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Old 05-14-2014, 03:23 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Gunther is pouting

Gunther perceived something in the yard as a threat a few minutes ago and would not drop his focus on barking at it. There is no one out there, it's two in the morning. My guess is it was a rabbit. I spent 5 minutes trying in vain to get him to let it go and come in the house. He refused. He was acknowledging that I was speaking to him, he would run over to me and then go back to barking at the bushes with his hackles raised. He woke my husband and who knows how many other people around here. He listens so well but when he is focused on something he will NOT let it go until I go investigate it myself. However at 2 in the morning, wearing slippers, the yard is soaked, and I hear no sounds whatsoever in the bushes I am not going to go climbing around in the trees and bushes. He finally came in after many struggles but now he seems to be pouting on the couch. Is it because I didn't go investigate his "threat"? Is it because I refuse to reward him for barking when he ignored my commands for 5 minutes? I love that he's on alert and lets me know, but I feel he should A) Tell the difference between a stray animal and an actual threat (B) Let it go and follow my commands when I give them (C) Cease the barking once I get him back into the house. Suggestions?

Also me going into a perceived threat to investigate because my dog says to goes against all logic and training I have received in my life. You don't go running into an unknown threat, you step back and arm yourself and prepare.
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Old 05-14-2014, 12:40 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Ok really? Normally there is at LEAST one person who has the answer to everything in the world posting advice or negative comments where none is wanted or needed. But when I have a genuine training question nobody has any tips. Ok then.
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Old 05-14-2014, 12:48 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I would love to help you on this. I am not new to dogs but I am to GSDs. I would think the dog was a little upset that you didn't investigate. When I was younger I had a pit bull terrier that would do the same thing. So I would take her and investigate the problem and she seemed to really enjoy that like a hunt of some sort. I can say that when my GSD puppy gets older I probably would go check out what has drawn such concentrated attention to put her and myself at ease.
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Old 05-14-2014, 01:00 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Do you ever have a problem with the dogs not listening to commands when focused on their idea of a threat?
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Old 05-14-2014, 01:14 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I can't speak for my GSD since he is only a puppy, but the only time my previous dog (GSP) would do this kind of thing was when my husband was out of town. It was like she was on extra guard duty and she would want to investigate EVERY noise outside.

If you knew it was nothing and called him away from it, the first time he ran back over to you, I would have leashed him, said "leave it", "it's ok" and brought him in and let him pout if he chose. By continuing to allow him to bark, it is just reinforcing the behavior and allowing him to disobey (which makes it harder he next time).

One thing that my trainer has said to me that has stuck with me for a long time is "Are you asking him to come or are you commanding it? The dog doesn't get to choose. Give the command twice and then go get him. Don't let him snub you off.

I hope that helps and you get a peaceful nights sleep tonight. Spring has sprung and there are baby birds, rabbits, coyotes, etc rummaging all around outside and our GSD's ears are never "off duty". They hear it all!
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Old 05-14-2014, 01:30 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ellimaybel View Post
Do you ever have a problem with the dogs not listening to commands when focused on their idea of a threat?
A definite yes. However, it has been with some of my rescues, not dogs I have raised and trained since puppyhood. It is more work to deal with it when they are adults, but it can be done. I agree with Tratkins--when he came to you and you let him go back, that was a mistake. Not one that can't be resolved, it just would have made it easier for you if you had leashed him right then and brought him in.

With a recall especially, I NEVER give a command that I can't back up, until the recall is rock solid. That means that in the beginning my rescues (the ones who had no clue what a recall was) dragged a long line if they weren't on a leash, and I never called them unless the end of the line was securely under my foot.

Forgive those who haven't responded yet--from the time on your post you must be on the West Coast. While you posted, the rest of us were sleeping, and that doesn't take into account those who are on a different continent, lol.

Susan

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Old 05-14-2014, 01:32 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Ok, now you can laugh at me lol. I can't catch him. He is wiley and fast and runs into the trees where I can't follow him. I'll try taking the leash out with me next time. If nothing else it may make him think he's going for a walk. And maybe he will, the next day.
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Old 05-14-2014, 01:34 PM   #8 (permalink)
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My 14 month old does it all the time. Day/Night it doesn't matter. When she gets in the "ZONE" she will not shut up. We have to investigate and then praise her for making a ruckus for her to quiet. I really don't want to praise for being annoying and not listening but I want honest threat alerts as well. We have tried teaching speak and quiet with no good results. I will be following this thread for advise as well.
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Old 05-14-2014, 01:47 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Ellimaybel View Post
Ok, now you can laugh at me lol. I can't catch him. He is wiley and fast and runs into the trees where I can't follow him. I'll try taking the leash out with me next time. If nothing else it may make him think he's going for a walk. And maybe he will, the next day.
I couldn't catch my 5 month old either if he didn't want me too! He looks like a kangaroo at full speed Lol. So now you know you need to spend some time working on your recall and like Susan said, don't let him fail...ever. So if the scenario replays tonight, this is what I would do. I am assuming you don't have a doggie door and have to actually open the door to let him out. Put a long line on him (I use a 15 ft long leash) and walk him out while you hold onto the end of the leash. When you are ready to go in, call him once and if he doesn't come, tug the leash and say come, and lead him in calmly.

Practice recall all over your house. My 5 month old knows if I call his name and say come, something GOOD is waiting for him every time. I do it many times randomly throughout the day from all parts of the house. When we go outside where there are distractions, he is always on a long lead. Our current lead is 15 ft but we are getting ready to step it up to 25 ft because he is doing well. Look up some training tips for recall. Recall is very important and can literally save your pup's life one day if they are near danger, traffic, wild animal, etc... And I love that cute face running to me at full speed! :-)
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Old 05-14-2014, 08:04 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ellimaybel View Post
Ok, now you can laugh at me lol. I can't catch him. He is wiley and fast and runs into the trees where I can't follow him. I'll try taking the leash out with me next time. If nothing else it may make him think he's going for a walk. And maybe he will, the next day.
All the more reason to put a long line on him, EVERY time he is outside. Tratkins mentioned 15 ft., but I prefer at least 30 ft. of light, braided nylon, something strong enough that he can't break it, but light enough he can forget he's dragging it. Don't worry about him getting tangled in trees or brush, because you are never going to let him out alone--you will be there to rescue him, untangle him. I prefer the longer line because anything shorter, he will soon recognize how close you have to get to him to be able to control him. He will stay out of reach. With a longer line, it's harder for him to keep track of.

BTW, you do have a FENCED yard, right? I wouldn't do this without a fence.

Susan
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