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Please be gentle - I love my dog, but she's got a few bad habits and behaviours that I'm about at my wits end with. She's a year old by now.

She is a jumper. I have never had a dog like this who just won't give it up!

When I let her out of her crate, she is understandably happy to see me, but she is terrible for muzzle punching people in the face. Her sibling does this too and the breeder, who's also a trainer, said she's really having a hard time teaching hers not to jump. Last time I weighed her she was 70 lbs, she has to be 75 lbs by now and it hurts. Two weeks ago she muzzle punched me in the throat! :crazy: She's not biting or anything, she's just trying to lick you and over the top happy, she makes happy squealing sounds and everything. Is it possible for a dog to love someone too much? :blush:

Anyway, what I try to do is keep turning my back and ignoring her when she's jumping. This seems to be most effective, as any disciplinary action, such as pushing her down and saying "OFF.", seems to only be a reward and she comes back even harder.

She is very demanding of attention. Trying to ignore her can be really hard, because if you're sitting or something, she has a way of forcing her head under your arm (she tries especially hard if she gets into trouble), even if you try to keep it tight to your side. It looks pretty cute to an outsider, but I know that she is a master manipulator. She knows exactly what she's doing.

I'm having some success with ignoring her, but my next problem is if I'm laying down or sitting on the couch and she jumps up on me. She's heavy. I can't simply turn and ignore her, I have to push her down and say "OFF.". The worst part is, she uses her feet like hands and scratches me too.

She's a bossy and demanding little thing. The other day I went outside without her, and she jumped against the door. I wouldn't say she's got separation anxiety, but she's definitely a velcro dog, and does not like being away from me. She jumps, jumps, jumps.

I'm sure I don't need to describe the scene with company coming over.

She's my first 'real' dog. The breeder thought she was the most mellow and friendly one in the litter, but the whole litter turned out to be 'harder' dogs than she'd anticipated as they grew older.

I have another bigger issue with leash/dog aggression, that I'll post separately, it's probably the biggest source of stress for me. I don't quite understand this one because she likes playing with other dogs, but meeting them in the street is a huge ordeal.

She's mostly a good girl, and I love her very much. She's silly and sassy and a great companion for me, but there's a couple of things that are sometimes really frustrating and I just want it to stop. I have worked so hard with her, and I make it sound like she's horrible, and she isn't.

I feel like all my hard work is for nothing. I've done puppy class, grade 1, grade 2 (disaster because she's leash reactive), flyball (disaster - prey drive, fine as long as no other dogs are running, ha ha), underwater treadmill, doggy daycare, dog walker and schutzhund. She can do her obedience and learn things really easily, but it's teaching her NOT to do things that I'm struggling with.

She is very excitable and it's hard to settle her. There are things about her that make me want another GSD, and then there are things that make me never want one again.

If there's any advice you have, I'd be really happy to give it a go.

Jeeze, when I write it all down, it sounds really terrible. She's really a very sweet girl, but seems to get overstimulated very easily. I'm sure this is simply a failure on my part, and I'm hoping I can fix some things. :(
 

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Since turning your back worked the best for the jumping, I suggest you check out this link as Turid Rugass recommended that method :Turid Rugaas - Calming Signals Community
Her book "Calming Signals" would be helpful. If I were you, I would work on both giving the dog a focus and outlet for the high drive (fetch/tug is really fun for the dog and you) and calming the dog down. After a walk, I would do the down/stay while I read and totally ignored the dog - start with 5 minutes - and work up to 30 minutes. At first, it is necessary to have the dog on leash and even sitting on the leash - insist the dog holds the down/stay. Totally ignore the dog - at the end of the time - praise and release. For the couch, since this has become a game, I would either sit some place else or again insist on the down/stay. For the pushing you and shouldering you, just get up and walk away - turn away from the dog. When you push back, the dog thinks "fun, this is a game" - walking away and standing with your back towards the dog send the signal "I don't want to play".
 

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I'd also have her on a line and check her when she is jumping...one good check(correction) should have her thinking about doing it again. She's old enough and obviously has the temperament to take a correction. Some dogs need a bit more structure to keep their balance. IMO, this dog needs some NILIF and a strong handler for her temperament.

She's really a very sweet girl, but seems to get overstimulated very easily. I'm sure this is simply a failure on my part, and I'm hoping I can fix some things.
No, she has a low threshold....genetic. You just need to learn how to manage her personality.

I hope you can find a trainer that understands her, and works with you one on one to bring out her best. Many good trainers can read a dog within a few minutes. Changing different sports isn't going to work if you don't know how to work your dog to her individual potential.
 

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With my current foster, whose jumping is very similar to your dog's, I'm working on solving the jumping issue by teaching her to sit to get attention (to replace the jumping with a desirable behavior).

If she runs and jumps, I ignore her and walk away. From a distance, I then say "sit." If she plants her butt, I approach and pet her, which is what she's after. It's slow going to get her to build up the self-control to stop herself, but it's vastly better than it was when I first brought her home.

After a few weeks of this, she definitely has connected that sitting is the desired behavior -- I sometimes see her flying at me and it registers in her head that she's not supposed to do it, she turns in mid air to avoid hitting me with the paws and then sits sideways however she lands and looks at me with a happy expression that says, "See--I did it right!"
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Ok, good idea about replacing the jumping with a sit or a down. I'll try to work on that. I'll see if I can find that book. I think NILIF will probably work for her, if I do it right. I think I need to buckle down a bit more and get really firm with her. It's easy to let up when things have improved, but she slips back into old habits, so I think I need to be more vigilant about my own habits to help her.

The problem with the leash is getting it on her and not getting 'punched' in the process!

So far, I think we've been most successful with the schutzhund training, it seems to work a bit better with her temperament. I really wanted her to be active in a few different sports, but it's maybe not going to work out, as I'd hoped. :(

Still, I love her, she's such a funny girl. I was late with her dinner the other night, and when I was done making it, I turned around and she'd brought me every single toy she could find to trade for her dinner. LOL She can be really quiet too, and amuse herself with her toys or lay down beside the couch and chew her antler. It's not always bad, but when she gets excited, holy hannah.

Is this normal GSD behaviour? I know so many people with them, and they just seem so much easier than my girl, but maybe it's her age too.
 

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I agree with Jane. She is old enough to know better. As for normal gsd behavior, in my view - yes for a high drive working gsd that you have, unless she has an experienced handler who will set ground rules for her and give her an outlet for her energy, she will act exactly like yours. As for not being able to get the leash on, I would have either her drag a short leash in the house or wear a short tag leash, so I would something to grab on. I also agree with Jane, that you should look into working with a trainer.
 

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The problem with the leash is getting it on her and not getting 'punched' in the process!
No time for more right now, but I wanted to make a suggestion for this - try desensitizing her to the leash. Numerous times a day go towards where you keep her leash. If you can pick it up without her going bonkers, do that, and then immediately put it down and walk away and ignore her for at least a few minutes. Totally ignore, as in she's an invisible dog. Rinse, repeat. If you can't actually pick it up without her getting really excited, simply touch it and walk away. If that doesn't work, walk towards it and turn around and walk away the second she starts to get amped up.

Work gradually up to where you can stand there holding the leash before she gets too excited, and then wait. If she's bouncing up and down, let her, put don't even try to put the leash on until she stops, just wait her out. Eventually she's going to stop jumping - mark it ("yes!) and reach down to put the leash on. If you can get her to sit first, even better. If she starts jumping again as you begin to put the leash on, stand back up and wait some more. Give her a few tries, maybe 3 or 4, and if she won't stop jumping long enough to get the leash on her while she's relatively calm, put the leash down, walk away, and ignore her for awhile again. I like to use a negative marker for this, like "oops!", but you don't need to say anything if you don't want to.

It's a game of red light/green light. Her behavior determines whether you go or you stop, it can make good things happen or it can make the fun go away. You have to be consistent though, so if you don't have a fenced yard and need to leash her for potty trips you can leave a leash on her as a drag line, but don't use it to take her for a walk until you can pick it up while she remains calm, preferably in a sit. My dogs have to sit while I open the front door to go out for a walk or a ride in the car, or the door closes again. Once the door is open, I release them to walk through, and if they break before being released, the door closes.

I do this kind of thing with anything my dogs value highly - doing what I want "makes" me do what they want, so they learn to make good choices. Since you're not actually telling her what to do, if she doesn't do it she's not disobeying a command. You're teaching her default behaviors, and she's also learning the value of impulse control. Smart dogs figure this out pretty quickly.
 

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I have worked with a trainer, but they are kind of pet trainers and I think they are more accustomed to say a Lab or Poodle type of personality etc. The best are the schutzhund people, because they understand her type. She's not like this all the time, she just has moments of unbridled exuberance.

I can't imagine how I can give her more exercise, I've even got a dog walker to come in partway through the day for a 30 minute walk and some play time. I've been laying some tracks for her to follow too, which she loves to do. I though it might get her more into 'thinking mode' than 'reacting mode'.
She does not wear a collar in her crate, I'm afraid it will get caught or something, so getting her out is the problem. She's good about sitting quietly in her crate when I get home and open the crate door. I don't let her charge out, but once she's out, she's bouncing and squealing.

I've been trying the ignore her thing when leashing her , but I maybe need to take it a step back as you suggested Cassidy'sMom, going right back to the stopping as I approach the leash if she's getting wound up. I always make her sit before I put it on, but you can tell she's ready to explode, her face is pointed straight at me and her ears are down, you know when they are super excited, like that? Ready to launch?

She isn't a total maniac and I do think it's improved somewhat, but I just can't seem to get her to drop the habit. She's actually very good once the excitement of being freed from her crate is over, or seeing someone she loves.

Anyway, I'll try the idea of approaching her leash more slowly and just completely ignoring her until she is quiet.
 
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