Will she outgrow this behavior w/training and age? - German Shepherd Dog Forums

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Old 02-28-2014, 02:43 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Will she outgrow this behavior w/training and age?

OK, here goes …. I’m posting again …. Hopefully you all will have some words of wisdom for me. We have had our MJ (approximately 10 months old) in training for over 2 months now. She is making great progress and so are we. Our trainer trains one family member at a time, then when that family member is able to demonstrate they are able to control her and have the training down pat to be ready for the group class, then they and MJ go to group, and he starts training another member of the family.

So far, my sons and I have gone and we are all in group class now (different days), which includes stays, handshakes, etc. MJ does great. Does exactly as told with only minor corrections at times. We spoke with the trainer again last night after group. He said he sees no aggression in her whatsoever, and she behaved perfectly and under control in group which consists of about 10 other dogs/owners (all large breed, shepherd, rotties, pitbulls). Anyway, my only issue with her is her barking/lunging at two of my family members (my 11 yo daughter and fiancÚ). Our trainer says MJ is a big bully and will try to intimidate them into doing her bidding or her not suffering consequences of her action. It seems she loves scaring them, the more scared they get, the more she does it.

She has never bitten them, or anyone, but we don’t let her get close enough. We can control her on leash, but I’m just really wondering if she will ever warm up to them and stop this behavior. Until she stops this, I can’t see their fear subsiding (and my fiancÚ has a pitbull, so it’s not like he’s afraid of dogs). My fiancÚ is starting his training with MJ tomorrow, and our trainer says give it time, she doesn’t see them as pack members/above her yet, and always treat her like she’s in boot camp. We socialize her at home all the time. She stays at place and stops barking when we say “quiet”. But if we turn our head and my fiancÚ goes into the other room, she's fine but when he comes back she gets her "stance" which almost seems like a play stance, she lunges and barks.

Sometimes I think maybe she thinks that how to play with them because when she sees them at a distance, she actually cries to get to them, but the closer they get, she barks...it's not a vicious bark, I've her her vicious bark at strangers, it's not like that. I don’t know. We have had her 5 months, and she was 5 or 6 months old when we got her. We know nothing about her or her previous owners other than she had her shots and the previous owners were going to take her to the pound because they couldn’t control her. Anyone have any thoughts? Will she grow past this? We love her and want this to work. Our trainer seems to think it will ....
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Old 02-28-2014, 03:10 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I kind of don't know where to start.....

When she INAPPROPRIATELY 'I've her her vicious bark at strangers,' how are you correcting that.

Because if you are not.

If you, instead, are LOVING that your GSD is 'protecting' you.... then I don't think you are ever going to 'fix' the problem you think you have with family members.

Puppies, and you have a puppy. Have ZERO, I mean ZERO skills and abilities to ACCURATELY know friend from foe. They just don't.

So if YOU have not been showing them that everyone they meet, EVERYONE, is just wonderful... but instead been allowing your UNPREPARED puppy 'decide' scary strangers from not... then you have given permission for your puppy to disregard YOU and it's all up to them. So why are they going to listen to you when you say your fiance is ok?

Either you are in charge and your puppy knows EVERYONE is wonderful cause you say it is... or you are NOT in charge and you've given it over to your puppy to decide.

Your pup is NEVER off leash in the house with your fiance? How many miles/hours of exercise is she able to get? If you have a high drive intelligent bouncing off the walls pup then that may be adding to what you see too.

How far have you been able to go on any of this training? --> Top Training Expectations for Puppies

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Old 02-28-2014, 03:36 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Thanks for your posts and words of wisdom. I really appreciate it.

1. When she INAPPROPRIATELY 'I've her her vicious bark at strangers,' how are you correcting that.
I have her on leash and give her a tug and tell her to "quiet" which she does, then I tell her to sit and stay which she does.

2. I am not thinking she is "protecting" me ... I know that is not the case, and I also don't like that she does it. I have a feeling the previous owners did not socialize her at all, and played very rough with her, and once she got a bit bigger and harder to control and a little scary to them, they got rid of her. She is about 10 months old, I hope that isn't too late to socialize her.

3. How do I show her everyone is "wonderful" ... that is where I am clueless and it still has not been addressed in training. Our trainer seems to think this is just her personality. I want her to know people and know they are ok.

4. Yes, our trainer wants her on leash all the time in the house until she is about 14 months old and earns the privilege of being off leash. I work full time but walk her for about half hour to 45 mins after I get home, she runs around in the yard with her balls/toys and the kids go out and play with her for over an hour a day. We have a long tether in the house and play tug o war with her and teach her to search out various toys. Plus she has training once or twice a week for over an hour and group class once or twice a week, same amount of time, plus my son walks her during the day and plays with her outside.

I could not watch the videos you suggested, but I can tell you she does follow the sit/stay/come/quiet commands, I make her sit and wait for her food, in a group of 10 other dogs/owners, she sits, stays, doesn't bark or act up and can be in a "stay" and then run down the field to me while all others are watching. She is fine with handshakes.

I have had german shepherds before, my last one passed away at 13 but the others were very friendly and this was not an issue so it's all new to me and I'm just trying to figure her out ....
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Old 02-28-2014, 03:54 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I couldn't edit my last post .... during the first month she was ok with my fiance and my daughter, it wasn't until MJ took my daughter's bagel when she was eating then started play biting her feet and my daughter panicked that MJ started being this way toward her and same thing w/my fiance, they were fine until one day he was walking into another room, MJ started biting his feet, he tried to get her to stop and ever since then she reacts this way to him .... he can, however, go outside and pet/play with her and she is fine, as long as I'm not around .... my daughter won't even attempt it tho .... but when she is in the living room on a leash at place and told to stay, she lays down and stays and we all watch tv and interact around her, and she is fine ...
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Old 02-28-2014, 04:32 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I think she's trying to play with them with the feet biting.

Did you look at --> Top Training Expectations for Puppies

Cause if you worked on the 'engagement' training, with a tug toy (to replace the feet toys), and some trick/clicker training you may refocus her to do GOOD and that you are more a leader in her life.

She needs TONS of crazy out and out play in her life at this age. Miles of exercise and running. A controlled life in the house or on a leash is going to cause her to WHOOHOO and act out with excess energy that plays out as crazy over the top behavior no one would want.

Watch the 2 last videos on the link above that I put up in February. Those are some things you can work on. FUN things. Things you DO want her to do. Any focus training will help (with treats/food/toys) cause when she's about to react, you can re-focus her back to you for the reward.
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Old 02-28-2014, 07:23 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I don't have any words of wisdom for you, but will say this, I commend you for all the training you and your family are going thru!! KUDOS to you all.

I think it's a great idea that the trainer is doing one one with each member and moving them on to group classes..

I really hope you'll update us on how it goes with your fiance, it will be interesting!

Has your fiance or daughter tried ignoring her , and tossing her treats/food, at the same time, when she's barking/lunging at them?

What do you think or has she done, if she could "get to them", during one of her barking/lunging episodes?

No expert here, but I woud continue on with this trainer and see how things progress
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Old 02-28-2014, 08:16 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default my only issue with her is her barking/lunging

Try this......
Dog is leashed, sitting and ready to heel. Have one of the lunge victims approach the dog. Before the dog can lunge take a left at heel and do a circle back to the lunge victim, not a right it will let the dog complete the lunge. You have to beat the dog to the punch, timing is everything. Repeat, repeat, repeat.
It helped me in the past. If you try it I would be curious to know if it works for you.
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Old 03-03-2014, 01:00 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Fiance did training on Sat

Well fiance did his first training on Saturday. The trainer had a martingale on her which he held, and fiance had one which he also held. Did "come to heel", several walks up and down consisting of right turns and left turns and place and stay at place. MJ listened to him quite well, even staying at place. He also had her in "down" position for a bit. Since the whole family watches the training, it wasn't until my son, his gf and my grandson got there that MJ started acting up a slight bit. She was sitting at heel position and then got up and moved about a foot away from fiance and sat back down. And once, she growled at him .... trainer felt that was because her "possie" was there now and she felt she no longer needed to listen to him. But it went well. Trainer taught my son how to help fiance at home and how to follow along with the other leash.
As to what MJ would do if she could get to these 2 family members, I am not sure. I am hestitant to take a chance. She has gotten to fiance, and he has pet her, but then she nips ... nothing like a vicious bite or anything. My little one is petrified and would probably scream and run, which would not be a good scenario, so we won't have that happen. Trainer said he will work with her and MJ when the time is right also.
MJ had her third group session with my son on Sunday, and she did great yet again! The trainer is really impressed on how good she is doing.
My son took her to the vet today for her booster shots. He took her to our vet who has been the family vet for many years ... Vet gave her two shots but refused to examine her and berated my son saying she needs training .... my son said she has really improved. I didn't like the attitude of him ... not all dogs like vets and shots, especially not a 10 mo puppy. I gotta find a new one....
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