German Shepherds Forum banner

1 - 10 of 10 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hello, I am new to this forum but have come here frequently for answers. We like to say our dog Zephyr taught our daughter to read because the promise of a dog (which had to be a GSD per my daughter) got her from two grades below in reading to solidly at her grade (she's in 5th grade now). Our daughter knew having a dog was a big responsibility and she's held up her end of the bargain: Takes her to the park for 45 minutes morning and night, picks up poop, and goes to training class with her. We do longer walks by the ocean 2-3 times a week for a solid 90 minutes each time. She never messes in the house. We crate her at night.

The big problems: Ankle biting, jumping up on people (especially backs) and ball stealing. The ankle biting she does mostly to kids but also has bitten my mother. She's bitten my ankles when I tried to take her for a run with me. We try the distraction with a toy, have done two sessions of training, but it all goes out the window when people are around, and then she is jumping, biting, and being a nuisance. We had guests who left early because she kept nipping the kids (8 and 10) and generally wouldn't let us just "be". We would put her out on the zipline, but she would howl and scratch at the door. Let me be clear - she is not a vicious dog at all. I think she sees kids as other dogs. The jumping on the back issue perplexes me. She is so large that she can really hurt people.

The ball stealing is a problem because, well, she is stealing balls (she has her own) and some people get really angry! One owner yelled at my daughter that her dog shouldn't come to the park until she learned some manners.

The prospect of another 10+ years of this makes me want to weep, as grateful as I am that she motivated our daughter to excel in language arts. Is there any hope of resolution???

NOTE: We got the dog from a breeder after trying several times to adopt from the local GSD rescue, only to be turned down each time because (we don't know the dog's history and prefer not to adopt out to families with children). So she has been with us since 8 weeks.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,126 Posts
If within your budget and available in your area, I would suggest either hiring a trainer to come to your home and work with you on these issues or to send her to a board and train. If you do the board and train, then also have followup sessions with your whole family so you are all on the same page as regards her training.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,439 Posts
By 15 months old she should have been trained not to do any of this. While it’s wonderful your daughter exercises her, she is too young to be a thorough trainer without a lot of help. Most trainers want an adult to take the major responsibility for training, unless a child is very good with dogs and willing and able to listen to everything and follow all suggestions.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,943 Posts
I also think it sounds like she needs stronger discipline and training. Personally at my house she would be in a kennel when company is over if she didn't have good manners. Nipping at ankles is bad manners in my book. I wouldn't allow her in a park where there are loose balls or toys. Easy way for a fight to start. We don't go to parks but if my oldest was in one, she would not look kindly on a different dog taking her ball.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,917 Posts
In my house she would be crated or tethered to me at all times. No access to guest or the general public and obedience, obedience, obedience.
If she isn't crate trained she should be. Start with 10 minutes of obedience as many timed a day as possible, work up to 2-4 30 minute sessions a day. Sit, down, heel and come. Use a long line for training, no off leash. If she is tethered to you every time she goes for ankles/jumps she gets a correction. Every time.

She sounds like a wonderful, spunky young girl but these dogs take work.

Kudos to your daughter on her wonderful accomplishment. I love reading and whenever I can I share that with young people either helping with literacy programs, donating books or sometimes just buying random children books they show interest in-with permission of course! It is a gift that will serve her well later and I hope she discovers what a joy it is to read!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,451 Posts
In another thread someone, and I honesty don't remember who, said: "If your dog does anything that makes you not like them, don't allow it". When your dog does this stuff, what are YOU doing in response? Your guests had to leave early because your dog was out of control? Why was the dog allowed to behave that way? As Sabis mom said, keep your dog on a leash and correct them for bad behavior! This problem is not only solvable, it's easily solvable, stop allowing your dog to act that way! Take charge. That doesn't mean abuse your dog, but really just stop allowing that! The dog will learn pretty quickly.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
If within your budget and available in your area, I would suggest either hiring a trainer to come to your home and work with you on these issues or to send her to a board and train. If you do the board and train, then also have followup sessions with your whole family so you are all on the same page as regards her training.
This is a good suggestion - I'd never heard of board and train. We've done two rounds of training - 6 sessions each time. While she seems to learn the commands and can do at home, once she's excited it all flies out the window. We do not have a lot of money, so I'm worried that it will be out of our budget, but I am looking into it!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
We have gone to all 12 training sessions with her so we are all on the same page. My son plays rough with her (when I'm not looking) and I think this has caused her to backtrack.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
What we do when she misbehaves is to put her on the zip line or in the crate. My concern is that sometimes she slips past us and will jump on a visitor - once it was a 68 year old friend of my mother's. She's huge and almost knocked the man down. How does one "discipline" a dog jumping on someone else? I'm only 5'6" and 120 pounds, not really a match for a strong dog who is ignoring me. We do crate her when we know someone is coming over, but when we have guests staying multiple days that doesn't seem very realistic. We are wondering if we are up to this task after all.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,451 Posts
As Mary Beth suggested, it would probably be best if you can find a trainer that can come to your house and show you how to effectively correct your dog for jumping or nipping when it's excited. I know that age can be awkward, the dog is very nearly full grown, but still an excitable puppy in a lot of ways too. My dog is 17 months now, and still jumps occasionally (mostly on me when she gets excited). At home, when I have guests I have her sit and wait while she calms down a bit before releasing her to actually greet the new person. But when I take her to visit my 91 yr old neighbor, whom she loves dearly, she's still always leashed to prevent any chance of her jumping or knocking him over!

A board and train is a good option for a lot of people too. Just make sure there's ample time built in to teach you and your family how to maintain the training at the end. Some only offer a few hours of instruction, while others provide you with several sessions spread out over a week or so.
 
1 - 10 of 10 Posts
Top