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Discussion Starter #1
My shepherd is almost two. He has completed advanced obediance and has gotten his CGC.

We live in the middle of nowhere so we seldom get visitors. My dog is super territorial and goes crazy when someone comes over- like a crazy aggressive bark like he's gonna kill you and won't calm down until the person is either in and he has sniffed the person and he percieves the person as no threat or he knows the visitor and is all excited and rolls onto his back for a belly rub.

My other issue is we contained him via underground electric fence until he kept going through it.
I recently got a large kennel but need to walk him out to it. The other day, he went charging outside and ran after a women who was walking alone. He ran up to her, hackles up, barking like crazy and approached her pretty close. I was at the edge of my property calling him and calling him. The woman didnt panick and stopped and waited. He finally decided he'd come to me. A car was flying by and he was inches from being hit.

I worry he is going to escape and possibly bite someone. The way he acts when they pass by is horrendous and embarrassing. And the bikers- he acts even worse.

It seems like all my hard work hasn't paid off and it was wasted time because the time I need to actually use recall, he is on "border patrol" and won't listen.

If deer are in the area, he is even more obnoxious and actually breached his underground fence and split up a herd of deer, tailing one until he lost it. It was insane. We live on the only busy street in the middle of nowhere, go figure....

We get compliments in public on how well behaved he is but at home he is crazy in these instances. Any advice and yes, we are working on getting the kennel attached to the house. I feel like I own two different dogs, one of which is a wild man eater..... I am really not sure if he'd actually bite someone but really don't want to find out.....
Any and all advice would be great...
 

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Do you dread he'll act this way, rather than expect he'll behave like the CGC he is in public?

If so, I'd stop that, he's picking it up. Expect him to behave, be calm.

Rework long recalls with lots of praise and long downs on property, so
who's in charge at home is retrained in his mind.

Perimeter train with not the ecollar, but your urine in a spray bottle.
Mark your territory, a line inside the fence, then walk the line with him, when he crosses it tell him no, when he stays inside it praise him.
May sound silly, but smells, they get. It's either that or fencing, and there's no telling if he'll respect that until after the expense. Plus
the price is right on the more natural "invisible" fence. Just drink
some water!

He's just confused. And your worry is likely reinforcing his confusion.
It's not a problem in public, just at home so that's where it will have to be fixed. Do entire perimeter. Sounds like he's being territorial, and you just have to be too, so he understands where the territory is, and where it is not.

Stop laughing and just try it!

 

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Have you tried upping the controls on the perimeter of the fence? Both of my GSD's are on the invisable fence as well as our PB and ACD mix. None of them have tested the fence after being shocked once! We put the line almost 15 feet or so from the curb to the road, so when people are walking, jogging, biking, etc. the dogs can only go so far towards them to bark. I dont stop the barking if they see someone when they pass, i believe they are just doing their "natural job". If the barking doesnt stop after a few seconds, a quick "quiet" or "thats enough" does the trick. You might have to up the shock on the collar, and put the flags back out in the yard, and retrain on the fence. My DF used to work for Invisable Fence CO, and says that every year (we do it in spring) the dogs should be re-trained to the fence, just a quick refresher as to where their boundries are. I even put the flags back up for a couple of weeks so they have a visual as well.

If you dont trust him on the fence, use a long line and go back over his recall work like dOg mentioned. Do it outside and hopefully you will get some distractions while your training so you can correct the behavior as he's doing it.
 

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He needs to be on leash anytime you take him outside, it can be a long line but you need to be able to control him. It would also help him out generally to work him. He has a ton of training, use it. Take him into the yard and practice heeling. Make him sit quietly for a jogger. Make him lie down and stay calmly there for a while.

Right now he is bored at home and doesn't have anything to occupy his mind. He needs a job and one of the best ones is to obey you when he is out and always look to you for instructions.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Ok, I will up the training at home. I admit he is probably bored but I really don't know what I can do with him. What do you all think?
I try to play fetch but he never returns it or does it sometimes. I did once in a while place his back pack on him with 2- 5# weights in it to increase the intensity of his work out but I guess I am not creative as to what else.
I live on 1.5 acres. We have an underground fence that has only one setting. I can't increase the intensity. Should I get a new unit for "stubborn" dogs? I hate to take away his loved freedom in our yard but it only takes once to get hit and killed. And if he bites someone, the end result is the same....
It was the long line that snapped and broke when he went out last night for potty break. He saw something and ran. It broke like butter and he didn't come back for a good ten minutes......I want to scream- I will have to get a stronger cable or something but I really hate tying him up. I feel like I have no choice.
I am not sure if I am down with peeing all over the perimeter. I do alot of things for my dog and people think I'm soft but I can't bring myself to do this. I'll never hear the end of it....well, we'll see how desperate I am.
I don't think I react when people come over but I guess I will have to pay attention more.
He is soooooooooooooo territorial. I will continue working him with my new long line I will get today. For a free rescue pup, he sure has cost me a fortune!
-Amanda
 

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When Tim suggested a long line, I don't think he meant tethered and staked, but a loose, long lead, so you can grab it when you need to.

Use a spray bottle. Who's going to know besides you and the dog and the intruding critters and other strays who will read it as a no trespassing sign?

There is no such thing as free. Play tug if fetch doesn't interest him.
Play hide and seek with objects (tracking), challenge his mind.
If he bites somebody, it could cost you much more than his life if you are sued. You need to become more territorial, he is your territory.

Test that collar, change the batteries, test again. Maybe it's weak.
 

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Take a moment to read the post entitled "Timber and Intermittant Aggression".

Timber is my dog, and when I read your post my first thought was LOL this sounds just like Timber.

Never bitten, but has come darn close, very protective of my property, great in crowds, but when strangers show up he is tough to control.

I got some great advice, and hopefully some will be helpful to you.
 

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For playing Feth, get two toys of equal value. Throw one and when you dog looks at you make sure he see's the second ball, call your dog. When he gets to you pretend you are going to throw the second ball, this usually gets them to spit out the first one. After a while you dog should come running back to you, spit out the toy and be looking for you to throw the second one. Once the game is working then I start throwing in some OB commands, sit before I throw or a down before I throw the second toy.

I agree with Tim Wild, you need to put a leash on your dog.

Next a dog with go through the underground fence, that isn't that uncommon. They also don't keep dogs out of your yard that aren't yours, I am sure they don't keep deer out either.
 

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Originally Posted By: abooot99Ok, I will up the training at home. I admit he is probably bored but I really don't know what I can do with him. What do you all think?
GSDs need a high degree of physical exercise, mental stimulation and one-on-one time interacting with their owners. When they don't get that, it can lead to a whole host of behavioral problems. Sounds like that is very much the case here.

Get him more exercise and time interacting with you. And get back to doing obedience training on a regular basis. Training is an ongoing thing, it is not taking a few classes and being done with it. The dogs need to be kept in practice, both to keep their skills sharp and keep you in control, most importantly, to give them mental exercise and quality time with you. GSDs need "jobs", and obedience training is a great job to give them.

Originally Posted By: abooot99
I try to play fetch but he never returns it or does it sometimes.
Have you taught him how to play fetch? Many dogs aren't natural retrievers and need to be taught that aspect.

Use a long line (30-50') and have 2 identical toys. Throw one, when he gets it, call him too you and use the line to reel him back to you if needed. Show him the second toy, have him drop the first one, and when he does you throw the second, then pick up the first one. Repeat, repeat, repeat...

As soon as he learns you have a 2nd toy and will throw that one when he comes back to you and drops the 1st, he's learned fetch. It doesn't take long for them to figure it out.

Originally Posted By: abooot99I live on 1.5 acres. We have an underground fence that has only one setting. I can't increase the intensity. Should I get a new unit for "stubborn" dogs? I hate to take away his loved freedom in our yard but it only takes once to get hit and killed.
At this point, I don't think a more powerful efence is the answer. He's already learned to blow through it and when that lesson is learned, upping the charge isn't likely to solve the problem.

He needs a physical barrier. Can you put up a real fence?

Most dogs are much more respectful of a real, physical barrier than an electrical shock. And he's already show that he doesn't care much about the electrical shock.

I would erect a real fence 2-3 feet outside the current efence. The real fence will be the primary barrier, but the existing efence will serve as a back up, keeping him back away from the physical fence.

Fencing doesn't have to be expensive. If money is a concern, and with 1.5 acres I expect it would be, go to your local farm store and look into livestock fencing. You can buy 4-5' wire livestock fencing and the T-posts to put it in and install these yourself. A couple weekends work and probably $1500 or less in materials and you can fence your entire property. That way he can enjoy the freedom while keeping him and your neighbors safe.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
As far as fetch goes, I have tried the above method and what he does is he will bring it back after the first three times but then he catches on and won't come all the way back, so I don't throw the other one until he gets to me. So our game stops early. He loses interest quickly in fetch and I rarely can keep him going 5 minutes.

He is not super charged with energy and tires out rather quickly but I need other ideas of what to do outside and inside for that matter to keep him interested. Today, I took him out and practiced obediance outside while the 8 week old dane trailed behind, following us. That was good distraction. After a while, he seems to lose interest in that and its like I have to sort of yell the command for him to do it or he does it slowly kind of like giving up. It went well for a while though. And then attached him to his 50' long line to practice recall. He totally knows this so comes every time but its more of a challenge to get him to come when a biker goes by or someone is jogging there dog. I have his long line onto his choker but how do I get his attention to me when these types of distractions occur. I try to practice but we don't get a lot of foot traffic so it is hard to get him used to it....


My solution to containment was that we have a free standing kennel that we were going to fasten to the house to contain them. It provides a decend size area for them (24x24' roughly).

I am taking a reactive dog on a leash course in which he is not reacting at all, in fact he sleeps through it practically and people ask me why we are here. He reacts at home though so I thought it would be good for him-


I may enroll him in agility once he completes this course or a tricks class to get him more challenged.

That is a nice idea to put a livestock fence up but we are moving next year and are afraid we'd waste the money and already have the kennel on hand so we are going to use our material we already have.

Any other pointers? And I appreciate all the good feedback.
 

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Depending on the methods and the behavioral tools the instructors in your reactive dog class are giving you, you should apply them to situations at your house. It seems as though he is not transferring the deference behavior he has been taught in public with deference in the house.

Start using a stimulus (neighbor or friend walking by house), but keep them at such a distance that it does NOT cause a big reaction from your dog. Ask him to behave as you would if you were standing on a busy street corner. When he gives you the attention, RELAXES (this is important) and ignores the stimulus, reward. Repeat exercise keeping the stimulus at the SAME distance.

Once he is indifferent about the stimulus, have it move closer. And repeat the above exercise. If at any point he begins to have increased levels of reaction, move the stimulus back. Basically, the whole point of this exercise is to teach the dog to defer to you and relax. It would be ideal to keep him from situations where he can react in the unwanted manner, but that would require you to keep him from running free (even in the kennel) during the re-training.

Following this method will take a great deal of time and patience. But behaviors do not develop overnight, therefore fixing unwanted behavior will not occur overnight either.

Also, keep sessions, short and sweet. ALWAYS end on a positive "note" (don't end training angry or frustrated) with the dog wanting more. If he is losing interest, you are training for too long.

Hope this helps.
 

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Originally Posted By: abooot99As far as fetch goes, I have tried the above method and what he does is he will bring it back after the first three times but then he catches on and won't come all the way back, so I don't throw the other one until he gets to me. So our game stops early. He loses interest quickly in fetch and I rarely can keep him going 5 minutes.

He is not super charged with energy and tires out rather quickly but I need other ideas of what to do outside and inside for that matter to keep him interested. After a while, he seems to lose interest in that and its like I have to sort of yell the command for him to do it or he does it slowly kind of like giving up. It went well for a while though. And then attached him to his 50' long line to practice recall. He totally knows this so comes every time but its more of a challenge to get him to come when a biker goes by or someone is jogging there dog. I have his long line onto his choker but how do I get his attention to me when these types of distractions occur. I try to practice but we don't get a lot of foot traffic so it is hard to get him used to it....
The problem with fetch and obedience is the same: You. You have to be more interesting, he doesn't think it is all that much fun playing with you or working for you. Some of the positive toy based training methods out there would probably help with this. Its about stimulating HIS interest not just going through the motions of get the ball bring it back, or sit on command. If he still has the energy to chase a jogger when he is quiting fetch it isn't him it's the game and the way its being played.


Originally Posted By: abooot99
I am taking a reactive dog on a leash course in which he is not reacting at all, in fact he sleeps through it practically and people ask me why we are here. He reacts at home though so I thought it would be good for him-
I wouldn't consider him "reactive" whatever that means. He has decides his job is to defend the yard against all comers. He will act to drive them away unless you tell him its ok to let them in then it sounds like he behaves just fine. Again he's decided it is his JOB to guard your property. He needs a different job to do, one that you assign him and that uses all his energy or he will keep doing this one.

Originally Posted By: abooot99
I may enroll him in agility once he completes this course or a tricks class to get him more challenged.
This would be a great idea, not only for him but because these activities require an animated handler. That will get him more interested in working and playing with you in whatever activity you are doing, be it agility, basic obedience, or fetch.
 

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for fetch....this is what i used to teach teagan drop it, but she likes it so much she comes right back to me, so it's basically taught her fetch as well.

i get SO excited when she gets the toy, cheer her on, but when she comes back to me, AS SOON as she drops it, i throw the toy. i used to wait and tease her with it, and she in turn would tease me with the toy and not drop it or bring it back properly. she loves to chase it so much though, that throwing it immediately after she gives it to me satisfys her, and it satisfys me, and it reinforces that bringing the toy back to me means the fun will continue, good things will happen.
 

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Quote:At this point, I don't think a more powerful efence is the answer. He's already learned to blow through it and when that lesson is learned, upping the charge isn't likely to solve the problem.

He needs a physical barrier. Can you put up a real fence?
I lived with 2 Sibes for many yrs. They're the Houdini's of the dog world. Only wolves & cats are better escape artists so I've had experience with fencing/containment.

I strongly recommend traditional fencing. Many dogs will blow through efencing with a strong stimulus such as another dog or a fleeing squirrel or rabbit. Big problem...Rarely is the compulsion to re-enter as strong as what drove them outside the electronic barrier so they roam about (having a ball if a car doesn't get 'em) until you reliably, predictably bring 'em home safely & comfortably (no nasty shocks).

For some dogs even traditional fencing is inadequate. Some will climb, jump, dig out, open gates & take fences apart. One man's 'pet' wolf actually bit through chain link to get out & cause mayhem.

My guy did everything but bite through the fence (no need to...he disassembled it). I finally built a large covered kennel directly off my house. It's reinforced with additional bars & has a brick/concrete floor. I wanted them to have the use of dog doors while I'm at work but couldn't give my Sibe 8hrs to conspire.

IF I lived in the country I'd use an electric wire in conjunction with regular fencing. That works very well but it's illegal in my city.

Is your guy intact? Next to Sibes & Malamutes, intact male GSDs seem to have the strongest escape/roaming tendencies. Once they've escaped a few times, few dogs voluntarily comply with containment. From a human perspective, it's an undesirable behavior, but for dogs (& cats!) it's natural, it's fun & the owners are out of sight out of mind.

Quote:The problem with fetch and obedience is the same: You. You have to be more interesting, he doesn't think it is all that much fun playing with you or working for you.
Tim, you made me laugh. You also made me think. One of my dogs will fetch for me. Another will sort of. The others **** an eyebrow & yawn...Or manage to get me fetching for them. You've nailed it. I need to notch up their interest by being less boooring & more fun.

Better weather has finally arrived so I'm going to use Jarn's suggestions to be more animated with the long lead suggested by Chris. I might try the light weights, too. My American Bulldog is uber active with energy to burn burn burn.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Ok, thanks again, I will try your advice.
I was all excited and motivated about how I am going to continue to work with him and all that until this evening.......

I hire a dog sitter to walk my dog and let him and my dane 8 week old out on the days I work (I work 3-11).

Just to let you all know, I have 1.5 acres but can't use the e-fence so I have a very heavy duty kennel ten feet from my back door so for now, I have to walk him out to it until my fiance attaches it to the house so I can just let him out.

Well......my husband gets home to find the back door wide open!
My worst fear..... my shepherd was not in the house- when my husband went to look for him, he came into the back door as if he was in the back yard or something like he used to when we had used the efence.

When I was told, I called the dog sitter to see how long he could have been outside for and she said she left at 4 and my husband didn't get home until 630. I am still in a panick that he ran after bikers/joggers/walker, whatever and more so that he could have been taken out by a car, mack truck, school bus, anything.

I am a bit shaken up still about the whole thing and even though he is home safe, I am a nervous wreck that he did something......

Like I mentioned above, when bikers/walkers go by, he goes crazy like he wants to eat them- of course the time he did try to go after that lady, she stopped and he didn't, he decided she wasn't a threat and came to me finally....

I am not sure what he is capable of doing to a passerby and hate to think my "well behaved" dog would do something like this but I really don't know, seeing how he acts the way he does when he is supervised, never mind unsupervised....

I will be getting that kennel attached to our home hopefully this weekend but I still feel uneasy about the whole thing.
I am trying to do the right thing and keep him supervised outside and certainly leashed but this freak incident almost seems like it reinforced his territorial behavior seeing how I wasn't there to tell him what to do. One step forward, 100 steps back.

I would like to think my dog would not just run after someone and bite them for passing by since he has NEVER attempted to bite anyone and is an angel at the vets even when they poke him all the time for blood work. I would expect him to bark and sound like a wild animal but just can't tell if he has that in him to bite.....

Can anyone offer any guidence, suggestions as to what to do in this "already occured" incident. I would assume if he did something terrible, animal control would catch him and take him to there post, right? I am just thinking the worst.... and yes he was neutered at 6 months old....
 

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Hopefully he hung out close and nada happened.
Do what you can, and try not to dread and worry and fret.

Whatever your gonna do, you'll do better without an ulcer.
 

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sounds like your dog needs to leashed even when he's on your property. we taught our dog not to walk near the road. he has this imaginary line he doesn't cross whether he's on our property or the neighbors. can you build him a pen near your house? say, right beside the back door so that way you won't have to go far to put him in it. make sure it's tall enough so he can't jump out of it. make sure he can't climb out of it either. get some friends over to help you with the charging at people. have your friends stand around different parts of your property. bring your dog out on a leash and walk him up to them so they can give him a pet or a treat. if you don't want him eating out of strangers hands just let them pet him. teach him where he's aloowed to go on your property. they can learn borders.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Can any of you give any advice for me to train him not to bark at bikers,walkers, etc. He knows my friends so at first he may go crazy but once he knows them, he is goofy and more like himself.

Do I use a prong collar, choke chain, flat collar, gentle leader....also, I have a 50 ft long line but if he gets enough momentum it would probably snap like his old one and I would get a nasty rope burn...been there, done that.

What is the technique. He doesn't seem to get distracted with treats, even yummy ones. What I've been doing is attach him to the long line, play in my yard, watch for passerbys, and call him to come to me and then I put him in a down stay. If he doesn't come promptly, I then pop the leash and drag him back to me. I don't think this is the correct way...

Anyone? He has a moderately high prey drive and its hard to break through the zone when he is in full blown crazy barking mode.
Amanda
 
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