dogeatdogwrld, Based on what you have written in this thread, I believe that you can improve your dog's behavior without as much difficulty as you might think. Firstly, Pedigree has corn in it and corn is one of the highest allergens to dogs. I think your dog is allergic to the food which has caused her chronic ear problems. Chronic ear problems can make a dog feel miserable and some of her behavior may be because she feels awful. Please change her to a higher quality brand (look at pet supply stores, not grovery stores) that does not contain corn or wheat. Or, better yet, consider feeding her a raw diet. This will probably clear up her "finickyness" also. (If you were allergic to your food, wouldn't you be hesitant to eat it too?)
Secondly, one of the most underdiagnosed problems in the canine world is thyroid problems. Few vets even consider the problem and when they do, they do the wrong test for it. Google canine thyroid and you will find alot of info about the subject. (The thyroid test is not expensive and if the dog requires medication, its just pennies a day.)
While a change in diet and possible thyroid medication might be in order, your do still came from what sounds like a puppy mill as an unsocialized puppy. This will certainly factor in and she may never be a friendly outgoing dog but you can always make imrovements. Get her healthy then start working with her in a positive-based obedience class and that will help you bond. Please don't expect an instant fix. It took 2 years for her to get this way. She won't change overnight. But with patience and understanding, you can most certainly build a better relationship with her.
Let me just get this right.... your German Shepard has issues so you keep her outside. She has issues so you bred her. Didn't you think that maybe if she does have some serious problems that her pups might inherit the same disposition problems. Then, since you have problems with you German Shepard and you have issues that you can't deal with you got two new pug puppies??? Now you also want to dump her off with her problems for someone else? Wow. I hope your pugs know how to "behave" for you.....
Well I listened and I read everybodies posts. without mentioning any names I have to comment on some of the advice given.
1. A GSDs brain is not fully developed at 4 months, they actually go through learning spurts every couple months til way past 2 years.
2. Even though this dog will never be perfect the good trainer will do wonders for it's behavior. And GSDs do need a lot more than love to become what the breed was designed for.
3. Once a GSD becomes a fear biter it will be almost impossible to completely trust that dog again. Period.
4. A "professional breeder" does not breed several breeds of dogs, no matter how good you are there are no general practicioners for dogs. A good dog owner knows more about their specific breed than the average veterinarian. Some good breeders may have other breeds in their kennels but that is just so they can get their mind off their main interest and they just love dogs.
5. A first time dog owner or a first time GSD owner for sure should spend lots of time researching before getting one, they are not for the weak handler. Gsds have a great desire to have a human master and if that master cannot master them they will become the alpha.
6. While desensitizing may work well for most breeds it seldom is the answer for a strong willed dog like the GSD. The best training aid for them is a stronger willed handler.
7. the best way to get a dog trustworthy off lead is to make them think they always within the perameters of the lead.
8. A pinch or prong collar does not hurt when used properly and is one of the best ways to make a dog pay attention to your instruction. btw the proper way to use a prong collar is just a shake of the lead. A younger dog that has been trained with this collar will soon know to behave just by putting it on without the lead.
9. A GSD with any kind of health or behavioral problems will pass this on to the next generation or subsequent generations and therefore should never be bred. This is why we have so many problems with this particular breed especially in the American lines. There is no such thing as a 135 pound GSD. These are American GSDs because Americans wanted bigger dogs and with no respect for health they continue to breed for size. Because Americans wanted to proudly display their "big junkyard dog" attitude we have fear biters in the first place.
10. This one is gonna draw out the worst in everybody. An adult GSD who fear bites should be put down. Why risk the reputation of the most versatile dog in the world because of poor breeding and ownership practices of a few.
Now this is a quote from Max von Stephanitz, the designer of the GSD. "Do right and fear no one". This eliminates fear in the GSD in the first place. And, " Utility is the true criterion of beauty." I believe by this he meant if the dog wasn't trainable to the highest degree nothing else mattered.
ok.. Well, I am very new here, and found this thread while researching stress in the gsd. As my name implies I am a new gsd owner. I have NEVER had one before. I have had dogs and not long ago had to let my 8 yr Rottie pass after losing his battle with osteosarcoma. I am responding because I can not believe what I am reading here and to put it mildly I am stunned.
As I said, I had to let my dog go. It was the humane thing to do because there was nothing more we could do and he was suffering. Since that time, I have learned more than I ever dreamed I could about owning a dog. I was devastated by the loss of my companion, best friend and part of my soul went with him. I was shattered. My hubby, trying to ease my pain, attempted to get me a new dog. Rottie after Rottie passed by and with each one I said no, I would just compare him to my baby... I wasn't ready to get a new dog. Grief takes a while to ease... Well, a short time later he said that it was time and he wanted me to look at some puppies. So, off we went. We drove about an hour or so to a small mobile home in the country. They had a fenced in yard and I could see two dogs there.
To shorten this somewhat, my hubby purchased one of the 14 puppies. We knew nothing about this breeder, the breed, the things to be concerned with when purchasing a puppy, nothing. Hubby paid the lady two hundred dollars and than asked about a health guarantee. "Sorry" she said, "but I will give you one day to take him to the vet. If the vet finds him unhealthy, I will consider refunding your money." Big goof! Yes, and no. Nestled in my arms was the most adorable black puppy I had ever seen... NOT! As soon as we got into the car this poor puppy started whining, shrilly... Non-stop! Anytime we were in the car he cried. But, that's not all, he cried if he was carried, cried if he was set on the ground, floor, whatever. Cried if you fed him, cried if you pet him. I had never had a puppy behave so strangely. But, I have to tell you this. It's true the puppy was purchased for ALL THE WRONG REASONS... But, he was the turning point in my life.
You see, he was born the day before my Apollo was put down. We named him Apollo's Spirit. We call him Spirit. Yes the beginning was terribly rough. If you haven't done the math yet, you will see that this poor thing was bought 5 weeks after my Rottie passed. If he was born the day before that would make him 5 wks old. Yes, far, far too young. But, we didn't know... Here's how I looked at it.
Ok, we didn't know... We had to be a bit stupid not to figure something wasn't right... But, having AKC papers, and seeing that he did have champion blood...(somewhere)... well, there is no excuse for ignorance. And better late than never, I began researching everywhere I could. I socialized him as well as I could taking him to a nearby dog park often and letting others pet and touch him. Eventually his crying subsided but guess what didn't? His biting. Yup, he bit. Not my husband... but me.
After having our last hope at a trainer wash away when we were told to purchase a shock collar, and call her back once we had him so he didn't jump. I did try it but felt it was too cruel. Oh the money we spent... Trying to get some training help. Now my Spirit was 9 months old. I attempted to get help by writing to every gsd rescue I could find on line. I didn't go to them because I wanted to turn him in, but because I knew that they had trainers who helped turn around bad behaviors so they could be adopted out. I wanted to find someone to help me get these behaviors worked out. Well only one responded... I live in the states, and the rescue was in Canada. Through that rescue I connected with a wonderful Canadian trainer who has been walking me through the clicker training with e-mails, and a forum much like this. She also strongly suggested a prong collar for sharp correction and control. At the same time a very good trainer in my area who trained dobermans offered me help and didn't charge me a dime. So slowly, we worked through much of the basic training, until this marvelous trainer decided that Spirit would learn not to be interested in grasshoppers when he should be interested in where we were going, by kicking Spirit under the jaw. Spirit put a stop to that by attempting to bite him. Last lesson there.
Now, to jump a little ahead to the present, I am the very proud owner of a GSD who I've been offered as much as 16 hundred dollars for. He is a huge boy, weighing in at 102.2 and currently on a small diet to get back to where we can feel ribs. He is very large boned and about 28 inches at the shoulders. Black and tan but the tan is very light like silver. A very striking dog. He isn't perfect and has a very long way to go, but I have learned a trememdous amount since beginning this voyage.
I guess I am trying to say, that from the posts I've read of Dogeatdogworld (hopefully I got that right), and his dog's problems... Well, if you wanted to succeed and really help this dog, it's is well within your grasp. I have only just found this forum... I continue to look for new ideas every day. I have never, not a single time considered giving him up in no way or means. And in the short time I have glanced through this, I can see it is well rounded and has at least one person who is extremely capable of helping with training.
Now for the parts I left out. Spirit was less than 5 weeks old when we got him. He was not properly taken care of and was removed from the mother before 4 wks. He had no socialization with his littermates nor people. His training remained one confused attempt after another for about the first 9 months of his life. He suffered continually from ear infections and yeast infections. He still has some allergy problems but we are working on it and as he gets older they seem to be less. The day we took him to the vet for the check up... The vet missed finding two huge flea nests which had embedded themselves into the back of his neck. Try defleaing a 5 week old puppy. This puppy didn't even know how to eat, and was still trying to lap up food from his dish. And of course I saved the best for last. This dog saw me as his litter mate. I was his underling.. I was the hairless pup with three legs. Yes 3. I am disabled. I had broken my pelvic bone and was using a cane to get around. I have a bone condition which occassionally forces me to a wheelchair. I have limited mobility. I am a very petite woman, 4'10 and less than 80 lbs. Yes... I handle my now, not quite 2 (that's right 2 years old in July), 102 lbs. German Shepherd Dog. And you know what else? Right now, whether I succeed or fail, I will have one of the best GSD's there is. You know why? Cause he is being trained BY me for work as my Assistance Dog, and even if he doesn't "make the grade", the bond we build getting there will be the best there is!
I don't mean to brag, but when I read things like I read here, it just makes my blood boil. If you want help, it's out there. I still have things I am working on with Spirit. I still search the internet and try and find solutions. The wonderful trainer in Canada is not skilled in Service Dog training and the nearest help in that area for me is more than 3 hours away, and questionable help at that.
I've learned that if you want to succeed in life, you have to work at it. Sorry dogeatdogworld, but either you are not being up front and honest with the problems your having or you are just not inclined to take care of it yourself.
Sorry if this is too long and too blunt for your forum. I am running through some posts now looking for ideas to improve the down areas I have with Spirit and I hope I will be welcome to do so.
***Edited By: gsdnewbie on 6/29/2005 6:06:36 PM*** Reason: to add a piece I left out