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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Oh boy, I'll just jump in. It's been awhile.

Spirit is almost 14 months, still intact. He graduated beginning obedience and we were doing intermediate but I'm not feeling well and need to take a break for a bit, hopefully not long. He is my first GSD, and honstly I'm not sure I have any business owning one.

I love him and I hate him. But that's beside the point. I don't really hate him.

We live in a rural area, no fence. I have an IF fence which he respects very well. The dog next door, Bunny FooFoo, excites him too much though. He's broken the boundary with her once (she's fixed) and there was **** to pay with that one, getting her back. Go figure though, he will be chasing a squirrel at break neck speed and stop on a dime at the boundary. He is never outside without me. In fact, now I put a long leash on him, in addition to his IF collar. That way if something happens, because his recall is crap when he's reacting, I have more leverage with getting a hold of him.

Everything is fine, reasonably so, except BunnyFooFoo. Spirit is over-the-top crazy about that dog. He barks, he runs the boundary, he growls, he won't listen to me, everything good about him is gone in an instant. And BunnyFooFoo, bless her heart, she stands there braced like she's just daring him to come on over. She's a good dog. Spirit is the problem. It's just not a good set up for him.

I can't build a real fence. I wish I could. I could put up something flimsy but not sure that is going to fix the problem.

I'm in avoidance training now, we just go out when BunnyFooFoo isn't outside. But it's summer now, that's not very often and the days are getting longer. Spirit stands at the window and looks outside. I feel bad for him, I feel guilty. I definitely feel like a bad neighbor and a bad dog owner. I never felt this way with my golden retriever, she always listened to me, Spirit no so much sometimes.

What do you think? Any sage advice?
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
He is territorial, I should add. He barks at my neighbors when he sees them out, I correct him immediately. I can manage that behavior. I can't manager the BunnyFooFoo behavior, he goes insane.

He's like this with all dogs he sees outside, though he's never fought. And he's played with BunnyFooFoo before I trained him on the IF fence, they played beautifully together but BFF is a tease, she runs and will never be caught -- pitbull/boxer mix on steroids.

He is so good in class -- I can drop the leash with him 3 feet from another dog and he will keep the stay command. Amazing the difference in class and here at home.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
My neighbors unfortunately are not friendly so not likely they will help me with Spirit's behavior. They didn't like Spirit going in their yard to play with BFF even when Spirit was a puppy. I wish I could get rid of my neighbors. They own their house, I just rent ... I wish they would put up a real fence, but they don't care. They just want to be left alone.

A kennel, been giving that some serious thought. They just seem so small and so inhibiting. I have a big beautiful yard, I hate it that I can't let Spirit enjoy it.

Is it possible he will be less reactive with age, or when I get him neutered?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Having a GSD without a real fence is extremely challenging. Hindsight is 20/20, but I really do enjoy Spirit, he challenges me every day to think in new ways, to be on the ball. No slacking with this kid LOL But if I had known how difficult this would be, I might have not decided to do this.

Last week 2 of the neighbor's children came in my yard. They wanted to say hi to Spirit. As soon as they stepped foot into our boundary, Spirit was barking at them. I thought for a minute that I could calm him and de-escalate the situation but it didn't happen. I have to make a hard rule that no children are allowed in my yard when Spirit is outside. Period. Kinda scary. I thought GSD's were smart enough to perceive real threat -- 2 little kids is not a threat, is it? Am I misunderstanding the breed, or do I have an unsound GSD?

He's never bitten anyone, never given any indication that he might. But the barking for his territory, I'm not messing around with that. He barks, I listen. I either remove the threat or I remove him. Am I doing this right?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
He would be a happier dog if I had a real fence.

I just feel like a bad dog owner, like I've gotten myself into something I shouldn't have. Not so much for me, but for Spirit. He deserves better. He is so smart, so attentive, and sweet -- haha, in his own mow-you-over GSD way :crazy:
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thank you, really.

You mean I can't just garden and expect Spirit to stay out of trouble? LOL I know.

I have company coming over this evening. We'll practice. My friend can stay on one side of the yard where BFF is and I'll see how ball games work with him on the order side. I do have a flirt pole too, lots of ways to play actually.

Going to set up my fire pit this evening too. Hoping we can have a nice, quiet evening by the fire.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
And that's a great idea about a garden boundary. I could put up a tal trellis over in the corner where BFF almost always is, because that's where the kids play on their trampoline. Full sun.

It may not be a whole solution, but it might help. It at least isn't going to hurt. Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Selzer, I was looking into that but I was looking at the little metal posts and I just didn't feel like it would be sturdy enough. That's what I was thinking about when I said flimsy.

The wood posts, I can definitely do that and it would be much stronger. A split-rail fence with wire mesh, that could work. But I have slopes to tend with, not sure how to do those.
 
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