Where to even start with my son's adult WGSD? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 22 (permalink) Old 09-10-2011, 11:54 PM Thread Starter
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Where to even start with my son's adult WGSD?

This will be a long post; sorry, just want to be thorough! Also hope it's in correct section, I always worry about that.

My son moved home around 6-8 weeks ago. He is likely here to stay at least through the winter.

He brought his adult three year old WGSD intact female (Lexus). She lived here as an adolescent as well, so she and I are not strangers. She and I spent a lot of time together when she was here before over a six? month or longer period. There were many issues with her and my Shiba Inu getting along -- it was the Shiba that was the problem, not Lexus.

But anyway, now he and she are back. This time, though, we've fixed up the basement and my son and she live there. The only time she and the Shiba have contact is outside (never unsupervised) and for whatever reason, there is no conflict there -- only in the main area of the house. The conflict is always the Shiba. She instigates, bates and is in general not nice. Lexus would deal with it for a long time, but eventually, Lexus would pin her down by her neck and it scared me. There was never blood, never a puncture wound, never any evidence of an injury. So knowing that history when my son came back with her as an adult, I just decided we're not going to allow them upstairs together. Lexus is a big girl now and I can't risk it, even if it is the Shiba's fault. Another story, though, really.

Every day after work and many hours over the weekend, I am outside with Lexus and my pup Bailey. They're both awesome offleash - actually neither is ever on-leash in the yard. I play frisbee with Lexus for a good long time every night, Bailey chases, I throw Bailey's ball - they both get great aerobic exercise.

So the more time I spend with Lexus, the more I see she has a great amount of potential. She is a very sweet girl. She's never had any formal training. She knows the basics; sit, shake, down, stay... and performs them well. She has excellent recall. She comes back immediately when called. I've purposefully put my hand close to her food when eating, no reaction. I've given her plenty of bones and also get close to her, no reaction.

She DOES react when a strange car pulls up the drive. (Barking, ears up at alert, even charging the car) She DOES react to new people. (Barking, ears up on alert, approaching them within about 6 feet, then called off, its okay.) Once called off, she does very well. My son has told me she doesn't like children, though I'm not sure what experiences he's had with her to say that. I've only personally seen her around one child and it was about an eight year old girl. The little girl wasn't doing anything to attract attention but Lexus was acting very strange and sniffing, very tense... hard to explain, but it was tense, so I put Lexus inside.

I've taken her to the vet over the years and she is hard to control. She is all over the place. She didn't bite, growl, etc... but not easy to control.

Again, this girl has had zero training other than being taught basic commands by my son.

She is the vision of awesomeness in our yard, at our home. She has never shown aggressiveness of any kind other than when she'd had enough with the instigating Shiba. She lives here with her son (my pup, Bailey) and she occasionally reprimands him, but mostly she lets him steal her frisbee.

I have never taken her into public settings. I don't know what she'd be like. I'm not confident to do that at this point; she's big and powerful. My son tells me she's good with other dogs for the most part. I don't know what that really means. So I'm going pretty blind here.

I don't know where to start here. I've decided my winter is going to be about my dogs - all of them - but I know where I need to start and go with the other three. I don't know where to start with her. I don't have full confidence in controlling her outside of our home. She loves me and we're bonded in a certain way - but not like my son is bonded to her. She and I spend the time, yes, but she won't kiss me like she will him... although she did allow me to help and be there with the birth of her pups.

I really love this girl very deeply and I see such incredible potential with her - I don't want to see it wasted.

Where would you start?

Thank you so much if you made it thru all of that!!!!!!!!!
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post #2 of 22 (permalink) Old 09-11-2011, 12:27 AM
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Have you ever tried a prong collar? I use one on Sasha, but it's not as needed as when I had my golden. He was a guy who was WAY out of standard for the breed. He was quite tall, and when he was in the best shape of his life he was over 100lbs. So when I decided to show him in 4-H I think I was about...13? Somewhere around there, and he was probably about 6, so he was full grown, very strong, and had very little training. The prong collar was the only thing that kept him from dragging me if there was something ( a bunny for instance) that he was very interested in. He also took the corrections well that way. I've started using one more on Sasha, as there are other dogs in the apartment complex that she feels she just HAS to go see whenever we go out, and I'm afraid she'll snap the plastic buckle on her normal collar from her pulling.

So I would say if you feel you might have trouble controlling her, I'd get her one. I'd also try and figure out what her favorite thing is (treat, toy, etc.) and incorporate that into the training so it's not all just corrections and what not. Sasha really likes it when I use chicken in our training. I cook it in the oven (so it doesn't get my hands all bloody) and sometimes I put just a tiny bit of butter on it. She LOVES it.

~Sasha~{GSD}~ 3ish~Gotcha day January, 29, 2011
~Monte~{Golden Retriever}~ (RIP)~ 1997-2009

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post #3 of 22 (permalink) Old 09-11-2011, 12:34 AM
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Why not start with a basic obedience class? The sky's the limit from there, but the structure, discipline, and socialization from a well-run class is incredibly valuable.


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post #4 of 22 (permalink) Old 09-11-2011, 12:38 AM
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I'm no expert, and looking forward to reading this thread, as I just took on a dog with no experience outside a kennel...
I am trying to take him places without too much "commotion", to start to socialize him in a public setting. He is good at obedience class, just dogs and people. Public settings are different, lots of people, traffic, kids in parks, scare him. Walking by a soccer game, he wanted to get the ball, and didn't understand why he couldn't, LOL!! Everyday life is really scary when you've never seen it...but he's comin along nicely....
I'm pretty good at training myself, but sounds like an "adult dog with no experience thread". I love to learn

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post #5 of 22 (permalink) Old 09-11-2011, 12:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NewbieShepherdGirl View Post
Have you ever tried a prong collar? I use one on Sasha, but it's not as needed as when I had my golden. He was a guy who was WAY out of standard for the breed. He was quite tall, and when he was in the best shape of his life he was over 100lbs. So when I decided to show him in 4-H I think I was about...13? Somewhere around there, and he was probably about 6, so he was full grown, very strong, and had very little training. The prong collar was the only thing that kept him from dragging me if there was something ( a bunny for instance) that he was very interested in. He also took the corrections well that way. I've started using one more on Sasha, as there are other dogs in the apartment complex that she feels she just HAS to go see whenever we go out, and I'm afraid she'll snap the plastic buckle on her normal collar from her pulling.

So I would say if you feel you might have trouble controlling her, I'd get her one. I'd also try and figure out what her favorite thing is (treat, toy, etc.) and incorporate that into the training so it's not all just corrections and what not. Sasha really likes it when I use chicken in our training. I cook it in the oven (so it doesn't get my hands all bloody) and sometimes I put just a tiny bit of butter on it. She LOVES it.
I use a prong on Axel, but wouldn't think of it with Smoke. He is so skittish, you don't want a skittish dog to spook on a prong. (see my picture album, I got him a super thick collar)They are completely freaked out, then get a harsh correction around the neck...they have no idea why (or think whatever spooked them has hurt them)...not a good thing. If said dog is just confident and pulling, then yes..a prong is the greatest thing ever
TOTALLY depends on the dog.

I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And I will not let what I cannot do interfere with what I can do.
- Edward Everett Hale
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post #6 of 22 (permalink) Old 09-11-2011, 12:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dazedtrucker View Post
I use a prong on Axel, but wouldn't think of it with Smoke. He is so skittish, you don't want a skittish dog to spook on a prong. (see my picture album, I got him a super thick collar)They are completely freaked out, then get a harsh correction around the neck...they have no idea why (or think whatever spooked them has hurt them)...not a good thing. If said dog is just confident and pulling, then yes..a prong is the greatest thing ever
TOTALLY depends on the dog.
I agree, though one doesn't have to necessarily use the prong for a "harsh" correction. I find usually just a quick, light, collar pop in conjunction with leave it is sufficient. That or the pressure itself from the pulling. Sasha doesn't like the pressure and will generally self correct, though I still use the word. They work better on some dogs than others, but I don't have any experience with anything that is more...gentle? Such as a halti.

~Sasha~{GSD}~ 3ish~Gotcha day January, 29, 2011
~Monte~{Golden Retriever}~ (RIP)~ 1997-2009

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post #7 of 22 (permalink) Old 09-11-2011, 12:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dazedtrucker View Post
I use a prong on Axel, but wouldn't think of it with Smoke. He is so skittish, you don't want a skittish dog to spook on a prong. (see my picture album, I got him a super thick collar)They are completely freaked out, then get a harsh correction around the neck...they have no idea why (or think whatever spooked them has hurt them)...not a good thing. If said dog is just confident and pulling, then yes..a prong is the greatest thing ever
TOTALLY depends on the dog.

I also don't see why you couldn't try one on Smoke, if you thought one would be helpful. Maybe you aren't as forceful with your corrections with him; I really don't think prong collars cause pain anyway. I think they apply pressure, but if fitted correctly I don't think they're supposed to cause any pain.

~Sasha~{GSD}~ 3ish~Gotcha day January, 29, 2011
~Monte~{Golden Retriever}~ (RIP)~ 1997-2009

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post #8 of 22 (permalink) Old 09-11-2011, 01:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NewbieShepherdGirl View Post
I also don't see why you couldn't try one on Smoke, if you thought one would be helpful. Maybe you aren't as forceful with your corrections with him; I really don't think prong collars cause pain anyway. I think they apply pressure, but if fitted correctly I don't think they're supposed to cause any pain.
I have had MANY dogs, and just got a feel for it..you know? Smoke spooks, a prong is NOT necessary. (at this point anyway). He does not need correcting at this point, as he has no idea what correct behavior is. He is eager to please, just gets frightened. Prongs don't cause pain unless you hit them HARD, a 90# dog, who is scared will hit the end of his leash before you can communicate with him, then he will get a harsh pinching. That only does harm. I had a lab mix rescue/foster that was scared of everything, but once I got the basic idea across to him, a prong TOTALLY brought him around, even though he was fearful. He would go into a panic everytime we met another dog on a walk, the prong was the only tool that brought him back to me.. You just have to know your dog...it's not simple at all...
Just love your dogs, and do your best to read them

I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And I will not let what I cannot do interfere with what I can do.
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post #9 of 22 (permalink) Old 09-11-2011, 01:37 AM
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I understand what you're saying. Somethings work better for some dogs than with others. I guess if I thought Sasha would spook that bad (which she has spooked pretty bad before. She actually broke a choke collar trying to get away from fireworks. It didn't break because it tightened too much, as soon as I heard the firework I grabbed the collar so it couldn't chock her out, and somehow she broke it, and that was the end of Sasha wearing a prong collar because that spooked me too bad, whereas my golden wore a choke collar almost exclusively and we never had a single problem. He wore it because it seemed to be easier on his fur.) I would go ahead and get one of those collars that buckle more like a belt buckle would....hmm...actually I have to get her a new collar, and since those little plastic buckles make me so nervous I may just have to look at one....*goes to online shop for doggy stuff*

~Sasha~{GSD}~ 3ish~Gotcha day January, 29, 2011
~Monte~{Golden Retriever}~ (RIP)~ 1997-2009

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post #10 of 22 (permalink) Old 09-11-2011, 01:52 AM Thread Starter
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I tried the multi quote thing and yeah, didn't work so great....

Quote:
Originally Posted by NewbieShepherdGirl View Post
Have you ever tried a prong collar? So I would say if you feel you might have trouble controlling her, I'd get her one.
No, never used a prong on any dog. No experience. Not opposed to it, though. Lexus is a confident girl, I don't think it would be a bad, scary thing for her. I need to do some reading about how to properly fit and use, but I think this is a good suggestion!

Emoore, yes basic obedience would be a good start of course. I'd just hate to come galavanting in there with no idea of how dog reactive/human reactive she might be. There have been maybe 20 (strange) humans that have come here and maybe 5 friends' dogs who have visited, all without issue... but that's here, on her territory after an initial warning.

Sounds like I maybe need to get a prong collar, learn to use it properly, expose her to various situations, gauge the response... ? Come back here and ask advice , sign her up for the appropriate class based on the afforementioned.. ??????

All advice welcome!!!
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