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KonkorFour 12-09-2013 09:18 AM

Questions about how to train my puppy?
My dad bought home an amazing puppy about 2 months ago, at the time he was about 10 months old I believe. He's now 1 and my dad is thinking of getting rid of him.

My brothers all attend school and my dad is a head teacher, the trouble with the dog is that since he hasn't really been trained he chews a lot of stuff and more or less is stuck inside his cage and doesn't get out much.

I work days so I try to walk him a lot at night but I'm very tired so usually after his walks he's stuck inside again, since my dad bought him home I don't see it fair on the dog to be given away after he's become part of our family.

So I'm wanting to train him as much as I can, just I have no idea how to.

He has a cushion that he lays on when outside of his cage so I removed his cage and put the cushion in its place, he started to sleep on it but then randomly he'd begin to chew everything in sight. This includes Xbox controllers, ipads, corners of the door.

I read online you have to make sure to tell him the difference between his stuff and yours, so I bought him a large bone since he doesnt want to play with his toys. He started to chew the bone a lot and would prefer that but then instead of chewing when left out alone he'd end up leaving large steamy presents for us...

Another problem is when out walking, since I'm the only person who does walk him and it's not often although very long walks he pulls a lot. There was even a time when a lad from around my area had his hood up and my dog tried to nip him. So since then I've been really worried about walking him in case he tried to bite someone.

I feel really bad since he doesn't get out much or any exercise and it's really not fair on him so I'd love any help at all, I'm willing to buy whatever is needed although I don't have a great deal to spend.

Baillif 12-09-2013 09:22 AM

Go to the library and find a book called The Culture Clash by Jean Donaldson. You have a lot of knowledge you are going to need to pick up to solve all the issues you are having. You basically have a perfectly normal completely untrained and understimulated dog.

Bequavious 12-09-2013 10:06 AM

He needs exercise and mental stimulation more than anything else. Walks, especially if it's after work and you're tired, and more likely to be mental stimulation than exercise. Do you have an area you can play fetch in? Or maybe you can try biking or urban mushing? Anything where he's running is going to be a lot more effective than a walk even if it's long. Some people also teach their dogs to use a treadmill, and swimming is fantastic exercise if you have a place he can go!

As for mental stimulation, training is excellent! You can also give him stuffed kongs and puzzle toys. Personally I would leave him in his crate while you're gone until he is reliable, but some people also teach their dogs to find treats that they've hidden around the house. Socialization, meeting new people, new dogs, sniffing new things, and encountering new situations is also great mental stimulation.

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SuperG 12-09-2013 10:14 AM


I agree with Bailiff, you need to approach the problems as Bailiff cites " You basically have a perfectly normal completely untrained and understimulated dog."

Unfortunately, the situation you describe sounds as if your puppy is left to his own devices and many times that spells hardship for both the dog and his "family". My experience with shepherds would strongly suggest that 1: they are extremely smart dogs, 2: they need guidance and focused leadership while they are maturing, 3: they need consistency along with a guarantee of human interaction...the more the better. If your pooch becomes acclimated to the consistency of very little training and minimal human interaction coupled with a lack of stimulation, you will have a less than desirable outcome most likely.

I will be judgmental for a moment here and ask if the decision to get this pup was well thought out in the first place, too many folks in error believe a young dog is a self starter and requires little attention as well as training.

Your comment " I don't see it fair on the dog to be given away after he's become part of our family." shows where your heart is at and I applaud you for this. Perhaps, you are the only one in your family who feels this 1 year old pup is "part of the family". So, perhaps you might take it upon yourself to go the extra distance and do what is required even if you don't get any support from the rest of your family. The fact that you are taking steps to correct certain unacceptable behavior shows you care.

There are numerous resources available on the Internet to help guide you along but personally I believe the more time you spend with your pup the better off all will be. I know you say that you have limited time and are tired after working a full day but do everything in your power and ability to spend time with your dog, training and interacting with him. Simply put, you get back what you invest in your dog's upbringing. So, make the sacrifices and make your dog a top priority, you will be paid back many times over for your efforts. Maybe during your work day if it is possible to come home at lunch or whenever and simply work with your dog, you will see the benefits. And I would reserve weekends for your pup and have him glued to your side, playing and training as much as you can ( keep it fun when you sense you are making little progress ). Upbeat and positive with solid leadership will usually win the day.

A dog's desire for attention is puzzling at times but I have heard it said many times that "any attention is good attention to the dog". I take that as the negative attention your dog probably receives for chewing everything up he isn't supposed to, could be interpreted by your dog as simply "attention" and in his mind is better than no attention whatsoever.

A 1 year old shepherd has plenty of time left to become a wonderfully trained and compatible friend for life but the ball is in your court as you well know. It requires patience, effort and dedication for a while but once you get your dog on the right track you will be ever so glad you made the effort because you will have as I said previously a friend for life.

Your comment " I feel really bad since he doesn't get out much or any exercise and it's really not fair on him..." also shows you have a solid understanding of what he needs and is good for him. So, let your conscience guide you brightly and exercise him whenever you can...make the exception for him, he simply will be better for it. A five minute session of exercise is better than none and perhaps you can turn that 5 minute session into 10 minutes then 20 etc...and as many times a day as you can until you really sense your dog is tired out.

I wish you luck and I'm glad your pooch has you as a family member who cares......he deserves the best you can give him because if you do what you must today for him, he will fill your life with quality.


MaggieRoseLee 12-09-2013 10:15 AM

SO MUCH easier just to find some great dog classes in your area, attend once a week and then get some structure going in your pups life.

Dog classes are a blast! Socialization, exercise, mental stimulation. Amazing how much more fun a dog is when they start to learn, bond, and WE get the skills we need to get that going. Not the dogs fault that your dad bought it thinking it would only need time/attention like a plant or fish and instead it's not just a 'dog' but a GERMAN SHEPHERD!

Good luck and update us with your classes and how things are progressing.


Baillif 12-09-2013 10:17 AM

speaking of that. How is he on those walks? He barking at strangers?

KonkorFour 12-09-2013 11:19 AM

Thank you for the replies, it really helps a lot and I am willing to do anything it takes. As for when on walks, a lot of the time he's okay, I mean like there's been times when children run up to him and I'm afraid in case he tries play fighting but he's absolutely fine with them and let's them stroke him but other times with adults mostly males in hoodies or what some call chavs he barks or looks like he's about to nip.

I do my best to pull him back but he's a very strong dog which is why I was thinking about getting him a muzzle for when we're on walks just in-case.

But at the same time I don't want to put him into classes, I know it would be so much easier but he's a very clever dog. I know for a fact he can understand but I think due to being left alone a lot he just gets very bored. That's why I'd love to train him myself and then be able to leave him out more, I let him out in the garden as much as possible too so he's not cramped up 24/7 but most days I get home and he's tore things apart or chewed the lawn mower. I've been buying him toys and trying to get him to realize that they're his and he should be chewing these instead but I'm not too sure he really cares lol.

Baillif 12-09-2013 11:23 AM

I guess that isn't too terribly bad. Around here males in hoodies get shot sometimes on "accident." I hear people tend to get away with it too.



KonkorFour 12-09-2013 11:36 AM


Originally Posted by Baillif (Post 4640625)
I guess that isn't too terribly bad. Around here males in hoodies get shot sometimes on "accident." I hear people tend to get away with it too.



Most of the people like that around my area tend to do drugs and stuff so I think he just gets a bad vibe from them, but would muzzling him be a good idea just to stay safe?

Baillif 12-09-2013 11:37 AM

Might not be a bad idea. If he was consistently going after people you were intimidated by too he might just be reading off of you. Definitely go find that book though it is on the older side so the library should have it. By the time you're done with it you should have a solid game plan for whatever behavior changes you need to make.

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