Lovely GSD but a runner (pic included for cuteness factor) - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 19 (permalink) Old 10-06-2012, 10:11 PM Thread Starter
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Lovely GSD but a runner (pic included for cuteness factor)

We have a 16-month-old male, still in tact. He is well behaved and has strong protective instincts. He can do many tricks and is good with people, including children.

However, he is also very stubborn sometimes and likes to test us. In the past months he ran away twice. The first time I was taking the trash out and he snuck past me and ran, ignoring my shouts. Half an hour later my wife found him roughly 2 miles away next to a busy street. I cried because I knew how lucky I was to still have him.

He's been pretty much been on leash-only walking since then, but he ran off at a dog park (not fenced in) once more. I was lucky enough to catch him quickly and scolded him immediately.

We don't want this to happen again, it's too risky. We would like him to be able to walk off-leash though, but we're not sure how to train him not to run - or if he runs, to stop in his tracks and come back.

I understand it's a conflict of his prey drive and will to please us, but we're very dedicated. He has been through obedience training and done very well there; he graduated at the top of his class . He is a good walker (not perfect though).

Any suggestions how we can best help him? We were thinking of getting a shocker colar for emergencies, and also so we have a way to immediately correct his behavior because he is fast.

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Last edited by valkener; 10-06-2012 at 10:14 PM.
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post #2 of 19 (permalink) Old 10-06-2012, 10:50 PM
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I've been told that an e-collar may help. My dog doesn't have one yet but that's something I contemplate for later so I don't have to worry about her going after some wildlife when we go hiking. I know there are people with e-collar here on the forum, maybe they will chime in.
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post #3 of 19 (permalink) Old 10-06-2012, 10:54 PM
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How much exercise/training is he getting?

How is his recall?

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post #4 of 19 (permalink) Old 10-06-2012, 11:31 PM
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You're going to have to teach him to come to you when he is off leash. This starts by teaching him to come to you off leash in an enclosed place where he cannot run away until he understands what come means. Sit him and then step back 2 feet. Tell him to "come" and reward him. Do this over and over until he understands (1) what "come" means he is to do, and (2) that when he does this he will always get a reward (that isn't true, but he won't know that).

Once he gets it, move farther away, and repeat the process. Once you are ready to take him outside of the enclosed place use a long line so he can't run away. Same process; make him sit and stay, and reward him for coming. Mix in distractions, etc., as he becomes more confident. Start skipping the reward randomly so he loses focus on it and begins to respond just because he knows it is what you want him to do.

Once you have this down cold for the full length of the lead you can try him outside AND off-lead. If he is solid this should not make a difference. If he has bonded with you and wants to please you and understands, he should stay and come on command.

This process could take several weeks or some months, doing it daily. You can't train for hours per day because the dog gets tired and unresponsive.

He will have to learn that there is more reward for him in coming to you (treat, praise) than in running away to explore the world.

The ecollar would only be used as a "super-long" line--a way to keep him in check if you have him out off-leash and he does not immediately respond to a "come" recall. However, you MUST read and follow the directions on how to use the ecollar or your training will be counterproductive. Your statement that you want to use the ecollar for "emergenies" sounds like you might have the false impression that if you just put a collar on him you can shock him if he runs off and he'll magically come back. Nothing could be farther from the truth. The ecollar is ONLY to be used after he has been trained to know what your commands mean, and to understand that the correction from the ecollar means he is to follow that command.

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post #5 of 19 (permalink) Old 10-06-2012, 11:57 PM
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You could train /30ft. lead

He is your friend, your partner, your defender, your dog. You are his life, his love, his leader. He will be yours, faithful and true, to the last beat of his heart. You owe it to him to be worthy of such devotion. - Unknown
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post #6 of 19 (permalink) Old 10-07-2012, 11:24 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you so much for the detailed responses. Our dog knows and follows all the basic commands (komm, sitz, platz, bleib) and he follows them well. We do practice him coming and he does well 95% of the time. Admittedly, sometimes he choses not to come, especially when distracted in a dog park. In this case we do not let him get away with it but keep calling him until he comes (we do realize that ideally it would only take 1 call, which in most cases it does).

So as far as I understand your advice, the ecollar comes into place once he understands all the command. Our dog is at this point, but he in some cases, like when there are other dogs, he choses not to follow them.

Are there any sources that I can read up on how to use an ecolor. Also, we're gonna keep practicing the things mentioned above more, but he really does know all these commands and understands them.
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post #7 of 19 (permalink) Old 10-07-2012, 01:40 PM
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Good, you're way ahead of the game.

Search on this site for ecollar, shock collar, etc. You'll hit several threads with discussions. There are basically two gurus whose methods of ecollar use are discussed and debated here, and those threads will have links to their sites.

The collars usually come with a great booklet and training video that explains the process and proper and improper uses. You should have no trouble if you do your homework. I have found the ecollar to be a great adjunct training tool. Good luck!

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post #8 of 19 (permalink) Old 10-07-2012, 04:04 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks, I will use the search function.

Last, any recommendations for a particular ecollar? On amazon they have plenty ranging from $60 to $400. :-)
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post #9 of 19 (permalink) Old 10-07-2012, 05:58 PM
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i would teach my dog to "come" with distractions.
i wouldn't depend on a device for his recall. i used
the dog park as a training tool. i use to train in the parking
lot moving closure to the enclosure as my dog learned.
i did a lot of training along the fence of the dog park.
once he followed his commands along the fence i moved
inside the dog park and trained. the dog park is a great
training tool.
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post #10 of 19 (permalink) Old 10-07-2012, 08:23 PM
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This is the only one I've used, we like it because it is dependable, simple, and inexpensive at $150.

Academy - SportDOG Brand® FieldTrainer® Electronic Dog Collar

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