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Discussion Starter #1
Some of you may remember me from earlier in the year with my two males (litter mates) fighting. Anyway, we've got that situation sorted out, one has been neutered and we are fight-free for at least 8 months, not sure what the actual time is though haha.

Anyway, I'm running into another problem. Usually when they do something bad I take them to the scene (for example they chew up the apple tree), they bow their head because they know I'm mad and I point at them and give them the "I'm angry" voice.

Shadow has always eaten his poop, no product we find can stop it. Keep in mind it's not like we leave it sit for a week before we pick it up, he will poop, turn around and eat it. He also eats Darguns poop too. Anyway, I do the same thing I normally do, I'll yell his name, point at him and give him the angry voice telling him bad boy, knock it off. Now when I do this, he takes off. He will look around and dart. I don't like running through peoples yards and I know in my neighbor hood, there is no chance at catching a dog unless they want to be caught (big yards). The only way I get him back is if the pound picks him up, if he decides to come home, or if I start the van. We have several vehicles, but only one of them has enough space for the dogs, the van. They know the sound of the van as "yay we get to go bye-bye" so usually they will come running to the van.

My question is, how do I punish Shadow for running off? It seems like if I punish him when he comes home, he might think he is being punished for coming back, yet if I wait then he thinks he's being punished for no reason.

Please keep in mind that we do not have a fenced yard, and I let them out multiple times a day (5+ usually) for at least 30 mins. If it's raining I'll sit on the porch and they will just poop and pee and go back in. They get plenty of play time and never run off during play time, but when Shadow is in trouble, he will bolt. I don't have this problem with Dargun, but he doesn't eat poop and right now that is the only thing that is going bad.

Shadow is the light guy on the right, and Dargun is the dark guy on the left.

 

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From the examples you used, I'm wondering what training methods you use to train them not to chew the tree, or eat their poop or take off when you are angry.....

What method of training are you using for these things? Do you have a hired trainer or are you training from what you learned in online videos or? Food reward training, clicker training, positive reinforcement or a combination?
 

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Also:) I just went back and looked at your pic of the rolling fence post, is that what they've destroyed? the wood part - is that the only place they are getting out? Can you use a hot wire just there?
 

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He isn't running off, unfortunately, you're chasing him off. The only way you can punish something is right at the moment they do it and for the most part, calm and without emotion is more helpful. I'd keep him on a line everytime he's outside and you can use it to correct him as soon as he looks at the poop and you can concentrate on teaching him coming to you is good.
 

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As far as the tree went, I didn't want the tree to die and they just kept chewing on it so eventually I built a fence around it as I didn't know how to punish them.

As far as training methods, I seen the clicker training thing on Youtube but that did not work out so well. Any time we clicked anything like a pen or pressed a sticky button, their ears would go up and they think they did something good and they would get a treat. We stopped that and went to giving them treats when they did something good, but we had to phase out of that because my grandparents will give them a tread just for being a dog when ever they see them (we are their care takers so we live with them). I started buying a different kind of treat to train them with, but after sit, stay, lay down, and shake there isn't much more I want them to do. I've gotten a lot of free time so I've been training them to go to something and get it on command (eventually for bird hunting). I'm doing this with a little RC truck, I will point at it to show them it, they will be laying down and my hand is on their back, then I'll start moving the truck. When I tap them on the back and say "go get it" they will bring it back to me and they get a treat. I phase them out of it though and just give love. For example "good boy here's a treat" on the first one, then every other one, then every few, and eventually no treats, just love.

I can tell them not to go on something, for example we have a bed in the garage so we can sleep with them without getting the house all dirty. We let them up on the bed, but if it's wet we point at the bed and wave our hand down low and they will not get on it until we ask them to. Same thing with the couch (although they are never allowed on the couch). I tried this with the tree and it didn't work but like I said I didn't have a whole lot of time as I didn't want it to die.
 

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I had a problem with Summer poop eating from day 1. I called the breeder and here's the advice I got; "You have to stop this right now", "If you don't, it will be a lifelong battle".

But, no advice as to how to stop it or why it was happening. So, I looked on the internet and nobody really knows why. So I joined this forum and was told you have to be right there and ON IT when it happens and get rid of it. Some described their dogs turning around to dine before they were even done pooping. Most suggestions were to correct as you would anything else or be there to shovel it up right away.

So I did this, for months and months and months.... She tried going to every hidden recess in the yard to poop so she could get to it before I could get to her and bust her for it. Finally, she gave up and all was well. I relaxed and low and behold - 1 year later she's starting it again! So, I'm right back out there again.

The ONE thing I have going for me on this unusual behavior/disorder is I feed my dog on schedule and as a result - her poops are so predictable like not 5 or 10 minutes after eating, but definately 15 to 20 minutes after eating - so it's not a big deal for me to be out there in the yard to keep her off her poop. She gives it one look and I can be 50 feet away and say "Leave it' and she'll be off and never give it a 2nd thought. The "trigger" seems to be in the 1st minute or 2 and I think (this sounds gross) but the odor hot and steamy fresh out of the oven is the attraction -

Does your dog eat your other dogs poop only when it's "fresh" arrgh! or is he eating old poop too?
 

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This is actually frustrating. How do I punish my dog? I don't. I don't need to. Occasionally I correct a dog, by letting them know, with my voice, that this is MINE, and I will give them something else and say, YOURS. I will say, "Eh!" when I see the pup considering the garbage can, and that immediately stops the behavior.

I supervise the puppy or put the puppy where he cannot get herself in trouble. She has an indoor/outdoor area that is safe for her. When I cannot supervise, she is in there, often with Babs.

I do not leave an untrained dog off lead in an area that is not secure. So my dogs do not run over or through the neighbor's yard. If necessary, I put on line on them. Recall is so crucial that I take my time with it and teach it. I do not give the command unless I can immediately enforce it. This is not a command I want them to think they can ignore.

In fact, I am not good with them ignoring my commands. I try not to give ANY command that I cannot enforce immediately. By doing so, the dog understands that commands are commands, not requests, not suggestions. I do not curl my command into a question. Dogs are smart. If you think they may not listen, they may not listen. You have no confidence, why should they listen to you? I do not repeat commands. Repeating commands teaches a dog to ignore you. They wait until you reach that pitch in your voice that says, "I am going to kill you." Then they do it. If you are running through yards, calling your dog to come, when he knows you are irrationally angry at him for some reason, of course he isn't going to come. And you are right, punish him after he comes home and he will be less likely to come home again -- you will then have to catch him.

You don't have a fence. Well then put a leash on your dog and take him out on leash. Yep, every single time. Work on come on a long line. And don't go off lead with this one. If you work with recall on a long line for 3 years, and you drop your lead in a parking lot, and you need your dog to come, he will come. Because every single time you called him to come, you were able to bring him to where you were and had him sit. It's not optional. Don't go off lead. Don't let him figure that he can choose not to. You might want to change the word to HERE, because you have abused the word you have been using if that was COME. Every time you follow through. You do not repeat commands, you give a command, give him a moment to do it on his own, if he does not, you help him.

When you teach the recall. Start with a come or here, and pet and praise, but quickly add a SIT. Teach him to come and sit in front of you, close enough for you to pet his head and play with his collar. If you are ever in a seriously dangerous situation, you do not want a fly by. You want him to come to the front of you, sit and get pets, have you play with (secure) his collar. And because you practiced this on a line regularly, your dog lives. Yay!

Let your dogs run about and through the neighbor's yards, caught by animal control, and you might lose your dog, and he may die. Animal control people tend to get irritated at repeat offenders, and if they see your dog without a collar and catch him, they may just quietly hold him and adopt him out at the first opportunity. Because they are seeing you as irresponsible.

Get your act together because you are giving our breed a bad name.
 
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I ended the poop eating problem in 2 days. It's quite simple actually, the moment I took him out in the morning to pee/poop he was on a leash. I let him poop, he turns around to eat it and I give a strong yank on the leash and a firm loud "NO". I did this for 2 days, so that's about 4-6 poops and he got the point. Plus I live in a city so my eyes were glued to the ground during a walk on the lookout for other dogs crap. As soon as he got near another dogs poop I give a strong yank and a firm no. You can also try to carry a small water gun and the moment he turns to eat the poop you squirt him and give a firm NO.
Hope this helps.
By the way, is it hard to manage 2 males? If I would ever get 2 dogs at the same time I always thought a male and female is the best mix.
 

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My dogs are not bad, but I do leash up Gambit when he chases the hose when we are trying to water. Or crate him if bitey face game gets out of hand. None of my dogs are destructive, poop eaters or generally naughty.
I would rather contain them when needed. They are given freedom, but not so much that running off is an option if I know they don't have a good recall. Recalls are part of the foundation training.
During their puppyhood, I try to shape their character as far as supporting neutral behaviors with other dogs or people. I don't do it with corrections but just redirection and praise when I capture them doing what I think is right. I like a confident dog that won't shut down or is banged on so much that they get inhibited. Would rather have a free soul that can deal with some boundaries that are understood. I try to set them up to succeed. If they fail they do learn a lesson, but fairness is what I try to keep foremost. Correction is usually verbal from me in the day to day home stuff, and or other dogs will correct the younger dogs, again they are doing it fairly and the younger dog understands.
When it comes to obedience training or sport, collar pops, ecollar information is what I use, but verbal is always the first go to.
 

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When I was looking into the "poop eating" disorder (officially called coprophagia) I learned that it might be a dietary deficiency that causes the problem. Since you have two sibs, and one that does and one that does not.... you have to wonder.

The reason I asked if it's an all the time problem, rather than if the fresh smell triggers it or it's older poop too - I would think a compulsion behavior (backed by smell) as opposed to eating all poop (dietary problem) would be something to think about. But, since you have sibs - that pretty much blows both theories/speculation out of the water for me.:surprise:
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks guys, I will try a few of your suggestions and see where I get.

Shadow will eat any poop. His poop, his brothers poop, our labs poop, the neighbors poop, old poop, fresh poop, it don't matter.

As far as the spray gun goes, I don't think that's going to work as they love water. They love to play with the hose and I made them a water bottle that I can squirt so they will play with that (it started when Shadow got sick and wouldn't drink water, I made it a game for him).

As far as the dogs running through the neighbor hood, it's not like I want them to. I don't send them out and say "come home when you feel like it" They know their boundaries and they know what will happen when they cross that boundary- play time is over. We have 3 sections of our yard and they are not allowed to go to a different one unless I invite them to go. We only had a select few issues with running off when they where puppies and they seen a bird or something. Right now all their walks around the neighbor hood are off-leash (though I have collars on and leashes on me if I spot a dog I don't think they will get along with) and they do great. When I say "heel", they heel. When I say "you're free", they can play close to me. When I say "too far" they will stop playing, and stay where they are until I say "you're free" again. Right now the issue is Shadow deciding to run off when I yell at him for eating poop. We have our dogs off lease because as you know, GSD have a lot of energy and need to run. A 15' leash doesn't let them get a lot of energy out, they can't run full speed (without dis-locating your shoulder). We let them off leash and we let them play as long as there is a mutual respect between them and us. We've never had an issue with them running off on an off-leash walk besides when they where young pups with short attention spans.

I can say we're all glad (now) that we have two males. As puppies it was hard mainly because they wanted to keep fighting, and we thought it's get harder as time went on because there are a few female dogs in the neighbor hood, so when those dogs go in heat we assumed we'd have problems. Trust me when I say we hate getting dogs neutered. We tried everything to get them to stop fighting and people recommended us neuter Dargun as he was the runt of the litter and at the time not the alpha. We wanted babies from Dargun and we decided that we are alpha so we neutered Shadow and after a month past by, no more fights. We've never had a female dog so we just decided why get one? Always had male dogs for what ever reason so we went with what we have "experience" with.
 

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There is just no talking to some people. Your dog knows the boundaries, doesn't respect them, but you are going to let him off lead anyway, because you won't listen to reason.

Good luck on that. I hope your dog does not suffer because his owner won't protect him.
 

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Hey Double - where are you???? You have awesome looking dogs and the fact that they're this age and looking good means you're doing a lot of right things for them.

If you find some of the posts overwhelming for now, just respond to/ work with the ones you can deal with.:) You're here for a reason and there's lots of good help here - just take it in small portions. Don't spend your time trying to justify your past training with these dogs - just move forward.

None of this is personal at you and don't let anyone get to you trying to put shame on you, one or two may try but the rest just want to help without guilt tripping you:surprise:. You sound like you have your hands full taking care of your elder family and what your doing is what many others would not.....

Get your but back here when you can! and get the bits and pieces of information you can get here from helpful posters - to help you and soldier on - you can do this.
 

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Haven't read all of the posts, but my dog goes to work with me and cannot be off leash, so I bought a 33' biothane tracking line. I am able to throw the ball pretty far and he can run pretty hard to retrieve it without dislocating my shoulder or his neck.
I am able to work a lot of his energy out that way. Just a thought...
 

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Haven't read all of the posts, but my dog goes to work with me and cannot be off leash, so I bought a 33' biothane tracking line. I am able to throw the ball pretty far and he can run pretty hard to retrieve it without dislocating my shoulder or his neck.
I am able to work a lot of his energy out that way. Just a thought...
make sure you know where that line is so you aren't taken out by the ankles!
 
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As far as the dogs running through the neighbor hood, it's not like I want them to. I don't send them out and say "come home when you feel like it" They know their boundaries and they know what will happen when they cross that boundary- play time is over.
I think this is a most immediate, very dangerous problem and should be focused on. Poop eating won't get them dead - this will.....

I understand now, why you're asking how people discipline their dogs. With just this one problem... what kind of play time can you offer two adult male GSD's that would be so intriguing that they would abandon their natural drives and instincts for (to leave your property for) if you withhold it? There isn't any.... Your bond, without professional perimeter training is not providing the glue that can make this happen.

What are your dogs doing when they are out and about without supervision? If they come across a neighbor's cat or chickens? Will they eventually do what their drive and instinct tells them to do?

IMO - #1 is to get them confined to your property where they cannot escape to be on their own to do as they will... This is a recipe for a bullet to the brain on your dogs.
 

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There is just no talking to some people. Your dog knows the boundaries, doesn't respect them, but you are going to let him off lead anyway, because you won't listen to reason.

Good luck on that. I hope your dog does not suffer because his owner won't protect him.
I don't think you understand what I'm trying to relay to you...

They are both fine, they know their boundaries and respect them UNTIL Shadow gets in trouble. At that point, Shadow runs off. If I let Shadow eat his poop, he won't run off. As soon as I get mad at him, he runs. Does that make sense to you?
 

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Hey Double - where are you???? You have awesome looking dogs and the fact that they're this age and looking good means you're doing a lot of right things for them.

If you find some of the posts overwhelming for now, just respond to/ work with the ones you can deal with.:) You're here for a reason and there's lots of good help here - just take it in small portions. Don't spend your time trying to justify your past training with these dogs - just move forward.

None of this is personal at you and don't let anyone get to you trying to put shame on you, one or two may try but the rest just want to help without guilt tripping you:surprise:. You sound like you have your hands full taking care of your elder family and what your doing is what many others would not.....

Get your but back here when you can! and get the bits and pieces of information you can get here from helpful posters - to help you and soldier on - you can do this.
Thank you! I live on Camano island WA, pretty soon I'm going to buy a new truck so I think my brother and I are going to take the dogs to Kellog, ID and I'm going to look at a couple Rams at Dave Smith motors and we'll probably stay out there for a couple weeks. I see you're in ID too haha.
 
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