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For those of you that haven't stumbled upon my various threads of late, I added a working GSD to my family a few weeks ago. Our honeymoon period is over and she is in FULL FORCE! She has insane drive. Fighting is over, so now it's down to brass tacks.

Juno has abandoned any pretense about ball drive. She does not subscribe to the ball anymore. Now when we go outside and play ball in the yard, she has 100% unwavering focus on one of my other dogs. She locks onto this bitch and does not stop marking her every move. She's herding, and doing it well. When Lexi (the target bitch) stands still she circles her tight, 'air snapping' at her back legs and chin to try to get her to move. Lexi doesn't acknowledge her unless she gets in the way of her retrieving the ball, at which point she extends a courtesy " get off!" snap and returns to play. She's taking it very well.

I'm worried Juno will turn this 'fun' into obsessive behavior. The air snapping was not happening when she first came home, and there has been a marked increase in that action since she's been here. She'll air snap to get somebody to drop a toy (doesn't work), when she wants petting (doesn't work), or when she's trying to initiate play with another dog (sometimes works). I'm not a fan of it. She did it to the cat once and caught his tail, which resulted in a whole lot of hissing and yelling.

How do I correct the marking/herding behavior outside? When she's on a drag line everybody gets so tangled that it doesn't make any sense to leave it on. Is this a situation for an e-collar? She WILL NOT redirect with anything (toy, treat, squeaky, whistle, clap, stomp, yell). On one hand I'm pleased that she has proven that she does at least possess the ABILITY to focus, now we just have to control WHAT she focuses on, lol!

How do I correct the air-snapping, or is that just something that we'll learn to love? It's cute, but she occasionally catches things in her snap (like my arm skin, or a dog, or the cat's tail) and makes trouble.
 

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When my puppy was very young, he'd focus on DH's dog too. She didn't want the attention, she didn't want to run and play with him: she wanted him to leave her alone. I was worried that when he got older, she'd end up giving him a bite if this kept up. What worked for me was to take him out separately. That way, I was the source of fun. He loves toys, flirt pole and frisbee are his favorites. It helped train him to leave her alone, because he knew she wasn't going to be his entertainment
 

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Discussion Starter #4
More exercise.... and a long line when out. Whatever she practices is what she will become adept at.
As stated above, using a drag line does not work for us. I have five dogs and they all get tangled. She ends up being dragged around by three or four other flailing dogs trying to get untangled. Are there any other control methods that you could recommend as an alternative?

Also, how else do we get more exercise in for a 6 month old? She's already outside running non-stop for a half hour to an hour every day. With the heat in our area we can't do much mid-day so we're limited to mornings and evenings. I don't want to cause issues with her joints either, and she loves percussive play (diving onto and back off of the bed etc). We use the flirt pole too. I don't have much inside space so we can't do a lot of exuberant play. We're training twice a day for short periods and go out for group training once a week. With the rain as well it's been difficult to get everybody the outside time they need. She gets breakfast and dinner in a treat ball so it takes her longer and keeps her stimulated.

Suggestions welcome!
 

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I have a 4 month (will be 5 months the 3rd) and last night I took him to the lake. We stayed quite a while and had the dog of a friend's along as well. Between worrying about the other dog's business, swimming out to fetch toys and galloping through the shallower water (still up to his chest so he was bounding/hopping), he finally got on the shore and laid down voluntarily (for at LEAST 15 seconds). That's tired for him, particularly with another dog around!

If she isn't interested in ball playing, then I would leash and tether her out of the action while the others play for a while. Impulse control is a good exercise; I would then see if she will fetch/play if she's out there alone. I also have a kiddie pool that I'll put out. My puppy will loves it and will lie down in it to cool off before racing off to play. Of course it quickly gets nasty, but hey.. at least he's cooled off enough to keep bleeding off energy playing!
 

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I'm certainly no expert so take it with a grain of salt if you will. I would train her separately from you other dogs for a specific task that she will really focus on that gets her really excited once you really are working well with that alone add one dog back in at a time while *attempting* to keep her focus on that one task. Stop training her individually with that task and it is only used when you are in the group setting and she is behaving properly. If she is not behaving in a manner you want she does not get that reward.

Diesel has no ball drive whatsoever so the flirt pole it is which is the tool I use the most to train. I have had great results redirecting with the flirt pole when he becomes obsessed with trying to eat the neighbors dog. We are to the point now when if he see's the neighbors dog and does not go into a frenzy instead comes to me we play vigorously with the flirt pole which is the only time he gets it lately. to my complete amazement about a week ago the neighbors dog came out and HOLY COW he came running to me and sat down like we had been practicing we played until he didnt want to play any longer.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
We've got a local dock-diving pool I really want to look into! They only do diving there, though, so we couldn't just swim. I'm fresh out of swim-only local pools to try. I've actually seriously considered getting one of those above-ground pools for the dogs to really swim in, but I have no clue how to build a deck for them to get in and out from. I'll keep researching it! Probably towards the end of the season here some will pop up on CL used, I could get a good price.

As soon as the ball is put away she stops obsessing over her target. I'll do more one-on-one ball play with her to see if she'll get back into it, but when I last tried she just watched it sail away across the yard and then came back to me for pets before lolloping off to hunt for rats. We've extended 'watch me' from a split second to about a second and a half, which is a HUGE improvement. We learned sit, touch, wait, and how to be calm before going through a door so far.
She's very food driven, but her attention span is so short... when she first came home, if following the food lure required more than a second of attention or moved farther than six inches from her nose she'd quit and hunt around for something else. Now she'll watch it all the way to my face, but it'd better go to her mouth immediately or she'll loose interest. She's also willing to look up and behind her to seek it now too.

Small steps! Phew!
 

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Not a drag line, but a long line. I would absolutely not allow her to continue the behavior.... one, it's annoying, and two as she ages it is likely to provoke a fight. She has drive, but you have to direct it.

As to an e-collar... I personally do not use electric, while still recognizing that it works for some people. This is not a case that, IMO, it would be appropriate.

She will only be 6 months old once... I would work on making the time to do some serious one-on-one training daily. Long-line, ball, treats and you. Tease her up a little with the ball, toss it 5 feet away, restrain her, and before she looses interest release her and then coax her back in to you. If she brings it but doesn't drop, use your treat to redirect. (you can also do this with 2-Ball).

Tracking is an awesome way to wear her little brain out.... and of course herding:).
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Not a drag line, but a long line. I would absolutely not allow her to continue the behavior.... one, it's annoying, and two as she ages it is likely to provoke a fight. She has drive, but you have to direct it.

As to an e-collar... I personally do not use electric, while still recognizing that it works for some people. This is not a case that, IMO, it would be appropriate.

She will only be 6 months old once... I would work on making the time to do some serious one-on-one training daily. Long-line, ball, treats and you. Tease her up a little with the ball, toss it 5 feet away, restrain her, and before she looses interest release her and then coax her back in to you. If she brings it but doesn't drop, use your treat to redirect. (you can also do this with 2-Ball).

Tracking is an awesome way to wear her little brain out.... and of course herding:).
Oh yeah! We'll be starting herding next Sunday, lol. Bring on the sheep!

I'm honestly not getting the difference between a drag and a long line. It's a length of leash left trailing in either case, right? Or is there a subtle material difference I'm missing? I have been using a 12 ft cotton webbing line. I can't think of any material that would not still catch on any and everything in the yard and all the other dogs.
 

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I don't allow my puppies to play and run around free with a bunch of other loose dogs until they are old enough and/or capable of some basic off leash obedience and self control. At 6 months old, I would work her obedience/recall with a long line and keep her separated from any off leash group play until she has it down pat.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Duly noted. We're doing solo stuff in equal measure with group play; I'll just cut out group play for the moment.

I'm just so wary of doing so much activity with her because of her developing joints. I have it rammed into my head from everybody to go easy on any sports until after 14 months; if she had it her way she'd be bouncing off the walls and running endlessly, and I'm trying to mediate her energy/drive with my desire to keep her sound and able to pass OFA at 2 years.
 

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I stumbled on to this thread because my 1.5 year old GSD is exhibiting this exact behavior.

She will focus on a single dog and chase it when it is moving and circle it when it is still. She has absolutely zero interest in the object that the other dog is chasing (frisbee, ball whatever). Some dogs understandably express their irritation with a snarl and snap and I have to had break up the play at that time.

This is not new behavior (she would do it when she was a puppy). I figured she would grow out of it. She is a lot bigger now and the other dogs perhaps get more uncomfortable because of that.

Any tips on how to get her to stop?
 

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First, this is a very old thread with a common issue. Your dog/puppy should not have been allowed to practice that behavior for so long...first mistake!

They don't "grow out of bad behaviors, usually, they just get worse! Not being critical, but I've seen it too many times. The best time to correct the problem is when it first shows up! Water under the bridge...

What now? Teach your dog what you want to see...within reason that is! LOL!

I see people all the time trying to get their dogs to "share" things. That's just not in a dog's nature! But you can, with training, teach them how to behave in certain situations. And although people say dogs don't generalize well, mine always have once you reach a certain training/learning point.

So, train obedience, attack this problem indirectly by working on greater obedience in general...and in the mean time, give your dog a ball to carry in his mouth while following others...that worked well for me!
 
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