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Thread: help needed! 12 week old puppy issues

  1. #1

    Unhappy help needed! 12 week old puppy issues

    hi everyone, i have a 12 week old German SHorthaired Pointer who I purchased at 8 weeks from a reputable breeder. The last week or so he has really started to push the boundaries and i don't know whether i am handling it the right way. He is also starting to get to me a bit so would be grateful for some 'pointers' as to what and what not to do.

    He has started to get really bossy: bark at me when he is hungry (i ignore him until he calms down and stops barking), push his weight around when he wants to come in (he sleeps inside) by whining and scratching at the door non stop (again ignore him and ask him to sit and wait but he is destroying the door)..and for the last few days has started to think he is the 'alpha' dog by pullling on the lead and walking ahead of me when we go for walks (not so bad as he is not that big but starting to worry about this alot) i have gone to puppy school and am well read on the whole thing with not getting him to pull, but when I stop walking, he just stops and waits and pulls not sure what to do there?

    Since day 1 he has "severe " separation anxiety. He gets extremely upset when you leave the room just for a second, leave him alone etc. When I am in the front garden just getting the mail, he starts wailing and crying like he is being tortured and starts trying his best to escape and get over the 6ft fence just to get out. We have got him a large dog run and fill it with bones and toys as we are worried that he will try and escape an hurt himself whilst we are gone.

    To be honest, I'm find it a little stressful as I can't be with him all the time and have my 2 toddlers to look after at the same time.

    Any ideas would be really appreciated. He is a lovely puppy and my children adore him, but I'm getting very stressed and started to get very annoyed at the puppy (which i shouldn't). I thought I was doing everything right..but somehow I think I'm missing something?

  2. #2


    Hi 'anna belle' and to the forum !
    You have a 12 week old GSP who is 'supposedly' pushing your buttons !

    You have excellent taste in pups - I am onto my 5th one !

    How much training have you done with your pup ? Have you taken him to puppy kindy ?

    He is just a pup who will love to be trained and needs to be trained - just like any other pup.

    Have a look at these links:

    Free downloads | Dog Star Daily

    Knowledge Base | Steve Courtney Dog Training

    kikopup puppy tips - YouTube

    Leslie McDevitt: Control Unleashed�: Home Page

    Patricia McConnell PH.D. | McConnell Publishing Inc.

    So ask any questions you want. I am going through GSP puppy withdrawal symptoms and would love to see a photo of him - pleeeeease !

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Geelong, Vic


    GSPs do scream like on fire, it's not SA it's a pointer thing. First port if call is RING YOUR BREEDER FOR ADVICE! Thats what they're there for!

    Step two, he's not being alpha pulling on the lead, he's a young, very active working breed who doesn't know how to walk on a leash. I don't know how much research you did on GSP's but they are a vocal, rambunctious breed bred for pointing, flushing and even retrieving game birds especially (so in bored ones you see barking, screeching, destruction, hyperactivity etc) He's no different to your two toddlers right now - a baby trying to work out what's going on so genetics is exhibited when left to his own devices.

    A good website to read is Leerburg Dog Training | 17,500 pages of dog training information, 657 free dog training streaming videos, free eBooks, podcasts, by Ed Frawley and Michael Ellis, despite being written by a breeder/trainer of guarding breeds it will do you well for your type of pup. Your pup needs a lot of structure and training right not, better sooner rather then later when he's too big to handle.

    As for walking on the lead, stopping and waiting does nothing. I wish that rubbish would be removed from the internet. Have him on a long leash, have some super tasty treats in your pocket like little hot dog pieces (cheap and nice and smelly!) and start in your front yard. Walk away from the pup and call him, when he comes to you give him a piece of hot dog. Start walking, if he runs off, change direction and enthusiastically encourage him to come back to you while moving. When he does, treat again. Keep repeating, walk backwards if you can and the treat MUST come from you, not your hand. What that means is that you want the dog to look at your face and acknowledge YOU as the leader, but you're a fair one. The treat is an understandable intermediate between you and the dog, so I tell people hold the treat near your face or chest then straight down to the dog. It stops obsession with a treat hand and stops reliance on treats down the track.

    As for the howling outside, outside = feed/bone time. Only feed him outside and enthusiastically encourage him to go out with you 'OUTSIDE!! COME ON! YAAAY GOOD DOG!' shut the door, put the food down far from the door and go back inside. Conversely a good thing to do is scatter the kibble in the lawn so the dog has to use it's nose. Ignore it and the dog goes hungry, and no dog will go hungry for long especially a pointer. You have given him a choice - keep bashing on the door and go hungry, or go do something productive and eat. The door will be forgotten

  4. #4


    Thank you for your advice. Will do the recommended reading asap! One question though: In the garden (and we have quite a large one) he is very good as there are no real distractions. His recall is excellent, he follows me everywhere on the lead. He sits and waits for his food until I give the command and up until a week ago he walked superbly in the lead. I think the catalyst, was last weekend we took him to a nature reserve, let him run free and have a little fun in the water and now I can't seem to get him to calm down and he now expects all walks to be "free"= off leash.
    Another issue is that my husband travels frequently so its mostly me with the puppy-so so far I have been walking him with a pram. Is this a bad idea? As I said, he aces training in the garden, but once there are distractions, other dogs, people, windy weather etc he goes beserk. I took him for a walk today and it was so stressful he was just pulling and trying to pull me along and practically "choking" himself. I think at 12 weeks is a bit too young for the head harness surely?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2011


    It's probably a good idea to reward him more for good behaviour. When we take our 10 week old foster for walks, we are constantly giving him treats for walking nicely and focusing on us when we say his name. This is the time when you want to create some strong connections in their brains. The most important one being that being near you and coming to you is always a pleasant experience.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Geelong, Vic


    Head harnesses at that age are not suitable due to the fact they rotate the neck and if he pulls a lot or bolts you can cause neck damage. They also rub the eyes and bridge of the nose. You need to put in firm training, undistracted so leave the pram as you cannot walk or reward him properly. If you can't leave the kids at home train walking in the front yard or the street in front of your house for starters.

    His expectations need to be quashed and he needs to understand that leash = calm walking all the time until you say he can go run. That only comes with hard work unfortunately

  7. #7


    Thanks everyone. Ok have got a lot of work to do! Will let you know how it goes!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2009


    Hi Anna Belle

    Welcome to the forum.

    Nekhbet has given some excellent advice. She's a professional dog trainer so she knows what she's talking about.

    I think you're off to a great start, but your dog is a baby - with the attention span of a gnat and a super opportunist as well. So your puppy will push and push and it's entirely up to you to limit the opportunities for the puppy to make mistakes or learn to have fun without you (self rewarding behaviour like running off leash and not coming back).

    Every new skill the puppy learns - you start somewhere with few distractions, and then work up gradually - to places with more and more distractions - like the park. A park with other dogs is probably a university level distraction and a baby will be unable to resist the temptations. But you will get there. Just do some practice of all the skills in that place (and as many other places as you can manage), starting with the lead on so you have some control. There's no point letting the dog go, if they can't pay attention to you at all when you have the lead on - letting them off only makes that worse.

    If you do decide to let the dog off lead in a safe place before you've got a good enough recall - then don't call the dog when it's not likely to come. Because that only trains the dog that it's ok to ignore you. If you can, just walk up to the dog and put the lead on when it's time to go. But also several times before it's time to go - put the lead on and then release again "go play" so the play time comes from you with your permission and it's not always the end of the fun.

    With the pulling on lead and stopping and not coming back - I did have this problem for a while with my dog. But I spent some more time working on the heel work and if she pulled I would stop and actually encourage her to come back to my side (slapping my leg and calling - she's on lead so she doesn't have a lot of choice)... and then praise and pat and treat sometimes for coming back - then take a step forward... if she shoots off to the end of the lead again - repeat. The first few times - maybe the first couple of walks will be tedious and you will spend the entire time in training mode... but after that the dog tends to connect pulling = going nowhere and will pace themselves better.

    The key thing to loose lead walking is that every step the dog takes while pulling is rewarding for the dog as the dog feels they are getting closer to where they want to go - so if you let them pull, they will do it more and more, until you might as well hitch them to a cart, and then chuck kibble at them when you want to stop.

    I use a front attach harness on my dog instead of a head halter. The front attach harness - has a ring on the dog's chest, so if my dog lunges after something (bike, poodle x, jogger, possum, cat...) I can hold on quite easily and she ends up rotating around the attach point on her chest and back to face me (her bum over takes the front end) - and she doesn't get to chase the whatever.

    She doesn't do this very often, so it catches me by surprise when the 1349th jogger/cat/bike goes by and after ignoring all the previous ones, she picks that one out for special attention.
    Last edited by Hyacinth; 09-12-2013 at 10:42 PM. Reason: spelling skill of a gnat

  9. #9


    'anna belle' - Really pleased to read that you are training your pup. Keep up the good work ! The training really never stops !

    Remember - as 'Hyacinth' has said - that your pup is only ~12 wks old and that he has the brain capacity of a gnat ! So ideally - training sessions should be kept short and often. Repetition and reinforcement of good behaviour is what is needed.

    You are exactly correct in the following:

    I think the catalyst, was last weekend we took him to a nature reserve, let him run free and have a little fun in the water and now I can't seem to get him to calm down and he now expects all walks to be "free"= off leash.
    Treat this as a hiccup – and back to basics regarding lead work and training. Off-lead is a long long way into the future and something that needs heaps of training to achieve.

    Because of growing bones and the like – it is recommended that 5 mins per month of age of the pup is what you work on for the ‘thumping of the pavement’ type exercise. Also, mix up the types of surfaces on your walks.

    So take pup for a walk by himself if you can – until you have it under control again. Bring him back after 15 minutes and then take the kids for a walk. Start getting him used to being on his own.

    I freeze water and treats in a margarine container for times like this. I have used banana, carrots, apple, sardines – always leave a little of the treat out of the top so pup quickly gets the idea of what to do. So, empty the frozen treat out on the grass and see how pup goes.

    A couple of useful commands I can’t do without !

    LAT – look at that and Leave it

    kikopup puppy tips look at that - YouTube
    Again - keep up the good work ! smiley-eatdrink004.gif

    P.S. Would love to see a photo of your pup !

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Brisbane, Australia


    I can't add anything more to what other people have said here
    All great advice

    What I will say though is try not to let is stress you out
    I drove myself crazy with my pup, she was and still is an absolute handful

    Just remember that you are doing your best, your pup will love you regardless and no matter what you do and how many times you do it... you'll be doing it for the rest of your time together
    Stick at it and it will come!

    We need a photo!

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