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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-28-2012, 10:11 PM Thread Starter
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Training a rescue

How will I know when my 20 month old rescued GSD will be ready to start attending a basic obedience class? She already knows "sit"... kinda... but that's it. No "down" no "come" no "heel". I trained all of my other dogs these basics on my own, but I think she's going to need a more intensive, instructor-led class. She's incredibly hard headed like every other GSD I've known, but I'm worried about her accepting me as the pack leader and beng obedient due to her age and how she was neglected. She's EXTREMELY attention starved. Also, when we go outside for what is supposed to be potty and play/exercise time, she just walks around sniffing things. No fetching, tugging, chase with the other dogs, or even pottying (that's a whole different issue). Thanks in advance.

** Proud pack leader of: **
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Angie - 2 y/o Yellow Labrador Retriever
*Working to become pack leader of 20 month old GSD Lucia!*
*Gone but NEVER forgotten**
Rambo - Great Dane/Pitbull mix
Kaiser - GSD
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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-28-2012, 10:34 PM
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How long have you had her? If she's attention starved, training should be relatively easy because she'll want to do anything she can to please you and get that attention. Is she treat motivated?

Depending on how long you've had her can determine when to start a class.

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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-28-2012, 10:36 PM
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I would recommend starting a two week shut down immediately. Once that's done you can start w/training, etc.


"I introduced her to 15 people" " he was a bit leery but seems to like my other 3 dogs"
"she went everywhere with me "
All in the first few days of the new home..... (!!!)

Two weeks later we read
“I think we will have to rehome the new dog" "the new dog barked and nipped at my kid"
"we had a dog fight"

Ok, folks, here it comes; some feel this is extreme, why? I really do not know.
But when bringing in a new dog, post finding, adoption, buying, etc, Give it time to adjust to you
your family and the dogs in the new environment.

TWO WEEKS - "shut down"
For the first two weeks, (sometimes even longer) a dog takes in the new environment, who is the top
persons, dogs, who ARE these people! By pushing a dog too fast and throwing too much at the dog we look like we are not the leaders and the dog can feel it MUST defend itself, as the leader is surely
no one he has met so far!
We coo, coddle, drag the dog to home to home to person to person, and the dog has NO idea who
we are.
As member Maryellen here said, "This is the dating period NOT the honeymoon"
When you first met your "mate”, you were on your best behavior, you were not relaxed enough to be
all of yourself, were you? Just think of the things you do physically once you get to KNOW a person,
you wouldn’t run up to a stranger and hug them and squeeze them!
Imagine, if on the first date, this new person, was all over you touching you and having their friends hug you
and pat you on the head, and jostle your shoulders, then he whisked you off to another stranger’s home and
they did the same thing. Would you think this person normal and SAFE? Wouldn’t you feel invaded and
begin to get a bit snarky yourself? Wouldn’t you think to push these people away for obviously your date
is out of their mind and they aren’t going to save you from these weirdos!!
Yet we do this to our dogs, and then get upset or worried that they aren’t relaxed and accepting of EVERYTHING
instantly!

By shutting down the dog, it gives the dog TIME to see you, meet YOU, hear and take in the new sounds
and smells of your home.
I crate the dog in a room by itself if possible.(Believe me, dogs are sensory animals, they know more than you think without seeing it).
I take it out on a leash (so I don’t have to correct it ..I don’t have that right yet!), I give it exercise time in the yard,
I do no training at all, just fun exercise and maybe throw some toys for fun, leash the dog if you don’t have a fence outside. But I DO NOT leave my yard, AT ALL.
No car rides, no other dogs, (unless crated beside them), no pet stores, no WALKS even, nothing but me, my home, my yard. (Unless of course the dog needs to go to the veterinarian)
Believe me dogs can live two weeks without walks. Walks are stressful for there is so much coming at you! And the new person you have no clue who they are yet. The dog may react to something and we start correcting it with the leash and we just installed a VERY STRESSFUL moment to the dog!
TEACH the dog by doing the shut down, that YOU are the one to look to, that you are now here for the dog! He can
trust in you and look to you as its new leader!!
In the house I have the dog out only for about 20 minutes post exercise/yard times.
And, ALWAYS on a leash.
Then PUT THE DOG AWAY. Let it absorb and think.
I do not introduce the dogs for these two weeks, they can be side by side in the crates, (not nose to nose for they can feel defensive) . Some dogs will bond instantly with the other dogs if we don’t bond FIRST with the dog, and this can lead to some other issues, as the dog will look to the other dog(s) for guidance and not YOU!

Literally in two weeks you will see a change in the dog and begin to see its honest and true personality.
Just like a house guest...they are well behaved and literally shut down themselves these first few weeks, then
post this time, they relax and the true personality begins to shine thru!


So, please, if nothing else for your new dog, give it the time to LEARN YOU as you are learning who they are!
This method works on shy dogs, confident dogs, abuse cases, chained dogs that come in, rowdy dogs, all temperaments!

(From PBF’s “luvnfstuff”, revised for spelling errors)
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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-28-2012, 11:52 PM
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What does "attention starved" mean? It could just be anxiety or over-excitement that you see. Whatever it is, to me it doesn't sound like anything you should reward by paying much attention to it.

Also I wouldn't think much about her past, treat her as you see her today. Sometimes humans hold onto the past stories about what a dog went through, and treat the dog differently which can sometimes reward and prolong any behavioral issues the dog has. If you treat her as she is now, things get easier. Reward good calm behavior, ignore overexcited behavior, correct where you need to. If she is really overexcited, you have to be patient and wait for her to calm down before giving attention. Patience can be stressful with a whiny, clingy dog but it pays off. And make this dog work for things, NILIF.

I do not think you need to wait to go to obedience class. In fact it may be beneficial to go early, so you can make sure you are training the right way (and with any strange behavior she is doing now) from the start. If the class is like any I've been to, the teacher will give you some tips, then leave the hard part to you, which is doing training during the week before the next class.

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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-29-2012, 09:34 AM Thread Starter
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After reading these comments, I think it may just be over-excitement. She's just really energetic and excited all the time, except when we get outside. She won't play, fetch, run with the other dogs. Nothing. Just sniffs and sniffs and sniffs. EVERYTHING. The air. Every blade of grass. She won't ever potty. however, we did have a breakthrough this morning! she pooped outside for the first time since being here. We've only had her for a few days. i know that's not enough time for ANYTHING. With this thread, I was just looking on general thoughts on when to start an actual obedience class.

Guess I was just kinda wondering about how long it takes for them to settle in to a new place and new routine with new people.

The two week shutdown seems so hard. I was reading here the day we got her and saw your "two week shutdown" posted elsewhere. Tried it the first two days and I just couldn't stick with it. She was in the kennel and was BANGING on the bottom pan with both front paws for HOURS. She still does it EVERY MORNING. I don't know how to break this behavior...

** Proud pack leader of: **
Murphy - 7 y/o. Lab+Bassett
Angie - 2 y/o Yellow Labrador Retriever
*Working to become pack leader of 20 month old GSD Lucia!*
*Gone but NEVER forgotten**
Rambo - Great Dane/Pitbull mix
Kaiser - GSD
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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-29-2012, 10:05 AM
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Ignoring it will work.
If you don't do the two week shut down that's fine, but it's going to take her longer to become secure in her new home.
The beauty of the two weeks of her being crated primarily is that she gets to absorb the household on neutral territory, without interacting with it (which is stressful to her).
When you describe her background (plus your own concerns),
Quote:
but I'm worried about her accepting me as the pack leader
it'd be essential for her to learn who is her leader sooner than later.
You may be able to avoid a ton of issues that will inevitably crop up, should you do the shut down, especially since it seems you have a houseful of other animals?
This dog sounds extremely insecure if she's "attention starved". She's trying to control her environment because it's all so new and strange to her.

Quote:
She's incredibly hard headed like every other GSD I've known,
That's a funny thing for you to say since I've don't hear anyone else say that, we certainly do not say that about our GSDs. Hounds maybe, but not GSDs. This breed is all about people, and pleasing them, wanting to please them, which makes them easy to train. Most herding breeds are easy to train due to their intelligence but also biddability which simply means willing to work.

Last edited by msvette2u; 02-29-2012 at 10:07 AM.
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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-29-2012, 10:05 AM
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I have never done a shut down on any of our dogs (all but one rescues or rehomed from breeders) but I do start OB classes immediately. Conor was our last adoptee (at 6 months) and we had a class lined up for him a week later. The sooner you start the sooner you can begin to establish a bond, and yourself (and your family, they need to be fully involved also) as the leader. It can take up to 6 months for a dog to settle in to a new home, depending on its previous experience, and to realize that this is a permanent situation. Laying the ground rules early on will speed up that process. A group class is always best unless the dog has serious issues - it will give you a chance to hone socialization skills - and is fun for you because you get to meet other dog owners!

In addition to the above, make sure she gets plenty of exercise - LONG brisk walks, not just around the block. This can actually create a bond in the shortest time......and will burn off some of the energy that GSD's are known for.

As far as being hard headed, I don't think of this as being a characteristic of the breed, though there are exceptions. They can seem that way however if they don't know what is expected of them and aren't bonded to their people. Teaching them is your job, so don't delay - look for a good OB classwhere training is positive and fun, and sign her up!
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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-02-2012, 09:59 PM
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My rescue doesn't really seem to have many issues (that we've discovered), but we're not really doing much training with her yet. We just got her today though. The only thing we're doing is making her sit when we put the leash on her and to give her the squeaky toy.

We're doing the shut down in a way, but not keeping her crated as much. I just am keeping her close by in the living room area. We did crate her when prepping dinner and when eating because I know it's too soon to correct her if she did do something wrong.

You could modify the shut down like we have. I'm not a trainer, so I could be completely messing her up. But, it seems to be working for us. When we sit down, she takes a nap on the floor.

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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-02-2012, 11:16 PM
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The purpose of the crate is to give them a very neutral area where they can sit and absorb without having to be a part of the action.
You can do it however you want but if you want the full effect of the "shut down", I'd recommend using the crate. They will not get the "oh, so THAT's the leader" if you're sitting on the floor beside them.
The only time I would hesitate to use one is if the dog was harming itself while in it.
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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-03-2012, 08:49 AM
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I see what you mean, msvette2u. I am crating her a little bit, but not the entire time. For example, right now she is just sleeping on the floor. There isn't any stimulation right now because we're both just sitting here on our laptops.

I don't like to sit on the floor beside her at all though...she still is a little jumpy and I don't want to give her the opportunity to start jumping all over me.

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