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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello, My pup is Odham. He is almost 11 months and around 90lb. Around the time he had 4 or 5 months he had parvo. After that he started barking and lunging at new people, both at the fence and when taken out for a walk. Out of stupidity my sister and I took him to a group class for a month, we could not go anymore, the trainer was pretentious and would scare our pup often. Yet he would do ‘stay’s, long ones next to other dogs and people, and would be fine, he would not loose it as outside of the class. He would diagnosed him as a reactive pup, but not aggressive.

Then we tried walking, but he would lunge and bark madly. So, we started reading a lot and asking questions to trainers out there. Hence, we started taking him to lonelier places. Allowed him to smell and see as much as he wanted with a harness. The harness was a mistake. He got coccidia. Anyway, he began to gain confidence, but he started to try to run after cars. So, we bought a prong collar (Sprenger) and fitted as our past trainer had explained. We were eventually in the point where we could walk in the middle of the park, around other people and dogs with comfort. In fact, we were even closely approached by people, kids in bikes even less than 1ft from us. It was good, or at least better. Then he got ehrlichiosis. We stopped going for walks for the first half of the treatment. After that, reactivity got back into a bad level. Reacting to most people, every dog (not just off leash dogs) and some cars (he reacts to people that come towards us).

For the last two months we have been trying to achieve that we had at some point. But it has been all ups and downs now. Some days are awful, some are better and get to walk more. We love him. He is a sweetheart at home. He is a living thing and we will do as we can to make him feel better. When he crazily barks in the front fence, he has a good recall if my dad calls, but not with me, my sisters nor my mom. He scares our own visitors.
We tried to go for a walk the other time, he was 9 months, and friend got her leashed GSD puppy (a crazy 7-month female) really close to him, she wanted them to meet even when I insisted on the opposite. But they touched at barked at each other, hitting to the front with their paws. But he did not bite her nor anything. We left that day and did not walk him there. My friend’s pup got bitten by another GSD that day though. He has not bitten anyone. Not yet. But I do not want that to happen.

He goes to the groomer and there are no complaints on him. His vets and the reception people love him. They inject him with no muzzle (give him pills and take his temperature) and thrust me he has been injected lots of times, it has been parasite after parasite after the parvo, and then the ehrlichiosis. But the clinic scares him. Sometimes he does not bark to dogs nor people there (not sure why), he behaves.
Before all of this (his craziness), we probably did not socialize him properly. He got scared by Malinois. We allowed everyone to pet him. He would smell small dogs. He did not go out much because it was parvo season (said by our vet). I don’t know. We had mistakes. His breeder one of them. But we love him, and we are gonna try it all. We had a WL before, we thought a SL was gonna be easier, or at least the same.

Getting a trainer has been hard, there are no many here. Most of them traditional. My sister and I finally found one that might work. He said we need to board & train him, but since we were very reluctant, he suggested that the dog would go back to our house every weekend for two days (we wouldn’t give him any instruction). It would be a four-week program working on his obedience mostly, and then socialization with his own dogs in a controlled environment. He said he will work in order for our pup to make better decisions, and for him to develop better in a world he does not fully get, and for us to know how to act and handle him (I am stressed every time I take him out lately). Is this a good idea? I have heard of dogs getting more messed up at board & train, is this true? I want him to be more comfortable with the world, and the trainer said this is still a great age for him to be treated for his behaviors… He is a trainer and vet… He has experience with GSD’s and used to work for a really expensive trainer from the center of Mexico (that specializes in GSD). He thinks my dog should not have used a prong with our previous trainer because he was young.… Does it sound like something we should try? Is there something else I should ask? I could probably try it the first week in see how it goes, right?


Real sorry for the long post.
 

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With your dog's health history, I suggest you inspect the trainer's facility, especially for hygiene and cleanliness before making a decision.
 

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Can you observe the training before committing? References from previous customers might help guide your decision as well.
 

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One on one private training is more beneficial IMHO.Learning better handling skills is the most important aspect of training.The timing of rewards,corrections,and body language is everything.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
One on one private training is more beneficial IMHO.Learning better handling skills is the most important aspect of training.The timing of rewards,corrections,and body language is everything.

One on one is what I initially requested. But the trainer said that the first three weeks we would have practices with a dog of his for us twice a week (we would go there). And at the end he will explain us with our own pup. Because we get nervous and the dogs gets nervous and everything fails....

His words (in spanish thoug).

Anyway, I am having my doubts. I will check for good and hygienic facilities tomorrow when I go there.

I was supposed to let the dog there tomorrow, but my dad is totally against it. He prefers to take him there on January 1st than to leave him in new year's eve. In Mexico people throw a lot of fireworks and bullets to the sky at 0:00 in the night, and we do not want Odham to spend his first new year thinking he was abandoned in some place we dont know.

He seems like a fine trainer. But I keep having doubts because he is kind of new in my city, so I can not find references on him.

But he said things in the way we were trying to get from a trainer. Our previous trainer was too much traditional. And this guy wants our dog to fit in the world ... The examples he gave regarding socialization and good balanced dogs are something no one said before. So, at the same time, I thought maybe we are falling to quickly for this.

But our pup will be 11 months in a week or so, and I do not want him to mature and not know how to handle the world. My sister and I, we are running out of ideas lately (we use a prong collar, we used to use a martingale, a harness, we might buy a halter or an e-collar, but what is the point if we are not sure about things we are trying). I do not mind walking him at 3 o'clock, but if he has a chance to be better, to not need a muzzle in every walk, I want that.

Thanks by the way.

Sometimes I might go back to our previous trainer, cause I can afford his one on one lessons at least for a couple of months. Maybe my sister and I took things too personal or we did not give him the proper time.... I do not know.



Right now I am not afraid of the money we might lost, I just dont want this trainer to ruin our dog more. That is what I am afraid of.
 

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I actually like what this new trainer has said to you, and the flexibility he's shown in having the dog go home with you on weekends and working with you twice a week in a controlled environment to help teach you guys as well as the dog how to "fit in the world" together.

A Board and Train is a great option for some people, and can really help you get beyond issues that you've been struggling with. In your case, you have yourself, your sister, and your dad all interacting and perhaps training, or at least commanding, the dog. With that many people, even if you strive to be the same it's not easy, each have their own style, which can be confusing for the puppy/dog.

If I was in your situation I'd give the board and train a chance. But in my opinion, stick with one or the other trainer, don't try doing the BAT with one and 1-on-1 with the other! That likely will confuse your dog!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Hello again. During the week we went to meet one last trainer.


Better facilities.



Still he insisted in visiting our dog at our house and several parks in the city for his one on one sessions, he will be socialized with his dogs, one of them is extremly balanced, and he indicated that the other dogs have an specific function when socializing dogs. He believes our dog will be a lot of work and we must be committed, but considering his age he has good expectations of our pup. Our dog does not bite other dogs nor people while off leashed, but he is not totally sure about his interactions with other dogs yet.



So, now we are more into the idea of this trainer. First session was free and it was great, we got to know a lot about our dog there, and our puppy was starting to relax at times. The new trainer claims a need for obedience, socialization and corrections of bad behaviours (aggressive ones). My dad also prefers this trainer because right now our usually hot city is really cold and we would be worried about Odham at some strange place.



The price is not much more of what the other trainer indicated. So, we are going with this one. We officially start with him this weekend. Let's see how it goes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Hello,
My dog has been having three to four sessions per week with the last trainer. Not the one that wanted board and train, the other one. Again, slightly more expensive. But so much worth it.
Never feel like this before. He throws some large field socializations per week, one or two. **** Russell style. People walking around and dogs acting as dogs. He has several dogs of his own in the field, each playing a role. One of them is a female that is literally like a teacher, putting order here and there. But not like an aggressive dog, just like a mom.
Our pup was really reactive on the first one. Not biting. But hysterically barking at any dog that would get slightly close.
Turns out our dog and his bad socialization. He did not know how to communicate anything to other dogs.


Last session this past weekend, it was different, he was slightly more easy going with most dogs. Would smell around with one or two of the dogs. He still barked to two dogs though. But one was because it was a really clingy female dog, that would follow him without rest. His barks were no longer in the mood of ‘I will kill you if you get closer dude’, his barks were more like ‘back off’.
He also smelled the butt of a couple of dogs for the first time since he was three months old.
Then the trainer has some sessions with us at our house and our surroundings. He points out how badly we manage the leash and corrects us on that and give us homework. He is more confident and curious regarding other dogs lately. And my sister and I are having a better time at keeping our stress on place.


The trainer, whose name is Saul, says this will be a slow process. But, my sister and I, we are looking at the small improvements as huge things, considering how long we were into the same issues. Will share videos and pictures soon.
 
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