Question about my dogs behavior.. 4-1/2 Months - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-16-2018, 10:05 AM Thread Starter
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Question about my dogs behavior.. 4-1/2 Months

Hello, i got a German Shepherd from my neighbor in early January. The pups were born on November 1st, so he was a little over 10 wks old when i got him.. He has been a really good puppy for the most part.. I have never had a German Shepherd before, but had a Lab for 13 years that died in 15'... So all of my previous training and experience has been with my Lab..

My question is he has started showing a little but of bratty behavior when i verbally discipline him.. If i say NO, and point at him, he will look at me and snap at the air and make a little noise... Ive read some on here calling it "talking back"... Maybe i am being paranoid, but i dont want to overlook something that could be a precursor to a problem down the road.. The other day i was just feeling him out a little more approached his food bowl while he was eating, and he tensed up and growled at me.. I know that i should never do that, but i just wanted to see what his demeanor would be.. It kind of made me nervous.. Dont get me wrong, the pup sleeps in my bed every night, we are bonded very well, he is smart and taking well to training, etc... I am just used to my calm and easy, anything goes Labrador that i had for so long..

I also read on here that resource guarding is a common thing in dogs, especially with their food.. That made me question the way i am playing with him.. We play fetch every day just about, and he loves it.. BUT, he has just started this thing where he wants me to chase him to get teh ball out of his mouth.. I dont chase him, because i am used to my retriever always bringing it back and dropping the ball in my hand.. So with my GS puppy, i would just grab the ball out of his mouth when he came close enough, or easily grab his body and pull him to me to get the ball out.. When i do that, am i reinforcing his need to "resource guard"? I just started the two ball method yesterday and it actually works great.. So i will implement that from here on..

Thanks for any help.. And here are a few pics of my boy Kye..
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post #2 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-16-2018, 10:48 AM
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Take a deep breath. This is all normal stuff. As far as the resource guarding goes, treat it like you would a kid. if you need to take something away from your pup just calmly take it and put it away. A few of these events will show your pup his complaint won't do much good. If you take something away and he gives no complaint then trade what you took for a special small treat. Then go do something fun for a moment or two. Try to make the taking of things like a non event. It is just normal life because after all it is. No need to test him every day by messing with his food dish. Would you like someone messing with your meal every day, that is annoying! You just need to check now and then because your pup will most likely get into something he shouldn't and you will need to take it away. (not to say that you do this. Some people do while thinking that is a good way to teach their dog manners and such)

For toys, I trade a toy for a toy. Especially playing in the yard. Or I sit down. The game is boring if the pup doesn't bring it back. My gal-dog would love me to chase her. I never do. She must think I am as dumb as a box of rocks because I never seem to take the hint. You could also pup your pup on a 30 ft line and when he tries to run away with the toy you gently insistently reel him in. You don't want the pup to take the toy to a comfy spot in the yard and start gnawing on it instead of playing with you.

And here is a free workshop that can help with playing in the yard. I took this mini course last time she offered it and it was very good
Engagement Challenge | The Collared Scholar
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Last edited by car2ner; 03-16-2018 at 10:52 AM.
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post #3 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-16-2018, 11:03 AM Thread Starter
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Honestly, i feel like i am over reacting... I have only messed with his food one time, and i wont do that again.. Last night i gave him a bully stick and he chewed it for a few minutes, then i called him and he came over and handed it to me.. I dont think he has a major resource guarding issue, but i was caught off guard by his body language and growl the one time i did mess with his food..

Thanks for your input..
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post #4 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-16-2018, 12:19 PM
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I have only had one dog that was really an issue to take things from. I used 'out' or drop it, and come. So I never took stuff away I made him leave it instead. Then he was rewarded for obeying. It's less confrontational and it's what I teach people who are worried or whose dogs have made them nervous.
It has the added bonus of never making your dog think about you taking things away, which buys you 'shock seconds' in an emergency should you ever need to get something away from him in a hurry. Since he has no experience with you taking stuff, you should have the time to pull or scoop something out of his mouth should you ever need to.
More commonly I trade stuff with my dogs, so they give up what they have to get something better.
Either way I wouldn't worry, your puppy is just entering the test phase, and will get pushier as he grows through it. Keep rules clear and consistent.
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post #5 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-16-2018, 01:31 PM
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I was going to suggest two ball, but you beat me to it! One thing I do with Jax is I look for opportunities to reinforce good behavior and manners and also let him know that I run the show, not him. I ask him to sit and wait while I put his food down. I make him wait a few seconds while it is on the floor then tell him ok good boy before he gets to eat. If he tries to stick his face in it while it's being put down, just stand back up with the food and put him back in a sit till he gets it. Same with going out. He sits while I open the door and doesn't get to just charge through. If he tries, close the door. You get the idea!
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post #6 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-16-2018, 01:39 PM
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What happened to that dead squirrel?
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post #7 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-16-2018, 02:16 PM
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You've already gotten great advice on the resource guarding issue, but I thought I'd jump in and add one more observation. I've never had a problem with resource guarding because I NEVER interrupt a dog when he's eating except when I have something of high value to add. So, 99.9% of the time the dog eats in peace. But I like to add table scraps to my dog's food, and sometimes it happens that I find something to add after I've set their bowl down. So I tell them to lookout, so the additional food doesn't land on their head, add the food and walk away. This is not because I'm trying to teach something, it's just life. But from the dog's perspective, it's always worthwhile! When she has something I need to see, or has found something to eat that I need to see before she's allowed to eat it, I always call her to me and tell her to drop it, I don't reach in and take it. As Sabis mom pointed out, it's much less confrontational!

On the air snapping and back talk question I'd say it depends. My puppy did and does this frequently, but not when I am telling her NO. If you're pup is listening when you say NO, but protesting a bit too, I'd say it's not a problem. With my puppy the most challenging phase in her development came at just about the age of your puppy, between 4 and 6 months. This is when she'd look right at me and choose to ignore commands. Your reaction to this is important. With almost any approach to dog training I've been exposed to over the years, you'll hear that you should be fair, firm, and consistent. With GSDs, that first element, fair, is especially important! Much more than other breeds I've worked with, GSDs have a sort of heightened sense of fairness, for lack of a better way to say it. So the first thing I'd suggest is that you look objectively at what you're doing, making sure that you are being fair, and clear. IME a GSD will protest, sometimes vehemently, if they think you're being unfair. They'll also let you know if you're not being clear in a similar fashion. So if your puppy is protesting, first make sure that he isn't right by objectively examining your approach. With my puppy I can count on my fingers how many times I've had to tell her NO, and she's now 14 months old! That being said, the other thing you don't want to do is allow your puppy to ignore your command. If, or should I say when, he does this, calmly but firmly enforce the command. Again with my puppy I use a no, which is said quietly as a sort of steering indicator, and a NO, which is a non-negotiable COMMAND meaning stop whatever you're doing immediately! This latter is used very sparingly, but when used it is used very forcefully, and no back talk is permitted! With the steering no, my puppy will often let me know what she thinks, and I'm grateful for the feedback! I hope this helps! Great looking puppy, BTW!

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

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post #8 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-16-2018, 02:19 PM
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I have purebred GSD + mix dog I took from the street. In both cases I can take food from their bowl during eating or remove bowl completely. Without any negative response. I wouldn't approve otherwise. You could maybe train that by positive reinforcement (eg. adding extra tasty food to bowl when he's eating; your hand around bowl = welcomed by dog). Also I would never stand any resource guarding or a growling at me.

But it's just maybe me.
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post #9 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-16-2018, 03:03 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wolfy dog View Post
What happened to that dead squirrel?
Haha, he was walking with us when we were squirrel hunting a month or so ago..
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post #10 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-16-2018, 03:04 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by andywhite View Post
I have purebred GSD + mix dog I took from the street. In both cases I can take food from their bowl during eating or remove bowl completely. Without any negative response. I wouldn't approve otherwise. You could maybe train that by positive reinforcement (eg. adding extra tasty food to bowl when he's eating; your hand around bowl = welcomed by dog). Also I would never stand any resource guarding or a growling at me.

But it's just maybe me.
I fell the same way, and i would never let that slide as OK.. But i wanted to check here first and make sure i approach the situation the correct way..
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Last edited by kilby91; 03-16-2018 at 03:11 PM.
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