board and train opinions - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 07-08-2013, 12:03 PM Thread Starter
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board and train opinions

i have a few questions...i rescued by guy @ 8 weeks old and he had no human interaction before that (was abandoned). hes at 14 months now, so ive had him for a while and from day 1 i began socialization...he has barely improved, and ive done everything i can think of. ive tried group training classes, private training, taking him everyday to different enviorments with lots of treats...ive even consulted with a medical behavior specialist that has him on fluoxetine and trazodone but its not doing much :/

he is GREAT aroudn other dogs, and his fearfulness drops dramatically, so people have been telling me to send him to a board and train school where he can learn from the dogs there how to behave etc.. whats ur opinions on this?
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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 07-08-2013, 12:15 PM
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Personally I don't like the idea, there's no guarantee even if the dog learns to behave appropriately with the trainer that it will do the same with you once they're returned to you.

It sounds like you have tried most options in regards to training, socialization, and medication. Some dogs just aren't fixable, we had a GR when I was younger that my family got from a "breeder" at 8 weeks old that was never right in the head. We trained and socialized but as she got older she got worse and we ended up having to euthanize her before her 3rd birthday because she was so unpredictable and was becoming aggressive.

I'm not saying your dog is beyond help, but I think you probably will have to come to the conclusion that he will never be "normal" and for the rest of his life you will have to essentially just manage him. Keeping him out of uncomfortable situations and protecting him from whatever triggers bad reactions whether it be fear or aggression

It's just my opinion, I'm not saying I'm right but just offering an opinion

Shanna

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Jasmine - Female Miniature Poodle - born Aug 15, 2010
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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 07-08-2013, 12:19 PM
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So is the dog just very uncomfortable when out and about? Describe a situation please.
If in group classes, is he better?

While having well-adjusted "dog-friends" <may> be beneficial, I would be way too concerned about sending this dog off to a CM type trainer. For every good trainer out there I bet there are 9 questionable ones.

Is there a reason you need the dog to be out in public? I ask because if it makes the dog that miserable, and is not necessary, perhaps rethink subjecting him to it?
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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 07-08-2013, 12:30 PM Thread Starter
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well right now, the only place the dog is comfortable is inside my house...step 1 foot outside and he is wayyyy too timid. i cant exercise him so he always has energy because i cant take him on walks or play with him outside..he walks with his tail between his legs and i feel like hes going to have a heart attack one day just walking.

i dont "need" him to be outside, but it would be great for both of us if i can exercise him, walk him and have him be OK outside without dying of fear. in the group class, he was good with the humans, tail up, and just happy but u step 1 foot out of the class and he was back to his fearful self...we did 2 group classes 8 weeks each totaling 16 weeks...the problem was, they were too structured and wouldnt let us do anythign except obedience training (he is EXTREMELY well obedient inside)..we needed more behavior training...

these are the 2 schools im looking at:
German Shepherds, Terriers, & Dog Training
Florida Dog Trainer
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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 07-08-2013, 12:41 PM
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Personally I'd pass on both of those.

Your dog needs real world positive experiences. You'd be better off finding a trainer who will do private lessons with you out in the real world. Meet a park, take a trip to the pet store. Work on LIFE. It doesn't sound like your dog needs more obedience but to be shown that the world is not scary. That's not going to happen in a commercial board and train setting where the dog likely won't leave the facility.

I've done board and trains with dogs that need confidence. They stayed with me a week or two and went EVERYWHERE with me - to classes, on hikes, to the pet store daily. They were shown the world and praised heavily for being confident in it, not worked with for an hour or two a day with the pack at home or on obedience training.
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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 07-08-2013, 12:52 PM Thread Starter
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yeah ive been talking with the German Shepherds, Terriers, & Dog Training school and they said to come check out their facility a few times before i board and train, and they can show me what exactly they will be doing etc.. they "said" they take them out daily with them etc.. but obviously i wont know for sure
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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 07-08-2013, 12:54 PM
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I sent my rescue to a 3-week long residency training course when he was that same age, 14 months. It was an epic fail, as in huge waste of money. The dog was just too bonded to me and didn't care to be handled by the trainer. But that's just my experience with a single dog, and they are all different.

The dog has made leaps and bounds overcoming fears and with his social skills over the past year, though, so don't be too discouraged. And it did help him immensely, that he bonded with my Weimaraner while they were boarded together during residency, since she is highly social and outgoing. So much so, that the trainer used the presence of the Weimaraner as Jack's training reward. He didn't care about the chicken, just where's my big sis?? So, it can help to have a more stable dog set an example. But we didn't get much out of it in the end, really. A $2K sit command, and a GSD who was overjoyed at my return.

You said you've tried private training...did the trainer come to your house and specifically address the issue of going outside?

Maybe a trainer (or even a friend with a balanced dog) willing to visit and bring along another dog would work. If your dog sees the other dog happily going in and out the door, and playing outside, he might get curious enough to venture out himself There's just something about dogs wanting what other dogs have, hehe, and that includes having fun.

Amy and the dogs,

Jack - male GSD b. 8/9/10
Lillian - female Weimaraner b. ~2005
RIP Mattie - female GSD 10/18/02 - 7/24/2013
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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 07-08-2013, 01:03 PM Thread Starter
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yeah ive even thought about getting another dog because he is so different around them...

the trainer did work on him outside twice a week for about 6 weeks, and we worked in gradual steps...first starting at the door and towards the end of the program, being at the end of the hall..he made little to no progress, from start to finish. he did bring his dog several times, and my dog would be worryfree and do anything at that point, but if you remove the dog from the equation, he is bad again.
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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 07-08-2013, 01:10 PM
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Medication may be an option. I know some people think it is evil but for some dogs it is the difference between quality of life and misery.
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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 07-08-2013, 01:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hvtopiwala View Post
yeah ive even thought about getting another dog because he is so different around them...

the trainer did work on him outside twice a week for about 6 weeks, and we worked in gradual steps...first starting at the door and towards the end of the program, being at the end of the hall..he made little to no progress, from start to finish. he did bring his dog several times, and my dog would be worryfree and do anything at that point, but if you remove the dog from the equation, he is bad again.
Be careful making that decision to add another dog. I've done that before and only got myself overwhelmed. It worked out, but I could have thought it through a little better.

I think GSDRaven's on the right track. The dog needs to see it's safe out there in the world. Sounds like you will need a lot of patience, and take baby steps.

Amy and the dogs,

Jack - male GSD b. 8/9/10
Lillian - female Weimaraner b. ~2005
RIP Mattie - female GSD 10/18/02 - 7/24/2013
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