German Shepherds Forum banner
Status
Not open for further replies.
1 - 11 of 11 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
68 Posts
Edit: The title was supposed to say corrections! I don't know what happened....

Hey everyone! I've talked to a number of you, and I'm reaching a critical point with Pepper regarding "corrections." Here is our information, I'm long winded, sorry in advance. :wub:

She's 7 months old, very confident, and rather impervious to corrections. I know she *knows* what "no" and "no bite" mean etc, but she is in no way consistent in being responsive to verbal or leash corrections. I love her, and in general I'm happy with her, but I have that feeling that we're reaching a new point that needs managing. She knows: sit, stay (doesn't last more than a few minutes on our best days), her recall is getting very good, leave it, take it, drop it, off, watch me, settle/calm, let's go, a decent heel, her loose leash walking is very good without distractions, 90% around people and cars and environmental distractions, and sort of awful around other dogs but we're working on it. She's a good dog!

We institute a pretty good NILIF I think. Waiting for food bowl til released, sitting before all doors, road crossings, leave its and such when toys come out til I say "let's play" or "take it"-- etc. We also do a lot of Michael Ellis, clicker & marker training. We are also in a group obedience class (6 weeks) that's on its last week, and we'll do another after that. I'm trying my best! She gets daily walks or hikes, often x2, lots of play, flirt pole, fetch, etc. We use a crate during the day as she is a destructive chewer ( usually total crated about 6-7 hours of day and then at night)

Our struggles are still with the cat, lunging/pulling/play-excitement when seeing other dogs, (we're a one dog household) and a few other little things I'm not too worked up about but keep diligently working on. She is not robot-dog when it comes to obedience, she knows the commands but they're a bit sloppy (heel isn't tight, we make mistakes or don't listen sometimes, etc). She is not especially food motivated (works well without distractions but not super when there are, including hot dogs, steak, hamburger, tripe, kibble...whathave you).

My trouble is, sometimes she's a brat and I don't know much about appropriate corrections. I know what not to do for sure (swat her, grab her by the collar and pull her etc)-- and honestly, the one time I swatted her out of frustration:( as a pup she snapped at me...she is NOT soft. She was a VERY mouthy pup, and is 90% better now, but once in awhile she has a sassy bite. It's not aggressive, but it is NOT okay. I do not let her mouth me at all. We always say "no" or "no bite" and redirect with an appropriate toy.

For example, sometimes she WILL NOT stop focusing on the cat. Even when I drag her away with a leash, or wave a t-bone in her face, or verbal correction, or attempts to play. Or today, we were in the car (she's almost always perfect in the car) we went through a coffee drive through, and she was jumping over my lap to get out the window-- I tried to pull her back to her seat (even with treat) and she just wouldn't listen. I pulled her back by her collar and she reached and really bit me! Didn't break the skin but lots of pressure. No hackles, no growls, no aggressive, just "I'm the boss I do what I want" sass.

What to do? How does the community to feel about prong collars, e-collars, etc? Are we at that stage? I must admit, as a novice I am a bit nervous about them. I don't want to "break her" --but I am just not getting the responses I need in some of these situations. Should I keep doing what I'm doing? Is it a "big deal?" Try one of these other methods? Is 7 months appropriate? Which is best for my dog?

I REALLY appreciate all of you, and I know you have differing opinions, which I'm excited to hear! (Also if I just missed a sticky here...feel free to delete and redirect me, admins :blush:)
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
8,084 Posts
Headstrong adolescents!Sounds like a prong collar would be an effective tool for you.In the meantime until you can learn how to use one properly(or choose another method) I would keep a short leash attached to her to correct her and NOT grab her collar.Touch her collar lightly whenever you reward her with a treat to recondition her to see the touch as pleasant.Would hate to hear you got a serious bite!Best of luck to you as you deal with your teenager!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
32,325 Posts
#1 is management. If you can't fit a crate in your vehicle, then use a seat belt for the dog. You have to buy one with a harness and use it every time. Because your dog is not the kind of dog who is going to just stay in the back seat.

It baffles me when a seven month old puppy bites its owner. And we are talking about corrections. My gut is screaming that we need to change up whatever the heck we are doing.

We are talking about sloppy sits and not being perfect with distractions, but the puppy is biting you?!? We are thinking about escalating corrections, when a physical correction has already elicited a snap toward you?

Personally, I think you need a good behaviorist with plenty of experience with this breed or similar working/herding dogs. They have to physically assess your dog.

I'm sorry, but that snap does not ensure that the dog is not soft. In fact it might be more likely that she is, only when she is fearful she will snap or bite -- many sheps are fearful. Some will bite and some will not bite. Most bites (outside of protection training and work) are out of fear, not sassyness or meanness, or dominance.

Your dog could also be very independent, and has not accepted you as the leader. We really don't know.

But I would not slap an e-collar or a prong collar on this dog and go from here. I would get the dog evaluated with someone with lots of experience with the type of GSD you have. Because it might be different how you approach her training if she is actually soft / shutting down when corrected or protecting herself; as opposed to independent/confident and protecting herself.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
24,301 Posts
Agree with selzer and if you truly do have a dog impervious to corrections, then positive is the way to go. I have a dog here who has a pain tolerance for inflicted pain that you would not believe - a vet put a q tip up her nostril to get a culture sample and she said I sometimes can't even put a q tip up this high on a sedated dog, this is amazing. This dog is also a likely Chow mix, so more like a cat. I tried using some corrections on her and man, you could see the opposition reflex happen as clearly as a putting a pulling harness on her.

This dog has the potential for behaviors. So she has been on a lifetime of a work and earn type program (she will be 10 in April), so a lot of structure in her world, but always force free. A ton of clarity for her. She does not use her mouth on me, she is happy, does some beautiful obedience, and I can get her to do things (or more accurately not do things) that are against what she wants to do.

I guide with my voice (which can be a correction and is an aversive), I guide by teaching her what I want, I use body language (ignoring - aversive, body block) but mostly with praise (which she now wants) and our relationship, which is based on a mutual understanding as far as a dog can understand a person, and vice versa.

People always ask why didn't you use force with her (they say corrections) and I say why would I if what I am doing works so well?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,659 Posts
Sorry, can't help with the training, however, I divided my house in two, 1/2 for the cats, the other for the dog. Gradually, it increased more for the dog, until now its 1/2 of the laundry room which contains cat food, litter and a bed.. Fritz was a terror, he mauled them..as he grew, less and less, and now its just a nice play. Make a 'safe place' for your cat to go to. I whole heartedly agree with Selzer, sound advice!
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,020 Posts
I am new to German Shepherds, although I have had dogs my entire life. My one year old boy has a real sense of "fairness." Hie body language lets me know if he thinks a correction is fair--he does the command with no verbalization and no fuss.

I have a behaviorist as a trainer and use mostly positive methods. I tried all positive, but he was blowing me off some of the time. Voice or leash correction, when needed. Lots of redirect (for example, he jumps on me, I walk into him, then put him in a sit when 4 feet hit the ground).

Good job for taking Pepper through a group class! I have found a really good behaviorist to work with privately and it makes a huge difference. I agree that someone needs to see you both in person and assess.

GSDs can be challenging. Working through troubles successfully is rewarding and bonding for you and your dog. Good luck!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
16,238 Posts
I'd up the reward system and look at my consistency (improving it) with what behavior I reward, when I reward that behavior. I've been working on seperating my praise words from my reward word which got blurred with the youngest. Things are much better.
If you are not using a long line, I'd recommend a long line (15 footer will do).

I think that your dog may have confused your "corrections" with invitations to play (this happens with physical corrections sometimes - and sports handlers can use heavy 'pats' as encouragement to build the dog's response.)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
68 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks everyone, such great advice so far, I really appreciate it ! Selzer I included all the info about sloppy sits, because from readying the forum I've found that when people don't include enough info about their training, status, habits etc, that the senior posters (like yourself) usually ask when trying to diagnose a problem! So I was trying to give the best picture possible about what our relationship and training status looks like... I am certainly NOT prioritizing our sloppy sits over her biting!

I am a little frustrated, I feel like the line on where it goes from "you have a mouthy landshark" to "COMPLETELY UNACCEPTABLE" was blurry for me. I was very nervous about how mouthy Pepper was when we first got her, she bit and bit and bit and bit. And at 7 months she is SO much better. She'll try and mouth sometimes when playing, but its soft and we still don't allow it (no bite, remove hands and stop play) and while I wish we were done, it is still consistently improving.

She is a little love-ball, and everyone (her current group trainer included) describe her as "sweet"-- she loves to meet and be loved etc etc.

I'm not being defensive about this occasional unacceptable behavior, but just looking for some guidance on "how to get through" with corrections (or maybe without?). What you guys said about it not necessarily meaning she's soft, really sticks with me, that makes a lot of sense. I guess what I should have said, is it seems like whatever correction I try really doesn't illicit much reaction from her, until it does (like the rare bite)--

Middle of Nowhere I think you might right too, that she mistakes these moments of contact as play. That makes sense with the occasionally soft play mouthiness. I also need to be consistent with friends/husband, family that the play STOPS when mouthing happens. I feel like they say "NO BITE" and then keep playing and letting her get away with it.

While I truly feel like this is sass or independence of somesort (whenever it has happened it has not been in a "fear" situation"-- just when she doesn't want to get off the couch, or the car example below, those are the 2 times I remember it happening) Keeping in mind 95% of the time she does do it with no sass... I also recognize that I'm not a professional and probably not qualified to make this judgement. I just want it to stop, ugh! And trying a correction and failing sort of scared me, because it made me think, what recourse do I have with her as it stands, now?

Next problem, where to find someone to bring into the home? I live in Missoula, Montana. Not exactly "nowhere"-- it's a town of 60k with 100k including suburbs, but its still Montana and I have found one with expertise in GSDs and don't know who to trust. Is there a certain qualification to look for? I like my group obedience trainer (She's clicker/positive training)...but I don't know if she's the one...
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
8,084 Posts
I can emphasize about family members letting her get away with things!My boy has become quite the jumper lately with my husband's encouragement.I know exactly where the problem started and how to stop it if I could get a little cooperation.Do you think Pepper is biting when she gets excited because she's unclear of the rules?Something to think about anyway.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
I to have a landshark pirhana cross who looks very much like a GSD. I have never been able to play with him, cuddle him or even pet him until very recently. He is 8 months old, I evaluated him at 7 weeks for drive and he had none. Again at 10 weeks and much the same responses, none. He was also very easy to handle, pet etc. The day after I brought him home he came out of his crate in the morning open mouthed and biting. He never stopped. My hands and ankles were shredded as were those of everyone who attempted to interact with him. I did all the typical positive reinforcement, diversion and time out exercises. Nothing worked. Bones and chew toys helped but definitely did not solve the problem. The emergence of his adult teeth slightly improved the situation but did not stop the biting. As of today he greets people by mouthing them. I have gotten to the point where I will not allow him to greet anyone because it gives him the opportunity to practice the behavior. I have no answer for you as far as the biting and I will tell you that ANYONE can call themselves a dog trainer. I would look for someone who has been certified by Purdue University in canine behavior. Most of these people are trainers as well and will be capable of offering you scientifically proven solutions to training questions you may have.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
8,084 Posts
2015 thread
 
1 - 11 of 11 Posts
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top