Germa Shepherd Puppy and walking. Help!(11 Posts)
I have an almost 5 month old German Shepherd Puppy. She's fab, training going well- sit, wait (stay), come and more recently she's learning heel.
So now she's huge, walking is becoming a nightmare. I've moved from harness to collar now she's more bothered about choking herself than when she was teeny. We have done loose lead walking in the garden, when she pulls, I bring her back with the "heel" command.
Out and about, she pulls sometimes- when excited by a new smell, horse nearby, bird etc. I handle this by standing still, so she's not dragging me off. I call her name, so she looks at me and then give her the heel command. Once she comes to me, we then continue walking. I praise and give a treat and continue saying" heel" while she stays with me.
Here's my problem: Other people and dogs. She is so social- sometimes I wonder if we socialised her too much. She wants to lick everyone to death and jump all over them. We are working on jumping with us- we say "down" and she only gets pet when all 4 paws on the ground.
How on earth do I handle this when out? She's so huge, she takes some holding down when people walk passed. I don't let her jump on people, but it's certainly difficult. I'm finding myself avoiding popular parks and taking her on secluded routes, which I don't think is the answer.
How do I stop her jumping at people and other dogs?
By carrying on with what you're doing. It sounds fine. Keep her close to you, keep telling her heel and keep her attention on you. Hold her favourite toy, or have treats in your hand, whatever works for her. Lots and lots of practice and reinforcement. Do you attend a dog training club? Ask your instructor if you can practice this there with the other dogs. Ask one or two of the other dog walkers when you're out if they'd mind you standing together for a minute to practice. If you think they will, obviously. Keeping the dogs attention on you is something you need to proof in lots of different scenarios but obviously you need to be in those situations to practice it in the first place. I'm in a similar situation with my lab at the moment. He's got a great recall but it took several public outings to the beach etc to practice it. He didn't jump on anyone so we're getting there.
Does she actually know what 'heel' means? If you say the word when she's not actually doing it she might be confused
The way I got taught was luring him into position with a treat then walking and while he was in the heel position repeatedly saying 'heel, good heel' in a squeaky excited voice, that way he started to understand that 'heel' meant 'walk next to the human'
Be careful not to use commands that she does not know. A dog does not learn to sit because you repeat the word sit, they do not speak English; what you need is the behavior, then you reward the behavior, then when you have the behavior reliably you start naming it.
This is an excellent method but you have to be very patient. Start walking, as soon as the lead goes tight stop, don't speak don,t move, wait, when the dog looks back at you click and treat, then turn to the opposite direction and walk, as soon as the lead goes tight repeat. You won't get any actual walks for a short while but once she realizes that pulling is counter productive you will have solved the problem long term.
In general you need to get her attention before she gets wound up. If you see other people coming treat on nose and guide her to look at you, the do some sits and downs until the distraction is past. You also need to practice not jumping up with an accomplice. You hold the dog on a lead, the accomplice walks up to her if she jumps up the accomplice folds his arms, turns his back on the dog and walks off. If she keeps all four paws on the ground she gets a treat. Repeat a lot of times, with a lot of different people, in a lot of different locations.
Are you doing any training classes with her? GSDs are incredibly intelligent and learn very quickly but if you don't get the basics right they grown into large dogs very quickly. I think that all dogs regardless of size should be well trained but it's realistic that a large dog that does minor misbehaviours like jumping up is likely to be a much greater problem than a small one so it's something to be aware of.
Thanks so much. I think perhaps I need to say "come" rather than "heel" to get her in the position then use the heel common once she's walking with me. That makes sense. Thank you.
I want to work on recall off lead as it used to be good, but with how bouncy she has been around others I've kept her on lead to keep her under control.
Hard isn't it?
As for treats and such, she just drops them, more interested in eating stones or twigs...she is all about the praise though. She loves to please us.
I've not done obedience classes yet, because up until now she's been so easy to train. In general one day training and she's got it. Maybe time to consider it.
I will persevere with walks and keep to on our own until she's walking perfectly to heel then very soon we will venture into some of the dog parks again.
Cross post. Thanks. Yes I've watched some YouTube videos on stopping the pulling. She gets to go nowhere if she pulls. We stop. When she stops pulling and comes to us, we walk on.
I often change direction to where she wants to go, so she knows she must go where I go.
Absolutely with the importance of training. She's super, I can feed her her food, tell her to wait and walk off, and she still won't go for her food until she hears me say "alright". She learnt that so fast.
Thanks for the tips. I will try some high value treats when others pass us, to focus her attention on me.
Sorry but I would save 'come' for recall. Dog's name and come should immediately result in the dog in front of you where you can put two gingers under her collar and secure her, anything else is not a reliable recall.
If you are losing the recall it means it was not reliably trained. In training repetition is the key in as many varied situations as possible. I don't mean to sound rude but there is not way your dog is trained in anything in one day.
What treats are you giving her? Liver, sausages, chicken and cheese usually work well but you may need to experiment. Keep high value treats for the most important commands like recall and reinforce with jackpots. If she really is not interested in food try toys as well as an alternative to praise.
Are you playing the recall game?
Have worked with a look at me command? To keep her focuses on you? I found this great at keeping my giant breed focuses on me.
Also does she get playtime with other suitable sized dogs? Ones that she can't squash? An older sensible dog that won't jump on her , but ignore her - or tell her off if she gets too boisterous?
My lab is the same. 5mths old and excited by everyone.
Id say consistency is the key. We always say Down and he gets no fuss untill all 4 paws on the floor. Taught the children to turn thier backs to him. He hates not getting the attention so sits before getting a fuss.
Outside is harder as people dont do the same and like to make a fuss of the puppy. I have good treats with me on walks and when aproaching others remind him to stay down. If he does he gets a fuss and a treat. This seems to be having an affect.
Ive recently started using a harness for walks and its been a big help. Being a lab he's not small and getting stronger so this has helped. Before that any pulling was met with a stop in walking. I think its probably helped with the jumping up too.
My border collie is 5 months and i am having the same issues. He loves humans far too much. Everyone comments on how much of a good thing that is, but they dont feel my stress as i try my hardest to just have him walk past people without battering an eyelid lol.
His recall is 'with me' he can be off leash, but if i see other people looming in closer, i put him back on.
I would stick with your local walking area as you will sharp find out which people you can use as test subjects.
Just today, i was walking with two other dog walkers (one i usually bump into and walk with) and i let him off. He badgered the one i dont usually walk with for 2 minutes max, then off he went to play. Came back on recall when i spotted another victim and put him on the leash.
Find a focus for him - my dog is sticks and balls. I start with 'are you ready?' He then looks for whatever is on offer in my hand, if im about to throw he knows i will follow it with 'are you steady?' At this point his does the typical border collies pose/stance lol. Its often enough focus to bring his attention to me, rather than people...though it doesnt always work. Sometimes people are just more appealing to him. Like cars...he reallllly wants to round up those cars!
It sounds like you are doing a great job so far. Patience. Half the time i feel im losing it, but i do spot little improvements all of the time. They are still babies after all
behaviour sounds familiar to me.
we've done as booboo mentioned upthread.
i found our club training great, it gives the dog an outlet for the dog to hang out with mostly the same dogs every week, so they get used to eachother and dont go so bonkers when they see their "friends". the other dog owners are on the same page regarding commands and aspirational behaviour. the dogs get to have a little play after the session in the off leash part of the club.
but in the street, i am finding people i pass when walking are in two groups.
one group are somwehat dismissive with what i am trying to do when i pass them with the dog. i try to get the dogs to eg, sit when they see another dog and/or interesting person, or not to jump on people, especially children "he's only a puppy, you can't expect much" and "it's ok for him to jump, so stop freaking out" sort of bollocks.
on the other end of the spectrum are the non-dog owners i see in the street who seem to expect too much about what a puppy can actually do. "oh, he's not very well trained", even though you are clearly trying to get the puppy to stop jumping but failing because the fucker is encouraging it. or thinks training involves sharp cracks of the leash to snap the dog into doing what he thinks it needs to do.
we are getting there. combination of time, maturity on the dogs side, and consistency, experience and persistence on my side. five months is still a puppy.
ps. we use "heel" to get the dog to our left side, "side" to ask him to come to our right side, "come" for recall, and "let's go" when we start walking.
i do wish we had worked more to have a "release" word. which means to dog is released from what you asked him to dog in the first place, eg, dog moves out heel position when walking to have a little sniff, or gets to go free from a sit position.
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