Is this anxiety or excitement?! Please please help!! - German Shepherd Dog Forums
 
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-05-2010, 10:20 PM Thread Starter
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Is this anxiety or excitement?! Please please help!!

Our 6.5 month old GSD is "vocal". I mean, very vocal. But only in certain situations. First and most prominantly at PetSmart. We've been going there at least 1 or 2 x per week since we got Jaz at 8 weeks old. He's always great with other dogs and with people, very well socialized. But the second we pull into that parking lot - and he knows that parking lot - he starts whining / barking like crazy!!! Since the beginning, we've been told by employees and the trainers there that it's because he's excited, overstimulated if you will and that he would grow out of it. What with all the smells and food and other dogs. And boy, is he LOUD!! When we're on walks, he gets noisy if there's another dog. He pulls towards the dog and wants to sniff them and play. I try the whole waiting until he calms down before I allow it, but most times, he just doesn't calm down! He's not aggressive towards them whatsoever, by the way. Also, in the PetSmart grooming area - even with no other dogs in there - he will whine and bark the entire time. I don't understand it. He's been going there for so long!

We've tried waiting until he calms down
We've tried just hanging around the store
We've tried sitting by the door in a sit-stay
We've tried the water squirter (which doesn't phase him at all, he just licks up the water!)
We've tried teaching a "quiet" command

I'm running out of ideas! I don't know if this is an anxiety thing or an excitement thing! Most times when he's doing the whining, he slicks his ears down/back. What could this be? And MORE IMPORTANTLY, what do I do to calm him down? Please, please help!!!
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-05-2010, 11:07 PM
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I think your pup needs more than petsmart and walks. Do you do any formal training classes? Play fetch or tug with him? He is excited and because he can't get his excitement out, becomes anxious.
More mental/physical exercise will have a calming effect. Is there a place you can hike with him/ have him go for a swim while fetching sticks or frisbees?
Lay a track for him with his meal, and let him eat it in a line with a turn or two. Anything to stimulate his brain will help him. Go to the petstore after he has burned some excess energy.
My pup luckily has two other dogs to play with and that depletes his energy level.
Is there a dog that you can have your pup play with one on one?

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Last edited by onyx'girl; 04-05-2010 at 11:09 PM.
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-05-2010, 11:16 PM
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you've tried all of these things and nothing
worked. i think you should find a trainer. you said
your dog pulls to greet other dogs again
train and socialize.

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Originally Posted by diana72805 View Post

We've tried waiting until he calms down
We've tried just hanging around the store
We've tried sitting by the door in a sit-stay
We've tried the water squirter (which doesn't phase him at all, he just licks up the water!)
We've tried teaching a "quiet" command
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-06-2010, 01:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by onyx'girl View Post
I think your pup needs more than petsmart and walks. Do you do any formal training classes?
See above.

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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-06-2010, 12:29 PM Thread Starter
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We are doing his second formal training class - he has been the star of his class! Also, I should have specified that he does get more than just the pet store and walks. He also goes rollerblading and running! Someone asked if we do fetch and tug of war - we do. There are tons of dogs on our block alone, most of which he greets and plays with on a regular basis. We also have two foster pups that he plays with alot! He is very well socialized, don't get me wrong. It's just selective places where he gets like this! And plese note: it's not only when he SEES other dogs: grooming with NO dogs in sight and at the vets are very noisy times!

Perhaps he has even more energy than we think? I guess my biggest concern is that this is not an excitement issue, but an anxiety issue. I really like the idea of putting his food in a track and wearing him out before we go. I'll definitely be trying those.

What are signs of anxiety? He's really got me stumped on this one! And additional information is very much appreciated. Thanks
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-06-2010, 12:36 PM
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Onyx has some anxiety. She pants alot, and really never settles when the other dogs are around. When they lay down outside, she'll stand or trot around there so she doesn't miss anything.
She is now 3 and much better, but when she was young, she was very reactive with other dogs and some people(female). I took her to a Control Unleashed class that was based on the book by Leslie McDevitt. I recommend a class similar if you have one available.

Some dogs do well with a ball or squeaky toy(pacifier) in their mouth to help them control some of their excitement.
I have Onyx carry a ball so she won't nip at the other dogs while playing.
As far as the running, pups shouldn't do hard surface repetitive running til they are about 18 mos. Sandy, grassy play running is safer than jogging along side you on the road. And working the brain of a GSD is as important as the physical exercise.

Jane~
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-06-2010, 05:41 PM
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park in a different lot and walk over, this might help break the habit.
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-06-2010, 07:01 PM
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I'd second giving him a ball to carry. When we're out walking my girl will lunge and bark in excitement at the sight of another dog. I have her sit/stay for a minute with treating, then give her the ball and try to walk away. Usually it works. By not being able to bark (because she's carrying the ball) she gets much less excited. It distracts her too, from focusing so much on the dog or cat or whatever.
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-06-2010, 09:43 PM
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Cody did the whinning and barking when we go to a place that's very stimulating, like dogs shows as he's excited. He's completely fine though when we're actually in, lol. Sometimes when he's over excited he created a habbit of nibbling on anything he's allergic to, or at least it's always been something he's allergic too when I look at the tags. Not sure why but ever since he was young, he does this. Never puts holes in things but just does little nibbles, it's funny to see and a good back massager! He's doing it less and less now though.

Akbar also does the whinning when he's over excited. I have to give him quick pops and that has seem to help stop it for the most part. Of course I praise him when he stops.

About your dog getting excited in meeting other dogs, maybe you should not have him meet other dogs for a while or at least until he's stopped this. One thing that might have caused this is you probably let him go see other dogs because he was pulling and making a fuss to see the other dog. If your dog does this, turn the other way and leave. I wouldn't let this behavior to continue, for one it's annoying and I'm sure most owners are not happy to see a GSD running up to their dog and two I'm sure it's embarrasing for you.
Another thing I would try, when your dog starts carrying on while he's still in the crate when you open the car door, shut the door and wait. If he is quiet, open it up again and if he starts again, close it. This might take a while but your patience will be rewarded in the end! Once you've gotten to the point where he can remain quiet, open the crate door and do not let him out until you say so. I am in the process of reteaching Akbar this since he's going through the butt head stage. If you can let your dog out and he's not whinning, clip his leash on and let him out. If at any time he starts, put him back in, shut the crate door, and the car door. Restart. During this, don't be angry, frustrated, talkative, nothing. Anything like big movements, high pitched noises, your energy can set him off and make him over excited again. Now, once your able to let him out and he's out of the car and he's still not whinning/barking, take a step or two while feeding him. If he's calm, continue, if not you know what to do. Do this until you're able to walk calmly inside. This might take a while, you might not even be able to get near the store your first week but your patience, energy, and dedication will all be rewarded.

Hope this helps.

Akbar 6 years
Isa 10 years
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