Input on 15 week old - Pic included - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-19-2017, 01:33 PM Thread Starter
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Question Input on 15 week old - Pic included

I am first time dog owner (had a couple dogs as a kid) and first time GSD owner. I am married and have two boys 12 and 5 and 4 cats. We live on 12 non fenced acres. Apex our pup is 15 weeks and we have had him since he was 7 weeks. We did not do our homework on dog shopping. He does not have papers. Wow 8 whirlwind weeks. I have read everything I can get my hands on for weeks, watched hours and hours of videos and have done my best to process the information and institute what I can. This site has been incredibly helpful and I appreciate the insight, advice and experience each of you have taken the time out of your lives to post here. I have to say that we tried NO bite, what a joke; the day I let Apex bite me and used ouch changed everything for the good. Thank you for that sticky! Apex is crate trained. I think Apex has a high prey drive, wants to chase our cats, in the home it is coming along slowly he ignores them more each day…outside is another story. I am hoping this just takes time. Apex is always on a leash except for when we go to our backwoods to explore, this was his first week getting to be off leash in the woods. I have made the training mistakes of too much too soon as far as expectations so we are backing off and letting dog be a dog. He was ill when we got him and is behind on his shots he will be complete at 18 weeks. We have had decent amount of people come and go from the home and so far he likes people. I was worried about not exposing him to the world and took him to a quite park the other day with a pond, he was nervous when he saw two people fishing a quite wolf and some hackles up between his shoulders and did not want to approach, he stayed far far away, I did not push we ignored and ran around playing. He loves to play tug his favorite and likes to play fetch. I am a huge fan of the Ellis videos , Apex is VERY food motivated and rather smart. We are kind of starting over because of the mistakes I have made. Our current focuses;In and out of crate or ex pen or doors with manners, kid manners (dog and kids);sit, down (he does not like to down!), a little stay, informal recall, leave it, associating his name with positive, being calm in the house, hand feeding, catching him in the right frame of mind for a nice leash walk(getting a harness for the times when he has to leashed walked but pulls and also for restrained recall and play in future), ignoring and going into down for the cats. I work from home and my husband stays at home, exercise does not seem to be an issue yet. We will start puppy classes next month I am currently shopping options and viewing classes.


Gosh when I write that down it sure seems like so much……I am sure I have left things out, but this is probably to long as it is. I did forgot the most important thing engagement, focus just bond building thru love, play and food.


To finally get to the point, what do you think about thepond experience? Reading what I have about genetics I am kind of freaked out. If he is nervous is distraction play the right thing to do? I wanted to try attention getting and sit under distraction to see how we did. Maybe a dead parking lot better?


He has learned to take food gently. When I have tried to hold the food like Ellis(only 2x) to use it as lure he is chomp chomp chomping and it’s really uncomfortable. This is also conflicting with the way I have taught him to take food gently and with permission. We are using the marker good. Now we are both confused.


I was thinking about training him how he should react to the doorbell, knocks, and people entering the home. Would this be too much too soon? We would do this slowly in broken down sections example start with just the doorbell. We have a crate with a pad and a dog bed, which would be thebetter target for where he should go when the bell rings? I was thinking crate.I don’t know if what we are currently doing is keeping him stimulated mentally enough, so I thought this might be a good addition.


One more thing LOL We have trained leave it, now the puppy seems to purposely take something he knows will follow a leave it command just for the treat LOL. Should we remove getting treats for him leaving it? I don’t mind keeping this as fun game, but I need training to! HA


Thank you in advance for your advice and time. Please anyinput on topic or not is welcomed and more so appreciated. We want to be great dog owners. As I have come to find out this is not easy


I am having trouble with my account so sorry if any of this is messed up. Now I have to learn to use the forum
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-19-2017, 04:29 PM
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People more experienced than I will post with more specific advise I'm sure. Sounds like he lacks confidence. Take your time and set him up for success. Fun training, things he can easily succeed at. Sort of like building a human childs confidence.
Get him out and let him see and experience more things, but in a safe, easy way that wont scare him. He should adjust over time. We had a dog with extreme lack of confidence once. He needs to learn that youll watch out for him, and that he can trust you to keep him safe. Dont force anything on him... Let him go to it gently with time. Engineer activities you know he can do well at just so he'll have something to feel good about accomplishing. Dogs like this sometimes crumble easily so dont be harsh with him. He may never be a brave dog, but with time he should be able to live a normal life. Getting him out and exposing him to the world is super important here.... Otherwise the possibility of fear biting later on....he needs to know the world can be a happy place and its not all against him
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-19-2017, 05:00 PM
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Has he had more experiences around people to judge by? At his age he is kind of learning about pack vs other people and I would not make such a big deal about it if he loves people who come over and does not flip other flags. Hackles and wood could just be a little excitement. I would say more exposures like that and do some fun things with other people in the back ground instead of focusing on them. Some obiedience. Some tug. and let him learn to just ignore them (which is what you want)

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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-19-2017, 05:20 PM
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Take a few steps back and work with him at home for a week with commands and play he is good at to boost his confidence and your leadership. Once you have established this, it is much easier for him to deal with the outside world. Make sure people don't attack him with "Oh, what a cute pupeeeeeeeeee!" but step in front of idiots and tell them that you are training him to ignore people. He doesn't need to be petted by strangers. As long as he can learn that they are a normal part of the world, that would be great. I am sure there is a lot of fun stuff to work on on your acres. Time to enjoy him and not worrying too much. As long as your property is safe for off leash work, let him off leash so he learns that this is a normal part of his life. I never leash young pups unless we are in a traffic area or leash-required-areas. To them it never matters if they are on or off leash.
Also avoid dog parks as he may run from a dog and trigger prey drive in that other dog. Then you are further back than square one.
Just my 2 cents, ok .....3.
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-19-2017, 06:26 PM
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He looks alert and very handsome. Have fun. I'm sure you'll receive a lot of advice, balance any different ideas with what feels right for you and your pup. Relax, you've got this.

Karen
Tessa ~ GSD ~ 06-08-2011
Della ~ GSD ~ 03-17-2014
Daisy ~Yorkie ~ 2007


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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-19-2017, 08:49 PM Thread Starter
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@raisedbyshepard - great advice. Any activity in particular you would recommend for fun @ home confidence building? We do try to limit the NO so that life in general is good and we take notice of good behavior even if not asked for. I often remind my self he is just a baby, so no we are not harsh. It's good to know we should not force anything uncomfortable onto him, thanks for pointing that out.I will continue to build his trust in his family.

@NancyJ - just people coming to our home, which has been fine. I agree that people need to be just part of the world and back ground noise. I know as an adult he will not get the same puppy response lol, so might as well teach him to indifferent now. Thanks for offering the relief, im actually less worried now
Guess I need confidence building to so ty

@wolfy dog - right to the point thanks. Commands, play equal confidence and leadership. I agree that people need to respect my space and my puppy. I will take your advice. Like I said above. I actually did not consider off leash training and play. I will certainly start now. It's a goal for us, we want a dog who can be off leash and trusted, we love to hike and camp. Apex loves water so off leash fun in the water would be great 50' line is a pain!
Yes no dog parks. Puppy class will be his dog intro, I actually don't know anyone with a dog unfortunately.

@ksotto333 I do need to relax lol, my brain is on overload! Thank you

I'm sure none of my tags work, hopefully you all get the message I appreciate your input. All solid advice. Going to kick back a week and play some games off leash and on, take all the advice and try again soon. Thanks again
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-19-2017, 09:08 PM
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One thing I did was go to dog parks and stay OUTSIDE the fence . Just walking around outside and I would not hesitate to wave off someone approaching.
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-20-2017, 10:48 AM
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Well we really didnt do any special exercises per se...... More emphasis on lavishly praising his successes at even the tiniest things, not getting frustrated at all when his lack of confidence rears up... We did more basic training than normal, easy stuff for the dog, just to have more opportunity for him to feel good about himself. And tons and tons of new experiences, allowing him to take his own time adjusting to each thing. Every little tiny good new experience is like stacking another block in a foundation. The more blocks, the better the foundation.......
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