Training Drama - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 21 (permalink) Old 10-26-2011, 12:29 AM Thread Starter
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Training Drama

I adopted a 2 year old black male shepherd from a rescue about a month ago. I am beginning training and its a little tough. I am teaching him the "down" command, and when i give the command and put a treat in my hand, he simply paws it. So after pawing it for a sec, I tug the collar downward just a bit and he literally yelps. In fact, sometimes when i just hold the collar to lead him outside to potty, he yelps as well. I was trying to get him into down position by moving his front feet toward me in a calm easy movement and he yelped again.

I'm not quite sure how to react to this yelping. I havent had time to develop a bad habit reaction to this yelping, so i want some advice before that happens. I want to respond properly to ensure its handled before getting to be a bad behavior.


Extra info:
As far as sitting, he sits as soon as the command is given. He walks beside me, and enters the house behind me always, as i have tried to assert myself as alpha. He is on a raw diet, getting a quarter chicken in the morning with pumpkin to ease digestion as it is new for him. Then he gets a quarter lb of ground turkey at night with pumpkin and a knuckle or neck bone during the day to keep him busy. He is calm while walking through crowds and in stores. He comes to me for affection pretty often, and i make him sit before hes given petting or scratching. He does not jump on people, bark, or get aggressive.

If anyone can give me some guidance as far as the yelping and how to help him adjust to new training, please let me know.

GSD Britney, Retired Clermont Police Dept 2008
GSD Aleksander (Sascha) 2 years old

"Many men have forgotten this, but you must not forget it. You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed."
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post #2 of 21 (permalink) Old 10-26-2011, 12:33 AM
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Give the down command and hold the treat UNDERNEATH him in the sit position - put it at the bottom of his chest. Dogs will generally naturally fall looking at it, mark the position.

I know that's not your question, but it may help

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post #3 of 21 (permalink) Old 10-26-2011, 12:37 AM
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Have you thought about a class? They're not just for puppies. Clicker training would probably be GREAT for him, as long as the instructors know what they're doing. They can really be a huge help. In my area, a 4-5 week class, 1-1.5 hours long is about $65 and the trainers are GREAT, so it's not really that expensive for what you get out of it.
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post #4 of 21 (permalink) Old 10-26-2011, 12:41 AM Thread Starter
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I'm actually starting a dog training apprenticeship soon, because its something i really enjoy. As soon as i start the apprenticeship, all classes are free to any of my own dogs. I will probably have him attend at least twice a week at that point. Usually i'm pretty good with the training thing, but the yelping has me confused as to how to respond.

But I definitely agree classes are a major help. I might seek extra advice from my trainer later this week, just figured I'd ask the GSD experts here on the forum.

GSD Britney, Retired Clermont Police Dept 2008
GSD Aleksander (Sascha) 2 years old

"Many men have forgotten this, but you must not forget it. You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed."
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post #5 of 21 (permalink) Old 10-26-2011, 12:43 AM
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Maybe he had a bad experience with a collar in the past. Does the rescue know anything about him?
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post #6 of 21 (permalink) Old 10-26-2011, 12:47 AM
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OP, have you had him checked by the vet for health? if he's yelping when you tug his collar, he may have a neck injury or his back is out of alignment. Also some dogs are sensitive to what he percieves as a correction.

For teaching him down, instead of tugging his collar down, try luring him down with a treat. Start with some treats. You hold one treat in your hand so he knows its there and can smell it, but i cant get it until you release it. To lure him down, make sure he has been allowed to smell the treat. Then you lure him down to the floor with your treated hand BETWEEN HIS FRONT LEGS!!! Do not treat him until he is actually in a down. Then you mark the behavior, either with a clicker and/or 'yes!" and treat. Do this a few times a day for a couple days. When he is reliably going into a down without trying to figure out what you want from him to get the treat, then you can begin to incorporate the 'down' command in as you lure him down. As you Lure him down, you say 'down' as his elbows touch the floor. Again mark the behavior and treat. Repeat this a few times a day for short training periods until you can begin to give him the down command without having to lure him down. You would lure him using an 'L' shape.

If he doesnt understand what you're asking of him when you say 'down', you will have to take a step back and continue to lure him down a few times as you say the 'down' command. You want to set him up for success. He should, on average, be able to obey the command 9 out of 10 times when you lure him down before you move on to standing and telling him down. I'll see if I can find the video that can best describe the process. But i would also suggest that you stop the collar tug that causes the yelp and have him checked to see if his back is out of alignment. you'd be surprised.

Shasta GSD 5/5/10 CGC, ITD, TC
"Dax" Thor z vom Weberhaus BCAT CAX2 CGCA ETD HCT NCO-1 PKD-T RATI RATN RA TC TKA 3/18/2013
"Hades" Guilty vom Blutfeuer 10/26/2018
Zena GSD 6/1/03-2/16/2016
Riley GSD/BC 1/10/05-2/1/2013

Last edited by KZoppa; 10-26-2011 at 12:52 AM.
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post #7 of 21 (permalink) Old 10-26-2011, 12:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Whit223 View Post
I'm actually starting a dog training apprenticeship soon, because its something i really enjoy. As soon as i start the apprenticeship, all classes are free to any of my own dogs. I will probably have him attend at least twice a week at that point. Usually i'm pretty good with the training thing, but the yelping has me confused as to how to respond.

But I definitely agree classes are a major help. I might seek extra advice from my trainer later this week, just figured I'd ask the GSD experts here on the forum.

good luck. I'm almost finished with my obedience training course. I begin my hands on part of the class this weekend and should graduate early next year.

Shasta GSD 5/5/10 CGC, ITD, TC
"Dax" Thor z vom Weberhaus BCAT CAX2 CGCA ETD HCT NCO-1 PKD-T RATI RATN RA TC TKA 3/18/2013
"Hades" Guilty vom Blutfeuer 10/26/2018
Zena GSD 6/1/03-2/16/2016
Riley GSD/BC 1/10/05-2/1/2013
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post #8 of 21 (permalink) Old 10-26-2011, 12:49 AM
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Check for a former injury. My friend who does Schipperke rescue got an older dog in who had been hit on the neck and back with something. He was not able to bend at the neck and xrays showed several crushed verterbrea.
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post #9 of 21 (permalink) Old 10-26-2011, 12:52 AM
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You can even do what she does and mark the behavior naturally and go from there.



this one describes pretty easily what i described.


Shasta GSD 5/5/10 CGC, ITD, TC
"Dax" Thor z vom Weberhaus BCAT CAX2 CGCA ETD HCT NCO-1 PKD-T RATI RATN RA TC TKA 3/18/2013
"Hades" Guilty vom Blutfeuer 10/26/2018
Zena GSD 6/1/03-2/16/2016
Riley GSD/BC 1/10/05-2/1/2013

Last edited by KZoppa; 10-26-2011 at 12:55 AM.
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post #10 of 21 (permalink) Old 10-26-2011, 12:56 AM Thread Starter
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I had him at a vet recently who said hes in fantastic physical condition. When he's on his leash, he gets tugged around sometimes because he'll quickly head towards a squirrel and doesnt even act like its a big deal. No yelps, no flinching, no crying. I think he might be yelping as a sensitivity to correction. I've seen a GSD on Dog Whisperer who yelped at any leash correction or when Cesar poked their haunches to get their attention even. He's due for checkups and re-vaccs soon, so i'll have them inspect his back and neck specifically to make sure a second time.

GSD Britney, Retired Clermont Police Dept 2008
GSD Aleksander (Sascha) 2 years old

"Many men have forgotten this, but you must not forget it. You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed."
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