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Old 10-28-2011, 08:00 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Question 9 Week old training

Hey. I've been doing a lot of reading on the best methods to train my german shepherd. He is currently 9 weeks old. I decided to pick up a clicker and I've been watching lots and lots of youtube videos and reading lots of puppy training books. I realize that he's a puppy but I find it extremely hard to train him. He always seems like he has a ton of energy but as soon as we start training he doesn't seem the least bit interested. I try to make it very exciting for him by giving him lots of praise and treats when he does what he's supposed to do. But as soon as the trick is done he gets a really sad look on his face and lays down as if trying to say "why are you doing this to me?". This is our fourth day training, and I don't know if it's different for GSDs, but we had another puppy I was training a year ago and he seemed to enjoy training a lot more and he seemed to look forward to it. Also, Sam (my GSD puppy), seems to want to do commands when he "feels" like it. I wonder if this is a dominance problem or a misunderstanding problem. He seems to know Sit pretty well but sometimes I say the command and he just looks at me and turns away to do something else. I was on youtube and I noticed someone had an 8 week old GSD that had his dog extremely well trained and I was just curious how I get Sam to keep his attention on me. When I do training, I'm in a room with no toys and no other animals to distract him. Any suggestions are great!

-Thanks in advance,
George
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Old 10-28-2011, 08:06 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Has he been to the vet yet? The sad look and laying down make me think there might be something wrong with him physically?
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Old 10-28-2011, 08:12 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Yes, I took him in for a first time check up and the vet said everything looks good. He's had 2 sets of shots and his third will be in about 3 weeks. He seems to be a happy puppy when he's playing with my other dog. Could it be that he's just too distracted?
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Old 10-28-2011, 08:13 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
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I wonder if this is a dominance problem or a misunderstanding problem.
Ditch the dominance idea. He's a 9 week old puppy, he doesn't know anything yet so there's no way he's deliberating thwarting you due to dominance. People get way too caught up in the idea of dominance (thank you Cesar Milan ) and it's not very productive.

If he's not showing any interest in training you might want to back off a bit and instead of asking him to do anything in particular, just mark and reward everything he does on his own that you like and want to encourage. Clickers are perfect for this! When I've got a brand new puppy I spend a lot of time just hanging out with them, often sitting on the floor and observing. Anything they do that I like (look at me? come towards me? lay down on the floor?) I click and toss a treat. And spend some time just playing with him too, make being around you FUN.
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Old 10-28-2011, 08:14 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Could it be that he's just too distracted?
Oh, definitely! Puppies have the attention span of a gnat, so any training should be in extremely short doses. Quit before he gets bored.
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Old 10-28-2011, 08:17 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Ok that is a huge relief off my shoulders. This is my first large breed dog and I'm very nervous I'm not going to give him the training he needs to be a good adult dog. What age do you suggest I start training him?
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Old 10-28-2011, 08:20 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Ok that is a huge relief off my shoulders. This is my first large breed dog and I'm very nervous I'm not going to give him the training he needs to be a good adult dog. What age do you suggest I start training him?
What Cassidy suggested is training.

Any chance of getting him into a puppy class?
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Old 10-28-2011, 08:35 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Yes, I plan on starting him into the PetCo puppy classes. I've heard mixed reviews whether these are good classes or not. He's planned to start on Nov. 12th. My plan is that if I like the PetCo trainer, I'll just enroll him into all of the training classes to get him the CGC. I realize PetCo probably isn't the best option but It's in my price range. What do you think?
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Old 10-28-2011, 08:35 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Emoore is right, this is training - it's just not long boring and tedious. How long have your training sessions been? It's much better to several very short sessions a day than to try and keep his attention longer than he's capable of giving it to you.

The more you reward him for the kind of behavior you like, the more he's going to do it. And when he's doing something with a pretty high degree of frequency, it's easy to add a command at that point and then mark and reward after the fact.

Keep in mind that while you will eventually want him to understand and respond to many commands, you also want him to do certain things without always having to be told to. Those are called default behaviors, and attention is going to be one of the most important because if you can't get his attention you can't teach him anything.


So while I do want to be able to say "watch" and have my dogs give me eye contact, I want them to generally look to me for guidance on a routine basis. That's where reinforcing eye contact offered up spontaneously comes in. It builds a foundation of focus that you can continue to build on as he matures.
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Old 10-28-2011, 08:36 PM   #10 (permalink)
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No, Petco is probably not your best option. Where do you live? Maybe we can find you some better places for classes near you.
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