Establishing Verbal Control "No" - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-27-2018, 10:08 AM Thread Starter
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Establishing Verbal Control "No"

Hi all, my girl just turned 13 weeks. From what I've been reading, she's a typical puppy-brained, landsharking young GSD. She has been with me about a month now, and I have little verbal control over her when it comes to "no". She's pretty good with "here", and a formal "come" to sit at my feet and look up, "let's go" works too when walking. However, a firm "eh, eh NO", or "Leave it" are completely ignored. I try to be consistent, and judicious in usage.

I've only raised one other dog from puppy age, a bully breed who aimed to please from the get go (I didn't know how good I had it at the time!). I've had older GSDs but this my first GSD pupper, and first landshark. The "no" is particularly important when she wants to chase the cat, is trying to eat the towel I'm drying her off with, etc. Is this something that will come with time, or is there a way to enforce these commands? In particular "NO" will often just spin her up (zoomies, increased attempts to bite, etc) if I say it loudly. Thanks!
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-27-2018, 11:14 AM
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In one case you're giving her something to do and even if it isn't for a direct reward like food or whatever, its still going to be somewhat rewarding to a smart, motivated puppy. Your encouragement and praise, all those things will get their attention and they'll want to do it. Trying to stop something in general is going to be the opposite for a smart motivated puppy. No has to have some kind of consequence. Whether its taking something away, like ending the play when they bite you instead of the toy or telling them a correction is coming, you have to give them a reason to stop what they're doing. Leave it, I use a pop with the leash. I just calmly walk them past something they'll pay attention to and tell them "Leave it" pop, and keep walking. Nothing harsh. NO, its probably a combination of playing with them and shaping what I want them to bite by making them really want the toy so that if I take it away it will mean something to them. Also with food, its pretty easy to lure into positions and reward whats correct and withhold it when it isn't. No= no reward, do it again and it earns the reward, they understand no pretty quick. The other option, no=a correction is tough to explain online.
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-27-2018, 11:31 AM
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IMO there are two factors at play in your particular situation - 1.excited playful puppy that quickly gets too focused on something and is literally unable to respond to your NO. 2.Your timing.She needs to stop and focus on you BEFORE she takes off after the cat or goes for that towel.
What is helpful is to give her something else to do that is fun and involves interaction with you.Keep a squeaky toy or a favorite tug with you at all times to redirect her (hopefully) the second she gets that look in her eyes or perks up when she sees the cat.Work on a Leave It command when she's in a calmer state with no distractions.
It won't happen overnight but you will begin to see progress if you are patient and consistent.You will learn to 'read' her and it becomes second nature to head off her antics.Have fun with her and remember she's just a baby and will gain self control with your guidance and her maturity.
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-27-2018, 11:41 AM Thread Starter
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Steve, I think I get what you're saying. Could you give me an example of a consequence I could employ in this context?- One of my big challenges is 20 lbs. of squirming, biting, soaking wet dog that needs to be dried off. Cannot get her to stop biting the towel in one hand and trying to bite the hand holding her. I've only got my voice; if I stop what I'm doing, she wins. I've had no luck trying to distract her with a treat or toy while I dry her off. Maybe this is a specific question for a bathing thread!?
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-27-2018, 11:48 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks Dogma13. I make sure there is a Personal Protective Device within reach at all times. We're doing pretty good with the redirect for the biting. The cat is another story. You could drop a load of bricks on her head when she even thinks the cat might be nearby (total focus). Thank goodness for baby gates. We'll work on it!
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-27-2018, 03:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Felafufu View Post
Steve, I think I get what you're saying. Could you give me an example of a consequence I could employ in this context?- One of my big challenges is 20 lbs. of squirming, biting, soaking wet dog that needs to be dried off. Cannot get her to stop biting the towel in one hand and trying to bite the hand holding her. I've only got my voice; if I stop what I'm doing, she wins. I've had no luck trying to distract her with a treat or toy while I dry her off. Maybe this is a specific question for a bathing thread!?

Oh, I remember those days. Pups think it is all wrestling like they did with their litter-mates. I just try to do a quick toweling while I chant something like "towel towel towel". I don't expect to get my dogs completely dry. I just don't want dripping wet. The quick toweling is done and over before it can escalate into a full blown rumble. Over time the pup will learn that you aren't trying to start a wresting match and may even learn to hold still...maybe.

Or you can tag team. One person can offer a super yummy treat in a closed hand so that the pup has to nergle the fist with his nose trying to get it out. While the pup is engaged in trying to get to the treat, the other person starts toweling.
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-27-2018, 07:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Felafufu View Post
Hi all, my girl just turned 13 weeks. From what I've been reading, she's a typical puppy-brained, landsharking young GSD. She has been with me about a month now, and I have little verbal control over her when it comes to "no". She's pretty good with "here", and a formal "come" to sit at my feet and look up, "let's go" works too when walking. However, a firm "eh, eh NO", or "Leave it" are completely ignored. I try to be consistent, and judicious in usage.

I've only raised one other dog from puppy age, a bully breed who aimed to please from the get go (I didn't know how good I had it at the time!). I've had older GSDs but this my first GSD pupper, and first landshark. The "no" is particularly important when she wants to chase the cat, is trying to eat the towel I'm drying her off with, etc. Is this something that will come with time, or is there a way to enforce these commands? In particular "NO" will often just spin her up (zoomies, increased attempts to bite, etc) if I say it loudly. Thanks!
Puppies don't understand language. But I do, and I'm even a bit confused at what you're trying to convey by saying NO here. NO to what? What, exactly, are you trying to teach him to do? Not look at the cats? Not chase them, not be excited by them? From my perspective none of these things are being taught by saying NO! For me NO means don't do that! And I only use it when I've given them something to do, and theyre thinking about not doing whatever it is.

Puppies who have not been around or seen cats are pretty intrigued by them. You can't teach a puppy to not be a puppy, that is to not be excited by something. A better approach, IMHO, is to address it by teaching them what you want them to do. They'll get over their excitement in their own time LOL!

When my puppy would get excited about seeing a cat, I would tell her to down and stay. If she tried to get up, I'd tell her no, then follow with a stay reminder. It's a training thing, so you have to be 100% focused on the puppy and catch them before they get up. The no comes the second you see their muscles tense to begin to rise, and should not be repeated. Instead follow with what you want them to be doing!

I also taught her "leave it" by practicing it extensively in a non-distracting, low excitement situation, usually in our living room. My pup was highly food motivated, so using kibble I'd drop it in front of her and make her wait to get it using "leave it" and "okay". Over time we graduated up to placing hotdog sections on her paws and having her wait for increasingly longer times. Leave it means ignore something. Once the puppy understands the concept well, it can be used for higher value or distracting things like cats. I hope this helps!
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-28-2018, 12:38 AM
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With the towel - I have taught my guy "stand" - we use it often, when waiting to get in the car, when picking up poop, when drying with the towel. "Stand" mean you must stand there and stand still. The towel is a hard one tho, my guy loves biting the towel too, so we start with a "stand" then he bites the towel so I stop what I'm doing and say "huh-huh, "stand" and so on until he is dry... hes getting better but the towel calls his name, lol
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