Defiance (help!) - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 67 (permalink) Old 03-19-2011, 02:50 PM Thread Starter
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Defiance (help!)

My 3.5 year-old male german shepherd (whom I've had for almost a year, he's a rescue dog), usually listens to my commands perfectly, on a dime. However, for the past couple of Saturdays (when I'm home, and get to spend more time with him), he's blatantly refused my "come" command when out in the field (I live on a 5 acre ranch). He's doing this especially when he's inside his fenced 1 acre pen, which I rarely ever go into. He's refusing to come out of the pen when I command "come." He actually turns around, and goes to lay down. I've been going to get him with choker collar and leash, and have been being quite strict with him and "coming" is not an option, whether he's in his pen or anywhere else on the property. However, he's not following through.

I've noticed too that when I tell him "in your pen," which is a command he's mastered and basically tells him to run to his pen, lately, he's been walking slowly, stopping, and looking back to see if I really "mean" what I say. When I start walking toward him (saying again, "in your pen") then he moves.

I can't tell you how much this is infuriating me. The fact that he's always checking back to see if I'm serious about my "in your pen" command (where he never used to do that, he used to go right in), tells me he's challenging me. And when he doesn't come out of his pen on command, tells me again he's challenging me. It could be that he's coming to think "his" pen is really his, and that I have no power there. He actually lies down, and nothing I tell him has any effect.

Any advice? Oh, and another thing, when I try to reinforce the "come" command from his pen, or the "in your pen" command, by putting the choker on him, he always pleads innocent and yelps and whines, to the point where my neighbors probably think I'm beating him. This infuriates me even more, because he deserves to be grabbed by the scruff of his neck so I can reinforce my command, but the drama he puts on is a bit much. If he disobeyed like this in the house, I wouldn't care how much of a big deal he makes, but outside, it's hard to impose the discipline (I'm talking only insisting he follow on the collar, he's sometimes even resisting that) when he whines and yelps like a big baby.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Again, inside the house, and surrounding proximity, he's listening great, and always has. If I called him from the bedroom to the office, he's come on a dime. But once he's out in the field or in his pen, he's testing my patience big time.

Other than this, he's a great dog behavior-wise.

Thanks,
Dan.
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post #2 of 67 (permalink) Old 03-19-2011, 02:58 PM
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He's not challenging you.

He doesn't want to go in his pen because it's boring in there by himself and he'd rather you be paying attention to him. Try playing with him in there onces in a while so it is a fun place to be.

What do you usually do with him when you call him to "come" out of the pen? Does it mean the fun is over? Calling your dog to "come" should always mean something good (lots of treats/praise or a quick game to reward them). Right now, all he knows is that coming to you when in his pen means you get scary.

I would never reinforce a come command with negative reinforcement, it's sure fire way to make sure they will refuse it when they have the option.
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post #3 of 67 (permalink) Old 03-19-2011, 03:05 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you for your advice, but I disagree with it. If I'm out walking with him and need him to come immediately (suppose a car is coming, or a train), he has to know to come regardless of whether I have treats or whatever. I'm all for positive reinforcement, and I give him plenty of treats, but he has to obey even when it doesn't like it or want to. He also needs to know there's a consequence to not obeying important commands, and not just a reward if he does obey them.
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post #4 of 67 (permalink) Old 03-19-2011, 03:06 PM
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I agree with Jamie. you need to make his pen a fun pace to be in, ie playing with him near and in it, putting toys in there with him, things like that.

if you punish him when he comes to you you're making him NOT want to come with you. No matter how mad I am at my dog for not coming when I tell him too, when he comes I act all happy, praising, treating and/or playing tug. I found out the hard way,or rather my mom did, when she;d get mad at him for not coming and I had to re-teach him come because he decided, since he was getting punished for coming (as he saw it), that he didn't want to listen anymore. It took a little bit for him to realize that coming when told to means good things.

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Last edited by DCluver33; 03-19-2011 at 03:09 PM.
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post #5 of 67 (permalink) Old 03-19-2011, 03:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kaiserdog View Post
Thank you for your advice, but I disagree with it. If I'm out walking with him and need him to come immediately (suppose a car is coming, or a train), he has to know to come regardless of whether I have treats or whatever. I'm all for positive reinforcement, and I give him plenty of treats, but he has to obey even when it doesn't like it or want to. He also needs to know there's a consequence to not obeying important commands, and not just a reward if he does obey them.
you don't always have to give treats, I don't always have treats on me so I use praise, petting happy voice things like that. I trained my dog to work for me regardless of treats or not, because I made it fun with praise instead of treats.

~Steph~

Dodger 5 yr old GSD (6/23/08)
Molly 14 yr old Border Collie/Aussie Mix (7/4/98)

RIP my Angel:
Chopper 17 yr old Border Collie (10/1/94-12/30/10)
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post #6 of 67 (permalink) Old 03-19-2011, 03:09 PM
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Positive reinforcement doesn't equal just treats. Like I said, praise him every time he comes to you - you should always have that on you. It's about making YOU the best thing ever to the dog. I prefer my dog to come to me because I am nice to him not because he is too afraid not to.

You can continue to punish him for not coming but does that seem to be working? Or is he refusing to listen more?

I am not against appropriate corrections for not listening to commands. But if your dog is carrying on the way you say he is, then your corrections aren't fair. And since not listening in your fenced in yard isn't a life or death situation, it is the perfect opportunity to practice only being positive since he isn't going to get hurt and you will be building on the idea that coming to you always means something good.

Last edited by gsdraven; 03-19-2011 at 03:16 PM. Reason: more thoughts
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post #7 of 67 (permalink) Old 03-19-2011, 03:17 PM Thread Starter
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99% of the time he comes to me because he wants to see me. 1% of the time I need him to come when I need him to, and when he may not want to. That's up to him to handle, not me to tempt him with treats and sunshine. What he's doing lately is testing the waters to see if he actually HAD to do what I tell him to do. He's listened all along, and if I tell him to go to his pen, I can't attach a bouquet of flowers with that each time. He has to listen even when he doesn't want to. And when he just looks at me without any reaction to a clear command, I'm not about to pull out a treat to appease him. The dog is treated like royalty, which may be the problem in the first place, that he's forgotten his place in the pack at times.
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post #8 of 67 (permalink) Old 03-19-2011, 03:22 PM
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Originally Posted by kaiserdog View Post
99% of the time he comes to me because he wants to see me. 1% of the time I need him to come when I need him to, and when he may not want to. That's up to him to handle, not me to tempt him with treats and sunshine. What he's doing lately is testing the waters to see if he actually HAD to do what I tell him to do. He's listened all along, and if I tell him to go to his pen, I can't attach a bouquet of flowers with that each time. He has to listen even when he doesn't want to. And when he just looks at me without any reaction to a clear command, I'm not about to pull out a treat to appease him. The dog is treated like royalty, which may be the problem in the first place, that he's forgotten his place in the pack at times.
but the point is is that you don't need treats at all times, praise works just as well if not better than treats, because you always have it with you. You don't even have to touch him (most of the time) just tell him good boy in a happy voice.

~Steph~

Dodger 5 yr old GSD (6/23/08)
Molly 14 yr old Border Collie/Aussie Mix (7/4/98)

RIP my Angel:
Chopper 17 yr old Border Collie (10/1/94-12/30/10)
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post #9 of 67 (permalink) Old 03-19-2011, 03:27 PM
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So, the consequences recently associated with your command to come are you attaching a choke collar and leash when you are "infuriated" at him, and your actions cause him to whine and yelp to the point that the far away neighbors can hear him? No wonder he doesn't want to respond with a positive recall. If/when he does come to you, you leash him, choke him, make him whine and yelp, and then put him in his pen all alone, what possible reason does he have for WANTING to come to you? He's not stupid, you know.
You need to change his concept of what the consquence of coming to you is. Coming to you should always mean "jackpot"! He should fully believe that coming to you when you call is the absolute best,happiest, most exciting place for him to be; far better than across the field, far better than chasing the squirrel, far better than anything other "thing" in his mind. What you are doing right now is convincing him that coming to you means: 1. You will be angry with him when he gets there. 2. You will attach a leash and a choke collar and make him whine and yelp. 3. You will ultimately lock him away from you in solitude, when what he wants more than anything else is spend happy time with you.
You are not encouraging your dog, you are DISCOURAGING him.

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post #10 of 67 (permalink) Old 03-19-2011, 03:30 PM Thread Starter
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I praise him continuously when he does good. I purchase steak bones, and feed him steak on Friday nights. I let the dog sleep on his own couch. I feed him gourmet dishes every night. I pamper him. And when he doesn't obey my command, it's HIM challenging me, not me all of a sudden doing something wrong. What I need to know is how to correct his territorial behavior around certain parts of the property, and remind him that I'm alpha, and he's a lowly second member of the pack. Maybe instead of treating him like a king, I should start treating him like a dog, that might work.
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