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Does anyone else ever feel like they aren’t doing enough for their puppies/dogs training wise? I always feel like I’m letting them down.

My puppies are 10 months old. They know their basic commands such as sit, down, wait. They know back up and spin. They know to sit when putting their collars on and to sit and wait to be let in the door.

They will wait to eat until given the command too.

Overall their leash walking is pretty good for you average “pet.” Odin does pull slightly in the beginning of structed walks (especially if we are walking to the dog park he gets a little excited). Layla’s only issue on walks is she still slightly skittish around cars driving past. (She used to be very afraid on walks and she’s made a lot of progress.)

For basic obedience I can’t really complain.

I guess where I’m feeling down and out about is I KNOW they can be doing so much more and I’ve tried working myself with them on their heeling and getting them to focus on me as engaging with me on walks.. but I don’t seem to be making progress. I’m unsure if I’m teaching them correctly.

I’m still trying to find a decent trainer that’s local to us. Most people are positive reinforcement only trainers in my area, but I also work with them with prong (they seem to work best training with both corrections & positive training).

I have worked very hard Layla and she’s no longer as fear reactive around dogs. We can go to the dog park (when their is few dogs there) and she will approach other dogs and not run off and scream in a corner when dogs come near here.

I really want to work on them with their recall, heeling, and overall sharper obedience.

I see dogs on Instagram and sometimes it’s so hard too see dogs their age excelling and I feel like doing such a mediocre job as a dog parent and training. Even though I know those dogs are working dogs, I still find it tough not to be doing more with them.

We will be visiting a trainer who is about an hour from us and I’m hoping this one works out.

Anyone else ever feel inadequate or like they could be doing more with their pups?

Any tips on self training?

Right now it is raining in socal where I live so we are pretty limited with what we can do.. and odins on bed rest with Pano and Layla is in heat. So I’m feeling even more so like I can be doing more with them even though rest and chilling out is what they both need at the moment.
 

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Don't compare yourself or your dogs to others. Once you start doing that you will ALWAYS find someone or some dog that is "better". People who post things online are often showing you a heavily edited version of their life with their dog(s). They don't post the 10 minutes prior when the dog was trying to drag them toward the squirrel that ran past, they show you the 20 seconds of perfect focus and heeling. The people on Instagram are usually just showing off and promoting themselves. If it is making you feel that terrible then unfollow them and get away from that, it is toxic and not healthy for you or your dogs. Spend the time you would on there out training your dogs.
 

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I am not the typical forum member here, but I think that if my dog is happy then all is well!
He has a home, he's loved and well-fed and has access to veterinary care...that already puts him ahead of thousands of other unfortunate dogs.

My standards are also pretty basic...don't eat the trash. don't eat food off the counters and table. don't poop or pee in the house. don't jump on people. don't bite anybody. don't drag me around on the leash. be able to pass other dogs and people calmly without bothering them. Being able to precisely execute obedience commands is a bonus on top of basic life manners, to me! There seem to be far too many dogs who don't even have these "basic manners of life" learned...

Your dogs sound like they are doing quite well.
It's great that you are going to drive an hour to visit a trainer - wow, that's more than I would commit to!

And I could share fascinating videos of my guy (walking, sniffing, walking, sniffing, walking...) but I do think people would prefer to watch videos of GSDs winning titles and doing amazing things :)
 

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I find OP's post confusing.

OP seems to be satisfied with their dogs' obedience where it is and has no complaints about their behavior. IMO, that speaks volumes about the dogs. They don't seem to be suffering for the lack of further training. I am not saying don't move forward with more training, just saying there seems to be no problems with the dogs to justify the owner feeling that they are letting the dogs down.

I am not so sure why so many people feel the need to have a dog focus on and engage with them during a walk. Sometimes you just have to let a dog be a dog. That act alone can bring out so much in a dog.

https://www.psychologytoday.com/intl/blog/animal-emotions/201902/allowing-dogs-sniff-helps-them-think-positively?fbclid=IwAR1oXabY7IAode8g1SA6dtDwDdOUCj-oR3c94ENnydTmsIWaAUgyAAoLHVs
 

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I guess where I’m feeling down and out about is I KNOW they can be doing so much more and I’ve tried working myself with them on their heeling and getting them to focus on me as engaging with me on walks.. but I don’t seem to be making progress. I’m unsure if I’m teaching them correctly.

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I think it's good that you know they could be " doing so much more" and question yourself regarding the "I’m unsure if I’m teaching them correctly. "


10 months old can have it's own hurdles.....lots of "stuff" going on in a dog's world around that age.


I've learned a ton from this forum and some of the members.....asking specifics about training behaviors and getting help when I was having difficulties.


I've never trained two dogs at the same time....so I'll leave that to others.


There's something about the GSD breed that really screams of a desire to learn.......so run with it.


I suppose I am in the same category as you " self training" but......the advice I have cherry-picked from this forum makes the self training so much easier, thanks to those that have been so willing to offer their wisdom.


FWIW....I decided to train many behaviors that really don't have any useful purpose.....but I kind of believe this simple fact ...when a dog learns any commanded behavior.....the overall picture is greatly enhanced.


A couple of things that really helped me...offered by one of my mentors in this forum...was the notion of a clear beginning and ending to our training and overall interactions...also how my frustration and my impatience can really screw things up in the process as well as being able to help the dog understand what the behavior you're training truly is....easier said than done......so I broke down behaviors into smaller segments making it easier for the dog to have more successes and eventually accomplishing the overall task by piecing the smaller trained behaviors together.



Keep it motivating, fun and upbeat....these dogs love to learn.




SuperG
 

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It sounds like you have happy well adjusted dogs.

One of my favorite things to do is clicker/marker training. You can do it inside and you don't need anything special. There are tons of videos and Info online. And it's really pretty darn fun. I am teaching my puppy all kinds of stuff. Once they know what the game is, they try really hard to figure out what might earn a treat or a piece of their dinner. It doesnt have to be anything formal, just have fun.

I set up 2 foot stools and a small indoor trampoline and taught the puppy how to jump from one to another without touching the ground. Doesnt serve any purpose, but she got to learn something, have a little exercise and we didnt have to go out in over a foot of snow.
 

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Don't compare yourself or your dogs to others. Once you start doing that you will ALWAYS find someone or some dog that is "better".

I guess that depends on the individual.......I've always been motivated by others and their successes...especially when it is the same discipline I am trying to achieve at.....and yes....one will most always find someone that is doing "it" better.....I'm glad we have these examples to drive us forward if we choose....




SuperG
 

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It sounds to me like you've successfully worked through some tough issues (reactivity) already, so pat yourself on the back for that! As for other training, where experience really helps is that in your own mind you have a very clear objective to move toward. Heeling, for example. With all of my dogs I trained them to sit whenever I stop...initially. But really, outside of a competition, as long as they stay next to me "in position" I found that I really didn't care, so I let that part go...and so did they! I did introduce a "halt" command, for those occasions when I did want them to sit, and we were good to go!

My current puppy started right off doing a focused heal, which quite frankly bothered me a lot, so I told her to "knock it off" LOL! I personally don't have any use for it! I much prefer that she is aware of everything around her. But again, that's just me. I'm not too interested in doing competitions with her, and if I change my mind later, I'm okay with retraining or just taking a points hit.

My point is, we all have differing goals for our dogs. My dog is focused on me because we're a team, but she does it without ever looking at me directly while heeling. Snappy or quick recall is useful for all dogs! It's a safety thing. So yeah, I consider that an essential skill. And there are some very good YouTube videos you can watch that will give you plenty of pointers on how to go about training for that. But outside of rigorous training for competition, you'll find that most dogs remain a work in progress in that regard until they're much older than your puppies! Again though, there are some great videos online that can help with recall training.

From my perspective, as others pointed out already, stop comparing your dog's and their training to anyone else. It's entirely for you and your dog and what you need or want in the end! And yes, there will be setbacks and tribulations along the way, but first and foremost it should be fun, not a chore or an obligation!
 

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It’s sounds like you are discouraged and the dogs overall well being is fine. They are puppies, let a puppy be a puppy and continue your good work. Your discouragement has nothing to do with your dogs as I read your OP.
 

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I'm still struggling with housebreaking my foster pup. We work on house manners and basic obedience. Right now, we are only inside my home for training--he is nowhere near ready for added external distractions. But I use sound (youtube videos) to add barking, whining, etc; i put things in my pocket to make noise (paper, bells, coins) when I want to practice having him "Look at Me." I was moving too fast and have backed up until his basics are going to be 100% solid in this setting and the only thing we will really work on outside is reactivity.

I constantly feel like I'm failing, and then I think, "Well, giving up is not an option, so what can I do to do better?" I have to remind myself that setbacks are a normal part of the growth process--and we learn from mistakes. "There's a mistake I won't make again," is my mantra for getting me to move on. This pup is my first foster and I've never had to housebreak an older puppy. I'm learning, as is he.

My goal is to have a well-mannered pet I can trust around the house and around other people and dogs (while supervised). I need my dogs to be able to enjoy housesitters occasionally. And I want my dogs to run with me--so that's something I'll start thinking about now that your post has reminded me! I'm a slow old lady but enjoy my jogs and love having a well-mannered dog along.

I hope you will feel better about what you are doing. Training two dogs--must be a challenge! And I agree that if you have overcome reactivity with your girl, you really have done more than most. Good luck and check in so we know how you are doing!
 

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I guess where I’m feeling down and out about is I KNOW they can be doing so much more and I’ve tried working myself with them on their heeling and getting them to focus on me as engaging with me on walks.. but I don’t seem to be making progress. I’m unsure if I’m teaching them correctly.

How are you trying to get your dog to focus and engage with you? Typically, you want to be able to get the dog in drive using food or a toy so that they see you as the person all good things come from. Some of that will depend on your dogs' genetic capacity for drive and some will depend on your techniques and skill. As for heeling, I put a lot of time working on teaching a correct focused heel for competition. If I am just walking the dog somewhere, I let him do what he wants. He usually is pulling some like you would see in a Sieger Show.
 

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I find OP's post confusing.

OP seems to be satisfied with their dogs' obedience where it is and has no complaints about their behavior. IMO, that speaks volumes about the dogs. They don't seem to be suffering for the lack of further training. I am not saying don't move forward with more training, just saying there seems to be no problems with the dogs to justify the owner feeling that they are letting the dogs down.

I am not so sure why so many people feel the need to have a dog focus on and engage with them during a walk. Sometimes you just have to let a dog be a dog. That act alone can bring out so much in a dog.

https://www.psychologytoday.com/intl/blog/animal-emotions/201902/allowing-dogs-sniff-helps-them-think-positively?fbclid=IwAR1oXabY7IAode8g1SA6dtDwDdOUCj-oR3c94ENnydTmsIWaAUgyAAoLHVs
Interesting article! I always try to incorporate both into my walks- some of our walk is done with my dog walking nicely on the leash next to me, no sniffing or pottying (they dont have to focus on me though), but I give them frequent breaks to allow them to go sniff and potty and such.

Sent from my SM-G892A using Tapatalk
 

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Any of us who claim to think that we are doing all we could be doing with our dog(s).... Hey well, I'm not quite that deluded just yet... So to the OP welcome to the guilty handler/ "owner", "dog keeper" club. I think most of us are members. It's a large group. And yet exclusive to those of us with a conscience. To make us feel better, we contemplate those dogs kept in the yard week after week.
 

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I'm guessing you're a perfectionist. If you are comparing your dogs to dogs that have been trained by experienced or professional trainers, you're being unfair to yourself. It sounds like you're doing a wonderful job. Enjoy your dogs and yourself while training them, have fun, it will take pressure off both you and your dogs.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
You guys are so right! I think I put more pressure on myself then anything.

I know where I want my dogs to be and sometimes I just feel like I’m not doing enough to get there, but I also realized I am doing more then I think I am.

Sometimes I get to focused on the things they are struggling with and forget to look at how great they already are.

These are my first dogs I have truly owned and trained myself.

I do need to look on the positive side. They are littermates and have no seperation anxiety for each other or me and my fiancé. They overall have good obedience and behave nicely in public.

They are good dogs I know this and they have room to grow into the dogs I want them to be. They are only 10 months old!

I guess with having a “working line” dog I always feel like I’m not doing enough to engage that side of them.

But they are happy dogs. They get lots of love and attention and play time.

Everyone’s post made me feel great and offered such a great advice as well.

I am going to be working with a trainer twice month to work on recall and work on getting them used to a more busy area.

I currently life in the suburbs but We will be moving to LA for my finance job. So I exposure to get them used to busy streets and lots of people.

We will be putting them in some classes once we move in the summer. Dock diving for Odin and basic agility for Layla to help with their needs and lots of hiking.

Again I really appreciate everyone’s kind words and advice.
 

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I do two types of training with puppies, house manners and everything else. By 10 months I want my dogs to behave well enough in the house that I know they aren’t going to destroy it or hurt themselves. There is more to it, but that is my first concern. I teach basic foundation early, sit, down, recall, leash walking and settle. Then some form of Place. Then I fit my training to the dog. My older one is a rescue I got as a puppy with a big attitude. She got into all kinds of trouble and needed obedience. We did it for a year, she got a perfect score at a match (practice for a real show) when we walked out of the ring and I realized she didn’t like it very much. So we quit. That was the end of her training other than fun things. My 3 year old loves working. He is a WL and I got as far with obedience as I could. I work with a private trainer in a small group class now. I taught him scenting, both field tracking and searching for hidden objects by scent. He loves it. I taught him to bring me things, like shoes, and other fun things that work for us. Our training is fun and casual. I do as much as I have time to do. He had pano for 18 months which completely ruined my original training plans. I had to pull him from class every time I thought he would be ok to start obedience classes. So I found a private trainer with GSD work experience and went from there.

If you want to title a dog, you need to put in more time. If you want pets that are good companions and love life, find a few things your dogs enjoy and work on those. My WL was bred to sniff, so that is what we do. Even on long walks, I let him sniff first, then when he is very tired, I work on heeling and some obedience. He seems very happy. Most of our dogs will never do everything they are capable of doing but if yours can do a few things very well, that could be enough. For example, mine would both love sheep herding but we don’t have any sheep or a local venue, so they won’t be able to do that. Rather than focusing on what they should be doing and aren’t, I look at what we have accomplished together.
 

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I do two types of training with puppies, house manners and everything else. By 10 months I want my dogs to behave well enough in the house that I know they aren’t going to destroy it or hurt themselves. There is more to it, but that is my first concern. I teach basic foundation early, sit, down, recall, leash walking and settle. Then some form of Place. Then I fit my training to the dog. My older one is a rescue I got as a puppy with a big attitude. She got into all kinds of trouble and needed obedience. We did it for a year, she got a perfect score at a match (practice for a real show) when we walked out of the ring and I realized she didn’t like it very much. So we quit. That was the end of her training other than fun things. My 3 year old loves working. He is a WL and I got as far with obedience as I could. I work with a private trainer in a small group class now. I taught him scenting, both field tracking and searching for hidden objects by scent. He loves it. I taught him to bring me things, like shoes, and other fun things that work for us. Our training is fun and casual. I do as much as I have time to do. He had pano for 18 months which completely ruined my original training plans. I had to pull him from class every time I thought he would be ok to start obedience classes. So I found a private trainer with GSD work experience and went from there.

If you want to title a dog, you need to put in more time. If you want pets that are good companions and love life, find a few things your dogs enjoy and work on those. My WL was bred to sniff, so that is what we do. Even on long walks, I let him sniff first, then when he is very tired, I work on heeling and some obedience. He seems very happy. Most of our dogs will never do everything they are capable of doing but if yours can do a few things very well, that could be enough. For example, mine would both love sheep herding but we don’t have any sheep or a local venue, so they won’t be able to do that. Rather than focusing on what they should be doing and aren’t, I look at what we have accomplished together.

How did pano affect your dog and what do you to for physical Stimulation while he was hurting?

Odin has a high drive so he doesn’t really whine in pain until things REALLY hurt and I can tell he’s starting to get some pent up energy. I’ve been trying to mentally stimulate him but he’s toy driven, specially by the ball. So it’s really the only way to engage him where he will stay engaged.

They have pretty great house manners. We are still working on excitement when people come over (which is rare) so we usually have them attached to the leash with their prong on until they calm down.

Overall they are pretty great inside.

I don’t want a title dog. Just want to work on advance obedience for own training & classes such as agility, tracking and diving for their own fun. Depending which they like best. Layla hates water so I don’t see her doing any water sports ?.

I’ve been letting them sniff around on walks way more now that neither can really go to the dog park from pano for Odin and heat for Layla. Plus it’s raining pretty bad in socal so I usually only have around 15-30 minutes between raining to walk them.

You’re words were very encouraging and much appreciated! I am going to focus on what would be benefical to learn and to thrive for their life rather then focus on what they’re missing.

We will be moving to a more city like area so we’ve started exposing them to more walks near streets outside of our gated community. And taking them to busy places.

My end goal is a great life companion. We will have so much more access to better hiking, sports, and the beach once we move into the greater Los Angeles area.

So my goal is to prepare them for a busy life. We don’t have much off leash areas where I live now or will in LA so leash manners are a must.

They’re pretty good at ignoring people and dogs because we never really them interact with people when they are leash. Unless someone ask we have the dogs sit and let the person stick a hand out to see if they want to be pet. 8/10 times they are disinterested. Unless we are off leas at the park & someone has a ball they don’t really go up to people much for interaction. Which is great! And I never stopped to thing about till now really.

We don’t want overly friendly dogs, especially since we plan to put them into protection work when they’re a bit older.
 

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He limped and was in a lot of pain about half the time, so he spent a lot of time lying down. During a pano episode our vet made two stupid mistakes and he became phobic by 5 months. Then that vet said they could not handle him because he tried to bite them (he didn’t, I was there), so I found a fear free vet. That worked out very well. I did a lot of handling, Place, having him lying quietly next to me when I worked on the computer or ate. As a result, we bonded extremely closely and I used the down time to get over his phobias. I did quieter types of training. We started working with a private trainer at 7 months, and did a lot of box work, so he wasn’t moving a lot but he was learning to think and solve problems. I exercised him some when he was well. But there were downsides. He didn’t get as used to other dogs in all situations as I wanted. He tends to be very playful and happy, and is a bit more social than I wanted, but at least he is good with guests. He is also a good watch dog. During his pano time, I began hiding things like treats or favorite toys in boxes with lids, and outside at nose level but out of sight, and made him search for them. That was the beginning of scent training.
 
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