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My name is Brandi and I recently adopted a 1 year old GSD named Max. I’m so glad I came across this site because I’m in NEED of advice to work with Max. A little background, My husband and I adopted Max from a friend who could no longer keep Max. Max was in a kennel all day long because my friend lived in an apartment and worked all day. So about a month ago we recieved Max. He was and still is SUPER HYPER (we have a fenced in backyard where he is free to run and play). He wasn’t very obedient and I’ve been trying to work with him and it’s been a disaster. Two days of having Max, I asked my friend how do I remove the choke collar and my friend said “you don’t, we’ve always kept it on him” (friend has had Max since he was a few weeks old). I told my friend that i couldn’t even put my finger under the collar and that there was something sticky and it stunk. My friend came over and took the choke collar off and it had embedded into his skin so we rushed him to the emergency vet. The vet said the choke collar was only for training which my friend responded that their vet said it was okay to leave the choke collar on. Anyways, so Max has had it ruff and I want to give him a happy and healthy life. I’ve been using treats and toys and I’m not using the choke collar at all. Max had nipped me and snapped at me and it’s not okay at all. My plan is to get him neutered and when he’s healed, taking him to training classes.
 

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Thank you for taking in Max and yes, you do have a lot of work to do. The dog has no idea what you expect of him. Glad you took the choke collar off. I don't know any vet who would say to keep it on him all the time. Is his neck all healed up? The pain of the sores on his neck can make it harder to do leash work.

As far as collars go, choke collars can be a useful tool if used correctly. I wouldn't put one back on Max, though. You might need a prong collar but a prong is just a tool, not a final solution.

When you go to training classes don't start with an all positive class. Your boy is going to need a lot of rewarding for good behavior and encouragement to learn what is expected of him but he is also going to need clear fair consequences for acting out, snapping and nipping.

At 1 year old I am not surprised that Max can get hyper. Even dog raised in the home since 8 weeks old can be hyper bouncy zoomy teenager dogs, and your dog is a teenager. It is good that you have a fenced in yard. That is a blessing. You can do a lot of play based training in your own yard, which is something not everyone can do. With good advice, patience, humor and a stable routine, someday you'll look back and wonder where your crazy teenaged pup went and turned into a magnificent dog.
 

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Thank you Car2ner for your positive feedback. Max neck is healed, thank goodness. The vet prescribed him antibiotics and a cream to heal the wounds. I have noticed when I pet him near the collar he snaps at me. We have a leather collar on him and I wanted to check to make sure it still fit him well. I been using a harness to take him on walks and I have to force it on him because he wants to chew on it and play tug of war with it. What can I do in reference to consequences for Max? I’ve read online that if he jumps on me to ignore him until he has all four legs on the ground then to give him attention. I also read to yell or act surprise when he isn’t being obedient. Yesterday while I was on the phone, Max wanted to play but I wasn’t able to play with him and he started tugging on my shirt and I said firmly “no” and he did it again except he nipped me in the stomach and later when we were playing, I had the frisbee in my hand and i wasn’t looking and he jumped on me to get the frisbee and his tooth struck me in the arm which is still sore and a little swollen. Also, he will not let me go inside the house, he’s always blocking the door because he wants to go in and I have two indoor cats. I do put the cats away in a spare bedroom and let Max inside but he just tears up the house (sigh).
 

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If you add a few health issues to your Max, you would have my Simon. It's nearly a year since he came to me at one year of age and was unruly, with zero manners. He would jump all over me, dragging his nails down my arms and leave me dripping blood every time I took him out. He, too, had wounds on his throat from a prong collar he was tethered with. To this day, if he sees a prong he flips out, so I don't use one. I don't need one, either. He is 98% better and can only improve from here. He is insane for tennis balls and for a while I would throw balls for an hour to wear him out, to the detriment of my aging joints. I made a flirt stick and what a godsend that was! 15 mins and I had a calmer, more responsive boy that I could work with. I certainly would not be using a collar on a wounded neck. I bought a vest for Simon until he healed and now use a martingale collar. He is beyond eager to please so corrections are few and far between. Give your guy some time to feel safe but do not take nipping lightly, correct right away, wear him out and then work with him a bit. He will soon realize that you are a much better option than his previous home and will show his appreciation. Also, if you have designs on ever being in the bathroom alone, forget about it.
 
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