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Hey all!

So while I am waiting to get back to America where I can have a trainer to work with on a weekly basis, I have been doing a lot of this training on my own by either researching stuff on this forum, reading books or otherwise stumbling through with Zelda on our ever long quest to find some middle grounds on what I can expect of her and what is completely crazy to expect.

I have to say that it is going okay for the moment. But I do have some behavioral questions that I am curious for some input.

1. So my dog has a different behaviour and mindset when she is around my husband vs when she is around me. When she is around him, she is happy go lucky and content. She will go out on a walk with him which he makes into partial training and part just letting the dog be a dog and sniff all the trees, poles and fire hydrants. When they get home, he will sit down with her and go over some training like "sit" "stay" "leave it" and so on. After they train for about 15 minutes then she has her breakfast and she will lay down next to him and relax with a toy or chew on a bone but mostly she is just calm and seems happy.
When it's just her and me, I will follow everything that my husband does to keep the consistency. But when I go to get her in the morning she is squealing like mad as if I have left for 100 years and never was going to return. Don't get me wrong, I love the love and attention because I get to rub the belly. I don't do anything different or make my voice hyper or different. We go out for a walk and she will not listen to me. She wants to sniff everything and so after giving her tons of treats and she is finally doing some structure, I let her just sniff and be a dog. When we get home, I will work on some training with her but she doesn't want to stay focused on me. She will go grab a toy to try to play with me or get into something so that I have to pull her back. When I finally get tired of trying to get her attention, I pet her and play a little bit before I give her breakfast. After she is done with breakfast, she will pace around all of the rooms in my home and not relax. I have to physically leave the room to get her to lay down and relax for a bit of time.


2. The second issue that all of us are having is something that seemed to change overnight. It is weird and causes us concern. It would seem that almost overnight she has decided that she doesn't like about 70% of dogs that she comes into contact with. It never was an issue before and she still has dog friends that she loves to play with but since we are moving, she will lose those dog friends and we will have to look into making new dog friends at the next city we go to. I take her to the dog park to work on fetch and stuff when no one is there. Well we only get that luxury of being the only ones at the park for about 30 minutes before someone else comes in and I have to tell them to wait so I can get my dog and we can leave. Of course those people always think it's fine to introduce the dogs anyway and let them sniff each other through the fence, well just recently, my pup has been aggressively barking and has an attack stance.

Before, I didn't want other people to come in because I was tired of their comments that I got an aggressive breed. Now I can't let them come in because all of their words came true and it's not like I did something particular to provoke the situation nor do I understand how to correct the behaviour other than to remove my dog but I feel like my dog gets this sense of "I'm proud of my accomplishments and I told that dog off and said some bad words in dog language". And it's not how I want my dog to behave at all. It worries me about the future because eventually I want to get her a playmate but now I fear bringing any other animal into my home or near her because of this new behavior. The only trainer I have direct, hands on access to is a Japanese trainer who I went to only one time because he said he could help me correct some of the problems and when my dog did this to his dog, he alpha-rolled her and held her down for a solid minute before letting her back up. She didn't act like that for the entire time we were in the park with about 4 dogs who all came and went during that time. I told him after that it was the last time because I have read up on alpha rolling and I don't want my dog treated like that. All he said to me was "Well, it worked and she isn't trying to be the dominating dog on the play area." and I mean, it's true. When he is there at the park, she sees him and gives him kisses and loves on him then goes and plays with all other dogs without issue. But now that I haven't seen him in a few weeks, she is back to being aggressive. Is this something I am doing wrong? Could it be her age? Maybe a fear period? I don't want to traumatize her but she almost seems like she is battling for alpha position and I am supposed to be the one in charge and making the decisions and maybe I am not doing my job in her eyes. I don't know and I'm trying to research all that I can while I still have her young and impressionable.
 

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Your dog is going through adolescence. Hormones make all kinds of changes that have to be managed. You can come through this and have a wonderful dog but it doesn't happen over night.
As far as other dogs go, forget about dog playmates for awhile. Right now your pup doesn't need them. If your dog gets all excited, good or bad, while on leash, holding her back can cause Leash Frustration. What worked best for me is to just keep moving when I saw other dogs, like they were nothing more than a tree or park bench. If we had a successful pass we stopped to play a little tug or have a special yummy treat. I did that about a half a block away. I also took my dogs to group classes when they were a year old. I wanted them to learn that we could be near other dogs without the expectation of them going to go see them. Basically I insisted on paying attention to me and not the other dogs. No rolling, no begging, just calm insistence. Now we can go into the city, out door restaurants or pet fairs without our dogs acting up or expecting to go visit every other dog they see.



As far as trying to be Alpha, no pup really wants to be boss. They do want to do what seems best to them, though. If a dog doesn't have clear directions and expectations of success they will try to do what pleases them, or feels protects them. If they don't realize that you have their back and will protect them, they will act aggressively to try to scare another dog or person away. If they have confidence they are less likely to be pushy, Confident dogs don't feel the need to prove themselves. They know they are good.


At home, keep your training short and sweet and fun. 5 to 10 minutes at a time. If you are frustrated, don't train. Don't pet your pup if it ignores you and tries to get you to play. If you are training and it is not going well, put your pup down for a nap in their crate or some quiet time on a pillow. A little later you can play together. When you are both rested and refreshed try for 5 minutes of training a skill and then quit! If it goes well then you can play for a little bit. Always quit before you are both tired. Then it stops being fun and becomes work and neither of you wants that.
 
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