Obedient? No, not disobedient. Unmotivated.

obedient

I always ask what people want of their dog when I first arrive. The gentleman said ‘an obedient dog’ and the lady said a dog that she could walk.

The two are part of the same thing. In my own words what they want is a fulfilled, happy and motivated dog.

The less compliant and obedient a dog is, the more a frustrated owner may intensify his or her approach. They repeat commands with a crescendo until they are shouting. This may intimidate some dogs into being obedient.

With adolescence came attitude

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Terrorises the cats and barks at people coming to the house

Barks at catsHarley is a two-year-old German Shepherd who lives with an adult family and four cats.

People coming to the house – and their cats

Before I came I knew that they wanted Harley to be better with people coming to the house and not to go mental when she saw their cats. They find they can’t ask people round.

I was expecting the  young German Shepherd, as often happens, to bark at me so much that we couldn’t talk! What a nice surprise to find her shy rather than territorial or aggressive. (more…)

Control – Carrot or Stick?

GSD lying down

Murphy

Update on two dogs I saw some weeks ago.

After a run of German Shepherds who are very reactive to anyone coming into their home, it was great to go to a Shepherd who welcomed me immediately.  Murphy and Mastiff-type Bailey are well socialised, well-trained and gentle with their children.

Carrot – or stick?

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Blind German Shepherd. Unable to read other dogs.

Blind German sShepherdToday I met a blind dog, a wonderful thirteen-month-old German Shepherd called Bear. He lives with Stan, an equally lovely young Golden Retriever.

Both dogs are a real tribute to their owners. It was lovely to be greeted so happily and politely by both dogs.

Blind Bear occasionally but increasingly feels threatened by certain other dogs on walks. If this weren’t the case they wouldn’t need me at all.

Being blind, Bear feels more vulnerable

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Newly re-homed German Shepherd barks at cats.

They already have beautiful German Shepherd Dave and, a few days ago, another GSD, Lottie, joined the family.

The most immediate problem is that Lottie barks at cats – they have two that are used to freely coming and going. Now they are scared and Lottie is becoming increasingly reactive.

As she settles in, she behaves like she increasingly regards the cats as scary intruders. (more…)

Force, choke chain and control

force and choke chain unnecessaryForce and control may keep other dogs safe, but it doesn’t improve how beautiful Milo feels about them. The opposite in fact.

It’s always a treat for me, in my job, to meet a German Shepherd that welcomes me into his house! Milo is great with people.

The seven-year-old dog is the most gorgeous, friendly dog. They have come a long way in many respects having worked hard with his ‘manners’ and training since they adopted him four years ago.

However, there is one thing that simply doesn’t improve. That is his attitude towards other dogs when out on walks.

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Sudden Aggression. Redirects Onto Other Dog

Sudden aggression seems, to Harry’s owners, to come from nowhere. They took the German Shepherd on in good faith five years ago, at the age of two, little knowing what they had let themselves into.

The couple are experienced German Shepherd owners and have stuck with it.

Sudden aggression

Harry and George

The other day, seemingly with no provocation at all. The lady was by herself and both dogs were asleep on the floor.

With no warning, Harry suddenly attacked their other Shepherd, Bomber.

He grabbed the younger dog’s neck and shook him violently.

The poor lady sat and cried

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Bored, Over-excitable and Looking for Trouble

German Shepherd Kerry is bored.

Bored German Shepherd

Kerry

Although it’s natural for adult dogs to sleep for up to eighteen hours a day, this is only so if the rest of the time is filled with stuff natural to the dog – and its breed. Sleep probably won’t be in long blocks of enforced inaction during the day, but dozing between doing other things.

Young dogs in particular need action and fulfilment (just like young humans) or they get bored.

Kerry is a beautiful eighteen-month-old German Shepherd living with another GSD, Lemmy, aged four. They are both gorgeous dogs with lovely, friendly basic temperaments.

Young Kerry, unfortunately, probably isn’t getting enough action in her life and she’s very easily aroused. I saw this by how the smallest thing results in her leaping at someone, me in this case – grabbing my clothes and even hair with her teeth. (more…)