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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
3 months ago, we adopted a female GSD from a local Rescue. She was about 18 months old at the time. Rescue said she walks well on a leash - NOT. They also said she was good with cats - NOT. Problem is, by the time the 4 housecats stopped hiding & came out 3 days later, we'd already fallen for her. "Ziva" is huge - a tall dog now weighing 82 lbs (She was a Skinny-Minnie at 71 lbs at the beginning - ribs & vertebrae poking out). She barks loud enough at the cats to blow the fur back on their faces. We keep the cats locked in other rooms, except at night, when Ziva has to be crated.

We've had a horrible time with trainers. The 1st one was a 3-wk Board & Train - she came back peeing in the house, eating her poop, with only slight improvement in basic obedience. The 2nd one was a nightmare: also a Board & Train. We weren't allowed to visit the 1st week. When we visited on Day 8, I was so angry I almost popped the trainer. Ziva was in a crate with 4 other dogs circling her. When the trainer got her out, she had a prong collar on. From a standing position, the trainer jerked her so hard WITH this collar, that her head popped back 45 degrees. I took her home immediately. And I'll contact the BBB about this woman, as well as any vet that will listen.

Choke chains have no affect on her - she pulls like she's dragging a car. We have a 'Halti' on her, with better response (Gentle Leader rubbed her muzzle raw.)

We're trying to handle the training ourselves, with help from"It's Me or the Dog" episodes & 3 different training manuals. We can't afford - after having spent almost $3,000 on lousy trainers - to hire another right now.

Any advice for getting a stubborn, overgrown puppy to listen will be welcomed. She's doing much better at many things, but is still quite headstrong about the cats, the head harness, mouthing, & barking at nothing. Help?!

Becky
 

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I believe I woulda popped the trainer just about the time he jerked back on the leash !!! The movie " Tombstone " comes to mind when they were off loading Wyatt Earp's (Kurt Russell) stallion off the train !!! SMACK !!! :mad:
 

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Are you opposed to the prong collars or just how that trainer used them? When we got our rescue (who as horrible on lead as well) the prong collar worked wonders, almost no force is needed in the correction at all with him. As of now it's just a temporary thing as we work with him on his real manners with training, but it allows us to still take him out on walks without becoming super frustrated.
 

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Becky:

I'm so glad you got Ziva. It sounds like you are a wonderful and loving owner who will give Ziva lots of TLC. Three months is a short time to own a pet, and I think that as more time passes, and you patiently work on commands, etc. that Ziva will get more comfortable. See what techniques work from those videos you're watching and pay attention to your instinct as well. Remember to do training in short spurts and don't tax her attention. As she gets more comfortable and you bond, she will want to please you more and will begin to want to act in the boundaries you give her.

Welcome to the forum. There are folks here with a lot of training experience.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
tdjb: My husband says the prong collar is fine when used correctly. So I told him that he can walk her, then, until she can heel without it. As a former vet tech, I saw lots of injuries to the trachea from some of these collars, so I won't use them.

But I am VERY angry at the way this supposed "trainer" used the collar. I would've given my eyeteeth to do the same to her.:mad:

CaliBoy: Thanks for the encouragement! I wanted an older dog so that I'd have fewer Puppy Problems. I really just wanted an excuse for a GSD - 2 of my docs offered to write an Rx for her! haha (I fought cancer last year & really need to walk more. GSD makes me walk - AND run AND play!)
 

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Hi and welcome from So Cal. I am very happy that you guys rescued this girl and are being patient with her training. It will take time. But with love, patience and time it will all work out.

If you have any questions regarding training feel free to make a thread about it and people here will be glad to help you. =)
 

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I wish you had found us here on the board before you spent $3000 sending her away for training! That would have paid for numerous rounds of group lessons (I'm in the East Bay and I pay between $150 and $200 for a 6 or 7 week class) where you would have learned to train her yourself which would help form form a bond between you. It would have paid for a very good private trainer to meet with you at your house once a week for months to coach you through training. Our trainer charges $95 per session (varies from 1-1/2 to 2 hours or more), or $700 for a package of 10 sessions.

I know you're frustrated and upset, but really, the best thing would be to find a good training class, preferably one that uses positive reinforcement training techniques. After you've got a good foundation of motivational training you can add corrections with training collars and aversives if you and your trainer feels it's warranted. With a rescue you've only had a short time, and especially one who has been sent away for much of that time, she needs some time to settle into her new home and learn what's expected of her.
 

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Welcome to the forum and hang in there. Sounds like you have already gotten some good support and encouragement from several others.

There are options and resources in the Sacramento area. just search for dog training in the sacramento/roseville area. I'm also in the East Bay so haven't had much direct involvement with groups up there but have some good things about this place:

4Paws University Training and Behavior Sacramento/Roseville

Whether you check out the above or find something else, to avoid/minimize further disappointment try to observe a class or two before signing on the dotted line.

Good luck and enjoy your new family member. Sounds like she was lucky to have you adopt her.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks for all the helpful hints, suggestions, & support!

Debbie, you're right - I AM angry. But it's not Ziva's fault, I know that. Nor is it ours, really. We were looking for a "quick fix" to get her on the road thru some basic obedience & not being so volatile toward the cats. Oliver is my 14-yr-old huge cat. Born with bilateral hip dysplasia & cauda equina, he gets around well after 3 surgeries years ago. We have stools all over the house so he can get atop furniture. A couple of stair-stepped boxes allow him to reach a couple of window sills. He's a mellow cat: walks on a leash because he's too big for a cat carrier (too big for mama's womb caused his physical injuries) & I take him for car rides while he sits in a big wicker basket. I've been using him as the Experimental Kitty for Ziva: with a firm grip on her collar, we approach Oliver. She's allowed to sniff, but no mouth. "Leave it" appears to be working while Oliver's still. If he hops off, well, we're not there yet. But there have been HUGE improvements & I know it can work.

Kayla's dad - Thank you very much for the suggestion. However, Been there, Done that. I like Victoria Stilwell's method of training, especially for young & Rescue dogs. So I contacted 1 of her graduates in Morgan Hill (yes, we were willing to drive there!). She was "too busy" & so also suggested 4Paws. I received 1 return email from the trainer there, then NOTHING for 3 weeks. I guess she's "too busy" too. And this is PRECISELY why the charlitans (sp?) get all the business - because the good trainers are either over-worked, don't have enough help, or just don't give a hoot.

I can work with her & the cats. I'm trying to work with her mouthing, which started after the 2nd trainer. After the 1st trainer, she started peeing in the house & eating her poop, so I have to figure that out, too. And there's the rearing up like a stallion when I put on the leash. I'm 5'5" & she's as tall as me, so this isn't funny. Then, of course, the personal problem of her stuffing her nose where my (temporary) colostomy bag is. Cancer be damned, I'm not giving up & may have to wear this thing permanently. I can't allow her to cause a hernia.

Maybe a glass of wine would help me...:)
 
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