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Discussion Starter #1
I've had Ralphie for 3 months now and he's great with me and other women and most other men, but he takes more time to warm up to men. He's a little shy of strangers in general, but again, more inclined to hang with the girls than the boys. Anyway, he's never really been fond of my husband, but my husband also didn't participate in Ralphie's training, does not feed him, has only walked him a handful of times and generally just ignores the dog and hangs out in his man cave with the exception of petting him here and there. The past couple of weeks, Ralphie started whining and barking at my husband when he would come into the bedroom to give me a hug and kiss goodbye in the mornings. I've told my husband to correct Ralphie by giving him a firm "no" (which is what I usually do and it works), but Ralphie doesn't listen to him. Then this morning, he growled at my husband :eek: (Ralphie was outside, on one side of the screen door and my husband was inside, on the other side of the door about to open it to let Ralphie in)! I quickly corrected Ralphie like I normally do, and he submitted like he normally does (laid down, belly exposed). I'm not sure if Ralphie's scared of my husband, is being protective of me or both or what? Would doing the 2 week shutdown be beneficial or is it too late at this point? Should I tell my husband to completely ignore the dog? Ralphie only acts like this in the mornings, after my husband has woken up, gotten ready for work and is about to leave the house.

Any suggestions are appreciated - I've never had a dog that was weary of men before and especially not one that has been weary of a man he lives with for so long!
 

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Ralphie is already afraid of him so when someone I'm afraid of already starts coming at me with BAD DOGS and corrections that is certainly not going to help with training or the relationship. Just adding more fear to the mix.

Frankly, if everytime you correct he

I quickly corrected Ralphie like I normally do, and he submitted like he normally does (laid down, belly exposed).
that's not necessarily learning. That's merely submitting and NOT something I ever see (or want to see) when training my dog. I want their head in the game and thinking. I don't constantly need my dog to be flipping over on their back to show me I'm the Queen. I know that already ( :) ) . I just want them to behave happily.

I'd be asking your husband to just mainly ignore your dog while he gets used to a man in the house. And if he does want to engage then a fist full of cheese/chicken/liver goes along way to remove FEAR and lack of confidence with the situation. Corrections ONLY WILL MAKE THIS WORSE.

I think your husband is generally doing the right thing. Calmly ignoring, petting the dog sometime, and letting your dog calm. To IMPROVE things and speed it up, having your husband feed the dog twice a day, carry around treats so when the dog comes near there is a pet and a treats, taking the dog for a walk, playing ball in the yard. All that will help your dog get over the fear issues.

Plus, how many miles of exercise (off leash) is your dog getting each week? Are you taking him to meet tons of new people and new places each week? Continuing with dog classes? Working on 'engagement' ?

http://www.germanshepherds.com/foru...ime-owner/162230-engagement-key-training.html

How many tricks does he know?

http://www.germanshepherds.com/foru...ick-least-important-part-teaching-tricks.html

:)
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Ralphie is already afraid of him so when someone I'm afraid of already starts coming at me with BAD DOGS and corrections that is certainly not going to help with training or the relationship. Just adding more fear to the mix.
So when he barks or growls, I shouldn't correct him to let him know that's not appropriate? I don't want the growling to escalate any further.

Frankly, if everytime you correct he submits that's not necessarily learning. That's merely submitting and NOT something I ever see (or want to see) when training my dog. I want their head in the game and thinking. I don't constantly need my dog to be flipping over on their back to show me I'm the Queen. I know that already ( :) ) . I just want them to behave happily.
He only does the submission/exposed belly when I use the word "no" so maybe I won't do that anymore because I don't need or want him to submit every time either! :) My usual corrections are a "hey" and a I make a noise to snap him out of it and then he goes and does something else.

I'd be asking your husband to just mainly ignore your dog while he gets used to a man in the house. And if he does want to engage then a fist full of cheese/chicken/liver goes along way to remove FEAR and lack of confidence with the situation. Corrections ONLY WILL MAKE THIS WORSE.

I think your husband is generally doing the right thing. Calmly ignoring, petting the dog sometime, and letting your dog calm. To IMPROVE things and speed it up, having your husband feed the dog twice a day, carry around treats so when the dog comes near there is a pet and a treats, taking the dog for a walk, playing ball in the yard. All that will help your dog get over the fear issues.
Gotcha. Will definitely start arming the husband with freeze dried chicken livers.

Plus, how many miles of exercise (off leash) is your dog getting each week? Are you taking him to meet tons of new people and new places each week? Continuing with dog classes? Working on 'engagement' ?
I walk or jog with him at least an hour every Monday thru Friday and on weekends we go for longer walks/jogs as well as him going on play dates with his girlfriend (another GSD) and they run and play. I try to bring him to any/every function I can (BBQ's, general get-togethers, etc) where I know there will be people and men and he's been doing well with those; my husband is the only man I've seen him act this way toward.

He does the basics: sit, down, stand, stay, shake, touch. I would love to teach him more, though. Thanks again for the reply! :D
 

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You need to completely rethink how you are working thru this. Traditional training deals with setting our dogs up, or allowing them to do something WRONG (growling) cause then we think we train them with the correction. Because that's kind of ALL YOU CAN DO when they are being bad.

The new and better way to train alot of things is for us to use our brains early by managing a situation so they dog isn't 'bad' at all. So setting up the world to prevent the 'bad' from even happening. Then when the dog is 'good' we can reward.

So when he barks or growls, I shouldn't correct him to let him know that's not appropriate? I don't want the growling to escalate any further.
In my world, I would set it up so my dog doesn't bark/growl at my husband. What can I do BEFORE he starts barking growling? How can I better manage it earlier? Set my dog up to succeed and get rewarded rather than fail to get corrected?

Particularly if I can predict an unwanted behavior then I really can think thru it to try different things. When you husband comes into the room to say goodbye to you in the morning is a perfect time for you to take charge. BEFORE your husband comes in you can be armed with treats, have your pup in a down/stay and keep giving treats for the stay as your husband enters the room, kisses you, then leaves. You are rewarding the 'stay' but you are also linking your husband to all those treats!

I'd really work on more out and abouts so you are with other men in the world and your dog relaxes in general. It's amazing how many opportunities are available, specially during the summer, if you start looking around.

 

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You are the one who needs to do the correcting. He is resource guarding you if he's growling and barking at your husband when he enters the bedroom.
When he does this, mark the behavior with a word such as "whoops" or "no," and remove the dog from the bedroom. Each and every time. He needs to understand that if he does this, he loses what he wants, namely, your presence.
Also, your husband needs to step up and do something with the dog. Otherwise, why should the dog consider his presence desirable?
Feed the dog, even hand feed, get a toy and play fetch. The only way to get the dog to accept him is to have positive interactions with him.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
You are the one who needs to do the correcting. He is resource guarding you if he's growling and barking at your husband when he enters the bedroom.
When he does this, mark the behavior with a word such as "whoops" or "no," and remove the dog from the bedroom. Each and every time. He needs to understand that if he does this, he loses what he wants, namely, your presence.
Ahhh, I didn't think of it like that, that he is resource guarding. Makes sense.

Also, your husband needs to step up and do something with the dog. Otherwise, why should the dog consider his presence desirable?
Feed the dog, even hand feed, get a toy and play fetch. The only way to get the dog to accept him is to have positive interactions with him.
I completely agree with this, and have been telling him he needs to try and spend more time around the dog so that the dog can at least get more used to the fact that my husband actually lives in the house with us! :smirk:

Particularly if I can predict an unwanted behavior then I really can think thru it to try different things. When you husband comes into the room to say goodbye to you in the morning is a perfect time for you to take charge. BEFORE your husband comes in you can be armed with treats, have your pup in a down/stay and keep giving treats for the stay as your husband enters the room, kisses you, then leaves. You are rewarding the 'stay' but you are also linking your husband to all those treats!
Hehe, I thought this morning I was being proactive and instead of allowing Ralphie to stay in the bedroom with me when my husband came to say goodbye, I let Ralphie outside. This is when he upgraded from whining and barking to growling (from the other side of the door). My husband very well could have stared Ralphie directly in the eyes, too, without realizing it, which may or may not have contributed to the growling.

I'd really work on more out and abouts so you are with other men in the world and your dog relaxes in general. It's amazing how many opportunities are available, specially during the summer, if you start looking around.
I do try to socialize him with people as often as I can and particularly with other men; as you've said, since the season has changed and it's finally warm here I will have more opportunities to get him out and about and into new situations.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Okay, well this morning, when Ralphie started whining in the bedroom when my husband came it, I said, "hey!" and removed him from the room. Worked well. Will do it again if/when it happens it again. I had my husband take the leash when we walked Ralphie last night and Ralphie did very well. I also had my husband give a few commands with treats and again Ralphie did well. However, my husband happened to get home from work this afternoon before I did and he said Ralphie growled at him again when he came into the house. So now the growling is when he tries to enter or exit the house.
 

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I would have your husband be the one to feed Ralphie all meals(from his hand, not a bowl) he could ask for positions or ask for behaviors while feeding him/otherwise ignore Ralphie at all other times...
Soon enough Ralphie will be pushing your hubby for attention. MRL's advice is great, but I'd add in the mealtime scenarios so Ralphie learns daddy isn't a threat.
NILIF should also be implemented.
 

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I would have your husband be the one to feed Ralphie all meals(from his hand, not a bowl) he could ask for positions or ask for behaviors while feeding him/otherwise ignore Ralphie at all other times...
Soon enough Ralphie will be pushing your hubby for attention. MRL's advice is great, but I'd add in the mealtime scenarios so Ralphie learns daddy isn't a threat.
NILIF should also be implemented.
I already do implement NILIF, so that's not a problem. Hahaha, I feed Ralphie raw, so I'm imagining husband's face as he'll be holding raw chicken legs or veal heart pieces! :rofl:
 

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Well, he could prepare that raw chicken leg and veal heart with flair(wear a cool apron and chef hat?) so Ralphie knows the work going into his meal. :)
I feed raw too, and it limits the few benefits of kibble, meal training or tracking.
 

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Well, it's been a few more months and things have VASTLY improved! My husband lost his job about 2 days after my last post in here which was stressful, but it ended up being a fantastic thing.

In the 2 months of unemployment, he and Ralphie became BFF's. He took him for walks in the middle of the day, gave him treats, pet him and Ralphie even hung out with him in his "man cave" during the day.

Ralphie doesn't growl or bark at him at all anymore. When husband and I both walk Ralphie in the evening, we stop every 15 minutes or so for a "Ralphie break" where I pet him and scratch his back first, then he immediately runs to my husband and leans into him for his second rub. Ralphie even listens to the commands my husband gives him! My husband is a little obsessed now, too, always commenting on how handsome Ralphie is and how he's such a good dog. Ralphie is adapting to our home so well and it's obvious he's more comfortable with everything and much more confident than when we got him back in February. I'm so happy they bonded and the fear/aggression/weariness is gone!! :happyboogie:
 

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Arrgh! Of course, now that I've posted an update about everything going well, I've jinxed it!

Everything was going great, but since I had surgery on my broken finger, Ralphie's at it again with his morning "madness"; my husband gets up in the morning, goes and feeds the cats. The cats get riled up when his alarm goes off and their meowing and being obnoxious sets Ralphie off barking deep and loud when my husband tries to leave the bedroom to feed everyone. Husband then feeds Ralphie, and Ralphie quiets down and goes back to laying down in the bedroom. After my husband gets out of the shower and comes back into the bedroom, Ralphie starts with the barking again. Yesterday, Ralphie jumped at my husband and tried to bite him! After that, I wouldn't allow Ralphie into the bedroom. This morning, I tried something a little different and got up with my husband (at 4:30am mind you - ick!) and went into the living room and laid on the couch. Ralphie didn't bark or anything like usual, husband went on with his routine. I thought my idea was working but then after husband's shower, he went to the bedroom to get dressed and Ralphie ran from the living into the bedroom and started barking. I went in there, gave him his "hey" to stop the barking and escorted him out of the bedroom. My husband still feeds him, walks him, pays attention to him, plays with him, and Ralphie will even go and sit with husband in his man cave on his own accord so I'm not sure why he does this only to my husband, only in the morning and only during the work week. This doesn't happen on weekends or holidays/days off. In the afternoons or evenings or even when we go to bed, husband can come and go from the bedroom and Ralphie makes no fuss.

At first I thought he was resource guarding me because of my injury, but after this morning now I think the timing was just coincidence and he's resource guarding the bedroom itself. I'm thinking of getting a baby gate and putting it up so that Ralphie is no longer allowed in the bedroom at night. We have a baby gate in the basement to keep him from digging for buried treasure in the litter boxes; it works fantastically well.

I'm all ears for more suggestions on how to combat this (except crating - I don't know Ralphie's past, but I tried crating when I first adopted him and he was absolutely terrified of it)!
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I'm confused (but what else is new - ha!) and surprised at just how darn smart that dog is! So yesterday afternoon, I practiced inviting Ralphie into the bedroom. I figured that might be a good starting place until I could get a baby gate, which now I'm not sure if I'll even need to get the gate... I treated entering the room like I do when we take him out for walks - he has to sit or lay down first and he can't go through the door unless I say "okay." He did great and I did the same when we went to bed, but I never said "okay" so he laid right outside the bedroom (with the door wide open) the whole night. This morning he did try to follow me in there when I went to get something but I gave him the not gonna happen command and he did that exaggerated sigh that dogs do and backed out of the room and laid down outside the door and waited. He did not whine, grunt, bark or make so much as a peep at my husband this morning!!

So what I did has been working, but is that the right way to handle this situation? I know being consistent will be the key, but again, am I doing this wrong and somehow this will end up backfiring? :confused:
 

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I think you are doing great!! Taking charge of Ralphies choices for him is exactly what he needs. That is good leadership - this is making Ralphie feel safe. I think before he wasn't sure how to act around your husband, and he was scared and overwhelmed with the responsibility of having to make a decision. Take the decision making process away from him: he has to focus on doint something else, like staying in one place, and his world is all safe again. :)

You could get him into a routine, where for example, he has a mat or dog bed that he has to stay on when told to. The baby gate is a great idea too - being in the bedroom is a priviledge he needs to earn. If the problem behaviour is centered around the morning routine, he needs a routine of his own that will become automatic.

Years ago I had a dog that had separation anxiety and would bark, howl and scratch at the front door when I left for work. What I did was train him to get up on the bed and stay on the bed whenever I left. Well, after 15 - 20 minutes of being up on the bed and waiting for me to come back, he'd fall asleep, and by the time he woke up, the drama of me leaving had dissipated, so he was fine for the rest of the day.

It worked so well, that he started getting up on the bed on his own whenever he saw me getting ready for work, and even after I moved to a new place, he still continued the bed routine. What he got was new habits that carried over to new situations. Often, we want our dogs to NOT do something, but it is much more efficient and reliable to teach them a replacement behaviour, so that they will know what to do, instead of trying to know what to do with the emotions and energy that they can't channel into unwanted behaviours.

Not sure if that makes sense?
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Thanks Lucia! And yes, giving him a routine does make sense.

I started working with him yesterday on "go to your spot" and both last night and this morning, when my husband and I went into the bedroom, he immediately stopped at the door and waited for us to give him the signal.
 

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See? Sounds like he is just STARVING for guidance and direction in his everyday life. VERY smart dog, very biddable! He will thrive with you guys, just wait and see!
 
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