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Old 02-20-2014, 07:34 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Exclamation Defiant dog

My 5 month old GSD is currently attending puppy school. She does ok at home, but at school she is totally uncontrollable! The second we get there, she goes WILD! The last month we have had to start using a choke collar and the trainer got her to heel perfectly. When there are multiple dogs, she pulls wildly and barks continuously. I want to get her socialized because I don't think I can hold her back once she is 70 pounds. She goes wild when around other people, but her ears lay back so I know she is being friendly. We just cant get her to stop jumping on them and submissive peeing. She is well potty trained. That's the one thing that went right. She loves her treats and will do anything for them at home, but at school she has absolutely no interest in them. The trainer says the breeder I got her from should have never sold her to us because she has an A1 personality, extreme high work and prey drive, and was bred as if she was going to work for the police or military (I think she is the East German breed). We spend every waking minute with her. I changed my working shift to midnights while my husband works day turn so there will always be someone here to take care of her. We walk her 2 times a day, about 1mile each time. Its hard in the winter because no-one shovels their side walk and there is road salt everywhere and she wants to eat it. I cant wait until summer. We play ball with her in the house and she does good, but when its time to go to the crate we have to chase her or throw a beggin strip in the crate to get her to go in. Putting a collar on her is ****. She squirms, and bites and there is no control what-so-ever. She is now getting her adult teeth so I'm starting to worry. She gets spayed next week so I hope it helps but my trainer says it wont make any difference. My husband is insisting trying another training school. This one is all "positive" training (using treats, clickers, and no choke collars). I just don't see this dog learning with a clicker. I have a feeling I will have to resort to a prong collar which is what the breeder suggested when I got her. I'm starting to lose my patience, but don't worry, I can never hit her. I love her and I really want to get a handle on her. Any suggestions? She has been so defiant lately.
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Old 02-20-2014, 07:40 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Find a new trainer
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Old 02-20-2014, 07:48 AM   #3 (permalink)
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She is not being defiant. She sounds like a delightfully wild puppy.

I am just responding so this will show up in my tracked threads. No time to respond in depth right now but I am certain you can get the help you need here. You do need a trainer used to working with these kind of dogs. You probably are in over your head but a good trainer will throw you a lifeline.

I will say at this age and size you may need a prong for control but her training needs to be done at a distance from other dogs where she is not so distracted and then ease her into distracting situations..winter has probably put a major kink into that. One on one may be best for you right now then work towards bringing her into a class. Can you play fetch out in the snow? Two miles of walking and ball in the house is probably not enough exercise. I never play ball in the house or anything wild because to me inside=calm and they don't understand if they play inside why they can't be that way all the time.
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Old 02-20-2014, 07:48 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I agree with your husband and Baillif, find a new trainer.

It may not be so much the 'clicker' not working, it may be she needs some corrections vs no corrections
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Old 02-20-2014, 07:58 AM   #5 (permalink)
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What others have said - prong collar is kinder and more effective than a choke. A five month old working line of high energy and drive needs more exercise than leash walks. I know that winter is a challenge (check out my location), but if you can find some open place out of the way where you can REALLY work her and tire her out, it's worth the effort.

You may need to work with a trainer one-on-one that will gradually introduce distractions in obedience training, and can help you get control. You may be inadvertently triggering these behaviours in your pup with your energy and body language and movements when in class - saying this because your pup worked well for the trainer. The trainer should be helping you find that balance with your dog.

Are you tiring out your dog before class? Long walks, running, playing fetch? Many people need to really exercise their dogs before training to help them settle and focus.

If your dog is as high energy and as high prey drive as the trainer said, play ball outside in the snow - running through deep snow is a great way to tire out your dog. Also look into getting a flirt pole - a life saver for exercising pups when space is limited.
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Old 02-20-2014, 08:01 AM   #6 (permalink)
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She is just being a puppy. You need to work on engagement with her. This does not mean you need to use aversives in her training... she is only FIVE months old! She is a PUPPY!

If she is flipping out and bounding with excitement when you take her new places, then she does not care about you or want anything you have... that's what working on engagement will fix. You need to make her see that you are more valuable than everything else.

If she's a high drive puppy, build that drive onto a toy or food. Use a flirt pole, set rules. Skip her morning feeding and use super high quality treats (hot dogs, grilled chicken, bacon, etc) for training.

Work inside the house, once she's perfected that, work in the back yard, move to training while on walks, take her different places with the goal of having her do a few training commands, leave on a good note.

It's not really hard, it's just time consuming. Now is the time to do it while she is young and you can still physically manage her!
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Old 02-20-2014, 08:56 AM   #7 (permalink)
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WOW JakodaCD OA! she is going to look exactly like the GSD in your avatar when she gets big.
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Old 02-20-2014, 09:02 AM   #8 (permalink)
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no time to answer either but do recommend
Fired Up, Frantic, and Freaked Out: Training the Crazy Dog from Over the Top to Under Control: Laura VanArendonk Baugh: 9780985934927: Amazon.com: Books Fired Up, Frantic, and Freaked Out: Training the Crazy Dog from Over the Top to Under Control: Laura VanArendonk Baugh: 9780985934927: Amazon.com: Books

HOW you socialize the pup will affect what behaviour you are going to get. Other thread "becoming social" covers much the same material.

Your dog is too aroused in this classroom situation . Get control first . Get the attentive dog first and then add stimulation . You may want to check out rethinking "popular" early socialization

much socialization is well meant but with unwanted results .
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Old 02-20-2014, 10:47 AM   #9 (permalink)
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If she is submissively peeing, then harsher corrections (prong collar) may not be the way to go with this puppy.

Also the fact that she will not take treats during training class -- this indicates the puppy is nervous moreso than aggressive/defiant/high energy/high prey drive.

What I would do with this dog, is I would go to the class, sit on a chair away from the class, far away from the class, and have something uber good, microwaved hotdogs or chicken or cheese, and offer the puppy a tid bit when it pays attention to me. As the dog becomes more relaxed further away, I would get a little bit closer.

Barking, lunging, pulling on the leash, distraction to the point of not being able to focus all sounds like a dog that is fearful and uncomfortable in the situation.

5 month old puppies are rarely defiant. They have untapped energy, they are intelligent but have short attention spans, they are curious and explore the world with their mouth and teeth. 1 mile twice a day is simply not enough exercise. You need to get out there and throw the ball through the snow and have that pup bound back and forth and back and forth. If he won't play with the ball, you play with him. run back and forth with him. Get some of that energy out before going to class.

If you treat a soft or handler-sensitive dog in the same way you would treat a hard, high energy, high drive, or defiant dog, it can backfire badly, especially for the dog. For a soft or handler-sensitive dog, you want to build their confidence in themselves and in you. What increasing corrections will do is it will make such a dog less confident, and more worried. You might be able to mask some of the symptoms you are seeing, but down below you will have a fearful dog who might react very poorly in common situations.
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Old 02-20-2014, 11:47 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by e.rigby View Post
She is just being a puppy. You need to work on engagement with her. This does not mean you need to use aversives in her training... she is only FIVE months old! She is a PUPPY!

If she is flipping out and bounding with excitement when you take her new places, then she does not care about you or want anything you have... that's what working on engagement will fix. You need to make her see that you are more valuable than everything else.

If she's a high drive puppy, build that drive onto a toy or food. Use a flirt pole, set rules. Skip her morning feeding and use super high quality treats (hot dogs, grilled chicken, bacon, etc) for training.

Work inside the house, once she's perfected that, work in the back yard, move to training while on walks, take her different places with the goal of having her do a few training commands, leave on a good note.

It's not really hard, it's just time consuming. Now is the time to do it while she is young and you can still physically manage her!
I agree with all this.

My puppy's energy level wouldn't even be remotely dented by 2 miles on leash. No amount of anything on leash would tire her out. Four hours off-leash a day, MINIMUM, is what mine needs. This is before any obedience. Obedience is part of off-leash, obviously, but we do separate obedience sessions throughout the day as well. You might be surprised at how well your dog responds to the clicker. I really don't think a puppy of 5 months needs physical corrections, I think they need exercise and play and positive training.

It's great that you have been so flexible with your work schedule - my partner and I had to do this too and I'm amazed when people just crate all day instead of putting in the effort. Sounds like you guys are really willing to make this work, and I commend you for that! Also - there is a light at the end of the tunnel - once my dog hit about a year she became a tiny bit less of a jerk
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