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Discussion Starter #1
For those not following the Grimm saga: Grimm is a 15 month old Czech GSD, I have some disabilities, and Grimm gets frustrated at not being able to initiate play contact with other dogs while on-lead, and barks/lunges at dogs while on-lead... putting me in serious danger in this crowded city full of Fifis. I've used a prong for a year on Grimm, and this has possibly exacerbated the problem. I am now trying Halti, clicker, systematic desensitisation, Feisty Fido stuff, switching his thinking from "wanna raise a ruckus and have a party/rumble" when he sees a dog to "whoa.. we gonna heel? Gonna sit? Gotta give focus? Where's my snack?" Half the stress is gone, and he is now workable... most of the time.. we see another dog, but, the problem is still enormous-- I cannot safely walk him when he sees another dog. I am unsafe. Have been dragged on my back down the sidewalk---and into the road still on my back, gotten a concussion. I need help, in order to keep Grimm.. and remain safe & alive.

After agonizing months of trying so very hard to find a suitable trainer, a trainer was reccomended by a "purely positive" trainer at the animal protection league/animal shelter here. The trainer split from another trainer he was in business with, because he felt the other trainer too harsh in his methods. The trainer, however, is not a purely positive trainer. He will use a fursaver collar, does issue corrections when needed, when the dog knows what is required and has already learned the commands.

His take (and many others', too) on Grimm's barking/lunging is that it is not actually fear-based. A small part is unfamiliarity with other dogs, but, mainly: Grimmi wants to initiate a party, can't cos he's onlead, and.. flips out in a frustrated effort to initiate a doggy-party, ignoring me. The trainer carefully tied Grimm to a pole nearby on the street using a soft, comfortable collar and lead that had give to it, then strolled his dog he got from rescue right by Grimm. Grimm went bonkers-- hair up, barking-- but his face and chest were on the ground, his bum in the air. Stress, frustration, play behavior-- not fear. Regardless, had I been walking Grimm and we were surprised by this dog coming so close, I would have been dragged helplessly again into traffic, getting another concussion.

My take: Anytime I myself teach Grimm anything new, I will use only positive clicker training. I will also continue doing the clicker-halti positive associations with Grimm working when we encounter another dog in the distance. But, Grimm is aware of my weakness, he *is* dominant and taking some advantage-- even though I do NILIF at home, he gets no water, food, treats, toys, etc without working for them-- he can't even go through a doorway without sit, wait, focus-- but on walks, he knows he is stronger. He will get slightly more dominant as he matures (not neutered). I will continue my whole life to work with him-- but he is not difficult to live with, and incorperating a lil training and NILIF into daily life is and will continue to be rutine for us.

The training is send-away for 3 weeks. We all hate send-away training, and all for the same sensible reasons. But, this is a matter of safety, it is an emergency.. so that I can keep Grimm safely.

The trainer will work with Grimm 3 times per day. Then, I work with Grimm and him there at the facility for a week. Then, for 2 more weeks, the trainer comes here to our place to work with Grimmi, my hubby and I together, in our surroundings. Grimm will be off-lead trained with recall and heel. (a good thing) He will also make it so that Grimm has frequent practice walking right by other dogs on a sidewalk. We all will sign papers-- the trainer, hubby and I-- about what will be worked on, accomplished, etc. Germans delight in paperwork of any type. I am learning.

For the next few weeks, I will be getting Grimm feeling better from his SIBO flare-up. When he is well, I will get him his required vaccines for the boarding-training (his rabies is slightly past due-- our vet understands we need to get SIBO calmed down before vaccines can safely happen)When Grimm has had his shots, is feeling well, we will meet again with Herr M.

I hate send-away training. I wish this situation were not so dangerous for me, so critical. I do like this trainer. He has a kindhearted way about him with dogs, and his heart is for the 'problem' dog-- yet does issue corrections when the dog is needing them. I admit Grimm knows I am weak on walks, and takes advantage. I admit I need intervention here. Grimm does need limits, needs exposure to other dogs-- and this trainer can provide what we need so that Grimm and I can continue to live together-- safely.
 

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Patti I'm glad to see that you are getting the help that is needed for you and Grimm. Think of this way you send him out and he will come back more manageable and safe for you and Grimm. Jero has a lot of faith in his little brother.
 

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{Camper now worried he will be sent away as well...
}

[Camper's mom thinking it's not a bad idea...
]

Patti, I think that as difficult as this is, it's a great idea. You really are at a crossroads. As one of my trainers keeps reminding me, our guys are quickly becoming adults, and what they learn in the next few months tends to be the behavior we'll be stuck with forever, good or bad. (Yeah, it can be modified, but THAT is really hard.)

This trainer sounds like he might be exactly what you need -- someone who's very positive, but someone who is willing to tell Grimm, "hey, No. You can NOT do that anymore." Boundaries are a good thing in a very smart, high drive, working dog.

Good luck getting SIBO, the ugly monster, under control in the meantime.

We wish you all the best.
But you know that!
 

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Yeah we all hate send away training but it is not all bad. We hate it cause some of it is bad but ot all of it! In your case I think it is the right thing to do for Grimm and your family.
 

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I agree. I think in your case, send away training is best. Especially since the trainer is still planning on working with you and Grimm at the same time. Not just sending you back a 'well-trained dog.' If he weren't willing to devote some time to training you both, then I would be concerned. But it sounds like you've finally found a good thing. I'm so happy for you.

Personally, I don't feel Grimm's dragging you down the street is a dominance issue. Dogs do what works. Knocking you onto your back allows him to access the other dogs he wants to play with. He's just so happy he doesn't realize what he's doing. No matter the cause, I agree it needs to be addressed and corrected. For your safety and his.

I wish you the best of luck getting his SIBO under control (been there, done that). And, of course, keep us posted on how his training goes.
 

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You are very lucky to find such a trainer. You and Grimm have many years ahead, and this is just a little bridge that will make the time ahead go much more smoothly. Onyx is the same age, and this must be the age when their behavior just gets the best of them! I think the hardest part will be missing him!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thank you for the encouragement Lori and Chuck-- it is really needed right now. You guys are the best.

I agree with your trainer, Lori. I can sense this is a critical period for teenybopper Grimm. ("Like, y'know Ma, I don't hafta listen to you, Ma...*snort*... I'm like, cool 'nuff to make up my own mind abou-- HEY!! A bird just went by! I hear a bumble bee! WHOA! I smell a bunny fart!" etc.) The trainer actually can do what I cannot right now-- work through both the distractions and blowing-the-handler-off moments. Still, I myself will have to work on my own behavior with Grimm, and the trainer will be correcting and working with my mistakes, too. But yeah.. someone with healthy hands and timing and training know-how is needed right now.

Chuck, it galls me to be without Grimm, even for 3 weeks. I know how you feel about his brother Jero-- you'd do anything for him.

I never had a puppy before, nor a workinglines dog. Grimm isn't extreme in drives or dominance, but we are not having an easy (or safe) time during his teenagerhood without some help. I so appreciate the encouragement in this!
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Quick note from the vet's waitingroom the other day: Grimm was being a beast, pulling & barking at other dogs that were behind the door to the waitingroom. Suddenly, while in full throttle hullaballoo, he stopped. Someone had brought in a kitty in a carrier. Grimm began to very gently, softly wag his tail, silently **** his head, and respectfully try to use his eyes to chat with the cat. He was now in a calm, relaxed state, as they chatted silently. Grimm was raised until age 7 months by my 19-yr-old cat Chunk, until Chunk's passing. Funny what they learn!
 

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He needs a kitty!!!!!!
 

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Patti That is too funny, such a small little cat could calm the beast LOL. We raise our shepherds here around cats so that some day when we rehome them they get along with cats. Only our imports have cat aggression, Ben has chased one of our Faro cats all over the property to have the cat get away from him thank god.
 

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ROFL Kathy! We are looking into getting him a kitty-friend when things have settled down some.


Chuck, LOL yup! I could almost 'hear' the convo from Grimm's side:

"Yeah...... uh-huh....I know you're a kitty......uh-huh..... Me?..... a puppy.......a German shepherd puppy..... yeah, but only my butt is big........ uh-huh.....it is?..... yup, I know kitties........ because. Yup. I know.........You do?..... I always thought I ruled the world, but yup, I heard youse guys do............. yup..... okay..... okay, I'll be a good boy.... uh-huh.... what bad breath?...... oh, ok..... gotta go, bye."
 

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This sounds like you've found a good deal. I hope it all works out. My trainer-of-choice here in the states will do that sort of training with dogs too.
 

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Thank you middleofnowhere. I am hoping for the best result.

I am committed to following whatever advice the trainer gives, to continuing the program in our daily living. I just need to steel myself to handing the leash over when it is time. My heart will break without my SnugglePig.

I really did the best that I could with Grimm alone without the support of a club or help of a trainer. I take full responsibility for failure to properly doggy socialize him early on. I also recognize that 'soft' people with workingline teenagers may need help.
I am committed to being the firm but fair, non-emotional leader that Grimm deserves. I myself am a work-in-progress.
 

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This sounds for the best! I hate send-away only b/c lazy people think that trainers train dogs and not owners. Clearly you have tried a variety of methods and tools and of course there are your physical limitations. It's obvious how important this is to you and you are not sending him away because YOU don't want to train him. In fact, I'm positive you spent more time typing your initial post than I have spent training MY dogs today! *wink* I think this is perfectly appropriate for your situation.
 

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it does sound like this is going to be a really good opportunity for you and grimm! i know you'll miss him, but this does sound exciting for both of you.
 

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It does sound like a wonderful opportunity for you and Grimmi. I agree about sending a dog away is not usually a good thing but with the trainer working with YOU and Grimm at his place AND coming to help you, hubby and Grimm in YOUR surroundings sounds like an awesome deal. Just think while Grimm is away you can cook ALL of those yummy recipes you are gathering. It will keep your mind off your SnugglePig being away on his working vacation.
 

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LOL Amaruq
exactly! Thank you for the encouragement. I will continue to work with him using positive methods that have helped to a degree with this problem. Also, I will always use positive methods for teaching new stuff, shaping behaviors, reinforcing things. I can also see where I need this trainer's help, and where I have made mistakes.


When the trainer strolled his big fluffy dog past Grimm, he watched Grimm's reaction closely and, like every other trainer, said this is not truly fear-based, but frustration/play/impulse control based.... and worst, is that the trainers all feel that Grimm has developed this habit because in small part from the prong, in larger part from ineffective boundaries from me.. meaning, he does it because he can, has built up a longstanding habit of "YOOHOO!! I am ME!! Hey, over here!! Let's get this party started!!" So, my boundary setting attempts for Grimm have been weak enough that they added stress, and actually annoyed him rather than being clear enough. My hands are too weak to do much more than hold the leash. But, the trainer's goal is no more prong, but a softer collar such as a martingale or fursaver. He will work for a few weeks with us afterwards, as a team, to help me with technique.
 

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Thank you Jamie. And Ris-Ris!
I'll update when we get closet to the training date. I am just working now to get the possible SIBO under control. (vet thinks not SIBO, due to the TYPE of bacteria found by the lab... gonna try a sulfur-based antibiotic the lab suggests for this type.... and hope the bacteria is not resistant)

Thanks for the support. Sending SnugglePig away will not be easy!
 

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Originally Posted By: BrightelfThank you Jamie. And Ris-Ris!
I'll update when we get closet to the training date. I am just working now to get the possible SIBO under control. (vet thinks not SIBO, due to the TYPE of bacteria found by the lab... gonna try a sulfur-based antibiotic the lab suggests for this type.... and hope the bacteria is not resistant)

Thanks for the support. Sending SnugglePig away will not be easy!
If it's a sulfur based abx that's needed, you might consider adding MSM to the diet.
 
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