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Discussion Starter #1
Hey. I've been doing a lot of reading on the best methods to train my german shepherd. He is currently 9 weeks old. I decided to pick up a clicker and I've been watching lots and lots of youtube videos and reading lots of puppy training books. I realize that he's a puppy but I find it extremely hard to train him. He always seems like he has a ton of energy but as soon as we start training he doesn't seem the least bit interested. I try to make it very exciting for him by giving him lots of praise and treats when he does what he's supposed to do. But as soon as the trick is done he gets a really sad look on his face and lays down as if trying to say "why are you doing this to me?". This is our fourth day training, and I don't know if it's different for GSDs, but we had another puppy I was training a year ago and he seemed to enjoy training a lot more and he seemed to look forward to it. Also, Sam (my GSD puppy), seems to want to do commands when he "feels" like it. I wonder if this is a dominance problem or a misunderstanding problem. He seems to know Sit pretty well but sometimes I say the command and he just looks at me and turns away to do something else. I was on youtube and I noticed someone had an 8 week old GSD that had his dog extremely well trained and I was just curious how I get Sam to keep his attention on me. When I do training, I'm in a room with no toys and no other animals to distract him. Any suggestions are great!

-Thanks in advance,
George
 

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Yes, I took him in for a first time check up and the vet said everything looks good. He's had 2 sets of shots and his third will be in about 3 weeks. He seems to be a happy puppy when he's playing with my other dog. Could it be that he's just too distracted?
 

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I wonder if this is a dominance problem or a misunderstanding problem.
Ditch the dominance idea. He's a 9 week old puppy, he doesn't know anything yet so there's no way he's deliberating thwarting you due to dominance. People get way too caught up in the idea of dominance (thank you Cesar Milan :rolleyes2:) and it's not very productive.

If he's not showing any interest in training you might want to back off a bit and instead of asking him to do anything in particular, just mark and reward everything he does on his own that you like and want to encourage. Clickers are perfect for this! When I've got a brand new puppy I spend a lot of time just hanging out with them, often sitting on the floor and observing. Anything they do that I like (look at me? come towards me? lay down on the floor?) I click and toss a treat. And spend some time just playing with him too, make being around you FUN.
 

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Could it be that he's just too distracted?
Oh, definitely! Puppies have the attention span of a gnat, so any training should be in extremely short doses. Quit before he gets bored. :)
 

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Ok that is a huge relief off my shoulders. This is my first large breed dog and I'm very nervous I'm not going to give him the training he needs to be a good adult dog. What age do you suggest I start training him?
 

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Ok that is a huge relief off my shoulders. This is my first large breed dog and I'm very nervous I'm not going to give him the training he needs to be a good adult dog. What age do you suggest I start training him?
What Cassidy suggested is training.

Any chance of getting him into a puppy class?
 

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Yes, I plan on starting him into the PetCo puppy classes. I've heard mixed reviews whether these are good classes or not. He's planned to start on Nov. 12th. My plan is that if I like the PetCo trainer, I'll just enroll him into all of the training classes to get him the CGC. I realize PetCo probably isn't the best option but It's in my price range. What do you think?
 

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Emoore is right, this is training - it's just not long boring and tedious. How long have your training sessions been? It's much better to several very short sessions a day than to try and keep his attention longer than he's capable of giving it to you.

The more you reward him for the kind of behavior you like, the more he's going to do it. And when he's doing something with a pretty high degree of frequency, it's easy to add a command at that point and then mark and reward after the fact.

Keep in mind that while you will eventually want him to understand and respond to many commands, you also want him to do certain things without always having to be told to. Those are called default behaviors, and attention is going to be one of the most important because if you can't get his attention you can't teach him anything.


So while I do want to be able to say "watch" and have my dogs give me eye contact, I want them to generally look to me for guidance on a routine basis. That's where reinforcing eye contact offered up spontaneously comes in. It builds a foundation of focus that you can continue to build on as he matures.
 

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No, Petco is probably not your best option. Where do you live? Maybe we can find you some better places for classes near you.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I live in Salt Lake, Utah. More specifically, I live in the West Jordan area. I found a great place that does dog obedience training for non-profit so it's much cheaper than a lot of these places but unfortunately their next classes won't even start until January.
 

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9 weeks?

Just stick to fun interaction and set him up for win/win situations.

ie, tempting treat being offered when you call him to you and give it to him.. good boy!

play a little gently tug with his stuffed toy then let him run with it.

No, he's not dominant, but not ready for much structure.

Have fun with him, let him have fun. Bond and enjoy each other. The more fun you have together, the more he'll be willing to do cartwheels for you later.
 

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A lot of places aren't doing classes until the holidays are over. My training club is suspending them as well. It sucks. :(
Same here, very unhappy, I don't want to have a break in what we're doing. I'm searching around.

9 weeks?

Just stick to fun interaction and set him up for win/win situations.

ie, tempting treat being offered when you call him to you and give it to him.. good boy!

play a little gently tug with his stuffed toy then let him run with it.

No, he's not dominant, but not ready for much structure.

Have fun with him, let him have fun. Bond and enjoy each other. The more fun you have together, the more he'll be willing to do cartwheels for you later.
Agreed. Such a young pup has so little focus. You can do really great training work in short bursts.! AND working on that bond is priceless.
 

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Think of your puppy as a very young child. You can sit a 3-year-old down for a three hour stretch to teach them math. You have to keep it short and simple and break it down into little portions they can understand and stay focused for.

Same with puppy. A few minutes here, a few minutes there. Positive, positive. Lots of praise and happy interaction. Make it a point to really change your voice to the happy praising voice when you're praising puppy. Remember, puppy doesn't understand English but does understand the change in voice. Think over-the-top happy voice.

Have you ever been taught how to use a clicker? How are you using it now? You need to first "charge" the clicker by getting puppy to understand that click means a reward will follow. This is done by short sessions of click-treat, click-treat without asking for any commands at all, just getting puppy to associate the click with the fact that a reward WILL follow.

You can use the reward as a lure to get puppy into the position you want, then click for doing it - even if you had to help or it took a little bit for the position to happen. Remember that a command is only then fully learned if it happens consistently, inside the house and out. It's estimated that it takes at least 50 repetitions for a dog to truly associate the word (or hand signal) with the action. So after having done it about 50 times, you should see puppy sitting when you say sit ... inside the house or where you normally train. THEN you start proofing the behavior elsewhere ... back yard, front yard, on walks, etc.

Lots of little five minute training sessions keeping it fun and short and rewarding.

I've noticed that A LOT of people have a really hard time changing in inflection from telling the dog to do something (which doesn't mean shouting or "commanding", but rather just telling them to do it) to the very-happy-praise-voice. I think a lot of people, especially guys, had a hard time with it because it makes them feel "goofy". I am currently training with two officers, their wives, and their puppies (12 wk old Lab and 10 wk old GSP) and the guys have THE hardest time going to the praise voice with the pups. :D
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Haha, I've always had a very good praise voice. I think it came from when I was a little kid my mom and sister used their "happy voices" when petting animals and such and so I always did the same thing. All of these suggestions are really good! One more thing that's a little off subject... my dog hiccups a LOT. Like at LEAST once a day. More like twice a day. It doesn't last very long and he even sleeps through it most the time. Is this normal? Is there something health wise I should be concerned about? Oh and one more thing, is the gastric torsion (stomach twisting) a common problem? Someone told me there's a surgery you can do to your GSD before they're 6 months old to "staple" the stomach in place to ensure it will never twist on them. Is this a smart idea?

Thanks in advance,
George
 

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oh my gosh NO george, it is not a smart idea. i've read all your posts now and i can only say please keep posting and learning, and you are expecting way, way too much from a 9/10 week old puppy. no matter what other people are posting on youtube please, in the best interests of the puppy, lower your expectations somewhat. he is a BABY...have fun with him, bond with him, give him structure and a consistent and predictable schedule, love and protect him...yes george, it's YOUR job to protect HIM, not the other way 'round.

i've never been to utah, but it seems kinda over amped to me with all the guns ya'all have, that you're STILL worried about having more "protection". it also seems unusual to me that you posted that your wife feels safer already since you've had the dog, since he's just a baby.

i must be tired, i'm a bit short on patience myself tonight. sorry.
 
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