Help! First GSD Puppy - Am I doing everything wrong?? - Page 2 - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #11 of 80 (permalink) Old 01-13-2018, 03:43 PM Thread Starter
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@Armistice, Hi there! You bring up some good points. This puppy might know more about psychology than I do lol! Thank you for taking the time to provide such great information and advice.

For the whining and barking for attention I agree. I ignored her (both positively and negatively) her first few nights here. She got it and settled down. Iím not a total softie, just fooled by how smart my puppy is lol! Here is where it can be confusing to me. Out in the yard the whining is usually because she wants to play with a cat and not walk. We keep walking, she shows out I stand still until she calms down. I feel like I am getting some of this nipped or under control. But, this morning for example, We ate breakfast and went and pottied outside, played for a bit, pottied again, into the crate for a nap. We didnít want to nap and started whining and yapping. Ignored her. When it continued (since she normally hasnít been whining in her crate) I thought maybe she needed to go outside, so out we went. She seemed to only want to play with the cat. Once I realized she wasnít going I brought her in and put her back in the crate. Immediately started whining, tried going outside again, still no interest. Same game again. Once in the crate she started whining again (we are really having a rough day) so I ignored her. Completely and fully ignored her. I decided that when she calmed down we would have some play time. My reward was her pottying in the crate. So now Iím caught between ignoring the whines or giving her attention by her understanding she wins and gets to go outside. I see you posted a schedule I will add that in and see if that helps.

You really hit the nail on the head with the soothing. I didnít realize that a puppy would act scared to get attention. As a matter of fact I am over the top soothing when she acts scared of something so she feels reassured and safe. This little girl has been playing me!

When I take her out it is on a leash and I walk her. When I feed her, I do it outside and let her play for a bit not 100% supervised all the time. I see her potty in the yard and see the evidence on the deck (she goes to both). Before I bring her back in we put on the leash and go for a walk. I do not set her in the yard but have been walking with her to the yard. Is that maybe why she potties on the deck? She doesnít really understand where to go? I had someone tell me the other day to just let her spend more time outside and she will figure it out. I will definitely start picking her up and setting her down in the yard.

When she has an accident in her crate, I do 2 things. If I see her potty I stop her (clap and NO) and take her outside. Where we want to play as we have already pottied. Iím not sure if she has made the connection of me saying this is where it should have happened. I then change her bedding. If I donít see her do it then I change her bedding and she does get to go outside before I put her back in. To be honest, I use fleece blankets and sometimes have no idea that she has gone in her crate. I think she has done good until I open the crate and feel them or check underneath. They are very absorbent and appear dry. She might equate soiling her crate with outside time but it probably backfires more than it works. I am changing her bedding 3-4 times per day. I thought I was taking her out too much but clearly need to keep taking her out. We will start as soon as she wakes up. I did add a puppy pad in her crate so I could tell better when she goes. I am sure this isnít advisable by most, but she was already going in the crate so I donít think itís encouraging her???? She is not the first dog I have crate trained but she is the most challenging. One thing I learned is they are all different and different methods work on different dogs. I know itís my fault I canít figure this out. And thatís what worries me. It continues as I canít figure it out. I will start watching for a reason why she may be doing it whether play time or attention. Glad Iím not the only one who has struggled with this. I havenít thought there might be another reason she does it. Definitely food for thought.

For your potty schedule, what do you do at night? Or during the day when you work? Any schedule I do wonít be the same when I work.

I always try and show a crate is a safe haven and not punishment and other dogs I have had always loved theirs. I absolutely agree that the crate should not be used for punishment. I need to back up though. When she does something particularly destructive and I scold her, and being stubborn she does it again, the next stop is the crate (seriously she is eating through door frames, cabinets, you name it). I put her in the crate to stop the destruction as well as calm her down. She might see that as punishment since it comes after being scolded. Should I try giving her a toy first?? Should she get treats going into the crate in that situation? Iím going to pick up some bitter apple spray today and see if that helps.

Again, thanks so much for the help. I know my posts are ridiculously long, but I am desperate and so scared of messing this up, or rather continuing to mess it up. She wants to be a good dog and I want a lifelong best friend. I am open to any and all suggestions. I know some of what I am doing is going to get me scolded at, but I would rather say exactly the good, bad, and ugly and get real advice than sugar coat it and not get anywhere.
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post #12 of 80 (permalink) Old 01-13-2018, 04:02 PM Thread Starter
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@tim_s_adams You are right. She is just a baby. And that was my mentality. Let her be a puppy, love on her and play with her, and show her right from wrong. But I was misinterpreting things as her just being a baby in a new world with lots of things to explore versus me not training her. I am 100% at fault for what is going on here, no question. I came here as I am struggling and want to get this right. The vet has scared me to death. When I took her in for her first shots I was given quite a few lectures from everyone there about how crucial it was to control the dog and not let her be in charge. I thought I understood what that meant and considered myself to be a strong leader. When we went back this past week for our 12 week shots they were impressed with her leash skills but said she was out of control and I would have to be more firm with her. They went on to tell me about how many GSDs they have to put down because they are out of control and how many are fearful and aggressive because they are not handled right at her age. It truly scared me and I will do whatever it takes to not let that happen. So I had to stop telling myself everything she does is because she is a baby. She still is, but I am learning to be firm now. And hence the acting up kicking up a notch.

I have found myself frustrated trying to understand what she needs, but maybe thatís the problem. She doesnít understand the language as you point out. I need to find a better balance here. I have gone from letting her be a puppy to an all out control freak. Neither are a good option or work for either of us.

I will try feeding her in the crate as well

And you might be right. Maybe she does need more play time! And that might be why she is so difficult sometimes. Can I ask a dumb question. What kind of play time do you do? I usually play with a toy with her which usually results in her just wanting to chew it. I havenít been playing tug because of baby teeth.

Thanks for the advice!
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post #13 of 80 (permalink) Old 01-13-2018, 04:05 PM Thread Starter
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Oh and I forgot to mention but I do definitely praise the heck out of her and give her treats when she potties outside or does anything I have asked.
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post #14 of 80 (permalink) Old 01-13-2018, 04:16 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks @desinif glad to hear Iím not the only one struggling. I do and have felt like it will get better. And I know it will. Iím really glad I found this forum. It is helpful to hear others have been there done that and it worked out as well as get some seasoned advice from years of experience with GSDís.

Everyone here agrees not to soothe or give attention when

Reagan already has my heart and I will not let her down!!
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post #15 of 80 (permalink) Old 01-13-2018, 04:23 PM
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Your pup may go through a second fear stage. That is normal. Don't reward fearful behavior but don't come down too hard, either. Yelling at your pup might make it worse. Just a quick correction to let them know that lunging or barking, etc, is not wanted.

Some tug games are fine with loose teeth. Just watch your pup and try not to get too aggressive. Fetch is good. Finding things is good. Following your around is good and that will work into heeling and good leash skills. Look-at-me is important because that will help in Iffy situations. You want to encourage your dog to look at you for cues on how to handle the human world.

Oh, and as careful as my vet is, neither of my dogs are particularly fond of being at the vet office.
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post #16 of 80 (permalink) Old 01-13-2018, 04:24 PM
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Please don't think of your pup as stubborn. She doesn't know enough to be stubborn. She's a puppy and doesn't know anything yet. She does what she does because it pleases her, or satisfies some need of hers, like chewing, or being bored. She doesn't have any idea that she's supposed to do things that please you.

Also, because of serious problems with a 6 month old pup we adopted, I'm very much opposed to limiting water intake unless there is some medical necessity for doing so. Our pup barely survived his previous owner's attempts at house training by portioning out his water intake and it took us months to get him over that issue. I realize it's my pet peeve, but I see no benefit to limiting water. Puppies we have raised, and there have been quite a few, have always had clean water at all times, and they all were house trained without a lot of trouble. Just my 2 cents worth.
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post #17 of 80 (permalink) Old 01-13-2018, 04:51 PM
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Hi ReagansMom!

I just got my first shepherd too, and we're struggling with some of the same issues. I've also come to this forum and received some super helpful advice and encouraging words.

Anyway, regarding potty training: my Nyx's first vet appt was yesterday and when I explained that we were having trouble with potty training, she asked how many times a day we feed her, how much, basically what's her feeding schedule. At the suggestion of the breeder, we leave food out all day long, but my vet said that it could be messing up her potty training since it's not actually scheduled. She suggested feeding at certain times and taking pup out to the bathroom about 30 minutes after feeding instead of letting her graze at will. We don't have an issue with #2 in the house, but maybe her advice would be something to consider! Does anyone else have any thoughts on this? It could be worth a shot.
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post #18 of 80 (permalink) Old 01-13-2018, 04:59 PM
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Originally Posted by ReagansMom18 View Post
@tim_s_adams You are right. She is just a baby. And that was my mentality. Let her be a puppy, love on her and play with her, and show her right from wrong. But I was misinterpreting things as her just being a baby in a new world with lots of things to explore versus me not training her. I am 100% at fault for what is going on here, no question. I came here as I am struggling and want to get this right. The vet has scared me to death. When I took her in for her first shots I was given quite a few lectures from everyone there about how crucial it was to control the dog and not let her be in charge. I thought I understood what that meant and considered myself to be a strong leader. When we went back this past week for our 12 week shots they were impressed with her leash skills but said she was out of control and I would have to be more firm with her. They went on to tell me about how many GSDs they have to put down because they are out of control and how many are fearful and aggressive because they are not handled right at her age. It truly scared me and I will do whatever it takes to not let that happen. So I had to stop telling myself everything she does is because she is a baby. She still is, but I am learning to be firm now. And hence the acting up kicking up a notch.

I have found myself frustrated trying to understand what she needs, but maybe thatís the problem. She doesnít understand the language as you point out. I need to find a better balance here. I have gone from letting her be a puppy to an all out control freak. Neither are a good option or work for either of us.

I will try feeding her in the crate as well

And you might be right. Maybe she does need more play time! And that might be why she is so difficult sometimes. Can I ask a dumb question. What kind of play time do you do? I usually play with a toy with her which usually results in her just wanting to chew it. I havenít been playing tug because of baby teeth.

Thanks for the advice!
First of all, you have a 12 wk old puppy, and the vet started lecturing you when the puppy was only 9 wks old? If I were you I'd never go back to that vet's office! What a load of hoey!

The reason I emphasized that your puppy is just a baby is that IMO a lot of new owners go way way overboard on control, and don't put near enough effort into creating a close bond with their puppies. And given the lectures you received from your vet, it's understandable if you're a little freaked out at this point! The absolutely most important thing to focus on now is bonding, not discipline or control. So my advice would be to stop clapping and shouting at your puppy! At this age they just don't yet get it, in nearly every case you mentioned you'll get better results by ramping up animated praise and treats for wanted behaviors, and simply ignoring unwanted behaviors. If you use a "no" marker at all, do it with a low (as in quiet) voice, and no clapping. If you see your puppy going potty in the house or crate simply scoop them up without saying anything and take them outside - then very animatedly praise and play. If you are consistent with this the puppy will learn!

You can play tug with a young puppy using an old t-shirt, as long as you don't pull, just tease and let her chase it, then hold it still and let her dictate how much pulling happens. You can play with balls or other toys too, but puppies at this age seem to love exploring and following and chasing after you as much as anything else.

I've been a little remiss in finishing up a thread I started on Puppy training, but there are a bunch of really great activity ideas there that will help you find stuff to do with your puppy.

https://www.germanshepherds.com/forum...ng-sticky.html

Remember raising a puppy like this is a marathon not a race. If you scold your little puppy now in a loud voice, what will you ramp up to when she's a willfully disobedient adolescent? At this stage, just stay calm always and literally "show" her what you want...then throw a party when she gets it! GSDs are very smart, but I assure you she has not yet begun to put anything over on you, that'll come later

Hope this helps! Good Luck!

It's not the size of the dog in the fight, it's the size of the fight in the dog. Mark Twain

Tim
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post #19 of 80 (permalink) Old 01-13-2018, 05:07 PM Thread Starter
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Hi @car2ner. Thanks! Youíre right. Yelling is never good and she doesnít understand my words just the anger. I want her to get to a point that my quick correction sets her on the right behavior and she looks at me for how to handle situations. Do you have any suggestions for teaching that? Currently, I will say no to whatever it is she is doing. She has a habit of continuing to try until I have to remove her from the room or outside or move the item. This isnít always practical as I would prefer she listen and learn. I do use ďleave itĒ and when successful praise her and give her treats. I started a few days ago teaching her ďwatch meĒ by holding up a few treats to my forehead and getting her to hold it for a few seconds after I repeat the command.
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post #20 of 80 (permalink) Old 01-13-2018, 05:11 PM Thread Starter
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Hi @Pawsed I am not currently putting water in her crate. She gets water when she is outside the crate. Should I be giving her water in the crate? I havenít done that in the past I guess because it sounds counterproductive
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