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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all,

I'm turning to this forum for help. Our Shadow is 16 months old unaltered. I decided a long time ago that since I am active, I would commit to running with him to help wear him out. We have a dog park where I live that is 12 square miles and for the most part, it works for us when I go (It's a very popular place). So, I chose that to be the place to run. I have avoided running in the neighborhood because he is leash reactive to other dogs on leashes. (I'm in Colorado, this is dog country). However, he obviously is a completely different dog once in an open space. The dog park is a loosely looped path with many ways to get around in the middle and a big creek in the back.

The last couple of times I have taken him, he has displayed wanting to leave right away---so he will try to jump and grab my arm, my jogging band, my shirt, anything in an attempt to "pull me" back to the entrance of the park. I know he isn't being aggressive because it would be like a kid pulling your arm or something. I have sporadically ran 2 outside loops in the past (2.3 miles for one loop), but I mostly keep it to 1 loop.

The last 2 times prior to today, I attempted to go for the second loop, which at that point, we were beginning to pass the entrance of the dog park completing one loop, and Shadow will run to the entrance, turn around an notice that I'm still going, then run to me to try to jump up and grab me. I figured maybe he has had enough and he's tired, so I obliged, but not before he tore holes in my shirt or jacket in an attempt to grab me. At that point, I try to correct him, making him sit and telling him, "No!"

This morning, however, I took him to the dog park (lately I've only been able to go 1x a week), we got inside and started going our usual path. We pass the first poop garbage can, then he decides to poop. Like a good dog owner, I stop to retrieve it, then seeing the can was behind me, turned around and trotted to drop the poop bag. He immediately began running back the way we came, saw I wasn't doing the same, and ran and jumped to grab anything of mine (arm, shirt, waist band pouch), I pushed him down, told him no, and reiterated we are going for a run. He wouldn't stop grabbing me, resulting in a cut on my thumb, and he really got my back as he pulled and ripped the back side of my shirt. Tried to keep him down, pulled his collar (his least was fastened around my waist so I could run), but he kept on. So I headed back to the car in angry tears, called my husband and vented on the way home and ran to my computer to write this.

I'm so upset over this. Please help. What can I do? Still in tears. Husband trying to console me. Shadow is at the base of my feet lying down. I use the dog park to HELP him and commit to running. I am trying to wear him out, which works for the most part. I want to be able to say how long we can run, barring any medical or health related issues/indicators that he has gone too far. I don't want him deciding that.

A few helpful pieces of info from our backstory: We got him as a puppy from a reputable breeder at 8 weeks. He has all his routine vet visits. No health issues to date---as a matter of fact, he had his vet check up appointment/shots on Friday, everything looks good. He was socialized to dogs and humans right from the get-go due to being in puppy socialization classes before he aged out. We live in a home that sits on a 12,000 sq foot lot, privacy fence. Someone is always home --- my husband is a retired Army vet, but can't typically run with any of the dogs because of an ongoing back injury so I do it. We do not vacation as a family. We have another dog at home (Newfoundland/Lab mix we rescued at 2 1/2 years old, now she is 5). They get along great and she was instrumental in keeping him in line in the dog world. I don't take our other dog to the dog park because she has TERRIBLE recall and won't come back (we've had a few situations). We also have an 8 year old grumpy cat, who he will typically chase, but not chase 24/7, he has a good play drive, no prey drive. We've also just acquired 2 ten week old kittens we adopted 2 weeks ago from a shelter. They are in a separate part of the house (4000 sq foot) and have had very nice ongoing animal introductions based on common methods, no problems there. I have 4 kids ages 12 and under, no problems with any of our dogs there. Shadow had started chewing on inappropriate things, a few days ago ---whenever I see that happening, I then make sure we get to the dog park to help wear him out. We use a harness when I'm at the dog park or even outside of the house because I want to be able to control him (he weighs 90 lbs). I am debating about using a prong collar, which we have one---I was helping a woman who does basic obedience training with dogs, and she was vehemently against any prong, choke or shock collars----then I see/hear people who have had success with prong, but I feel guilty. I have a coworker with an overexcited Doberman, who uses a prong collar now and supposedly his dog is an angel. We spend time with the dogs (and all of our animals) on a daily basis. Historically, I use treat-based rewards for miscalleneous brush ups on obedience commands. He knows sit, stay, down in German. The other thing I want to mention is that there are only specific times I can go to the dog park--very early in the morning before the sun hits or late in the evening. Because I'm a personal trainer, I have clients as early as 5am, so I can't take him just any old day---evening times, sometimes I'm so worn out that we don't make it more than once a week (but he does run in our backyard daily as we watch the time the dogs are outside). It's also a temperature thing, as a black German Shepherd and the fact that we live in Colorado, the weather here is scorching hot after 8am until 7pm.

Please share input (He is still at my feet as of this writing.)
 

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Well, I'm just a pet-owner, I'm sure that some of the more experienced folks will chime in soon. I don't know what to say about the fact that your dog doesn't seem to like running. If you have ruled out pain and health issues for his dislike of running, then perhaps it is a behavioral issue. If he is jumping on you and tearing clothes, ect, that sounds a bit disrespectful of him. I don't think he is being aggressive, but I wouldn't allow that behavior. GSDs are smart. Perhaps he gets bored by the repetition of running. Could he be trying to get you to play with or chase him...maybe? I would ditch the harness, and use a martingale or a prong collar, even a plain buckle collar. Have someone experienced teach you how to use the prong. They are a tool, nothing wrong with a tool used correctly. Prongs are only abusive if not used properly. Give the dog a leash correction or have him sit when he jumps on you (assuming he is healthy, not in pain ect). It is not okay for him to do that.

Perhaps you can make the running time more fun and stimulating for the dog if you mix it up with some tug or toy chasing, and some training--so that it's not just straight running if that is what you do.

Does he only do this in the dog park? Could you run with him elsewhere?

Just some thoughts. I'm not a trainer or an expert, just what I would try if it were my dog.
 

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Im also just a regular dog owner, also with a solid black gsd ^^ (heat is indeed a bother for them)... Im about just as clueless as you, it's really strange that a dog doesn't enjoy exercise time with it's owner, even if it is just straight running, it's rather strange his over the top reactions.... Can you try to do an experiment, you have a rather big area to run in your own land, try to run exactly as you would in the dog park with him following you, and check if his reaction is about the same... One think that might be the cause is separation anxiety from your husband or from his dog friend... (Does your husband stay in the car while you go to the park?) Good luck :)
 

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Bring a tennis ball next time and throw it away from the entrance as you go. We have a similar type park and my pup absolutely loves it. You say he is reactive, is it possible that he is fearful of dogs and wants to leave because of that?
 

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How long have you been running with him. Have you considered maybe he hurts?. Growth plates not typically closed until 18 months. Forced running not typically recommended until then. Is he running on asphalt?

A 16 months intact male is also getting to an age where he is going to test you. But if he has not had a prong and had not had collar corrections you may have an unpleasant experience if you correct him. He needs to respect you to take a correction from you.
 

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Well, I'm just a pet-owner, I'm sure that some of the more experienced folks will chime in soon. I don't know what to say about the fact that your dog doesn't seem to like running. If you have ruled out pain and health issues for his dislike of running, then perhaps it is a behavioral issue. If he is jumping on you and tearing clothes, ect, that sounds a bit disrespectful of him. I don't think he is being aggressive, but I wouldn't allow that behavior. GSDs are smart. Perhaps he gets bored by the repetition of running. Could he be trying to get you to play with or chase him...maybe? I would ditch the harness, and use a martingale or a prong collar, even a plain buckle collar. Have someone experienced teach you how to use the prong. They are a tool, nothing wrong with a tool used correctly. Prongs are only abusive if not used properly. Give the dog a leash correction or have him sit when he jumps on you (assuming he is healthy, not in pain ect). It is not okay for him to do that.

Perhaps you can make the running time more fun and stimulating for the dog if you mix it up with some tug or toy chasing, and some training--so that it's not just straight running if that is what you do.

Does he only do this in the dog park? Could you run with him elsewhere?

Just some thoughts. I'm not a trainer or an expert, just what I would try if it were my dog.
Thanks for responding....was totally afraid I wouldn't get any responses. To answer your questions, Shadow loves to run, every chance he gets he is galloping in the house or outside, you name it. I do agree it's not aggression, I just know he's trying to get me to head straight to the entrance to leave. I'm leaning towards prong now to use and I know that I now have to prepare properly if I'm going that route. The dog park we go to is probably the biggest in the state of Colorado, it's attached to the state park (so is the equine area, if that gives anyone an idea of the stretch of land there) and EVERYONE brings their dogs there. If you are not there by mid-morning, there is a line to get in that backs out all the way to the closest street because the parking lot is completely full. I haven't tried running with him elsewhere, I thought this was the most comprehensive way to help him with his energy....exposure to dogs and people and a ton of land to run free.
 

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Im also just a regular dog owner, also with a solid black gsd ^^ (heat is indeed a bother for them)... Im about just as clueless as you, it's really strange that a dog doesn't enjoy exercise time with it's owner, even if it is just straight running, it's rather strange his over the top reactions.... Can you try to do an experiment, you have a rather big area to run in your own land, try to run exactly as you would in the dog park with him following you, and check if his reaction is about the same... One think that might be the cause is separation anxiety from your husband or from his dog friend... (Does your husband stay in the car while you go to the park?) Good luck :)
I hadn't thought about separation anxiety before. When we run at the dog park, it's just me, however, today my husband said he was willing to run with me if I wanted to give it a try later on tonight when the sun went down. The only time I've seen separation anxiety with Shadow and our other dog (Pepper) is at the vet when we bring them in together. Shadow won't stop whining when they take Pepper by herself to the back room.
 

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Bring a tennis ball next time and throw it away from the entrance as you go. We have a similar type park and my pup absolutely loves it. You say he is reactive, is it possible that he is fearful of dogs and wants to leave because of that?

He isn't fearful of other dogs---he acts alpha-ish when we first get to the dog park, once off leash he bum rushes every dog with an over the top greeting. Some other dog owners react with a slight fear when he does that---it's very in-your-face.
 

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I'd look at it strictly as an obedience/respect issue. Whether he's protesting obeying you or hates the park, he's biting you and that can't be allowed. He's only 16mos, at 2 years or older there may be a time where you tell him to do something and he could seriously bite you. Don't go crazy on him, but you need to firm up you're over all obedience with him.
 

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How long have you been running with him. Have you considered maybe he hurts?. Growth plates not typically closed until 18 months. Forced running not typically recommended until then. Is he running on asphalt?

A 16 months intact male is also getting to an age where he is going to test you. But if he has not had a prong and had not had collar corrections you may have an unpleasant experience if you correct him. He needs to respect you to take a correction from you.
I've been running off and on sporadically over the last 7 months, and when I say running, I'm not a fast runner (12-13 min miles) and what he does is trot off at his own speed (way faster than me) and will stop to look back and see if I'm coming. He has to sniff anything and everything, so it's his own pace and nothing like me having him by the leash for consistance non-stop running. No asphalt, this dog park is on state park land with crushed breeze to mark out the paths. And I've never run more than 5 miles with him....90% of the time we have run together it is just one loop (2.3 miles).
 

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I'd look at it strictly as an obedience/respect issue. Whether he's protesting obeying you or hates the park, he's biting you and that can't be allowed. He's only 16mos, at 2 years or older there may be a time where you tell him to do something and he could seriously bite you. Don't go crazy on him, but you need to firm up you're over all obedience with him.
I agree....I want him to listen to me at all times. I can hold my own and my husband and I agreed that this can't be, I just don't know how to correct him if he does this out in the open. I am going out to get a prong collar today and begin learning more.
 

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He isn't fearful of other dogs---he acts alpha-ish when we first get to the dog park, once off leash he bum rushes every dog with an over the top greeting. Some other dog owners react with a slight fear when he does that---it's very in-your-face.
And THAT kind of stuff is why I don't go to dog parks. My dogs are fine but I don't put up with that and you should not allow him to do that!!!!!
 

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Don't go out and buy a prong today. You have time to order a good one online. See where Nancy said he may not react well to a correction right now? There's a certain amount of submission with a dog just walking on a leash, following you has a way of communicating you being in charge. I'd start with just putting the leash on his collar, no more harness and no more off leash. See how he reacts to just the motion of you popping the leash. That jerk of your arm can seem like your picking a fight with him, so you want to see what he thinks of that. Calmly walk him past something he'll sniff or be a little interested in, turn away, tell him come and give him a little pop. If he follows calmly and even happy, praise him for it.

What I'd do is concentrate first on leash manners with calm walks and everything focused on obedience as far as you telling him its time to obey, and now its time to relax and be a dog. A beginning and an end from you. You tell him its time, Heel. You stop, tell him he's done and he can pee or whatever, On leash. Do it again. Find a time and place where he won't be overly distracted, so you can make the rules clear without having to fight with him.

When the prong comes, introduce it to him in something similar to the leash pop, to see how he reacts and then go from there.
 

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He isn't fearful of other dogs---he acts alpha-ish when we first get to the dog park, once off leash he bum rushes every dog with an over the top greeting. Some other dog owners react with a slight fear when he does that---it's very in-your-face.
I didn't see this till Nancy quoted it. Don't be so sure he isn't fearful of the other dogs. That Alpha-ish display combined with him wanting to get out of there sounds like insecurity to me.I'd quit taking him in there with other dogs.
 

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All I can think is he just doesn't like it there, for what ever reason. So me there are two issues, the biting or mouthing, and then the underlying thing that he does not want to go to this place and run.

My dogs only act like mules ocasionally when I say it's time go home, or time to go in the house. Like when I track my dog and then he gets offleash to play ball as a reward at the end. When I tell him to get in the truck sometimes he will kind of sneak in the other direction. He just wants to play longer.

If I took my dog to an offleash area to run ND they wanted out, I would be seriously asking myself is the dog interaction stressing my dog out, is he being over exercised (not usually a thing with pet dogs but I don't know), are you disciplining him a lot for some reason there? could he be in pain, ect ect. Does not really sound like a normal thing.
 

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I don't want the next post to be I corrected my dog on the prong and he bit me! That is a very real possibility and if he did that would not make him a horrid dog but a punk teenager who has not had these rules before and has not had corrections.

That can happen - he is not used to the prong and he is at the age where he is starting to rebel. Food is great but what other solid rules does he have? There is some real technique in giving a fair correction on the prong.
 

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I am not a fan of the idea of turning my back to the dog park (one, it's not your typical city dog park---this is miles of wide open spaces), he's never had a negative issue there and I've been the only one to take him there.....he's had interactions with other dogs that appear to be normal dog communication (him and other dogs greeting one another or even giving off warning signals of "that's enough"). I believe he holds his own with other dogs----no tail between the legs, only confident trotting and the occasional chase of that typical German Shorthaired Pointer he always sees. He doesn't recoil when I lead him to my van, on the contrary, he leaps into it! When we went this morning, it was 6am and only a handful of cars were in the parking lot, so overcrowding wasn't the issue. I don't want to think I can't have him outside enjoying Colorado.....I was hoping that we could go places eventually in the big wide open, and this dog park technically is only an example of wide open spaces. I don't want to confine him to just the house....isn't that what we are supposed to avoid doing anyway as dog owners? Just so lost here, though I do agree that we have to ramp up obedience training again.
 

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I don't want the next post to be I corrected my dog on the prong and he bit me! That is a very real possibility and if he did that would not make him a horrid dog but a punk teenager who has not had these rules before and has not had corrections.

That can happen - he is not used to the prong and he is at the age where he is starting to rebel. Food is great but what other solid rules does he have? There is some real technique in giving a fair correction on the prong.
You have a big point here....just read your post out loud to my husband.....I've been the one to guide him in training more than my husband---I don't believe Shadow is aggressive, I believe that I have a teenager on my hands. The rules he has so far are: Sit, stay, down, go in crate and he has to wait on food when it is placed in front of him. That's all so far. He doesn't jump on people, we immediately corrected that the moment we first saw that, so that is not an issue. The only thing I haven't done is go on walks with him because of the leash reactivity I experienced on the harness and I don't like him running up to other dogs on the side walk. There are so many dogs here.
 
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