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Discussion Starter · #22 ·
I'm wondering what your energy levels are like, are you high energy yourself, or quiet and calm?
I’m quiet and calm. The house is also quiet and calm. Not much happens around here! I noticed that he’s better about simply sitting and watching me while I’m doing things like cooking or cleaning. He’s the most annoying when I’m sitting down doing nothing.
 

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If I simply ignore him, he paces and huffs a lot. I was thinking that teaching him to stay on one spot may make him relax faster. It’s hard to know.

He does know ‘all done’ means I’m not playing with him or training him anymore, but that usually only lasts me five minutes before he starts whining and pacing.
Do u have chew toys?
 

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Discussion Starter · #24 ·
Do u have chew toys?
I do. He has absolutely zero interest in them, and I’ve tried all kinds of different kinds. He’s not a big chewer.
 

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Someone posted on another thread that they didn't like consistency or routine with their dogs but I find the opposite is true.

My dogs know that walks are always around X time, including the regular longer daily walks/hikes and the know when meals happen after the morning walk and after the 5-6 pm walk and they have fantastic inner clocks to know when those are pending. If they know it's about 5 or 5:30 they often or always are stretching and looking to me. If I say "no not yet", they wait.

Having a very regular schedule helps them settle naturally and have a terrific off switch because it's just not time.

They also never get people food so they never look to me or whine/drool/beg or counter surf for human food. It's not on their schedule so there's no point.

I'm sure that a consistent schedule helps build a better off switch and content dogs (even though COVID has presented all kids of opportunities for expanded schedules working from home)
 

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Holy crap! Crate your dog.

I've had a few that had a hard time settling. If I let Shadow go when she was young she would pace and whine and steal things and get stuck in things until she literally collapsed. I mean like when she was two years old not 8 weeks old.
You are doing plenty and you are entitled to down time. It won't kill him and I it will teach him to bugger off and leave you in peace for a second.
Once he gets the hint, then you can work on chilling together.
 

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To be honest, I’m not sure how long he can actually hold a place. He doesn’t ever break it until I tell him to, but I’ve never made him hold it longer than maybe five minutes. He stares at me so intensely during a place or stay (doesn’t chill out), so I’ve mostly used it for things like people coming to the door or needing him out of my way for a short amount of time. Nothing long-term. I can work on that for sure.
We have a “platz” and a separate “place” command. Honestly as time has gone on, I think the two phrases sound too similar and I just have different tones. He seems to understand them but it’s unintentionally difficult for him. If I did it again, I’d change the “place” word and might still.

One means a focused down that is very strict and the other is a stand-by down that means close but get comfortable. I think that stand-by down (the one he holds for hours but isn’t as perfect) is the one that helped him to understand how to settle.
 

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I’m quiet and calm. The house is also quiet and calm. Not much happens around here! I noticed that he’s better about simply sitting and watching me while I’m doing things like cooking or cleaning. He’s the most annoying when I’m sitting down doing nothing.
This may also explain a little of it. Are you the only one in the home?
I've heard from a number of people whose dogs have trouble settling or are demanding of attention.
Two issues:
1/ They're bored and only have you for attention
2/ You therefore give them a ton of attention
 

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I do. He has absolutely zero interest in them, and I’ve tried all kinds of different kinds. He’s not a big chewer.
I’m quiet and calm. The house is also quiet and calm. Not much happens around here! I noticed that he’s better about simply sitting and watching me while I’m doing things like cooking or cleaning. He’s the most annoying when I’m sitting down doing nothing.
It might be because all his entertainment comes from you. He needs to learn how to entertain himself. You have great ideas here but the 1st one I would do is crate him with a command of chill for example put a bone in crate when u want to be left alone. Just one suggestion of many here.
 

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When my dog was 8 months, I went to a wonderful trainer for a private session related to a behavioural issue. This woman was a many title winning trainer of sheep herding and agility and obedience border collies. Plain spoken, experienced, and incredibly observant.

In exasperation, offhand as we talked about other stuff, I complained that my dog did not know how to settle. She wanted me to go go go ALL THE TIME. She would down stay, but she would just stare at me, not relax and hop up the moment I even shifted.

Trainer kinda smiled and said yeah,that's what these high drive/high energy dogs are like. She said - there is no point in trying to physically exhaust one of these dogs, you could do nothing but that and the dog would still want more! She said - tell your dog what you want.

My dog was on leash, at a down stay at my feet, watching me, poised to hop up at a moment's notice. She told me - there, she looked away. Mark that, drop a treat. I did. Dog hopped up after the reward, I put her back in a stay. Trainer said as we continued to talk - look, her ear settled back a bit. Mark that, drop a treat. She rolled on her hip a bit - mark that. Etc.
You can train a dog to LOOK relaxed by marking when it shows signs of relaxation. You know how they say when you make your face smile, it lights up some of the same areas of the brain as when you are actually happy? If you make a dog act like it is relaxed, it does the same thing.
Anyway, she had me keep doing that as we spoke. Very quickly, my dog was sprawled on the floor. New environment, new person, tons of awesome new smells (Sheep! Dogs! People!) And my 8 month old crazy dog was relaxed on her side on the floor. That, right there, was worth the $60 private lesson fee and more, and it wasn't even what I was there to learn.

There is something called the relaxation protocol and it's a more formal version of this that I started to do with my dog. Marking physical signs of relaxation so the dog learns to quickly go from excited to relaxed and do so on cue (I use settle).

Awesome trainer also suggested I have my dog do a down stay 20, 30 or more minutes at a time while I do other chores around the house, and reward signs of relaxation. Teach her that her job in the house is to relax. She said this was both mental work to tire the dogs brain out, and teaching an off switch. She was right, and it was like I had a completely different dog within days.

Now - at 2, my dog is generally very relaxed when we aren't working/playing and, even in public, I can say 'settle' and she relaxes back on her hip, and often puts her head down. I had her in a class today, said 'settle' and suddenly she went from turned on and staring, waiting eagerly for my next command, to relaxed on her hip, lying on the ground beside me. Magic. Absolute magic.
 

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Discussion Starter · #31 ·
This may also explain a little of it. Are you the only one in the home?
I've heard from a number of people whose dogs have trouble settling or are demanding of attention.
Two issues:
1/ They're bored and only have you for attention
2/ You therefore give them a ton of attention
Two other adults in the home and another dog.
 

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Discussion Starter · #32 ·
I’m outside doing yard work, and Archer is out with me. He found a stick and is dropping it at my feet literally screaming and spinning because I’m ignoring him. My neighbors probably think he’s dying.
 

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What helped my GSD settle down was having him in my office while I work, and he figured out that there are times when he is just supposed to have his own quiet time and snooze, or play with his ball. I tether my puppies to myself instead of using the crate when they first join our household, and it teaches them to chew on their toy or just do nothing when I sit on the couch and do nothing. It's a skill they have to learn just like any other skill. I always correct bad behavior verbally and redirect, because I don't see that ignoring bad behavior has ever helped me in the past with any of my dogs.
 
Bear - 5 month old GSD male plus 5 cats - Benny (5), Nani (5), Kingston (5), Rigby (3) and Hazel (2)
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Curious how long you'll let him fuss before giving in?


This has really been a fascinating thread to read. Such a wide spectrum of ideas and perspectives. I seem to dabble in a little bit of all of them.

I run a household with 3 acres, 2 kids (both homeschooled), 5 cats and 5 month old Bear. I have a daily work load of all the basics aside from everything it takes to teach, train, exercise, play and care for my German boy. (Laundry, cat boxes, dishes, cooking meals, yard work, general house work ect) On top of carving out heartfelt family time every single day! (Which Bear is usually a part of unless napping) So by necessity Bear has HAD to learn to find some time to himself. My husband works a job that demands most of his time so the weight is mine to carry. As a heavy introvert, strict routine is not my thing. I'm a bit more of a "path of least resistance" kinda gal. Haha Though Bear gets his daily time and attention that he absolutely needs and deserves (and I thoroughly enjoy) he has also jumped into our routine of "no routine". In his down time he will find a toy and play or chew or honestly sometimes just cat naps.

This thread has really helped me to reflect on that and see how adjusted he has become. And how these dogs kind of instinctually adapt to our way of life (while we meet them halfway or courseowhether heavily trained to do so or by design.


(Bear chillin' with my 8 year old)
Snapchat-10383342.jpg
 

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I agree that this has been an interesting post.

I see that a lot of folks are "sitting on the dog" without realizing it. The first time I sat on Juno, she whined/pulled/fussed for 30 minutes. It was a horrible and I wanted to give up. Now she settles in 15 seconds.

I mostly did not tether her to me when she was a puppy, and now I regret that decision. We moved into a house with 2 cats, which was manageable. My housemate allowed his friend to drop off her 4 cats for 4 months! And now tethering can be stressful....

I think some of us, because of experience or talent or patience or whatever, just understand animals better than others. I remember my friend's three old son, making friends with my cockatiel (who hated kids). I remember this kid of his own accord reaching out slowly to pet the bird and looking away at the same time. A few minutes later, my bird was on his shoulder. There are no birds in my friend's house, just cats and a dog.

This may be why the same technique works better for one person than another.

(Just being philosophical).
 

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Have you tried a relaxing massage for him. Start at the head and work your way down to the feet. When I did a puppy class that was part of the class so the pups would learn to be handled and learn to settle with a lot of stimulation going on around them.
 

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Sit on the dog is a great way for dogs to chill out there are you tube videos. It sounds weird but works. I used this to keep to teach max when a pup to chill out in the house watching the kids play volley ball outside in the yard without him. It also became a habit at night when I layed on the couch and would toss the ball around. Max would remind me of the miss communicated, perceived ritual. The leash becomes a automatic grounding magical tool.

As for You dog that does not like physical affection some are just that way. You have to see what works that makes the dog comfortable. Karat was not comfortable with physical affection and never pressed this issue. Some pats a hug and that was good enough. He would give kisses but everything was short and sweet. He would not be one to lay on your feet but by your feet or a few feet away where he can keep watch of the room. However through the years we would touch his legs play a game with his toys-sporadic and not super focused or much thought into it. The few second sessions resulted in a game with his toy. This was over time and he was more comfortable having his legs paws touched to a degree.
 

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How does he behave with the other adults in your home? When we got our dog, the breeder said her working lines must have outdoor time by themselves. My other dog could not care less about time to herself, but he loves it. I’ve noticed while isolating this last year, we sre together all the time and my dogs have become quieter than ever except during playtime. I think it’s because I ignore them a lot when I’m online or writing but we are all in the same room. Prior to March 2020, I was gone a lot.
 
Bear - 5 month old GSD male plus 5 cats - Benny (5), Nani (5), Kingston (5), Rigby (3) and Hazel (2)
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Have you tried a relaxing massage for him. Start at the head and work your way down to the feet. When I did a puppy class that was part of the class so the pups would learn to be handled and learn to settle with a lot of stimulation going on around them.
Great advice. Having several cats before I got a pup I instinctually rub Bear all over every day. He loves having his legs and chest rubbed. I really think it's helped desensitize him!
 

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Great advice. Having several cats before I got a pup I instinctually rub Bear all over every day. He loves having his legs and chest rubbed. I really think it's helped desensitize him!
My boy was almost hypersensitive to touch as a young dog, He was vet phobic due to an unfortunate bad handling incident and could not tolerate restraint. I began massaging him a lot, every day, and now he leans into me for touch. He also doesn’t mind restraint anymore, either here or at the vet.
 
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