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Discussion Starter #1
I'm posting this here, instead of the puppy forum, because I'd like to hear from people whose dogs have outgrown this or are on the other side of puppyhood.

First question:
Rocket (15wks) has a soft fleecy blanket in his crate. He loves to drag it out a few times a day. Sometimes he plays the humpty-dumpty with it (never on anything or anyone else), usually when he's really excited or playful, sometimes he just mouths it for a few minutes than lays his head down. He hasn't chewed it up at all, and he sleeps with it every night. So far, I really just ignore it, because he doesn't seem to be hurting it. Am I on the right track?

Second question:
Sometimes when we're on a walk, he will stop and sit down, refusing to go any farther. This happens more on one street than another, and it's not a fatigue thing, either, because we've barely gone around the corner. I think it could be a cautious thing, that he's a bit overwhelmed and maybe on the verge of, not frightened exactly, but wanting to stop.

That one particular direction does have traffic, and lots of noisy distractions like a drainage "creek" flowing down one side, horses on another, just more open and exposed than the other direction, in which he doesn't do it nearly as often. He refuses even treats to get going again most of the time, so I wait until it's safe then I drop his leash and continue on as if it's no big deal. He usually runs right after me, but is this the correct way to go about it? When he stops and looks at a mailbox or something strange, I say "Let's go check it out!" and then tell him "it's no big deal" and give him a treat and praise when he sniffs. Then we can move on. He was a bit better tonight.

I live on the side of a mountain, and we have turkeys, moose, DEER (bear and elk, although we don't see those unless you go out in the forest behind and hike) all over--there are only two exit routes off it, so we can only take the two directions unless we drive somewhere else. Luckily, we live a stone's throw from GREAT hiking, but sometimes I just want to walk on the road in my regular shoes, without getting my boots on, etc.

I'm guessing he will outgrow this?
 

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Second question:
Sometimes when we're on a walk, he will stop and sit down, refusing to go any farther. This happens more on one street than another, and it's not a fatigue thing, either, because we've barely gone around the corner. I think it could be a cautious thing, that he's a bit overwhelmed and maybe on the verge of, not frightened exactly, but wanting to stop.
That could be the problem. I haven't experienced this with any other dog than Alex, though, so it may just be a coincidence. I'm not as versed in dog psychology or behavior as a lot of others are, I just know from what I've experienced thus far.

I had a similar problem with Alex a little while back, when she was first learning how to really walk on a leash. There was always a certain point that she would do the exact thing your boy is doing - she'd stop and sit, and wouldn't budge. I didn't really do anything for a while, but worked in different spots than the one she was stopping. I probably should have pushed her or something to work through it, but I was lucky enough that she sort of just grew out of it and got used to the walking enough to forget that she had any issues with the sitting.
 

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I'm posting this here, instead of the puppy forum, because I'd like to hear from people whose dogs have outgrown this or are on the other side of puppyhood.

First question:
Rocket (15wks) has a soft fleecy blanket in his crate. He loves to drag it out a few times a day. Sometimes he plays the humpty-dumpty with it (never on anything or anyone else), usually when he's really excited or playful, sometimes he just mouths it for a few minutes than lays his head down. He hasn't chewed it up at all, and he sleeps with it every night. So far, I really just ignore it, because he doesn't seem to be hurting it. Am I on the right track?

Keep an eye on him. The minute he does start chewing on it or anything other than being "nice" to it, you need to correct him. Thats not something you want him shredding and eating. It can and will likely cause a blockage pretty quickly if he did manage to chew it up. A lot of times its not recommended to give puppies blankets or beds because they WILL shred them. Especially a GSD pup. They get pretty crazy sometimes.

Second question:
Sometimes when we're on a walk, he will stop and sit down, refusing to go any farther. This happens more on one street than another, and it's not a fatigue thing, either, because we've barely gone around the corner. I think it could be a cautious thing, that he's a bit overwhelmed and maybe on the verge of, not frightened exactly, but wanting to stop.

That one particular direction does have traffic, and lots of noisy distractions like a drainage "creek" flowing down one side, horses on another, just more open and exposed than the other direction, in which he doesn't do it nearly as often. He refuses even treats to get going again most of the time, so I wait until it's safe then I drop his leash and continue on as if it's no big deal. He usually runs right after me, but is this the correct way to go about it? When he stops and looks at a mailbox or something strange, I say "Let's go check it out!" and then tell him "it's no big deal" and give him a treat and praise when he sniffs. Then we can move on. He was a bit better tonight.

I live on the side of a mountain, and we have turkeys, moose, DEER (bear and elk, although we don't see those unless you go out in the forest behind and hike) all over--there are only two exit routes off it, so we can only take the two directions unless we drive somewhere else. Luckily, we live a stone's throw from GREAT hiking, but sometimes I just want to walk on the road in my regular shoes, without getting my boots on, etc.

I'm guessing he will outgrow this?

The second one.... NEVER drop the leash even if you think its safe to do so. This is asking for trouble. Try encouraging him by being fun. Be someone he wants to follow no matter what. If he refuses treats, try a favorite toy (which he would never get to play with all the time because it would lose its reward value). Dont make a big deal of something. The 'lets go check it out' thing. He may see that as it not being the best idea. Dont make a big deal out of things that spook him or make him unsure. If you do, he'll assume there is a reason to be unsure. If you dont make a big deal out of something, he will learn he shouldnt either. Example, if someone is skateboarding and heads straight for the puppy. He yelps and panicks. You rush over and "save him". He learns skateboards are bad and to be feared. However later, you drop a glass when putting dishes away and it shatters on the floor but you dont make a big deal out of it, you just go about and clean it up. pup learns its no big deal and isnt something to be afraid of because you didnt freak out about it.

Encourage him positively to keep going. When he stops, encourage him to come to you. Make going to you a fabulous idea. When he goes to you praise and keep moving. he'll learn pretty quickly that he's safe and may even want to explore a bit without freezing up.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
At first I thought he was just smart enough to realize that he got treats for stopping and sitting (we practiced that a lot in the beginning) :p but after he didn't care about the treats, I figured it was something else. The reason I think it's the caution/fear thing is he doesn't do it on the way up the hill nearly as much, just on the way down, and the way up is much more thickly forested and less "exposed", kind of.
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
kzoppa, I replied before I saw yours. I kind of thought that's what I was doing by encouraging him to check something out...I don't force him, and if it looks like he doesn't want to, that's when I say calmly "oh, that old thing. That's nothing". I never acknowledge any whimpering or whining, and praise him for being calm and settling. When he comes or "finds" me, I act like he's the smartest thing on earth. Even though I haven't had a pup for a long time, he isn't my first dog, and I do want him to think I'm the best thing since sliced bread. Or sliced hot dogs, anyway.

Hmmm...blockage. You're absolutely right.
 

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That could be the problem. I haven't experienced this with any other dog than Alex, though, so it may just be a coincidence. I'm not as versed in dog psychology or behavior as a lot of others are, I just know from what I've experienced thus far.

I had a similar problem with Alex a little while back, when she was first learning how to really walk on a leash. There was always a certain point that she would do the exact thing your boy is doing - she'd stop and sit, and wouldn't budge. I didn't really do anything for a while, but worked in different spots than the one she was stopping. I probably should have pushed her or something to work through it, but I was lucky enough that she sort of just grew out of it and got used to the walking enough to forget that she had any issues with the sitting.

I had a foster name Shelby earlier this year. She was afraid of everything. One thing was a pipe with some inactive electrical wires that stuck up out of the ground next to the sidewalk on one of our walk routes. She saw that the first time and refused to walk past it at all. She would try to turn and go back the other way or cross the street to avoid it.

I didnt make a big deal out of it. I just encouraged her to keep walking with me and after about a week of consistent walks past that area, she was able to walk right past it within about a foot without even reacting. I remained positive and neutral over the whole thing and she learned there really wasnt a reason to spazz over it.
 

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kzoppa, I replied before I saw yours. I kind of thought that's what I was doing by encouraging him to check something out...I don't force him, and if it looks like he doesn't want to, that's when I say calmly "oh, that old thing. That's nothing".

Hmmm...blockage. You're absolutely right.

just remember to let him go at his pace. he'll eventually move a lot faster on his own lol. Just make being with you the best thing ever compared to everything else and you've got it made. Also, keep in mind, the treats you were offering him, he may not consider his highest reward treats which werent enough to encourage him to keep going. Maybe try small pea sized peices of hot dogs or some pea sized peices of boiled chicken. If it smells totally awesome to him and he learns he gets rewarded (treats can be phased out after a certan point BTW) he'll want to follow on the chance he gets rewarded for it.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
LOL yes, today I didn't have the HIGHEST treats he prefers, but here's a funny hot dog story:

Although I love hot dogs, we don't eat them super often because of, well, you know..I don't even want to know what's in them. Anyway, when we do, I usually buy nitrate free, kosher ones, etc...so I'm cutting them up for Rocket's puppy class and DH goes "WHAT are you doing?!! Those can't be good for him! Don't give him those!" even though we'd just had some over the fire.

HA HA. Guess now we know where we stand vs the pup. :D
 

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You're on the right track (especially your post no. 5 timed at 10:56). There's some good advice here. Good luck and read around. I started a thread on 'Bed Shredders' (which is obviously undesirable behaviour). If there is no need for a blanket, I wouldn't give a GSD puppy one. If it is actually functional in terms of warmth, then pick a material that he is not likely to shred.
 
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