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Hey! Owner of a 8 month old male GSD here. We're working on his house training right now, and it's an awful slow process. I'm not exactly sure how to go about responding to certain things he does.

The house is pretty much dog proofed, but it's not like we can hide every last thing we own from him. We keep an eye on him every second because he likes to grab things. He will grab pretty much anything he possibly can, be it a tv remote, a pencil, the paper towel holder, a coaster, a freakin xbox 360 controller... and run with it if we come too close! He thinks it's a big ol game! I know apparently it's best not to give him the attention he wants, but if he is left alone he will just go and chew on whatever he has, and we can't really allow that for everything.

I've been clicker training the "drop it" command, and it's been helping, but most days he really won't listen. I've even gotten a squirt bottle to use and sometimes it won't help! He's so crazy sometimes. :p

Any other tips on how to deal with this?
 

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What I have done with this behavior is I do the exchange game so when he grabs something you don't want him to have then I would call him in a fun exciting voice and have either 1 a treat or a toy or bone of his own and give it to him. He will find that game much more rewarding and you won't play the chase game.

If he doesn't come to you at first run backward a little bit and say let me see what you have or something exciting when he comes to you put the treat or toy in front of his nose and when he drops it you can say good and you can give a command to it like the word "give".

Chasing your dog, spraying water at him will not help this but make it worse.

If I find one of the puppies chewing on something I don't want them to have I give them a toy/treat/bone to chew on in exchange so when they are laying down I take it say say here better choice.

This has worked very well for all three of the foster puppies I have worked with.
 

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If you haven't already, you might want to start working on the "leave it" command.


I'm only using "leave it" for things that Shasta will never be allowed to have.
 

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Yep, trading games. Although this thread is about resource guarding (which trading games are also good for), I posted about the kind of training I do with my dogs so that they learn to bring things TO me, not to take them and run away: http://www.germanshepherds.com/foru...dog-concerned-about-growling.html#post2001574

Halo was very bad about stealing things too, she didn't care about shoes or socks left on the floor, she's a girl who likes a challenge! :rofl: She'd steal TV remotes and eyeglasses off tables, knives off the kitchen counter (yikes!) as well as pot holders... But often she'd just deliver them to us in another room. We'd be on our computers in the office and she'd bring us the remote. Another time she found a pair of my hubby's reading glasses, not sure where they were originally, and she brought them into the living room while we were watching TV and set them on the coffee table in front of him! She'd been so heavily rewarded for giving me things and I always encouraged her to bring me those stolen items in exchange for a treat that it wasn't a problem to get things away from her that she wasn't supposed to have.
 

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You should have lots of puppy toys strewn about the house so he has something to play with. Do you have your dog in an obedience class yet and are you getting him out for enough exercise?
 

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if he is left alone he will just go and chew on whatever he has, and we can't really allow that for everything.
Never leave him alone. My rule is if you can't keep the dog tethered to you or by you in the beginning then put them in their crate with a KONG ball or something that is rewarding. Therefore they don't get into trouble and start bad habits. Many habits can be avoided by good puppy management and trading games (which I do all the time) and I always say let me see what you have and make it fun. I had a foster lab that would steal stuffed animals off my daughter's bed and I would say hey what do you have ... and do a come he would bring them back to me so proud and I would give him something in return. If dogs know they are going to get something back in return they tend to bring things back, there is we hope less resource guarding etc...

Also what type of exericise or mental stimulation do you provide for your dog daily? A bored dog is a dog that will make up their own job.
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
He knows the "leave it" command but not for things he intensely wants; this will also be reinforced with the clicker.

The problem is that he will only rarely drop what he has for a treat, even if it is a high value treat (such as a piece of carrot or ham). He just LOVES getting chased, which unfortunately we used to do months ago. We do not indulge in this behavior any longer, of course. Oi! I guess I just really need to reinforce the "drop it" "leave it" commands with really high value treats when he isn't keeping something from us... then hopefully he'll give it up for a treat when he is doing such things.

EDIT: We play "find it" games with toys and objects he is permitted to play with, take runs in the park, walks around the block every day. Though we've been walking less because the sidewalks are all but unshoveled and the snow is four feet high. yikes! He will play in the snow, though, and dig through it regardless of the height.
 

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It's a good idea to train your dog to come when called to give you something they've stolen, but in my mind, that's more for the occasional grab, like when you're outdoors and the dog picks up something he shouldn't have. You don't want him to run away with something potentially harmful in his mouth.

For things that you can't eliminate from the environment, I think you need to work on leave it. I don't know about your dogs, but if Shasta thought she'd get a treat every time she brought me the TV remote (for example), she'd be stealing that sucker 100 times a day.
 

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I don't know about your dogs, but if Shasta thought she'd get a treat every time she brought me the TV remote (for example), she'd be stealing that sucker 100 times a day.
Yeah, at some point you do have to start phasing out the food rewards - Halo would do the same thing if she knew she'd always get a treat for it! :wild: Once she was consistently bringing me things and letting me take them from her I'd just say "thank you!" and tell her what a good puppy she is in a happy tone of voice. But that was after the behavior of bringing me whatever she'd stolen was well established. And she did eventually grow out it.
 

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Also for the "leave it" you will need to continue working on it until he is proofed on anything and everything. Set him up with stuff he really wants (including treats) to practice "leave it". Be ready to correct him if he ignores you. What he has learned is that he does not HAVE to listen to you if he really wants something. You need to work on making him listen to you. Don't give a Leave It command if you are not in a position to enforce it. He knows your inconsistencies too well and is taking advantage of them.
 

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how would you correct the ignoring of the leave it command? If they ignored the command then presumably they've already rewarded themselves, correct?
 

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I feel your pain. We call our 7 month old Sage "Sticky Fingers". :) As aggravating as she is, I can't help but laugh when she nonchalantly steals something and then hightails it out of there, tail wagging, all pleased with herself. She's a silly girl.

Anyway, I agree with the other posters - "leave it", "drop it", trading for a toy ...
 

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I'd increase her level of activity as well. More physical exercise, more mental exercise. Tire her out!
 

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Karma occasionally does this but always brings it over when I call and let's go with a leave it. A good way to avoid iT not turning into a game of tug if your dog won't releasE straight away is holding the item pressed against your thigh ...
 

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Jordan is training to be myservice dog and we have taught her
"leave it" - dont touch it, ignore it
"get it" - pick that up
"give it" - bring it to me
"drop it" - drop it where you are

Jordan has a natural -want- to retrieve and carry things so we just started training off that. Might help :)
 

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gsdraven - A good way to not let dogs self reward while teaching the leave it command is put a toy or treat on the ground and sit close, close enough to move it if they dont listen, and 'proof' them - teach them in a controlled environment.... make it gradually harder until they are responding to leave it's in public or from across the house.... Jordan and I started by sitting on the floor with a few pieces of kibble. I took it away when she didnt listen, when she listened she got a treat from the hand behind my back! She learned within a week to leave it and shed get rewarded, we slowly phased out the treats and moved her in to unplanned leave its (petsmart, public, cat food, etc).

Hope this helps.
 

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gsdraven - A good way to not let dogs self reward while teaching the leave it command is put a toy or treat on the ground and sit close, close enough to move it if they dont listen, and 'proof' them - teach them in a controlled environment....
Yes, I know all this. What I want to know is how you go about correcting the dog if they ignored the command. I don't consider covering it up or taking it away to be a correction. I'm asking about proofing from further away when you don't have time to cover it or take it away if they ignore the command.

ETA: I realized that may have come out a little snarky, I didn't mean it too. Thanks for your post.
 

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No worries... I guess the few times Jordan didnt listen we reverted back to me sitting real close.

I read somewhere that you have to set them up not to fail and that if they start "failing" is because youve moved to quickly. I cant recall where I read it... the last few months have been a blur of reading material and training. Hope someone else can answer your q :)
 
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