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I'm just wondering, at what age would you consider something that could be attributable to puppyhood when younger be a problem when older?

I see some traits in our puppy that sometimes I wonder about having to train out of her. In particular, fixation. When our puppy gets fixated on something, she is seriously fixated. And won't forget about it. If we're just walking normally, then she's a pretty good walker. But when my wife and I are out with her and my wife jogs ahead while I walk, our puppy will go absolutely nuts trying to get to her. I'm not entirely sure how long that would go on for either, so far we've gone about 15 minutes with my wife out of sight (and the puppy and I off her trail so that she's not trying to track). She pulls at the leash and throws hissy fits constantly. The frustrating thing is that she'll walk beside me for two or three steps and then bolt out at top speed till she hits the end of her (short) leash, then goes nuts again. Then she sits quietly, looks at me, whimpers a bit... then as soon as we start walking it's full speed ahead again. Every step.

I've read that eventually the puppy figures out that if she's pulling on the leash, stop walking. She just goes nowhere, so it's in her best interest to simply not pull. She's got the sit and wait part down, it's the explode out in to top speed that's frustrating. We've been working on this for the 7 or so weeks that we've had her, but if something in front of her catches her attention she just does the run-choke-hissyfit-sit-then run-choke all over again.

At 37 pounds, she's getting to be a powerful puppy. In just the past week my back's been out twice from walking her (she's always on a short leash, but it's still tiring holding her and is quite a jolt when she hits the end of it) and man my arms are getting tired. If she just weren't getting fixated her walks would be actually pretty good. Otherwise she's been a good girl, sit, stay, lay down, her recall is pretty poopy still but everything else has been good. Does that fixation go away or is it something we just need to keep training and training on? She's 17 weeks, almost 18, by the way.

Thanks everyone!
 

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I think that at 17 or 18 weeks old, you are a long way from that being a "problem" - it's just "puppy." LOL. I have a male GSD that just turned 1 year old, and I have been consistent with him on everything since Day 1 (got him at 7 weeks old). Most things he does great on - but we still have the problem that you just described, although it's been getting better.

I wouldn't worry - I know it's frustrating, but please just be patient with your pup. 18 weeks is still a baby. Keep being consistent (you are right to stop when she pulls, and don't move til the leash is slack). It takes forever it seems like for them to "get it" with some things, but just keep being patient and consistent, and it will pay off.

I feel your pain. My dog isn't very good with other dogs, and he's over 70 lbs now. A few days ago he nearly pulled my arm out of the socket, trying to go after another dog that was being walked on leash on the sidewalk coming towards us. I WISH he was 37 lbs at times like that!
 

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She still has puppy antics. If you can remove the object of her fixation (her skin mommy) it should stop. She sees your wife go running up the trail while she's forced to walk nicely. She can't see her and wants to go find her. So when you goto the park with your wife and she takes off on a jog, have her kiss the puppy and say see ya later then turn and walk in the opposite direction.
 

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Like everyone else has said, she's still just a baby. That being said, that doesn't mean you shouldn't do anything about it though. What I would do is carry a BUNCH of treats in a baggie in my pocket, or somewhere on my person. Have a couple in hand. Whenever you go on a walk, reward her for walking nicely. If she pulls, stop, make her wait, after a minute or so try to walk her again, and treat if she's good. Here's a command you might want to start working on: http://www.germanshepherds.com/forum/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=35064&page=1#Post35064

It's called Focus. I think this is a great command that everyone should begin teaching their pup.
 

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I love your question because we've ALL Been there.

Where does puppy end? Where adolescence starts. http://www.germanshepherds.com/forum/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=737783&page=1#Post737783

Keep going. Be consistent. Sign up for classes. Read books. (I like Patricia McConnell's books. You can get them at Dogwise or Amazon. She's a great trainer and behaviorist. Then, remember this -- we don't have Golden Retrievers. So it's not quite as simple as McConnell makes it sound.
) Ask lots of questions here. Stay patient. Or, when you get frustrated (and you will), breathe a deep breath, and start over. This is a challenging breed. One of the most challenging. Keep going. When your dog is 2 years old (or three, depending on the lines), all that work and patience will pay off. And you'll have the best dog ever. I promise!

As for technique, when your wife walks ahead, stopping works -- sometimes, kind of. BUT also, you can turn and walk to the side, turn and walk in the other direction, anything that shows pup that the worse he pulls, the further AWAY from Mom he gets -- the opposite of what he wants. When he stops pulling, you immediately walk faster toward her, catching up to her. Stopping is hard because it's lack of movement, and I think it's hard for any pup to deal with lack of movement. It's just not in their brains. So keep him moving but in the wrong way. Then, when he does it right, IMMEDIATELY reward him with movement in the right direction. If your wife can help by stopping when he's doing it right, then he'll see that all he has to do is walk WITH you, and he gets what he wants.

When you finally get within about 3 feet of her, you give him a release word, release him to run into her arms, both of you running up (or you could toss her the leash). "Good walk Shadow! Hooray!" A big finale to a stressful but successful walk.

As long as he can never catch up with your wife (which, honestly, is the "treat" he really wants), he'll likely pull. So for now, it would be helpful if he can see that by walking nicely, he does get that wonderful treat. Do this as training exercises around your neighborhood, just walking around your block, or if you have a big enough yard, you can do it there. Then, when you go on your walks, when your wife wants to jog, Shadow will have learned that he does get to catch up with Mom eventually, so he should be more mellow, waiting until the big Finale.
 

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I'm curious, does she act the same way if a stranger runs past. I would set that up if you don't know to see if it is really your wife or a strong puppy prey drive for moving objects that run past her.

I think you need to work hard on this when she is young NOW or it may really be a problem when older and much stronger. I would get into a puppy training class at a park with people and other age and size appropiate dogs for some needed basic training. Teaching "Watch" or other attention / focus commands will be very helpful.
 
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