Secondary fear stage, bad breeding, socialization issues?? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 48 (permalink) Old 10-04-2019, 09:58 AM Thread Starter
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Secondary fear stage, bad breeding, socialization issues??

I've talked about this in a different forum, but wanted to address it here, because I think it fits better. Titus is a 10 month old, mixed lines GSD. He was supposed to be bred basically as a family protector. We got him at 15 weeks, he hadn't been socialized. We tried to follow the basic advice about socializing. We had people over, he was excited, hyper, licky, jumpy, ECT. We went to the pet store, he got carsick every time, but wasn't shy with people. He got pano at 5 months, and the carsickness never got better, so we slowed down on the outings, from once a week to once every two weeks. He was increasingly nervous with strangers. We skied down even more, and completely stopped taking him to the pet store. Then the vet squeezed his painful leg, and he yelped and showed his teeth. He's not trusted strangers since that, and it takes me some time to carefully introduce him to people who come over. The trainers I've talked to mostly say that it's just because he's a German shepherd, but my other older GSD isn't like that at all. Her dad was a show dog who also has a Schutzhund title, and her mom was level 3 Schutzhund, bred for police and protection work. His parents seem more mixed than that, and I've had some advice that he might just have weak nerves. The breeder says it's mostly just his age, and he is learning who to trust. She also said we probably over socialized him. I thought we under socialized him. Has anyone had a pup go through a really difficult secondary fear stage like this, and turn out ok? Did we ruin him by taking him to the petstore? The black is Titus, Kona is in the back. The pedigrees are his parents.
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post #2 of 48 (permalink) Old 10-04-2019, 10:08 AM
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No, you didn't ruin him.

I don't think anyone can really answer your question directly without seeing the dog. Training also comes in to play and in the other thread you said when he's a butthead you only tell him No while using a halti that issues no correction. So the reason why doesn't really matter. The solution is obedience and black/white rules.

Hopefully David and Steve will post. They are both really good at describing solutions. I know what I would do but have a terrible time putting it into words to help others.
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post #3 of 48 (permalink) Old 10-04-2019, 10:15 AM
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You didn't ruin him by taking him to the pet store. I took Rollo to the pet store probably 100x when he was a puppy. But I do agree with Jax, the rules need to be 100% clear to the dog. They need to know exactly what behavior is acceptable & what behavior is not acceptable, and they need to be held accountable when they are engaging in an unacceptable behavior. The more a dog gets away with certain behaviors, the harder it becomes.
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post #4 of 48 (permalink) Old 10-04-2019, 10:23 AM Thread Starter
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I've been told a pinch collar would make him more reactive, or likely to redirect. Is that not true? I did use one 15 years ago with my first shepherd who was reactive. She never really got to a point where she liked other dogs, but she was easy to walk. He struggles and whines, flips his head with the halti when other dogs are barking behind a fence, so I didn't think it's helping much. I'll try a pinch collar, I just don't want to make it worse. I think what I'm hearing is the socialization matters a lot less than genetics, is that right?
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post #5 of 48 (permalink) Old 10-04-2019, 10:25 AM Thread Starter
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Also, is the secondary fear stage a real issue, or is the breeder making more of that than there is to distract from potential genetic problems?
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post #6 of 48 (permalink) Old 10-04-2019, 10:29 AM
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It depends on how it's used and on the dog. A prong will help you control him while you teach him to walk on a leash so he doesn't hurt you. The choke collar is what I would use for the correction. He reacts, you lift up on the collar. You do not say a word. The correction is not about YOU, it's about the correction. I can send you a PM explaining how I do it maybe tomorrow.

Socializing matters. Don't get me wrong. How you socialize matters. Some people think flooding the dog with people and other dogs is great. I think that's all wrong. I think the puppy should be allowed to experience the world without being flooded.

Now, the other dogs barking behind the fence - you can't control that. And of course he's going to react. Your job is to teach him to ignore those dogs. You can't correct him for reacting. You teach him Leave It and to heel. Once he understands those, then you can give the command and if he ignores teh command, you can correct that.
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post #7 of 48 (permalink) Old 10-04-2019, 10:52 AM
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Yea the prong or choke collar would be fine assuming it's used correctly! For either one, you need to correct the dog with it when he reacts. Like Jax said, don't yell "No, no no!" while you are doing it. The dog reacts, you give a quick little correction. When starting out, you don't want to put the dog in situations where you will be constantly correcting them, start small and work up in increments.

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post #8 of 48 (permalink) Old 10-04-2019, 11:40 AM
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You could try contacting an IPO club and see if they have recommendations for trainers within a reasonable driving distance. Nia is in Olympia.
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Timing for any correction is pretty important in this situation as well as the rewards for the correct behavior. Don't forget about the rewards. Black/white. Wrong-correction/Right-party.
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post #9 of 48 (permalink) Old 10-04-2019, 11:49 AM Thread Starter
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Right, that all makes sense. I have the nylon choke, so I'll use that right away. I do use a single, firm No when he gets amped up around other dogs. What about when he is nervous and jumps back with people? We never really flooded him, and for the last 5 months or so, he's only had a handful of people he didn't already know try to pet him, under controlled circumstances. I never made him accept petting from anyone, I let him sniff, then they reach out, and he unusually backs up. We don't push him, and usually try to have them give him treats. The problem is, we rarely have anyone over. Most of the family isn't local, and we don't know many people in town. I could try going to a dog class, but most of them will only do private sessions for about 80-100 a session. I don't know how much help that will be, but it might be good to get him around someone who at least knows how to read dog body language, and has a calm dog we can work him around, in a controlled setting. Or I could just keep walking him in the neighborhood, and occasionally parks.
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post #10 of 48 (permalink) Old 10-04-2019, 11:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jax08 View Post
You could try contacting an IPO club and see if they have recommendations for trainers within a reasonable driving distance. Nia is in Olympia.
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Timing for any correction is pretty important in this situation as well as the rewards for the correct behavior. Don't forget about the rewards. Black/white. Wrong-correction/Right-party.
Absolutely! I can't believe I forgot to mention that. Figure out what your dog likes & motivates them, and incorporate that into their reward for correct behavior! (For Rollo, this is his tug - his absolute favorite thing in the world lol)

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