Encouragement..please! - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-02-2010, 09:37 PM Thread Starter
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Encouragement..please!

Hello, I'm new to this site and also new to GSD's and their training. We rescued a 3 year old male in July. We've had two training classes in the time since we've had him. We practice our lessons every day. I see minor improvement in him, but he still flares up when he sees another dog. I do as I'm supposed to with him when he flares up, and he 'sort of' settles down, but the next time he sees a dog, same thing, same correction. I am willing to do whatever it takes to train him properly, but I really just need encouragement. My hope is that it gets easier, that he starts to act a bit less like a spaz and can go on a walk without freaking out. Does it get better? I know, it has only been a few weeks, but man, it is really emotionally tough.
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-02-2010, 09:56 PM
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Congrats on the new dog, and kudos to you for adopting. Yes it gets better, just keep practicing. Big thing to remember is when he acts up just correct him and remain calm. If you get upset he will pick up on that and it can make matters worse.

What type of correction are you using?
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-02-2010, 10:01 PM
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He's still a puppy and they do go through feat stages where they are easy frightened. The more patient you are the quicker he'll learn other dogs are okay. I would avoid dog parks and other places with high concentrations of dogs until he settles, but otherwise find a friend with a naturally docile dog and let them play off leash. If he is acting up on leash when he sees another dog it may just be he is curious, a little scared, and trapped by a string connected to you where he can't get away or go meet the dog on his terms. Good luck and be patient!!
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-02-2010, 10:10 PM
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Its perfectly ok to feel at wits end. We've all been there before at one time or another. There are no perfect dogs and no perfect owners. If you are working with your dog, you are half way there. All it takes now is just patience from you. I never have any doubt in people who work with their dogs. The people I'm concerned with are the ones who refuse to take their dog out but complain that they are crazy. Just stick with it. You've only had him for a little while also. As your bond grows, it will get easier.

As far as a tip for walking. Timing is everything. If your dog is acting nuts around other dogs, you have to catch him at the first sign of his interest. If he pays too much attention to the dog (before any barking, pulling etc.) give him a correction and calmly keep walking. If you don't use compulsion, its the same principle, as soon as you notice anything, you pull him aside and work on his obediance popping treats like you're a pez dispenser.

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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-02-2010, 10:10 PM
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Sometimes we get all wrapped up in our OWN emotion... or embarrassment or worry cause our dog isnt acting like we wish. So my encouragement for you is: you ROCK for taking in a rescue dog and loving him enuf to care that he behaves well; you are not WHY he has some behavior challenges but you ARE the only solution he has right now... so you should NOT allow yourself to think it is your fault or how embarrassed you are... you have the potential to be his hero... think of it as an exciting mystery (not a failure) of how TOGETHER you two will find a way to help him thru his issues. You care enuf to look on the internet for ideas, you are trying classes... be proud of those first steps in investigating a solution that makes you both happy. Tell folks when you have these encounters " gosh, I hope you and your dog are ok... my handsome guy is a rescue and together we are working on improving how he behaves with other dogs.... its going to take a while but I hope the next time you see us you will see how much he is learning." Now I dont know what corrections you are using and I dont know whether you think he sees you as the leader after only a few months together... and I dont know where you live so how much variety you have in getting training help. My hope for you is that you are using a positive reward and shaping techniques or Control Unleashed techniques. If not I would recommend you research avail of that in your area. So, yes it will get better (and better sooner once you find the techniques that work best for the two of you) and it appears you care enough to stick it out, even though it gets frustrating sometimes. We all need encouragement from time to time... so keep us up to date with your progress.

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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-02-2010, 10:12 PM
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After he settles in a bit, you might want to use a prong collar. I used it with both dogs once they were 6 mos. It gives you a lot more control and immediate results. You'll have to get it fitted properly and instruction on how to use it, I'm sure your trainer can do that. From a chiropractic standpoint, it's better than a standard choke collar that pulls the dog's neck to one side. There are some training videos using a prong, you might want to check it out first. Good luck, keep up the good work!
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-02-2010, 10:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stosh View Post
After he settles in a bit, you might want to use a prong collar. I used it with both dogs once they were 6 mos. It gives you a lot more control and immediate results. You'll have to get it fitted properly and instruction on how to use it, I'm sure your trainer can do that. From a chiropractic standpoint, it's better than a standard choke collar that pulls the dog's neck to one side. There are some training videos using a prong, you might want to check it out first. Good luck, keep up the good work!
I am an advocate for using the prong as well. It's like having power steering, you will notice instant results as long as you use it properly. I use the "leave it" command whenever we get close to other dogs, if they start to get worked up all it takes is a very quick light correction and they stop focussing on the other dog and pay attention once again to me & our walk. Hope this helps!
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-02-2010, 10:58 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you all VERY MUCH for the great encouragement. I feel silly for feeling so emotional about it. He is a really great dog, just friendly to people, loves to play, but gets excited around other dogs. He isn't aggressive, doesn't growl or show his teeth, but sheesh, he really wants to get to them. I haven't tried a dog park, I don't think either of us are ready for that. My trainer told me that when he flares up at another dog, to throw a water filled baggie at his feet. It settles him ok, sometimes it takes twice. I try like anything to avoid encounters with other dogs, but I need to get him exposure at some point. I know I get anxious, and he probably picks up on that. I live in a neighborhood with sidewalks and stuff, so we have a safe place to go, but I'd love to someday take him on hikes and to the coast and stuff. So, three years old is still kind of pup like? Good to know. I want to learn as much as possible so ANY AND ALL advice is welcome. I have a prong collar for him, but I'm not educated on how to use it. The collar I use at my trainer's suggestion has a flat nylon part connected with a chain that when I pull back on it for correction, it makes a noise he doesn't like. Thank you again for all advice. You're a God send!!
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-02-2010, 11:12 PM
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The collar you are using sounds like a nylon slip collar. The collar already administers a choke to your dog so, as Stosh said, I would recommend the prong. It does less damage long term to your dog, and as a poster mentioned above, it is like power steering. Also, a few corrections from a prong is better than 100 from a slip collar. Its not too hard to use. Leerburg.com has a good article on fitting a prong on your dog. Just type in 'prong' on the sites search option. Your trainer can probably show you also.

chris and clark (whelped 07/18/2008)
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-02-2010, 11:38 PM
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first of all you've only attended 2
classes since June. i don't think
that's close to enough classes.

tell us about your training, socializing,
bonding, family time, dog time scheduling.
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