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Hey guys I'm needing a little advice on my 10 month old gsd. I sent him to a k9 training center for 2 weeks and they taught him basic commands and some leash control. I know there is alot of people that do not agree with choke collars but that is what they trained him with and he did very good for about the first week and then slowly started going back to his old self as far as the leash training goes. He will still obey his commands but he is terrible on a leash now. He will pull against the leash until the point that he's gagging or gasping for air. The leash does not seem to bother him at all anymore. It used to work really effectively if you had to give it a slight tug to correct him. He also paces back and forth 24/7. The only time he will lay down or be somewhat calm is if he has a bone or something that me or my wife bought him. I have never seen a dog that is so active but this is also my first gsd that I've owned. He literally is always walking around the house. It's like he's searching for something. I purchased him because me and my wife was having a baby and I did my research and talked to other people who had gsd's. I was told they were great family dogs and I wanted my son to have a dog to grow up with. Our son is now 3 months old and I do not let our dog interact much with him because he is so active and sometimes gets rowdy. Hes never showed any aggression towards my son but it wouldn't take much for a 75lb dog to cause harm to him by accident. Sorry for the long post and thanks for taking the time to read. Any advice is really appreciated
 

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What a handsome boy you have!Good idea to keep him separated from the baby.He could hurt the little one badly even unintentionally.Sounds like he may need more physical activity.Do you have a fenced area where he can trot,run,and get some off leash time?If possible take a class or get a couple of private lessons from a trainer to help you with your leash handling technique.We as owners need as much training as our dogs.When our timing,posture,and leash pressure is incorrect it can amp the dogs up and they lose their focus on us.
 

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The problem with sending dogs away for training isn't that that the dogs don't get trained - it's that the human doesn't get trained.

You need to take lessons with your dog. You need to engage your dog in an activity that works his brain. GSD's are not couch potatoes. Then you will have an incredible family dog.
 

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He literally is always walking around the house. It's like he's searching for something.

My 14-month GSD does the same thing. It's like she is on a shopping trip. She is actually curious and looking for something that interests her. Lots of toys for her to choose from, but human things are more interesting. Can't turn your back on her for a minute. Yesterday, I went in the kitchen for a minute and came back to see her carrying a couch cushion out the back door. (she has a preoccupation with pillow & all types of cushions).


Sometimes, I have to put her in her crate for awhile to settle down. At around 11-12 months, she settled down a bit, and I was able to give her a bit of trust to NOT destroy things. At 14-months, I'm back to NOT being able to trust her. She wakes up in the morning, looking for trouble, so I have to crate her until I can get myself ready for our morning walk & playtime.


I can't wait until she settles down. She is way more hyperactive than my prior 2 GSD's.
 

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Does he pace like he was kenneled a lot at the board and train? I know shelter dogs that have spent too much time in the kennel get a neurotic pace pattern down, and it’s a hard habit to break once they start.

If you are still having leash issues, I would have someone come to me and see what I’m doing wrong in the moment. It’s easy for us to say, but not always easy for someone to understand. Timing has to be pretty precise for leash work. Does the board and train have a guarantee of any kind? Like if the behaviors present again in x amount of time, they will work him again with no additional fee? Did they work with both of you together at any time?

It honestly sounds like he just isn’t being stimulated properly in the home. If he is constantly “searching” for something, make a game out if it. Hide some treats around the house while he is in his crate, and tell him to “go find” when you let him out. Start with easier hiding places in the beginning and slowly make them harder to find. We do scent work indoors when it’s summer here, too hot for outside exercise, and it’s a lifesaver. I eventually phase out treats and use water bottles with small holes poked into it, and put stinky stuff inside. Sardines to start, and they get to eat the sardine once they find the first bottle, and again at the last bottle. Stinky fake fish bait is our next step, and then they get high praise, no treat. It’s really fun for the whole family. We also have them play hide and seek with our children, but ours are much older than your little one.

Giving him a bone will keep him occupied short term, but it does nothing to mentally stimulate him. Look into treat balls or puzzles. Get his brain engaged and working, and you should have less of these behaviors. Exercise is important, but mental stimulation is just as important.
 

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The first mistake is that you sent him off to training to a place that started off using compulsion, which is ass backwards. Choke chains are only for highly experienced handlers. A prong collar is a much better choice. Sounds like some opposition reflex is being triggered. How much active exercise does your dog get?
 

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Sometimes settling down has to be a trained obedience, and just like anything else it takes a lot of repetition. If he knows the down command, make sure he also has a clear and calm release from it. Even if you start out like a formal down, on leash and you directly in front of him, the key is the release. Him holding the position until you give him permission. You can use a bed or any targeted area if you want, or what I do is just use the command to settle wherever I tell them. But what matters is the release. Look up place command on youtube and you can see plenty of videos for reference.


Just like there's limits to what rewards will get you, the same is true with corrections or compulsion. I agree that German Shepherds have more opposition reflex then any other breed we've owned, so it may help you if you bring back some rewarding for position to balance out what sounds like you've got right now, a dependence on some discomfort to keep him there. The only help for opposition reflex, that desire to pull harder against you, is loose leash.



When my daughter was 3mos old, I'd put her in one of those snugglies and hike her and our Rott all over the place. It let my wife get some rest and I always felt like it was an easy way to make her a natural part of the dogs life. Just being around each other and in a way that I never had to worry about the things you are, big energetic dog, tiny baby. Gradual contact, it always went pretty smooth. I did the same thing with the 3 kids and all our different dogs.
 

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Sometimes settling down has to be a trained obedience, and just like anything else it takes a lot of repetition. If he knows the down command, make sure he also has a clear and calm release from it. Even if you start out like a formal down, on leash and you directly in front of him, the key is the release. Him holding the position until you give him permission. You can use a bed or any targeted area if you want, or what I do is just use the command to settle wherever I tell them. But what matters is the release. Look up place command on youtube and you can see plenty of videos for reference.


Just like there's limits to what rewards will get you, the same is true with corrections or compulsion. I agree that German Shepherds have more opposition reflex then any other breed we've owned, so it may help you if you bring back some rewarding for position to balance out what sounds like you've got right now, a dependence on some discomfort to keep him there. The only help for opposition reflex, that desire to pull harder against you, is loose leash.



When my daughter was 3mos old, I'd put her in one of those snugglies and hike her and our Rott all over the place. It let my wife get some rest and I always felt like it was an easy way to make her a natural part of the dogs life. Just being around each other and in a way that I never had to worry about the things you are, big energetic dog, tiny baby. Gradual contact, it always went pretty smooth. I did the same thing with the 3 kids and all our different dogs.

Thanks for all of your replies and advice. I am in no way an expert with these dogs nor do I claim to be. I will try some of y'alls methods and see how that does.
 

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I'm no expert either, we've owned different dogs and done different things, so I'm just passing on what I've liked to do. Something to think about in general, whatever you want to train, have a clear beginning and a clear ending. Understanding when they don't have to do something, helps them understand when they do.
 

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I would recommend getting another trainer that will work with you both hands on, in person, throughout the ENTIRE process. The trainer should be training you, along with the dog, every step of the way.
 

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The trainer should be training you to train the dog. And, there is nothing wrong with doing that in a class with other dogs and their owners. The dog does seem like it is looking for more stimulation and short training sessions might be helpful.

If I had a dog that was energetic and seemed bored, I would sign her up for basic obedience, and for another class on a different day, either trick training, or agility. Agility probably. It uses very positive/fun training, lots of treats, lots of praise, no corrections. But it works the body and the mind. Great stuff.

Another thing you might consider is herding. If you could attend a herding fun day. Herding uses their instinct, their energy, their body, and working with you.

Trick training is fun for you and the dog. When your son gets bigger, he will be able to pick up on the tricks and he will have fun with the dog as well.

It's all called engagement. These are athletic and intelligent dogs with strong instincts and drives. We build a relationship, a bond with the dog through training, which is actually communication.

As for the baby, I would take the dog with me, when I go for walks with the baby. If the walk needs to tire the dog out more than he is, you can put a pack on him and have him carry the baby supplies, whatever. Another thought is a dog cart. Growing up, my neighbors had a newfoundland who was trained to pull a cart with the kids in it. The GSD can do this, under leash of course. There are so many things to do with the dog that makes him more a part of everything you are doing.
 

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Have you tried a prong collar? He will eventually damage his trachea if he continues like that. I would be scared to have a dog that big pulling so much. We have like five pitbulls on our street, so you can probably understand why. Hope you are able to figure something out.
 
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