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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am the proud owner of a 12 mth old GSD named Achilles. We've owned him since he was 9 weeks old and he's been worked in SchH since 10 weeks (we lived in Germany up until 6 weeks ago and he attended puppy SchH classes until he was about 4 months old when he started to work around the big dogs; he's been on the sleeve since 7 months). His obedience is good, but he needs work, especially since this overseas move took us 4 months to complete and we haven't had the time to work him since the end of January.

Our issue? He still barks at everything that moves: squirrels, birds, people, and other dogs. We can't go for a walk around the neighborhood b/c every 5 seconds he's off on another barking onslaught. He won't stop. He's been corrected with his flat buckle collar, we've scruff shaken, we've put him in down stays. Nothing deters him from barking. Every neighbor who passes by our house is greeted with his seriously deep bark. When other dogs pass by our yard, or he sees them, the hackles go up and bark has a bit of growl infused in it! I can't even take him inside a vet clinic without checking to make sure there aren't other dogs in there first! He does greet people rather well (aside from the tendency to jump up), he's never bitten outside of club work, and he's never attacked another dog or small animal.

Is this a cause for concern, or normal for a 12 mth old puppy? Is this fear, aggression, dominance, or just a hyper german shepherd lol? He has never had a prong collar and we'd like to keep it that way at least for a while more. He has responded quite well to verbal correction, unless of course he's distracted during one of his barking fits. We have an older dog in the home who refuses to play with him, and he's used to children (I have 3 ages 8, 5, and 2). Dh says the squirrels must be hurling insults at him from the trees in our front yard :wink: .

Thanks in advance!!
 

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if he is barking, what kind of behaviour do you see?

Is he in the end of your leash, with his ears up pointing forwards? Or is he leaning against you, ears flat in his neck backwards, hairs in his neck up? Or something totally different?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Selena van Leeuwen said:
if he is barking, what kind of behaviour do you see?

Is he in the end of your leash, with his ears up pointing forwards? Or is he leaning against you, ears flat in his neck backwards, hairs in his neck up? Or something totally different?
Selena,

Most of the time is not on leash at all -- he's in our very large front windows in the house! When he is on leash he's pulling as hard as he can on the end of it. His ears are not tipped back and are standing straight up, but when he barks at another dog the hackles on his neck and shoulders stand straight up, too. His tail is straight out, niether tucked nor wagging. If he's not on leash his posture is firm, and he's been known to actually charge the window . He's never backed up against us or tipped his ears back. When he first started this it was a high-pitched yodeling bark (like he does when he wants to play). Now it's a much deeper bark.

If he has the chance to \"meet\" what he's barking at he doesn't shy away, and he doesn't stop the barking. If it's a person he'll stop once they pet or talk to him; he'll wag his tail, lay his ears back, and wiggle around to \"play.\" Another dog he just keeps right on barking, hackles up, tail out, ears straight, and he adds that growly noise to the bark. We've never let him get close enough to another dog to find out what he'd do.

What do you make of that??? We'd just like to make sure we haven't got a problem on our hands that we aren't correcting now before he gets out of control on us, and that we don't correct behavior we need for sport and work. We also like to be realisitc; if this is just normal GSD behavior then I'll leave it alone regardless of what our neighbors think LOL.
 

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On what I can tell from your story, my first thoughts is that he shows dominance. With his age in mind, could this be a good possibility. My personal opinion: I don´t have any problems if my dogs show it :wink:

But make sure he doesn´t behave like this to you or your family. Teach him \"stil\" (silent) or play with a ball or something to distract him if you´ve problems with it. Or distract him and do some ob work.
 

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I completely agree with Selena. Also, he is at the age where he is the GSD equivalent of a teenager, have patience, he will surely try it!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
susan tuck said:
I completely agree with Selena. Also, he is at the age where he is the GSD equivalent of a teenager, have patience, he will surely try it!
Man is he ever a teenager...I expectg him to come ask me about \"funny hair growth\" any day now :wink: .

We honestly don't have any problem with him being aggressive toward us. He follows his OB commands perfectly when not distracted by squirrels, birds, people, and other dogs. He's normally quite pleasant to be around. It's just that lately we have to keep our curtains drawn, and neighborhood walks are out of the question!

If this is normal and not a sign of a hugely dominant dog, I'm fine with it. It's keeping the nosey neighbors away anyway 8)
 

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Quote:He's been corrected with his flat buckle collar, we've scruff shaken, we've put him in down stays. Nothing deters him from barking.

There are dogs that are just \"big mouths\" for sure, but if you have a strong dog, (mentally) you are just letting him get away with too much. Anytime a dog refuses to listen, your relationship with that dog is not correct.

I would go to a pinch or E-collar in this situation. Remember that it is an interruption, so if he glances away from whatever he is barking at, you need to be ready with a reward.

I like to set it up ahead of time by not feeding them a day or two beforehand. In this situation, I would go two days, I think the fact that you thought your dog could be corrected with a flat collar is my deciding factor here. That is just silly.

I like the E-collar best, I think it is the way to go for you. The biggest thing to remember here is that you need to be quick with the reward, and it should be delicious, not ordinary.

I deal with this all the time, and it is the owners that are too soft, and the dog is mentally strong. He gets away with it, and the owners are not strong enough to deal with it, and start going into avoidance behaviors like you allready have. I like to get it over quickly, and move on.



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Jeff will you watch your language? If something isn´t your way it isn´t by a fact \"silly\". I don´t think at the time this is rude enough to edit your message, but this is a warning.

I probably will do something else to, but from what is told here I can´t decide exactly what behaviour is shown by Achilles. I recommend a safe, not threathning (to dog or owner) training matter. If somebody rejects the idea of a prong or e-collor I won´t recommend the use. Choosing the method of correcting is as personal as choosing your dog.
 

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Selena van Leeuwen said:
...I probably will do something else to, but from what is told here I can´t decide exactly what behaviour is shown by Achilles. I recommend a safe, not threathning (to dog or owner) training matter. If somebody rejects the idea of a prong or e-collor I won´t recommend the use. Choosing the method of correcting is as personal as choosing your dog.
Agreed.

But the dog cannot be allowed to win, IMO. Whatever method or tool is chosen, the strong dog must not win in disagreements with owners over behavior.

When that dog wins, every single time reinforces his pack leadership in his mind.

With some dogs, this might not be a huge issue; with a strong dog or a dog with any tendency toward dominance, it is an issue, IMO.
 

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I think I'm missing something here? I think the suggestion of pinch or e-collar is a good one. Does the owner not want to use those things? :?:
 
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I think I missed that too... :?:

I would agree with Jeff if the dog is in fact just being obnoxious and dominant. Without actually seeing the dog's posture, it's pretty hard to tell what is causing this behavior.

Isn't a really deep bark usually more defensive than anything else?
 

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susan tuck said:
I think I'm missing something here? I think the suggestion of pinch or e-collar is a good one. Does the owner not want to use those things? :?:
That wasn't the thing being pointed out; it was calling the idea silly IF they chose not to.

We just don't want to personally ridicule anyone.

It had nothing to do with the tools, per se, only about saying that IF someone didn't choose them, it was silly.

That's all! :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Jeff Oehlsen said:
Quote:He's been corrected with his flat buckle collar, we've scruff shaken, we've put him in down stays. Nothing deters him from barking.

I like to set it up ahead of time by not feeding them a day or two beforehand. In this situation, I would go two days, I think the fact that you thought your dog could be corrected with a flat collar is my deciding factor here. That is just silly.

I like the E-collar best, I think it is the way to go for you. The biggest thing to remember here is that you need to be quick with the reward, and it should be delicious, not ordinary.

I deal with this all the time, and it is the owners that are too soft, and the dog is mentally strong. He gets away with it, and the owners are not strong enough to deal with it, and start going into avoidance behaviors like you allready have. I like to get it over quickly, and move on.
Wow...that's just a bit pompous...

1. I do not intend EVER to starve my dog to enhance his training. What purpose would that serve exactly? He's already got a high food drive; I don't need to withhold food from a puppy to increase it.

2. I am abject to corrective collars. The dog has never worn one, nor will he. My training philosophy is not \"silly.\" It comes from people who have dedicated their lives to the GSD in Germany, and who have great success in SchH and working dog trials, as well as in K9 work. It's actually rather rare to see a dog on a corrective collar in Germany...

[admin note: Jeff's been told to watch calling peoples ideas silly or any other negative comments... let's leave it at that :) He has his way, you have yours, if you guys care to debate this please do so via PM, otherwise agree to disagree, thankyou!]

3. Yes the dog is mentally strong. However, I have to think twice before correcting him for these behaviors if they are stemming from a desire to protect our property or us. That's his JOB. It would make no sense to deter him from doing his job, now would it? If he is, in fact, being dominant then we need to handle it. My question centered around possible reasons he might be acting this way and fixing it.
 

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I think that I have read somewhere that 1 year old males seem to go thru some odd behavior displays & attitudes around that age. I would not be to quick to get too heavy handed just try to curb the behavior a bit or redirect his attention or even just ignore it if you can, depending on how bad it is & what you feel you can live with for a while & see what happens. He may settle back down in a month or two. If the barking is too much teach him the commade \"quiet'. ( You might actually have to teach him the command to bark before you can teach the quiet or no bark command.) At a year old he is still a puppy & is still learning & testing the waters. If you truly have a strong minded & possibly dominant dog than you may have to take stronger measures to correct his behaviors. just my 2 cents
 

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I wanted to comment on this, since Jak was one of the dogs that Achilles has behaved this way towards. Jak also stood there barking back, and just plain and simple wanted to play, but I was able to make him stop pretty easily. From what I remember, Achilles has always been very vocal and barked at everything that interested him - it's just recently changed from the high pitched to the deep bark, and that's where her concern is I think.


When Achilles was barking at Jak, I couldn't tell if his hackles were raised, but his lips were definately drawn back, and he was clearly baring his teeth as he barked - it wasn't just that his teeth would show as his lips were thrown up when he barked; he was purposely baring them, and seemed very confident of himself and not fearful at all. He was out at the end of the leash, ears straight up, tail straight out and slightly up. I couldn't tell if it was wagging or not.

I figured it was because Achilles is at \"that age\" and maybe because Jak is male as well, and maybe because Jak thinks that it's perfectly okay to jump on top of other dogs when he meets them, and Achilles just didn't take kindly to that kind of behavior from a boisterous, 10 month old puppy. :? The way that Jak and Gypsy play is very physical and very vocal, so Jak thinks that growling from another dog means play. Gypsy is the only other dog he's ever played with, and it looks like she's the only dog he's going to be able to play with because he's an igmo.
 

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Quote:Wow...that's just a bit pompous...

Maybe, I am also coming from 35 years of listening to the same thing. I have trained probably getting close to 2000 dogs over the years. I don't always come off like I am nice, but I meant no harm. The advice I gave has worked hundreds of times.

In my opinion, the flat collar is not working. I also have trouble with using the flat collar as a training device. It can cause more damage than a pinch, basically cause you have to use more force than with a pinch.

I think that I explained the rest pretty well. I also find that people that want to use something like a flat collar for a correction, something it is not intended for, also need help with the \"who is in charge\" question. Withholding food is a very passive way of showing dominence. It has worked quite well over the twenty years or so, that I have used that method.

So I have a person asking advice, and it is obvious they need to get control of the dog. Using the pinch as an interruption, and then having a hungry dog get a great reward, is going to be a much better plan for this person, than the avoidence they are showing of the problem now.



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Quoting from previous: Yes the dog is mentally strong. However, I have to think twice before correcting him for these behaviors if they are stemming from a desire to protect our property or us. End Quote

I am interested in reading discussion of this point, if I'm not hijacking.

Disclaimer: I don't know PPD or SchH training at all yet.

Other info: I do have experience with dominant and aggressive dogs.

My first thought about this was that a strong dog cannot be allowed to win any disagreement with the pack leader over the dog's behavior, because every time the dog is allowed to indulge in behavior contrary to the handler's wishes, the dog is reinforced in his idea that the leader job is open for him.

I understand that the dog has been corrected (verbally), and from that I concluded that the behavior is not desired.

But then I read that maybe he should not be corrected for doing his job (protection).

My own question now (and it's general, about any dog in SchH training and also living in the home with the family) is this: Does the owner decide whether \"nonstop barking\" is acceptable? If the owner doesn't accept the behavior, does that create a problem with SchH training, or any kind of training? (Again, I am new to special-purpose training!)

I have always maintained that what the pack leader decides is what happens, period. But I have never been in a situation of considering whether I might hinder some special training that way.

So ----- any chance of reading what SchH and PPD people think about this in general?[/i]
 

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The behavior off the field is correctable. Barking oneself silly on the field is correctable. I am not talking about pulling a dogs head off, just using the amount of force to interrupt the dogs behavior. You, the owner dictate when the barking is acceptable. Unless viciously overcorrected, it will not be a problem, and even then, it isn't real hard to get a former big mouth to go back to it. :lol:



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Jeff Oehlsen said:
The behavior off the field is correctable. Barking oneself silly on the field is correctable. I am not talking about pulling a dogs head off, just using the amount of force to interrupt the dogs behavior. You, the owner dictate when the barking is acceptable. Unless viciously overcorrected, it will not be a problem, and even then, it isn't real hard to get a former big mouth to go back to it. :lol:
OK, that was exactly what I wanted opinions about; thanks.
 

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Nothing wrong with corrections for bad manners. What consists of bad manners is up to the individual dog owner. :wink:
 
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