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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey everyone,

I'm new here and would like some advice. I just got a 7 week old GSD yesterday. When we went to pick him up from the breeder I was holding my GSD puppy in my arms and was telling him (the dog) how much I'm going to love him. The breeder looked at me and said "don't love him to much, don't baby him". I asked him to clarify and he pretty much said that the more I ignore him the more affection and approval he will want from me and that because I need to be the pack leader that I need to not be affectionate with him or give him so much attention. He said If I "baby" him to much that he wont listen and not be a good dog, and he said I have to be like that with him for about 2 years. I looked at my husband in confusion and the breeder said "I am serious, I don't want you to bring him back to me in a few months because you didn't listen to me".

On the car ride home my husband said to me that as I was putting our new puppy in the car the breeder said "Seriously. don't let her baby him to much". That really pissed me off. Now, I never owned a GSD before but I am not going to let him run the house. I do have boundaries in the home. I will train. I don't let him do whatever he wants. He isn't a loud on our bed or couch. I don't go to him with every whine he makes and I don't constantly smother him with hugs and kisses. But are you telling me that if I want a cuddle after work or to watch a movie or something with him sleeping next to or on my lap that I will damage my dog? That he wont listen? That he wont take me seriously? I don't think this process will be a easy one. I want a good dog, but I also want a dog I can love and be affectionate with at times. I picked him up this morning to give him a tiny peck on the head and a hello and my husband looked at me like I started the apocalypse.

I don't know how to act around this puppy now. Wouldn't ignoring him turn him into an anti social dog? Ugh. Please help!

Also here is a pic of my puppy. How could you ignore that for 2 years? sorry its so big!
 

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What he probably meant by that is don't let bad behaviors, things you don't want him to do get started. Its easier to teach things right, then it is to try and correct them. Like if you don't want him begging while you eat, don't encourage it by giving him sample from your dinner. A lot of them don't automatically like being cuddled and kissed, but if he does, go ahead.
 

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First, let me say that I agree with Steve's probable reframe of what your breeder said. Limits/boundaries are important and, more often than not, people get into difficulties with their pups (and children!) by not setting and reinforcing appropriate, age-based limits or by lacking consistency in their training/rearing approach.

That said, I'd also like to address the likely subtext of your breeder's message. You CANNOT spoil or otherwise ruin a puppy (or a child!) by loving and cuddling it. You CAN spoil or ruin an otherwise good dog (or child!) by raising it without appropriate boundaries/limits or by failing to consistently shape appropriate behavior (e.g., manners, houstraining, etc). I've found that people often conflate the two (that is, affection/cuddling = no or erratic training) --- which is detrimental to the pup's development and to the owner's relationship with the puppy/dog/child. One is a stylistic difference (affection/cuddling) and the other is substantive (setting appropriate boundaries/training). I've also found that this confusion is more common among male than female humans --- for reasons that are beyond the scope of this post. Certainly puppies, particularly working breeds, need a strong leader but that strength, if you will, goes to character and consistency, not to stylistic differences.

Rant over...

;)
 

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The breeder's comments were probably well intended......and maybe a bit exaggerated.......most likely trying to make a point which does have some merit to it......depending on the nature of the pup....and the type of bond you create.



Lots of problems can be avoided from day one as Steve suggested.......train/interact with your pup today for what you want tomorrow.


Not that this link is particular to your situation........but down the road it might make much more sense if you get to where some of these opinions are applicable to your relationship with your dog.



Read the "King of the Castle" syndrome and it might shed some light on your breeder's comments. https://k9deb.com/socialis#King_of_the_castle_syndrome




Have fun with your new pup.........and guide him wisely and brightly.




SuperG
 

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OP,

In my above post, I neglected to stress a few things; ranting got the better of me. LOL. First, this is a baby. You've taken him from his mother and siblings, everything he's known about the world thus far. I always feel slightly guilty when picking up a new pup for exactly that reason. I don't overindulge them, mind you, but I do keep that in mind during my interactions with the little ones. Second, I am very physical with all of my animals. Partially, it's because that's who I am. But, I also want them to become accustomed to and accepting of my touch and handling. Heck, I want them to delight in it; that will become a useful tool later (e.g., at the vet, in scary situations, etc.). Over the years, a light hand on the shoulder blades has kept more than a few from tumbling into wrong choices in stressful situations. That wasn't accomplished overnight, it took time and training.

Finally, you have to think about what kind of relationship you want with this puppy as it grows up. Personally, I want a relationship where the dog Looks At Me when I say something, Looks To Me for direction and reinforcement, and finds me The Most Interesting and Enjoyable Thing On The Planet. I start working towards that goal from the moment the puppy trots in the door. But, I am not going to achieve that goal by ignoring the puppy, as described above.

You might find focus or engagement training to be useful. Below is a link to a relevant forum discussion (google for others) as well as a link to Stoney Dennis's approach to engagement (search youtube for other videos as you like/need).

Enjoy your adorable puppy!

https://www.germanshepherds.com/for...gagement-not-obedience-1st-goal-training.html

Stoney Dennis:
 

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Interesting topic for sure and one that I'll follow.



Cute pup for sure and I can understand how it's hard not to be affectionate with something so adorable. One point I'd like to mention...the breeder is already conditioned not to get too attached the pups. It was likely just a well intended, normal reaction for him when he see's someone getting all googly eyes and affectionate with one of his pups.



I raised my first 2 with a fair but controlled amount of affection...who wouldn't? And neither of my 2 girls turned out bad. In fact my daughter (young at the time) probably went over board with spoiling the dogs with no ill effect. The key thing is controlling the affection while maintaining proper training. GSD's are programmed to be an alpha and they constantly try to gain that position. If you let your pup become the alpha, for sure your going to have problems and likely end up wanting to re-home the dog.



It's an awesome experience to raise a GSD from that age. Enjoy the experience and let your pup grow up in a sound and controlled environment, with some cuddly affection thrown in when appropriate.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
@Steve He actually is a very affectionate pup. I just felt the breeder made it sound like I couldnt give it ANY love. I also got the feeling that because I am women he thought I would be a softy and would want to "mother" it. I do understand the meaning of setting boundaries, and not spoiling in a way where they get whatever they want. It is my first dog and I want to do it right. I researched the breed before we decided on a GSD and I never read "dont love it". I always read set boundaries and be consistent which I absolutely agree with.

@SuperG thank you for the article, it was very insightful and I understand the point of it.

@Aly Thank you. Everything you said made complete sense to me. I kind of always compared with raising a dog to raising children. I dont have any kids but I know well balanced children have a mix of love and rules/boundaries. I didnt think cuddling my dog could ruin him either and I would never force a cuddle.

I am glad a forum like this exists. I have read so much already in other threads about the puppy faze and what I can expect going forward. This place will be really helpful for us to raise a (hopefully) well behaved happy pup.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
OP,

In my above post, I neglected to stress a few things; ranting got the better of me. LOL. First, this is a baby. You've taken him from his mother and siblings, everything he's known about the world thus far. I always feel slightly guilty when picking up a new pup for exactly that reason. I don't overindulge them, mind you, but I do keep that in mind during my interactions with the little ones. Second, I am very physical with all of my animals. Partially, it's because that's who I am. But, I also want them to become accustomed to and accepting of my touch and handling. Heck, I want them to delight in it; that will become a useful tool later (e.g., at the vet, in scary situations, etc.). Over the years, a light hand on the shoulder blades has kept more than a few from tumbling into wrong choices in stressful situations. That wasn't accomplished overnight, it took time and training.

Finally, you have to think about what kind of relationship you want with this puppy as it grows up. Personally, I want a relationship where the dog Looks At Me when I say something, Looks To Me for direction and reinforcement, and finds me The Most Interesting and Enjoyable Thing On The Planet. I start working towards that goal from the moment the puppy trots in the door. But, I am not going to achieve that goal by ignoring the puppy, as described above.

You might find focus or engagement training to be useful. Below is a link to a relevant forum discussion (google for others) as well as a link to Stoney Dennis's approach to engagement (search youtube for other videos as you like/need).

Enjoy your adorable puppy!
Yes! I said the same thing to my husband. I want him to be friendly and to know touch is okay. I know when my cat is at the vet or stressed me petting her calms her down. I would love the relationship with my pup that you describe. I am home more than my husband so I want to be the alpha and the person he turns to for direction.

Thank you so much for the video! I have been watching Zak George videos as well. The breeder said not to start training until a couple weeks after we get him so he can de-stress. Is that right? I wanted to start right away and he does a have a listening problem although I guess thats normal for right now, I mean he barely knows us.
 

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I tell people not to baby their dogs on a daily basis. I would assume, the breeder is referring o Nothing In Life Is Free (NILIF). As others have said most "behavioral" issues are human created. Surf through the K9-Deb site already mentioned. It has a ton of great info on it.
 

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As I read this, I had just been lying on a big orthopedic dog bed snuggling my 7-yo dog, who survived cancer last year. As I massaged his shoulders and chest, he rolled into me and purred like a cat in pure delight. This dog adores me. He travels with me. He nearly always has an eye on me. He's emotionally connected. Isn't that deep emotional connection one of the traits we love in the breed? It would be sad to me to lose our snuggling time -- even later in life, it still means so much to him (and to me!).


I think Aly's post is spot on -- bad manners (like arm-flipping with the muzzle to demand to be pet, or jumping up for attention seeking) aren't the product of being loved and getting affection from the owner. That's just a matter of establishing boundaries and shaping desired behavior, as others have said. You don't give the affection when it does undesirable things. You connect the affection to desirable behavior. They understand cause and effect. More importantly, when you have a bond, it will want to please you -- and you're not going to get a bond by ignoring the dog all the time!


You have to decide if you want dogs on the bed and sofa. I have friends who have well mannered dogs that sleep on the furniture. I personally prefer not to do it and have dog beds next to the bed and sofa instead. That's purely personal preference -- we have 3 dogs, and usually a foster so that's just too many dogs to have jockeying for a place on the furniture. However, my friends' dogs aren't "ruined" because they're allowed to snuggle with humans up on the couch or in bed...they are still good dogs because they have good owners who have spent lots of time working to teach them to be the kind of dogs they want them to be.


FWIW, a very loved dog that you spend lots of time with playing fun, happy obedience games, with lots of rewards (including being pet as a reward) will end up being a very well mannered dog! That kind of quality time will make the dog love to be with you.
 

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Huge difference between babying and loving. You cannot ruin a dog by loving it. Or being affectionate.
I don't train puppies. I let them be babies while conditioning to house rules. I don't pet jumping dogs. I don't allow thievery. I don't reward toileting in the house. We play. We chase. We cuddle.
I hope the breeder was simply misunderstood.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
As I read this, I had just been lying on a big orthopedic dog bed snuggling my 7-yo dog, who survived cancer last year. As I massaged his shoulders and chest, he rolled into me and purred like a cat in pure delight. This dog adores me. He travels with me. He nearly always has an eye on me. He's emotionally connected. Isn't that deep emotional connection one of the traits we love in the breed? It would be sad to me to lose our snuggling time -- even later in life, it still means so much to him (and to me!).


I think Aly's post is spot on -- bad manners (like arm-flipping with the muzzle to demand to be pet, or jumping up for attention seeking) aren't the product of being loved and cuddled. That's just a matter of establishing boundaries and shaping desired behavior, as others have said.



You have to decide if you want dogs on the bed and sofa. I have friends who have well mannered dogs that sleep on the furniture. I personally prefer not to do it and have dog beds next to the bed and sofa instead. That's purely personal preference -- we have 3 dogs, and usually a foster so that's just too many dogs to have jockeying for a place on the furniture. However, my friends' dogs aren't "ruined" because they're allowed to snuggle with humans up on the couch or in bed...they are still good dogs.



FWIW, a very loved dog that you spend lots of time with playing fun, happy obedience games, with lots of rewards (including being pet as a reward) will end up being a very well mannered dog! That kind of quality time will make the dog love to be with you.
Thank you so much! This really made me really happy to read!
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Huge difference between babying and loving. You cannot ruin a dog by loving it. Or being affectionate.
I don't train puppies. I let them be babies while conditioning to house rules. I don't pet jumping dogs. I don't allow thievery. I don't reward toileting in the house. We play. We chase. We cuddle.
I hope the breeder was simply misunderstood.
I agree with everything you said. At what age do you start obedience training? My breeder said to just let him be a puppy for a couple weeks while he adjusts to his new home. Of course we potty train and redirected mouthing but when should I start teaching things like listening, sit, stay etc...
 

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Huge difference between babying and loving. You cannot ruin a dog by loving it. Or being affectionate.
I don't train puppies. I let them be babies while conditioning to house rules. I don't pet jumping dogs. I don't allow thievery. I don't reward toileting in the house. We play. We chase. We cuddle.
I hope the breeder was simply misunderstood.
Totally agree with this! I have strict boundaries in the house from day one. My puppy is already better trained in many ways than the typical family dog. But also spoil my dog like a baby in other ways. Plus.. I wanted a dog that wanted to come cuddle on the couch. I got a pet.. Not a working dog!
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Totally agree with this! I have strict boundaries in the house from day one. My puppy is already better trained in many ways than the typical family dog. But also spoil my dog like a baby in other ways. Plus.. I wanted a dog that wanted to come cuddle on the couch. I got a pet.. Not a working dog!

Yes! Thats what I told my husband. I said I wanted a pet. What was the point in getting a dog I cant be loving to or cuddle with?? I have a cat who is not affectionate and just wants to be left alone...If i didn't want a pet to love on I wouldn't of added a dog to my house hold.
 

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I've seen video of you lovin on puppies!:wink2:


Haha you said it, there is a difference between loving puppies and babying them. So far everyone has hit some key points. It's all about clear communication and setting boundaries. Don't let a puppy do things that you don't want an adult dog to do. Don't feed the dog from the table, don't coddle it when it's scared/whining. Things like that. I mean I snuggle the crap out of my dogs haha. Heck this is my morning ritual with my foster dog.
49204713_2256084971343046_5019479595380899840_n by Jeremy Friedman, on Flickr
 

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Totally agree with this! I have strict boundaries in the house from day one. My puppy is already better trained in many ways than the typical family dog. But also spoil my dog like a baby in other ways. Plus.. I wanted a dog that wanted to come cuddle on the couch. I got a pet.. Not a working dog!
Like it or not they are a working dog. Even my current useless, genetic nightmare knows what she is.
Also my actual working dogs hung out, slept with me, kept my feet toasty and mooched popcorn.
 

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... Thank you so much for the video! I have been watching Zak George videos as well. The breeder said not to start training until a couple weeks after we get him so he can de-stress. Is that right? I wanted to start right away and he does a have a listening problem although I guess thats normal for right now, I mean he barely knows us.
Welcome. As to your question, well, I have a slightly different take on things. I believe that, from the moment they come home with you, everything that you do with a puppy/adolescent/adult is training --- from teaching the pup its name, to teaching the pup your daily schedule, to showing it where to go potty, to introducing the dreaded crate. ;). It's ALL training. Is it structured, formal obedience training? No, it is not; they're too young for that. But it is training and, for the best effect, should be conscious and mindful.

Think about it this way: Why wait 2 weeks (or whatever it is) to teach the puppy it's name? Or, to look at you when you talk to it? Perhaps the breeder meant that you should give the puppy time to adjust to the new people and surroundings before starting more structured interactions (e.g., teaching Sit, Come, etc). That's not unreasonable, but, in my view, the delay isn't necessary. Adjusting your expectations and approach to the puppy's age and developmental status are.

I've found clicker training a useful approach with the little ones, mainly because it sharpens the handler's timing and really clarifies (for the pup, I mean) what the task/demand is. Lots of helpful videos about clicker training on youtube. With young puppies, I've also found that very short (e.g., 5 minute) sessions that always end on a positive note to be most effective.

You also might find it helpful to simply call/email the breeder and ask what he meant by this and his previous comments w/re cuddling. You might find that his intention wasn't what it might have appeared to be. (Though I do agree with you about the curious flavor of gender bias in what you described). More generally, I've found that forum members are a golden resource for novice and experienced owners alike. But even the best are only guessing when it comes to the breeder's meaning/intent.

ETA: Welcome to the forum! What's your (adorable) puppy's name, by the way?
 

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All puppies are cute, but I have to say yours is extra adorable! No way in **** would I be able to keep my hands off lol! I think everyone else covered the bases, you can express love and affection just don’t coddle them or ignore negative behaviors. I’m one of those that permit my dogs to sleep in bed with me and our every morning ritual is to cuddle and take turns getting belly rubs.
 
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