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Quick question regarding kennels. My 2.5 year old Male GSD is crate trained. I use his kennel for 3 main purposes...when we leave the house, when he goes to bed and when he is in trouble. We use the command "kennel" for when we are leaving the house or when he is in trouble, and "bedtime" when its time for bed (this is the same command I give my English Pointer as well)

My question is, is it bad to use the kennel for both punishment and regular confinement? I don't want him to think he is in trouble every time he goes in there. For bedtime, we have started closing his kennel because he has a bad habit of pooping in the basement laundry room in the middle of the night. I believe this was something he was allowed to do at the shelter before we adopted him. Wont do it every night but will do it a couple of nights a week if we don't lock the kennel. (have tried adjusting his feeding times so he wont have to poop at night but still doesn't seem to work)
 

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The crate should be his safe place.
I don’t understand what “in trouble” means.

Dogs live in the moment. Anything other than a correction at the very moment when he does something he shouldn’t, is ineffective.
 

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I’ve never used the crate as punishment, and all my dogs have LOVED their crates. I leave their crate doors open and they still choose to sleep in them.

I have put them in their crates when they were younger if they needed to settle. Young dogs often don’t realize when they’re overtired and need naps. lol

But as punishment? Nope. A crate should be their safe space. I just use one word for kennel up. I don’t think it’s necessary to have one at bedtime and one for when you’re leaving the house. I may be wrong, but I’ve never needed two different commands.
 

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Thank you for the responses. I should clarify that "in trouble" is his instant correction when he does something wrong like try to eat my mother-in-law lol. I have been doing exactly what I feared and that is using his kennel for 2 different and confusing reasons. I am learning TONS here on this forum as this is my first GSD. I have always kind of "winged it" with training dogs and generally been OK at it. Max, however, needs to be better than OK because of his size and his temperament.

I think the confusion between "bedtime" and "kennel" is definitely my fault. I used bedtime as what I am learning to be a "place" command with my English Pointer and my GSD picked up on the same command and simply followed her into the bedroom and went to his kennel.

I will certainly stop using his kennel as punishment going forward so he can continue to love his personal space in there. I still have a lot to learn regarding correction it seems and will continue to seek advice from all of you folks here and always open to advice!
 

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Rather then use the crate after the fact put him up when you have visitors.
Just give him a treat and kennel up before mil arrives. I crate my dogs when company is coming because I don't trust people to be obedient. Lol.
It sounds like you us it as a time out thing which is pretty normal but at his age maybe brush up on obedience and behaviour instead.
 

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Thank you Sabis, yes it is more of a timeout for him to realize that what he had just done was bad. My concern is I need him to be comfortable with MIL or FIL since they will be the ones to let him out when we are out of town. I don't mind putting him away for other company but I need him to be ok with those 2 in particular. He usually does well on walks when we tell him to "leave it". And we are currently trying to work on the "quiet" command. I thought about introducing a "friendly" command for those people we want him to trust...thoughts?
 

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I've found "Leave It!" to be one of those all purpose commands. In this context, "Leave It" means "Stop what you're doing/chewing/biting and leave that chair leg/rug/moulding/person alone!" I don't do formal OB, so perspectives may differ, but this approach has worked for me.
 

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Yeah we use “leave it” quite a bit and tends to work well. Today we took him to PetSmart just for some socialization and he did really well. With a couple handfuls of treats and his prong collar he was very good. Introduced him to the groomers and within just a few minutes she was able to get him to take a treat from her hand. He also got to meet a few new dogs and did really well with “leave it” when he would make eye contact with strangers. Overall, pretty successful day so he got some treats and a new ball out of the deal.
 

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I think we will continue to do this weekly, just take him to the stores he’s allowed in and walk around. It was definitely interesting to see people approach the Great Dane and Rottweiler but keep their distance from Max as he strutted his stuff and his ears perked up! Got lots of comments on how handsome he was and how well behaved he was so I will chalk that up as a win for the day!
 

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Thank you Sabis, yes it is more of a timeout for him to realize that what he had just done was bad. My concern is I need him to be comfortable with MIL or FIL since they will be the ones to let him out when we are out of town. I don't mind putting him away for other company but I need him to be ok with those 2 in particular. He usually does well on walks when we tell him to "leave it". And we are currently trying to work on the "quiet" command. I thought about introducing a "friendly" command for those people we want him to trust...thoughts?
You need to understand that the breed in general is not supposed to be indiscriminately friendly. You also need to perhaps shift your perspective. He isn't being bad, he is being a German Shepherd. It's up to you to explain what you expect. Try having the in laws feed or walk him in your presence. Spend time with him. I seldom travel without my dogs and it generally ends up not going as planned when I have had to. Bud needed to be secured in a no contact kennel after I was forced to return home two days early. He decided to go after my dog sitter three days in and ended up locked in the basement. Sabi would stop eating after a couple of days, she also opened doors so needed to be watched carefully to prevent her from going looking for me.
Others do travel so may have better advice.
 

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Crate him when having any company over. Don't let him get to the point where he has the chance to try and eat someone. Even your inlaws.

Are you working with a trainer? With a grown powerful breed rescue especially. He is showing some reactivity, you want to get a good trainer working with you asap. If you post your location I bet you would get good suggestions.
 

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Thank you Comet, yes I have reached out to a couple of trainers and just waiting for them to get back in touch. We did some work today at PetSmart and he did really well. I think part of the problem the other day was it was a low-light situation and she was carrying big bulky couch cushions so he may not have recognized her too. Will continue to praise him when around strangers and obeys commands and will continue to socialize him with the Vet's office and other stores he is allowed to be in. Hopefully will hear from trainer soon on a game plan for more training.
 

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You need to understand that the breed in general is not supposed to be indiscriminately friendly. You also need to perhaps shift your perspective. He isn't being bad, he is being a German Shepherd. It's up to you to explain what you expect. Try having the in laws feed or walk him in your presence. Spend time with him. I seldom travel without my dogs and it generally ends up not going as planned when I have had to. Bud needed to be secured in a no contact kennel after I was forced to return home two days early. He decided to go after my dog sitter three days in and ended up locked in the basement. Sabi would stop eating after a couple of days, she also opened doors so needed to be watched carefully to prevent her from going looking for me.
Others do travel so may have better advice.
I certainly understand that he isn’t a black lab or golden retriever. My hope is that he will recognize certain individuals as family and allow them to come and go as we would. For the rest, I want him to be comfortable walking through a store and just ignoring the people. I do t let people pet him if he doesn’t seem up to it. If he wants to let them, that’s ok. I look at my dogs demeanor to anticipate how he is going to react.

I wouldn’t normally have a problem taking him with us but after reading from a lot of posts on here, and knowing my dog, I can’t imagine he would do well in a hotel with strange noises in the halls all night. I would imagine that earn me a quick eviction.
How do LE dogs learn to be so approachable with the public yet still a working dog?

I think you’re right, just getting them more social time with him might be helpful. They used to watch my kids for a few hours 3 days a week until my wife got home from work and he would bark when they came in but would just return to normal status after a couple mins. Never approached them, just barked. Now she has a different job so she is home every night with the kids and they haven’t been around him much in the past couple of months.
 
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