transfer of loyalty? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-04-2009, 06:33 AM Thread Starter
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transfer of loyalty?

Hi,
I hope some folks have had a similar experience or know someone who has and can give me their perspective on this:

I'd planned to bring a dog home this May. I'd set aside this whole past year to find the right dog for me and do everything carefully and thoughtfully. As fate would have it, I found the right dog much quicker than I thought and he's brilliant. Because I cannot bring him home until the last of March (due to scheduling and several other factors), my pup's been staying with the trainer from whom I bought him and I'm driving quite a way each weekend to train.

I know this isn't ideal. The trainer is spending much more time with him than I am, and while my pup does seem to like me, he sees the trainer as the "head guy."

My question is this, how long do you think it's going to take when I bring him home in March for his loyalty to transfer to me-months, years, ever?

The trainer is doing such a marvelous job and my dog is learning like crazy. I'm a bit concerned that 1) I'm not going to know enough to maintain his training, and 2) his loyalty will always be divided.

I'd really appreciate anyone's thoughts on this. I don't have anyone else to ask, and my family already thinks I'm a little nutty for the time I've spent thinking about it!

One last comment, because of my pretty hectic schedule (I have three jobs) and the time it takes me to drive so far to train, and the fact that it gets dark early, I'm only able to spend about two hours a week with my dog (I know, that's awful, isn't it?). The trainer said yesterday that he'd really hoped I'd be able to come two or three times a week to train. I felt guilty and careless to have to tell him that there's just no feasible way I can do that. I know what he recommends is the best scenario, but I literally cannot do that. How bad is that?
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-04-2009, 07:48 AM
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Re: transfer of loyalty?

Is your schedule going to slow down when you bring your pup home? I worry less about your question with transfer of loyalty than about how much time you will be able to spend when he comes home. I hope you will be able to slow down a little when you get him home, and I think from what you said that may be why you are not bringing him home yet.

As to your question, he should transfer he loyalty without any problems if..

1. He will need lots of your time to bond and train him.
2. Practice NILF with him from the beginning, gsd's have to have a leader, either you are it or he will take the job. If he gets the idea that he has to take on the roll you will have a problem.

My older girl Lexi was one year old when I got her. She had been fostered since she was found on the streets when she was about 5 months old. Within a day she was a velcro dog for me at home and within a week she was starting her SAR training. She was fostered by females so she was prime to bond with another strong female very quickly.

I hope this helps a little, please don't take the schedule question as being critical, I just had to ask.

Sharon, Mom to
SAR GSD's
Lexi CGC (Cert. area search)
Neko CGC (Cert. HRD)
Justice CGC (trailing),
BOLO, Bloodhound CGC(trailing)
Titan, Shilo Shepherd (beginning area search)
Kibby(Rodie mix)
Lil Bear and Izzy and Louie(Pom's)
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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-04-2009, 08:44 AM Thread Starter
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Re: transfer of loyalty?

Thanks, Sharon, I think my schedule is more a question right now because it's just impossible for me to manage to work full time and drive over an hour several times a week for training. I don't think it'll be a problem (and I welcome any comments on this) to spend time with him when he's home. Of course I work full time, but I plan to do extended daily walks and play/train in the evenings. Does that sound like enough time to you?

When I worry about the time issue I think, "I know other people with good dogs and good relationships with dogs don't spend their whole days with their dogs--they have to work sometime!" So I feel like it can be done, I'm just trying to visualize it.

Sometimes I have such specific questions that I ask about getting him acclimated to my home that the trainer looks at me like I'm insane. It's just that everything is new to me and I want to do things right in order to prevent bad habits or miscommunication (which would be my fault, of course, for not communicating clearly).

I've planned for so long for a dog, and, crazy as it sounds, I'm actually kind of scared I'm going to blow it. This is something I absolutely must get over or else I'm going to create problems. The thing is that I honestly don't know how to "get over it!"
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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-04-2009, 09:44 AM
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Re: transfer of loyalty?

make the time and go visit your puppy more often. you can visit your dog whether it's day time or night time. you can visit your puppy late at night or early morning. if you don't train your puppy everytime you visit that's ok because he'll still get to know you. i wouldn't worry about your dog bonding with the trainer. he's going to bond with you after you bring him home.

we brought our boy home at 9 weeks old. before we brought our boy home we asked our neighbors on both sides could they help with the puppy. they were glad to help out. our one neighbor would come in sometimes 3 or 4 times a day to take care of our puppy. she trained him to do several things. our dog is 19 months old now. our neighbor still takes care of him when we're out. when my dog hears the neighbors come home he'll go to the door because he wants to see them. sometimes i let him out an he over and says hello. after the neighbors play with him i'll call him or my neighbors says "go home" and he comes running. for as much time as my neighbor has spent with and spends with our dog i know he's mine and i know i'm his.

when you bring your dog home i think he's going to know he's yours and he's going know your his. i also think from the time you bring your dog home he's going to know his new home. when you start feeding him, training him, playing with him the bond is going to start. i do think you should visit your dog more often. make the time. i also think if you don't visit your dog more often he's still going to bond with you just fine.

so with 3 jobs do you have time for a dog? it sounds like you need a sitter or someone to come in and help you take care of your dog.
good luck and visit your dog more often. it might be time consuming but the end reward is priceless for you and your dog.

good luck!!!!
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-04-2009, 09:53 AM
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Re: transfer of loyalty?

Lucy, in all honesty, I don't think your schedule is conducive at all to any dog (only able to work with the dog two hours a week). Will you have time to MAINTAIN the training? What about potty breaks? What about playtime, exercising, hang-out time, etc? It sounds like you'll have a young-ish pup, so what about socialization? There is a LOT more to owning a dog than just going to training, make sure you can swing it. I work full time and am typically out of the house between 645a-5p including drive time but not including any stop at the grocery store if needed, but DF is home until 1145a so our schedule works for having someone around most of the day and having ample potty breaks. I have time in the evening for exercise time, training time, and class time plus we're both home on the weekends, but you know it STILL doesn't feel like enough. Renji has been an angel since I've been home from work the past two weeks but he's more of a pest when we're on our work schedule because he's alone a few hours five days a week. So please REALLY think about your schedule, don't try to sugarcoat it; the only one who will suffer most will be your dog.

Renji - 6 y/o M GSD x chow rescue


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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-04-2009, 09:54 AM Thread Starter
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Re: transfer of loyalty?

Thanks, DoggieDad. I appreciate your advice. I have a full-time teaching job, and then two evenings of the week I teach somewhere else. So it's not like every minute of my life is filled with work. I've been waiting so long for a dog that I just figured it was now or never.

Short of taking time off work, I just don't see where I can fit another 2 hours (taking into account travel time) into my days during the week to visit. I think all I can do is just devote bunches and bunches of time once he comes home (I'm plannning to bring him home at the start of my spring break week so I can be on-hand for all that early adjustment stuff).

I'm definitely not above soliciting the help/services of a trusted caretaker to come over and help during the days sometimes. I think I'll need to interview people to make sure I trust them enough, though! I've already interviewed a few vets to find the right one for us.

So much to learn...thanks again for taking a moment to write.
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-04-2009, 10:01 AM Thread Starter
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Re: transfer of loyalty?

Diana, thanks for the input. I don't know if I explained myself clearly (or maybe I did and you're still thinking I don't have enough time, in which case please feel free to express that opinion). Right now my pup is with the trainer from whom I bought him. He's almost 3 years old. Right now he's so far away from me that I can't seem to get time to train more often than two hours.

Once he comes home with me in March, though, I'll be with him much, much more and spending more time training, etc....

I appreciate your candor and I agree that I do not want my dog to suffer any shortcoming on my part.
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-04-2009, 10:04 AM
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Re: transfer of loyalty?

i see you have posted a 1,000 times. do you have a dog now? is this your first puppy? you seem nervous. i have two children. when my wife was pregnant and i knew we were going to have a baby, i had the same feeling when we were going to bring a puppy home. don't tell my children this." it takes a whole forum to raise a puppy". don't worry you've got lots of help here. what's your puppy's name?
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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-04-2009, 10:53 AM
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Re: transfer of loyalty?

1. Teaching usually has spring break, TG break, winter/xmas break. Teachers days usually start early but end early too.

2. You have two nights obligated.

3. There are two weekend days.

I know there's prep time and when the kids are out, the teachers aren't necessarily out. I also understand that you could be teaching something other than the standard schedule. I would find more time to visit the pup now but if you can't do that, I assume that when the drive time diminishes (you will still want to take him places) that you will be working with your pup more, that you will find you have more time for him.

Many of us have gotten puppies under less than ideal situations. The pup will probably always remember the trainer and be happy to see him/her. That doesn't mean he won't adopt to your home and be happy there.
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-04-2009, 11:06 AM
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Re: transfer of loyalty?

Quote:
Quote:Once he comes home with me in March, though, I'll be with him much, much more and spending more time training, etc...
That's better than my initial impression! Plus, he's three years old, I thought this was a young pup. He's an adult now so you won't have to worry about a ton of socialization. When you bring him home, spend as much time as possible with him bonding. Take a week off work if you can. Do FUN things, don't necessarily go to training, just let him get used to you and living with you, go to parks, play fetch, go on hikes, take him for rides in the car, etc. Hand feed him in exchange for light obedience. That will help get bonding going. Don't forget to leave him alone a few hours on most days so he doesn't see you 24/7 and get a shocker when you go back to work. After that, go to training classes, things should be fine. He'll be happy to see your trainer but he'll soon bond with you. Your trainer should also know what to do to make sure he focuses on you.

Your schedule sounds better than I thought and I think you can make it work. Make sure he gets plenty of physical exercise but also TONS of mental exercise and training outside of classes. Training sessions can be short and sweet - five minutes in the morning, five minutes when you get home, five minutes at night, before feeding time, etc. Brainwork is the best way to assure a happy dog.

Renji - 6 y/o M GSD x chow rescue


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