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Hi everyone,
I rescued a GSD about a year ago. I've had several GSD in my life but this one is new to me. Sam is 5 and was previously trained as a drug dog no question in my mind. He pulled me to many cars and searched the outside. The poor guy has had several homes including a shelter before coming to me and his obedience was horrible.I sent him off to a trusted trainer for 4 weeks of board and train and he has been a dream dog since then 馃榿 Sam has calmed down and gets along well with my other gsd. What i don't understand is the level to which this dog needs to be in command and thrives on STRICT routine. He'll get whiney late evening and doesn't stop until I send him to his bed. He happily runs to bed and sleeps. I have several examples of this type of thing. I keep him in command often and he seems more relaxed and happy. Am I seeing the difference between a pet and a working Dog? Thanks for any comments
 

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Typically, white GDSs are not used for detection or other real world work because they have been selected for color at the expense of working traits, but it could be possible he was trained as a detection dog. Either way, I don't think that explains his whiney behavior. What are the other examples of "this type of thing" and what do you mean by that? A likely explanation for his need for routine is him being rehomed several times and being in a shelter. Routine means things don't change which is just the opposite of being rehomed numerous times.
 

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If I give him a bully stick and he isn't in place command he looks at it but won't eat it. As soon as I give place command he takes it and runs to his bed and eats. He usually gets carrots after his meal so when he finishes eating he goes and sits near the frig. I don't think it's about the carrot I think it's about routine. I do understand your point about having many homes and wanting structure but it's pretty extreme imo.
 

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When I first brought him home he moved along each wall in a room sniffing in a pattern. The trainer he spent 4 weeks with agreed he was detection trained and extinguished the searching ofcars for the most part. He still sniffs around some in new places but the behavior is fading
 

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Regardless of the origins of some of this behavior, you are reinforcing it which strengthens the behavior. For example, it sounds like you only give him a bully stick when he is in the place command because in the past, he wouldn't eat it. Try giving it to him consistently not using the place command. If he doesn't eat it, ignore the behavior. Over time, the behavior will likely extinguish and he will eat the bully stick without obeying the place command. Regarding the fridge, I'm guessing the dog knows that is where some of his food is and it could be a way of asking for more. He could have a degree of OCD, although the only typical symptom you have described is the persistent whining/vocalization in the evening.
 

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I'm just very curious about his behavior. If he does something once it becomes his routine right away.
 

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Grrr.
Please don't take this the wrong way. I am NOT insulting you or your dog.
In my experience, and I'm not that smart, the weaker the nerves in a dog the greater their need for routine and structure. Dogs with weak nerves respond poorly to uncertainty so the routine becomes almost an obsession with them.
You could also consider that a dog that has been rehomed multiple times, and especially a GSD because they bond so deeply, is going to be near desperate to please you and keep you happy. His experience is that when people are displeased with him they take his home away. If he does have weak nerves it's even more traumatic and has likely become a self fulfilling prophecy at this point. He is near desperate to please, which is driving him to undesirable behaviors, the whining, which displeases people.
Give him the routine he is craving and slowly work on alternate or wanted behaviors.
 

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The term in command makes it sound like the dog wants to be in charge. It's clear from your description that you mean the opposite.

You are very, very lucky to have a GSD that looks to you for directions and commands instead of trying to run the show. He sounds like a very biddable dog that really wants to please you. He is also a very handsome dog!

If you do not like this aspect of his character, please send me a PM. I know people that would pay you for him, arrange transport if needed, and give him a great home if his temperament is otherwise sound.
 

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Yeah I feel like somebody told me somewhere or I read on a breed page somewhere that GSDs like being given a task, that they're comfortable doing what they're told to do and may not know what to do with themselves if left to their own decisions. I feel like I experience this, to a lesser degree, with the GSD I rescued...in that she's 100% comfortable being left in her crate, but gets a little anxious left loose in the house (which we're working on). It's like she doesn't know what to do with all that freedom.
 

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Some people like to "free shape" their dogs to teach them new behavior. I tried this with my big-boy and he just went away, sat and stared at me. His body language was clear. "just let me know what you want me to do and I'll try my best. Please don't leave me guessing. I don't like having to guess what you want". That was the end of purposeful free-shaping with him.

Of course, some do rather well with that approach and their dogs enjoy it. Mine like novelty but thrive on routine.
 

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I think all the initiative has been trained out of him. If he needs a command, walk or look away and let him gradually learn that he can make decisions on his own, like give him a bully stick and walk away and let him figure out that he can enjoy it without permission. How did this board-trainer work with him? Sounds like he is insecure and afraid to make mistakes. Call him and give him some command when he is NOT paying attention to you. Then reward him and teach him "Free" or "OK!" to be off the hook. I would teach him "Leave It" to leave cars alone.
 

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Perhaps not the same behavior you mean, but my Rio loves riding in the car so much that he hopefully tries to go up to any cars trunk and nose it, willing it will open and take him somewhere. He does it especially in parking lots. He will also try to sniff around to alternate doors, I generally discourage this behavior but he does do it.
 

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... He usually gets carrots after his meal so when he finishes eating he goes and sits near the frig. I don't think it's about the carrot I think it's about routine.
Oh, it's all about the carrot! These dogs "know". Routines let them know, but it's all about the carrot!

As others have said, just stop being responsive to any behavior you don't particularly like, and reinforce those you do. Show the dog new behaviors you'd prefer and reward that. You'll be amazed at how fast they will change - if, and only if, you are consistent!

ETA: The thing about sniffing cars was just a lack of training/bad behavior. Not to many trained detection dogs are lacking on obedience training IMHO!
 

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If I give him a bully stick and he isn't in place command he looks at it but won't eat it. As soon as I give place command he takes it and runs to his bed and eats. He usually gets carrots after his meal so when he finishes eating he goes and sits near the frig. I don't think it's about the carrot I think it's about routine. I do understand your point about having many homes and wanting structure but it's pretty extreme imo.
Uh, don't keep your weed in the frig? (ducking and running <G>)
I think time will dimish his confusion about what he's supposed to do. We learned with Crazy Ellie that sometimes you just have to do things the dog's way.
 
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