Overcoming Impatience? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 04-21-2017, 12:00 PM Thread Starter
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Overcoming Impatience?

Sorry if this is in the wrong place! I didn't really know where else to put this.

So this question comes with a lot of background so bare with me please.

My boyfriend and I had recently decided to get a puppy. We have been together five months but known each other for 13 years and have pretty much decided we're in this for the long run. We both love dogs and though we have Ylva my mix, we really wanted something to raise together. Well, I kind of jumped the gun and had gotten a lab mix off craigslist. She looked totally lab so I figured she would end up a typical high drive lab that I wanted. I've always owned high energy dogs and wanted another but didn't have the means to go to a breeder at the time. I have previously owned a pure siberian husky who was VERY hyper and an absolute terror as a puppy. Tore things up, didnt potty train till 6 months old, walked horribly on a leash, but was very smart and empathetic. I worked with him till he was finally 2 and he became a WONDERFUL therapy dog and pet. Unfortunately, I lost him to my last boyfriend who was, at the time, much better equipped to keep him as he threw me out of the house and I ended up sleeping on a couch for 4 months. So, I was really looking for a puppy who was similar energy. I love these type of dogs even if they are jerks for awhile.

With this lab puppy, things were great at first but quickly the puppy brought out the worst in my bf. He would suddenly come home and just yell all the time and constantly yell at the puppy anytime she did something wrong. If he trained her he never made it fun and would just scold her for not doing it right. He never physically hit the puppy or called her names but he stressed the puppy out. He did roll her on her back once but I've done that as well because she would get SO crazy she would bite our hands and start shaking and then growling when we tried to stop her. I tried telling him he needed to stop stressing. She was just a baby and the more he stressed and expected her to act up the more she would. And that in general puppies make mistakes. They're equivalent to a one year old and you wouldn't yell at a baby for not holding it in or peeing after they just peed. Still he kept being stressed and being impatient with the puppy. This is his first one so I knew he wouldn't know exactly what to do but I didn't think he'd be this bad. Basically the puppy would act great around me (because this is not my first puppy rodeo and I knew how to be consistent, and how to train) then he would get home and all **** would break loose. I would tell him he needed to be consistent with how I trained so she stopped treating us so different and it didn't happen.

Then as the puppy grew she started having pitbul features. The shaking was my first clue, but she started having aggression issues and started grabbing my dog Ylva's neck and shaking it. Ylva takes a lot but the puppy made her lower jaw bleed! She also began trying to shake our small 4lb cat whenever she came in the room. Ylva went from liking this puppy to growling and snapping anytime it came near.

Then my mother encountered some medical issues along with breaking her knee. I quit my job to start taking care of her while my dad and brother are at work. So then the puppy got way less time with us and couldn't be properly socialized and stimulated more.

Please don't think too badly of us, but after all this came together I decided the puppy was not a good fit for us, and for her sake, needed to be rehomed as she was just not thriving with us. So we found her a new great home.

I still want another puppy. Ylva is wonderful but is very low energy and enjoys sleeping more then going on walks. I had wanted a high drive dog to train and teach and maybe get into a sport such as IPO or agility (not really for competition more so for the casual enjoyment of learning it and bonding with my dog) and now I don't think a puppy is in our near future. Obviously my bf was not ready, as much as he thought he was, and though I know he means well, he really let his anger and impatience take over which ruined all my training and consistency from the day and would just make me more mad.

He's already saying as well he'd like a GSD as he grew up with two, and feels more "connected" to that breed. I told him we wouldn't be getting another puppy for a year to two years. That is a definite.

So ultimately, (sorry it took so long to get here) my question is, did any of you ever have issues with a SO doing poorly with a puppy? Obviously we and him have some things to work on, how would you guys suggest I go about getting him to overcome his impatience and better prepare and educate himself so that the next time we get a puppy (or if we ever get one...) he is better equipped to handle the stresses that come along with it? Especially for a breed like GSD that takes a consistent, strong owner. I don't want to go into another puppy (and spend so much money and time on a GSD) just for him to freak out on it and basically "ruin" how it would act around him/around males. Like I said another puppy is VERY far off, but I would like for us to start preparing now, together, so when the time is finally right, we are on the same page. Not doing two different things or acting two different ways.

Thanks so much for reading if you got through this ridiculously long post. I appreciate it!
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 04-21-2017, 02:19 PM
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I don't think badly of you but I think you had a lot of problems with this puppy and you might have trouble with a high drive GSD. Grabbing and shaking behavior isn't breed specific and I have seen dogs of every size, shape, color, and age grab things and shake them. It's a dog thing not a breed thing. If you don't want the puppy to do it, you have to teach them not to. You have to teach them to learn to play nice, something I'm teaching a new (low drive, high anxiety) GSD I recently got. GSD pups seem to be known for their mouthiness and especially high drive pups. Also with getting a specific breed he could possibly put expectations on the new puppy from what he remembers of his old dogs. Yes GSDs are GSDs but Brutus and Fido aren't the same dog.

I don't think he'd be willing to keep working with a high drive GSD pup if he couldn't handle this pup. He'd have to commit a lot, and it will probably require a lot of honest and open communication between the two of you. Was he stressed at work/something and taking it out on the puppy? Or did he just not like working with the dog that much and couldn't handle it?

It sounds like there was a lot of anger in the household which usually isn't a good base for working with a new puppy. Again communication is key, you need to be able to talk with him and gently guide/teach him into how to work with a puppy. You could in the future take him to puppy training classes if you do get a puppy so he could learn in a more structured setting how to work the dog.

I don't know how to work with the impatience of working with a dog other than actually working with a dog? I have to constantly remind myself(I was getting impatient and irritated) that it was my fault and not my dog's fault that she wasn't getting it. I was just a little/lot irritated with her but then I turned myself around and I'm much happier with her now. In turn she is happier because I'm not mad at her and she is picking things up quicker.

Hmm, my reply isn't as organized as I'd like but maybe you can get something from it? Keep in my this is a lot of assumptions, perhaps he'd turn it around with a new pup, but maybe not, and a lot can happen in 1-2 years.


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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 04-21-2017, 03:01 PM
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I think this is going to be a very challenging situation. First, I would have a serious talk with him before making any decisions, and I would make it clear that you will be doing all the training. Also, he is not allowed to undermine your training in any way. He needs to be consistent, use the same commands you've trained, and hold the puppy to the same standards. That means he can't tell the puppy to sit or down or come, and then allow it to blow him off.

What can help is to have a separate set of less formal commands with different criteria. If I train the dogs that my recall command means that they stop what they're doing immediately, run to me, and sit in front, I don't want my husband using that command and not holding them to the same criteria. Around the house I'll say "over here", or "c'mon" for my dogs to come towards me at no particular speed and without requiring a sit. That way, my "come" command doesn't get watered down. Heel means one thing, but you can have a separate loose leash walk command with lower criteria (I use "let's go" for my LLW cue).

If your boyfriend is the kind who would read training/behavior books (my husband is not), that would be a good place to start. Some of them are less "how to", but have great insight into how dogs think, which I think would be helpful for him. He's going to need to get over his impatience and learn about realistic expectations, especially for a puppy. Now is the time for that, not after you bring that puppy home because impatience is going to lead to frustration and arguments. I'd also look into training facilities near you, so you have a plan in place. And even if he's not going to be actively doing the training, he should go to classes with you, so he knows what you're working on, and how you're going about it so he can reinforce your efforts rather than undermining them.

If he's not able to listen to you and agree to at the least not get in the way, then I'd rethink your decision to get a puppy. Years ago I'd ask my husband to help me train, but finally realized that if his heart wasn't in it, I'd be better off just doing it all myself because I'd continually be frustrated at his lack of commitment to the process, which was a source of conflict. I'm the kind of person who enjoys taking classes with my dogs, I love reading training books and watching videos online, and learning about new methods to try. Tom thinks all that is about as stimulating as watching paint dry, lol. He's loves dogs, and actually grew up with them, which I did not. I was a cat person when I met him, but we got a GSD pup (and a kitten!) when we were married in 1986 and I fell in love with the breed.

-Debbie-
Cava 1/6/18
Keefer 8/25/05-4/24/19 ~ The sweetest boy
Halo 11/9/08-6/17/18 ~ You left pawprints on our hearts
Dena 9/12/04-10/4/08 ~ Forever would have been too short
Cassidy 6/8/00-10/4/04
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 04-22-2017, 10:20 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you for your replies! Sorry it took me a bit to reply. I did have an honest talk with him and basically let him know if he didn't want to deal with a puppy, thats something he should have said before so I didn't have expectations of him doing so. He admitted he got confused by my training also. I guess when he grew up his dad taught "opposite commands" where down meant heel and weird things like that supposedly so no one else could ever get the dogs to do anything. So he kept telling her to sit with the expectation of her actually going down, get frustrated, then try to correct himself, but of course by then the puppy is completely confused. I also told him if he didn't want to deal with pee on the floor and a puppy that bites...then we shouldn't get a puppy. Puppies do that. He tried to insist we could find a breeder who worked on potty training and I told him it doesn't work like that. Biologically puppies can't hold it and even if the breeder is giving them a routine of going from inside to outside as a foundation they wont be potty trained. I also reminded him he was a kid so he needed to stop putting what he "thinks" he remembers on any new puppy. He was a child himself and doesn't remember the chewing and the horrible habits. He just remembers having two fun puppies. (and yes his parents were crazy people who got to shepherds and raised them together from the same litter) I told him then if we WERE to get a puppy in the future he needed to leave training to me, and only do BASIC commands with them, and he needed to be on the same page as to how to ask puppy to do them.

Quote:
Was he stressed at work/something and taking it out on the puppy? Or did he just not like working with the dog that much and couldn't handle it?
I think it eventually did come down to he didn't want to deal with the puppy stuff. Didn't want the peeing and pooping and didn't understand why she couldn't "get" it. Didn't want her biting. Didn't want her getting into things.

Quote:
I'd also look into training facilities near you, so you have a plan in place. And even if he's not going to be actively doing the training, he should go to classes with you, so he knows what you're working on, and how you're going about it so he can reinforce your efforts rather than undermining them.
I also brought this up to him. That if we got a puppy we should have the funds to do puppy and then obedience classes so he can know what we are working on so he's involved but not necessarily doing the training behind it.
Quote:
If he's not able to listen to you and agree to at the least not get in the way, then I'd rethink your decision to get a puppy.
Honestly, with how much he DOESN'T want to deal with puppy stuff I'm almost thinking we should just consider finding a rescue and just watching them for a dog we both like, whose already "there" in terms of potty training and the biting. Then we could also make sure our current dog who's pretty laid back won't get a sibling that likes to rough house. She had big issue with the puppy and it was hard to deal with the conflict. She prefers dogs who are more into light running, maybe a little chase with a tug toy, but NOT into rough housing in any way. So in theory, we could still find a decent energy adult dog who'd be willing to learn some new things who knew how to behave in the house. I feel like he'd be happier with that then a puppy and starting from 0. As well it would probably take us quite some time to find a decent dog as it would need to be good with both dogs and cats and I'd want to make sure to have a decent savings for vet expenses. (we both each brought a cat into the relationship. Mine is an ESA who I heavily rely on and I would be devastated if something happened to her)

Thanks though! You guys really helped me with how to approach this conversation. I was having a hard time finding the ways to explain it without just sounding like a jerk (i grew up with four brothers and no sisters. My ability to speak softly and sympathetically to people greatly lacks)There was a lot of things in your posts I hadn't considered or thought about. We certainly have a lot of things to think about and this has exposed a couple things to work on in our relationship. He's promised to work on his temper and impatience (which really was NOT an issue until the puppy) and to figure out his expectations of what he wants in a dog and if a puppy is actually right for us.
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 04-22-2017, 12:39 PM
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Good plan! I think working with a rescue you can probably find either an older puppy or a young adult that's more laid back, with the annoyances and frustration of puppyhood behind it. Puppies are a LOT of work, and it's so worth it to put the time and effort into doing it right because that's the dog you're going to be spending the next 10+ years with. But if he's not prepared for that right now, that's totally fine. His parents probably did more work than he realized with those pups when he was a child himself, so I'm sure it looked more effortless than it actually was.

Our oldest dog is 11-1/2, and when Keefer is gone we'll be getting another puppy. The idea of going through all that again is frankly overwhelming, even though it's been years! I love puppies and raising one is a lot of fun, but it's also hard, especially those first few months. Getting a dog that is already housebroken, crate trained, and has some basic obedience will be easier, and if it's been fostered in a house with other dogs, cats, and even kids, that's even better. Good luck!

-Debbie-
Cava 1/6/18
Keefer 8/25/05-4/24/19 ~ The sweetest boy
Halo 11/9/08-6/17/18 ~ You left pawprints on our hearts
Dena 9/12/04-10/4/08 ~ Forever would have been too short
Cassidy 6/8/00-10/4/04
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 04-22-2017, 01:49 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Cassidy's Mom View Post
Good plan! I think working with a rescue you can probably find either an older puppy or a young adult that's more laid back, with the annoyances and frustration of puppyhood behind it. Puppies are a LOT of work, and it's so worth it to put the time and effort into doing it right because that's the dog you're going to be spending the next 10+ years with. But if he's not prepared for that right now, that's totally fine. His parents probably did more work than he realized with those pups when he was a child himself, so I'm sure it looked more effortless than it actually was.

Our oldest dog is 11-1/2, and when Keefer is gone we'll be getting another puppy. The idea of going through all that again is frankly overwhelming, even though it's been years! I love puppies and raising one is a lot of fun, but it's also hard, especially those first few months. Getting a dog that is already housebroken, crate trained, and has some basic obedience will be easier, and if it's been fostered in a house with other dogs, cats, and even kids, that's even better. Good luck!
Thank you! it's still going to be something that doesn't happen for a long time but I think it may be our better option. He seemed to like the idea a lot. Plus it be easier on my dog who just hates jumpy rough house puppies but loves dogs.

I honestly love the challenges of puppy hood. It's totally gratifying to see the dog you produce and see them finally come into themselves. But that may be something for when Ylva is no longer with us (which will be awhile since she's only 2 and I'm fine with that!)

Thank you
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