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Discussion Starter #1
Problems with 4mth WGSD

Hey all,

I have been reading this forum for months and I have to say there's some really good information here, thanks everybody!

First off, I hope you guys aren't racists, my gsd is a white german shepherd so not "really" a gsd
I am saying that as a joke but you should have seen the look they gave me at the local gsd socializing class!

Anyway,

I have had this puppy for 2 months, I am praticitsing NILIF and the dog is doing really well except for a couple of things and I thought i'd run it by the experienced ppl on this forum;

I take him to the park 3 times a day (it's just a block away) and we walk around/play etc.

1. Is it normal for a puppy to want to sniff absolutely everything every single time. Even the same spot. I am sure if I left him he could hang around the same spot for hours. When he starts sniffing I might as well not exists.

2. I am using a normal flat collar and to get him away from things he is interested in (other dogs, any kind of fecal matter (favorite beeing horseshit), kids he wants to "play" with etc) I literally have to use all my force and drag him away. Especially if he is sniffing something I have to drag until his front feet are off the ground, he is just incredibly stubborn. I am getting worried that he is so exited he doesn't even notice that "he" is hurting himself. I think it's time for another kind of collar/leash but I cannot decide which one. Here they all use slip/choke collars (even on puppies) but I am not sure I agree with that. Ideas?

3. When I tell him no (don't chew the power cables, don't kill that poor plant etc) he usually stops, but when he gets in his moods he doesn't care and if I try and remove him from (or body block) the object in question he growls, barks and bites pretty hard. He really doesn't like to not be able to do what he wants. He doesn't have any type of food/toy/dog agression so I am not too worried, just a little bit surprised that he gets soo pissed off. Is this normal or should I be worried?

Please note that things work a little bit different here (small town in the north of argentina), I wouldn't trust any trainers and a lot of the equipment you guys are used to doesn't exist here so I am basically on my own.

I noticed immidiatly that this is a dog with a strong caracther, and even though I am all for the positive reinforcement methods at all times I am just not sure that is enough for a dog like this.

Any advice is appriciated.

Sorry about the lengthy post.

Thanks,

-Thomas-
 

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Re: Problems with 4mth WGSD

Hi,
My Brady is 3 and still sniffs the same spot everytime I take him for a walk I thinks its normal sometimes its a pain but he's a tracker
on the other stuff I'll leave that up to the rest. I am sure they have good ways of helping. I had a trainer.
 

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Re: Problems with 4mth WGSD

Other than positive reinforcement, what other methods are you using? Is the dog getting walked? and for how long? Just playing IMO is not enough for it's daily exercise. If it's one thing that I've learned on here, it's that a good dog is a tired dog. Usually when a GSD is lacking something, such as exercise they get frustrated and want to chew on things and misbehave. Just keep playing with him lie you normally do, but during some time of the day, walk him for 20 to 30 minutes, he'll get tired, and you may see an improvement in his behavior in a few days. JMO
 

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Re: Problems with 4mth WGSD

Are you rewarding his good behaviour? Are you redirecting him from negative behaviours to positive behaviours, or just asking him to stop? I think you should read more about positive methods of training. He is just a pup.
 

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Re: Problems with 4mth WGSD

Pm me I can give you a few ideas that helped me
 

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Re: Problems with 4mth WGSD

Hi Thomas...welcome!

First...you absolutely, 100% have a true GSD! A White Shepherd is just a color or lack there of, actually. They come from the same German Shepherd beginning that all of the black and tan, sables, and blacks come from. A White Shepherd is born when the two parents both have the color masking gene or it is born of two White Shepherd parents. Some cultures and/or people have looked at them as being albinos or "faulty." They are neither...they have color and pigment (something albinos lack). Their temperaments are the same as the "standard" color GSDs - all subject to their own breeding. So, be proud of your WGSD!!


1. Yes, it's normal for a puppy to want to sniff and explore everything. Puppies don't have fingers and hands, so they explore everything with their noses and mouths. What I'd suggest is that you need to determine the purpose of your outing before you start...if it's to allow him to roam and sniff, then decide that at the beginning. Allow him to roam and sniff and do his "thing." If your outing is a walk, then I wouldn't allow him to roam and sniff - I'd keep him on task and keep him moving with you. Watch him, you can tell when he's ready to pause and stop. Give him a verbal cue to distract him and keep him walking - you may need a little tug with your verbal cue. I give a little mouth click with a "let's go" to keep my guys moving.

2. Can you find yourself an Easy Walk Harness? I find them much more helpful with walking than choke collars and they are two fold. They help with pulling and they help with keeping them moving. The harness goes around the back/chest/ribs and the leash clips in the front around the dogs chest, midway between neck and legs. The objective to keep him moving without fighting with him is to make yourself more interesting than the object that his attention is on. Yes, you may have to act a fool initially, but...get him distracted and keep yourself moving. Make noises, jump around, sing to him...and keep moving.

3. Talking back is not uncommon for puppies either. But, remember, your pup is still young and while you don't want to squash all of his puppiness, there are things that we don't want to tolerate or approve for continued practice later. You can give verbal corrections or ignore the pup. Often times, just continuing to "fight" with him, encourages or tells him that "hey, I'm getting attention from acting like a little booger, so let me keep doing it." But, again, remember that you have a puppy and some of these things come with the territory. He's most likely not being "bad" or angry, just expressing himself vocally. Again, this is how they learn and communicate. If you watch a pack of puppies with their mom, you'll see this too. It often continues until mom gives a stern correction of "knock it off" growl. My knock it off growl to my boys was always a rumbly "eeeh, eeeh" or "enough!"

Keep up the good work at socializing him. Enjoy your experiences with him, they grow so quickly. Are you into reading books? There are a number of good books that many of us could recommend for you.
 

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Re: Problems with 4mth WGSD

First off
to the forum Thomas.

I see that you have had your pup for two months but how old is he now?

Jaime gave you some excellent suggestions.

Have you worked on having your puppy focusing / watching you. You can start with association be praising every time the puppy looks at you and proceed to using the command word when out. Here's a excellent thread on developing focus.
http://www.germanshepherds.com/forum/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=35064&page=1&nt=4&fpart=1

The other command is the "leave it" command where you use a command to tell him to leave something alone.

Good Luck with your puppy.
 

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Re: Problems with 4mth WGSD

Wow, you guys are fast.

littledmc:
Ok, so I guess that's pretty normal then.

GSDOwner2008:
Yes. I walk him a lot. I guess I should have specified that when I go to the park I always walk around 4-5 blocks first and the park is something like 10 blocks and we usually end up crossing it one way or another (I am guessing we spend about 2.5 hours a day outside, most of the time walking + a couple of hours playing/training in the backyard - and he still has energy!). I was worried about over excersizing him in the beginning (joints and all that) but he has to burn that energy one way or another!

dd / GSDOwner2008:
I always reward for good behavior. Give treats, play etc. The thing that "bothers" me is when he starts doing things that he knows is wrong. When he has his mind on the plants (example) there's no redirection that works, he will just keep on going for them until I remove him (or the plant) - I take him calmy by the collar and place him in another room (while he bites my arm - my hands and arms will never be the same, but I guess you know all about that;). I am pretty sure he is not doing it for attention as he thinks I am not watching.

Da_Boyz_Mom:
Yea, I know it's a real GSD. Thing is the GSD ppl here are a bit snobbish and my pup is only the 832th WGSD in the whole of argentina (and the first in the north) so noone here has ever seen one before. However, that means we get loads of attention and don't you worry, I am plenty proud of my boy! Thanks for the great advice, I hadn't thought of an harness with the slip in the front, that sounds great. I am going to see if I can get a hold of one today.

Re books; Months before I got the pup I started (and I still do) to spend hours online every day reading about the subject (don't tell my boss) and looking for a good book. Problem is that there are so many opinions and ways to do things that I couldn't decide on one (or more) books that would suit my needs.

Thanks all,

-Thomas-
 

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Re: Problems with 4mth WGSD

Everett54: He is four months (see topic title


Yea, I started with the tips from that focus thread about a week ago. Works great inside (ie: no distractions) but no chance outside.

Is there a similar thread for the leave it command somewhere maybe?

He does Sit/down/stay/up/go to your place/wait (to take treat) etc fine at home. And outside on the rare occasion when he awards me attention, who is training who here
 

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Re: Problems with 4mth WGSD

Thomas,

If you're having problems with the plant, and other things like it, then take Everett54's advice, and teach him "Leave it" once a dog learns leave it, it can be very effective. For example, Apollo loves barking his head off at my cats through my back door window. One firm "Apollo, leave it" and my dog simply walks away. Now, I'm also going to say that it took a while before his "Leave it" became solid, and consistency is key. I don't let Apollo get away with not listening to me. Granted he is a puppy, but what if he goes up to a poisonous plant? That's why I never let him get away with not listening to me.

How I teach "Leave it" is I take a few treats that the dog loves. I have some in my hand. I put the dog in sit, and then I put a treat on the floor. I then say "Leave it" and if the dog comes at it (which he should) then I immediately cover the treat up with my other hand. Once the dog completely ignores the treat, either by laying down, or sitting, then I praise, and repeat "Leave it", and give him a trat from my hand. Once he gets "Leave it" then I add the "Take it" command.
 

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Re: Problems with 4mth WGSD

Ha, Thomas!!! That's so true..."who is training who."


Every environment with a puppy is new and often times they need to "re-learn" or practice in every environment that they go to. Once he has his commands down/learned at home (inside), then start with the same commands in the new places - outside in your yard, the park. Start over at the beginning with the basics - sit. Distractions are very hard for puppies and young dogs. You'll also find that you'll go through spells where he's listening great and then all of the sudden he conveniently "forgets" everything. Kind of like teenage rebellion.

I have no doubt that he's not chewing on plants for attention...he's doing it because, "it's fun!" Have you found a toy that he loves more than anything? A bone, etc.? Or peanut butter smeared on a bone? Those are usually things that puppies don't resist. I'd definitely remove the plants if there are any poisonous ones. It's okay to puppy proof the house if you need to while you're teaching him.

P.S. He's cute as a button!! And what great ears he has!
 

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Re: Problems with 4mth WGSD

Originally Posted By: Da_Boyz_MomI'd definitely remove the plants if there are any poisonous ones. It's okay to puppy proof the house if you need to while you're teaching him.
Just a clarification. I only have two poisonous plants outside, sega palms, and he's always on leash outside, so no worries.
 

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Re: Problems with 4mth WGSD

>That's why I never let him get away with not listening to me.

Absolutely. Now, how do you "not let him get away with it", that's what i'd like to know. In many cases you are just trying to protect him (but he of course thinks you are just trying to ruin his fun).

Will get going on the "leave it" command again. I guess that's more usefull/crucial that I originally thought.

Jaime: Thanks!
His second ear just came up about a week ago.

I guess I need to (again) go back to basics outside. Thing is though that when I get his attention I can make him to anything anywhere, so maybe I should focus on working on attention?

Another quick one; I have him sit *every* time we cross a street. I don't want to repeat the command and I don't want him to get away without doing it, I also don't want to "force him" so I just wait.. and wait.. and wait, he knows what he needs to do and he always eventually does it. The problem is that I think he has started using this (and the fact that I am a tree when he pulls) to his advantage; "This street corner is so interesting, all kinds of stuff going on, when I sit we always leave so I think I'll just stand until I am ready to move on". Am I giving him too much credit or could this be the case?

Again thanks for the welcomes and tips, truly a great forum
 

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Re: Problems with 4mth WGSD

Yes...focus on what you CAN get him to do. A lot of training with puppies is based on molding/shaping their behavior. Catch him doing something right and RUN (like the wind) with it. That's the best way to teach him to focus on you. So, start by finding a cue that gets his attention - again, it may be something goofy and stupid - strange sounds intrigue puppies and so do strangely acting humans!!

Having him sit before you cross the street is something that I think is fabulous. I do the same thing. It's nice for manners. I also do the "wait, wait, wait" until I get what I want, but my guys are older and it doesn't take long. At Thor's age, I'd still be offering/asking for the sit command and I'd also treat him - that may get him moving a little faster. If you don't want to use a verbal cue with him you could use a hand gesture (closed fist means sit to my boys). You're going to have to teach him this (really easy to do because dogs are visual learners faster than they are audio learners) - but it's a way to get him to focus on you again too. He has to be looking at you to see your hands, so as your approaching the curb, click, click with your mouth to get his attention and them show him your fist - or whatever hand gesture you decide on (again, after he learns it).
 

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Re: Problems with 4mth WGSD

Ok, so I guess my next move is to start behaving even more silly, man, like a gringo with a wgsd puppy doesn't get enough attention here


I guess i never mentioned it; but I am actually from Europe (Norway) but live in Argentina.

On a side-note; I thought I'd recognized that profile photo, just realized now that it was from the echo dogs website. Absolutely stunning photo. Seems like a great organization!

There's a lot of problems with abandoned/stray dogs here as ppl are less educated about dogs and there are very few shelters and no concept of foster homing. I am visiting a few next week to see if I can help out with anything. Not that I have much experience, but I am sure there's something I can do (if only financial support).

Cheers,

-Thomas-
 

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Re: Problems with 4mth WGSD

Ha! Yes, that's right, Thomas. Well, it seems as though Argentina is becoming the happening spot!

Thank you, it is a very stunning and proud (non-"photoshopped") photo...the dog in the lower left hand corner belonged to our founder, Mark Echterling. Echo Dogs is truly a great organization. So, thank you again.

I think it's fabulous that you're doing what you can do to help. There are a lot of dogs that are saved by people doing just what they can to help.

Keep us posted on Thor, the handsome little devil!!
 

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Re: Problems with 4mth WGSD

For me, not letting Apollo or Zeus get away with misbehaving is saying the command once, saying it one more time in a slightly louder tone, and if it doesn't happen within those two times, I make the dog do the command, such as sit. If Zeus decides that he doesn't want to sit within those two times, then I push his little butt to the ground(not hard, but enough force to make it go) and say "Sit" firmly. That way he gets that he has to do the command.
 

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Re: Problems with 4mth WGSD

Originally Posted By: thor wgsdEverett54: He is four months (see topic title
See that's what you get when you don't read everything!


Once again GSDowner2008 gave good advice on starting the leave it command. I think would detour from the take it at the moment since you have a specific objective of getting pup to focus more on you while you are out. I would continue to expand on the leave it from the treat exercise and incorporate other items into the exercise go outside (just right outside your home and practice in your yard, then a little further down the road) make sure you have treats and/or lots of praise for him. But either way works as long as you remember to add a little more challenge to the exercise-SLOWLY.

At 4 months it does sound like you have a good beginning. Remember that you need a lot of patience and the baby steps will come together. And follow all the great advice you are getting on this thread.

If you have not seen these yet, here are a couple of additional threads from people thinking they are encountering "challenges" with training their 4 month old puppies. Some of the issues may sound familiar to you:

Training issues with a 4 momh pup

Puppy is getting bored with training

You are not alone here!
 

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Re: Problems with 4mth WGSD

GSDOwner2008:
That's what I was wondering, about "forcing" the command if they choose not to do it. He shouldn't really have a choice as it's not like I am suggesting he sits, I am telling him to sit. But again I prefer him doing it because he wants to please me, not because if he doesnt' I will force him to do it. Fine line I guess...

Everett54:
Will continue to work on that!

Those threads are great, thanks! Similar problems and loads more good advice!


One slight fly in the ointment is that I can't find that harness anywhere here (and neither in Buenos Aires). Which means I would have to order it form US or Europe and that's going to take a good 2-3 weeks :\ I can't even find I long leash anywhere to pratice recall/play properly in park. I guess I should just get some strong line and go with that?

It's not all roses living the life in South america
 

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Re: Problems with 4mth WGSD

When you train your dogs, are you still using treats? If you don't like forcing the command, then treats will definately make him more willing. However, you are the pack leader, and he should do what you tell him to. I usually make sure that a dog is really good at doing the command before I rely on using it without treats. But just remember, do what's best for you, whether it's my advice or someone else's. All dogs are different.
 
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