Getting a new dog, need some advise
A friend of mine is getting his house re-possesed and he has nothing to do with his dog, so he's giving him to me. It's a 2 year old German Shepard. The dog was house trained but then moved outside about a year or so ago. Also he's always been inside a chain-link fence. I'm hoping he should figure out the house training without too much trouble, what does everyone think? Also I have an underground electric fence for my dog now, I wonder if being 2 years old I'll have problems with training him? I worked with mine when he was a puppy with it, I'm not too sure about training an older dog to it. I'm going to try to get him trained so I can leave him inside or out and not have problems.
You can teach an old dog new tricks
Yeah, I saw that coming. I've been thinking about it more, I don't think it'll be too bad. It's just that for over a year the dog has been in a fenced in yard in the city, I hope he adjusts well to being out here.
:-)German Shepherds are very smart - I don't think you'll have any problems at all. We had an older Doberman and moved to a new house. We put an underground fence in and worked with him, as you would with any puppy or dog (with the flags), and in a short time he adjusted beautifully! I would think that if the dog was house trained, even if he's been outside for a time, it shouldn't take you any time to re-adjust him to that either - especially a Shepherd. Best of luck!!
Train to the electric fence the same as you do with a puppy, but be aware, depending on the Shepherd's prey drive it might be some time before you can trust him with it. While a lot of the herding instinct has been lost in GSDs, they tend to still have an extremely active prey drive, which is instinctual and will sometimes overcome their reasoning abilities in terms of no visual barriers: ie. a rabbit runs through the yard, he might not stop at the boundaries chasing it. They are smart dogs though, you should be able to get him trained to it!
Note also if he isn't neutered and has been an outside dog, housebreaking in terms of marking can be difficult. If not already done, I'd make neutering him first order of business!
You might want to get one of the bigger collars for the German Shepard. I had a cocker spaniel that the collar worked fine on. But, I also had a Great Pyrenese that it didn't work at all on. The contacts were too small to get through all the hair. The same with my old Border Collie. I got the bigger collar that they put out, and it kept both of them in fine. Both of them would run through it without even being phased by it. Even with the beeper warning. They didn't care. Got the bigger box for the collar itself, and they would come to a dead stop when the warning beep went off.
Just a suggestion.
Good idea with the bigger collar, I didn't even think of that. I'll have to work with him about going hunting, hopefully he figures out not to run through the fence. I'm not sure if he's neutered or not, I'll have to ask. My friend was supposed to bring him out this morning but I don't know what happened, I can't get ahold of him. I'm just going to chain him up while I'm at work and try to train him when I'm home. Hopefully he figures it out quick, I hate leaving an animal on a chain.
Time, patience, repeat. Fence training twice a day and never let him cross anywhere except at the "gate". For the house training, if you can buy or borrow a kennel, I have found that to be the most effective way of complete house training -- not just the bathroom training.
He is a big dog, so he must always know you have full power. I would advise teaching him not to be greedy with his food. He should be fed twice a day to his needs. There shouldn't be anything left in his bowl when he is finished, nor should he be hungry. Make him sit while you dish it up and he can only approach the food when you say so. No matter how long it takes -- 1 minute, 5 minutes or 1/2 an hour. Put food in, take it out, put it in again -- so he sees and understands that it is, in the end, YOUR food, and you are only being nice to share with him.
Never let him jump up on you or anyone else. EVER. He can and will easily hurt a child, or an injured/frail adult.
I have a rotti-shepherd that I got when he was about 16 months old. He lived on a chain and didn't even know his name in his previous home. He was smart. With 15 minute dedicated training sessions twice daily he learned the basics within a month. During the rest of the day, rules were reinforced but not specifically taught. He is now 13 years old, has cataracts, is mostly deaf, can't smell much but he has NEVER been a problem. Oh -- and it's always a good idea to incorporate hand signals with your voice commands. That's often the only way our old dog now understands what we want.
I also taught our dog that when he went somewhere he wasn't supposed to I would tell him by saying "bad grass" "bad road" "bad car" -- anything but "bad dog". I wanted him to associate the "bad" with the whatever the current action or place was. Ha - I forgot, I even taught him to "go bathroom" only in the long grass! It was great. Not anymore though -- he's too old.
Good luck and be consistent and firm. 2 years old is definitely not too old to learn. He will adapt; how well depends how much security he finds at his new home.
My Barn Owners dogs never leave his property unless they're with someone. He has a two year old Pyrenees that he got as a puppy who is a guard dog, and a 5 year old golden retriever he brought home when he sold some horses.
Neither have collars, they just know not to leave. I dont know if he ever trained the Pyrenees, but she never goes more than half way down the driveway, and I don't think he trained the retriever at all she just stays in the yard at all times, unless she's riding on the sleigh.
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