how do I teach her not to go ballistic in a public place - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-24-2012, 07:35 PM Thread Starter
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how do I teach her not to go ballistic in a public place

Hello all over the past month or so I've been taking Iggy down to a little lake access by my house, and she love playing fetch in the water. Well today my girlfriend and I went to a beach (left the dog at home) and saw another dog there doing two things which I have no idea how to train Iggy to do.

First this other dog was calm there were 50+ people at the beach and it was only playing with its owners, fetch in the water and staying right by there side. All the while it was not on a leash. How do I train mine to do that? I would love to take her with when we go places (parks, beaches, zoos, etc, etc). But as it stands now as soon as she sees another person she freaks out and starts jumping all over them then stops listened to me when shes called since shes so excited. Shes good with friends when we have them over but horrible with strangers, and heaven forbid she see another animal.

The second thing I saw this dog doing, it was playing fetch in the water however when it came out of the water it would walk behind its owners about 30 feet shake off so it didnt get them wet then return the ball. How do I teach this?
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-24-2012, 07:40 PM
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How old is she? Have you taken any training classes with her yet? Have you trained a dog before?

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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-24-2012, 07:48 PM Thread Starter
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shes ~6months old, or at least thats what the animal shelter said, the vet said closer to ~8months.

I have not taken any training classes with her, the only ones I can find in my area are for dogs 3-5 months old.

Yes/No, yes I've trained a dog to do tricks, sit, stay, lay down and the like I have not manner trained one though.
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-24-2012, 07:57 PM
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Classes for 3-5 months old are puppy classes, which might not be a bad place to start her off if she's not too old. But, I would look for obedience classes. There have to be some in your area. Check the local parks, adult ed, pet stores, see if there is an obedience group in your area that runs events. They will be able to direct you to a trainer. Don't ever take your dog off leash anywhere until you are confident that Iggy knows the recall and won't ever run off when you call. Until then, only work on leash.
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-24-2012, 10:35 PM
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[QUOTE=ZeeWes;2513773Yes/No, yes I've trained a dog to do tricks, sit, stay, lay down and the like I have not manner trained one though.[/QUOTE]

If you should happen to see them again with their perfect dog, please ask them how they trained their dog and share it with us. In the meantime, you are teaching your young dog the basics of manners with the sit, stay, lay down. Keep practicing but with distractions. When you take her a park, and she wants to lunge at another dog - consider that a training opportunity. Work with your dog on holding the sit/stay, keeping focused on you. And as LuvShepherds suggested keep your dog on the leash until she can ignore the distractions. If you can't find a trainer and have to "home school", a great place to start is with the training threads on this forum. Your dog is young - be patient and keep working . Someday that will be you and your well trained dog on the beach.

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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-24-2012, 10:51 PM
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I'm a believer that the offleash bond starts with young puppyhood. At least that's the only way I know. I don't know how to create that with an older dog.

I'm getting ready to test that theory soon with a guy that's been with me a few months. I think I have the control and bond with him now that it can be done -- and more importantly -- that *I* have the faith and belief and confidence in it.

Dogs do pick up on these things. My boyfriend cannot do anything offleash with any of the dogs. He gets so nervous and tries to call them back in such a frantic type of way.

Classes can only help, but I honestly and deeply believe it is about the bond with the dog. Sure he will want to run and explore, but is he keeping track of you, too? Do you have a safe area to try it out? Are you going to be in the right frame of mind, ie, not be all frantic and scared if the dog gets however many feet away?

I just walk. They just follow. They may veer off to sniff, to do whatever, but I honestly don't worry about it. Granted, I'm in a safe area. Large area, fenced area, whatever... but once I'm totally secure in the surroundings, I let them be dogs and they've not disappointed me.

Your feelings have a lot to do with it, but only you know your dog. If the dog has never known offleash freedom, he may bolt. Don't panic. Again, be sure it is a safe environment, and let him go. If your bond is good with the dog, after the initial freedom, the dog will want to know where you are. Will sniff you out. Will check in with you before running off again.

Just again, be sure it is a really safe environment. If you can't assure that, start with a super long lead.
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-25-2012, 12:21 AM
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As the others have mentioned, obedience classes would be great for the both of you. It helps build your bond as well as proofing Iggy's commands.

Also, look for dog parks around you as long as she's not dog aggressive. My girl used to react the same as yours but not because she was aggressive. She just didn't know how to react in that situation so bringing her to an off leash dog park gave her more experience and confidence. Good luck to ya.

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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-28-2012, 08:55 AM
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Lots of good advice here. I was in your shoes a few years ago, wondering how people got their dogs a certain way.

The best way IMO is to keep the dog off leash even as a small puppy. Anyone who does this should be very conscientious of the surroundings so the puppy does not get hurt. Sometimes a leash is a requirement, so regular old socialization in public places will help get a dog to the point of not caring if there are people, dogs etc. around. They become no big deal.

As for how you can facilitate it now: try to avoid putting your dog in situations where it spazzes out in public. Continuing the behavior can reinforce it. If she dog gets distracted off leash, keep her on a leash and wait till she is calm(er) before letting her off. And don't let her stray far, the further away she goes, the more likely she will forget about you and focus on whatever makes her spazzy.

My dogs, and all dogs I'm sure, act very different depending on their state of mind when they enter in to any scenario. If they are wound up and I open the front door to let them out, they go out in the yard and they are moving much faster, locking on to anything that moves, etc. Much more "spazzy". If they are calm when I let them through the door, they move slower, sniff the ground, stand in one spot and sniff the air/look around. VERY different.

Notice that and practice letting your dog progress into environments (ANYwhere: car, room, yard, office, house) when she is in a progressively calmer state. Avoid letting her out/in/wherever in an amped up state. That will help prevent many episodes of spazzyness. Over time, raise your expectations for how calm the dog will be and since you are in control, only let her advance in calmer states.

Back to your goal of off leash dog. I had this goal too, and now I have it. If you keep that goal in mind and work to improve your dog's calmness, you will begin making steps to make it happen. Eventually you will just get a feeling that you KNOW your dog will be OK off leash in a certain area, and boom, she will be. It is really an interesting threshold, and I can't say there are X Y Z signs that she's ready, you will just have the feeling about your bond and your dog's willingness to behave.

At 6-8 months, that is a tough period to expect focused obedience. Practice, be patient, and you'll get there.

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