help her into the proper position, pause slightly and say Good Sit!

The third thing I would do is play with your dog. Don't pick her up. In a few months she won't be a lap dog anyway. Lots of GSDs do not like being picked up. Play with her. The moment she gets too ramped up that she is mouthy, end of game. Teach her the GENTLE command and then REMIND her to be GENTLE with your fingers. If she gets too roudy, get your hands out of the line of fire and if necessary leave her in her play area, ending the game so she cannot eat you further. She is intelligent, she will get it. Also, she needs games that will exercise her brain mentally. Teach her tricks. Teach her hide n seek. Give her toys where she has to work at it to get to what's inside.

I would get an x-pen or a baby gate and maybe go easier on the crate. Put it in her area, and take the door off. Give her her food and water in her crate -- no door. If you have a wire crate, get a airline fiberglass crate. If her crate is the fiberglass kind, get her the wire kind. But I would mostly keep her in a puppy safe area, and give her a bit more space. Being totally crate trained is a good idea, as is being able to ride in the car. Having a very special meaty raw bone that she only gets at night in her crate might work.

As for riding in the car, I don't think I would let my puppy's antics stop me from putting her in the car. At this point she is small enough, load her in a travel crate and put it in the car. Just do it. Stay even tempered, just matter of fact, do NOT apologize. Just put her in there, whether she likes it or not. Make no fuss about it. Ignore her sounds.

This pup is little now, but she isn't going to stay little. Working with someone who can evaluate her and how you interact with you and give you suggestions may be your best bet.
Thank you for all of the advice. Her mother was (supposedly) search and rescue, so she may have a lot of working drive. Motivation-wise, she cares more for toys and playing than treats, so I have been trying to play with her as a reward. As to an X-pen or open crate, I was considering just getting her a dog bed next to me and shutting my bedroom and closet doors so she cant get into anything. She is pretty good about alerting me if she needs to go outside to pee, so I am thinking that may be an option too. In terms of her exercise, I let her set the pace for it, she seems to love walking or even running next to me on the grass ( i dont run her on the concrete) and even then she isnt phased by it. I dont mind, I like exercising too, I just cant believe she doesnt get tired out by it, my other dog used to get home and nap for hours afterward. As to the "COME" stuff, what you described above is EXACTLY what happens. Do you ever issue corrections when they don't come? or just avoid asking her to come unless she is a few feet away and actually will come?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Capone22 View Post
I think getting involved with a good trainer would help a lot. Where are you located? I'm sure someone here could give some good references for a trainer.

My puppy was Awful in the car. Biting my hands, the ****ter, the seat etc. I swore I was going to end up in an accident. So I stopped taking her in my car and only took her in the back of my husbands truck in a crate on the weekends. She doesn't mind it at all. And now that she has more manners and is done teething she rides well in my car.

What motivates her? Is she food motivated? Toy motivated? Praise? Etc. what gets her excited?


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I may try restraining her in the car with one of those harness doggy seatbelt things. I'd crate her but I have a compact car and it wouldnt fit. She is totally toy and play motivated. She seems to want to play like 24/7. I am in Modesto, CA so if anyone is familiar with a good trainer in this area please feel free to chime in

Thanks all for all of the advice. I am going to stick with her and be consistent, I really don't want to give up and re-home her until I am certain that she really isnt a good fit.
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Old 02-20-2013, 07:43 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Actually, until the come command is 100% on lead, and the dog has reached a little more maturity, I do not use the COME command unless she is on lead. I do not want to give the dog the idea that it is optional. When I say COME, it means COME, RIGHT NOW, every single time. I will start with a short lead, and I will move on to a long line, but I do not give them the command COME unless I can enforce it, and until they are perfect however far away, and whatever the distractions, on lead.

I
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Old 03-18-2013, 12:09 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
plus my husband and I play with her and work on her commands each night for about half an hour or more.
Are you training for an entire hour? IMO working in 3-5 minute sessions multiple times a day for puppies is much better. They can have a bit of ADD and after a while they just can't focus.

Also if the biting is still a problem (yipping and such really didn't work for my pup either) try spraying your arms and hands with bitter spray while you play. It shouldn't take long before she realizes that you taste bad. This has helped us although we do have to use it again every once in a while when he forgets.

Hope this helps!
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