GSD 11 Months and I am burning out fast. - Page 1

Pedigree Database


by Appleboat26 on 14 October 2018 - 15:10

I am struggling.
I am 67 years old and I have rescued 3 GSDs over the past 15 years. All were older dogs and needed some training but mostly medical care and love and attention. My youngest Rescue was 2 and she was a handful, but we worked it out relatively quickly. For my final dog, I really wanted to start from a puppy, so I researched breeders until I found one I respected and after 12 months of waiting for the right pairing, I picked up what I hoped would be a low-medium drive black and red stock coat.

Well...he is the most iron-willed, pigheaded, contrary animal I have ever worked with. EVERYTHING is a battle. He will even fight about doing the things he likes (eating, walking, games) if he even suspects it is something I want him to do.

I have been working on "loose leash" walking and "heeling" for months and making very little progress...and my arms and shoulders ache from corrections and restraints. He never comes when he is called and will only do basic obedience when he feels like it. He is not food motivated at all. The only thing that keeps him completely focused is "Flirt" the little fluffy squeaker toy at the end of a pole and line. He is obsessed with it. He wants to play that all day, and will respond to commands immediately and precisely to get you to keep playing with him....but he will also steal your phone, couch pillows, chew your expensive chair, and bark non stop to get you back outside to play flirt with him as soon as you stop playing.

I am exhausted. I thought I was pretty good at this, but he has got me where he wants me and nothing I try seems to reverse this dynamic. I wanted him so much, and thought I could do it...I had very little trouble with my other three, but I am so tired of him. I am actually considering turning him into the GSD Rescue agency that I got my other dogs from.
Any advice for me?

by joanro on 14 October 2018 - 16:10

Send him back to the breeder.

Can you post a picture of him, and his pedigree?

by ValK on 14 October 2018 - 16:10

sounds hyperactive dog. unfortunately it's prevailing trend in today's breeding.
if you not feel like you can keep high pace physic on your side, not much you can do about.
as Joan said, contact breeder and ask him to rehome the dog to someone, who would be willing to have such kind.

by Nans gsd on 14 October 2018 - 16:10

Yes I also would rehome him but I would call the breeder for first option, sort of like first come first serve; then I would contact rescue and let them know you have him to place.

So sorry you are going thru this, I too know how hard these guys are to change their minds and to re-train after acquiring bad habits. Obviously your guy is not a good match for you. And for whatever reason he himself has chosen not to mind and respect you. That is the s- - - - s. Really have to say "Personally I have been their and done that" and did not like any part of it.

Good luck with his placement and don't feel guilty and don't look back. Just be sure he gets in the right hands. Also he is at the worst possible age for training not that that is any excuse.

by joanro on 14 October 2018 - 16:10

Imprinting the puppy on the flirt pole was the first mistake.
I know many love using h flirt pole with puppies as soon as they can walk, but I hate can turn a very calm pup into a lunatic if they are high prey drive.

Stop! The flirt pole! He gets no dinner, no snak, nothing until he comes to you when called and then must Sit! for his food. If he does not do that simple bit, then turn around and walk away, put the food up for half an hour, try again . Repeat until he complies. Things will begin to turn around. But zero flirt pole...throw it away! And NO squeeky toys...all he gets is food and a nyla bone.

by Gertrude Besserwisser on 14 October 2018 - 16:10

As you wrote in your email, you had no recent experience with younger dogs and the other older dogs you rescued were more or less willing students. However, with those dogs, you inherited whatever problems or lack there of that someone else caused. They came with baggage. With a puppy, it is tabula rasa. It is, within the scope of their personality, what you put in and the environment you have created for the dog.

Your dog is probably not hyperactive. Because I like to show my GSDs, I get dogs that are 12-18 months old with little or no training. Then I know they are hip and elbow xrayed and have all of their teeth. The downside is that I have not been there for the early imprinting. However, I have not found that to be unsurmountable. I repeat, you dog is probably not hyperactive. I have had many high drive GSDs and from about 6 months to 3 years they can be a handful. They do all of the things you describe and more. But they are not hyperactive. They are also a joy to train, but you have to have experience and be able to out think them, and even then sometimes, its the crate or an e collar used correctly to obtain some calm moments.

One option, and not the best I think, is to return the dog to the breeder to rehome, if the breeder will take the dog back. Many will not and most will not give you your money back for obvious reasons. This option is only, in my opinion (important words here) suitable if you are physically handicapped or too weak or if you have not made any emotional investment in the dog. That is to say, you do not have a real bond with the dog.

If you do have a bond, if you love the dog and do not wish to part with it, then find an experienced trainer, professional or otherwise, and work with that person. I am older than you and currently have a dog which is doing everything you describe, except that I can out think him and have had the advantage of working with many dogs like this. You do not. So find a trainer, but be careful, do your homework, who knows how to deal with this type of dog. The answer is not jerking the dog with a pinch collar all the time or even using an e collar for everything. They are useful tools if used sparingly in the right circumstances and for a specific result for which they are well suited. Used incorrectly, they will make your dog stubborn, suspicious and uncooperative.

It sounds like your dog has a lot of ball drive or prey drive. Take advantage of this. Use that ball drive to train and imprint obedience. If he has food drive, use that too. If he is bonded to you, use that too. And then there is exercise. Repeat that word three times. Throw the ball until he can barely stand. Use a crate. Use it as a safe place for him to relax or a punishment to calm down.

Bottom line, the GSD you have is what most experienced GSD people dream of. A show dog suitable for Schutzhund, IPO, IGP, Agility, competive obedience, search and rescue and any other active pastime which uses your dog's intelligence. It is not a couch potato dog where you sit in a rocking chair and smoke a pipe while reading the paper with your dog laying peacefully at your flannel house slippers. If that is what you wanted, then you should find another dog, or find a breeder who can assess the litter and select a dog with low drive that is better suited for your needs.

Western Rider (admin)

by Western Rider on 14 October 2018 - 16:10

Sure have to agree with you Joanro on your answer. Food only when he obeys

by joanro on 14 October 2018 - 16:10

I disagree with play ball til he can't stand, then crate for relax, or for punishment...crating teaches nothing...the lady wants a companion, not a goofy dog that has to play ball til exhausted then put away in a crate as if the dog is a car to be parked in the garage when not in use.

( Crating is valuable to prevent him destroying things when you are not home, if you can't leave him outside. )

The dog is young enough to be reprogramed to act sanely. But that won't happen by feeding the preydrive and enforcing the insane behavior. 

by Nans gsd on 14 October 2018 - 16:10

Am I mistaken or did she NOT mention anything about new training techniques...I think she is done trying. Not enjoying it at all. NOT WANTING TO CONTINUE TO TRAIN WITH THIS DOG?? Or maybe needs more time to think it over.


by Jessejones on 14 October 2018 - 17:10

Hang on! Not so fast with the advice of getting rid of the dog!

Are there other dogs in your household now? Does he attach and watch them more than he watches you, or interact with them more?

This might be impossible to do by only advice on this forum. We don’t know at what training knowledge level you personally are at. Your other dogs might have been easy dogs.

You might need some heavier guns...a good trainer, or at least some good videos. Leerburg has some good basic obedience vids.

It seem like this tough nut needs to be trained from the begining again. Start all over. First, like Joanro said, get rid of flirt pole. No toys.

Then, get a house crate, or start using it all the time, if you have one. Allow him no freedom unless it is earned. If he doesn’t want to work with you...put him in crate and leave. Come back in 15 minutes and try again. Still nothing, back in crate. You need to become his world.

Do not feed the dog set meals. Only feed as you train. Make sure he is good and hungry before you train. Always keep a bunch of food in your pocket. Start with good stuff...hotdogs, small beef cubes...roast beef...whatever for the important sessions. Then use kibble as your all day reinforcer. Do this all day with all the allotted food you normal give at meal time.

Start your training all over again. Go slow. Reward baby steps. Reinforce each time he only looks at you. Give him a verbal marker by saying YES every time he does what you like. Even if you don’t command him to do it, reinforce what you like. Sits next to you, YES - Treet. Looks at you, YES-treet. Doesn’t want to? Back in crate.
Stay neutral, don’t get mad. Use a long line leash, so you can always have control if he wanders off, so you can bring him back to you. Don’t allow him to make decisions or allow him to make any mistakes.
Cap the mistakes before they happen.

Remember timing is everything. 1/2 a second timing for corrections or reinforcemnt is best. Dont correct hard until dog knows the cue and you have proofed him.

There are others that will poopoo the food method. But food is the best motivator at this stage of the game, IMO. Once he is hungry enough he will comply. Much, much later, you can start eliminating the food reinforcement. But not for a while.

If this is too much for you after trying it for a while, maybe a rehoming can be thought about.

And, lastly, if you can take videos of a typical training session and post that here, a lot of people could advise and point out things abou a particular training session to make it more effective.

Old adage...”why does the dog do something?...answer is because he can!” One has to mediate on that one over and over again. It goes deeper than we think!


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