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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Last two days, I haven't been too enthused about training Frodo. And he has just been ignoring my commands.

WE are probably just feeding off each other. I know he will do the training with some good bits of meat. But he used to do this with his regular kibble as well. And I feel that part of obedience is also about respect, not just the food.

Once the trainer introduced the bits of meat, he doesn't work for the kibble or praise anymore.

This is another gripe I have with (insert expletives)trainers. They take the easy way out, having the puppy do things I have already taught him to do by using high value treats.

I am not averse to using high value treats but I keep them for things like building his body handling tolerance(he doesn't like being groomed), or 'leave it' or recall or preventing resource guarding.

Anyway, how do I work past this stage? Because it feels like I have reached my limit in being able to train him.

Oh, he is 4 months old now.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Oh, and I should probably mention this, in case its relevant because its certainly unusual behavior for him. He turned 4 months old yesterday. And I see a lot of vocalizing at me (or for me?) , not growling, but he will show his teeth, pretend to mouth, not snapping, and doesn't actually make contact or take my hand in his mouth even though I left it right near his mouth. If he is lying down he will even roll over to show his tummy but then he will be doing the above as well.

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Why would you not use high value treats? Food is only a reinforcer if it strengthens the behavior. It is not a reinforcer simply because it is food. Also, he has to be hungry for food to be a reinforcer, so cut back on his food during meal time. Is he a free feeder, meaning his food bowl always has food in it? Give him ten minutes to eat and if he is not finshed and uninterested, take the food up until the next meal. How many meals are you feeding him a day? Does you dog have any prey drive? You can also build his desire to chase a moving toy (prey drive), teach him to bite it, play a little tug and then release the toy. Then you transition to teasing him with the toy, luring him into an obedience position, and releasing him to bite the toy in prey drive. This takes some skill, is a little difficult to explain the nuances and the dog has to have strong prey drive.
If you want to keep things strictly positive at this age, ignore him when he ignores you and just reinforce any behavior you want to strengthen with food he really likes. Also, how big of a meat treat do you give him at a time? A slice of hotdog the size of a nickel is about right.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I didn't say I dont use high value treats, I just like to keep him guessing, he will always get something, either his meal or treats.

I used to feed him 3 meals a day, but now one meal I use as a training meal(based on shirley chong's training website), basicially hand feed him a few pieces of kibble after each 'sit' 'stand' 'down 'come' , I also throw the ball and ask him to drop it etc.
He also sits and stays(5 seconds) for his other meals.

He was also beginning to resource guard so I use high value treats to teach him to 'drop it' Then I give back his toy or bone that he was chewing on.


Prey drive - according to the definition, yes he does. I think I will have to get a good trainer with this though. Because I can see the tugging gets intense and he does not drop it without a high value treat. I am a bit wary about tugging with him.

I use tiny bits of cheese or meat, comparable to what you suggest.

Thank you, you made me remember I need to be the center of his world.
 

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I had some what of the same behavior about a month ago (she is 5 months old now). Huayra would do the same mouth snapping thing at me and sometimes would even tackle and try to dominate my legs (grabbing my leg and hugging it with her paws crossed off). Which is a big no no. Especially with a GSD. You do NOT want them to dominate you, EVER.

I am not a professional trainer at all, I've been to the beginner level and starting intermediate level training this weekend and I just learned to correct her behavior in junction with her trainer.

From what I can tell... Your pup is trying to dominate you. A couple of fixes...

During food time, like mentioned... About 30 seconds your pup gets into eating grab the bowl right under her mouth and hold it while staring at the dog. She/he might growl at you but it's ok. You keep doing that till she/he obeys/stops trying to be dominating.

Another thing I found extremely useful (which some might say its ridiculous) is to pin him/her to the ground by holding the fat behind their ear and on top of the neck. Hold her/him via that. This will NOT hurt the dog but will make him/her understand that you are the master.

Moms nip their children by their snout or pin them via that upper neck area to correct behavior. I wouldn't suggest the snout part as we have hands and not sharp k9 teeth. You could hold it shut though but not as effective as the neck trick.

From my experience the GSD is a very intelligent, high energy and stubborn as **** breed. It's ok though, it will pay off given the right training. Even at 5 months my GSD is great, she still is a puppy especially when going to places as in... Hyperactive and over exited... To give you an image... She tries to swim in concrete with all her paws... However that is fixed with the "gentle leader" leash piece.

I hope the 2 tips I gave helps as they made me and my girlfriends life a heck of a lot easier!


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GSDs are high energy dogs. Put him on a leash and start running around, Don't ignore until you get the action you want.

YOU CAN'T WALK AWAY, YOU DON'T GIVE UP. ...It may take 15 mins before they listen.
if you give up the dog learns the owner didn't want me to do what he was saying

Our guy is 11 months old now, and he still has about a half our each day where he is HYPER CRAZY DOG. Just keep him busy, and when you say sit.... you make him sit. Reward.

We did get an e-collar for our guy a few weeks ago being if he is having his hyper moment near other adults, we can 'beep' him to get his attention, then if he still ignores, we give him a little shock. Our guy isn't a mean dog, but he does 'nibble' on people, and some people think that is being aggressive.

I want to say that from my personal experience, those E collars do work, but make sure you get one that you can send a 'beep' first. This gets the dogs attention because they know if they hear a beep again, they are doing something wrong. I have not had to shock our guy to get attention for about a week now.

I frankly don't need to shock him at all anymore, its just that beep that gets him off the train of thought so he listens. I think out of the past 2 months we have had the collar, I've shocked him maybe under 10 times.

I think the main thing with your dog is you really need to give them attention. 2 hours a day, along with dog park visits.
 

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Age of puberty starts at about six months and ends in some dogs at about 2 and half years old. It is too early to say if he becomes naughty. You do not work past this stage easily, it is not ment to. Absolutely opposite - you train your dog intensely, the best you can get out of him happens before he is three, and, as early you start pressing on the better results you can expect. In many cases puppies stop listening to commands because their physical potential grows up, but their owner doesn't provide them an adequate physical exercise. They become obedient only if you make them tired and provide them maximum freedom on a playground and your regular long walks. Exercise him properly with his ball before his classes, he must spend this extra energy in order to keep being concentrated on you. I'd rather stop giving him any treats at all and think how else I can make him looking at me. Make your commands purposeful, say if your "Sit!" was followed by a short (just a few steps) run forward - it would be more interesting for him. Use commands he already knows as intermediate ones, ask him to lie down before command "Walk!"/"Play", before he runs after the ball. Use command "Sit" / "Down" "Stand"/ or "Stay" before you put him off leash and before you put him on. Use your commands more in situations than just for the sake of demonstration.
 

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Pup is 4 months...don't expect so much and enjoy the puppy stage!!!!! Stubborn and rebellious is not what your puppy is!

Engagement with you to get your focus is about as much as you should expect. Reward often and only when pup is focused on you, have pup drive into the food/ when you reward, either have up do an up, forward or back depending on what you are teaching.
I don't reward in position, but do mark the position and then releasing pup to work for the reward thru drive keeps it fun and the puppy is engaged.

Very short training sessions~ always ending on a good note and put the pup up in the crate after every learning session for processing time.

I would only work on restrained recalls, rear end awareness thru luring and a bit of focused short heeling with a down, sit and back up thrown in.
Enjoy this age and keep the sessions short. Teething is just beginning so pup is a bit distracted with the pain and sensitivity. After teething, then I'd start transitioning to a toy/tug for rewards but keep food in there when teaching a new exercise.
You want a confident puppy so don't correct at this age but give information as in " uh-uh, try again". This is the sponge stage, please remember your puppy is still very young.
 

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Oh my goodness. This us a 4 month old puppy!!!! Quit worrying about dominance and asserting your pack position, both if which are ignorant theories.

Do NOT pin your dog to the ground. Do NOT take their food away. Neither if these things do anything but teach the puppy to distrust you.

Training and raising digs is all peaks and valleys. One day they are perfect, the next day the act like they gave no idea. Stay consistent. Keep rewarding. The pup, at this age, should still be getting rewarding every time he does what is asked.

At this age they talk back, they nip, they grab pants legs, they jump up. It's not a stubborn stage, it's being a BABY!!!

You have not even got near the butthead teenage stage. Enjoy the puppy. Quit worrying and looking for signs if trouble. Don't turn it into a self fulfilling prophesy. Be a fair consistent benevolent leader and your pup will follow.


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forget about stages. keep training and socializing. if you
need a trainer find one. stages are a result of training and
socializing.
 

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From what I can tell... Your pup is trying to dominate you.
Highly doubtful. :) A 4 month old puppy is roughly comparable developmentally to a pre-school aged child. Would anyone refer to a 4 year old kid as "dominant"? Of course not.

During food time, like mentioned... About 30 seconds your pup gets into eating grab the bowl right under her mouth and hold it while staring at the dog. She/he might growl at you but it's ok. You keep doing that till she/he obeys/stops trying to be dominating.
That sounds like an excellent way to get bit. OP, please don't try this. If you don't have a food guarding issue now, this could very well create it.

Another thing I found extremely useful (which some might say its ridiculous) is to pin him/her to the ground by holding the fat behind their ear and on top of the neck. Hold her/him via that. This will NOT hurt the dog but will make him/her understand that you are the master.
No, no, no, no, NO! The "alpha roll" is based on outdated dominance theory that has since been debunked. The "alpha" of the pack does not physically force others in the pack to submit to him, they do it voluntarily. Because your dog is still just a puppy it's easy to physically dominate him, but how about when he's bigger, stronger, and realizes his pointy bits are sharper and more dangerous than yours? :wild: Generally, if it's come down to a physical battle to get your dog to obey, you've already lost. Use your bigger brain instead.

A much better way of showing leadership is to have your dog practice deference behaviors routinely throughout the day. Read about Nothing in Life is Free: Nothing in Life is Free
 

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I would tend to agree with Debbie here. Especially with consideration to the pup's age.

My pup and I went through a couple (fortunely short) periods where I felt our relationship was not good. I was doing things wrong, expecting too much, putting too much pressure on a puppy, and Liesl reflected her feelings of this unfair treatment but ignoring me, classic avoidance.

Things got better quickly when I just started having some fun with her. Not only for my pup, but for me, too. Work with your dog daily, but make sure you allow these sessions to be successful. Find what they like to do, then do that!

What I found, and what I hope to convey, is when you and your pup are having fun together, these problems will go away. The dog will gain respect and trust for you, and any growling or barking you hear will not be evidence of a conflict, but will only be made in play.

In very few circumstances will you have to "dominate" your dog, and almost never a pup. Work WITH your dog. Be patient. Be fair. Have fun. If you start getting frustrated, I would end the session before it shows through. Crate the pup until you calm down, then try again.
 

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I seriously doubt your dog was "resource guarding." Do you train him while wearing a leash. What is the point of keeping him guessing regarding using kibble some times and high value treats of meat and cheese at other times. Keeping him guessing, which I doubt occurs, has nothing to do with shaping a behavior. If you had a choice of doing the same job and one person payed you $5.00 an hour and the other person payed you $15.00 an hour, which job would you choose. I would get rid of the ball and use the tug and gain some confidence in using it. It sounds like you are afraid your dog is going to become too much for you to handle and that will come across in your relationship with your dog. With a tug, you can either just hold onto to it while he is biting and calming wait for him to get bored while telling him to out it. Or you can lift him off his front feet by the collar and command him to out and wait for him to do so. I would forget about the feeding of kibble and let the dog eat in peace.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I would tend to agree with Debbie here. Especially with consideration to the pup's age.

My pup and I went through a couple (fortunely short) periods where I felt our relationship was not good. I was doing things wrong, expecting too much, putting too much pressure on a puppy, and Liesl reflected her feelings of this unfair treatment but ignoring me, classic avoidance.

Things got better quickly when I just started having some fun with her. Not only for my pup, but for me, too. Work with your dog daily, but make sure you allow these sessions to be successful. Find what they like to do, then do that!

What I found, and what I hope to convey, is when you and your pup are having fun together, these problems will go away. The dog will gain respect and trust for you, and any growling or barking you hear will not be evidence of a conflict, but will only be made in play.

In very few circumstances will you have to "dominate" your dog, and almost never a pup. Work WITH your dog. Be patient. Be fair. Have fun. If you start getting frustrated, I would end the session before it shows through. Crate the pup until you calm down, then try again.


I actually have never gotten frustrated with him. only discouraged sometimes about my ability to raise him to be a well behaved dog. And being well behaved and calm is essential to the dog's happiness and a good life for him as well.

Yes, we do play quite a bit. Play where he just runs around madly and comes back for more. He also loves hide and seek. well, we are constantly improvising with our play. But he is also the kind of dog who will spend a good amount of time just lying in the grass and watching bugs or chasing butterflies.

One challenge we face is our neighbor's aggressive dog, the moment he is let out of their house he rushes to the fence and the puppy has picked up on the aggression. Because of this, I can't let him out to play offleash in the back yard. And our puppy loves being outdoors so much he whines. That is what I am frustrated about, if anything. So we just bear with it and play in the living room.

And I haven't 'dominated' it, although I am sure some other poster will come around and say that is where I am going wrong :/ haha. I have a pretty good idea of what works with him. Yes, he challenges me but I have to use my brain to work around that.

I am surprised though that he doesn't follow through on my commands when he sees that all I have is kibble. He used to follow commands whether I had something for him or not. And I do think it is essential they do that, for situations you will have no control over.
 

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I am surprised though that he doesn't follow through on my commands when he sees that all I have is kibble. He used to follow commands whether I had something for him or not. And I do think it is essential they do that, for situations you will have no control over.
Absolutely, but it's way too soon to worry about that - he's only 4 months old! In the early stages of training any new behavior the rate of reinforcement needs to be very high, and then as it becomes learned and generalized to a variety of circumstances (VERY important!), you can move to a random reinforcement schedule and then start to wean off food rewards for that behavior.

But if you're training something new, or increasing the difficulty of a previously learned behavior, such as working on easy stuff like sits and downs that he's great at around the house, but maybe now you're doing it at outside the supermarket or other high distraction area, you would need to increase the level of reinforcement, at least temporarily. And with some things, like heeling or even loose leash walking, you may need to reinforce the correct behavior for quite some time.
 

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The pup is only four months old. He needs much more reinforcement of behaviors you want to see. You will also have to reinforce the behaviors in different contexts over time. At some point, when he is more mature, you will have to correct him for being disobedient. You can't make kibble a reinforcer unless you are willing to significantly cut back on his food. Use a food that he loves and make sure he is hungry and keep the sessions short, about five minutes, several times a day.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Thanks, Debbie and Chip. And everyone else :). Things are clearer in my head.

Although, Chip, regarding the tug game with him, he doesn't anymore take the tug toy at the end I offer, he jumps up (and almost as tall as me already when he stands) and grabs it close to my hand. It gets intense, he wont let go unless I distract him by throwing a treat on the floor. And he growled yesterday, just once. Yes, I do the 'sit' make sure he is calm, before I offer the end and say 'take it' but a switch goes off once he gets his teeth on it. No more listening to me.

I am sure in a couple of weeks he will be able to pull the toy out of my grip.
 

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Tie a fairly strong, thin rope to the end of the tug and move it as a prey object. When he bites it, then actually grab the tug. I don't know what kind of a tug you are using, but it should have handles. The growling is not likely anything to be concerned about. You must be a little guy. Use the tug to build some strength to handle your dog.
 

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Tie a fairly strong, thin rope to the end of the tug and move it as a prey object. When he bites it, then actually grab the tug. I don't know what kind of a tug you are using, but it should have handles. The growling is not likely anything to be concerned about. You must be a little guy. Use the tug to build some strength to handle your dog.
lol. Your responses have just been getting more and more personal. In spite of my determination to keep the discussion friendly and politely ignoring the rudeness. I happen to be a girl. Maybe you are built to wrestle with a 100 lb gsd. I am not. Hence I choose to learn to play with mine smarter.
 

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Mistakingly thinking you were a man and calling you a little guy is not being rude. Your four month old puppy does not weigh 100 pounds. I am offering suggestions you can use to lay a foundation that will give you much control over your dog's obedience using motivational approaches that will allow you to be better able to manage your dog when he is mature. You sound very unsure about being able to manage this dog when he matures. I'm not convinced that your approach to interacting with your dog is "smarter."
 
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