4 month old purchase - effect? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-26-2018, 06:00 PM Thread Starter
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4 month old purchase - effect?


I've raised one GSD (when I was a kid) and have since had rough collies, a couple mastiffs and a dane - all purchased when they were around 8-10 weeks old. I just brought home the MOST handsome 4 month old GSD from a reliable, local breeder (I searched for months..) and he is the oldest puppy I've ever acquired. Wondering about the impact on his training that comes from having remained at the breeder for so long.

The advantage is, of course, that he can hold his bladder longer. Disadvantages include: he's not housebroken so maybe habits are deeper/harder to conquer? Larger puppy so more difficult to manage and large messes, crate training is a BEAR so far and I read that puppies should be alone by 13 weeks or they'll be prone to separation anxiety.

I've had him for one week today and he is a dream in most ways. He slept in a place with indoor/outdoor access but had no housebreaking training. I have him crated when not with me or not being taken out to go. Hard for me to know when he can be trusted because that involves allowing him to wander while I watch him but he pees so quickly, I can't really catch him before it hits the floor. He has gone days without accidents then suddenly pees on the floor, sigh.

He is SOOOO loud when in his crate. He cries and moans and sounds like he's dying and will keep it up for a long time. I know you're not supposed to scold but just saying "HEY!" loudly gets him to quiet down for a bit. Is his age contributing to the upset over being crated?

At 4 months, he is also already very GSD in terms of being alert and barking when people approach. I know you're supposed to correct aggression but all I've seen his raised hackles on his back and barking - no growling.

Obedience-wise, he is an absolute dream. He learned to "sit" on command in 3 tries, he waits at the door to let humans go through, his recall is amazing! He will even stop when he sees another dog and I say his name firmly.

This guys is my dream dog but I want to be sure that I do everything right. So:

- Any tips unique to an older puppy would be appreciated
- Same with tips on crate training. I'm actually concerned about the amount of bawling he probably does when crated and I'm at work.
- Ratios of how long he can be in the crate etc. I do work full time but I am minutes from home and my kids get home early afternoon. So general schedule is:
I take him out for about 1 mile walk every morning. He poops and pees right away.
I get ready for work then potty him again around 8:30am
I come home at lunch around noon. Take him potty, play with him for about 40 minutes then crate him.
Kids come home 2:30. Daughter potties him, son takes him for a walk on leash for about 20 minutes
Kids are allowed to take him out of his crate in the afternoon if he stays on leash right near them in the house or they take him out.
I get home from work 5:30ish, potty him, play with him then gate him in the kitchen with me while I cook dinner.
Rest of the evening is on/off crating or being with me on leash.
Take him potty 10pm ish then put him in another crate next to my bed. He sleeps all night as long as he can see me (yep, spoiled in this regard...)

All input very much appreciated. I am also planning on enrolling him in obedience class for the socialization and refresh for me, as well.

Also, how much socialization is really good and required? I want a balanced dog where I can have friends and the kids can have friends over and he won't be aggressive or overprotective. He does already bark if someone comes to the door but that's it. So take him out in public once a week? more?
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-26-2018, 07:42 PM
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Tether him to you when you don't want him in the crate. Go to Leerburg.com and read and watch free stuff on puppies.

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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-26-2018, 07:54 PM Thread Starter
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Great, thanks. I've raised pups before and have been reading and watching videos to make sure that my methods/thinking are not outdated.

My main question was around starting training when a pup is already 4 months old. He has basic manners (doesn't jump or nip) but that's it. Any different approach? Different expectations?

I think my post was just too long for anyone to bother reading all the way through.
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-26-2018, 08:40 PM
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You're over thinking this.He needs to learn the same things as an eight week old - house training,crate training,your household routine.He is old enough to get out and about to observe the big wide world.Observing is good,flooding him with encounters with people and dogs is not.A class that focuses on helping you and your pup develop a strong working relationship despite the distractions of other people and dogs may be something to consider.IMO he's not displaying aggression,it's more anxiety."What's that noise and what do I do now?"
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-26-2018, 08:40 PM
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Originally Posted by cjb65 View Post
My main question was around starting training when a pup is already 4 months old. He has basic manners (doesn't jump or nip) but that's it. Any different approach? Different expectations?
That would be sufficient foundation to me.
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-26-2018, 08:42 PM
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I read it quickly. These are the better videos. Leerberg are hit and miss. Some are good, some are not that useful.

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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-27-2018, 12:49 AM
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I potty train healthy ADULT dogs in 4-5 days, maximum. A SENIOR dog might take a week, maybe if it's never lived in a house. This breed is incredibly easy to house train! The idea that 16 weeks is somehow "too old" is wildly wrong. They learn at lightening speed at that age.

Tethering to you inside the house really does work. There's no magic to potty training other than being hyper-vigilant to always get the dog outside, in the right spot, before it makes a mess, and then praising like it's the greatest dog ever when it goes. Every mess -- 100% of them -- are the human's fault for not getting the dog outside at the right time.

Same goes for crate training. EVERY dog of any age protests and whines the first night or two. If you want it to sleep through the night, don't train it to throw a fit to get you to come to it -- it's like putting a dadgum recall on the human! You have to put up with a few rough nights in the beginning (with loss of sleep until it gets tired of barking and whining), or else get up and reward it and deal with this behavior for weeks and weeks. It's your choice.

Be sure the crate is a good place for the pup -- I feed my foster dogs in the crate, and it's the place they get treats and chews (the safe, quiet place where good stuff happens and they won't be disturbed). They routinely go in their crates when the doors are open to take a nap, as it's their spot.
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