How do I work past the stubborn/ rebellious stage? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 22 (permalink) Old 06-19-2013, 02:46 PM Thread Starter
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How do I work past the stubborn/ rebellious stage?

Last two days, I haven't been too enthused about training Frodo. And he has just been ignoring my commands.

WE are probably just feeding off each other. I know he will do the training with some good bits of meat. But he used to do this with his regular kibble as well. And I feel that part of obedience is also about respect, not just the food.

Once the trainer introduced the bits of meat, he doesn't work for the kibble or praise anymore.

This is another gripe I have with (insert expletives)trainers. They take the easy way out, having the puppy do things I have already taught him to do by using high value treats.

I am not averse to using high value treats but I keep them for things like building his body handling tolerance(he doesn't like being groomed), or 'leave it' or recall or preventing resource guarding.

Anyway, how do I work past this stage? Because it feels like I have reached my limit in being able to train him.

Oh, he is 4 months old now.

Last edited by Sri; 06-19-2013 at 02:49 PM.
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post #2 of 22 (permalink) Old 06-19-2013, 02:58 PM Thread Starter
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Oh, and I should probably mention this, in case its relevant because its certainly unusual behavior for him. He turned 4 months old yesterday. And I see a lot of vocalizing at me (or for me?) , not growling, but he will show his teeth, pretend to mouth, not snapping, and doesn't actually make contact or take my hand in his mouth even though I left it right near his mouth. If he is lying down he will even roll over to show his tummy but then he will be doing the above as well.

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post #3 of 22 (permalink) Old 06-19-2013, 04:42 PM
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Why would you not use high value treats? Food is only a reinforcer if it strengthens the behavior. It is not a reinforcer simply because it is food. Also, he has to be hungry for food to be a reinforcer, so cut back on his food during meal time. Is he a free feeder, meaning his food bowl always has food in it? Give him ten minutes to eat and if he is not finshed and uninterested, take the food up until the next meal. How many meals are you feeding him a day? Does you dog have any prey drive? You can also build his desire to chase a moving toy (prey drive), teach him to bite it, play a little tug and then release the toy. Then you transition to teasing him with the toy, luring him into an obedience position, and releasing him to bite the toy in prey drive. This takes some skill, is a little difficult to explain the nuances and the dog has to have strong prey drive.
If you want to keep things strictly positive at this age, ignore him when he ignores you and just reinforce any behavior you want to strengthen with food he really likes. Also, how big of a meat treat do you give him at a time? A slice of hotdog the size of a nickel is about right.
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post #4 of 22 (permalink) Old 06-19-2013, 05:56 PM Thread Starter
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I didn't say I dont use high value treats, I just like to keep him guessing, he will always get something, either his meal or treats.

I used to feed him 3 meals a day, but now one meal I use as a training meal(based on shirley chong's training website), basicially hand feed him a few pieces of kibble after each 'sit' 'stand' 'down 'come' , I also throw the ball and ask him to drop it etc.
He also sits and stays(5 seconds) for his other meals.

He was also beginning to resource guard so I use high value treats to teach him to 'drop it' Then I give back his toy or bone that he was chewing on.


Prey drive - according to the definition, yes he does. I think I will have to get a good trainer with this though. Because I can see the tugging gets intense and he does not drop it without a high value treat. I am a bit wary about tugging with him.

I use tiny bits of cheese or meat, comparable to what you suggest.

Thank you, you made me remember I need to be the center of his world.
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post #5 of 22 (permalink) Old 06-19-2013, 08:07 PM
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I had some what of the same behavior about a month ago (she is 5 months old now). Huayra would do the same mouth snapping thing at me and sometimes would even tackle and try to dominate my legs (grabbing my leg and hugging it with her paws crossed off). Which is a big no no. Especially with a GSD. You do NOT want them to dominate you, EVER.

I am not a professional trainer at all, I've been to the beginner level and starting intermediate level training this weekend and I just learned to correct her behavior in junction with her trainer.

From what I can tell... Your pup is trying to dominate you. A couple of fixes...

During food time, like mentioned... About 30 seconds your pup gets into eating grab the bowl right under her mouth and hold it while staring at the dog. She/he might growl at you but it's ok. You keep doing that till she/he obeys/stops trying to be dominating.

Another thing I found extremely useful (which some might say its ridiculous) is to pin him/her to the ground by holding the fat behind their ear and on top of the neck. Hold her/him via that. This will NOT hurt the dog but will make him/her understand that you are the master.

Moms nip their children by their snout or pin them via that upper neck area to correct behavior. I wouldn't suggest the snout part as we have hands and not sharp k9 teeth. You could hold it shut though but not as effective as the neck trick.

From my experience the GSD is a very intelligent, high energy and stubborn as **** breed. It's ok though, it will pay off given the right training. Even at 5 months my GSD is great, she still is a puppy especially when going to places as in... Hyperactive and over exited... To give you an image... She tries to swim in concrete with all her paws... However that is fixed with the "gentle leader" leash piece.

I hope the 2 tips I gave helps as they made me and my girlfriends life a heck of a lot easier!


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post #6 of 22 (permalink) Old 06-19-2013, 08:44 PM
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GSDs are high energy dogs. Put him on a leash and start running around, Don't ignore until you get the action you want.

YOU CAN'T WALK AWAY, YOU DON'T GIVE UP. ...It may take 15 mins before they listen.
if you give up the dog learns the owner didn't want me to do what he was saying

Our guy is 11 months old now, and he still has about a half our each day where he is HYPER CRAZY DOG. Just keep him busy, and when you say sit.... you make him sit. Reward.

We did get an e-collar for our guy a few weeks ago being if he is having his hyper moment near other adults, we can 'beep' him to get his attention, then if he still ignores, we give him a little shock. Our guy isn't a mean dog, but he does 'nibble' on people, and some people think that is being aggressive.

I want to say that from my personal experience, those E collars do work, but make sure you get one that you can send a 'beep' first. This gets the dogs attention because they know if they hear a beep again, they are doing something wrong. I have not had to shock our guy to get attention for about a week now.

I frankly don't need to shock him at all anymore, its just that beep that gets him off the train of thought so he listens. I think out of the past 2 months we have had the collar, I've shocked him maybe under 10 times.

I think the main thing with your dog is you really need to give them attention. 2 hours a day, along with dog park visits.

Last edited by Walperstyle; 06-19-2013 at 08:53 PM.
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post #7 of 22 (permalink) Old 06-19-2013, 08:46 PM
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Age of puberty starts at about six months and ends in some dogs at about 2 and half years old. It is too early to say if he becomes naughty. You do not work past this stage easily, it is not ment to. Absolutely opposite - you train your dog intensely, the best you can get out of him happens before he is three, and, as early you start pressing on the better results you can expect. In many cases puppies stop listening to commands because their physical potential grows up, but their owner doesn't provide them an adequate physical exercise. They become obedient only if you make them tired and provide them maximum freedom on a playground and your regular long walks. Exercise him properly with his ball before his classes, he must spend this extra energy in order to keep being concentrated on you. I'd rather stop giving him any treats at all and think how else I can make him looking at me. Make your commands purposeful, say if your "Sit!" was followed by a short (just a few steps) run forward - it would be more interesting for him. Use commands he already knows as intermediate ones, ask him to lie down before command "Walk!"/"Play", before he runs after the ball. Use command "Sit" / "Down" "Stand"/ or "Stay" before you put him off leash and before you put him on. Use your commands more in situations than just for the sake of demonstration.
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post #8 of 22 (permalink) Old 06-19-2013, 08:52 PM
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Pup is 4 months...don't expect so much and enjoy the puppy stage!!!!! Stubborn and rebellious is not what your puppy is!

Engagement with you to get your focus is about as much as you should expect. Reward often and only when pup is focused on you, have pup drive into the food/ when you reward, either have up do an up, forward or back depending on what you are teaching.
I don't reward in position, but do mark the position and then releasing pup to work for the reward thru drive keeps it fun and the puppy is engaged.

Very short training sessions~ always ending on a good note and put the pup up in the crate after every learning session for processing time.

I would only work on restrained recalls, rear end awareness thru luring and a bit of focused short heeling with a down, sit and back up thrown in.
Enjoy this age and keep the sessions short. Teething is just beginning so pup is a bit distracted with the pain and sensitivity. After teething, then I'd start transitioning to a toy/tug for rewards but keep food in there when teaching a new exercise.
You want a confident puppy so don't correct at this age but give information as in " uh-uh, try again". This is the sponge stage, please remember your puppy is still very young.

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post #9 of 22 (permalink) Old 06-19-2013, 09:00 PM
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Oh my goodness. This us a 4 month old puppy!!!! Quit worrying about dominance and asserting your pack position, both if which are ignorant theories.

Do NOT pin your dog to the ground. Do NOT take their food away. Neither if these things do anything but teach the puppy to distrust you.

Training and raising digs is all peaks and valleys. One day they are perfect, the next day the act like they gave no idea. Stay consistent. Keep rewarding. The pup, at this age, should still be getting rewarding every time he does what is asked.

At this age they talk back, they nip, they grab pants legs, they jump up. It's not a stubborn stage, it's being a BABY!!!

You have not even got near the butthead teenage stage. Enjoy the puppy. Quit worrying and looking for signs if trouble. Don't turn it into a self fulfilling prophesy. Be a fair consistent benevolent leader and your pup will follow.


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post #10 of 22 (permalink) Old 06-19-2013, 10:18 PM
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forget about stages. keep training and socializing. if you
need a trainer find one. stages are a result of training and
socializing.
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