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Discussion Starter #1
I am so confused about what my new puppy jager needs. He'll be 3 months old on July 30. I've had him for 3 weeks now. I want him to be a strong protection dog (but not so aggressive as to attack anyone who comes by). But he seems to be a very nervous, whiny puppy. My brother thinks I might have babied him too much. He is playful and loving but also has a bit of separation anxiety, whines when i leave him, is overly excited when I arrive... and he runs around in circles and nips and bites to show his affection and excitement. I think I may have re-inforced this by also appearing excited when I see him so now I'm tring to be calm and assertive (ala cesar millan). Still, Jager doesnt follow my orders. When I walk him, he goes wherever he wants to go, or doesnt move at all. When he has something in his mouth that he shouldnt have and I ask him to drop it, he runs away and wants me to chase him for it. Does this mean I havent established that I'm alpha? Or am I over-reacting - he is after all only a puppy? Is it ever too late to re-establish that I am alpha? He's also a very picky eater and prefers rocks and charcoal and POOP(!) over his royal canin kibbles. WHY?!!!!
 

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Hi! and Congrats on the new pup


A lot of this sounds like pretty normal puppy behavior to me.
As far as the whining he may/or may not have seperation anxiety but alot of pups just whine. They are away from mom and littermates. Are you crating him? For the first few nights I remember alot of whining but it stopped very soon after that. You just have to be careful that you are not reinforcing it.

And of course that he has been to a vet and is being checked out. You would want to make sure he isnt having any health issues.

The circling and nipping sounds about right, like you said just stay calm until he calms down, then give him some attention and get a toy you can redirect the nipping to. You can also say "ouch" when he nips at you and redirect to a toy.

And as far as following orders....like you said he is a YOUNG pup, especially with the drop it, pups love to play chase! So just try to get a treat or another toy and when you tell him drop it, if he does it, trade for the other treat/toy. He probably just doesnt know what you are talking about yet.

Some people also like to tether pup to them to control these sorts of behaviors. It can also help with housetraining.

With the eating, again make sure he is cleared by the vet. Also, are you free feeding him? Or sometimes if you give a lot of treats they will not eat their kibble. It also seems pups love to explore the world with their mouths (they dont have hands!!) and eat rocks and charcoal. Try to keep him away from it and you can start working on your "drop it" when he picks up these things tell him to drop it and trade for a toy/treat. Sometimes, especially if it something dangerous, take it out of his mouth. I was forever removing things from our pup's mouth.

And with the alpha thing, I wouldnt worry so much about that. Just try to be calm, consistent and fair. You could do some reading on NILF. Here is a link http://www.dogbreedinfo.com/nothingfree.htm
I am sure there are many more out there!

Most of all, enjoy your pup and HAVE FUN!!
Oh, and where is the PICTURES!!!!???

And you came to the right place for advice and support! There is a lot of knowledgable people here with lots of help and good ideas!
 

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kelso's right. You got a puppy!

What can I add? Enjoy it. This age ends too soon anyway.

Sheila Booth has a book I wish I had known about when mine were pups "Purely Possitive Training: Companion to Competition." You might also want the latest copy of Whole Dog Journal - It had two articles about keeping training fun (and not worrying about "alpha" stuff.)
 

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Keep in mind, the chase game is WAYYYY more fun than giving up a prize. You will need to find ways that reward him for doing what you want, BRIBERY!! or trade as I call it. The wining will stop most likely if you just ignore it for now, as far as drop it, practice trading for treats. Something really tasty like bits of chicken or cut up hotdogs. (keep the treats very small, just a taste so they dont eat too much) This works great for teaching drop it, leave it commands. Also, try running AWAY from the puppy, chase is fun, but puppy will want to know where you are going and will follow or chase you instead of the other way around, this is a great way to teach "come" to a puppy.

Find a place where you can let him tear around like an idiot for awhile to burn off energy, then work with obedience commands once he has some of the excess burned off. Clicker training with GSD pups has worked well for me.

Ava attempted to eat poop when she was a puppy, fortunately I was able to stop that early and we have no problems now, but make sure you keep a long leash on when outside even if you have a fenced in yard, this allows you the ability to grab the leash and enforce your command (positively though). You will be able to pull the puppy away from undesirable items as well.

Good luck and congrats on the puppy, puppyhood is gone so soon!!!


oh, and I have to agree with Middle of Nowhere on the whole Alpha thing, dont worry about that at all right now. If you are a fair consistent leader you will always be tops in his book. He is a puppy after all. I think too much focus is placed on that on young dogs. He who controls the resources (love, food, affection, etc) is top dog...guess what, that will always be you and your pup knows it too. But just like any baby, he doesnt think like that right now, he just wants to play, eat and sleep.
 

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He's a puppy! And it sounds to me like you may be expecting more ob then you have taught.

if you have had him for 3 weeks I don't think you have had time to teach him to walk on a leash and a leave it command. At that age I'm just normally doing things like a crate command, sit, down, and a loose leash type walking.

For the crate, I yell out "LETS GO THE CRATE" in an excited voice, walk all happy over there and if you put enough body english in it the pup will follow. I get to the crate, throw a treat in it, and shut the door while saying good crate when the pup enters. (I actually have a little dance type thing I do, it's hilarious)

I work on a sit with as soon as his butt hits the floor, I reward with dood sit and a treat.

Eating time the bowl doesn't go down until the butt hits the floor.

Door doesn't open until he is in a sit when he wants to go out.

But with a pup, each and every time he does the command he is rewarded, either with a treat or with what he wanted, food or going outside.

It kind of concerns me that you concerned with having established yourself as alpha over a 3 month old pup that you have had for 3 weeks. In my experience, this comes with firm and consistant rules for the dog appropriate for his age and level of learning.

A tired puppy is a good puppy. Lots of short play time will help work off some of that energy as will casual walks. Let him sniff and explore on the walks!

Have you thought about a puppy class? You can't beat them just for the socialization aspect.

Have fun!
 

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I'll chime in with my agreement to all the advice offered. You have a very typical 12-week-old puppy. I didn't even bring my pup home until age 12 weeks. So you are definitely asking for and expecting WAAAAAY too much from this little guy. Right now, what he needs is to know that the world is a big wonderful place, and that you are there to protect HIM.

It will take more than a year of dedicated work from you to get this dog even close to the level of structured, predictable obedience behavior that you're looking for right now. Ease up. Love your pup, and enjoy this time. It goes by far too quickly.
 

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Originally Posted By: Betty101
For the crate, I yell out "LETS GO THE CRATE" in an excited voice, walk all happy over there and if you put enough body english in it the pup will follow. I get to the crate, throw a treat in it, and shut the door while saying good crate when the pup enters. (I actually have a little dance type thing I do, it's hilarious)
We just can't get the full effect of it through your description, and it sounds pretty entertaining, so.........
Make a video, call it "crate training Betty's way" and post it.
 

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Re: advise appreciated: nervous,whiny,picky GSD pu

Typical 3 month old puppy, as the other posters have said. Whining when you leave is not necessarily separation anxiety. My dogs want to be with me all the time - as puppies they cried when I crated them and left them the room, and now that they're adults they'll get up and follow me from room to room. If I were to close a door with them on the other side they'd whine and fuss. But I can leave for the day and they'll run happily to their garage pen, I wait for them to sit, give them each a biscuit, close the door and leave, and they're just fine. True SA is where the dog gets so freaked out when you leave that they cannot eat, and will go on a destructive binge, often attempting to break out of a crate. Making comings and goings routine and low key will help prevent SA.

Being excited when you get back is perfectly normal, and it doesn't matter if you've been gone all day or just walked outside to get the mail. Ignore him for a few minutes, especially if he's pushy or jumping on you. When he gives up trying to get your attention and walks away, call him back, praise and pet him calmly. Eventually he'll learn that remaining calm will earn your attention, being excited won't. But he's just a baby, so be patient.

Nipping and biting is normal puppy behavior. You need to work on bite inhibition, or at least redirecting him to more appropriate chew toys. Don't reward him with attention when he's behaving badly. Walk away and ignore him so that biting means the end of fun and you go away. Again, he'll learn that he needs to play by your rules or you won't play at all. This will not happen overnight, and may take weeks or even months of you being consistent about what you expect from him. If he's really wound up, give him a brief time out in his crate or a puppy safe room to cool his jets.

Jager isn't following your orders on walks because he's 3 months old, and doesn't understand them yet! Training is a process that can and should continue for a long time. You have to be realistic about your expectations - he's still very young and he has the attention span of a gnat. If he pulls to get ahead, make that not work for him. Stop and wait for a slack leash or turn around and go the opposite direction. Give praise and treats for walking on a loose leash and not pulling. Don't expect a perfect heel position at this age, and even when you start teaching heel you want to start with just a few steps at a time. Make being next to you the best place to be, but also give him permission to go sniff stuff periodically. If my dogs want to sniff something and start to pull towards it I stop, wait for them to sit and make eye contact, and then I release them - "okay, go sniff". When I think they've had enough time, I tell them "let's go" and we start walking again.

Don't worry about being alpha, the best way to show him you are the leader is to practice NILIF, where he works for what he wants - meals, play, attention, and affection. Start VERY easy for now, and as he learns more behaviors you can start to challenge him a bit more. When my dogs were puppies they had to stay in a sit long enough for me to set down the bowl and take my hands off it, then I'd release them to eat. If they got up before being released I picked up the bowl and waited for them to sit again. Now I can put them in a down with the bowl right in front of them, and even walk out of the room briefly before coming back to release them, but we worked up to that very gradually over time.

They have to sit until released before we throw a ball for them. Sometimes it's a down instead of a sit, but if they get up, the ball doesn't get thrown until they get back into position. Make him sit calmly while you put his leash on for a walk and to wait at the door until you tell him he can go through it. Eventually he'll learn that you control the good stuff and he needs to comply to get what he wants. That's what being a leader is about. Don't MAKE him comply, make him WANT to comply. Show him that you are worthy of being a leader, and he will gladly follow.

Right now Jager has learned that the keep away game is fun, and that being chased is also fun. Teach him that chasing YOU is more fun! Do trading games with his stuff so he learns that giving up something means he'll get something at least as good or maybe better. Pick a word - "give", "out", "drop it", and when he's got one of his toys or a ball give the command and stick a treat right in front of his nose. When he drops the toy to eat the treat mark it (Yes!) and give him the toy back. Trade a ball for a stuffed toy, a toy for a bone, a bone for a piece of cheese, over and over and over again, several times a day for a few minutes at a time. Lots of happy praise and petting when he gives something up, so that when he gets something that he can't have back and you don't have anything to trade him for it he'll still happily let you have it.
 

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Originally Posted By: Lucina
Originally Posted By: Betty101
For the crate, I yell out "LETS GO THE CRATE" in an excited voice, walk all happy over there and if you put enough body english in it the pup will follow. I get to the crate, throw a treat in it, and shut the door while saying good crate when the pup enters. (I actually have a little dance type thing I do, it's hilarious)
We just can't get the full effect of it through your description, and it sounds pretty entertaining, so.........
Make a video, call it "crate training Betty's way" and post it.
Actually it has a little song too, it is hysterical............. I kind of do a version of the Boogie Woogie......


Lesson learned though, i actually used "Crate" as an emergency recall when the pups got away from me at about 8 or 9 weeks old. Ears perked and they hauled butt back to me.......Punched home the lesson of rewarding the behavior each and every time in the learning stage and to make training fun for a pup.

Pups are hysterical as they run to the crate, dive in and sit and wait for their treat.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Hi! Thanks for all the advise! I think I watched too much cesar millan and started to get worried that I was too permissive and would end up with an out of control dog. But then its true, he IS only 3 months old. I am SO relieved that this is just normal puppy behavior. As for the separation anxiety... He usually doesn;t exhibit over-the-top destructive behavior (usually just some whining) except for last saturday night, when the whole family was out at a party, and he was left alone in the den. We came home at 2 am to find that he had stuck his head between the wrought iron gate (It has a circle and flower pattern) in an attempt to get inside the living room. His head was stuck and he couldn't pull it out! He was crying and whining, poor guy, my heart broke. We were able to get hold of the vet at 3 in the morning, to sedate him and saw off the wrought iron. When we were finally able to get him out, sweet jager (despite being so groggy from being sedated) still managed to show affection by licking. He is that sweet (when he's not being mischievous)! Anyway, thankfully, he seems to be over that experience now, he's back to being the happy playful puppy. He still whines when we leave the house but stops after 5 minutes when no one pays attention to him. I'm building him a dog house and should start crate-training by next week... wish me luck! :)
 

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Wow. I bet that was a scary scene. Time to buy a crate for your little guy. It's the best, safest way to leave a pup alone. It is just too easy for them to get into dangerous trouble.

There are some good lessons to learn from watching Cesar, but hold off for a while before you start expecting that kind of thing. Puppies brains don't work the same way that adult dogs' do.

Right now, the very most important thing you can do to make him a happy, well-adjusted (and easy to train) dog later on is to SOCIALIZE him to new things every day. Every day he should be leaving your house to go meet new people, see new places, hear new things---between now and 16 weeks he needs to be exposed to everything he may encounter in his whole lifetime. Things they are exposed to now in a positive way will imprint. If they don't, there's a good chance they can fear those things later on.

Take a look through the puppy threads on this board and read up on socialization. Another good idea is to find a puppy kindergarden in your area. It's a way to have him meet other puppies his age to build social skills, and for both of you to learn some beginning obedience skills that you can build on later.

Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Oh thank you tracy (re:puppy threads) I will do that. We've started walking him around the block and he's starting to get used to a leash. There are days when he resists and refuses to go outside the gate, but this morning we happily went around the block with no problems at all. There are no puppy kindergartens in the area (I live in a small town) but he seems friendly with the golden retriever next door :)

Kelso/Steph, I have pictures of jager from the first day I brought him home but Im new to this site and still trying to figure out HOW to post them... hmm...
 

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Take him with you to pet/feed stores if you have no other areas available. At least at these places the pup can mingle with people, and may run into other dogs/puppies, you can even sit out side a grocery store people watching and letting him meet these people too. expose him to everything......wheelchairs, canes, older people, young, dark haired, light haired, with hats, umbrellas.......you would be amazed what will startle a dog if they have no experience with it.
 

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Betsy's right---even in a small town if there are no "organized" puppy kindergardens, make up your own~! Every day, decide what today's lesson will be. I'm talking about 10 minutes. A puppy's attention span isn't any longer than that anyway.

So for example,

day one, puppy will meet a black person.
next day, puppy will walk across gravel.
next day, puppy will hear a siren.
next day, puppy will meet a person in a wheelchair.
next day, puppy will sit outside a grocery store.
next day, puppy will ride through a car wash...

the idea is to make your pup's world as big as it might ever be right now. In your small town, your dog may not ever have to ride in an elevator. But if he might someday hear the sound of a shotgun...then he should hear that as a puppy. If he might someday go swimming in a creek, then he should be exposed to that now. If he might occasionally meet babies, he should meet them now. This is the idea of puppy socialization...for the owner to try to imagine all the different things that this particular dog may have to deal with in life and expose them to it while they are young--ideally before the age of 16-18 weeks.

Hope this helps.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Thank you everyone! Really appreciate the advise! I think my jager is on the right track. We had a really good day today, walking around the block. Once in the morning, with just me, and once in the evening with both me and my brother. Tomorrow its off to the vet for his rabies shot and then the grocery store. yay, im excited!

 

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Originally Posted By: Lucina
Originally Posted By: Betty101
For the crate, I yell out "LETS GO THE CRATE" in an excited voice, walk all happy over there and if you put enough body english in it the pup will follow. I get to the crate, throw a treat in it, and shut the door while saying good crate when the pup enters. (I actually have a little dance type thing I do, it's hilarious)
We just can't get the full effect of it through your description, and it sounds pretty entertaining, so.........
Make a video, call it "crate training Betty's way" and post it.
I agree!!!
 

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Re: advise appreciated: nervous,whiny,picky GSD pu

Originally Posted By: maya-newmama There are no puppy kindergartens in the area (I live in a small town)
Where are you located? You can put your general location (city, state, or country if you're outside the US) in your profile, and it will show up on all your posts. That will help people make recommendations if you need advice on where to buy something or how to find a trainer.
 

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Re: advise appreciated: nervous,whiny,picky GSD pu

What a doll, take good care of him and he will always be the best and most loyal friend you have ever had. Tracy has some excellent ideas, dont forget playgrounds and parks too. Ava loved the teeter totter! Just be careful that he cant be hurt or have a bad experience, keep everything fun fun fun and safe safe safe!
 
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