First Time GSD owner with Training/development Questions - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 06-10-2014, 04:18 PM Thread Starter
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First Time GSD owner with Training/development Questions

Hello All!

Man am I glad I found this site!

I've done some investigating into other threads, but cant seem to get a direct answer to some of my questions. My apologizes if some of these are repeated.

Our furry goof-balls name is Circa. His estimated birth was around the end of January of this year. We rescued him from our local shelter when he was around 3 and a half months old. A close friend of mine worked as an Animal Control officer in that city and found him living with two older GSD mixes in a dirt pit of a back yard. No available water and the jerk that had him was feeding all three dogs raw ground beef and milk. I hope that karma finds her way to this jerk rather quickly. Anyways...

Because of this we do not know Circa's exact age. At the shelter the best they could do was an educated guess.

He still has baby teeth and doesn't lift his leg to pee and is around 40LB. He is neutered and up-to-date on his shots.

I wonder if his poor diet when he was younger could be a factor with the teeth thing? The vet said he should have lost a number of them by 4 months (when he got his shots) but hinted he might be a late bloomer.

We adopted him on April 20th and started basic training right away. Sit, lay down, drop it and potty training went very well. Crate training took a little bit more then some of the books we purchased said, but we have that down now too with little to no barking/whining occurring. He is just now really understanding 'Stay', but only when food/treats are involved.

My questions are as follows:

Does anyone have any insight to the long term risks he might be facing with such a hard start at life?

When should further training happen? We are continuing to re-enforce the behaviors he has now, and trying to strengthen the stay command. But we are having an EXTREMELY hard time with loose leash walking/not pulling. Some threads i found suggested that we wait until he is a year old to do more in-depth training. I was under the impression that the sooner training started the better.

You might notice I say 'We' often. Circa was adopted by myself and my live-in boyfriend. We both train him, walk him and feed him. We currently live in a space without a fenced in back yard, so one or both of us is constantly with him outside. I was curious if this will have any sorta of negative impact on who Circa see as 'Alpha'?

He has also hit what i feel like calling 'Terrible-Chews'. As hes gotten older we've ramped up his outdoor activities and excersize, but he still feels the need to chew EVERYTHING the moment your back is turned. For the most part the only time he is left alone is for about an hour between when i leave for work (he is fed, walked and watered before hand) and my boyfriend wakes up to start his day.
Is this just puppy adolescent stage? We knew he'd chew, and we know this phase could last a while. I just want to make sure that's what this is, and not something more.

Needless to say, this pup has absolutely captured my heart. I really want to make sure he is happy healthy and cared for. Thank you for any answers you may have, and for taking the time to read this lengthy post.

- Cayla (Josiah & Circa)

P.S: here's a few photos of our handsome boy.
One of the very first day we took him home and he got to play in grass for the first time. The other was just a week ago at a near-by park.

First Time GSD owner with Training/development Questions-photo-11-.jpg
First Time GSD owner with Training/development Questions-photo-19-.jpg
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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 06-10-2014, 04:35 PM
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I have an 18 week old shepherd and a 12 week old shepherd I was frustrated with the leash thing too, however a local trainer advosed me to get a slip collar (made of the same material as their collars not a chain) and use this while walking to correct the pulling. I do have to say it works. I do not pull to correct their pull is all it takes for them to back off (at first they would sit automatically each time). It seems to be a much gentler approach to correction. Hope this helps you!
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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 06-10-2014, 05:45 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you for you suggestion. I'm not sure a slip collar will be something we will use, but the more options I know about the better. Thank you
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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 06-10-2014, 06:10 PM
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Welcome to the forum and congratulations on your new pup! I wouldn't worry about the "alpha" stuff. You walk, exercise, feed and provide all things good, just be firm, fair, and consistent and your pup will figure it out.

If he is teething, he'll want to chew, look for sturdy, quality toys (we've had decent luck with JW toys) and maybe bully sticks, stay away from raw hide. If he has lots of energy and prey drive, you might want to look at making or buying a flirt pole. Its a nice way to burn off energy in a short time frame with limited space, be careful though, might look up some older threads on proper use. You can also incorporate OB into the game.

As for loose leash walking, look for a good trainer and go from there.
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