GSD 11 Months and I am burning out fast. - Page 4

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by joanro on 15 October 2018 - 01:10


Vito: Joan, I never read anything from you saying to use the ball, or it's given drives at all. I just got the part about starving the dog to motivate it.


I never said starve the dog, you have me confused with someone else. I suggested just to remove the flirt pole since it has created a major problem for the dog.

The dog obsessed with the flirt has a bond with the flirt pole, not with the owner.

I did not go into detail with's impossible on a forum. But removing the flirt pole is moving towards solving a problem created by too much stimulation with zero goals.

I don't believe that constant stimulation is needed or else all drive is crushed...if that's the case, then the pup does not have drive to begin's just manufactured.

And I also don't believe that a pup with a clear head can't relax and be calm in the house....if it always has to be bouncing off the walls or obsessing over the toy in the toy box, or else must be locked in a crate then why have the dog?
One of my females is laying here on the couch next to me, and all I have to do is give a come signal with my fingers, and she is up and game for whatever I want to do...go work goats, or play ball or hunt squirrels.....from zero to a hundred with just a motion of my fingers. No reason a dog with drive can't have control and not act nuts all the time.

by Rik on 15 October 2018 - 01:10

the best advice is contact the breeder.

there is absolutely nothing wrong with realizing you and the dog don't mix so well. and the reason, age, personalities, whatever doesn't matter.

turning a dog into a shelter sounds like mercy, but who knows. the dog could live the rest of it's life on a 10' chain.

and just for a different point of view, I doubt anything you have done has led to the point you are at.

maybe a more knowledgeable person could be at a better spot, but the dog is who he is and you are who you are and really it doesen't sound like there is a happy medium to be found.


by Nans gsd on 15 October 2018 - 02:10

Agree with Rik, does not sound like a good fit, too much dog for the OP. I still say "place" now rather than later. Pup is easier to re-train now rather than later. Give him a job and some responsibility.  He should be way further along in his training that he is.  Sit, down, stay, come, fetching well and leave it--as well as watching without question...   JMHO


by Appleboat26 on 15 October 2018 - 02:10

Vito, I am sure Joan and Jesse can defend themselves..but I never interpreted any of the posts to mean starve him until he complies. I understood it to mean make the dog work for his food and if he isn't interested, remove the food and try again later. He does eat when he is hungry and I can hand feed him and make him work for each piece. He weighs 85 lbs...which is where the vet wants he eats. He is a big boy but a little thin, but I understand that is preferred for young GSDs.
I certainly don't expect him to lay around all day, but I wasn't expecting him to challenge me at every turn, either. He is not interested in pleasing me or treats. I didn't expect that. Maybe because they were rescues, my other GSDs wanted to please me and did not like it if I was upset with them. He seems to not care about me at all as long as he gets whatever he wants.
He is running the show right now so I am definitely a "weak human" I will need to get stronger and smarter and teach him to respect me. I am just not sure how to do that. I have always used affection and food, and always positive training... with few corrections. None of that is working this time. He alternates between running off with whatever he can snatch hoping I will chase him, and ignoring me completely.
I am open to all suggestions. He will do anything for Flirt..."look, sit, come, down. wait, leave it, drop it, place"... everything he knows. But once Flirt is put's on...and he is a jerk. you think I should use flirt?
How do I transfer that focus and get him to comply when not using flirt?

by ValK on 15 October 2018 - 03:10


relationship with dog foremost rely on established hierarchical based bond between master and dog.
from your description doesn't looks like you was able to establish it.
toys use won't solve this issue.
as Rick said above "the dog is who he is and you are who you are and really it doesn't sound like there is a happy medium to be found".
it's up to you to decide, but keep in mind - the older your dog will become, the harder would be for you to submit him.

by Hundmutter on 15 October 2018 - 07:10

Appleboat, like Joanro and many others here, I don't usually try to give people precise training advice - one needs to be able to see the individual dog, and importantly also what the owner is doing with it / how they relate.

But I can almost guarantee anybody eventual success with the 'running off with things and defying you' problem.  His "invitation to play" - which is what this "I've got it, you've got to chase me for it" stuff is - relies on your desire to reclaim the toy / flirt / ball / TV remote / pair of your socks.  If you CONSISTENTLY refuse to be drawn into chasing him around, he'll start to realise that he isn't gaining any benefit from doing it. An inconsistent response always reinforces bad behaviour.  Just ensure that he cannot escape when he is doing this - use long line, fenced areas, etc - so that you can safely walk away in the opposite direction; and if you can't, then don't allow him any access to anything while off-lead; then if he does pick something up and want to run off with it, you can ignore him from 3 feet away ! Its a good idea to distract his attention onto some other exercise / command, as soon as you have made your point that you are not going to chase him.  Always work on your timing.

The other leadership exercise which also eventually conveys to the dog that you are his superior and which everyone can benefit from is "Watch Me".  Very high value food rewards usually help with this; you can dial down the expense etc eventually, but at first it is worth showing him just what an excellent provider you can be.  Teach it entirely by itself; not as part of Heelwork or whatever, as a lot of people try to do.  A distinct but very frequent command. A scatty dog like him may take a while, and yes, that is tiring and frustrating - but it is such a basic thing to get his attention onto you that it will pay dividends.  Baby steps.  If it helps, you are really not alone out there - the dog in my avatar pic is the one who was a teenage hoon at 18 months when I took him on, and believe me he WAS a pain.  But he eventually grew up and turned into a thoroughly nice dog.

And don't forget to PRAISE him.  Even if you only get part of the result you want, mark it verbally.  When I first got into training dogs I was surprised at just how many people forget to TALK to their dogs.  I don't mean the smoochy, smothery sort of talk, I mean using the warmth of your voice to acknowledge the dog doing something you like / want.  If he is voluntarily doing something you'd want him to do (lying down in the right place etc) ALWAYS mark it.  He does not need to understand the language, he just needs to understand you are pleased with him.

You sound from your posts as though you have your head 'screwed on right'; without meeting you and the puppy its hard to predict, but inasfar as I can, I reckon you CAN do this.  But I was a bit disturbed by your unwillingness to consult with his breeder; you started out saying you carefully chose someone you could trust to buy your puppy from - so what changed ? Maybe they are experienced enough themselves, or maybe they have contacts, who could offer help; and good breeders generally want (and deserve) to know what happens to pups they produce, rather than their just being rehomed elsewhere.



by Prager on 15 October 2018 - 11:10

Any advice even good one is insufficient. You can not do it alone. Do not rehome the dog. Find a trainer using +./- training applied correctly. That may be harder to do then it sounds.
Remember, I am 100% sure that I can make that dog work and obey rather quickly. I am not saying that to impress anyone. I got beyond that long time ago. I am saying this because the issue is not the dog but you. Sorry. No advice can help you if you are not having the right attitude. And it is not a strength I am talking about.
My advice is to get a trainer and watch him what he is doing. If he can make the dog start paying attention without toys or food but by adequate communication via voice, pet and leash work then hire that trainer and tell him that you want him to teach you to do the same. A good trainer will not just train dog but will train you to train your dog. If the trainer runs around with toys or treats then go elsewhere. This may be tall order but if you are willing to change your attitude, then you can do it and I think that you can do it. I sense enough will in you to succeed.

by apple on 15 October 2018 - 11:10

Try withholding food until he gets hungry and then only feed him by hand a bit at a time and only for correct obedience. If he doesn't obey, no food. Eventually, he will learn that he depends on you for food and their are certain things he has to do in order to obtain food. This will be a PIA, but should work over time if you are consistent and withhold thre food for several days before starting this approach.

by Jessejones on 15 October 2018 - 16:10

A dog will never starve itself.
When using food as a motivator and the dog is picky...that means he is getting enough food in his meals, of which he probably gets two meals a day for FREE. Or just a slight effort, like sitting.

Use the amount he gets in his meals for training, not just for a free hand out. He’ll come around. If the dog’s attention is not on the food, reduce all outer distractions. Do it in your kitchen if you have too. Training is all the time, every minute of every day.

I feed my dog raw too. But, I still keep a pocket full of kibble on me all the time. Or, a bag of cut up hotdogs or roast beef, or cubed raw beef. If the OPs dog is not taking it, no interest at all, it is probably because he is distracted by something, or holding out for the flirtpole. Or, try not feeding the dog first thing in the AM. Do training first and feed at 12 pm, for example. Again, no dog will starve himself.

Once a dog gets older, food does become less of a motivator for many gsds. They will turn the nose away and look for the ball or tug instead. But, as this dog is described by the OP, backing away from toys FOR NOW, is a sound suggestion. Bring them back later.

The flirtpole is not a good toy for an 11 mo old that does not need his drive more ramped up. A dog that will be a companion dog and not a competion/sports/LE dog doesnt need over the top prey drive. It is a good tool for smaller puppies to waken their drive up. IMO.

Later, once the dog is more intuned to the NEW rules, because he will realize there are no more alternatives...and has improved with his attention to the owner, one can bring in toys again. But they are always the owners toys, only to be given as reinforcements, and taken away again. Like I said, teach the dog inner control when playing with balls or tugs. Only on your commands may he fetch the thrown ball or pull on the tug.

Training is constantly evolving, every what one does today... with continued improvement of the dog, is not necessarily what you have to do forever.

IMO, from the description, this pup just needs more foundation work, with more rules. But of course, via a forum, it is hard to say without seeing the dog.
But this is all intended as food for thought for the OP.


by Jessejones on 15 October 2018 - 16:10

PS: Just read Pragers post.

Yes, one can do A LOT with voice and Attitude...and a leash. In the end, that is where we want to go.

That is part of what I am writing too. +/- reinforcement in training applied correctly is the key over time. Timing is everything. Get the correct message to the dog in the split second of him doing it. This is what changes the training as the dog evolves.

It is totally more of a handler training than a dog training.

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