Sometimes incidents occur that cause a sudden commotion in your life, unsettling disturbing concerning. As some of you know, my son got a beautiful Black German Shepherd and he’s grown from a very large dog into a huge pup. We all know that pups are destructomatic. He’s been active shall we say.
He’s learned so much and listened so well, but suddenly he’s done a growing spurt and he’s strong more powerful than I can manage (and I’m with him 8 hours a day). We were told that tennis balls cause serious damage to a German Shepherd so we got rid of them which only enhanced destructomatic tendencies.
Unfortunately, we have 3 cats and the littlest one suddenly became a toy and he inadvertantly injured her trying to pick her up (a squeaky toy if you will) and she may not make it. She’s 14 and has arthritis to the point that on certain days she cannot jump to get onto your lap. She moved herself in because she loves my son so much she was not willing to take no for an answer and she took him over. When the pup arrived, she fought him to stay. She’s adorable and loving and such a sweety we call her pretty girl because she’s that pretty and so loving.
Today is d day. Ultimatum day. Concerns are that he’ll injure one of the kids since he won’t stop nipping at everyone and he’s becoming aggressive. He hasn’t hurt anyone, but we’re all concerned it could happen. We’re all torn apart not just at what’s happened but at the possibility of what could happen. It’s caused more than a kerfuffle along with it emotional pain. We don’t want this to be divisive but it has become so.
My heart is crying today. I love him, I love the cats. More, I love the little ones who have never had a dog and don’t understand how to take control and then there are those that simply won’t which means that the dog doesn’t want to listen to them. Since he weighs more than all of them put together, it causes real concern when “puppy dumb” takes over and he won’t listen to anyone and settle down. Until recently, I could control him through love and cuddling him and soothing him. Now that’s not enough and I’m at a loss. He’s not mean, he doesn’t intend causing injury or harm, he has a beautiful personality, which is as gorgeous as he is.
His instinctive “protect” mode comes into play and he stands immediate guard between any stranger and the children and tugs you away when he feels concerned about a stranger which makes this situation all the more difficult.
Unfortunately, taking him to the dog park hasn’t been such a good idea as he’s learned behaviour from other dogs that is unacceptable. For example, he saw a dog jumping on strangers and immediately copied that action, he saw a dog hump another dog’s head, and immediately did the same. A Great Dane took his frisby and when he went to get it back, he was bitten, twice, now he wants to actually bite because he was bitten. Undoing these bad habits has become a full time job. He learns brilliantly fast, he sees something once and he has it. Sit, lay, stay, roll over, shake a paw, play dead, all learned within minutes to an hour tops. He’s that smart that it makes his “not listening” behaviour unacceptable because he knows all the commands but he chooses whether to listen to nor and the not part comes in when “puppy dumb” hits.
When you have eye contact, he listens immediately, but without eye contact and “puppy dumb” hits, it’s impossible to get eye contact, control is nearly impossible.
We haven’t been dog people. I had 2 dogs when I was a kid, but they were a couple years old and listened well. Training a pup this huge to listen is exhausting but also rewarding.