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new shepherd pup! I must be nuts!

 
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We did it!  Got a new baby. I'm exhausted, lol.

No name yet, still getting to know him, he came home with me on Saturday and will be 2 months old tomorrow. German shepherd/Belgian malinois cross.
For two months, he's doing amazingly well. Walked on a leash yesterday, controlled himself around my rabbits, is doing his business in the right place. I credit his uncle Nacho, my old boy, who is really saving me here.
WhatsApp-Image-2022-10-10-at-07.59.57.jpeg
sleepy puppy
sleepy puppy
 
Tereza Okava
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PS for right now we are calling him "Potato". Won't work when he's a big scary dog, but for now.....
 
rocket scientist
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Hi Tereza;  
A very cute pup you have brought home!
Nice cross with the Shepard / Malinois.
Still having your older doggy when getting a new pup is almost always a good idea.
Occasionally the pup will get too rambunctious and Natcho will need to show him who is boss, the same as your older sibling teaching you how to deal with stuff.
Hide all your slippers and shoes and anything else little potato can chew up!
Enjoy your new "toddler" puppy!
 
pollinator
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I'm going to copy/paste my 3 most popular puppy handouts for new clients here for you (or anyone else reading with a new puppy or planning to get one)!    If you have any other thoughts or questions, feel free to reach out!   I've trained and raised GSDs for 20+ years now, including herding, obedience, tracking, etc.  and just all around "good dog" stuff.   Dog friendly approach,  relationship building.   Or,  just share pictures of all his fun growth stages :D  


Top 10 Crate-Training Tips!

1.Use MULTIPLE crates when first starting, or move the crate with you so the pup can be nearby.   I suggest a bedroom crate for overnight,  and a living/dining area crate for TV or meal times.
2. PRACTICE many times on the days that you are home with the pup!   You don’t want their crate to only associate with being left alone.   I suggest a maximum of 2 hours “up” time without a crate nap,  puppies need a lot of sleep and don’t often know it.
3. ALWAYS potty your puppy  right before and after going in their crate.  Bring treats outside with you and reward them right AT the place they go potty, don’t rush back inside.
4. use SCENT ITEMS of yours either in or just outside the crate when you can’t be close.   An old pair of shoes,  a worn T-shirt, etc.  Something to reassure the pup that you haven’t gone forever.
5.  CRATE SIZE is important,  bigger is not better!   Having too little or too much space both work against you when teaching pups to settle and feel secure in their crates.
6.  WHITE NOISE/ Background noise can help drown out outside disturbances that might alarm your puppy or make it difficult for them to settle.   I use radios, box fans, white noise machines, etc.  Turning it on can be part of your “crate routine.”
7.  ROUTINES can really help a pup understand and transition to quiet crated rest time.   Make a show of going potty,  talking quietly,  turning down lights,  getting the special crate reward, and turning on background noise.   Abruptness is hard for pups,  predictable transitions are soothing.
8.  EXTRA SPECIAL crate reward items should be reserved ONLY for crate time;  frozen filled kongs or applesauce cups,  bully sticks,  pig ears, flavored chew items, etc.   This makes crating something to look forward to and somewhere they want to be.
9.  Be CONSISTENT about what behavior gets them back up from nap times, but don’t make it too hard to begin with;  quiet patient waiting is desirable.  Try to catch them when they are still asleep or busy chewing something and praise them and get them up again.
10. PATIENCE.   Remember, this is all new to your puppy too.   They have no idea what the rules are, how this place works, why it’s all different.   There is no way to explain it to them without showing them and walking them through it with gentle patience.  Some fussing and frustration is normal with all babies!


Housetraining:
Help: I've had my puppy two weeks and we are failing at house training her!
Ok, when you take her out put 10 little pieces of soft special treats in your pocket. Put her on
a leash and go stand quietly in the yard where you want her to "go". No play, no exercise.
Just walk back and forth in the small area, or in a little circle. WAIT. as long as it takes. When
she "goes", as soon as she stands up from the squat, start telling her what a brilliant good girl
she is, and feeding her the little treats, one at a time, over and over until they are gone. THEN
play/ walk/ exercise/ whatever. You can bring a bit of pee on a p.towel, or a small bit of her
poo out to that part of the yard for her to sniff as well. Never punish her or scold her for
"going" inside or she won't want to go when you are looking. ALWAYS take her out after every
single: nap, play session, meal,or water drink. Never take your eyes off of her unless she's in
a crate. And lastly, are you SURE about her age? If not, she is only just getting to the age
where she can even tell that she needs to go and barely beginning to have muscle control.
Before that, she'll go wherever and whenever she catches the scent of previous potties. So
clean with an enzyme cleaner and keep her out of areas where there have been multiple
accidents. You can do this

OUCH!
Puppy biting!   It's a problem!   But it's a totally normal and important developmental period.
Hopefully, puppies were not sold before 8-10weeks old or this problem can be exponentially
more difficult for the new family!
Why?  Well,  because their mother is their first teacher about using your teeth carefully, and
that happens at natural weaning.
Too many times I hear "oh they sold them at 6/7 weeks because the mother was being mean,
or the mother wouldn't feed them anymore, or the mother didn't want anything to do with
them...."   Those are all very important and healthy lessons that puppies should NOT be
"rescued" from.  Those early learning events imprint good manners and careful mouthing on
puppies,  skills and inhibitions that make them better pets.   They learn from their littermates
too;  puppies spend HOURS biting each other so they can learn how to use their teeth while
they still have sharp little baby teeth.
When puppies come home before that,  guess who substitutes for mom and littermates..
YOU!   They are not being naughty, or bad, or aggressive..  they are doing exactly what their
little brains are programmed to do at this age.   They want to learn how to use their teeth and
jaws properly so they can be successful socializing well LATER.   They can only learn that by
biting..  a lot.    There is a reason we jokingly call them "land sharks" at that age!
It can be a mistake to expect them to NOT bite at all.   There is evidence that puppies that
bite a lot socially are actually SAFER as adults than puppies who are not allowed to practice
and learning how to bite softer over time.  So how can we survive the first 5 months?
You may have been told to YELP.    Sometimes that works, on very young puppies.   But the
window for that to work is pretty short, and then some puppies get more excited by it and it
creates more biting.
You may have been told to redirect them to a toy..    this is GREAT advice, but understand
they are looking for interaction, not independent play.   If you redirect their teeth to a toy but
then ignore them, they will go back to biting YOU and they'll refuse the toy next time.  You
have to play WITH them with the toy.   Interactive play..   toss a toy,  pull a toy on a string for
them to chase,  play gentle tugging games.  Tease them a little and then let them get it.   If
their teeth stray onto your skin,   use all your willpower to go limp and stop playing, pause.   If
they move back to the toy YIPPEE GOOD PUPPY,  play starts again.
Overtired puppies and puppies with teething discomfort are much worse about biting, and can
be grumpy about it.   Put them down for a NAP, and have a big stock of interesting and high
value chews for this time.   Bully sticks,  pig ears,  frozen applesauce cups, carrots, celery
sticks,  stuffed kongs, etc.   I have a FULL FREEZER for puppy teething,  you can barely
open the door without something falling out!  
Playing with safe, appropriate dogs can be a HUGE help with puppy biting too.  They are
much better at communicating how much pressure is ok, and where biting is allowed in play.
They can often keep up with the maneuvers and help the pup get the play and interaction and
lessons their little mind is craving.  But make sure it's a dog that both enjoys puppies and also
respects the pups needs too.   No bullies or dogs that are overly aggressive in "correcting"
pups.   They don't need to be "put in their place"  they need patient role modeling, and
consistent gentle guidance!  
Happy puppy raising!
 
master steward
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Oh, what fun!  Glad to hear he is doing his business in the right place.

We name our dachshund Trouble because I thought potty training as a senior was a lot of trouble.

Shepherds will always be our favorite breed.  Just recently I caught dear hubby looking at them.  I asked "Are you thinking about getting a dog?"  the answer was yes though that was the last discussion.  We don't have a proper fence so getting one would require a lot of work and expense.

Enjoy the puppy.
 
Tereza Okava
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Heather, thank you for that great list of resources. Some will certainly come in handy!

So far so good, he is definitely in the "land shark" stage, having Uncle Nacho is making everything a lot easier (and he is definitely earning his treats!). As for me, I just got back from the vet/livestock supply and am in the "where did all my money go" stage!! New beds, vaccinations, new toys, new feed, oh boy!
 
Tereza Okava
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Anne Miller wrote:Shepherds will always be our favorite breed.  Just recently I caught dear hubby looking at them....


I never liked shepherds much before, always preferred sighthounds, but my daughter really wanted one and lobbied for our last dog to be a shepherd mix. I have really come to like the shepherd smarts and loyalty. And athleticism-- my husband has been saying lately that since our other dog has gotten creaky he really misses the long walks and runs they used to take every day, and I figured it was time. This one will definitely make sure all of us get our miles in, Uncle Nacho included!
 
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He's beautiful, Tereza!! And, such a good boy! I love the floofiness,  and such a sweet face... I hope you'll share Potato's journey with us!
 
Heather Staas
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They can be a lot of fun but not for the unsuspecting LOL.   Bunny had been through 4 placements already by the time I got her at 12 weeks,  folks over their head and having NO idea what they were getting themselves into.    She's right up my alley though.   I think she was meant to be my dog,  just had to take the long way to get there.   My older girl is 7,  came from a working line breeder down in TX, my second GSD from them.    
sochanmidseason.jpg
dog trying to climbo over low fence
Clare-best.jpg
black dog and cat lying in their cage
Clare.jpg
black dog in a puddle
bun5.jpg
sad looking dog
 
Tereza Okava
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Aw Heather, they're lovely!!!
Yes, definitely, not for the unaware. Pretty, but a lot of work (that has a fabulous payoff).
 
Heather Staas
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Thanks!  Can't wait to see pictures of your guy growing up :)   Is your older dog a GSD also?
 
Tereza Okava
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I keep trying to get a picture of the two of them and it's just crazytown around here. The little potato has shown his love for balls already, driving the old man to consider that maybe he was wrong about not caring much for them (because heaven forbid one have something that the other doesn't have).
My old man is half shepherd and half pitty. He's 12, and while I hoped the puppy would bring him some enjoyment I also know he's creaky and grumpy (like me and my husband lately, to be honest!).
shepherd-dog-with-a-cone-on-his-head.jpeg
shepherd dog with a cone on his head
shepherd dog with a cone on his head
pair-of-shepherds-laying-down.jpeg
pair of shepherds laying down
pair of shepherds laying down
 
Heather Staas
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Can I just say how much I LOVE when puppies go to a home with a socially savvy and tolerant adult dog <3  I love those pictures.  
 
Tereza Okava
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this adult dog is saving my bacon (and my sanity!). I know the land shark is definitely tempering his biting thanks to Uncle Nacho, who only takes so much. Lots of well-deserved treats around here.
 
Carla Burke
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Oh, yeh!! A couple weeks ago, I told John I want to wait until Bailey (Irish Wolfound, F) and Charlie (Cavalier, F) are 5 or 6 (Bailey just turned 3, last month, and Charlie will be 3, next month - they're only 7wks apart, and Charlie weighed at 8wks what Bailey weighed at birth), to give both girls more time to be our babies, and settle into their adult years a bit, then get another pup. Having a giant pup and a tiny one at the same time was... insanity manifested! It was fun in many ways, but also expensive and OFTEN terrifying. They had to be kept apart, unless on lead, because a happy, playful, teething, impulsive puppy that's gaining 3lbs/day combined with the same features in one that's gaining about 3lbs/ month could turn/ tragic, in a split second. Training them want too bad, except we got the both right before the whole covid mess, so we were 100% on our own, with no way to socialize them.

They've both calmed down substantially, and proven to be very sweet, gentle girls, so bringing in a new pup in, acouple more years down the road, once they've settled into their maturity, we will have 2 wonderful nannies to help raise it. And... when these two pass on, we will already have another, so we won't be looking at the heartbreak of feeling like we're trying to 'replace' them. You're a wise woman, Tereza - not a crazy one! Well, ok. Maybe a tiny bit, lol!

P.s. Don't mind the Bailey-fur dust bunnies, under the couch. And no, they don't have names, yet.
20221003_111835.jpg
Sharing toys - finally!
Sharing toys - finally!
20220928_152134.jpg
Charlie, at almost 3yrs old - entirely unimpressed with the new cowgirl hat Daddy bought for her
Charlie, at almost 3yrs old - entirely unimpressed with the new cowgirl hat Daddy bought for her
20220915_222255.jpg
Bailey, with her 3yr birthday stuffie, towering over the futon couch Daddy got for her birthday, last year
Bailey, with her 3yr birthday stuffie, towering over the futon couch Daddy got for her birthday, last year
 
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While I was breeding my pair of German Shepherds, I would go all in on encouraging crate training. It helps with pretty much any dog but really is survival gear with a shepherd. I'll never forget getting my first one, I had had boxers and loved them but dang, a GSD is a DOG. My female has a high prey drive so I just keep her and the rabbits/chickens separated by wire. If they are, she doesn't even pay them any attention. Not like my male who just wants to "play" with them. He finds the pigs the most satisfactory. Our American Guinea hogs will run the fence line with him and grunt - they almost sound like dogs.
received_4084073164979197-(1).jpg
two German Shepards and a man
 
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Heather Staas wrote:I'm going to copy/paste my 3 most popular puppy handouts for new clients here for you (or anyone else reading with a new puppy or planning to get one)!    If you have any other thoughts or questions, feel free to reach out!   I've trained and raised GSDs for 20+ years now, including herding, obedience, tracking, etc.  and just all around "good dog" stuff.   Dog friendly approach,  relationship building.   Or,  just share pictures of all his fun growth stages :D  


Top 10 Crate-Training Tips!

1.Use MULTIPLE crates when first starting, or move the crate with you so the pup can be nearby.   I suggest a bedroom crate for overnight,  and a living/dining area crate for TV or meal times.
2. PRACTICE many times on the days that you are home with the pup!   You don’t want their crate to only associate with being left alone.   I suggest a maximum of 2 hours “up” time without a crate nap,  puppies need a lot of sleep and don’t often know it.
3. ALWAYS potty your puppy  right before and after going in their crate.  Bring treats outside with you and reward them right AT the place they go potty, don’t rush back inside.
4. use SCENT ITEMS of yours either in or just outside the crate when you can’t be close.   An old pair of shoes,  a worn T-shirt, etc.  Something to reassure the pup that you haven’t gone forever.
5.  CRATE SIZE is important,  bigger is not better!   Having too little or too much space both work against you when teaching pups to settle and feel secure in their crates.
6.  WHITE NOISE/ Background noise can help drown out outside disturbances that might alarm your puppy or make it difficult for them to settle.   I use radios, box fans, white noise machines, etc.  Turning it on can be part of your “crate routine.”
7.  ROUTINES can really help a pup understand and transition to quiet crated rest time.   Make a show of going potty,  talking quietly,  turning down lights,  getting the special crate reward, and turning on background noise.   Abruptness is hard for pups,  predictable transitions are soothing.
8.  EXTRA SPECIAL crate reward items should be reserved ONLY for crate time;  frozen filled kongs or applesauce cups,  bully sticks,  pig ears, flavored chew items, etc.   This makes crating something to look forward to and somewhere they want to be.
9.  Be CONSISTENT about what behavior gets them back up from nap times, but don’t make it too hard to begin with;  quiet patient waiting is desirable.  Try to catch them when they are still asleep or busy chewing something and praise them and get them up again.
10. PATIENCE.   Remember, this is all new to your puppy too.   They have no idea what the rules are, how this place works, why it’s all different.   There is no way to explain it to them without showing them and walking them through it with gentle patience.  Some fussing and frustration is normal with all babies!


Housetraining:
Help: I've had my puppy two weeks and we are failing at house training her!
Ok, when you take her out put 10 little pieces of soft special treats in your pocket. Put her on
a leash and go stand quietly in the yard where you want her to "go". No play, no exercise.
Just walk back and forth in the small area, or in a little circle. WAIT. as long as it takes. When
she "goes", as soon as she stands up from the squat, start telling her what a brilliant good girl
she is, and feeding her the little treats, one at a time, over and over until they are gone. THEN
play/ walk/ exercise/ whatever. You can bring a bit of pee on a p.towel, or a small bit of her
poo out to that part of the yard for her to sniff as well. Never punish her or scold her for
"going" inside or she won't want to go when you are looking. ALWAYS take her out after every
single: nap, play session, meal,or water drink. Never take your eyes off of her unless she's in
a crate. And lastly, are you SURE about her age? If not, she is only just getting to the age
where she can even tell that she needs to go and barely beginning to have muscle control.
Before that, she'll go wherever and whenever she catches the scent of previous potties. So
clean with an enzyme cleaner and keep her out of areas where there have been multiple
accidents. You can do this

OUCH!
Puppy biting!   It's a problem!   But it's a totally normal and important developmental period.
Hopefully, puppies were not sold before 8-10weeks old or this problem can be exponentially
more difficult for the new family!
Why?  Well,  because their mother is their first teacher about using your teeth carefully, and
that happens at natural weaning.
Too many times I hear "oh they sold them at 6/7 weeks because the mother was being mean,
or the mother wouldn't feed them anymore, or the mother didn't want anything to do with
them...."   Those are all very important and healthy lessons that puppies should NOT be
"rescued" from.  Those early learning events imprint good manners and careful mouthing on
puppies,  skills and inhibitions that make them better pets.   They learn from their littermates
too;  puppies spend HOURS biting each other so they can learn how to use their teeth while
they still have sharp little baby teeth.
When puppies come home before that,  guess who substitutes for mom and littermates..
YOU!   They are not being naughty, or bad, or aggressive..  they are doing exactly what their
little brains are programmed to do at this age.   They want to learn how to use their teeth and
jaws properly so they can be successful socializing well LATER.   They can only learn that by
biting..  a lot.    There is a reason we jokingly call them "land sharks" at that age!
It can be a mistake to expect them to NOT bite at all.   There is evidence that puppies that
bite a lot socially are actually SAFER as adults than puppies who are not allowed to practice
and learning how to bite softer over time.  So how can we survive the first 5 months?
You may have been told to YELP.    Sometimes that works, on very young puppies.   But the
window for that to work is pretty short, and then some puppies get more excited by it and it
creates more biting.
You may have been told to redirect them to a toy..    this is GREAT advice, but understand
they are looking for interaction, not independent play.   If you redirect their teeth to a toy but
then ignore them, they will go back to biting YOU and they'll refuse the toy next time.  You
have to play WITH them with the toy.   Interactive play..   toss a toy,  pull a toy on a string for
them to chase,  play gentle tugging games.  Tease them a little and then let them get it.   If
their teeth stray onto your skin,   use all your willpower to go limp and stop playing, pause.   If
they move back to the toy YIPPEE GOOD PUPPY,  play starts again.
Overtired puppies and puppies with teething discomfort are much worse about biting, and can
be grumpy about it.   Put them down for a NAP, and have a big stock of interesting and high
value chews for this time.   Bully sticks,  pig ears,  frozen applesauce cups, carrots, celery
sticks,  stuffed kongs, etc.   I have a FULL FREEZER for puppy teething,  you can barely
open the door without something falling out!  
Playing with safe, appropriate dogs can be a HUGE help with puppy biting too.  They are
much better at communicating how much pressure is ok, and where biting is allowed in play.
They can often keep up with the maneuvers and help the pup get the play and interaction and
lessons their little mind is craving.  But make sure it's a dog that both enjoys puppies and also
respects the pups needs too.   No bullies or dogs that are overly aggressive in "correcting"
pups.   They don't need to be "put in their place"  they need patient role modeling, and
consistent gentle guidance!  
Happy puppy raising!



This is such great advice!  You really know what you're talking about!  I could have used your help when we got our GSD pup who is now almost two.  Friends flew him out from a breeder in Oregon but soon found that he was way too much for them to handle, and knowing we'd had GSDs, they gave him to us.  We did not have an older dog to teach him, unfortunately, as we had lost our awesome pup a couple of years before.  Well, the new guy was a biter like none before, and we were all in tears nightly because he was soooo bad.  Our hands looked like they'd been stuck in blenders, and no amount of play would help because he'd rather chew on you than anything else.  We ended up working with a fantastic local trainer (never did that with any of the many other dogs) and she helped get him settled.  She thought that his large litter size was a problem for him and had caused some bullying and insecurity issues, which I think is true, but since then we have figured out that he was weaned too soon.  How do we know this?  Now that he's a (pretty) good dog, he will lick you, and then try to get hold of your ears!  He definitely still has issues, too, and has never had that totally secure working dog vibe of our other GSDs.  Of course, despite all that we love him to death.  Our favorite toy to tire him out?  Our trainer recommended a bullwhip with a toy attached at the end.  They make toys similar to this, but not nearly as tough as the homemade version.  Our guy just looooooves the one we made him.
 
Tereza Okava
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So we are at 11 weeks. My hands do admittedly have more scratches than I'd prefer, but they are all from playing keep-away or tug with the baby shark. He's acquired a name, Tanuki, and is moving out of potato territory, getting leggy. I'll try to get some decent photos today, all I have is video since 1) he's very interested in the phone, so it's not near him very often 2) my work is bonkers 3) it's spring: I'm not hanging around taking pictures!! Got things to plant.

I was not pleased with how feeding was going.
The breeder just dumped the food on the ground and let the litter of 6 fight it out, and even after two weeks here with us he was still having the feeding frenzy, regurgitating food later, hiccups every meal, that kind of thing. We bought a slow-down dish, but the frenzy continued, and then he snapped at me a couple days ago when I touched the food bowl, so that was that. I decided to hand feed for a week and after that we'll see how it goes.
Hand feeding has gone extremely well, he got it immediately and is being very careful with his teeth, plus he's learning his sit command (I use hand signals with my dogs, sit is the first). We just dropped to 3 meals a day, so it takes a bit of time out of my day, but overall I think it's a good thing.
I know there are some drawbacks to hand feeding, and it certainly won't be forever, but right now til he's fully vaccinated I don't have too many options. We have another month to go before I can take him to parks and even out walking, which is usually my big training standby--we have sooooo many street dogs and strays in parks, parvo and other diseases are rampant, I'm not taking any chances til he's got the full series, which will only be in mid December.
But so far, this dog is scary smart. Not sure if it is the Malinois or what, but it's eerie. And his sense of smell, even for a puppy, is ridiculous. We're going to have a heck of a lot of fun with this dog.
In the pic, Tanuki sitting and being a good boy (after being caught standing with his two front legs in the water bucket. Maybe today we can try out the kiddie pool while the weather is nice, it's supposed to get cold and rainy again this weekend).
tanuki.jpeg
[Thumbnail for tanuki.jpeg]
 
Heather Staas
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Handfeeding is an excellent solution!  Way more benefits to that than possible negatives.

Want some other feeding games to help pups feel good about people coming near food bowl (and for others who might find it helpful) ?  I have a video here somewhere I can link, let me find it.   Feeding a "dessert" is one of them.. something super yum to drop in just as the pup is finishing up...    

https://vimeo.com/384402597/4f11c21cbe

SUPER cutie and the name is excellent!

 
Tereza Okava
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Thanks for the video, many good ideas!
 
Tereza Okava
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we made it to 4 months yesterday!
He is at the hysterical "unpredictable ear" stage, as you can see in the pic below. He's also hit 15 kg and is almost too big to pick up now (not that he would let me....).
Mellowing in some ways (much easier to have him in the car, for example, and mealtimes much less dramatic), but amazingly wild and pushing his boundaries, as a puppy should (goodbye rosebush).

We had done some walking on leash from the start, but we have very few dog-free spaces. Last week I felt secure enough to take him to the park (I can keep him away from other dogs; I'm not letting him have close contact with any dogs til his immunizations are guaranteed, mid-month, so no walking on street or puppy playdates yet) and we've been doing really, really well walking on leash.
I really like the gentle leader or halters (before dogs, I trained horses) and have had great results with my other dogs. So imagine my surprise when I went to get gear and they no longer sell them O-o. Dr Internet tells me they're out of style for safety/cruelty issues.... I am not 100% on board with that, but that's not going to get me a halter, so....
I came home with a front-attach harness, which has been interesting and a learning curve for both of us. This dog is going to walk a lot with us and is doing great with this harness, but I can't walk the two dogs together yet, it's just chaos. Other dogs I've had have learned by walking side by side with the older dog, but in this case they can't even be in the same park without baby going batso. Still, I can't do a good fast "tire-him-out" walk with my other dog (too old) anyway, so it all works out. Once I can walk around the neighborhood instead of packing him up into the car to go walking (a 10 minute thing instead of a 1.5 hour production), things will get so much easier.
Like everything else, I need to keep taking deep breaths and reminding myself "he's only a baby!"

That said, he is amazingly vigilant and already taking his security duties very seriously (that is his main function, and he is an outside dog). He's picked up the different kinds of barks used by our other boy and a few times I've gone out to check out what his "hey! invader" bark was all about when I couldn't see anything on the cameras. Cat on the roof does not escape his attention!
WhatsApp-Image-2022-12-10-at-13.10.39.jpeg
4 months old
4 months old
 
Carla Burke
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He's so cute, Tereza! I love the indecisive ears, lol! Funny enough, Irish Wolfhounds never outgrow that, and Bailey often (unintentionally) wears her ears as a hat, lol. It definitely adds to the derpiness factor, lol.
 
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They are wonderful dogs!
Remember the sharking stage is a stage.  They must go threw it!
I cried, said what did i get myself into.  But now i have the prefect service dog.  (I dont hear well)
I would take a towel and wrap it around my arm for play time  
Good luck, they are amazing smart!!  
All her training was done via food method and started at 7 weeks old.   Mine now 4yrs old 120lbs 261/2 in tall.  Very big for female

Mine is short hair.    Here in photo with my fathers male long hair
20221203_102121.jpg
Gsd
Gsd
 
Tereza Okava
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I am a week behind, but we made it to 5 months last week! But just barely. The last month was really hard, frankly, and not getting easier anytime soon.
I was looking forward to starting to take both dogs to the park regularly when, in the space of a week or two, my husband had surgery, my daughter crashed my car, and I found out I've been walking around with a broken wrist since October. Between these three things, no walking is getting done, and I was really looking forward to it. Neither I nor my husband can hold the pup walking around the neighborhood (aggressive street dogs all over the place, he pulls with the harness and with the halter), no car to go to the parks where things are calmer.... I'm frustrated. Inside the house and the yard we practice with his harness and he's great, but out in public it's a free-for-all and he's unpredictable with people and with other dogs.

I've been doing a chase pole in the yard to exercise, and lots of ball playing, but it's also raining buckets every day and sometimes the play is just nominal. Luckily a few weeks ago I bought a dozen chewy bones (not even kidding, saw them on sale and thought, 'can't go wrong') and that has been getting us through the summer rains-- and teething.
Other than that, things are okay. Tanuki is finally switching out his baby teeth (lost 3 yesterday), muuuuuch less biting, and we've been doing some smell games. He is now taller than my other dog and while he still is using the "puppy bark" to ask to play, I am not sure how much longer he will "obey" the old man.
Let's see, he's also always dumping his water bucket, eating the other dog's poo, and last night destroyed the outside bed. None of this is unexpected....

I know I've just got to hang in for another few weeks til either my husband is cleared to start walking again or I get my car back after repairs (trouble finding parts, so much so that they won't even give me a time frame, saying it could be "weeks to months"). one day at a time!

One surprise: Tanuki has never been snuggly (in fact he'd make hippo noises and thrash if anyone tried to hug or otherwise restrain him), but lately wants to be on our laps. I've been implementing some of the feeding games in the video shared above (holding the bones/horns/chewies/etc has been especially good) and I think that maybe has helped.

Ah and ears still unpredictable. The breeder messaged me around New Year to ask, and apparently his brothers have all got pointy ears by now, but considering he still has baby teeth I think it's a bit early. His ears are the least of my concerns!!!
 
Anne Miller
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Tereza Okava wrote:I was looking forward to starting to take both dogs to the park regularly when, in the space of a week or two, my husband had surgery, my daughter crashed my car, and I found out I've been walking around with a broken wrist since October. Between these three things, no walking is getting done, and I was really looking forward to it. Neither I nor my husband can hold the pup walking around the neighborhood (aggressive street dogs all over the place, he pulls with the harness and with the halter), no car to go to the parks where things are calmer.... I'm frustrated. Inside the house and the yard we practice with his harness and he's great, but out in public it's a free-for-all and he's unpredictable with people and with other dogs.



Wow, life happens ... so sorry to hear this.  I hope life is getting better.

I love seeing all the pups.  We miss our dogs.

We dearly want another one and dear hubby keeps threatening to get one.

We just don't have a fence to contain a dog.
 
Heather Staas
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One suggestion:   check out some youtube videos on Freework for Dogs.    I've been doing 20 mins a day of this INSTEAD of a ball play session and my youngest dog is already so much calmer and more focused.  I was inadvertently causing some unbalance in relying too heavily on fast, hard ball games to burn off her energy and get some exercise in.   Freework engages the "seeking" part of the brain and builds confidence, burns energy (as much as exercise) and it's a good way to lower tension and frustration.   You are right on the brink of adolescence so it's normal to have all the ups and downs you are dealing with (you probably know that already).  

Leash walking;   Behavior Adjustment Training is my FAVORITE leash training and walking method BY FAR for all young dogs.   None of my GSDs or GSDxhusky mixes pull on leash and we regularly pack up and head to the school or park to avoid all the crap that happens in "neighborhood" walks.   You aren't alone,  I ran a poll for my clients and 60% of them find neighborhood walks stressful,  anxiety-causing, and unpleasant!  

Here's a link to that 'walk with me':    https://school.grishastewart.com/courses/walkwithme

Here is a video link to my dogs and cat doing their 2nd ever freework session:

https://vimeo.com/789681706/8f6b5aa536

I'm about to offer a "SUNDAY FUNDAY"  mini-session day in this at my training center for folks to start doing this.  You can increase the difficulty level of the environmental obstacles and things as you.    Super mentally good stuff for dogs (and cats too).  
 
Tereza Okava
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Thanks a bunch Heather, your links are always super helpful and always greatly appreciated, I will check them out. We are already starting nose work (the nose on this boy!!!) but I'm intrigued to see what free work involves!

(just looked at this BAT thing and I can't remember where I saw it but I've been following another trainer who does essentially the same thing, since I'm using this new harness that I've never used before and needed some orientation. Lots of treats for a slack line and paying attention. When I go to my favorite "park" -- actually the parking area of a small private airport I have access to, lol, no dogs or kids or bikes or nothing but plenty of curbs, walkways, noise, birds, trucks, etc-- he can do this like a boss. Unfortunately, when we are in the neighborhood, he turns into Cujo. We're working on it.)
 
Heather Staas
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I always think of reactivity as a "distance threshold" problem ;)    "These things are too close for me to feel safe right now"

And leash walking is sort of like learning to drive a car;  parking lot skills have to be in place before "driving on the highway"  so to speak.  Imagine how freaked out you'd be as a new/young driver trying to merge onto the highway during rush hour when everyone was going 20 miles over the speed limit.   You might be more inclined to lash out under that kind of pressure ;)   Helps me put it in perspective when young dogs are struggling.  

And this quote "your dog is not giving you a hard time,  he's having a hard time."   It helps me when I feel my patience wearing thin!  
 
Tereza Okava
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Makes a lot of sense.

Heather Staas wrote: "your dog is not giving you a hard time,  he's having a hard time."   It helps me when I feel my patience wearing thin!  


A good thought to keep in mind alongside the old standby "BUT HE'S JUST A BABY!" (a laaaaarge baby indeed)
 
Tereza Okava
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Baby turned 6 months this week!!!
This month's development has been the dog park! My other dog is too reactive to enjoy the dog park, he just wants to defend me and scrap with everyone, and he's unpredictable with small dogs (and frankly dog parks, at least here, are mostly full of small dogs), so we've never gone. But I'm on the early socialization train, so off to the local dog park we went. It is a super success, he is very timid at first and very careful with the small dogs. In fact he seems to enjoy playing with the smaller dogs more. Every once in a while he'll get the zoomies, but it's mostly smell-chase-snuggle. And of course, ask for pets from every single person in the park, even more fun for him than playing. Never once any aggression; he will every so often go to look at my husband and my other dog, who sit under a tree nearby, just to make sure they're still there. There is also an agility course in the park and we practice some training stuff there. It's a shame that there are only really dogs there early in the morning on the weekends, because he really enjoys it.
We tried another dog park closer to home, but the fence was very low and he kind of jumped over (to be fair, he was playing chase with an italian greyhound, who went over first. what a circus).
He's spending a bit more time inside, has learned the joys of a cold tile floor on a hot summer's day. He likes to just watch me do stuff in the kitchen, very carefully (i'm imagining: Ratatouille, dog version). I enjoy giving him things to sniff and occasionally taste-- today I let him taste papaya and then had to defend my breakfast, because he was ready to take the whole bowl.
I have a rental car this week and we've gone out walking or to the park every day. Yesterday it poured all day so I took him to one of these pet stores and everyone came flocking out for pets and snuggles because...puppy. He is really friendly in public, which is a relief because at home he is definitely the big scary defender.
He's really large, nobody can believe he's only 6 months. He's already surpassed my older dog in height, and he's over 25kg now. We've just hit the point where the volume of dog food starts to decrease too, which is a bit of a relief.... we use a 15kg sack in less than a month!!
The ear is still not cooperating. I don't really care, and he certainly doesn't.

Current challenge: he's learned he can stand up on stuff. Like kitchen counters or cars. The car is problematic, since it scratches, but it seems to only happen in extreme circumstances (cat on the carport roof, generally) and I can't plan for that or counter it (we've put up barbed wire, but the cat now is coming over my neighbor's roof to the other side of my carport). I know as he gets heavier he will be less disposed to do this stuff, but in the meantime....  
WhatsApp-Image-2023-02-09-at-15.10.00.jpeg
dog on a cool floor
dog on a cool floor
 
Carla Burke
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I so love his floppy ear! It gives him a rakish, devil-may-care look, perfect for an awesome, happy pup like him! The papaya, while hilarious doesn't surprise me, much, just because our dogs eat all kinds of stuff, like that. I mean... romaine lettuce is a favorite, so they're kindred spirits, in food. 😁😁😁
 
Tereza Okava
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I also cook with lots of spices- last night i made some curries and i let him smell every one, and he seemed to be very intent. No interest in eating any of them, but i could see him mentally filing everything away.
He likes to shred (but not eat) carrots and cucumbers. Cherry tomatoes get stolen off my plant but spit out after; corn cobs are boring, any cabbage or collard or kale spines are ignored and string beans just get spit out, but fruit for some reason is very appealing.
We also finally got my older dog onto a better treatment regimen for his arthritis (hips and spine). He had stopped eating after the previous vet refused to refill his pain meds, saying he didn't need them, just supplements which he happened to sell. We decided to stick with the supplements he was already taking and switch vets instead.... i got in touch with an old vet who now has a house-call practice and remembers him from when he was a pup. She sorted it all out....Nacho is back to being half-pig and wrassling with Tanuki all the time. What a relief.
 
Carla Burke
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That's awesome news, Tereza!! Our dogs both love spicy, sweet, fruits, veggies, & meats(duh, lol). But, with me feeding Charlie raw, it's what she's had, since she was 8wks old. Bailey gets food from a bag😶🤐(not my dog, not my choice), but I make almost all her treats, as well as Charlie's. But, with the exception of foods that are bad for them, we give them nobles from whatever we're cooking, so maybe ours just see it as being part of our pack, lol.
 
Tereza Okava
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Tomorrow we hit 8 months!!!
Tanuki is a full fledged teenage boy, all feet and elbows and stomach. The stomach has gotten us into trouble- he had a week of bloody diarrhea and a suspected intestinal blockage.... I got to experience the wonder of a home-visit X-ray and ultrasound service (who even knew these things existed???), and the fun of holding down a shepherd dog to get his belly shaved and scanned (who knew: dogs dislike cold ultrasound jelly on their bellies just as much as humans do!)
Luckily for us, scan showed nothing, "just" colitis, and no need for emergency surgery. Ten days of a whole crapload of medications, and the diarrhea finally stopped. I suspect one of the chew toys (a cow horn)--- we've had two so far, the first one I threw away when it started to show wear, but the second one disappeared, I suspect Tanuki hid it, chewed it til it splintered, and swallowed a splinter on the sneak. Or maybe he ate rocks. Or leaves. Or bees. Or a spare set of keys. Everything like trash and food is pretty well locked down but he will go for anything, he's always acting like he's starving, so who even knows. The bright side of this: he's about 5000% easier to medicate than my other dog, though- give him a pill and he'll eat it happily.

We've gotten the cars back, and our quick love affair with the dog park is already over. Twice there were aggressive dogs, and then the next time Tanuki was the aggressive dog, bullying rottweilers both time (go big or go home?). I took him out and figured he needs to grow up and learn more control (and trust) before we go back.
Instead I'm focusing a lot on two things- leash walking (in parks, not in the neighborhood) and nose work. He's shown so much interest in smelling that it's become an incentive: good leash walking and he gets to go on the "scent walks" that someone else mentioned in another thread. He will do anything to go sniffing after squirrels and rats and who even knows what else. He's also learned a few more commands. Plus a snuffle mat, which he enjoys the heck out of.
On the flip side, I learned what he's like when I'm out of the house and my daughter is at home. He's out of control, especially if she has visitors. So we've started keeping him on a leash when people come in, and he's like a different dog with a leash on.

Ear is still down. Still the least of my problems.... He's a large dog now, and we're enjoying him a lot more.
 
Tereza Okava
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so we are almost at 9 months!! (his birthday is next week but it's our 25th wedding anniversary and I'm hoping I'll be too busy doing something fun to update).

I knew this was about when things would start getting complicated, and the last month has been a bit wild indeed. He is definitely a raging teen right now. He veers between lovely and smart (the dog can now open any door if he wishes to. I am now just hoping he doesn't figure out the refrigerator...) and hormonal (has started scent marking). That is my cue to get him castrated, which is scheduled for two weeks from now. My other dog (a neutered male) is still the top dog, but I'm not sure for how much longer, and since he's geriatric and fragile I'd rather avoid any eventual fights; they do a lot of rough play.

On the other hand, I made some work/schedule changes to make sure he's finally doing a lot of walking. Like 3-5K a day (Getting my steps in for sure). The change in his behavior at home has been striking, which is just what I'm going for. And he walks really nicely--- most of the time.

The block around my house, unfortunately, is pure hell. We have to pass 7 houses with dogs that bark and rage behind their fences before we can get to "free and clear", where he walks nicely and trusts me. But to pass these houses, he lunges and pulls on his back legs to try to get to them. I'm not really sure what to do. I drag him past as he goes nuts and try not to trip over him, since he's all over the place.
(about a month ago, when we stopped going to the dog park, I started doing the BAT scheme with the "have fun sniffing at a distance from the scary dog" thing and it went great. We can walk past dogs in the park just fine now. I thought maybe I could do something similar at home, but as soon as he steps foot outside everyone starts barking and he's already a wreck. Same with the desensitization conditioning-- I tried that a few times and we're just too close, he isn't interested in any treats while all hell is breaking loose next door.)
I do try to walk him at off hours or when it's raining, when these dogs are usually sleeping or not out barking for some reason. One time we got lucky and I let him sniff nearby when nobody was around, but it's so rare (and the next time was no better).

I've decided to try 20 times and see if it gets any better. Yesterday was 5, and it's still pretty wild. My husband refuses to walk him. We need to walk where I live, since I don't have a car every day anymore. When street dogs (we have a lot of them) are around he has sniffed them relatively calmly, but they often turn aggressive, yesterday this happened twice and I had to whack them (I carry a staff for precisely this reason), so he's seen me protect him, and I feel like he trusts me when we're out and about. We are walking in a lot of different places and he does really well-- except right near our home.

If anyone has any ideas on the physical task of how to walk past these houses, I'd sure appreciate it. The dog walks on a front-clip harness and a gentle leader (which only gets used during this part- on the rest of the walk it's the harness and he doesn't pull whatsoever). I just literally am having trouble holding him as we walk-- I end up holding the side of the head harness and frog-marching him past, which is not ideal.

(As background- I live in an urban area and I also keep my dogs in my front yard, where they also bark at times, but mostly to keep people away-- that is a fact of life here. The neighbors' dogs never come out of their yards, I think I'm the only one who takes mine out, so it's not likely they will ever meet them in any other context. The road in question is a busy two-lane street with no sidewalks, it's a steep uphill or else I would consider going past at a run.)
 
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Well... Crud. That's a very not-fun situation that's unfortunately, also very common.  Ok, one of the things (in this case, probably only a tiny factor) that can often happen, is the first few times these dogs started barking and losing their minds, he may have also sensed some tensing up, in you (that you may not even have noticed, in yourself), adding to his nervousness. It can be a self-perpetuating & quickly increasing thing. I could(obviously) be entirely off base, here. You said your hubby won't walk him, but would he join you, if you walk him? My thought here is that if nothing else, hubby might have a calming effect on both of you.

My next thought would be to catch his attention before you get close to the other dogs, and start passing him treats, to maybe get & keep his attention focused on you. There is a UK based training team, Absolute Dogs, who really flourished during the lockdowns, because of all the folks who brought home dogs and subsequently realized there would be no training classes to help them and their dogs learn to deal with this kind of thing. Their methods are incredibly effective, and (since we got Bailey in Nov. '19 & Charlie on Jan 4, '20) I used their methods for most of my work with Charlie, as well as much of my work with Bailey (she is John's dog, and he trained her his own way, but the two methods were quite compatible), and they have great strategies just for this kind of thing. I can't recommend them enough!
 
Tereza Okava
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Thanks a mil for the recommendation, I will check them out.

My husband doesn't get home til after dark now that they've done away with daylight savings time here [grumble grumble], but we can try on the weekend. (I love that you think he would calm me down, LOLOL. If nothing else we can help remind the other to tone it down, though, so good idea.)
I am definitely tense, I try to shake it out but I'd be lying if I said I was cool as a cuke.

One thing we were just talking about is how our senior dog has reached the "don't give a crap anymore" stage of life, and this is probably contributing. In his dotage he is getting away with a lot of bad behavior (took advantage of the confusion during a recent vet visit to dig in my garden beds, something he never ever would have tried before). Then a few days ago when I took the pup out to do some sniff-and-treats in the front yard who started the howling-and-barking chorus??? The old man. The vet keeps telling me it's a miracle he's still with us (and my daughter is spoiling him, as he's her dog), but lately he seems to be more like Bad Grandpa.... I'm starting to keep them separated a bit more, which seems to make pup behave a bit more, at least.
 
Carla Burke
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Well, lol. I get the calming vs telling you to chill thing, lol! This also wipes out the other thought I'd had; often, older dogs will have a teaching & calming effect, and taking the two out together can help. But, in this case, it sounds like maybe not so much, lol!
 
Tereza Okava
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But you've given me a great idea, Carla. We haven't taken them out in the neighborhood together. They are problematic to walk together-- they want to be glued at the hip so we tend to go separately. Bad Grandpa can only go about 2 blocks, very slowly, but he's nice and calm. That's enough, though.... I'll have my husband walk the old man alongside to see us off tomorrow morning and see what happens. I kind of can't believe I didnt think of this before. (Facepalm)
 
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So a week later:
we tried taking them on a "pack walk" past the scary houses and it made zero difference. The old man walked right by smiling, as usual, but the pup was in crazyland.

Next week after his surgery he has 4 days of a cone and "rest" scheduled (not sure how we're going to do that, frankly, but I'll worry about that next week) and I expect some setbacks after a week of minimal activity, so I decided I would change tactics.
We're working on other things, more challenging walks in the parks (checking out machinery, workers, kids on bicycles, basketball courts, etc) with BAT, doing more scent work, and taking a break from walking around here. I'm leaning on the other people I share the cars with and we've come up with some good workarounds so the dog can get his miles in and I can keep my sanity.

Other good news: I ordered a backpack for him, which just arrived yesterday. That was a great training tool for my other dog when he was a pup (tires them out very quickly, allows shorter walks).
 
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