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Discussion Starter #1
I'm trying to figure out the best method on training Shema.
She is a bit more stubborn than any GSD, or any other dog for that matter, when it comes to listening.

She continuously barks at everything, and won't stop. I know guarding/protecting is a GSD trait. I don't want to totally take that away, I just want her to stop when I tell her it's OK or enough. But she is so focused on whatever it is, that she doesn't even pay attention to anything else.

She is incredibly hyperactive, imagine the energizer bunny X 200. No joke.

Because of the hyperactivity, I have a hard time getting her to focus when trying to teach basic commands. She knows sit, but wont do it unless there is a treat, or toy involved. Which is fine but I want her to be able to do so without a reward all the time.

I know she is smart, and I know she gets it. But she is super stubborn and a bit to hyperactive. I need to figure out the best way to get her attention and to focus.
I also know she is still a young pup (3 months in 3 days) But from past experience and seeing so many other people with GSD puppies having a better acting pup at this age, I know it's possible, and I know she can do it. I just can't seem to get her to 'obey' on my own.

I do not believe in physical punishment or e collars. I have always done positive reinforcement and have had success, but it isn't working with her.

I've never used a dog trainer or gone to classes, but I'm considering looking into them for her.
I live in the Fort Worth, TX area. If anyone knows of a good, not so expensive, trainer/classes that they could recommend, I would greatly appreciate the help.

Also, any tips would be appreciated!
 

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Find a trainer. Your dog isnt bad. Just sounds like you need help conveying the message. You can also look at the collared scholar or mike Ritland online. They both encourage engagement
 

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Smart does not equal biddable. More often just the opposite.

Find a trainer who believes in balanced training. Work with the dog you have and lose the idea of methods. I personally cringe when I see super well behaved puppies, they're puppies. They should be adventurous, curious and a bit bad. They are supposed to be getting into trouble as they explore and learn. Personally I think my job for the first few months at least is to keep them from killing themselves, to minimize damage and let them grow.
 

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Not quite 12 wks? She's not being stubborn, she's being a puppy! IMHO the true art involved in training is to lead the puppy into offering the behaviors you want, while letting them think it's their idea! Training at this age should be indistinguishable, and integrated into, play...because puppies LOVE to play and explore! Burn off some of her energy before asking her for any focus, then truly engage her by making it all fun and rewarding! She is still a baby after all!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Burning her energy doesn't work.. She gets TONS of play, walks ect... she still keeps going. There is literally no end to it. Which is why I need help I guess. I need to find her "off switch"

I get she is a puppy, I get a lot of it is just puppy issues.

I'm probably expecting to much, and I realized it after I had made the post.

What is a balanced trainer?
 

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I am raising my first GSD now 19 months.
As a puppy my god was his energy endless. What I later came to find out was that we were fueling his endless energy. We kept him so busy he never napped but passed out cold every night at 7. Much like a baby or toddler he was over tired! We are always home. Our off switch appeared idk 9 months or later lol. He is now very chill in the house. Thankfully
I'm my opinion keep up the food keep up the toys. I second the Collared Scholar I wish I had found it when my dog was a puppy! Spend some time training place in the house.

I have a smart dog too....not so sure if he is biddable lol
 

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Burning her energy doesn't work.. She gets TONS of play, walks ect... she still keeps going. There is literally no end to it. Which is why I need help I guess. I need to find her "off switch"
Some puppies need to be taught what an "off switch" means LOL! But it usually gets better with age too, and like Apex1 said, ample nap time >:)

What is a balanced trainer?
A balanced trainer is one who uses a combination of positive reinforcement and positive punishment or corrections when appropriate. The "balance" should be heavily weighted toward positive reinforcement, around 95%/5% respectively.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
@Tim thank you for explaining! I will look and see if I can find one near me.
@apex I don't think she is over tired. Whenever I'm not physically interacting or watching her, she is in her puppy pen. So she does get plenty of down time to. But soon as that pen is opened, she bolts and it's like a streak of light blazing through the house. I've been working on her to stay/wait. She does try, I can tell she wants to listen. She'll sit and you can literally see the energy rippling through her body. But the moment the pen door cracks open, all concentration is gone an she bolts -_-
 

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Your attitude to your pup is important. Don't take puppy behaviour personally, shrug off any frustration and upset emotions and remember to enjoy your dog. You have my sincere empathy, raising a puppy is character building :-D
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Your attitude to your pup is important. Don't take puppy behaviour personally, shrug off any frustration and upset emotions and remember to enjoy your dog. You have my sincere empathy, raising a puppy is character building :-D

That it definitely is lol

I'm pretty good with keeping my emotions in check, always have been. I honestly don't even get mad, ask my husband he has tried in the 10yrs we have been together to see what I'm like when mad. Hasn't happened yet lol.

When I feel I get frustrated with the craziness, I put her in her pen to give us both a break and leave it be. I try to keep it fun for her to get her to WANT to focus on me and stuff.

I'm home basically 24/7, only gone when I'm at dialysis, so i have all the time in the world to work with her.

I think I found a good class, but I have to wait till she gets her 2nd round of shots to enroll her. So gunna do what I can till then. She gets them on Oct 7th.
 

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I crate pups quite a bit: after play, after a meal, after a trip etc. Off time is just as important as being active. Find a balance. Just when they are seemingly out of control is when they need off time, like little kids. Smile! You got a GSD!
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I crate pups quite a bit: after play, after a meal, after a trip etc. Off time is just as important as being active. Find a balance. Just when they are seemingly out of control is when they need off time, like little kids. Smile! You got a GSD!

She is in her kennel at night, an during the day off/on in puppy pen. Oh I do smile! And laugh a lot lol she is so silly :D I love her to pieces and wouldn't trade her for the world. Even when she is a brat lol
 

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You said she barks at everything, is there a particular connection at all? What behavior does she show in terms of body language. Is it something that startles her or is she hesitant at whatever she is barking at. Find out the why to the behavior. I highly doubt it is the hyperactive part. When she is barking, are you saying quiet or engaging at all? If you are you actually are reinforcing the behavior whether positively or negatively. If possible remove the stimuli that she is barking at, and wait 10-15 secs then reward her for being quiet. People advocate for physical exercise which is great, but studies have shown that mental stimulation exhausts a puppy far more than physical exercise does. How often do you train her? Its important to do small training sessions throughout the day. Do you do enrichment activies like using a kong for her food or food puzzles? I found those are great with pups.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
You said she barks at everything, is there a particular connection at all? What behavior does she show in terms of body language. Is it something that startles her or is she hesitant at whatever she is barking at. Find out the why to the behavior. I highly doubt it is the hyperactive part. When she is barking, are you saying quiet or engaging at all? If you are you actually are reinforcing the behavior whether positively or negatively. If possible remove the stimuli that she is barking at, and wait 10-15 secs then reward her for being quiet. People advocate for physical exercise which is great, but studies have shown that mental stimulation exhausts a puppy far more than physical exercise does. How often do you train her? Its important to do small training sessions throughout the day. Do you do enrichment activies like using a kong for her food or food puzzles? I found those are great with pups.
It's every person, dog, cat or animal she see's when outside. I live in an apartment, so not much I can do to remove her when I have to take her out. There are TONS of people with dogs in this complex. I can't just walk her away, because where I am able to take her to go potty here (we have a designated area we are allowed to take dogs to ), there isn't much I can do to take her away from the issue.

Not much as for body language, she see's them and starts barking. Half them time I don't even see the people till they come from behind whatever they were by, but she see's them before I do.

I do tell her quite, and I get her to sit and try and get her to focus on me (something we have been working on). While she will sit fine for me, she still continues to bark. She'll focus on me for maybe a few secs but then back to barking. I do reward when she is focusing on me, but whatever catches her attention, to her, is better than the treats/praise.

I train periodically throughout the day, I've had puppies before I know their attention span isn't very long.

She has a kong, she gets frustrated with it if she can't get anything out within a few seconds and leaves it be. I've tried puzzle toys (store bought and homemade) she doesn't care for them, not one bit of interest. I try to get her excited to play, but she is more interested in her squeaky toys.


Things have been slightly better since I've made the post. She still barks and still way hyper, but she has been better about listening.
 

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My training facility uses small squirt bottles of vinegar and will spray dogs when they bark. If the dog doesn't like the smell/taste, they tend to learn real quick not to bark. They teach the owner to hold the bottle in a way that doesn't make it painfully obvious they are the one the stinky stuff is coming from, and I believe they reward for being quiet. There's also dropping high value treats on the ground to break the focus of the dog on whatever it is they're focusing on.

I've heard of, and seen, people picking up a smaller puppy, walk a few steps, and then set it down facing away from the object to break the "barking spell." It seems successful, although I'm not quite sure for how long.

I haven't had to deal with this. I'd imagine, based on the date in your signature, she's going through a fear period.
 

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It's every person, dog, cat or animal she see's when outside. I live in an apartment, so not much I can do to remove her when I have to take her out. There are TONS of people with dogs in this complex. I can't just walk her away, because where I am able to take her to go potty here (we have a designated area we are allowed to take dogs to ), there isn't much I can do to take her away from the issue.

I do tell her quite, and I get her to sit and try and get her to focus on me (something we have been working on). While she will sit fine for me, she still continues to bark. She'll focus on me for maybe a few secs but then back to barking. I do reward when she is focusing on me, but whatever catches her attention, to her, is better than the treats/praise.

She has a kong, she gets frustrated with it if she can't get anything out within a few seconds and leaves it be. I've tried puzzle toys (store bought and homemade) she doesn't care for them, not one bit of interest. I try to get her excited to play, but she is more interested in her squeaky toys.


Things have been slightly better since I've made the post. She still barks and still way hyper, but she has been better about listening.
Thanks for the clarification on a few things. I've gotten a better understanding of what is going on. I don't believe you are having hyper issues. I believe you simply have a reactive dog at the moment and there are training methods that can help: counter conditioning/desensitization protocols. Look up the "engage-disengage" game on google images. Basically what happens when a dog starts barking is that it goes over a threshold due to stress or fear. We can't tell the dog to stop barking at this moment, because when a dog is over threshold its like a fight or flight response and cannot respond to you as its fixated on whatever the dog is reacting too. We are actually reinforcing the behavior by telling the dog to stop barking. So the only thing that you can do is Create Distance. That is literally the only thing we can do when a dog is being reactive due to a certain stimuli. When you said the GSD focuses on you but looks back and starts barking, you did not create enough distance.

The game is called "engage/disengage game". Start at a safe distance to where the dog is not barking or reacting (even being fixated at the trigger is already means too close), and when your dog notices the trigger, click with a clicker or say yes then treat making sure you treat towards you. If the dog is not turning back to you, that means your too close. You do this till its basically 8/10 times success rate. Once it is move onto the next game, and wait for the dog to notice the trigger but wait 1-5 seconds to see if he will look away from the trigger on its own. If he doesn't go back to level one and start at a further distance. What this game does, is change the emotion the dog has about a particular trigger. Have friends do this with you and have them stand still. It does take time, but the end result will be a new safe and appropriate default behavior. When I did this, I used a clicker. I hope this helps. This works in operant conditioning and not classical.

When it comes to the kong, make it easier for her. Put kibble in it and only put a handful in there so its not crammed (depends on size). Show her how to do it. My first GSD mix was the same way till I rolled it once, and kibble fell out. After that it was game over haha.
 

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Has she ever been introduced to anything/anyone she's having a barking episode at? & if so, how did she interact? Some pups may display signs of fear and others excitability. Signs of hesitancy with a quick recovery might be a lack of exposure (socialisation). Sometimes it can be difficult to discern. Getting help from a trainer experienced with working dogs can help identify the "why" behind the barking and get you and pup on the right track.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Thanks for the clarification on a few things. I've gotten a better understanding of what is going on. I don't believe you are having hyper issues. I believe you simply have a reactive dog at the moment and there are training methods that can help: counter conditioning/desensitization protocols. Look up the "engage-disengage" game on google images. Basically what happens when a dog starts barking is that it goes over a threshold due to stress or fear. We can't tell the dog to stop barking at this moment, because when a dog is over threshold its like a fight or flight response and cannot respond to you as its fixated on whatever the dog is reacting too. We are actually reinforcing the behavior by telling the dog to stop barking. So the only thing that you can do is Create Distance. That is literally the only thing we can do when a dog is being reactive due to a certain stimuli. When you said the GSD focuses on you but looks back and starts barking, you did not create enough distance.

The game is called "engage/disengage game". Start at a safe distance to where the dog is not barking or reacting (even being fixated at the trigger is already means too close), and when your dog notices the trigger, click with a clicker or say yes then treat making sure you treat towards you. If the dog is not turning back to you, that means your too close. You do this till its basically 8/10 times success rate. Once it is move onto the next game, and wait for the dog to notice the trigger but wait 1-5 seconds to see if he will look away from the trigger on its own. If he doesn't go back to level one and start at a further distance. What this game does, is change the emotion the dog has about a particular trigger. Have friends do this with you and have them stand still. It does take time, but the end result will be a new safe and appropriate default behavior. When I did this, I used a clicker. I hope this helps. This works in operant conditioning and not classical.

When it comes to the kong, make it easier for her. Put kibble in it and only put a handful in there so its not crammed (depends on size). Show her how to do it. My first GSD mix was the same way till I rolled it once, and kibble fell out. After that it was game over haha.


Thank you. I will do what I can with this and see if it helps :)

My only issue would now be getting help lol I literally have no friends here and my husband works 2 jobs to make up the difference since I can't work. So I'm stuck with most of this alone.
 

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Has she ever been introduced to anything/anyone she's having a barking episode at? & if so, how did she interact? Some pups may display signs of fear and others excitability. Signs of hesitancy with a quick recovery might be a lack of exposure (socialisation). Sometimes it can be difficult to discern. Getting help from a trainer experienced with working dogs can help identify the "why" behind the barking and get you and pup on the right track.
Yes, she has met our neighbor and their little girl. I was on my way walking back to our door and they came out and she started barking and jumping (not aggressive, just super excited) All she did was lick and be excited to be petted. She LOVES attention and anytime anyone will give her a sec, she is in heaven.

She has also met the upstairs neighbors dog and another tenants dog. Anytime she see's a dog, same reaction (barking and jumping) With the other owner permission I let her get close so she can socialize with the person and dog. I do keep a tighter leash then so I can control better if the things get hairy I can pull her back quickly.

Anytime I take her anywhere It's the same reaction and she is super happy if that person she see's gives her the attention
 

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There are four pillars of operant learning in training a dog. Positive reinforcement, negative reinforcement, positive punishment and negative punishment. With a dog like you have described, using only positive reinforcement will not get the results you want. Also, your pup is still very young with a lot of puppy in her. Also, when she gets excited to see another dog or person, make her sit or down for just a second or two and then release her to play with the dog or person. Over time, extend the time she has sit or down before releasing her. The attention will be a strong positive reinforce.
 
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