"Teenager" Issues - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 32 (permalink) Old 03-24-2017, 01:11 AM Thread Starter
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"Teenager" Issues

I need some help with an 11mo old male GSD. Please note, I say much of this with as much "humor" as I can muster. This pup is giving me a run for my money.

We have gotten through the worst of the "teenager"/puppy issues (the biting/nipping, impulse control, forgetting everything learned as a puppy, etc.)

But. We have hit some snags.

For whatever reason, no matter how many sessions we do, how much I try to desensitize him...He just completely loses his mind once he is out my front door. I mean just completely loses it. No matter what I use as a reward, nothing is high value enough to deal with the world. No matter what training device I put on him, nothing will stop the pulling. And not just pulling - lunging in various directions blindly, and if he sees a person or other dog? Flips out, screams ,etc. He started this ~5-6mos, and I was expecting it. I was expecting fear periods, brattiness, etc...so we would take breaks from walks, exercise in the yard, do training, etc. Nope. I failed.

We have worked on politely walking on lead (which he will do unless there is a distraction) and he will do this all through my house, through the door...but we cannot get down the driveway. He is hit or miss with the door. What is going on here? I have tried waiting him out, for him to calm down, etc. I reward him for calm behavior, but he takes no rewards once out the door...and he spits them out near it.

I reward him for calmness. Excited to see the leash? You must be calm before it goes on. We must quietly and politely walk to the door. We must wait at the door, wait as it is opened. We leave only when told, and then wait again at the porch politely so the door can be closed. We have all of these on a good day, but I am insistent on it. Then we walk down the driveway aaaaand...brain falls out. Okay. So we back up, back to the door. I have tried variations of this. He starts becoming frantic at this point. For this, I have tried just taking him back in and calling it a day - takes him ages to calm down. AGES. Frantic pacing. Even if I try to play with him, he makes it clear he wants back out (sits by door, whines, paces to leash and door, etc.). I have also tried doing sessions with the door/driveway, but he starts getting frantic and frustrated (refuses rewards, stresses out). What am I doing wrong?

We have hit this plateau since he was ~6mos old. I'm serious. I have not had a pleasant walk with the dog since then - each time we walk he is freaked out, worked up...and I am exhausted. Again, no reward works for him. No punishment works...this dog is going to hurt himself on a pinch collar. He will lunge right into it. He will scream if I correct him with it, and melt. I have not corrected him very harshly with it either. Head halters make him whip his face around and panic and scream, even when I painstakingly conditioned him to wear one. Nope. No pull harness? He still pulls. It does nothing to stop him. E-collar? He won't react to it, even if his muscles are physically twitching. He just stood there with a dumb look on his face when I tried it, and I felt bad and took it off. He is a complete 180 from my female dog...she has her issues as well, but she was/is so easy to work with. He seems like an idiot compared to her.

I have had the best GSDs, the ones who made me fall in love with the breed. The last two have given me some trouble, but my older female has turned out to be a wonderful dog. This puppy is different from all of them.

He has never had what I would call a stable temperament. I think this is part of it, but I really don't want to just "blame the dog". But I do want to give some insight to his personality. Words I would describe him with: Affectionate, Whiny/Vocal (also loves to bark), Skittish, Curious, Nervous, Sweet. He loves to play ball and tug, but once he grips a tug toy he is chewy with it and half-hearted about it. I cannot play fetch with both of my dogs - he will chase my female and try to bite over her shoulders and pin her. She will promptly make him regret this, so that has stopped. I separate them.

He is at least a loving dog...but I feel as if I have completely failed him. I can't exercise him in my yard forever.

Any ideas?
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post #2 of 32 (permalink) Old 03-24-2017, 01:29 AM Thread Starter
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To be clear with the pinch collar: i tried assuming he needed more exercise, and that this would help me control him as i tried walking him a few miles. I have only used it a few times...as i am assuming his issue is that he is so stressed out he cannot think straight, and punishing him for pulling will add to it. But he will not take rewards either. I dont know what to do.

For the ecollar: i tried finding a working level, once. He was calm at the time, in my yard. He never reacted to it, just acted as if all was well. No stress signals. I made sure there was contact. I put it away. An ecollar has done wonders with my other dog, which made me want to try....but i dont have a good feeling about it.

I do sessions with him daily. We work on engagement and basic commands. I add distractions but im running out of ideas.
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post #3 of 32 (permalink) Old 03-24-2017, 01:33 AM
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On leash exercise is not exercise.
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post #4 of 32 (permalink) Old 03-24-2017, 01:35 AM
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Have you tried working in sessions on the front door. Maybe sit just outside the door with it open and let him casually explore, then move gradually further from the door?

Maybe something has scared him? Mine is still really nervous about going out the front door so I sit on the doorstep with her near me and we casually watch the world go by and this has seemed to ease her nerves
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post #5 of 32 (permalink) Old 03-24-2017, 03:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MineAreWorkingline View Post
On leash exercise is not exercise.
Depends on the dog, it isn't a cover all blanket statement for every single dog out there and it depends on what kind of leash exercise it is. What about dogs on leashes doing agility courses? There are definitely a lot of different ways to exercise and off leash runs are great for dogs I also wouldn't used leashed walks as the only form of exercise a dog gets but it isn't accurate when you say leash on=no exercise.

Is the area you live in fairly high activity? If you have remote places where it'd be just you and your dog that might be a good place to do work at? There's still distractions but not as many and could get him used to being away from the house.
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post #6 of 32 (permalink) Old 03-24-2017, 08:19 AM
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What happens if you take him in the car to a location not associated with home?

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post #7 of 32 (permalink) Old 03-24-2017, 08:49 AM
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Depends on the dog, it isn't a cover all blanket statement for every single dog out there and it depends on what kind of leash exercise it is. What about dogs on leashes doing agility courses? There are definitely a lot of different ways to exercise and off leash runs are great for dogs I also wouldn't used leashed walks as the only form of exercise a dog gets but it isn't accurate when you say leash on=no exercise.

Is the area you live in fairly high activity? If you have remote places where it'd be just you and your dog that might be a good place to do work at? There's still distractions but not as many and could get him used to being away from the house.
Well, since I am on a German Shepherd forum, I think it is a safe assumption that I am talking about German Shepherds and not all dogs. This thread is about a healthy puppy that won't settle down so one can also speculate that I am talking about teen aged German Shepherds. What about leashed agility? You show me one person that can run as fast as a German Shepherd at full speed and I'll see your light.

It is very accurate to say that a dog plodding at a human's pace is not exercise.
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post #8 of 32 (permalink) Old 03-24-2017, 08:55 AM
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post #9 of 32 (permalink) Old 03-24-2017, 09:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MineAreWorkingline View Post
Well, since I am on a German Shepherd forum, I think it is a safe assumption that I am talking about German Shepherds and not all dogs. This thread is about a healthy puppy that won't settle down so one can also speculate that I am talking about teen aged German Shepherds. What about leashed agility? You show me one person that can run as fast as a German Shepherd at full speed and I'll see your light.

It is very accurate to say that a dog plodding at a human's pace is not exercise.
Well Usain Bolt can nearly run as fast as a sighthound (.6 seconds slower) and was faster than a doberman, he didn't race a GSD though. Granted he is obviously much faster than the average human. Most leashed agility is training the dog for the course but it is still exercise, probably more for the human that the dog but it is something.

I also did say I wouldn't use walking a dog on a leash as it's only form of exercise, and I also didn't specify walking on a leash as the only leash things I was talking about. There is bike riding with your dog on a leash alongside you or skateboards and such, some people do that and considering the dog is panting afterwards and ready for a nap I'd like to think it got some exercise, yet it was on a leash.

I agree that just walking your dog is probably not going to be enough especially for GSDs, although if you go out hiking and such that can tire a dog out pretty good(yes even if it's on a leash).


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post #10 of 32 (permalink) Old 03-24-2017, 09:47 AM
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It does not matter if my puppy can outrun your puppy, that is only splitting hairs. The fact remains that on leash walking at a human's pace is not exercise for a healthy teen aged GSD puppy, be he the fastest or the slowest puppy.

OP is struggling with their pup and asking advice from others. I am entitled to offer my experience which works, and has worked, for multiple dogs of mine. I have come under fire on here in the past for never posting problems with my dogs. I guess I don't have any problems worthy of posting, must be all the off leash exercise they get.

On leash hiking is no different than on leash walking, only a different surface. Boredom tires a dog out too, but that is only mental and does not address the dog's physical needs.


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