Adopted a two year old GSD - help please! - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-05-2011, 09:49 AM Thread Starter
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Question Adopted a two year old GSD - help please!

Hello all! This is my first post, but I've been browsing all morning.

About 4-5 months ago, my husband and I adopted a two year old GSD from one of his coworkers that was no longer able to keep him. (We were the last stop before they took him to a shelter)When Max first came to our house, he had not yet been neutered and they told me he didn't have a 'regular vet.' So, the first thing I did was neuter him and get a full work up.

We have a three year old daughter and an 11 year old black lab/dalmation mix. The two dogs do NOT get along since Max always wants to play and the other dog is just old and grumpy.

I just recently started taking him on VERY regular walks/runs with me. He wears a backpack with six bottles of water in it. But even after going on our two mile loop, he's not worn out. EVER. This dog has boundless energy and, quite frankly, he's kind of a **** about it. And, interestingly enough, if I take him for our run in the MORNING, he behaves far worse during the day than if I wait and take him in the evening.

He's also extremely protective of the house - which is good. But it's hard to have anyone over anymore without them getting freaked out. (I've found it works best to introduce him to someone new in the back yard and THEN come inside all together.)

So here are my questions:
-Will his protectiveness subside once he trusts us more? (as in, he will listen when I say someone is okay, because currently about 95% of my friends are afraid of my dog)
-What more can I do to train him and get some energy out? (He is prone to completely spazzing out when we start trying to do something, so I'm not even sure how to start)

Any advice or suggestions or information you can give me would be greatly appreciated. I'm completely dedicated to making this dog work in our life, but I just need to figure out how.

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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-05-2011, 10:02 AM
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Try mental exercise. They need to 'think' to settle down.

Simple exercises.. sit, down, come etc... reward for success. take a ball or favorite toy and hide it and have him search for it - can do this in the house too.

Also, can you play ball with him in your yard?

Have you found any obedience classes - would be good for socialization.

Glad you saved him!


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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-05-2011, 10:18 AM Thread Starter
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We can go outside and play ball, but that doesn't wear him out either unless we literally spend the ENTIRE day outside.

He can sit and stay (kind of) but when it comes to DOWN he spazzes out like it's a game and then just starts running all over.

I'd really like to do what I can on my own because I don't have a lot of money to sink into it.
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-05-2011, 10:24 AM
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I agree with zyppi...mental stimulation is really good to help calm them down. My dog is really energetic as well. If I could play all day with her...she would love it. But I do play games with her and it seems to help her settle down. I practice the NILIF (nothing in life is free). Work on your dogs commands (sit, down, stay, come, etc.). If he responds to treats, every time he does a command correctly, give him a treat. My dog has to earn everything she gets. From playing ball, to walking out the door, to eating her breakfast/dinner. And there are times when I just let her be a wild dog out in the yard and she gets to run around like a maniac. LOL Doing that, has really helped me with getting her to calm down.

I belong to a dog club so I only pay $25 for an 8 week obedience class. The dues for the club is $25 a year and any class I take during that year I only pay the $25. Is there any dog training clubs in your area?
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-05-2011, 10:27 AM
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I agree he needs mental exercise, it will wear him out much better than chasing a ball all day. My girl could play ball for 8 hours and still have energy to burn but 2 hours of real mental exercise (training and socialization) and she is wiped.

I take classes through my local High School's Adult Evening Education program, they are really cheap. Maybe you can check with the local school districts to see if any of them offer classes. Structured training classes are really about teaching the owner to work with their dog.

You can search You Tube for videos on training to teach yourself how to be a better trainer.

An idea to make him use his mind would be to hide his meals around the house and make him search for it. Also, you can incorporate training into play time. Make him sit or down and wait before you throw the ball again.
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-05-2011, 10:39 AM
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You can also try making a flirt pole this wears our Molly out every time.

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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-05-2011, 10:59 AM
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Mental exercise isn't playing ball. That's just play and physical exercise.

Mental exercise is obedience drills, teaching him to find (track) something, taking him places (for socialization) that will mentally wear him out.

I can take my girl for a 3 mile hike arouund that block and that only stretches and warms up her muscles. She's ready for an hour long session of frisbee! But take her to the trainers, a trip to pet smart, into Tractor Supply to grab horse supplies and she's ready for a nap.

It also sounds like he doesn't really understand the rules and who is in charge. Remember that you are counter conditioning two years of no training. It's harder to fix something than teach something. So, if there is a behavior you don't like, teach him and opposite behavior. When he is doing the thing you don't like, tell him to do the new behavior instead.
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-05-2011, 11:05 AM
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Maybe start using NILIF. When Stosh gets obnoxious I have him do doggie push-ups, sit, down, sit, down, etc for a minute. It gets him focused and settled down a bit. I also play tug in the evening which wears him out
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-05-2011, 05:22 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks everyone for those suggestions. I will start doing some more vigorous training with him in addition to the running and see if it helps.
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-05-2011, 05:24 PM
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We just started with a flirt pole and it's great. I took an old plastic mop handle that already had a hole in the handle on one end. I tied a 5 ft rope to it with an old winter head band on the end. The flirt pole requires very quick spurts of energy by the dog and my guess is it's also mental as my dog is really concentrating and using strategies to catch the head band on the end of the rope. He is always panting heavily while playing this. Also, on a really cold or yucky day we can play this in our basement.
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