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I've been working on building a better relationship with my puppy and making her enjoy being in the house more.

So...I usually praise her when I see she is happy or calm - usually, it's something along the lines of "good girl" in a loving tone. Is this the correct way to do this?

She is doing fine otherwise "i think" and is 7 months old.
 

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Wow, I would love to see response on this. I never thought about it before! I pet my pup like all the time lol I would hug him if he allows me. He is 5 months old and still nip when he gets worked up. I hope I'm not doing it wrong this whole time :eek:
 

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ugh...did you just really ask how often you should pet your puppy? You should pet your puppy all the time. He/she is a puppy and you should always show affection, no matter how old they are.

I honestly think that people read in too much when they get a Shepherd. They are dogs just like any other breed and common sense goes a long way. If anything people might not pet their puppies enough.
 

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If you ask my dogs, i don't pet them enough but I feel like I'm always petting one or the other.
 

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I pet my little guy all the time. We work from home so we're constantly around him. I pet him, hug him, kiss him and even sit or lay on the ground with him and snuggle. Probably my favorite time of the day is when I let him out of his crate in the morning. He makes all of his cute whimper noises, gives me a bunch of kisses and I hug, kiss and pet him back. I love him and I can't suppress my affection towards him. :wub:
 

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Some pups/dogs just don't care for physical attention. Forcing them to cuddle, or be pet etc. will only enforce their need to be away from you.

My GSD will lay next to me contently. The moment I start scratching his head, he'll get up and walk away. He'll remain in the same room and follow me if I should leave the room, but he's not really into being physical. (But, he'll stand for hours if I scratch his butt.)

My Lacy (18 months) reads any physical contact as the invite for play. That is HIS favorite thing, why should he think I would think any differently? So I make it a point to give a pat or rub his ear and leave it at that.

What I do is I talk to them all the time. To my Lacy, I'm a walking Pez dispenser. The moment the does a desired task he gets a treat. If I'm doing laundry and drop a sock, he'll pick it up and follow me. He gets a treat. If I go into another room and he follows me, I'll reward. If he picks up my shoe and I tell him to 'leave it' and he drops it, he gets a reward. Ect. Because I always interact with him, he finds me interesting. He follows me waiting for me to ask him for something to do. In passing, I'll give a rub or a pat. But I don't hold him or force him to be still so I can provide physical contact.

For Hondo (GSD) he simply loves to me spoken to. So I'll carry on a conversation with him. "Hey boy, I need to go outside for a minute. You wanna go?" "Hey bud, did you see where the remote went?" Silly things. But that is what HE likes. Sometimes he'll come to me for a ear rub. But again, I never force physical attention on him.

Don't assume because you like to be physical, that your dog/pup would like it as well.
 

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Lillie's advice is good. The one thing I don't do is pet them every single time they demand it. There is no nosing on my arm while I'm working on the computer, and I don't tolerate one dog pushing in while I'm petting the other. They get plenty of affection, don't get me wrong.

But not all dogs really enjoy a lot of petting. Sam likes to get close and lean on me, and will let me scratch behind his ears. But brushing and other "longer" petting type stuff just riles him up. Kaylee loves everything.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
ugh...did you just really ask how often you should pet your puppy? You should pet your puppy all the time. He/she is a puppy and you should always show affection, no matter how old they are.

I honestly think that people read in too much when they get a Shepherd. They are dogs just like any other breed and common sense goes a long way. If anything people might not pet their puppies enough.
Seriously man, as a puppy owner read up on them a little more. From what I know, if a puppy is whinging or not happy you do not pet them as it reinforces the behaviour.

The behaviour I am trying to reinforce for my girl is to be happy, not to be constantly craving attention...
 

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I will also agree with Lilie and point out each dog/handler has its own dynamic. You know your dog and you should be able to tell if they are enjoying your interaction.

My dog is not the most affectionate, but I have encouraged her to be calm in the house in a very similar way and it has paid off big time! Yes, it works to give gentle affection when your pup is being calm. I've tried to pattern a relaxed down stay by offering a chew toy and saying "settle" whenever I'd like her to just settle down. When she does, I'll gently pet her and talk to her. I Now, I can give her a chew toy ans a "settle" just about anywhere and she will settle nicely.

I would say, give as much affection as you're comfortable with, and keep up the good work encouraging desirable behavior.


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We have two young dogs. Our GSD is all business. He wants jobs, all the time. So I give them to him. I pet him when he is relaxed. What he really enjoys is his nightly grooming. That's our bonding time.
Our Alaskan Malamute is all affection. She wants love all the time. So she gets it. If she remains calm.
It is so great having two different dog personalities in the house.
 

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pet all the time when the dog is being good. Do not pet while the dog is jumping, begging, being mischievous etc... That will come back to haunt you.
 

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Lillie's post was great.

There are actually a couple different theories in this. Some say like for NILIF for example that you only pet when you want. Controlling petting like a resource. Another theory (bigger in the sport world) is you pet the dog whenever it's driving you for a pet. That way it learns it as some control over your actions and has more of a "team" affect. Neither one suggest constantly petting. Petting should be a form of praise. Oh and I'm not saying you should never cuddle your dog but I would limit it.
 

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Our GSD Jake enjoys petting / cuddles in small doses. He’ll tolerate more at night when he’s winding down to go to bed. When he’s had enough he moves away or gives us the paw to let us know he’s had enough. Now that he’s getting older and we don’t spend every waking minute puppy training, it’s not much of an issue, but we didn’t pet Jake when he was doing something we didn’t want him to. He’d get pet when he was being a good boy.

The other thing is Jake does not like being pet on the top of the head … even by people he knows. So we always scratch on the side of his head or under his chin. When he is meeting strangers we ask them to not pet him on the top of the head .. he doesn’t do anything, he just pulls his head away.
 

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When WD walks by me, there is no way I couldn't pet him in our daily life. I pet him for being alive :) but we also do serious training where he has to earn it.
 

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From what I know, if a puppy is whinging or not happy you do not pet them as it reinforces the behaviour.
Sure, but that has nothing to do with how often you pet your puppy, just under what circumstances you do so.

Lillie's post was great.

There are actually a couple different theories in this. Some say like for NILIF for example that you only pet when you want. Controlling petting like a resource.
NILIF doesn't really limit attention though, you can still pet the dog as much as you want, it's just on your terms rather than on demand. If your dog is pestering you for attention by whining, barking, or pawing at you, you can ignore him until he goes away, wait a few minutes or even a few seconds, then call him back and pet him.
 
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