Is the "punk" stage normal? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-13-2010, 06:45 PM Thread Starter
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Is the "punk" stage normal?

OK, so Cullen has been doing exceedingly well at Schutzhund up until the last two weeks. He was working mostly on holding the ball on a rope, keeping it still, not letting it go, starting the T-Bone in protection, and tracking with multiple turns, less food, more C and S spots..

So.. Now.. he won't fight the sleeve, and when he even BITES the sleeve, he's missing, or grabbing near the hand area....

In obedience, when " pulling" him into a "heir", he is fighting like I am trying to beat him up, he won't hold the ball to save his life he just wants to drop it and keep biting at it...

In Tracking, he's doing well for the most part, but he tracks sideways, so turns are a pain in the rear.... instead of going head first butt last, he is standing almost completely sideways when he tracks..


help? is this normal?

~Kristi in Virginia Beach
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~ Cullen Vom Sandstranden, Purebred GSD, Black/Red Male : 12/16/09

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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-14-2010, 08:17 AM
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Why is he already on the sleeve? Not yet 1 yr? I would personally slow down, let him grow up.


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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-14-2010, 09:34 AM Thread Starter
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He kinda chose that around 7 months. He is a big boy, right at about 90 pounds, and a few months ago, when our trainer was wearing the sleeve he was going crazy. When they put it up, and brought out the tug and the bite wedge, he was running around, refused to grab it... but when we gave him leash slack, he ran over and picked the sleeve up, shook it, and carried it around.... so we tried it, and he did well... he has done well now for 4 months and now, he's just pretending he doesn't have any idea why we are at training!

~Kristi in Virginia Beach
Mommy to my 8 year old son... and

~ Cullen Vom Sandstranden, Purebred GSD, Black/Red Male : 12/16/09

~ Panzer Vom Sandstranden, Purebred GSD, Sable Female : 11/29/10

~ Gizmo , Amstaff, Brindle/White Female : 5/5/2000
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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-14-2010, 10:05 AM
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I get the impression from your past posts and some of the things you describe that you are sometimes using too much compulsion for what Cullen can handle.

I'm with Smithie, slow down! What I see in Cullen's behaviour is avoidance.

The side-ways tracking, Gryffon was doing it too at first, but as his drives developed, he started tracking straight - it was more efficient. Give Cullen a good long break - Gryff was tracking okay when I got him, nothing impressive or very focused - just so-so. Then winter came, no tracking for six months, and when we started out again in the spring, he was like a different dog! Giving him a chance to mature a bit, giving him a long break, giving him time for his drives to come out, all made a huge difference.

To help straighten him out, I did mostly straight tracks at first. I walked next to him along the track so that I could push his body back on straight when his butt started coming out. Also keeping a strong tension on the leash forced him to pull against the leash to move forward, and that straightened him out too.

I would go back to only straight-line tracks with lots of food, no articles (not sure if you are doing articles yet?), and only track him when he is starving, and not track him too much. He is still a baby, you are rushing him and he is missing out on some solid foundation work.

The chewing the ball and the dropping the ball is stress - too much stress for him. If he now associates the ball with stress, I'd move to a tug or a completely different toy. Being in close to you is now a stressful thing for him because of the pulling and I assume, you were correcting when he was chewing?

Again, go back a few steps. Allow him to do a front a foot away, or a distance comfortable for him. Praise and break with play for a quiet hold. GRADUALLY lure him in closer (do not pull him in). Get him used to you stepping in to him and calmly petting him and calmly holding his muzzle for a quiet hold and calmly praising him. Take all stress out of the equation. Just work on making the front a quiet, calm, happy place. No pulling, no pinch, no leash at all if you can help it. If he wants to move back, a quiet "ah-ah" and reinforce the "sit" and praise him for staying put.

In general, when I run into a problem in training, I always try and see what steps have I missed. I go back a few steps and work on the basics some more before I move forward again.

The biting the sleeve in the hand area is also avoidance. More confidence building, less threat for now.

Lucia


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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-14-2010, 11:21 AM
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I'm with the others.

Our 9 month old male is still just doing a lot of tug work, building confidence and teaching things like entry and grip. It can be hard to remember that Cullen is still just a puppy when he is so very big, but it sounds like he's letting you know through his performance that the cumulative pressure is too much for him. He's showing you that he's not comfortable.

Also, around that age you hit another fear period. Or at least that's what I've experienced with my dogs. They get a little weird and then they grow out of it again.

Give him a break for a couple months from "training". Reestablish your play bond with each other without the pressure of accomplishing some task and then back up so that this is fun again.

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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-14-2010, 12:36 PM
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I would talk to the people in your club-I do think that even if the dog enjoys schutzhund it helps to take a break-there are lots of other fun things to do with your dog-and for me its been fun doing some of those things
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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-14-2010, 02:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JKlatsky View Post
Give him a break for a couple months from "training". Reestablish your play bond with each other without the pressure of accomplishing some task and then back up so that this is fun again.
That's what I would do. Also, at his age, I would do all his obedience without any kind of compulsion and I would work the front without "pulling" him into me.
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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-14-2010, 02:28 PM
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I also agree with everyone else, Cullen is not being a "punk" but needs a bit of a break(especially in protection)
He may look old in his 90# body, but still has a mind of a puppy.

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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-14-2010, 07:41 PM
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I would definitely lay off the protection for now, I have a chat with your helper(s). I'm not sure the reasoning for having a 9 month old "fighting" on a full sleeve. Sounds like way too much too soon but I am not there and don't know the dog.

For tracking, I would back up, not literally but in your training. As the handler YOU control what the dog does. HOW you control it depends on knowing your dog, his drives, what motivates him, etc. To me this is the skill of tracking, not so much training sharp corners, article indication, and long tracks on variable terrain but doing a good job with the foundation and learning how YOUR dog works and how to use his natural instinct in combination with controlling other factors to get the desired behavior. To me the simple answer is if the dog is not showing correct behavior, then I don't let him move forward on the track. But that assumes that the dog can problem solve so if I'm standing still because he is off the track or being too fast or whatever, he has enough foundation to figure that out quickly so we can get moving forward again with the correct pace and behavior.
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-15-2010, 08:14 AM Thread Starter
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Lots of advice, thanks!!!

With the chewing in obedience... no, he doesn't get a correction, its more just a three chomp and a drop, his entire bahavior is odd even at home. I didn't mention that, but I understand what you guys are saying. He will do a front for me if I have food, but then he won't focus for me, he just tries to jump and get the food.

Tracking, we are not doing articles yet, we were going to try to start a bit, and he tracks his steps reallllllllly well, he just does it sideways... tail is always wagging, always happy at the end, and a deep nose, but when he gets to a left turn, and hes facing right, it takes him a bit to tighten up... my trainer says it's almost like he is anticipating the right turn, because we ALWAYS go right...

and, protection... he worked like an adult, but we never pushed him.... if he didn't do it, we would just revert back to a tug, which is what we did this time, I was more asking if it was normal, but I will not pressure him into biting it, it was just a routine sleeve day, and he conked out on me, and was worried ( This is my first time doing Schutzhund)

~Kristi in Virginia Beach
Mommy to my 8 year old son... and

~ Cullen Vom Sandstranden, Purebred GSD, Black/Red Male : 12/16/09

~ Panzer Vom Sandstranden, Purebred GSD, Sable Female : 11/29/10

~ Gizmo , Amstaff, Brindle/White Female : 5/5/2000
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