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My puppy is about 20 weeks old now and I usually have her off-leash 100% of the time. The only problem is she likes to run up to every person she sees, to greet, jump, and play with them, and I have to hold her collar every single time we pass by another person to prevent her from running up to the them to greet. Not everybody wants to be greeted by a Dog.

Other than that, she heels on command, and listens to recalls when she's not too busy sniffing something on the ground to pay attention. She can walk beside me on busy streets and stay close to me on tiny sidewalks even when cars are passing by.

Even when other dogs are present, She will listen to my recall and step away from them.

How can I get her to stop having the urge to want to greet every person that walks by? and continue to ignore them and stay with me. She would be the perfect 100% off-leash dog if she just ignored strangers that walked by.
 

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My pup is 5 months and had the same issue! Our trainer suggested when I see someone walking by, but she hasn’t yet (because shepherds get focused), I start giving her high value treats for 20-30 seconds. It rewards your dog for keeping attention on you. It really worked for us! She’s improved drastically
 

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Stuffing treats in your dog's mouth does distract them, and I suppose if you do that consistently, they can learn that way eventually. But it's not a method I'd ever suggest...or if I did it would not in any way be an end game, meaning that the puppy in question is still untrained, just distracted! At some point you have to convey to your puppy that it's not okay to leave your side to go and greet anyone, no matter how enticing, until released to do so...and the safest and most reliable way to do that is with a leash!

The plain truth here is that a 5 month old puppy is typically not 100% at anything, let alone being off leash and listening to commands when there are much more exciting things around! And when out and about aren't there always?

For me, a puppy that listens well in most cases, but fails to recall when sniffing or when people approach, is not ready to be off leash! Or, only ready to practice that in secluded places.

For every dog I've ever owned, a leash is a training tool only. The end goal for me is and has always been dependable off leash obedience. So I totally understand what you're after...

Traffic? My current puppy was always what I call "traffic tolerant" but in no way was she "traffic wise" at 5 months! Meaning that while cars don't scare her at all, if she were to see something, like a nice person to greet, across a busy street, would she watch and stay out of the way of traffic to get over there? Most likely not! Teaching a puppy to be traffic wise takes some time. And I don't think I've ever seen a traffic wise puppy...except for street dogs who live or die by their witts!

At any rate, what you're ultimately after, 100% off leash obedience is totally doable. And, depending on the puppy, you might get there if you keep going the way you have been. Of course the flip side is that you might not. It's soooo much safer to train these things on leash though! So my advice would be to hedge your bets and let this pup learn some of these things on leash, let her mature a bit, then proof that learning off leash!
 

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My puppy is about 20 weeks old now and I usually have her off-leash 100% of the time. The only problem is she likes to run up to every person she sees, to greet, jump, and play with them, and I have to hold her collar every single time we pass by another person to prevent her from running up to the them to greet. Not everybody wants to be greeted by a Dog.

Other than that, she heels on command, and listens to recalls when she's not too busy sniffing something on the ground to pay attention. She can walk beside me on busy streets and stay close to me on tiny sidewalks even when cars are passing by.

Even when other dogs are present, She will listen to my recall and step away from them.

How can I get her to stop having the urge to want to greet every person that walks by? and continue to ignore them and stay with me. She would be the perfect 100% off-leash dog if she just ignored strangers that walked by.
Off-leash would be a violation of local laws everywhere I have lived, and, as a former insurance adjuster, not something I would recommend even for a well-trained dog. If your dog happens to injure someone, even accidentally knocking down an old person, you are going to get a real lesson in the value of leashes.

I have read a lot of dog training material and I recommend the books by William Koehler, if you can find them. His method is pretty simple. The dog has to understand that they have to watch and obey you 100%. Take the dog out for a walk on a leash. Leave the leash a bit loose so the dog can go where they want. Then change direction suddenly and unexpectedly. The result will be that the dog is suddenly pulled away from the distraction and toward you. In order to avoid getting jerked by the leash, they have to pay attention to you and what you are doing. They have to learn to turn automatically whenever you do. Repeat 1,000 times or so.
 

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Dog training is nothing more than creating habits. How do we create habits? By consistent repetition. So every time your puppy breaks and runs up to people, who I also assume pet her when she does this now rewarding the fact she broke her command, but you're also teaching her to break. Now she knows she can. At 20 weeks you're in the super easy to train and manage stage. You think it's hard to get attention from sniffing now? By never having a leash on and showing her what is expected of her, you will never end up with off leash reliability. All you're teaching your pup now is she can do what she wants.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I appreciate all the input, and I should start using the leash more. She seems to have a radius in which she decides to go greet the person or stay by my side. If they're 20-25 feet away she will remain by my side, any closer and she will approach. It's kind of a bubble we have and once someone enters that bubble she chooses to greet them.

I'll start using a leash more. I picked up a harness with a front hook. I'm hoping the harness helps her connect with me more.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01N1YVTCE/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o00__o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
 

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I DO think it is worthwhile to reward the pup for attention to you. Why do dogs do what they do? Usually because there is something in it for them. Your puppy obviously finds it rewarding to run up and get petted by strangers or she wouldn't do it. So you can put a leash on her and make it where she can't, but she has a lot of repetitions of getting rewarded for that.

I'd be aiming to do twice as many repetitions where she is rewarded for NOT doing that, and try to make those rewards really worthwhile. Hot dogs, favorite toy, whatever.

I even let social dogs be released to go greet someone as a reward for maintaining control and eye contact with me. If that's what they really want, and there isn't any other reason not to give it to them, then I'll use it to my advantage-- because that way it came from me in exchange for the behavior I wanted. Not with unsuspecting people of course. But if someone asks to pet a dog of mine that would really enjoy that, and my dog sits politely and doesn't rush over, I will then release them to get petted.
 

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I DO think it is worthwhile to reward the pup for attention to you. Why do dogs do what they do? Usually because there is something in it for them. Your puppy obviously finds it rewarding to run up and get petted by strangers or she wouldn't do it. So you can put a leash on her and make it where she can't, but she has a lot of repetitions of getting rewarded for that.

I'd be aiming to do twice as many repetitions where she is rewarded for NOT doing that, and try to make those rewards really worthwhile. Hot dogs, favorite toy, whatever.

I even let social dogs be released to go greet someone as a reward for maintaining control and eye contact with me. If that's what they really want, and there isn't any other reason not to give it to them, then I'll use it to my advantage-- because that way it came from me in exchange for the behavior I wanted. Not with unsuspecting people of course. But if someone asks to pet a dog of mine that would really enjoy that, and my dog sits politely and doesn't rush over, I will then release them to get petted.
Totally agree with this!
 
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