Embarrassed and ashamed of myself - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-21-2010, 10:13 AM Thread Starter
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Embarrassed and ashamed of myself

I've let my boy down. We had our 2nd week of basic OB class Wednesday and I'm so embarrassed and ashamed of myself as a GSD owner. Bear wants to constantly bark at the other dogs in class. I'm afraid we're gonna get kicked out of school. He has no problem learning all that they cover, and can focus long enough to be treated, but as soon as he see's another dog, he's back to barking. We go socializing at least twice a week, to Pet stores and parks, and he barks some, but nothing like class. There are dogs next door that he see's every day and doesn't bark at. We go see my brother and his dogs and he's fine with them, but in class I can't keep him from barking. The trainers say he's an awesome dog, he sits, comes, lays down just like they want, learns everything so fast, but as soon as he settles down class is over and he's barking again. I think part of the problem is I work nights and he's crated until my wife wakes up and lets him out while she gets ready for work, but he's back in his crate within 2 hours when she leaves and waits another 2 hours till I get home and then we're off to class within an hour after I get home. I'm so frustrated at myself cause I wanted him to be "best in class" and he could be if not for the barking.

-Kevin-
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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-21-2010, 10:25 AM
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Re: Embarrassed and ashamed of myself

I feel your pain! Really, our first set of classes with Suki was exactly the same! She barked her way through each and every class, but would do great with the exercises.

Back in November we tried again, this time with a different training company, and she was great! No barking after the first few minutes of the first class. No, she wasn't the best in class, but she wasn't the worst either.

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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-21-2010, 10:38 AM
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Re: Embarrassed and ashamed of myself

Try a decent play time before class. Not enough to exhaust your pup but enough to take the energy edge off. Shepherds can also get "bored" waiting for something to happen. If there is a lull in the class do something to quietly keep your dog working and thinking and work on focus. If your pup is focused on you he won't be barking at the other dogs in class.


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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-21-2010, 10:45 AM
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Re: Embarrassed and ashamed of myself

Puppy class with Argos was similar. He was so amped to be there that when he wasn't actively working he could get loud and a little obnoxious with the other dogs in the class (which all happened to be tiny- 2 Chihuahuas, 1 Mini Schnauzer, and a Cavi-poo)

It sounds to me like he just wants to play and is frustrated. I always took Bully sticks/ Stuffed Kongs/ Chew things with me for lecture/down time at my classes. I could give my dog something to do while he laid down and waited.

Actually I still do that with my dogs. We were at a conference this weekend with Argos and Cade and they both had things to work on while they were waiting their turn. Otherwise they would solicit play, either by barking or biting or being generally unruly...patience is a virtue that comes with age!

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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-21-2010, 10:50 AM
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Re: Embarrassed and ashamed of myself

Oh yes it happens. I had one who was a reactive and loud barker in her youth. One person wanted her out of the club as they were certain she was huge liability to anyone near her or associated with the club. Devastating!

We had to work our way through the barking. She had to grow up and I had to learn. Plenty of training around other dogs and she learned that they were not a threat or of much interest. She also learned her responsibility was to her obedience exercises. It took time and consistent obedience work around others.

She went on to many wins and obedience titles. We travelled all over North America together and had the times of our lives around lots of dogs.

If your dog is basically sound and you don't do things that make it worse, this barkiness and reactivity can be gotten past.

I have played the 'look at that" game with my rescue who was hyped about other dogs. This made the other dogs not taboo but rather created a good emotion about them and taught him that the other dogs were a cue to treats and interaction with me. It is a technique from Leslie McDevitt in Control Unleashed.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EuV3MOvvyr4

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tZSOF...eature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tszZF...eature=related


Exercise and being less loaded when going to class would help, as you have realized.

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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-21-2010, 11:01 AM
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Re: Embarrassed and ashamed of myself

Looking at the age of your dog, that's exactly when Chrono started to have barrier frustration and would bark like crazy at the dogs in his puppy class. I just took him to the dog park nearly every day for a while and he eventually grew out of it. Now he doesn't even notice other dogs unless they are sniffing him. I think around that age a lot of dogs go through that.


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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-21-2010, 11:17 AM
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Re: Embarrassed and ashamed of myself

I felt exactly the same way!! but know that some of it seems to be a phase they go through and some of it just needs more maturing and patient training (easier said than done sometimes when they are barking like crazy)... my trainer helped by letting us work behind a visual barrier (screen or blanket covering xpens) so he could relax enuf to focus... he could still hear everyone and see people but he couldnt see all the other dogs so much (and yes it was still embarrassing)... am also mixing in some private classes too to help reinforce the "learning" without all the distractions as he matures and then trying to let that translate in a busier class environment... one thing you could do in your short time between home and class are more mental games since you dont have time to go for long runs... shaping a trick, or "on the ball" stretching work where the brain gets some exercise too before heading to class. Hang in there, dont beat yourself up too much, and know there is light at the end of the tunnel even with a high reactive guy!

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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-21-2010, 11:46 AM
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Re: Embarrassed and ashamed of myself

Lila started her OB classes last Sunday and WOW was she amped up. She eventually decided that when we weren't working on an exercise she preffered to lay down facing away from the 100+ other dogs. We sat at the back of the class because I was afraid of how she'd react to all the excitement. A few times a couple of owners and their dogs would drop by and ask if their 10 pound pups could play with Lila and 60 pound Lila told them "Heck NO!".

Hopefully this will improve for the four of us. I honestly believe that practice and patience will be the fix for it.
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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-21-2010, 11:50 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Embarrassed and ashamed of myself

Thanks so much for you insight and input. The videos were great and gave me an idea too. When I watched them he started barking every time that dog barked. Although he is the only vocal dog in class, but hearing one triggered the same response, I'm gonna start playing video's with other dog barking and work on a quiet command. He's just smart enough to figure it out. Plus, will cram in some heavy duty playtime before going to class, and maybe a jar of peanut butter and a kong. Thanks again for your knowledge.

-Kevin-
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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-21-2010, 01:21 PM
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Re: Embarrassed and ashamed of myself

I had a similar situation with Lucas in one of the classes we took, not sure what would start it, but he would just start barking at other dogs sometimes. The trainer had me teach him the "touch" command which she explained was just a fun exercise to bring the dogs attention back to you. You get the dog to touch their nose to your hand for a treat. Once he caught on to that it became something we could do when there was a lull in the class.

Karen

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