German Shepherds Forum banner

1 - 20 of 23 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
410 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
It was pointed out in another one of my threads that it is possible my boy has a confidence issue. I have had him for 3 months and looking back I think that person hit the nail on the head. He lived the first 2yrs of his life in a fenced in yard before I adopted him. What can I do to boost his confidence?? :(
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
3,779 Posts
It was pointed out in another one of my threads that it is possible my boy has a confidence issue. I have had him for 3 months and looking back I think that person hit the nail on the head. He lived the first 2yrs of his life in a fenced in yard before I adopted him. What can I do to boost his confidence?? :(
Exposure to new stimuli, but make sure he is not overstimulated or shutting down in fear. Bitework with a skilled helper is an excellent confidence builder. Really all training is a good confidence builder. Go for a walk and if you see someone, ask if they would like to treat your dog, and give them some treats... is there anything specifically he is scared of?
 

·
Moderator
Joined
·
5,627 Posts
Really all training is a good confidence builder.
This. Have you ever been to a class with your dog? Even just training at home where he gets praised a lot with help build his confidence.

You've only had him 3 months, you guys are still building a relationship. Lots of fun activities together (all positive) will help with his confidence and your bond.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
410 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Exposure to new stimuli, but make sure he is not overstimulated or shutting down in fear. Bitework with a skilled helper is an excellent confidence builder. Really all training is a good confidence builder. Go for a walk and if you see someone, ask if they would like to treat your dog, and give them some treats... is there anything specifically he is scared of?

He isnt really scared of much. He gets very cautious when around other dogs and other people, but still wags his tail. He gets scared/runs away when I change the tone of my voice to the "no no" voice, which I do very rarely...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
410 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
This. Have you ever been to a class with your dog? Even just training at home where he gets praised a lot with help build his confidence.

You've only had him 3 months, you guys are still building a relationship. Lots of fun activities together (all positive) will help with his confidence and your bond.

We are scheduled to start our first obedience class next week. We tested out of the beginner class:)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,602 Posts
Great! That's going to do a lot for your confidence as well. Stosh needed some confidence building after the shooting incident and even though he was beyond basic obedience in experience, we went back to the basics. The time together, him knowing he can trust you, the successes he'll have, will all build on one another.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
410 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
Great! That's going to do a lot for your confidence as well. Stosh needed some confidence building after the shooting incident and even though he was beyond basic obedience in experience, we went back to the basics. The time together, him knowing he can trust you, the successes he'll have, will all build on one another.

I was just reading about that the other day!

I am really looking forward to the classes. I am very new at everything...being a 3 month old GSD owner...There is a lot more to learn and get comfortable/confident with!!
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
3,779 Posts
He gets scared/runs away when I change the tone of my voice to the "no no" voice, which I do very rarely...
This probably means he was taught with compulsion/negative reinforcement only or primarily. If that is the case then his expectation is that if you are displeased, a beating is coming his way. Better to only do positive reinforcement with him, and avoid any scenerio where negative might be used appropriately with other dogs.

If its just a general wariness around other dogs and people, I'd bet thats just something some confidence would address. If he is abnormally scared of something in particular then you may have to address that differenetly
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
410 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
You are probably right. When you say positive reinforcement does that mean when he does something wrong, show him the right way to do it and then praise?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,602 Posts
Absolutely! Try to gauge how he's doing and if you see that he's getting tired or stressed, give him something he knows how to do like sit or shake or whatever his best is, have him do that a few times, treat and praise like crazy then take a break and sit out for a bit. Always end with a big party even if you're jumping up and down, smiling, waving your arms saying "You're killing me here" -just keep it all positive, make sure you end on a big happy note even if you have to quit early.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
3,779 Posts
You are probably right. When you say positive reinforcement does that mean when he does something wrong, show him the right way to do it and then praise?
There are 4 responses you can give when he does something.

You can give him something he wants - positive reinforcement (a ball)
You can take away something he wants - negative punishment (take the ball)
You can give him something he doesn't want - positive punishment (a collar pop)
You can take away something he doesn't want - negative reinforcement (this is one people always trip up on... if the dog knows a collar pop is going to happen if I'm standing rather than sitting when we stop heeling, then by "rewarding" him by denying him his punishment, we have negatively reinforced a behavior)

reinforcement reinforces behaviors, punishment diminishes them
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
3,779 Posts
Some will say that if he's a bit skittish or prone to stress, you may want to keep him low stress. There is also a great deal of folks that would put the dog in the the stressful situation over and over to habituate him to that stress... some would reassure the dog, some pretend nothing is abnormal. Different things have different effects for different dogs.

Immersing someone in the thing that generates their anxiety is currently one of the ways psychologist treat humans for PTSD. Your dog is sort of in the same boat as a service-man just rotating back from iraq, I bet
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
410 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
Thank you very much. This gives me a good idea of where to start. The service-man analogy was dead on, really puts it into perspective.

Absolutely! Try to gauge how he's doing and if you see that he's getting tired or stressed, give him something he knows how to do like sit or shake or whatever his best is, have him do that a few times, treat and praise like crazy then take a break and sit out for a bit. Always end with a big party even if you're jumping up and down, smiling, waving your arms saying "You're killing me here" -just keep it all positive, make sure you end on a big happy note even if you have to quit early.
Thank you!! He is going to enjoy seeing me dance around and get excited:) lol
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
3,779 Posts
Thank you!! He is going to enjoy seeing me dance around and get excited:) lol
I've yet to see a dog that doesn't enjoy it's owner dancing around like an idiot ;) I sing songs to mine... when we're alone of course
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
410 Posts
Discussion Starter #17
Haha! This is a post I had on another thread---

I do all kinds of crazy voices with Schindler. I like to rhyme his name and sing him all kinds of crazy songs...lol. He is pretty used to it by now. He will be looking straight ahead with his ears up, & when I start singing he will lay his ears back and slowly turn to look at me out the corner of his eye. LOL...he's like
"come on mom...really??"
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
410 Posts
Discussion Starter #18
well it's been a couple of days and I know I need to be patient because this is not something that will change overnight. In the past couple of days we have been working obedience. Some new, some old tricks. Seems to be going pretty good. We have been getting exercise, and tons of praise. New thing though....while we were playing outside he nipped at me twice (nothing major, but enough to get my attention). And also I gave him a new kind of bone and when I went by him he got all possesive about it and even growled a little bit. Goodness....He is a mess....and so am I :(
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
58 Posts
my king was unsure of bigger dogs when he was 2 -3 months old and you have to be very careful in the imprinting phases that he doesnt have any negative experiences as they could take alot of work to undo perhaps you could socialize with smaller breeds if possible until more comfortable worked for me.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
410 Posts
Discussion Starter #20
Just wanted to give an update. Schindler is doing much much better. He seems to be gaining more confidence:) We have been learning new tricks and getting more exercise. Things are good.
 
1 - 20 of 23 Posts
Top