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Living with the Beast is really exhausting. Many days I wonder why we do it. Every time you correct a behavior and finally eliminate it he develops some other way to be beastie. I often grouse about the work he requires and lament that he will be the last GSD who will share our home.

Last weekend we went to the NE regional Schutzhund competition. As we watched the protection phase the boy turned to me and said "this is like our house on a regular basis". We watched a dog guarding a helper in the blind, bouncing like a jumping bean. The boy said "hey, just like Beast- look how he never touches that helper the same as Beast". We watched the handler walk the dog away from the blind and push into him and then watched the helper move him sideways in a well choreographed dance. Again, the boy said "Hey Beast does that sideways dance...and I have to push into him a lot!" We watched the dog and helper race at each other and meet midfield. The boy said "I know how that feels...you hear the thunder of the paws and then he is on you...all the way across the yard Beast picks up a lot of speed". We watched the helper stare down a dog. I asked the boy how that would work with the Beast. His answer: "well, I would never stare at him like that- I think he would nip my nose- he isn't trained like these guys".

I realized then that it is all in perspective. If Beast was one of the competitors I would probably be thrilled at all his natural proclivities. If he were involved in that sport I would be training him to use those talents instead of trying to train him to constrain those behaviors. I am working against his nature. I have a new appreciation for my Beast. While I still think he is a lot of work I recognize he simply missed his calling and is trying in his own Beastie way to balance his natural instincts with what I want. I will celebrate his ingenuity in finding a new way to Beast instead of feeling exasperated- after all others like him get to train what they already are inclined for- he has to be someone completely different-and that is a lot of work for us both.
 

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what work? train, train, train,
socialize, socialize, socialize. we have
the easy part when it comes to owning a dog.
the breeder does the hard part. they make sure
the dog has a sound temperment and strong
nerves. all we have to do is train, socialize, love and feed
well and that my friend is a peice of cake.
 

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you could feel this way about any dog. all
dogs big and small need training, socializing, loving
and owners who are committed.

Living with the Beast is really exhausting. Many days I wonder why we do it. Every time you correct a behavior and finally eliminate it he develops some other way to be beastie. I often grouse about the work he requires and lament that he will be the last GSD who will share our home.
 

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Yes..I am not discounting that all dogs need those things. Beast is not our first shepherd...he is the fifth (that stayed- many fosters in there as well). All have participated in training classes, herding agility, flyball, etc. They go out and about- Beast is the dog safety demo dog for the scouting program... it is not any of *that* ...he is just so MUCH dog. He is not like any of the others we have shared our lives with. He is by far the smartest, most athletic etc...he is just very different from all the others. They seemed to go along with the training and it fit with who they were...Beast, well I feel like we are forcing him into a mold- like a square peg in a round hole most days. He gives it his best...but there is always going to be some new Beastie thing that is just natural for him. He had been exhausting me lately..but after listening to my son watch these dogs who are so MUCH like Beast and comment that the Beast wasn't trained as they were (ie they are trained to use those natural abilities...I am training against them in the Beast) I realized that he really was amazing- as he IS going against who he is in doing what we want. I appreciate him more instead of feeling exasperated. He has to work much harder than all our other dogs for whom being pets came easily.
 

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is it the dog or your training???
i read somewhere "when a dog isn't doing
what you want you're doing something wrong".

Yes..I am not discounting that all dogs need those things. Beast is not our first shepherd...he is the fifth (that stayed- many fosters in there as well). All have participated in training classes, herding agility, flyball, etc. They go out and about- Beast is the dog safety demo dog for the scouting program... it is not any of *that* ...he is just so MUCH dog. He is not like any of the others we have shared our lives with. He is by far the smartest, most athletic etc...he is just very different from all the others. They seemed to go along with the training and it fit with who they were...Beast, well I feel like we are forcing him into a mold- like a square peg in a round hole most days. He gives it his best...but there is always going to be some new Beastie thing that is just natural for him. He had been exhausting me lately..but after listening to my son watch these dogs who are so MUCH like Beast and comment that the Beast wasn't trained as they were (ie they are trained to use those natural abilities...I am training against them in the Beast) I realized that he really was amazing- as he IS going against who he is in doing what we want. I appreciate him more instead of feeling exasperated. He has to work much harder than all our other dogs for whom being pets came easily.
 

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I think what dogsnkiddos is saying is that Beast is truly amazing considering his talent may lie in a more active sport and that he has to go against his natural instincts to be 'just a pet'. It isn't really about the dog or the training but realizing that your dog's talent may lie elsewhere in order to appreciate them to the fullest.

Funny how a child's viewpoint puts everything in perspective, doesn't it? :) Jax is a pretty wired dog also. I went to a new trainer to "tap" into her drive to train her. I'm very excited about it and hope to teach her impulse control. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Hum...I think I was pretty specific in saying that when we tackle one thing he finds a new Beastie way...but that was not even the point of my post- I was simply sharing that by changing my perspective I can appreciate him instead of feeling exasperated as I have lately.

Frankly it IS work for me. I am not a natural at dog training. I read, we pay trainers to teach me, but I am not talented at doing it on my own. My other GSDs were a good match for our family and were/are easy. Beast came to us as a temp foster through a surgical procedure. I have been posting here since that time seeking advice when faced yet another Beastism. He is a high drive dog in EVERYTHING he does. We did not choose him. After months of inappropriate adopters coming to the all breed rescue (one wanted to have him so they could menace the children at the school bus stop in front of their house; another wanted to keep him in their apartment 10 hours a day and asked if we thought he would be ok; etc) we tried to find him a placement in a working dog situation- but a birth defect prevented him from being accepted in to any we found. We talked with the rescue and agreed though we felt that we certainly were NOT a working dog home we would try to our best by Beast. We have invested much love and time into Beast- we work on all his many, many issues. I get frustrated that we will (with help of professionals) work on one thing, get it to where we want it and then it is something else that pops up. For instance, Beast can turn doorknobs. We taught him not to touch doorknobs. He switched to pushing open windows. We taught him to leave the windows alone. He moved on to opening the dryer. It becomes exasperating. THAT is what I was talking about. We seek guidance, we follow directions and work with him- but he is always ready for a new Beastie behavior that we were not expecting. We certainly are FAR from decent trainers (which is why we work with so many professionals)..but we work at it every day. Somedays I just feel negative about how much effort it takes with the beast...thus my post about my son helping to change my perspective and making me feel better about the Beast. When I look at how hard he has o work to be what i want in the house despite his natural proclivities I can appreciate him more.
 

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it sounds like you have a smart dog. keep
training and socializing and he'll come around.
i think why i find having a dog is easy
is because i don't see any phase of having
a dog as being hard and i don't get exasperated
easily. with the help of trainers and consistency
in my training i always wind up with a well trained
and highly socialized dog.
 

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have you thought about entering him in a sport so he has an outlet for all his energy? Is there a 4-H group around that works with dogs? We have a local one that has agility and rally for kids. I would love to see pictures of Boy and Beast doing agility or obedience! Or tracking?
 

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Great story! Sounds like the boy knows his Beast. I know exactly what you mean- Uschi is a whole lot of dog and I have come to realize that having manners in the house, laying quietly in her crate, standing still for inspection, etc are her idea of 'work'- and I ask her to do so much of it. She would so rather be out hunting varmints, swimming, herding anything instead. I wish I had that appreciation earlier
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Beast was expelled from herding- he was a bit too mouthy and the herd owner/trainer felt he was more than she was willing to work. Agility has not been his forte either (we have equipment in the back yard and he has taken several agility classes). He does well in obedience class which means living with him is not awful :)

Boy is convinced now that schutzhund is their future. I contacted someone locally and asked about the two of them working together- not with an eye toward competition or such, just for them to work at something they both enjoy. They have a joint evaluation upcoming. I think had we not had this experience this past weekend I would never have understood the Beast or appreciated him as I do now.
 
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