German Shepherds Forum banner

1 - 20 of 33 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
23 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Quick background, we got Ali about a month ago now. She's been the best sweetest dog I could ever ask for. She's 18 months, on the smaller side at 55 pounds. Listens great and just an overall amazing addition to the family!

A few days ago I walked in the front door and found her on the couch jumping up at me all excited to see me as usual. Well I've never seen her on the couch before and don't want her on there, and it totally caught me off guard. So I grabbed her and yelled at her a bit, more than Ive ever done. She instantly crouched down on the couch knowing she did soemthing wrong and when I pulled her off I saw she had peed a big puddle on my couch. That just infuriated me more so I yelled more and threw her on to her bed where she laid there shaking pretty bad. Anyway it kills me to discpline her but I dont want her on the couch and I've read if you're going to yell at a dog you need to do it while they're in the act so they can put 2 and 2 together.

Anyway, the next day I walked in and she was on the couch! She instantly crouched down, ears down, tail down all low, ON THE COUCH, as if she KNEW she was doing bad! Well I didnt want to clean up a pile of pee again so I didnt yell, I just called her off the couch, without any idea what to do!

Well today I came home after being gone for 8 hours but I came in the side door from the garage. She greets me at the door but instantly crouches down all low, shaking, and pees right on my floor! I'm 90% sure she was on the couch cause the blanket was knocked off the back of it (it MIGHT have been the cat, but I doubt it).

Now a few things have changed. First and foremost, she was spayed a little over a week ago. And a few days before that my fiance brought her cat into the house. She seems to just be overall more timid around me lately. When I call her she comes to me as if she's in trouble.

Any ideas? I love her more than anything but I dont want her constantly acting like a wuss when I call her, and I definitely dont want her on the couch, especially since she seems to understand its bad. Please help!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
35 Posts
not right

I am sorry to say this, but you have caused the problem to escalate. I agree that if you don't want the dog on the couch, it shouldn't, but you should never discipline your dog the way you described. The problem you have now is your dog fears you and you will have to work on this quickly before it gets worse. Treat her with respect by not yelling and never being physical like throwing her on the bed. Discipline with firm tones, and if you must a tap on the butt with the firm NO. For now I would go out of your way to love on the dog, speak gentle, and reach towards it slowly so she knows she is not being hit and hopefully she will not crouch or pee. Some of this may just be my opinion, but it also comes from the experience of owning a abused/neglected rescue, so sorry if some of it came out wrong or if I insulted you, that was not my intention.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,289 Posts
If you are going to be gone for an extended period of time you should put her in a room that she can be confined in like a bathroom or utility room so that she does not have full run of the house. If not a room then maybe you should put her in a large crate.

The reason she is cowering down to you is because of your reaction to her for being on the couch. The reason she peed is because you screamed at her and manhandled her and she did it out of fear. So now every time you come home she thinks back to the experience of that day and that is why she is being sulky.

It is just my opinion and I am no way an expert on anything gsd for I am learning also, but I think she would be better off confined when you are not home. :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
85 Posts
Well, now you have even bigger issues to deal with than a dog who gets on the couch. Honestly, I'd put that issue on the back burner and address the much larger and more serious issues you have facing you which is the fact that you have created a very unstable, fearful situation for your dog.
Her reaction the second time wasn't a sign that she understands that being on the couch is bad - it is a sign that she associates being on the couch in front of you as bringing violence -- she is reacting fearfully to the anticipation of you becoming violent to her again, not to being on the couch.
If you don't want her on the couch, confine her when you aren't home.
Overall, you need to work on YOUR impulse control before you can even begin to think of trying to teach her the same.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
23 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Wow I feel like such a terrible person now! I honestly felt awful afterwards, it just caught me off guard and I yelled before I really thought about it. I didnt hit her or anything, just yelled at pulled her towards her bed with her collar. Poor girl, she really is a great dog! I definitely see what you're all saying now though, maybe she associates me "coming home" with "being yelled at" more than "being on the couch = being yelled at". Ugh this is awful, I hope I can fix this....

Will just being overly nice with her when I first come home fix it over time?
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
32,430 Posts
A few days ago I walked in the front door and found her on the couch jumping up at me all excited to see me as usual. Well I've never seen her on the couch before and don't want her on there, and it totally caught me off guard. So I grabbed her and yelled at her a bit, more than Ive ever done. She instantly crouched down on the couch knowing she did soemthing wrong and when I pulled her off I saw she had peed a big puddle on my couch. That just infuriated me more so I yelled more and threw her on to her bed where she laid there shaking pretty bad.
Are you serious? Your reaction to her being on the couch (have you ever trained her not to get on the couch?) was totally over the top which obviously scared her badly, hence the submissive urination.

Look at it from her point of view: You come home, she's happy and excited to see you and suddenly you grab her and start yelling at her. Her reaction the second day when you came home and she's on the couch again did not mean that she "KNEW she was doing bad", it was because she was anticipating you coming home and flipping out again, like you did the day before.

Yelling at a dog, especially for doing something they've never been trained not to do, shouldn't be done, period. No wonder she comes to you as if she's in trouble! Poor girl is associating the punishment with YOU, not with being on the couch.

How about you confine her - crate? x-pen? dog proof room?, so she can't get on the couch when you're gone, and in the meantime train her not to get on the couch when you're there. But know that even if she's perfect when you're around that doesn't mean she will never get up there again when you're gone. If it's that important to you, you need to make sure that she can't.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
32,430 Posts
Will just being overly nice with her when I first come home fix it over time?
Being "overly nice" (what does that even MEAN?!?!) won't teach her not to get on the couch when you're gone any more than yelling at her will. Be calm and matter of fact. Teach her an "off" command, and practice it in a variety of situations. Leaders don't rant and rave, scream and shout - they don't have to.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
32,430 Posts
Another thought - if you've got a really nice couch and don't want her to ruin it (and I get that, I've got nice furniture too), in addition to teaching her to get off you could also just cover the couch with something during the day when you're gone so if she does get up there she won't damage the fabric.

Confining her when you're not around would be the best option IMO, but this would be a reasonable alternative if you don't want to do that. It's not that hard to train dogs what to do and what not to do in our presence, but it can be very difficult to teach them to behave a certain way when we're not there. Pick your battles!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
23 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
I know I screwed up guys, thats why Im here asking for advice! Shes a great dog and I made a mistake.

The couch isnt even the issue Im concerned about as much anymore, I just want to get past this fear first and then I'll move on to other things. I did crate her the first few weeks I had her but then slowly started leaving her out as I left the house and she's done wonderfully, never touches anything that isnt a toy. I'll start keeping her a bit more confined when I leave for longer stretches though.

But as for the "fear" part, anything in particular? It seems to only be when I initially come home, she doesnt exhibit signs of it when Im home with her for hours at a time and she's still her normal playful self when we're outside in the snow.

Like I said, I know I messed up or else I wouldnt be asking for advice, just looking for what to do now. Thanks guys!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
58 Posts
There is a difference between disapline and punishment. What you did was a very harsh punishment. She did not understand that you don't want her on the couch. Dogs are not mind readers. All she under stands is is that she was on the couch and you attacked her. She now pees because she asking you not to hurt her. It is submission peeing. It is going to take a lot on your part to regain her trust in you. From now on if you are angry walk away until you can control yourself. Disapline must never be done with anger. When you come home do not pay any attention to her, put your things away and go sit in your usual spot and let her come to you quitely,this way it is her choice to come to you, keep everything low keyed for now soon she will trust you again. Next is to teach her not to get on the couch. Do this by when she gets on the couch tell her OFF (not down, down means to lay down, off means four feet on the floor) Since she is now afraid and to keep her from peeing throw a treat or toy on the floor, when she gets off the couch to get the treat praise her. Good Girl in a happy voice. If she does not get off the couch gently reach for her collar and guide her off, then praise her for being on the floor. Soon she will get the idea that you do not want her on the couch and will stay off. Untill then put her in a crate when your are gone. Many people don't like the idea of crates I put it to you this way. You would not leave a baby in a roon by its self unless you had it in a crib or play pen. a crate is your dogs crib. I have 11 dogs and they love their crates and will go into them when they want quite time. Good luck and keep your cool.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,389 Posts
First thing is, you can never yell at your dog again, ever.....EVER! What's the point. When you yell at your dog it starts thinking you are unstable, crazy and unpredictable.

Second...your dog doesn't know she's not supposed to be on the sofa. I'll get to that later.

Most importantly, you have to reestablish yourself as a fair leader, and help her stop her submissive urination. When you come home from work, totally ignore her, put your things away, let her outside. When she potties outside, tell her "good girl" and give her a kiss. Okay, you don't have to give her a kiss, but praise her. Being overly nice is not being a leader. Dogs worry about this, too. The submissive dogs are the nice ones. Leaders don't suck up to subordinates, so be kind, but not overly gushy. You don't want her worrying about your leadership qualities in this way, also. She'll be one messed up dog. Dogs want to follow and you need to demonstrate that you are a good person to follow.

You will never be able to teach her to stay off the sofa when you are not home. She's not stupid. But you can easily teach her to stay off the sofa when you ARE home. If she gets on the sofa, gently take her collar, say "get off", and lead her down. Then say "Good girl" and praise. You don't punish for the deed, you praise for change. Keep that in mind when you are training anything.

Also, once you let her on the sofa, just once, that's it. She'll never understand if she's supposed to be on the sofa or off the sofa.

Hope this helps.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
32,430 Posts
We've had GSDs since 1986 and we don't allow our dogs on the couch either. You can see how well that's worked out since we got Halo:



At least he INVITED her up there, lol!

I agree with westallkennel, teaching her "off" by throwing a treat or toy is a good idea, especially now that she's fearful when you come home. Even reaching for her collar to pull her off might be too much at this point.

And try to remember that she's only doing it because it's a nice soft comfortable place to be and she doesn't understand that she's not supposed to be there - maybe that will help you control your anger and show you what areas need further training.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,015 Posts
Ahh geez...

Guess you can see from the above posts that it wasn't the right way to go, but looking ahead, you need to be patient and consistent.

18 months old?

Makes is a bit harder since you may not know her history. She may have legitimately formed some behavior you'll have to slowly modify.

She won't understand you 'feeling badly,' or trying to make up to her. In a dog's case L O V E is an action verb.

Feeding, fairness and learning one step at a time with lots of praise for correct behavior and no consequences for something she hasn't proven she knows.. repetition, repetition, repetition.

My guess is that after a month she was just beginning to feel 'at home' and trusting.

Find ways for her to succeed and reinforce with calm praise and a treat or two.

Show her she can trust you.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
23 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
Thanks guys. She has never even TRIED to get on the couch while I am home. She seems to totally understand she isnt allowed on it. Like I said though, the couch is the least of my worries now! I'll begin to crate her again when Im gone, she's got a nice crate and likes it anywhere even when I dont tell her to get in, so thats not an issue.

Her being afraid of me is what Im more worried about now. I'll do what you said above though, about ignoring her when I first walk in, etc etc. I feel terrible about the whole thing I really do, she's a super sweet dog.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,536 Posts
Dogs are kind of situational thinkers. It may be that she "knows" to stay off the couch when you are home because your presence is an essential part of the equation--owner, couch==no dog on couch. When you aren't home there is no deterrent to lay on the comfy couch.

When people say that their dog acted "guilty", it usually means that the dog is scared. For instance, when my guys were young, one would raid the garbage. When I'd come home I'd yell and both would cower. Eventually we realized that only one dog was responsible for the mess but garbage on the floor plus owner equals bad things for dogs. I got a better garbage can.

Just be calm. Crate her again and keep your greetings low-key and away from the couch.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
23 Posts
Discussion Starter #16
It makes sense what you're all saying. If I could go back in time I would have handled it differently but unfortunately I cant. As far as the couch thing goes its tough because she never goes near it when Im home, so how do I teach her not to do it when Im gone? I'm not there to tell her no haha. I'll start crating her when I leave for now though, she does great in the crate anyway so that will solve that problem.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,226 Posts
Our lab is the same way... We got her at 3 and don't know a lot of her history... Every once in a while she'll start shaking if I raise my voice (not even at her) or drop something. We've had her for about 2 years now and she's totally changed form when we first got her, she's come out of her shell I guess, but I don't think the random skiing will ever stop.
For the first year we had her, I was convinced she was de-barked... Then one day she just started barking at the door. We've trained her to come 99% of the time but every once in a while I say it "wrong" and she runs the other way with her tail between her legs... I've just learned to ignore it and move on until she comes back to me which seems to work the best.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
64 Posts
Neither of our dogs have ever been on the couch, nor have they ever tried. Fortunate about this, but we have a host of other issues lol. To yell and grab your dog is just... horrible. What's worse, is that you didn't even recognize you were wrong enough not to post it here to publicize it. Not to mention, having a GSD cower like that must have been pretty harsh. Really, if the worst your pup does is get on the coach, then how will you act when he/she does something more serious? The trust between you and your pup is crucial and you may have just nixed it :(
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,015 Posts
Xenos56 -
I think that was an unnecessary post!

The OP has said they were wrong and is trying to learn.

The very fact the post was made shows Blstr88 really didn't know the extent of the wrong.

Don't you think it's better to help than to blame?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
64 Posts
I think the image of the dog cowering resulted in my reply. Losing one's temper once, twice, is a snippet of other issues in the home. 1. She grabbed the dog and yelled to the point where he/she cowered. 2. She grabbed the dog and threw him/her on the bed while yelling. If she can go to this extent over the dog sitting on the couch, then what will she do when the dog ruins a shoe? Eats out of the trash? Am I the only one who finds it offensive and worrying to read that someone has physically picked up a young dog and threw him/her on the bed while shouting?

Look, I am not upset about your reply zyppi, because I understand where you're coming from. I really do. It's just a bit worrying to read a post where an animal is obviously abused (the least abuse is abuse, no matter the level). Surely you can see why I had to say something here.

Even if she understands her wrongs now it doesn't take away the anger issue. Maybe I'm just too laid back with our dogs, but I cannot relate to this extreme.
 
1 - 20 of 33 Posts
Top