I am really nervous now..need help - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-13-2009, 09:18 AM Thread Starter
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I am really nervous now..need help

Rosco is 6 months and I have been guilty of not walking him outside on a lead during the winter months but let him play in our big back yard. He has a lot of socialization with people and children IN OUR HOUSE and is great even with babies. SO, its getting nice and I take him and izzy my husky mix outside for a walk thinking it will be challenging on a lead but okay. OMG!! I didn't get 5 feet and kids riding bikes, group jogging, dogs in their yards.....rosco go nuts in his big woof at every one. SO I tug at his lead and firmly say NO, turn him around and try again. (Ceasar method)Between whines and woofs I'm staying calm but inside freaking out. I had to tell two of my daughter's friends that were coming toward us not to approach him and my neighbors are all looking at me like i have a vicious dog or something. HE never LUNGED or GROWED...just barked.
Should i just start taking him in the van places so he can get used to seeing people, dogs noise first? Should i continue to take him on walks and it will get better? Was he just scared and overwhelmed? I should mention, after all the kids passed etc and we started walking he did pretty good. He did not bark at the other dogs, just fixated on them and i was able to divert his attention with a "hep" and a quick tug. It seems it is more people right now than dogs, but all the dogs we saw were behind a fence.
What is the best way to start this outdoor socialization and not freak rosco out and keep everyone safe?
I do have him on a waiting list for obedience school but now i am even worried about that!
thanks!

~Jenni~
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-13-2009, 09:36 AM
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Re: I am really nervous now..need help

I would start him taking as many places as possible. A refresher course on socialization is never a bad idea.

We go to places like:
Bass Pro Shop
pet stores
feed stores (they sell livestock feed)
farm stores (tractors, livestock equipment, etc)
beauty shops / barber shops
gas stations
oil changing stations
police stations
fire departments
car dealerships
parks
the "extreme sports complex"
downtown Louisville (lots of strange sights to be seen there!)
outside malls, walking through strip malls
the humane society/shelter

That's just a few.

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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-13-2009, 09:46 AM Thread Starter
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Re: I am really nervous now..need help

I agree..as many places as possible. should I muzzle him? He has never been muzzled, but I want to bring him inside right? he has never bit, but I don't want a first!

~Jenni~
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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-13-2009, 10:13 AM
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Re: I am really nervous now..need help

Personally, I wouldn't muzzle him. But more experienced people may have a different opinion.

I'd take a pocket full of the yummiest treats (they only need to be the size of a pea) you can manage. As you approach people/dogs/bikes/etc, get his attention and as soon as he makes eye contact give him one of the treats. If you can manage to get his attention before he gets distracted and hold his attention as the distraction approaches -- even better!

Eventually he'll be sort of immune to the goings on. It does take time though and you do have to be diligent and vigilant.

By now in Jake's training I smell like a walking liver or salmon fishery! I really need some warm weather so I can wash my coat!!

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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-13-2009, 10:15 AM
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Re: I am really nervous now..need help

No need to muzzle a dog just because he is barking. He needs to learn that there is more to his world than just your backyard and your house. Socializing him in your house is GREAT but a young pup NEEDS to get out and see the world and by not doing that all along you will now have a lot of issues to "fix". Yes, I know winter stinks and makes it hard but the first months are ideal for teaching a pup about the great big world. Now that he is an older pup, you will have a lot of issues to fix. I would look for more positive methods than tugging on his leash and saying no. Bring along some treats (if food motivated) or toys (tuggies are excellent) if he is toy motivated. If using treats you want something VERY tasty. REWARD him for watching you instead of reacting to all of these new situations. Have you done any OB work? I would definitely use the "focus" and "leave it" commands. By ASKING for focus you can reward a positive (looking at you) instead of correcting a negative (barking at whatever). I would also look into taking him through an obedience class or two.


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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-13-2009, 10:30 AM Thread Starter
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Re: I am really nervous now..need help

awesome advice thanks. I admit, I thought working with him in the home for obedience and socialization was naive. I will do the work though...My boy is a good and smart dog and he deserves to be balanced. I have to go to the pet store today for food so we are getting started today! Love the idea about treats and toys...he is motivated by both!
Gosh i wish my town had more than one obedience school! i have to wait 2 months before another class starts!

~Jenni~
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-13-2009, 10:44 AM
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Re: I am really nervous now..need help

6mo is still puppy puppy. He needs much more socialization for sure. Take him anywhere if you can. It is normal behavior, since most of his socialization occurred inside house. There are many destructors outside and he needs to get used to them. Of course, this will take place with time and patience. I second posts above. Good Luck

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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-13-2009, 10:47 AM
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Re: I am really nervous now..need help

No muzzle, and you have to start taking him everywhere. You have unintentionally missed a bunch of socialization stages where it's so important to expose them to new things so they grow into calm and confident ADULT dogs cause they gained the skills necesssary every single week during the first year.....

Have you seen these sites about those stages and why you accidentally just made stuff harder for both of you (but not too late at all...)?

http://www.doberman.org/articles/puppy.htm

http://www.vanerp.net/ilse/GSDINFO/u...dyourpuppy.htm

http://www.diamondsintheruff.com/Dev...talStages.html

http://home.flash.net/~astroman/primer1.html

I'm sure you were planning of dog classes but I'm not sure what age you were planning on starting. I know 6 months was always ideal for my dogs so you may want to make those calls now and start up ASAP




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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-13-2009, 12:03 PM
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Re: I am really nervous now..need help

Something that may work against you a littleright now is his age. They can hit a second fear phasse around 6 months old...and start reacting fearfully to things that would normally be nothing at all...and new things as well.

Sieg just hit 7 months and we're pushing through one ourselves.

I would suggest taking him out to places that are calmer at first. A ballfield late in the evening when there aren't children and things all over the place, etc. Get him used to being out and about with minimal distractions, build confidence and work up from there.

I wouldn't muzzle for barking. But I would work on 'watch me' at home and outside. It gives you something to get his focus back on you when he starts reacting to other things.

Good luck!

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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-13-2009, 12:56 PM Thread Starter
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Re: I am really nervous now..need help

Watch me..Learn to focus on me with treat reward, right?

Say.."watch me" and get him to look at me in the face and then reward? How long should i hold his attention before reward? 10 sec, and build up?

~Jenni~
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