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Thread: socializing a 2 year old german shepherd

  1. #1

    Default socializing a 2 year old german shepherd

    hello,
    just wondering if anyone here as some good ideas on socializing a 2 year old german shepherd which i dont think as had to much.

    this is the story, i got a shepherd from a home that could no longer keep him, he fitted in my my family right away no problems at all, my partner and two kids 4 and 10. i dont think the last owers really did anything with him. he has really bonded with us since we have had him which is for about 5 months now, and i think that maybe his protective side as come out, if some one comes to the gate or front door he goes off his head, untill one of us settles him down,

    some people he will meet ok, others he is abit full on, we have abit of a resvere right next to our house so i am always outside playing with him or taking him out to the ponds and most of the time other people and dogs dont even bother him because he is playing with a ball.

    when i first got him i did take him to the dog park a couple of times, one out of the car he would winge untill i let him off the lead, when at the dog park he did pretty well, his hiar was up on the back of his neck for about the first 5 or 10 mins but then he was fine running around with other dogs, he did snap a few times at other dogs but only when he felt like he was cornerd, once i called him back everything was fine, he also let other people pat him.

    just seeing his reaction sometimes like today i was out the ponds with my family playing with a ball with my dog there were too other dogs a german shepherd and a little terrier thing, when i walked past the other german shepherd he started barking and set my dog off, hair up and all, i pulled him away and throw is ball and it was like the other german shepherd was never there,

    but its reasons like this i have stopped taking him to the dog park just incase, id love to be able to take him there a few times a week to run with other dogs. he use to live with another shepherd with the pervious owner no problems, he also has had a run with my mothers dog once no problems.

    so pretty much just after some tips, to help him with other dogs and to relax. maybe help myself relax and not worry so much, just with a dog the size of him if some thing goes wrong it could be really bad and dont want that happening.
    Last edited by Hyacinth; 09-16-2012 at 09:18 PM. Reason: break up the block of text so more of us can read it

  2. #2

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    Can I just clarify something ?

    Are these incidences happening whilst he off lead ?

    Welcome by the way
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  3. #3

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    no mate when on lead, when im trowing a ball with him, i keep him on a very long lead so when another dog come near i can call him back, but also stop him if he wants to take off, which doesnt normally happen. when at the dog park yes he was offf lead. but havent been taking him there anymore. i dont think its agression, i think its more excitment and curiosity and nerves, because its just like he wants to play but once the other dog barks its on. just would really like to be able for him to play and approach dogs without me haveing to worry, im pretty good at reading him when i think something is going to happen, or think another dog might start something, i always manage to disctract him with his ball, after that he wont even pay attention to other dogs around.

  4. #4
    Join Date
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    linkrobbo

    I read a story about a GSD who had to be sent back to the breeder because it bit a jogger that was dumb enough to run between it and the owner. The owner was most surprised. Once back with the breeder - there were no more problems like that, so chances are either the breeder was better at recognising the danger signs and preventing the bad behaviour - before it even happened, or the owner had been unconsciously encouraging the protective behaviour.

    It might help you to get a specialist behavourist in to identify what is setting your dog off, how to spot trouble before it happens and manage it better. Ie often if you yell at or scold a dog (or worse) for acting this way - you can aggravate the problem or the dog may learn to do stealth attacks ie if it's punished for warning signs like snapping and growling - it may skip that phase on the way to full attack.

    There's a few things you could do that might help...
    1. only let him off lead when he's behaviing nicely - not when he's whinging or pulling.
    2. ask him for a nice sit before you let him go. Call him back to you and put him on lead and then release him often during any off lead time.
    3. avoid fully fenced dog parks as dogs are more easily cornered in these and there seems to be a higher percentage of owners with rude dogs and owners who don't pay attention to what their dogs are doing. This is fine if the dogs all get along - but really tough on a new dog - especially big dog that may trigger fear reactions in the other dogs.
    4. I would go to lots of different places so he doesn't feel like he has ownership of any particular one.
    5. I would join a dog club or seek out classes for help with dog training - to engage his mind more and to enhance my skills as a dog trainer - do this in consultation with your behaviourist. Some dog clubs are better than others and I prefer the ones (or instructors) that are more focussed on reward based training and high rates of re-inforcement (rewards - things your dog likes) when a dog is learning a new skill.
    6. always ask your dog to do something before each time you throw the ball. eg a sit, drop, stand, stay, heel-sit etc. Any tricks you might have in the repetoire eg shake hands, roll over, sit pretty, wave, speak... ask for something/anything and throw the ball by way of reward.
    7. you might want to get a book by Lesley McDevitt called "control unleased" and read the section on "Look at that" training, and also look up (google) BAT - or behaviour adjustment training. They're much the same thing expressed slightly differently - ie one explanation might make more sense, or both together.

    If you let us know what state you're in, we can recommend some clubs and trainers that might be able to help you. You're right, a GSD behaving badly is serious.

  5. #5
    Join Date
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    Sounds like you have a ball obsessed (potentially) GSD.

    I have one too. I can run bernie around ducks/geese/strange dogs etc, and providing i have a ball, he cannot see the distractions. I have become really skilled at interpreting his body language, so i can see when he's reacting in a negative way to whatever/whoever and can use a 'glimpse' of a ball, or a miniscule rising of my left arm, as a signal to 'ready' which gets his 100% attn. I can predict bernie around dogs, because i have control. because i have a ball. He never plays with other dogs outside of his family pack of them. Ever.

    Without a ball. Bernie is a different dog. He will play and interact with other dogs. And will not tolerate snarling smaller types. He will warn them off.

    Rarely do folks want my dogs to play with them due to prejudice. re GSD's and rotties.

    I only ever run mine off leash with other dogs, when other dogs are off leash too. You know, off leash bush type environment. I have found that off leashed dog walks of the longer variety, are populated by well socialised dogs. Dog parks and suburban streets are populated by unsocialised dogs and owner that will bloody well pick up their dogs as we pass! grrr

    "gently" is a excellent command to teach your GSD. To slow them down, or they can just get awfully clumsy. And having a GSD tread on your thonged feet, is extreemly painful!

    Dont stop socialising him whatever you do!
    that will cause problems.

    To me, he's sounding like every GSD ive known and i dont see a problem yet.
    Keep doing what you are doing, and join a club for a few weeks to get the socialisation under controlled environment to really drive home that other folks/dogs are to be ignored when you say so, and there's no shame in showing him a ball to get his attention. ITs NEVER failed me with mine. Has saved his life on many an occasion. And probably saved a few folks from being trampled.

  6. #6
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    I must say that what I read didn't seem like a big problem to me either. I personally don't think it warrants paying for a private session with a dog trainer. I do second the idea of joining a dog club and doing some training classes. I sense there are some trust issues that can probably be resolved by doing some structured training. You do have to be ever vigilant with a powerful dog like that, but it is important that you are be able to trust your dog, for your sake and theirs. I think doing regular training would give both you and him more confidence. A good instructor will also be able to teach you more about how to utilise that prey drive, etc.

  7. #7

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    bernie i know where you are comming from, once i have the ball its like there is nothing else or anybody there around, some of the training i have been doing with him is working well because of the ball. i am very keen to get him into training, the controlled enviroment seems alot better then the dog park right now i think if he can be around well mannered dogs he will learn the right way, there is a local club here in canberra that has an off lead park on the grounds.
    thanks for the replies its maybe me feel alot better about the situation.
    i might just put up a photo of my boy, his name is randy
    Attached Images Attached Images

  8. #8
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    Which part of Canberra are you in? Maybe we've met you on our walks! Unfortunately my dog Banjo feels intimidated by GSDs for some reason and hides behind me when she meets one. But she also does with some other big dogs so I think it's just the size...
    Last edited by Beloz; 09-18-2012 at 11:02 AM.

  9. #9
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    Only just saw the pics. He's gorgeous! We had long-haired GSDs when I was growing up.

    And we have definitely not met on walks because I would've remembered a good looking dog like that.

  10. #10
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    Ah another long haired mr majestic
    Im melting, bring him round for dinner on sunday. 2pm sharp. You neednt stay, you can pick him back up in 2020 lol

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