Just wondering if any of you wise mnetters have any advice on how to train a 17 week old GS. She's lovely, but am struggling a bit. My partner has experience with GS but even he's losing the will to live a tiny bit. I'm a sahm with a 2.3 yo ds, so put a lot of time into trying to train her but its just not working. There is constantly soooo much mess all over the floor ( I never knew a dog could produce so much poo and pee!!) She makes no attempt whatsoever to go outside. The back door is constantly open and even after weeks and weeks of consistent training she just goes all over the floor. She also pees uncontrollably whenever she's excited or told off or.....anytime!! She also nips....I know a lot of this is normal puppy behaviour, but its getting a bit too much with ds. She jumps up to his fave and tries to nip...not hard but I guess this is playing and asserting dominance. Every time she does it we push her down, say no bites and get D's to nicely but firmly say no to her. Nothing is working though. On the odd occasion she is left alone there is utter devestation. We have a stair gate on the kitchen door and she stays in there with access to an enclosed yard so plenty of room.. She's caused hundreds of pounds of damage already and I just want it to start improving. Any tips would be so greatly appreciated. We have had dogs before, but never this bad and always managed to train them. Its really the messing that is getting me down...there's only so many hours in a day that I can spend disinfecting!
I wonder if she is over stimulated. Out for a few hours on the beach at her age seems like a lot to me. She is just around four months and so should get around 20 mins walk at a time (or is it different for GSD?)
Although I'm an inexperienced dog owner, I'll throw my hat in the ring. First of all, you sound as though you are a brilliantly patient and lovely dog owner. I would have given up long ago (sorry all doggy people). Second, it sounds absolutely horrendous. I know everyone says your doggy is a baby, but it doesn't mean it is not utterly unbearable! It sounds as though you are doing all the right things - so here are a few things that I discovered for myself that are not in my puppy bible, The Perfect Puppy by Gwen Bailey.
My 4 month old teeny bichon/shih tzu loves running more than any normal puppy should. It got to the point that if I didn't take her for off lead runs in the country for at least 2 hours a day, she wouldn't settle down at home (charging around, making (cute) irritable noises, destroying things etc). I was so exhausted that I could barely move. So I started training her to run next to my bike. In addition to an 45 min walk a day, she also runs at least 1 km next to my bike (on safe bike path, away from road). This has calmed her down SOOOO much - it's wonderful - and saves my energy for less important things, like looking after the family . Various people in the know say that a tired puppy is a well behaved puppy - perhaps if your puppy is like mine and needs exercise way beyond what all the gurus recommend?
The other things that helped me toilet train is teaching my puppy that the whole house is her bed. So I crate trained her from day one with some extremely cosy sheep skins in her crate (left over from baby days). After she got used to that, I took some of the sheep skins and laid them around the house and she started snoozing on them all round the house. She didn't pee or poo near any of them and it finally clicked that all pees and poos should be done outside. Although it sounds as though your dog would probably eat the sheepskins, I thought I'd let you know - just in case you wanted to try it too. Cleaning up doggy wees and poos on top of all normal cleaning with children is completely soul destroying!
Regardless of the toilet thing you really shouldn't be taking a puppy gsd for 2hr walks. Her hips aren't properly grown yet and you'll end up doing long term damage. You need to get her brain working so lots of training in the garden would wear her out more and be more productive. The excitement weeing is definitely due to pent up excitement so the training would help with that.
Do you have a large house? Because mine is quite big with lots of accesses to the garden. I think my puppy found it very confusing, the only way I managed to crack it was keeping him in the kitchen (or his crate) most of the time and only using one back door. And continually reminding him that he might need to go. Mine is an American cocker and it took him a lot longer than my previous gsds, but he got it eventually, one day it just clicks for them. I wouldn't use puppy pads as again think ths is just another confusion.
I'd also say you definitely need a crate, having lots of space is going to be very stressful for her. When you leave her put her in her crate, when she gets too excited, crate. It's a very useful,tool.
Ditto the above. You should be very careful with early exercise with any breed but particularly with large breeds.
On the plus side mental stimulation can work as well as physical exercise. Get a clicker and practice training multiple times a day. You can teach her things to improve her behaviour, like not jumping up, but also just fun stuff to keep her occupied, like shaking a paw.
Definitely feed her in her crate, and give her any treats in the crate, all toys stored in the crate. Sometimes you just have to ignore the crying, you are training her and she is training you. For a dog it's all about hierarchy.
Re the nipping, you should ouch like another dog as her real mum would have done and you can pull her back with the tuff of skin on her neck again like her mum. "No" is very overused so she might not know what "no" she shouldn't be doing iyswim.
She is getting way too much exercise and stimulation. She is only 4 and a half months old; her exercise must be limited to suit her age. No more than half an hour a day walking at the moment - there is a much written about 5 minute rule for puppy exercise - allow 5 minutes exercise for each month of age. The guidance is there for two reasons. One is to protect the growing dog and the other is to ensure the dog's activity level is appropriate for its physical capability.
The asking for walk thing is nonsense - GSDs are v smart dogs. She has learned that jumping up at a lead is a way of getting attention. She does not need any more exercise.
Wind her life right down. As a poster has said upthread, spend some time training her. A five minute training session a few times a day will use her incredible brain and tire her out mentally. Walk her at most twice a day. Teach her to play by herself, give her things to chew and work at.
Puppies will run on adrenaline forever. They have no off switch - at least not one they can activate themselves. A pup will keep on and on and on, with their behaviour getting worse and worse and worse; they will become even less able to produce the 'right' behaviour. You have to manage your puppy in the same way as you do a child - they need enforced calm and rest at times to prevent a meltdown.
GSD have well documented hip problems. I certainly wouldn't be asking for future problems by allowing her to jump up in the first place, nor by over exercising at this very vulnerable age.
With regard to house training, a permanently open door to the garden often makes training take longer. She hasn't yet understood that outside is where you want her to go. Keep on going with ignoring inside accidents and taking her out every hour, after every meal, after every game and every sleep. If she has been out and about as much as you have said, she can't possibly have been learning where to pee and where not to when at home - she's not been at home long enough to work it out.
Thank you for the replies every one.....it sounds like I need to wind the walks down....we have a small house so this is why we are out a lot. My son is very eenergetc and currently undergoing diagnosis for ADHD and as so I take him out a lot. I thought it preferable to have her come with us a lot of the time than leaving her at home. She's not full out running while we are on the beach. We walk right across it and then go and settle down by the little stream, so she's only walking for about 20 mins. She likes our company so I thought this would be good. The park is literally across the road so its not a big walk there. She gets let off the lead for a bit, and then we put her back on and go and sit in the park while ds plays. So not as much as it sounds, but obviously maybe still need to think about reducing. I did ask the vet about the recommended amount of excersise, and they said as she was bred on a farm she will be entirely used to a lot of it. Lots of mixed messages!
Fragile....glad to know I'm not alone!! Haha. The bike thing sounds like a fab idea....although she's so bloody strong I fear is probably end up in a hedge. :-D thanks for the tips with the bed too. She has the run of the little kitchen and the back yard ( which it sounds like I need to close the door to) and sh comes into the front room with us in the evenings and in the day when ds isn't having lunch or drawing etc. ( bad mistake letting her in the same room as crayons)
Daisy.... With regard to the jumping up I do not allow it. Every time she does she is pushed down and told no. This may not be the right thing to do but that's what I've always done and its worked every time before. She is constantly being trained as in every pee poo jump etc, but we do ten mins twice a day just focused on her. She is at home enough to learn. We are up at the crack of dawn and don't go to bed until after midnight. Even if we were out 5 hours a day which we are not, I think sh has and is having suitable time to be taught and at least start picking up on the fact she should go outside. I can't be attached to her 24/7as I don't imagine any dog owner can be, but we are being vigilant and will carry on doing this until the problem is solved. Like fragile said, it can be pretty tough going having to clean up such a multitude of mess and destruction on top of that caused by my ds. The only. Reason she is being walked more than she should probably be is because she literally destroys the house without a lot of exercise. She has toys and bones to keep her occupied and nice down time with us where we encourage her just to muck in and be part of the family. Sit with us while ds plays etc and also all evening while it is family time.
Boo. Just bought a clicker yesterday so going to start giving it a go today. We do a lot of the fun bits like paw etc, and she seems to enjoy it so hopefully this will encourage that learning :-)
Karbea...like I've said the house is pretty small with one access point to the yard from the kitchen. Where she stays when we need to eat go out just relax for a bit etc. Again as I mentioned she is not walking for all that time. Just out with us, as by the level of destruction left if we go out for any amount of time is horrendous. The most she gets at once is about 30 mins, we walk across the beach or round the woods, and then settle at the dog friendly cafe or beach bar for lunch or just a chill out. This is why we are out for so long. Definatley no flat out walking or running for that long. I thought it would be good to socialise her a bit swell, as she tends to bark at other dogs even though she is gentle as anything with them and just wants tro play.
Again thanks everyone for the advice. I'm aware that the walks need to be cut down for a little while whilst she is developing, and to get the crate training back on track. Fingers crossed it works!