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:cry: I really need advice! My GSD is a wonderful dog. Her really only bad behaviour is she started chewing on furniture legs (more on that later). I got a new trainer who has trained dogs for the Israeli miltiary, etc. He has much experience. BUT, his advice to me has me panicked! My GSD he feels is about 12 months old, pure bred, and a wonderful dog. But the schedule is overwhelming! The dog gets walked 6 times a day at specific times, gets 45 minutes free time in house after walk,, then goes into kennel until next walk. Water is given 4 times a day, 4 cups, last water around 6PM when she is fed. Water is offered before and after the first four walks, then removed.

In order to make her do her business, I must take her to one or two spots, ad walk back and forth with her, even if it takes an hour, until she goes in the AM! What if she does not have to go? Usually they urinate, but she often does that after I "walk" her. An hour back and forth? My word to her is "hurry up", but I am not sure she understands the connection.

I have had her for several months, she was a rescue, and I got her from a breeder. I have ALWAYS used German commands with her, although she understands English ones too. He himself uses different languages with his own dogs, but tells me I can only use English, that using German is "pretentious". I can use German if I insist, but MUCH later after he feels she is totally obedient. What is wrong with using German?????

He wants me to switch her from ProPlan to very expensive foods like Orijen and Instinct. She has grown very well on ProPlan, I know there is a big movement now toward "natural" foods without grains, but are they really better? They are very expensive, I am willing to switch IF those foods truly are better!

Her chewing the furniture legs started a a few weeks ago, Bitter Apple does not seem to work, so he told me to get rid of a lot of my furniture! Of course I am not going to get rid of my furniture! He said she has to be watched very carefully and corrected every time I catch her doing that.
That and wanting to chase squirrels are her only bad habits.

I am in a state of panic over the rigidity of the schedule, the walking back and forth for an hour until she goes (what if she does not), I live in NYC near the park and also have a private park for my building with a small area where dogs are allowed to "go". I do not take her into the park AM because the dogs are off leash, she is not yet ready to go "off leash", and that only makes her want to chase them.

Please, forum members, your opinions? This trainer is VERY experienced, but I am overwhelmed by his "plan" for the dog training. His pointers on getting her to heel perfectly were good, and being very authoritative, which I believe I am, and working with the dog. But his other ideas seem overwhelming to me! I would like her to be a working dog, so she must learn perfect obedience.

She goes to doggie day care 3 times a week, for socialization, and I have a dog walker twice a day PM for some of the other days because I am self employed and can't always be home to take her out. ALso, being in the kennel between walks escept for 45 minutes....isn't that a lot? I THINK she stays out of the kennel after her 7 PM walk until her bedtime walk, but I am not sure.

Your opinions are really needed! He is expensive, and I want to know if his approach is correct. Help!
 

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You would like her to be a working dog? Doing what? That is my first question: What do you want out of the dog?
I think the "in the kennel" time seems excessive, and, yes, this whole plan sounds very rigid to me -- but, again, I'm not understanding what you want from your dog. Giving water at certain times? For what reason?
If you are feeling uncomfortable and panicked, listen to that. She's your dog. It's your home. Do something that works for the both of you based on the result you want.
 

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If it's too rigid and you're not comfortable with it find another trainer. Training should be positive and fun- for you and your dog. As for the food, there are others that are higher quality than ProPlan that aren't as expensive as Orijen, such as 4Health, Taste of the Wild, or Kirkland. Look at the feeding forum and you'll find lots of help with food.
 

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JazzNscout had a good point. I guess people would be better able to answer your question if they knew what kind of work your dog was going to be doing. If for example it's therapy work, I would find some other dog owners in therapy work and find out what extra things they are doing with their dogs.

A year old dog still has impulse control to learn. Their brains are not fully mature, so sometimes it's hard for them to make the right decisions in the heat of the moment. You can improve the squirrel lunging by being extremely aware of your dog and your surroundings. Be ready to grab your dog's attention the second she notices the squirrel and give her a treat for leaving it alone. Re-training the "Leave it" command helped me immensely in this situation.

The grain free food is not a gimmick. My advice would be to feed the best you can afford. My dogs are doing great on Evo, but I've also used California Naturals and Acana with success. To me a great diet (for myself and my dogs) is like insurance against the future. If they ever get hurt or sick, at least their reserves are full in order to fight back to health.

I don't think water is one of the resources we should limit our pet's access to. A dog can easily overheat and get sick or die with too little water.

Obviously, if you are in a state of panic over your assigned training schedule, that's taking all the joy out of being a pet owner. So why do you have your dog? To add to your life, not make it worse.
 

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Why are you using this particular trainer? This schedule sounds absolutely ridiculous and I am totally against restricting water to a dog for no reason. Taking a dog out on a rigid schedule and then crating her is not a good way to housebreak her. This is an older puppy, isn't she housebroken by now? If so, why are you doing this to her?

I know you want a working dog, but neither you nor the dog are in the military and this sounds crazy. I don't care how experienced this guy is, he has no business telling you how to live with your dog. If you want to take obedience or other kinds of lessons, that's great, but he needs to stay out of your home life unless you are letting this dog get away with all kinds of things that would affect her training.
 

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If you are having housetraining issues, then limiting water after six or seven in the evening, makes sense. Also being on a good schedule for potty brakes and food makes sense.

It does not sound like house soiling is your problem though???

As for the furniture, the answer is not to get rid of the furniture, that would be management. If you put all your furniture in storage, and sat and slept on the floor for the next year, your dog would LEARN nothing, and when you pulled the furniture back out, the dog may or may not chew again. Of course that is a moot point, because no one would do that.

Ok, next thing. Do you think the trainer is wonderful, perfect, unapproachable? Then by all means go to someone else. A trainer is only as good as his ability to provide methods that a handler can use to guide and train their dog. If the trainer is so full of himself, or you are so awed by his record and acheivements that you cannot call and say this isn't going to work for me, then you are dead in the water.

If you need a dog that is rock solid, police dog, serch and rescue dog, performance/schutzhund champion, then you probably have to train yourself rigidly to produce the best out of your dog. Most of us have a dog that is a pet then can go to trials or classes or pet stores and such with good manners, and learn to do basic things. One does not need rigid training for this, one needs to be consistant and reasonable with both praise and corrections.
 

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I am wondering if you are maybe overreacting to the advice your trainer has given you or misunderstanding any of it?

I know that there is a lot in the advice that sounds rigid, but if you have a young dog that may not be entirely housebroken, the schedule of taking the dog out and what to do once you are out - taking her to the same spot until she goes - is actually a pretty common thing and the same I would recommend as well.

When you take a dog out to the same place to eliminate everyday (and add a word to it), then they start going there. It may take a bit at first and you may end up walking back and forth around there for a while, but it will get quicker and quicker with time as the dog learns the schedule and learns the place where she goes potty.

Also, you can ask a dog to "go" when they don't need to go - at least for peeing. When I go on Therapy visits with my dog, the first thing after getting out of the car is to walk to a patch of grass and encouraging her to go so she won't need to go during a visit. It may take a few minutes, but she will eventually squat and pee, even if it's just a little bit. (We pretty much do this whenever we get out of the car, regardless of if we're going into the vet clinic or anywhere else.)

I would not restrict her from drinking water but, again, if there is a housebreaking issue, it's pretty common advice not to give water after a specific time and stick to a strict routine. (Routines and schedules actually are very helpful to many dogs and they LIKE knowing what to expect. Especially a new puppy or a rescue that comes into your home will have a much easier time adjusting if there's a schedule being followed everyday.)

There is nothing at all wrong with German commands unless you want to get into a competitive venue where your trainer may want you to use German commands for competition or work and English commands for normal, everyday use. You can always use German for everyday and English for formal obedience, too, if you so chose. Makes no difference to the dog at all. However, you need to be consistent. Don't use "down" one day and "platz" the next, mixing it up. Use one word for one purpose.

Switching foods is a good idea if the switch is from something like ProPlan to something such as a grain-free like Orijen and it's a young dog who could benefit from years of being on a better food. There are many threads in the nutrition forums explaining why.

Your trainer is right in saying that she needs to be watched and stopped / redirected when you catch her chewing on furniture. If you don't know what your dog does between 7pm and your bedtime walk, inside your home, you are not watching her as you should. My dog is always in the same room as me. She doesn't wander off around the house finding stuff to amuse herself with. It sounds to me like your dog is bored and looking for things to do when you are not supervising or engaging her.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Hello, everyone! First off, the trainer is wrong about her age, almost certain. She went to a Vet with the breeder who rescued her, in August, took her to a Vet who put herzat c. 41/2 months? She was small! How could she be a year old?

I agree the crating time is excessive! She is COMPLETELY house broken. If she has to go, she let's you know! Why restrict her water severely? After 7PM I do.
As to German, she is "bilingual". I have used German since I got her, she responds to it. What is wrong with that? Nothing.

A very rigid schedule would be for a dog not house broken. I take her out around 5-6 times a day, not just to go, but for exercise and she loves the city life. Why so rigid? I agree.

The chewing? No idea why! She has kongs, balls, big bones. I play fetch, sook ( search and retrieve), practice staying until called in my hallway... Bitter Apple does not seem to deter her. There are spicy sprays. Suggestions? She is not destructive, but has picked my poor settee to chew the legs!!! She knows it is wrong, when I point to the leg, she runs into her kennel! Advice appreciated.

As to food, she has done very well on ProPlan....she has only had diarrhea and/ or vomiting twice... When she started doggie day care. GSDs have sensitive digestion. It is not about money, it's because she thrived, grown tremendously, and healthy. She has no allergies, her stools are good and not too much....I am not adverse to human grade food, but switching to a different brand, gradually of course, could bring digestive problems. Who knows?

Working dog means whatever suits her temperament and interest. She is terrifically socialized and the trainer affirmed, very smart.

He may have a terrific background, but some of his ideas are not agreeable. Why crate a dog so much during the day? She loves her wire mesh kennel, why make it a prison? And, he is very expensive. NY has good trainers, I have a few names peoplevhavecgiven me. I wanted to improve her obedience ( she is still a puppy, I am sure, but I'll schedule a vet visit to confirm), not make having a dog a chore, tied down to the hour and minute. You are all right. I am supposed to enjoyvthe dog, not fear a "schedule".

I have one lesson scheduled with him next week, and I think he is so rigid that if I say I want to have a reasonable, but not down to the minute routine, I want to continue German, etc., I think he is a "my way or no way" kind of person.
Your feedback is so appreciated! And his answer to chewing was get rid of the furniture? Lol! Advice as always welcome!!!!
 

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Why crate her? Because she is chewing on things she shouldn't be chewing on because she's not being supervised. He probably figures you'll supervise her for 45 minutes but not 2 or 3 hrs before her next potty break. Thus, the recommendation to crate her.

Crateing isn't just about house breaking.

I thought you said in your other thread your sister was a professional dog trainer for 30 odd years or something of the sort, and trained dobies as security dogs for Macy's? Correct me if I'm wrong. But if that's the case, why aren't you using her? Even if she was out of the training biz, surely she'd help out a family member.

I think when you use the term "working dog" it confuses people. You sound like you want the dog to be a police dog when you use that term. Just a suggestion, but I wouldn't use it. Sounds like she's going to be a much loved active pet who perhaps participates in a doggie sport for fun.
 

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If you don't agree with this trainer's philosophy and methods then why are you using him? This seems like a no brainer to me. Just because someone has years of experience training military dogs doesn't mean they're the right trainer for you/your dog. Find a different trainer who is a better fit for you and for your dog. :shrug:

I do agree with putting your dog on a better food though. You may not be seeing problems now but think of it as investing in your dog's long term health. You can change over slowly, try samples first, etc. but I would start her on a higher quality food.

Also, can't you gate off the room that the couch is in? Or wrap the legs with something really unpleasant? Or use counter conditioning to teach your dog what is acceptable to chew on?
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Rerun, hi! My s-I-law is indeed an experienced trainer. She sure responded to this trainer's advice: she was appalled. She said the rigid to the minute schedule was ludicrous, since the dog gets walked on a fairly reasonable basis, and very sufficiently! She thought restricting Bella's water to 4 MEASURING CUPS of water was crazy! Yes, he said measure! She also was supportive of me in that she gives me assignments to bring Bella to a higher obedience level, and reminds me I have done a really good job and should feel more secure about what I have accomplished. Crating the dog so often is cruel, she suggests: when I am busy and involved, then crate her. When I am not "working", from home, (I am a Private Investigator and R.E. Broker), then just keep checking on her. The trainer never addressed how to eliminate the behaviour, BTW! He also smacked the side of the dog's face to correct her! You never hit a dog! She is loving and good, why hit her?

I felt I wanted a professional trainer to assist me: ny sil is long distance advice, but her advice is always right. NEVER strike a dog! Find a good group obedience class... The one I put Bella in told me she was way too advanced, and offered a refund or 3 private lessons to prepare for the Canine Good Citizen certificate. I have not decided yet it was a Petco class, but the trainer was good enough for that. I will decide.

Working dog just means, a smart breed which has working genes, and can be of service in some capacity IF they enjoy it, why not? My previous posts were about drug sniffing. That was only one possibility. Therapy dog to Veterans in hospitals and nursing homes ( my husband died from Agent Orange too young, and died a service connected death), or a service dog..even mine, I have a very bad back and balance problems in certain situations, these are all possibilities.
Most important, Bella is loved! I hug her, I stroke her, she loves affection, she licks my face and hands! She is a lot of work for a widow, but she maybe is therapy for me in a way! She was fated to become my dog: she was rescued, and she found a loving home. She is a loving dog. A wonderful girl. She is a big responsibility, but that demands my time and attention, and that is both exhausting and therapeutic lol!!!!

She will be what she is qualified for and happy doing. My husband was NYPD and they would take her when she is ready into the K9 unit for evaluation, but I don't want to give her up, assuming she was K9 material, although she might save a cop's life. That would be very difficult. And please note I said IF she was suitable!!!!!

Now, Rerun, why does this non- destructive dog want to eat my little settee's legs? She does not rip up furniture, (she does love paper so that is kept out of the way!) Do I use another deterrent, like Tabasco and water, or a commercial spicy spray? Do I wrap the legs in moving tape? The water pistol approach won't work because she SAW the spray bottle, does not like it, but knows I AM the squirter, not the object!!!!
Thanks for your great reply! I always say, advice is welcome! I never had such a young GSD before, and I had a big strapping husband with our other dog... Although Cesar Millan is small, but he has a gift!!!!
 

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She needs something more appealing to chew on. She needs to chew. Get her some good raw bones. Redirect her when she starts chewing on the legs of the chair. Tell her NO, MINE. Then show her her bone and YOUR BONE.

Pretty soon you should be able to tell her to go get your bone, etc.

Cotton rope is also good. Give her a variety, a kong, a rope, a bone, name them, Your Kong, Your Rope, Your bone. She will get it that when you tell her something is MINE, she cannot molest it.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
BowWowMeow, thanks for reply! I was thinking of wrapping the legs in moving tape. There goes the paint, but at least I have legs on the settee!
What counter measures do you suggest? I have to keep in mind that this is really my ONLY major behaviour problem! She has no aggression or socialization issues: she just wants to eat the wooden legs of a little decorative sofa! Ideas? I will listen to everyone, that's why I am on this forum: to say I don't know everything, I need and accept advice gladly!

As for the trainer, his background should not matter in this case. He did not address the issues I had, he told me to get rid of the furniture, and gave me a rigid schedule devoid of reason: Bella gets walked plenty!!!!

As for the food, I am on the fence. What if a different food upsets her stomach although introduced gradually? Maybe I should consult a Vet.
Thank you, BowWowMeow for answering me! What a terrific forum, especially when one needs honest, unbiased advice! You are all the best?
 

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I don't really understand why you have an issue with crating her if she is chewing on furniture.

Also, you said you had in mind her being a PPD/drug dog. If this guy has trained dogs for the Israeli military he likely has a different idea of what a working dog's life should be like. Also keep in mind cultural differences and things getting lost in translation. Israelis are very direct and no-nonsene. If you are not comfortable with his approach, then don't use him.

And yes....grain free foods are hands down better.
 

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Trainer with rigid schedule!

I don't really understand why you have an issue with crating her if she is chewing on furniture.

Also, you said you had in mind her being a PPD/drug dog. If this guy has trained dogs for the Israeli military he likely has a different idea of what a working dog's life should be like. Also keep in mind cultural differences and things getting lost in translation. Israelis are very direct and no-nonsene. If you are not comfortable with his approach, then don't use him.

And yes....grain free foods are hands down better.
Hi! He said crate her WHILE I AM HOME! That is too extreme, I always crate her when I am not home. But per his schedule, the poor dog would spend most of it's life in a crate! She sleeps in it, and since she started chewing on this one piece of furniture, I close her crate at night. When I am home, I have to watch her. The suggestion to offer her the right things to chew if I catch her was great.

I didn't tell this guy she would be a drug sniffing dog, I said that was only a possibility, maybe she would be a therapy dog, or my service dog. He said she was too young yet to see exactly what she would LIKE to do. I know many Israelis, and I seriously wonder if the average dog owner keeps their dog caged most of the time. I'll ask them! Military dogs in the field: well, I don't know if they crate them a lot. Thanks for your feedback. My once in a while dog walker thinks his schedule and ideas are nuts, BTW, LOL!:rolleyes:
 

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Selzer, your suggestion is excellent! She loves to chew rope! It gets shredded! Great idea to say MINE, YOURS. She knows, BTW, that chewing the furniture leg is wrong! She runs into her crate or behind it when I point to the leg, and lies there looking like she is in trouble!

UcdCrush: She already heels, I walk her always on the left, I allow some slack, I use two hands, one close enough to her collar so that IF I see trouble coming, like an aggressive dog, or a squirrel, I can have complete control of her by sliding my hand down. And she walks beside me pretty well. She does not walk too fast, unless you really speed up, and I don't walk too fast, I have a bad back. I use foos, German for heel. So when HE demonstrated heeling, I saw no big difference between what he was doing and I was doing! Except he had a much looser leash. On crowded NYC streets with kids, bicycles, traffic, the occasional squirrel, all kinds of dogs, some nice and some not at all nice, I would not use such a long slack in the leash. If she sees a squirrel, she has the usual young dog instinct to chase (getting that under control bit by bit), and she could pull you down IF she just happened to make a try for the squirrel! If she lags or sniffs at stuff too much, I give her chain a jerk, and remind her to heel. She is not 100% perfect in anything, she is very good, but still needs repetition in obedience, I have been her only real trainer and have had her only since the end of September!
However, the Petco trainer (I mentioned I put her in a basic Petco course that they agreed was way too basic for her and offered to refund my money, put her in a more advanced class, or give three private lessons,) who evaluated her, said she could already pass most of the Canine Good Citizen course, and she offered to give her the three private lessons to get her to be able to pass the course. He did not show me anything about heeling that I don't already know!
 

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Instead of tape, maybe try aluminum foil on the chair legs.
 

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Hi! He said crate her WHILE I AM HOME! That is too extreme, I always crate her when I am not home. But per his schedule, the poor dog would spend most of it's life in a crate! She sleeps in it, and since she started chewing on this one piece of furniture, I close her crate at night. When I am home, I have to watch her. The suggestion to offer her the right things to chew if I catch her was great.

I didn't tell this guy she would be a drug sniffing dog, I said that was only a possibility, maybe she would be a therapy dog, or my service dog. He said she was too young yet to see exactly what she would LIKE to do. I know many Israelis, and I seriously wonder if the average dog owner keeps their dog caged most of the time. I'll ask them! Military dogs in the field: well, I don't know if they crate them a lot. Thanks for your feedback. My once in a while dog walker thinks his schedule and ideas are nuts, BTW, LOL!:rolleyes:
I bolded and marked in red the important part here, and why his suggestion to use the crate is a good idea. There should never be any chance that you don't catch her chewing. She should never be out of your sight. If you don't want to crate her, then tether her to you. She should never be more than arms length away. Unless you are going to take her to the bathroom with you, then she is crated ANY time she needs to be out of your sight, even for a second. Phone rings? crate unless you are 100% eyes on her.

If you told him that there was a chance of her doing a working dog (drug sniffing or any other police k9) then his advice is also valid. When the dog isn't working, it is kenneled. He most likely assumed that you wanted to see if she could be a k9. His methods are the foundation work that would fit with that type of lifestyle. It's a bit unfair to tell him that you MIGHT do that then criticize him for establishing a foundation to build a working k9.

Is his advice a bit extreme for your average pet home? Perhaps a bit over the top, but I can see the reasoning behind it. He is starting over with a solid schedule that will be the basis for further training.
 
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