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Discussion Starter #1
Hi,

So I have a 18 month old female and I am wanting to know how much more she will mentally mature.

I know 18 months old is still technically a puppy so do you guys think she will mature more and become a little more confident and sound? Or with most dogs os the dog you have at a 1.5 years pretty much the same dog they will always be?
 

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It depends on what you mean by change? If she's nervy now, she will always be nervy. They will typically settle better in the house and such. They typically get more serious in work if they are in sport or a working dog.
 

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IMO their basic personality can't change (genetics). But it is very possible to teach them and yourself strategies to successfully navigate and manage.
 

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IMO their basic personality can't change (genetics). But it is very possible to teach them and yourself strategies to successfully navigate and manage.
Yes, all is not lost by any means. Much training can still be done. I was speaking more about what changes would naturally occur in the dog.

Thanks Terri
 

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I think dogs are born confident and sound. In my experience, what you see when they are a tiny puppy is what you will see when they are an adult, with a period of raptor in between.😄

I saw much more maturity at two years old. But the basic temperament of the dog remained the same. In fact, the traits became more pronounced. My puppy Hans was slightly nervy in the beginning, and became super nervy as an adult.

Rolf was a confident, solid puppy. He continues to be so now, and looks at Hans having his outbursts with an expression that says, “What on earth are you reacting for?”
You can desensitize somewhat through training, but what she was is what she is, and what she will be.
 

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Typically, I would expect the need/want to great every other dog they pass or meet to go away. I would expect most forms of aggression, if present, to reach their full potential. I doubt any of that magically appears. If the signs were there, I would expect things like that to escalate if they haven't been trained away. In general by two, I see most dogs become less interested in making new friends. Some lines mature slower, but for most dogs around 2 is when they fully mature. I haven't personally experienced it, but the owner of a dog I trained with said he really came on drive wise at about 2-2.5. I have seen dogs become more confident, but it wasn't a ground breaking change from 18 months to 2 years. You are close to the dog you will have genetically at 18 months. Training, exposure and management can still provide change.
 

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Gunnar Vom Langer Strand (gsd), Dynamic's Bogan Vom Langer Strand (boxer)
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Need more info, please. Is she currently exhibiting a characteristic or behavior that you find undesirable, or are you just wondering, in general terms?

As has been said, some traits fade, some stay the same, some become more intense, some may remain unchanged for quite a while, then a switch is flipped- for better or worse.

Many things that people attribute to a dog's personality are simply learned behaviors that have been unwittingly reinforced by the owner (and other people, too). These can usually be "undone" with a thoughtful training plan, good timing and discipline.

With traits that are likely "hardwired" in the dog, say, nervousness or lack of confidence for example, the onus falls on the owner to provide the dog with a "way out" of the negative cycle that particular dog will inevitably throw themselves into. Great dog owners will learn to read their dogs and proactively come up with training solutions which minimize the effect of the "undesirable" trait.

What are you hoping will change (or not change) about your dog?
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks! The only issue I really have now with her is how she interacts with people in public at times. The majority of time when she meets someone she will go up and sniff initially and then she will either be ok or she will stiffen up and bark but not back up. I am working with a trainer now but trying to get my head around what is causing this. Outside of this she does well when in public but I want her mor reliable if someone happens to get close to her and have her look to me for direction.

For the looking to me for direction I assume this is something that comes with time and training? As of now we do several walks a day and train once sometimes twice a day for 20 minutes or so.
 

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Thanks! The only issue I really have now with her is how she interacts with people in public at times. The majority of time when she meets someone she will go up and sniff initially and then she will either be ok or she will stiffen up and bark but not back up. I am working with a trainer now but trying to get my head around what is causing this. Outside of this she does well when in public but I want her mor reliable if someone happens to get close to her and have her look to me for direction.

For the looking to me for direction I assume this is something that comes with time and training? As of now we do several walks a day and train once sometimes twice a day for 20 minutes or so.
Describe your training
 

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Describe your training
In the last two weeks we switched trainers from a purely positive that helped us get basic obedience to now a balanced trainer. With this new trainer we have switched to a pring collar. First session was teaching the dog how to relive the pressure of the prong and the second was teaching the heel command. My dog has responded very well to this. Normally when we train I work 9n the place command, heel, down in motion sit down recall ect. I also do thses things in different locations.

In my next session with this new trainer it will be in a public setting so he can she how she interacts in new environments and with other people.
 

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Those are the things you are working on. All good things.

Can you describe a training session? Location. Duration. What kind of rewards.
 

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Thanks! The only issue I really have now with her is how she interacts with people in public at times. The majority of time when she meets someone she will go up and sniff initially and then she will either be ok or she will stiffen up and bark but not back up. I am working with a trainer now but trying to get my head around what is causing this. Outside of this she does well when in public but I want her mor reliable if someone happens to get close to her and have her look to me for direction.

For the looking to me for direction I assume this is something that comes with time and training? As of now we do several walks a day and train once sometimes twice a day for 20 minutes or so.
That is something I wouldn't expect toget better with age.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Those are the things you are working on. All good things.

Can you describe a training session? Location. Duration. What kind of rewards.

For the duration sometimes 8 let her decide. If she is focused and wants to work then we go until she is no longer engaged. But the average is about 20 to 30 minutes.

Locations vary but some of the places are Home depot, Lowes, empty schools and the local mom and pop pet store.

For rewards I use lots of praise, some treats and a ball or tug toy.
 

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Gunnar Vom Langer Strand (gsd), Dynamic's Bogan Vom Langer Strand (boxer)
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I’ve always read to stop before this, so it is always a positive that they want more of.
That's an excellent point- always leave the dog wanting more.

OP, does your dog have a preferred or definite favorite out of the rewards that you named? Perhaps you could leverage her desire for that one, during her more difficult moments.

Can you describe how you have been engaging with her during your training sessions? I mean, beyond the command-correct-reward routine. How are you presenting the "lessons"? What is your demeanor like? Structured? Free flowing? How are you keeping her focused on you?
 

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I have to comment here! Playing fetch, or doing any other activity with you dog until the dog decides to disengage is similar to asking your dog to sit and accepting that they don't want to!

It cannot be emphasized enough that training a dog to follow commands, be it to fetch or sit or stay or heel or down or whatever, can ONLY be accomplished effectively if you absolutely enforce it every time!!!

And that, is precisely why you stop a game of fetch BEFORE the dog gets tired of the game!

Training as well! There are some circumstances where, when a dog or puppy is more mature, that compulsion is needed to show the dog that compliance is not optional.

But early on, it's absolutely on you to stop before the pup "disenganges"! Otherwise, you've just undermined months of training!
 

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Discussion Starter #18
That's an excellent point- always leave the dog wanting more.

OP, does your dog have a preferred or definite favorite out of the rewards that you named? Perhaps you could leverage her desire for that one, during her more difficult moments.

Can you describe how you have been engaging with her during your training sessions? I mean, beyond the command-correct-reward routine. How are you presenting the "lessons"? What is your demeanor like? Structured? Free flowing? How are you keeping her focused on you?

She will do anything for her ball and I have thought about using that when she acts out in public. I have always had the thought that if I distract her with the ball when this happens does that not teach her not to deal with that situation or does it make it a positive for her since it is able to bring her back out of being amped up? ( I hope that made sense)

As far as routine I would say it would be more free flowing. I 8ntially engage by playing and then take a few breaks while training to let her be a dog and to play with her more. She seems to be engaged more when we work at a faster pace so that is what I tend to do all while talking to her in a happy but calm voice.
 

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I'll address the reactivity bit here. The key take-away is that it's much easier to redirect a dog before she is triggered. If you miss your "window" and she reacts, it's often better to remove yourselves from the situation, rather than struggle through attempts at redirection. Piggybacking on an idea mentioned earlier, no training is better than bad training.

As far as using the ball, put her in a sit, down or use "watch me" prior her her reacting (to whatever the trigger is). Now, that will require diligence on your part to be able to read her cues and to also to be aware of what's going on around you. Have her maintain the command until the trigger (reasonably) passes and release her to the ball- which you have thrown (or bounced, skipped, etc,) laterally away from or behind her. Change up the directions so she doesn't learn to anticipate. Also, be mindful not to release her to the direction of the trigger, haha.

Here's a scenario where the two of you are training in one spot or area, e.g. not walking from A to B.
1. Chillin' with your dog, you see an imminent trigger.
2. Have her "down", maintaing eye contact (you may have to work on that first) and allow the trigger to pass. Use your "duration" word here... "good...good..."
3. Trigger passes. Mark the behavior (down) "yes!" Or click or chirp, etc... and release to the ball.

That's one simple sequence out of millions of possible ways of learning to deal with distractions in the environment. As you learn training principles, you'll gain a better understanding of how to apply them to your dog "in real life".
 

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I'll address the reactivity bit here. The key take-away is that it's much easier to redirect a dog before she is triggered. If you miss your "window" and she reacts, it's often better to remove yourselves from the situation, rather than struggle through attempts at redirection. Piggybacking on an idea mentioned earlier, no training is better than bad training.

As far as using the ball, put her in a sit, down or use "watch me" prior her her reacting (to whatever the trigger is). Now, that will require diligence on your part to be able to read her cues and to also to be aware of what's going on around you. Have her maintain the command until the trigger (reasonably) passes and release her to the ball- which you have thrown (or bounced, skipped, etc,) laterally away from or behind her. Change up the directions so she doesn't learn to anticipate. Also, be mindful not to release her to the direction of the trigger, haha.

Here's a scenario where the two of you are training in one spot or area, e.g. not walking from A to B.
1. Chillin' with your dog, you see an imminent trigger.
2. Have her "down", maintaing eye contact (you may have to work on that first) and allow the trigger to pass. Use your "duration" word here... "good...good..."
3. Trigger passes. Mark the behavior (down) "yes!" Or click or chirp, etc... and release to the ball.

That's one simple sequence out of millions of possible ways of learning to deal with distractions in the environment. As you learn training principles, you'll gain a better understanding of how to apply them to your dog "in real life".

Thank you for this advice
 
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