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Hello - my boyfriend and I recently adopted a 1.5 year old German Shepherd, male, 90 pounds named Max. He did not receive formal training as a puppy so we are working hard to enforce structure and rules into his life. We adopted him about two months ago.

I previously owned a German Shepherd for 10 years. I adopted him at the same age of 1.5 years old. He, too, was male and about 90 pounds and had a lot of issues. He recently passed in March. He was my dog and definitely I was his person.

With the new dog that my boyfriend and I adopted, I am struggling with who is the primary leader. He attached to my boyfriend first and seems to identify him as "his person" and listens to him more. So, I am working with him more to establish the leadership role. We take turns feeding him, take turns holding the leash while walking, and I completed a six week obedience class with him (boyfriend sat on sidelines). I understand Max may have bonded with my boyfriend more immediately, but I want him to love, listen, and respect me, too!

Sometimes it is confusing for both Max and us on "who is in charge here?" If Max does something undesirable, who corrects him? Who gets to spend time with him more during the day? Sometimes it feels like a competition b/c we are both wanting to bond with him.

Does anyone have advice how a couple both asserts leadership without confusing Max or feeling like we are competing with one another?

The main issues I have with Max are him listening in general, dog aggression on the leash, barking at everything when it's just me and him home, and not staying put where I place him in the house. Having owned a German Shepherd before, I know I've got to earn his trust and respect, but it's hard with two leaders in the home!
 
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