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Hello, I have a 3 and a half month male gsd. The past month we have had him id say i’ve babied him a lot by giving him to much attention and affection and not setting many rules and boundaries. His training was going good though. There are a lot of people he see’s everyday that he loves and everybody spoils him in their own ways by giving him pig ears, treats and lots of affections. Out of all the people I spend the most time with him, giving him his meals, doing 99% of the training, putting him to bed and waking him up, etc. I really wanted a dog as a best friend. My goal was to have a dog that always wanted to be by my side and just love me no matter what. I put in so much time with him and he still doesn’t seem to be bonded with me in a way i’d hoped. I’ve decided to step up my game and stop babying him so much by being more calm, strict and assertive. I don’t give him as much affection as I used to and of course he doesn’t seem to want to be around me much anymore. Have I ruined any kind of bond that existed? Or should I continue being the pack leader? Will he ever become that best friend that i’ve always wanted who always wants to be by my side? Will our bond grow as he gets older? I need advice on how to bond with him without spoiling him like everyone else?
 

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Hello, I have a 3 and a half month male gsd. The past month we have had him id say i’ve babied him a lot by giving him to much attention and affection and not setting many rules and boundaries. His training was going good though. There are a lot of people he see’s everyday that he loves and everybody spoils him in their own ways by giving him pig ears, treats and lots of affections. Out of all the people I spend the most time with him, giving him his meals, doing 99% of the training, putting him to bed and waking him up, etc. I really wanted a dog as a best friend. My goal was to have a dog that always wanted to be by my side and just love me no matter what. I put in so much time with him and he still doesn’t seem to be bonded with me in a way i’d hoped. I’ve decided to step up my game and stop babying him so much by being more calm, strict and assertive. I don’t give him as much affection as I used to and of course he doesn’t seem to want to be around me much anymore. Have I ruined any kind of bond that existed? Or should I continue being the pack leader? Will he ever become that best friend that i’ve always wanted who always wants to be by my side? Will our bond grow as he gets older? I need advice on how to bond with him without spoiling him like everyone else?
Do you like spending time with people that are strict and assertive? Your puppy is a baby, try leading with patience, fun, and animation. Play, play, play...then explore. Be his best friend but don't baby him. Be calm when he tries your patience, but be fun and animated and exciting and benevolent the rest of the time! Help him build his confidence in himself and in you, by exposing him to new things that he can do successfully, like climbing stuff or exploring your yard. Training for a puppy this age should be minimal if at all. Keep it short, they don't yet have an attention span that can accommodate more than a minute or less LOL! What I like to do with young puppies is utilise their natural behavior to help "train". By that I mean, one of the first things I do is work on "come" because young puppies like to follow you naturally. Just keep it short and simple, and have fun with your puppy...strict and assertive won't accomplish anything! If you change your behavior, he'll change his...
 

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Hello, I have a 3 and a half month male gsd. The past month we have had him id say i’ve babied him a lot by giving him to much attention and affection and not setting many rules and boundaries. His training was going good though. There are a lot of people he see’s everyday that he loves and everybody spoils him in their own ways by giving him pig ears, treats and lots of affections. Out of all the people I spend the most time with him, giving him his meals, doing 99% of the training, putting him to bed and waking him up, etc. I really wanted a dog as a best friend. My goal was to have a dog that always wanted to be by my side and just love me no matter what. I put in so much time with him and he still doesn’t seem to be bonded with me in a way i’d hoped. I’ve decided to step up my game and stop babying him so much by being more calm, strict and assertive. I don’t give him as much affection as I used to and of course he doesn’t seem to want to be around me much anymore. Have I ruined any kind of bond that existed? Or should I continue being the pack leader? Will he ever become that best friend that i’ve always wanted who always wants to be by my side? Will our bond grow as he gets older? I need advice on how to bond with him without spoiling him like everyone else?
He may tantrum for a bit but should be fine. Don't worry so much about pack leader. Worry about raising a dog you can live with, and that is different for everyone.
Keep basic obedience and consistent rules at the forefront, but make sure to engage in fun things as well. I am not a fan of hard core training much before one year old, but others have different views. My pups learn rules. Biting, not ok. Chewing my stuff, not ok. Toileting in my house, not ok. Thiefing food, not ok. In the first 6 months we work on manners, toilet training, crate training and walking on a loose leash. We cover some of the basics-sit, come, off, etc. But heavier training waits for more maturity. Puppies were meant to have fun and explore the world with, that's all I focus on.
 

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Would it help if you made it more fun? You can teach him things while still being affectionate. At his age, simple commands can be taught (with appropriate expectations for learning and impulse control) and should be fun.

I think there's also this immense pressure we put on ourselves to take this tiny puppy and mold it into The Perfect Shepherd. That bond takes some time to really build, and he's probably more bonded to you now than you realize, it's just hard when you're in the thick of things with a pup that age.

Just keep training and keep engaging him. Don't be afraid to show affection or that you're glad to be spending time with him...or to remind him of boundaries when it's warranted. A really quality friendship between a dog and a human is built over time. It's slow going but worth it all.
 

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I keep having to remind myself that Boon is "only" 5 months; still very much a puppy, still learning. I've lost my patience with him a few times, and felt ashamed of it, but every day is a new day. Boon has been very forgiving and I try to do better by him everyday.

I don't think that these dogs are so fickle that a bond can be ruined so easily. I think that repeated instances of yelling/hitting/other mistreatment can cause a dog to lose trust, and that should be avoided, but what you're describing doesn't come close to that.

Let your puppy be a puppy and you remind yourself to be a puppy-enjoyer. Training aids bonding. Teach him "attention/focus" when you feed him his meals by hand. Teach him basic commands. Talk to him. Train him to accept being handled, groomed, examined. Learn his likes and dislikes. he will be learning yours as well.

Also remember that he is unique in all the world; there is NO German Shepherd Dog just like him and he has different tolerances for affection, play, food... everything. You have plenty of time to get to know each other. Enjoy it!
 
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