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Ltleo 02-07-2014 02:23 PM

Advise on board train or not :(
Hi all,
I'm really looking for some outside advise from people not attached by heart on this. I was able to find a what seems to be a really worth while trainer near me (John Soares) and I called him to help me with a behavior that has started to develop into somthing I don't want.

I have a male working lines GSD, 15 month who you could say is a dominate male. Great personality, very friendly with everyone but dogs. Good on leash, not a structured heal, but will stop pulling on leash of you tell him to or just lock your arm. He will walk side by side if you ask him to with out pulling. Will sit, down, stay on and off leash, even if you throw a toy till you release. Not 100 present if dog is near, so this I know I want to improve and work.

Ok, here is the problem, it's me, my wide and my 7yr old daughter who we all been with him since I took him home. We all play and work his commands and feed him, though it is mostly me. I am the true owner if you will. The dog has bonded with me over all. I spend the most time with him and work him every day.
He has on a few occasions crowded at my daughter, each time when she would come near me while he wanted to be near me, or was waiting for his food near me. He at a young puppy had high value bone aggression not food bowl, but I can now take a raw bone from him at any time. I really don't think he would let my wife or daughter do it.
So he was always happy to be with my wife, he always wanted her to rub his belly and would roll over for her, jump on her(now thinking about it, that seems to be him wanting to dominate her) but the other night he was laying down at my feet. My daughter just jumped on the couch on me and my wife came in. He wag his tail as he saw her rolled over on his back and she got down on the floor to pet him. Then he jumped up growled, no teeth, husk up and jumped at her, she turned and walked slowly in a circle and he kept going after her. No bite, no the etch, just growling kind like when he his moving the cats around? So I immediately call him off and he listens but then she walked towards me and he wanted to go back at her. I called him and he came right to me and put his head on my feet.

Now. I know this is unexceptable so I want to work with someone to find out what is going on. I have had him in group training before and he was always fine with other dogs till around 12mnts. We train or play daily at parks alone and run for a few hours.

John looked at him and said he is a good dog, would do really well in sports, but needs to learn his place more. I agree. He suggested a board and train to reset the situation. Mostly because I have my daughter here. Now, Easton was borded once when we traveled and I had him do training also at Hal Wheilers. I hated not being with my dog.
I always wanted to be the one who trained Easton. I also feel that I need to learn this aspect of training and that I didn't correct this because I didn't know how to(thus why I'm asking professionals). I don't want another person to train him or reset him because in the end, in my mind then My dog will be great with the trainer, but then I still won't be able to fix the problem when he gets home?

I can see, yes if boarding you get more time working the dog, but at then end I get a few sessions on how to work with the dog. I would rather so a few hours a day with the trainer and me so WE both learn together, my dog and me. Plus my dog will continue to see me as a worthy leader and companion.

So my question is, am I to close to this? Am I playing with fire? Can I insist on no boarding? Am I wrong on thinking this?

I welcome any thoughts and appreciate any feed back from those that have worked these amazing dogs for a long time.

Thank you

mego 02-07-2014 02:30 PM

You shouldn't have to board your dog. You said it yourself, you don't want other people training your dog.
I think you should have your wife train the dog more. It sounds like he already listens to you, it will help him respect her too. Get your daughter involved in easier stuff to train or teach her how to work the dog (a heel after you teach one) if you are comfortable with that. Some trainers do skype sessions, I know that sounds weird, but they can still talk to you and demonstrate on their dog so it's like at-home. You shouldn't have to board to 'reset'. I don't think that's how it works.

LoveEcho 02-07-2014 02:46 PM

I'm not sure board-and-train would be a good option for this, as the integral part is teaching YOU how to handle the dog. If the trainer works out any kinks in a kennel environment, it seems likely that once the environment is reverted back to the start, with the same variables (including you, and your daughter), your dog may revert as well. I would think finding a trainer who can come into your home and observe everyone's interactions with the dogs and show you how to build on your day-to-day routine for better management would be a better bet.

Lilie 02-07-2014 04:42 PM


Originally Posted by Ltleo (Post 4983914)
. He wag his tail as he saw her rolled over on his back and she got down on the floor to pet him. Then he jumped up growled, no teeth, husk up and jumped at her, she turned and walked slowly in a circle and he kept going after her. No bite, no the etch, just growling kind like when he his moving the cats around? So I immediately call him off and he listens but then she walked towards me and he wanted to go back at her. I called him and he came right to me and put his head on my feet.

I'm curious. Your dog hasn't exhibited this behavior before, towards anyone, correct? He didn't repeat the behavior while at the trainers, correct? He hasn't reacted towards your child, correct?

Blanketback 02-07-2014 05:35 PM

I would do it, for your daughter's sake as well as your pup's. You know if anything ever happens to your daughter, then it's game over. I don't know the first thing about John Soares, but just looking at his web site tells me he's pretty accomplished, lol. The main thing is he'll be able to teach you and your wife how to handle your pup properly.

This is a difficult position to be in. Reading the testimonials page on his site, he's helped several people in your situation. The main this will be in the follow-up, to make sure that you can continue with the training foundation that he sets up for your pup. You sound like you're willing to make that commitment.

gsdsar 02-07-2014 05:53 PM

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I don't know if the board and train is a good idea. This is a leadership issue in your home, not an obedience one. And that issue cannot be addressed outside of the home.

If it were my home and family, the dog would be in full shut down mode, excersise increased, a trainer coming to home, and strict NILF. If my child was around, the dog would be crated or leashed and tethered to me. They would not be allowed to interact, except during training session when I had full physical control of the dog.

I know it sounds harsh, but your wife was smart and handled it well. What would you child do? Maybe her reaction would trigger the dog to more than growling and charging. And that is life ending issue.

Your dog is acting like he owns you. Not the other way around. He is an intact teenage GSD. They are notorious jerks, they push limits, they try new things, their hormones are raging, they are becoming adults. Many go through this stage. So you are not alone. But you must make sure your family is safe while he is being "reeducated" to his place in the family. And again, the family must be around for him to learn.

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Ltleo 02-07-2014 06:55 PM

Thank you. I do feel like I'm the only one going through this so that makes me feel better. Yes he is an intact male, and yes his hormones are going nuts as he humps everything after play, toys not people.
I was thinking lesh in house again. He does think he owns me. I do half n.i.l.i.f, but need to go back to more.
Looking at it, I think I relaxt to much with him, due to I didn't have to be this "hard" for lack of a better word on my last female GSD. Though she was more of a laid back. I allowed her everything but she listen with a whisper. So at first I had Easton sit at all doors, me go in first and so forth. I kinda missed the old days.
He is pushy lol.
He has only done this with my daughter maybe three times in the past and they all were when he was laying next to me and she came running on me. Though the daughter and wife insident were back to back days this week.
How does having my wife work him in training, in private sessions? While holding the lesh.
Any one know of any other people to use in norther NJ, Essex area, I'm really hoping not to drive an hour away

Sometimes, I feel like I know what to do, but like some of you said, I don't want to take a chance on this because it not fair for him or my family. The funny thing is he is great with them every other time, as he goes to them to play, he sits or downs when they ask him to. He just really wants to be ahead of them. What is the correct way to let him know he is behind them with out having to have the dog in the create or on leash all the time after. I do want him to have free run.

JakodaCD OA 02-07-2014 07:11 PM

I agree with the others, if you can get someone to come into your home / help you train/advise etc I think that would be a better way to go.

Sounds like he is possessive/guardy of you. I think having your wife do some training with him sounds like a good idea to.

Something I would do, and don't take this as gospel, because it may not work for you. I had a pretty guardy male aussie, for example, me on the couch, he comes over for attention, any of the other dogs come within the space, he's growling/turning into a standing cujo, I don't like that behavior ..I would tell him to knock it off and he had his "mat" on the other side of the room, send him to his "mat". Can't share, can't get attention.. Did it 'cure' his behavior? Not really, he was an odd dog anyway, BUT, he did 'get it', when I stopped the attention and he was told to "go to your mat" Surely not a correction I was giving, but I wasn't going to allow the guardy/possessive behavior.

With that rambling, I'll repeat, finding someone that can come into your home is most likely your best bet:)

Baillif 02-07-2014 07:44 PM

A good board and train will have handler sessions where the trainer will explain to you how to maintain the behavior or avoid future issues.

What i dont understand is most of you have no issue giving someone advice to seek professional help when a dog is being aggressive with other family members as soon as you hear kids are involved but the second someone mentions board and train everyone is against it.

Our board and train grads here when finished are incredibly well trained dogs and we dont just send those dogs home after all that effort without giving our clients all the tools theyll need to maintain and continue the behaviors and support continued for the life of the dog for when new or old issues arise.

Are you going to get that from the forum? **** no.

Your dog isnt going to respect you any more or any less regardless of who taught him a behavior. A pro teaching your dog to heel isnt going to errode your bond with the dog. If you need help go get it and dont listen to anybody here that says otherwise.

David Taggart 02-07-2014 08:16 PM

There are many good board/kennel for young puppy socialization, and it is better than any puppy park, because puppies are watched there and professionally controlled. But, never ever let any trainer to train your dog in your absence, unless you have a private trainer, with whom you had sessions together already, you knows what methods he/she uses, and your dog must be taken from and back his home. Separation from the owner causes a terrible stress in the dog older than 5 months, if he wasn't trained to remain in kennels. Causing such a stress is a way to make dog confused and disoriented in unknown territory, the methods used could be cruel and noway you would find about them or why your dog has suddenly become so pleasant and obedient. In the end this "board training" doesn't work. Only your dog overcomes the stress - he would be back on old wheels, behaving as before. Normally the owners call back the board to ask why that is so, and get the answer, that he might need more "corrections". More money out of your pocket. Don't do this. Serious kennels do not need to expand their business this way, they rather expand their territory, put more kennels, employ daycarers for young puppies, not cheap trainers for dogs of any breed. Any professional here in this Forum would tell you, that they train or GSD only, or the breeds they know well. There are highly trainable cross-breeds, but they are exceptional. Personally, I wouldn't train, say, a husky, because I never had them and this breed is very specific. There, in these boards, they train all dogs.
A list of recommended trainers you can find with obedience classes, your local Schutzhund club, serious trainers have their own sites. You should be in constant contact with your trainer, not sitting and wondering in anxiety.It could be better if trainer works using his own dog to demonstrate you the ways things work, not only point at your mistakes. In addition, your young dog would watch his older trained dog and copy his behaviour, dogs learn much faster from each other. I often use my dog in outdoor training, such things like common strong reactivity to other dogs or excessive protectiveness dissapear without much effort as well as more complex search training gets better.
And, by reading your post, I would like to suggest you reading this:The Other End of the Leash: Why We Do What We Do Around Dogs by Patricia B. McConnell ? Reviews, Discussion, Bookclubs, Lists

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