GSD 11 Months and I am burning out fast. - Page 5

Pedigree Database


by Prager on 15 October 2018 - 17:10

Apple's your approach works - if you want dog work for food. Personally, I do not choose to use such a concept. I believe that the relationship between the handler and dog must be based on a relationship not based on food or toys. If food or toy-trained, the dog quickly learns that if you have no food ( or toy) then there is no reason to listen. If food trained, he also tends not to listen if he is not hungry. On top of it in everyday situations, food /toy-trained dog will fail to listen if the distraction is stronger then desire for food or toy. Such distractions are exceedingly common.
The next problem is that dog working for food or toy is working while in the drive. Where it is impossible to maintain the dog in drive all day long - dog during everyday life is usually not in drive. Thus the training needs to target the dog's obedience when he is not in the drive which is a different type of training than food/toy motivation.
IMO The proper obedience teaches the dog to listen because he is part of the team and the handler is a leader. This may and IMO should be achieved without toys or food. Such training depends on situational guidance where the dog is made to look up to the handler for guidance.
The most important part of that type of a training is to achieve a leadership position. That mainly depends on the attitude of the handler/trainer. If the trainer is soft and the dog is hard and or driven, then the handler must learn how to convey to the dog that he is a leader. While the food or toy is a strong motivator I want to train the dog to look to the handler for a guidance and not for food or toy.
There are many techniques on how to apply this approach. While it is possible to master such techniques without a trainer, these techniques are best conveyed by the trainer who is versed in such an approach.


by Jessejones on 15 October 2018 - 17:10

The food is the tool to get the dog to constantly do something in a quiet setting, like at home...or even just in your kitchen. Not when the dog is in drive which won’t work. At this stage, food is just a beginning to get the dogs attention, as that seems lacking. The dog needs to know that we control his environment.
Also parallel we must be working to learn and implement the +- reinforcements, that will become the foundation.

I’m not saying to use food, for an extreme example, if you are on a off-leash beach with tons of dogs running around, and that the dog will listen because you have food in your pocket. No, of course the dog will not care. The scenario depicts what tools we need to use.

Lets not dis training tools by putting them into situations where they don’t work. Nor is food used forever. We have to figure out where and when to use each tool.

The constant though, will be +- reinforcement.

PS: I’m not an advocate of ONLY positive (as used colloquially as only “good”) reinforcement, with all dogs. ADD: And by reading the OP posts, this might be the initial problem... in teaching this young pup...with only positive reinforcement and affection, as the OP puts it.


by Prager on 15 October 2018 - 19:10

I suggest; during obedience training use or at least try to use, other means of getting attention than food. You will be miles ahead when the dust settles.


by Prager on 15 October 2018 - 19:10

Put the dog into a situation where he is forced to look for your guidance and it builds a desire to be with you. There are many types of settings and exercises. Again you need an adequate trainer who can help you with this. I can put up here such scenarios but that is beyond the scope of this thread.


by Jessejones on 15 October 2018 - 20:10

Prager says:
„I suggest; during obedience training use or at least try to use, other means of getting attention than food. You will be miles ahead when the dust settles.“

Definitely use all methods you can. Depending on your proficiency of skills in teaching dogs.
Also, this is so much more than setting aside a „time“ for obedience training,...this is about changing the ‚activietes of daily life‘ and changing the way one lives with the dog - 24/7. The daily structure of the interactions and life in same house with this pup needs to change ASAP. And IMO, that almost always should include food and controlling all resources.
It be wonderful if the OP has a good trainer as well. I hope we stay informed as to the progress Apple.

by Rik on 15 October 2018 - 20:10

I'm just going to say, referring back to the OP original post, the OP is 67 years old. has a history of very compliable GSD that fit very comfortably into his/her life and enjoyed sharing their life with.

yes, practically any animal can be trained. Siegfried and Roy trained Tigers to do amazing things. I doubt that most people could do that or that they could explain it to someone not that talented on an internet forum.

my advice, do what is best for you and the dog. get a dog that fits your life style, that you wake up every morning and are happy to see and is happy to see you. put the dog in a situation that fits his life style.

you made some mistakes, but seriously, at this stage in life (and i'm there) it does neither you or the dog any favors to drag it out.

maybe I am the only person in the world (and I know it is not politically correct) that has owned a dog that we did not connect. my first imported from Europe was a disaster for me and the dog.

found her a home (lost a lot of money) and now at 11 years later the owner swears this is the best GSD she has ever owned. ain't life funny.



by Jessejones on 15 October 2018 - 23:10

...ain’t that true though Rik. Life is funny that way sometimes.

by beetree on 16 October 2018 - 01:10

The simple solution to him running off with items, attempting to get you to engage in play, is to use the 2 ball philosophy. But in this case, you would bring out the Flirt pole because it is exactly the currency he responds to. He has to let go of the item you don't want him to have in order to engage in the item he wants, the Flirt pole. And then you know the rest. Praise the good behaviour, ignore the bad.

As for the pulling, you absolutely need the prong collar, affectionately known as "power steering for dogs". Use it correctly and you save your shoulders and can enjoy your walk. You won't need it forever, but now you do.

The more chances you get to enjoy each other, the closer you will bond. The greater the bond, the more he will look up to you as the master he wants. He's a smart boy, I can tell.

In time he will settle down a bit and you two will be great buds. Just got to get over this rough and exhausting patch. This too shall pass.

by apple on 16 October 2018 - 12:10

A dog will build a desire to be with you if you withhold food to the point that he learns you are his only source of food and that he will starve without you.


by Jessejones on 16 October 2018 - 17:10

I’ve already used up my share of real estate on this thread, but I want to add one more story for Appleboat, which might correlate to his/her situation. I might have posted a similar post before someplace, I can‘t my apologies to the regulars if I did. This is a story that many of us go through.

When my last gsd had to leave me due to sudden onset of lymphoma at 12 years old, at the beginning of last year, I felt my world go dark.

A week before he showed any symptoms, he was shiny, beautiful, happy and healthy looking. He looked like a 5 yo dog with stamina for all day runing and jumping. It happened so fast, eventhough he was 12, I was still stunned. I think it was Valk, a few days ago on a post, who said, when they go at a certain age, it is usually very fast and sudden. His comment reminded me of my fine boy.

He was, out of all my dogs, over 50 years, my soul-mate, my alter ego, my life force, the dog that I knew and that knew me through ESP. Everyone loved him and he lit up a room when he entered it. He was my once in a lifetime dog that many are lucky to have had. We literally traveled many parts of the world together.

After he was gone, I couldn’t bear the emptiness. Even though I have another dog, but not a gsd. So to keep myself occupied emotionally, I started searching for a new pup. Since I was getting older too, I wanted a dog with a bit less awesome drive than my boy had, but still a similar dog.

I looked high and low. I looked at a lot of breeders in my area, none were having litters at this time. Others, that did have litters, I didn’t like what I saw....bad conditions, no health tests, no breed surveys...etc...Emotionally, I was not equipt to go a shelter. I also wanted a dog as similar to my boy. Dumb maybe...but it was what it was.

So in the summer of last year, I found a litter that looked promising in Germany. After a lot of back and forth via email. I flew to Germany when he was 6 weeks old to see him. I rented a car, and drove 6 hours on the autobahn...after recently having had eye surgery. Anyone familiar with the Autobahn system knows the speeds that can be traveled on some stretches, although very orderly. Having a Porsche, BMW, or a Mercedes suddenly mere feet behind you traveling at up to 120 mph or more , if you are dumb enough to pass too slowly in the left lane, is always possible, so you need to have your eyes on a swivel. My nerves were frayed to say the least when I got to the breeders house. It had been 10 years since I had driven on a autobahn before that.

Anyway, got there...picked out the pup, left him there...and drove back to where I was staying, to wait 2 more weeks to pick him up. This time, to pick him up, I flew up, had the kennel bring the pup to the airport and took him in the cabin and flew back with him, squashed between a plane full of business men in where I was staying in southern Germany. Two weeks after that, I boarded him in cargo with Lufthansa to bring him back to the states. I wanted a direct flight, without a stop over, to keep the stress as low as possible for the pup. I flew into San Fransciso and then drove 12 hours north, to where I live.

The reason I went into detail in describing what I did, is to tell of the effort and mental work, research and money I put into getting this dog. Yes, crazy at the time. So I had a lot invested.

The point of the story is this...yes, he was/is a great pup, but has/had his share of issues too,  and I have a lot of experience with raising pups. But this time, it took a lot out of me. My nerves were on edge a lot. Many a time, I thought...what the hell have I done!!! I did not bond, they way I did with my last dog...and of course it was unfair to think one would. I knew all that, and was expecting that I would feel that to some extent, before I got the pup. But still, reality showed it was even worse.

Slowly, with lots of ups and downs...I worked through it. I tried to make my feeling unimportant, as I knew they were bogus anyway....and that I would get through this.
1 month, 2 months, 5 months, 10 months...and still I did not feel the „REAL“ connection I was hoping for. At one point around 11-13 months it was starting to get disappointing for me, as I wasn’t connecting.

Now, it was not bad bad. The puppy was good. Had I gotten him while not grieving, it might have been different. It was 100% me...I was not yet ready for him. I felt no real connection. I KNEW it was me.

He is now 16 months, and in the last few months, its like a switch flicked...he is growing into his own...he is testing me less...he is now MY dog. I am his person. No doubts anymore. He has matured just that little bit from 13 to 16 months, that has made a LOT of difference. Our eye contact is now fuller, more meaningful. He heels off leash  like a friggin champ, I can take him anywhere...Loose leash walking in busy streets was perfected just recently (!), he does great nosework that just won‘t quit. I have not done any bitework with him yet, as I don‘t have a helper close by.

Remember, Gsds can be really slow to mature. Most if they are given away, will be given away, given up on, between 8 to 24 months of age. They can be bitter pills to swallow for a long time. They can be aloof for a while. They will test the crap out of you.

But more often than not, with proper activities of daily life, they will stabilize and be YOUR dog. What GSDs are known for. That one person, one family, loyal dog.

So, here is my suggestion....
It sounds like you have invested 11 months. And surely some bonding has happened.

Since you know dogs...and you know Micheal Ellis, get a few more videos like the Power of Food Training, The Power of Playing Tug, and Leash Skills. And watch them several times. Hone your skills.

Honestly and painfully, and CONSTANTLY evaluate, what you have been doing up until, and what you are doing, compared to the videos. Dogs are like little computers...what you put in, will come out. We often don‘t even realize what we are subconsciously teaching them!

Then, give him a few more months of very stuctured and regimented daily training and change how you live with him, become the absolute benevolent boss, and see what happens. You can then always reevaluate and rehome. Just because he is 11 months now, will not make a lot of difference in rehoming him at 16-20 months - for most people, if it even comes to that.

As the French say „bon courage“!



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