Barking And Lunging - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 63 (permalink) Old 05-24-2016, 11:45 AM Thread Starter
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Barking And Lunging

My 6.5 month old puppy is starting to bark and lunge at people when they walk by our home when I take him out to do his business. We walk out from a back door, not a front, and if he even hears someone on the sidewalk he goes nuts. I will take him back inside immediately if he starts that and wait until calms down before taking him out again. When he does, he will be quiet until we get to the front yard and then he will bark if sees or hears anyone on the sidewalk. I will correct him, pulling him to walk away, but he will not stop. I work on getting his attention with out watch command, but he will not do it, even if I try before he starts barking. Once the person is in front of the house, then the lunging starts. Again, a correction, but he will still bark and lunge again. We continue the corrections but at this point, he is now 63 pounds and because he lunges and pulls so much, my right shoulder has now become strained and injured enough that I don't have a lot of strength to pull him back. I still can, but my shoulder will hurt something fierce.

I'm not sure how to fix the behavior. We just started to go to obedience classes, but we only just finished week 1 so we have a ways to go yet. My husband works away from home, so it is just me to look after him and I want to be able to do that, correctly, without injuring myself further.

Now, the last time my husband was home, he let Ronin bark and lunge when a man was walking by on the sidewalk. I heard the commotion and went to look out the window. I was able to hear the guy ask if Ronin was friendly, and my husband said yes, and the guy walked up to Ronin and Ronin stopped barking, sniffed and then licked his hands and arms like they were long lost friends, and when the guy backed away he started barking again. Of course, I was not happy with my husband and told him so, but he told me I worry too much and that nothing happened. I feel like since he let that happen Ronin thinks it's ok to do that and I have to do that much more work to correct it.

I am the primary one who takes care of him, since my husband is away, and I want to make sure that we get it right. We do go for walks, and I run hard around the back yard with him for about 20-30 minutes at night as well. We do training every day for about 10 minutes at a time before he gets bored or distracted. The watch command is great for inside, but not so much out and about. He gets praised and rewards when he calmly watches someone go by the house when we are outside, but it's about 50/50 right now on whether or not he will stop barking and lunging when corrected.

Any help or suggestions would be appreciated. Not sure if this a fear period related issue? We have contacted our trainer, but she is very busy and unsure of when she will be able come and do some training with us at home so I really would like some suggestions if possible. Thanks again.

"I am your friend, your partner, your defender, your dog. You are my life, my leader. I will be yours, faithful and true to the last beat of my heart"-I am the German Shepherd
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post #2 of 63 (permalink) Old 05-24-2016, 11:55 AM
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My best advice would be to take him to a park and let him meet as many people and dogs and children as possible. Do this maybe 3-4 times in a week's span. Don't overdo it because I think it's a good thing that he is protective of your property, but he needs to recognize good behavior and bad behavior. The people passing might just be giving him eye contact, which sets many dogs off. He will still be a puppy for another year so expect a lot of these "what the heck?" moments. Your dog is still maturing and finding himself. I fostered a few dogs and pups, I thought I was going to lose my mind, but somehow they seem to "get it". Jut show him what appropriate behavior is, and over time it will sink in.
Hope this helps.
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post #3 of 63 (permalink) Old 05-24-2016, 12:19 PM
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If you're not able to give a firm enough correction to keep his focus on you,another option is to stand calmly until he stops of his own accord.Then allow him to greet when he's calm.You would have to have a couple of volunteers to help you out.It takes a lot longer but the end result is he still learns he doesn't get his way until he's calm and cooperative.Then have him sit for pets so he's following your instructions and under your control.
This is only if he is a "frustrated greeter" not for an aggressive dog.

Others hopefully will chime in with various methods and you can choose whichever works best for you.

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post #4 of 63 (permalink) Old 05-24-2016, 12:19 PM
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Its probably not what you're thinking of as far as fear periods and what you read about that. Its more the natural suspicion and awarness of things he supposed to have coming out and he doesn't really know what to do with it. If you're pulling him away from things, in general, you're building frustration and making it worse. Try being more along the lines of pre emptive and stop him as soon as he starts paying attention to noises and people in the distance like that. Teach him to leave it. Teach him to quiet, but everything has to be before he's worked up. Its too late then and the correction to stop what he's doing can be tough.
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post #5 of 63 (permalink) Old 05-24-2016, 12:24 PM
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This is how I handle or train my dogs in this or similar situation. So this would be one option depending on what result you are looking for. First, the priority for my dogs is the protection of my home and family in a controlled manner. So I would praise the alert (bark). Then teach a "enough" command, this means "I hear you, good dog, be aware but no need to bark further unless there is an additional danger". In most cases a bark from a GSD is enough to let a bad guy know "just keep walking". Then since I also want my dogs to be good ambassadors for GSD, (this means meeting and greeting, but on my terms). I do not want someone just walking up to my dogs and my meeting without my approval and release. So I keep my dogs at "Fuss" and walk to the person, Have my dogs sit, then when they look at me and not the person, release them with a "go play". This takes training and time to get a result. I do train with a prong collar. One other thing I might add, I also never want take my dog from a situation that they fail in. Example, barking too much so I put them in the house to calm down. I would rather praise the alert, command "enough" and if one barks again, correct then start over, praising any success even if they stop barking for a split second so not only do they understand what I want, but they win the lesson and they please me. FYI, sometimes this can take 20 min to walk from side gate to side walk (when we started out), but the results I have had I am pleased with. I try to look at every situation as a training moment and a game with my dogs, this helps them focus and seems to make them want to succeed because it is fun for them and not a chore. I hope this helps,
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post #6 of 63 (permalink) Old 05-24-2016, 12:28 PM
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Working on focus/engagement will help. Making yourself the most interesting thing to him will keep his attention on you and he can learn to ignore distractions. I see too many people being monotone, be exciting.
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Last edited by Nigel; 05-24-2016 at 12:36 PM.
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post #7 of 63 (permalink) Old 05-24-2016, 01:32 PM
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Oh gezz, well if your goal is to have some half trained "alert barking at strangers" kinda dog (which I doubt??) I can't help you. At my high
point I walked my OS WL GSD, my American Band Dawg and my Boxer at the same time. I didn't need them walking around my neighbor telling me "Hey there's a stranger!!" Bark, Bark, that was not there job. I prefer to train my dogs to "ignore people" on walks and that is what they do it worked out fine.

But first a simple question ... when you correct the dog are you pulling "Straight back or Sideways???" It makes a difference.
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post #8 of 63 (permalink) Old 05-24-2016, 03:07 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chip18 View Post
Oh gezz, well if your goal is to have some half trained "alert barking at strangers" kinda dog (which I doubt??) I can't help you. At my high
point I walked my OS WL GSD, my American Band Dawg and my Boxer at the same time. I didn't need them walking around my neighbor telling me "Hey there's a stranger!!" Bark, Bark, that was not there job. I prefer to train my dogs to "ignore people" on walks and that is what they do it worked out fine.

But first a simple question ... when you correct the dog are you pulling "Straight back or Sideways???" It makes a difference.
in the beginning I was pulling straight back, but now I have started to immediately turn and walk the other way, pulling the dog to the side a bit, and turning my body at the same time so he has to follow me. This was the recommendation by the obedience instructor. When he is lunging, I often find myself pulling straight back, which I know can sometimes make him pull harder. I have to break the habit, and that is on me. I don't stress out, but I can often feel pain in my shoulder. I tell him enough, and when he calms down, I high praise and treat. But often the next person we have to do it all over again.

"I am your friend, your partner, your defender, your dog. You are my life, my leader. I will be yours, faithful and true to the last beat of my heart"-I am the German Shepherd
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post #9 of 63 (permalink) Old 05-24-2016, 03:28 PM
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Pulling is not helping. I know its hard sometimes, to be sure and confident in what to do, but that type of thing frustrates them and kicks in their opposition reflex.Something real simple that was said to me once, keeping it in mind helps me. If the leash is tight, your dog is gone.
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post #10 of 63 (permalink) Old 05-24-2016, 05:28 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Steve Strom View Post
Pulling is not helping. I know its hard sometimes, to be sure and confident in what to do, but that type of thing frustrates them and kicks in their opposition reflex.Something real simple that was said to me once, keeping it in mind helps me. If the leash is tight, your dog is gone.
Yeah I'm starting to realize that. That's why I want suggestions so that I can properly correct it. I just went home on my lunch to let him out, and someone was walking by. I had his attention for all of 3 seconds before he started barking and lunging. I quickly turned and walked away and he followed and stopped. When I turned back around, he didn't bark, but just gave a low growl then stopped when I got his attention again. I gave him lavish praise and he didn't bark at the next person. Now, I know this is a temporary thing, but I feel with each successful time he'll get better. I just have a lot to work on to know what to do and how to do it properly.

"I am your friend, your partner, your defender, your dog. You are my life, my leader. I will be yours, faithful and true to the last beat of my heart"-I am the German Shepherd
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