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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi Everyone,

New to the site, but myself and my girlfriend are kind of in panic mode and we desperately need some insight training our 5 month old puppy, Ludo. As a bit of backstory, we have myself, my girlfriend (we share in training duties), and my 5 year old son.

We have had him since 2 months and things had been going great up until a month ago. He already knows the following commands: sit, down, stay, wait, shake, go lay down, speak. We are crate training him and the accidents have slowly faded away. Not all the way though. Still a work in progress.

The problem is the last month we have noticed a change in our boy, Ludo. He is much more aggressive towards ME then ever before. He is constantly biting at my hand every time I try to pet him and today he even mouthed my chin today... (he didn't bite down, but it was the first time he did anything but lick around my face). This is not the case with my girlfriend. He is much more gentler with her (almost viewing her as a den mother) and over the last week he has even begun to mark her (pee on her) 3 times. He listens to her every word.

I do not want him to fear me or try to become competitive with me in this household. I feel like he is almost testing my authority as pack leader. Is that what is happening? If 2 people are training him is he getting confused as who the pack leader is? Should I just take over the training completely? I want him to respect me, but not fear me. I feel if I get aggressive with him that he will become afraid of me and that is not something I want. At the same time, I do not want him to think that biting (especially in the face) is at all acceptable. I have a 5 year old son and suddenly I am very cautious with this new change in his behavior.

Why is this happening? As a side note, I should make it known that my girlfriend has been spending a bit more time with him the last few weeks as taking care of my son and work has taken up a lot of my time. It's not like I ignore him, but she definitely spends more time with him. I know this might be part of the reason... but on the flip side, I have been the one to teach him all of these commands. I thought he knew for sure who the pack leader was and I didn't expect him to turn on me on a dime. :(

I love him so much and I know I have to change this behavior right away while he is still young. Every since we got him, he has gotten used to my touch. I would hold him and cradle him and touch his belly, and his paws whether he liked it or not because I wanted him to be comfortable with human touch. Up until the last month it worked great. Please help!

Any tips you can give me regarding the following would be great:

1) Is it okay for both my girlfriend and I to be training him or does this just lead to confusion?
2) How do we stop the "marking" on my girlfriend?
3) How do I stop him trying to bite me every time I go to pet him without him fearing me?
4) We are slowly trying to ween him off crate training, as we eventually want to be able to trust him alone in the house all day without him tearing it up. Currently, we leave him out in the afternoons (I come home for lunch) and simply gate him in the kitchen area. But everytime we come home after work, the whole area is torn up. Should we continue to ween him off the crate training with this method or is there a better one?

I know these are a lot, but we have a lot on our mind and we're not giving up on our good (but stubborn) boy! :)
 

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You can both train him. You just have to be consistent.

Umm, if my dog lifted his leg on a person, yeah well, not good things would happen. No kidding. I would come down pretty hard on him.

This pup is being a brat. He is getting away with things that are unacceptable. 3 times he has marked her?? 3 times!!!! Holy frikadolies. No way man. No way.

That's a total lack if respect. Total. Sorry. Harping. But that blows my mind a bit that it's happened three times.

Ok. Now I have to go back an reread the post so I can answer the rest of your questions.
 

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He has proven he is not mature enough to be loose. Keep him crated for now. My boy was crated until over a year. I slowly weaned him.

I made sure he got good excersise before leaving, then I would be gone for 20 minutes(CVS run). Then I slowly pushed it out to an hour, then 2-3 hours. Always making sure he did not have to potty, had plenty of chews and was tired. He is 2 now and has run if the house, but usually I baby hate him in the basement(family room). I do that mainly because I have cats and I don't want him pestering them. He is not prone to pester, but I feel safer.
 

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Howdy! Wow, marking at 5 months.. My boy is 8 months, nothing yet... As for the biting, your boy should be cutting his new teeth, maybe thats what's happening here.. Fritz used to mouth me then, never closed down on me. If he is destroying the kitchen, keep him in his crate..

Good luck, enjoy! :D
 

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Discussion Starter #5
You can both train him. You just have to be consistent.

Umm, if my dog lifted his leg on a person, yeah well, not good things would happen. No kidding. I would come down pretty hard on him.

This pup is being a brat. He is getting away with things that are unacceptable. 3 times he has marked her?? 3 times!!!! Holy frikadolies. No way man. No way.

That's a total lack if respect. Total. Sorry. Harping. But that blows my mind a bit that it's happened three times.

Ok. Now I have to go back an reread the post so I can answer the rest of your questions.
He has proven he is not mature enough to be loose. Keep him crated for now. My boy was crated until over a year. I slowly weaned him.

I made sure he got good excersise before leaving, then I would be gone for 20 minutes(CVS run). Then I slowly pushed it out to an hour, then 2-3 hours. Always making sure he did not have to potty, had plenty of chews and was tired. He is 2 now and has run if the house, but usually I baby hate him in the basement(family room). I do that mainly because I have cats and I don't want him pestering them. He is not prone to pester, but I feel safer.
Howdy! Wow, marking at 5 months.. My boy is 8 months, nothing yet... As for the biting, your boy should be cutting his new teeth, maybe thats what's happening here.. Fritz used to mouth me then, never closed down on me. If he is destroying the kitchen, keep him in his crate..

Good luck, enjoy! :D
Thank you all for the replies. My main concern really is if he is getting confused with multiple trainers.

I had read some books on GSD's before getting him that its important to establish a hierarchy within the household and to let him know who is pack leader, as well as to have respect for his place within the household. My worry is that with 2 people (my girlfriend and I) doing the training he is getting confused on who the pack leader is. Should I be worried about this?
 

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First, from a scientific point of view, 5 months is the time when male puppies typically get their biggest testosterone dump. Testosterone obviously has impacts in the body and brain. So you can understand.

Second, you all need to go to a training class. Just because your puppy is being a jerk, doesn't mean you have to go to a class where you will be taught to be a jerk back to him. You can teach him by showing him more what you do want, less teaching him what you don't want. People here don't always care for it, but you can do this with force free methods, still using verbal corrections to help guide the dog.

I don't think either of you are communicating anything well enough to this puppy and he is craving that. Please go to Dr. Sophia Yin's website and check out her puppy program. You might to have to buy a book, not sure, but it's worth it. I think this will provide a lot of clarity for in the home, and will make it easy for everyone to do the same thing. Match that with putting him to work in a training class and you will probably get some great results very soon.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
First, from a scientific point of view, 5 months is the time when male puppies typically get their biggest testosterone dump. Testosterone obviously has impacts in the body and brain. So you can understand.

Second, you all need to go to a training class. Just because your puppy is being a jerk, doesn't mean you have to go to a class where you will be taught to be a jerk back to him. You can teach him by showing him more what you do want, less teaching him what you don't want. People here don't always care for it, but you can do this with force free methods, still using verbal corrections to help guide the dog.

I don't think either of you are communicating anything well enough to this puppy and he is craving that. Please go to Dr. Sophia Yin's website and check out her puppy program. You might to have to buy a book, not sure, but it's worth it. I think this will provide a lot of clarity for in the home, and will make it easy for everyone to do the same thing. Match that with putting him to work in a training class and you will probably get some great results very soon.
Well we really don't have any $$$ for a training class right now. That is the reason I came here because I was hoping I would run into some qualified trainers here that could share some tips on my situation. Thanks for the heads up on the trainer you mentioned.
 

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Well we really don't have any $$$ for a training class right now. That is the reason I came here because I was hoping I would run into some qualified trainers here that could share some tips on my situation. Thanks for the heads up on the trainer you mentioned.

So you spent good money on a purebred dog, but now you don't have the money to train it and then come on here and expect qualified trainers to just give away their information?

I'm banging my forehead against my monitor with this expectation you have from this wonderful group of people.

I'm sorry if this sounds harsh, but NO ONE on here can give you EXPERT training advice without seeing the puppy in action ... or even seeing how the puppy interacts with you and your family.

People can give you wonderful suggestions, information and advice on how to work through issues with your puppy / dog. There are tons of sticky threads that people have spent hours putting together.

You NEED to get a into a training class with your puppy, and one that understands GSDs. They are NOT your common dog that any "basic" trainer can help with.
 

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In Mike Ritland's new training book Team Dog, he says one trainer but everyone else is on board. He needs clear "command and control" as what Mike would say.

You have a 5 month old that sounds pretty normal. He is testing rank right now (totally normal).. where does he fit in? Now is the time to make your mantra, fair, consistent and crystal clear communication and boundary setting. He needs and wants a clear leader.

Since you say you can't afford classes or a trainer, I think for this to work is you need to come up with a training plan. I recommend reading more and watching videos and then writing out your plan and checking back here. This is not about one little recommendation from someone on this board to get him to stop biting you. This is about a whole systematic approach that changes you and the way you are managing this puppy and then seeing the rusults slowly develop. He is a young kid, brat whatever. He is not going to be lassie from the get go.

So, here is what I recommend. Get Team Dog by Mike Ritland. It is not a training book as much as laying out a system and slapping you upside the head and reminding you that you got the dog and now it is your responsibility to get YOUR act together (e.g., this dog should be potty trained by now, if not start over).

Next, watch some of Michael Ellis's basic videos on You Tube. AND PRACTICE.

Increase fun exercise, playing with this dog to increase your bond with him. Also sounds like he needs more exercise.

AND this is most important. Commit yourself to daily training sessions, just you and the dog without lots of distractions, adding distractions as he gets better. Reward clearly and consistently, never get frustrated. If you or the dog are having a bad day, skip it.

There are no silver bullets, no magic, no easy fixes. It is about commitment.

Best
 

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Follow Dutch Karin's advice. Learn as much as you can. You have to learn how to handle the dog, then things will fall in place. GSDs required a lot of training for a long time.

Even after spending hours and hours on research and education on my own, I needed a trainer. Call around, maybe a training place will help you with a payment plan, let you audit w/o bringing the dog, etc.
 

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Actually, check with your local city animal shelter. The ones in Mesquite Texas offer a course for puppies that is either free or very low cost, I don't recall which...and just working with him every day on basic sit/stay/heel/down will probably do wonders. I've decided the main thing about an animal training course is that it FORCES you to spend time training every day. :)

jelpy
 

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Find the money. And find a good trainer with a good class. There is so much more that good trainer can give you than reading books and going back and forth on a website.

In a class setting there are other dogs and people, so your dog is responding to you or your wife (the handler) around major doggy-distractions. The trainer is observing. Sure they show you the mechanics of how to do a think, and you can read a book and get a good idea how to do that. But a book cannot watch you perform the maneuver and how your dog reacts to the changes you are making and can help you to adjust and get it right.

Also, not all dogs respond to the same techniques. If a trainer has you try something, and it isn't working for you and your dog, the trainer should be able to suggest other techniques that will work for you.

A good trainer will help you understand timing which is important. When to praise, when to ignore, when to correct, and when take a break or switch and try something different.

Of course, this is a good trainer. Get the wrong trainer, and they will slap a training collar on your dog and show you how to be a jerk to your dog. A good trainer should be open to training devices, and be able to show you how to fit them and how to use them properly, and whether they are right for your dog and for the trouble you are having. The worst trainer I ever went to was horrified by the collar I was using on my 1 year old and had me switch to something more likely to cause injury and completely hated by the dog. Live and learn.

Not sure if this is your first time around the block, but you have to plan on some mistakes, plan on taking some less than good advice and screwing up your dog. The good news is that dogs are pretty hardy, and they will help you learn how to manage them properly. You have to do your part. You have to listen to that little voice in you that really doesn't like a thing. And you have to learn your dog. This is the major component in training. You learn him, he learns you, and confidence is built. The dog will have confidence in how you react to him. And if your reactions are inconsistent, then your dog is going to be confused, and the confidence is not going to be built. This is truly a place where: Yay! ok, Nay! ok, ah maybe is not.

What I mean is that you can train a dog with positive reinforcement and the whole nine yards and get excellent results with a great bond. Yes, you can use corrections and positive reinforcement -- the key is to be consistent. You can train using compusion and get good results -- your dog will become confident that x from you had better result in y from him, and understanding his boundaries, the dog will be ok. But if you aren't consistent, if you let him jump all over you when you are happy in the living room, and it is all fun, but when he is full of mud coming in from the yard and does the same thing and you blow a gasket, he is going to be confused and not have trust in you.

I think for a first trip through training classes, you need to trust your instructor to an extent. You aren't going to be trying her suggestions with conviction if you have no confidence in them, so choose carefully, and do it all the way. After 6 weeks or 8 weeks, you can make a decision on whether to go on with this person or find someone better.

Plan on training to be ongoing at least at first.

Find the money. Do without other things if necessary. Cable, internet, eating out, meat, cigarettes, alcohol, fitness club/membership, soda pop. There are many things the poorest of us can give up to cover the commitment we have to a living creature we are responsible for. Training is every bit as important as veterinary care, and we generally find the money for that somewhere. Well, dig deep into that pocket, because lack of training kills more dogs than most anything else, maybe everything else.
 

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Not sure if anyone on this site would agree, but I would take a different approach.

IMO, still a puppy and he is testing you. You need to make sure he realizes both you and gf are pack leaders. You are in control of him. Since he is a pup, he might be teething and just takes it out on you or furniture. Just because he has bitten you, doesn't mean he is aggressive with you. I am sure at 5 months old, he can seriously do some damage. It sounds like you also need to start all over with potty training, and crate training. Your pup is not ready for all over house. I would wait about 3 months after he has mastered everything. You put him in the crate and you take him out. You feed him, not anyone else during this time. Try testing his patience until you see results.

1) Is it okay for both my girlfriend and I to be training him or does this just lead to confusion?
YES

2) How do we stop the "marking" on my girlfriend?
Start all over with potty training (Your gf needs to correct this AS its happening)

3) How do I stop him trying to bite me every time I go to pet him without him fearing me?
Positive training and he needs to understand you are in charge (Youtube can help with this)

Are you sure its fear? If so how do you know? (Just because he has bitten you or doesnt want you to pet him, doesnt mean its fear. Does his back hair stand? does he growl or bark like he is mad). You can PM me and send a video to see his behavior.


4) We are slowly trying to ween him off crate training, as we eventually want to be able to trust him alone in the house all day without him tearing it up. Currently, we leave him out in the afternoons (I come home for lunch) and simply gate him in the kitchen area. But everytime we come home after work, the whole area is torn up. Should we continue to ween him off the crate training with this method or is there a better one?

Not yet, he needs to master everything before this (At 5 months old he can be in a crate for 6 hours as long as he took care of business before he went in). Also, an exhausted puppy, is a good puppy.

Also, congrats on owning a GSD.. "What did I get myself into". Great, smart, good looking, yet so powerful that training is a must!



Hi Everyone,

New to the site, but myself and my girlfriend are kind of in panic mode and we desperately need some insight training our 5 month old puppy, Ludo. As a bit of backstory, we have myself, my girlfriend (we share in training duties), and my 5 year old son.

We have had him since 2 months and things had been going great up until a month ago. He already knows the following commands: sit, down, stay, wait, shake, go lay down, speak. We are crate training him and the accidents have slowly faded away. Not all the way though. Still a work in progress.

The problem is the last month we have noticed a change in our boy, Ludo. He is much more aggressive towards ME then ever before. He is constantly biting at my hand every time I try to pet him and today he even mouthed my chin today... (he didn't bite down, but it was the first time he did anything but lick around my face). This is not the case with my girlfriend. He is much more gentler with her (almost viewing her as a den mother) and over the last week he has even begun to mark her (pee on her) 3 times. He listens to her every word.

I do not want him to fear me or try to become competitive with me in this household. I feel like he is almost testing my authority as pack leader. Is that what is happening? If 2 people are training him is he getting confused as who the pack leader is? Should I just take over the training completely? I want him to respect me, but not fear me. I feel if I get aggressive with him that he will become afraid of me and that is not something I want. At the same time, I do not want him to think that biting (especially in the face) is at all acceptable. I have a 5 year old son and suddenly I am very cautious with this new change in his behavior.

Why is this happening? As a side note, I should make it known that my girlfriend has been spending a bit more time with him the last few weeks as taking care of my son and work has taken up a lot of my time. It's not like I ignore him, but she definitely spends more time with him. I know this might be part of the reason... but on the flip side, I have been the one to teach him all of these commands. I thought he knew for sure who the pack leader was and I didn't expect him to turn on me on a dime. :(

I love him so much and I know I have to change this behavior right away while he is still young. Every since we got him, he has gotten used to my touch. I would hold him and cradle him and touch his belly, and his paws whether he liked it or not because I wanted him to be comfortable with human touch. Up until the last month it worked great. Please help!

Any tips you can give me regarding the following would be great:

1) Is it okay for both my girlfriend and I to be training him or does this just lead to confusion?
2) How do we stop the "marking" on my girlfriend?
3) How do I stop him trying to bite me every time I go to pet him without him fearing me?
4) We are slowly trying to ween him off crate training, as we eventually want to be able to trust him alone in the house all day without him tearing it up. Currently, we leave him out in the afternoons (I come home for lunch) and simply gate him in the kitchen area. But everytime we come home after work, the whole area is torn up. Should we continue to ween him off the crate training with this method or is there a better one?

I know these are a lot, but we have a lot on our mind and we're not giving up on our good (but stubborn) boy! :)
 

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My guy is 5 months old and teething like CRAZY. Lost a tooth every day for almost the past week. Anyway. He is definitely rowdy like yours. That's normal for the age. Plus their gums are itching like crazy. Our Gunner doesn't bite us, but he will try to mouth like you have said yours is doing. I don't allow that. If he tries, we simply get up and walk away. We don't pay him the attention he wants until he is sitting and quiet. He will bark and whine but eventually, he gets it and is catching on quick.

It is definitely ok for the two of you to train him. I would suggest it. For us, i taught all of the basic commands, and then I showed my husband how I had taught them and had him use them as well.

For his marking.... Your dog is not hosue broke. If sone correctly through crate training, it should (every dog is different) take only about 2-3 weeks to be fully house brokw. Gunner was good after about 2 weeks to a month. When he needs to go, he lets us know by sitting by the door or trotting back and forth from us to the door with a quiet bark.

Because he is not hosue broken, don't even try to ween him off of crate training. We have just started doing this and it hasn't been anything longer than 1 hour without one of us with him. But Gunner has been house broke for almost 2 months now.

Our guy behaves well for his age I like to think. He definitely has his moments but we are starting him in classes this Friday just to help refine his house manners. My husband loves to get down to his level as soom as he gets home and Gunner just jumps all over him. I am not ok with that as I immediately think of guests. You need to make sure you are on the same page as your GF and your trainer.

Exercise that dog like crazy. We go for a short walk at 5:30am, another when I get home from work around 3, and a nice long one around 7:30. Plus He gets to run in the back yard a couple times in between. A tired dog is a good dog


Try to gently pet him when he is relaxed too. And give him a treat for being calm. Petting releases oxytocin just like human touch does in humans. This makes him feel good and he will start to relate that being calm makes him happy and occassionally gives him treats. That will make him want to be calm around you more and also make him WANT you to pet him.

Hope this helps
 
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