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Jane Lefler
Jane Lefler, Animal Behaviorist
Category: Dog Training
Satisfied Customers: 19106
Experience:  Dog breeder/Trainer and Behaviorist 18+ years
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Hi Jane I have a German Shepherd X dog who I rescued from

Resolved Question:

Hi Jane
I have a German Shepherd X dog who I rescued from Afghanistan. He is 16 months old.
I have trained him from an early age and he is generally well behaved.
He has one trait that I am not sure how to train out of him. He randomly chases joggers, cyclists or harasses people, barking and circling them. It is completely non aggressive but on occasion he nips there bottoms. During this behaviour he does not listen to me, or in fact hear me as he is so focused. It is very intimidating. I don't see any logic in who he chooses to harass. He ignores most people.
Can you help?
Paul
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Dog Training
Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 2 years ago.
Paul,.My name isXXXXX have been working professionally with animals especially dogs in both health and behavioral issues for over 18 years. I have over 14,000 satisfied customers. It will be my pleasure to work with you today..In order to supply you with the best information, I do need to ask for some additional information. Once I receive your answer, it will likely take me about 30-45 minutes to type up your response. I hope you can be patient..Are you always with him when he is oiutside?Is it the same people that he runs after?Or does he chase a person one day and ignore them on another day?Is he neutered?How often do you train with him?Is he allowed on furniture?How many walks does he get each day?How long are the walks?Does he have a good walk?what have you tried so far?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Hi Jane
I am always with him on walks.
It is never the same person, appears random. Jogger, cyclist, person sitting on bench, person walking by. Barking, circling and refusing to come to my command, actively avoids me catching him. Not aggressive or really playful. If person is ok with dogs and they fuss him he looses interest. If jogger stops he looses interest. If cyclist gets off bike he looses interest. If they are scared he gets more excited and nips their bums?
He also on occasion barks at odd objects, bins, tree stumps, anything really. But once I take him to the thing he is ok.
He is neutered.
I sort of train him constantly when walking. Mostly coming when called and bringing to heal.
4-6 hours of walks a day, in one or two sessions. He gets good exercise.
I do let him on the furniture.
Currently keep him on training lead mostly. Keep training him to come to heal, which he is generally very good at, even off the lead.
Considering collar that sprays water by remote control.
Many thanks
Paul

Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 2 years ago.
Paul,
.
I've received your response and am working on your answer. I just wanted to be sure you understood it would take me a little while to type up the response.

Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 2 years ago.

Paul,

.

I know you think his behavior is not aggressive but barking at people and chasing them or running up to them and even nipping at them is indeed dominant and aggressive behavior. He is still young and often it is around 18 months of age that a young male will test their owners leadership and challenge them with a growl just to see if they can get away with it. If it isn't corrected immediately a dog will push its boundaries even more. So it is important to get this corrected as soon as possible.

.

I'm going to suggest some formal obedience training in a class atmosphere. this will teach him to obey despite distractions. I'm also going to give you a great site that teaches you some great methods of training. Be sure and click on the link to the page on obedience at the bottom. and links on subsequent pages leading to detailed instructions.

http://www.schutzhund-training.com/training_theory.html

.

Training works best if you train at least 30 minutes a day (two 15 minute sessions). It needs to be set times where this is all you are doing so he isn't distracted during this part of the training. I would start making your dog work via the Nothing in life is free program (NILF). It is outlined below.

http://www.pets.ca/articles/article-dog_nilf.htm

.

These things will reinforce your place as the alpha/boss. I also want to be sure that you have a good recall or come with him. Many dogs don't come when called because they have learned that the only time they are called is when fun time is over. People call their dogs to them to make them come inside or to stop chasing prey (cats) or to be put on leash (end of free running time) or even crated. The only association they have with the come command is negative. Additionally, dogs find chase to be a highly amusing game and have learned that if they get close to a human, the human might chase them. They love a good game. So what you need to do is make coming to you more pleasurable.

.

The easiest way is to reward your dog with small tiny treats and praise whenever your dog comes to you when you give the command. Do this even when the dog wants to come to you. After a few treats, the dog will associate coming to you with getting treats and praise. Outside, you will want to use a long lead. Do not drag your dog to you, but say the command and if the dog doesn't come, give the leash a short tug. Start with short distances and gradually extend the distance as your dog becomes more familiar with the command. Over time, you will reduce the treats and increase the praise until praise is the only reward. Another thing to remember is to never call a dog to you to discipline it, go to the dog. During training I don't call a dog to me unless it is going to be pleasant for the dog. I usually don't have much of a problem since the dogs quickly learn that I have thinly sliced hot dog treats just waiting for them to obey me.

.

Practice several times a day calling him to you and rewarding him for it and then give a release command so he knows he can go back to running or what ever else he was doing. If you have a good recall, you can stop any behavior.

.

Get him a back pack and fill it with water bottles and cans to give him more weight and help tire him out more during walks. Keep a light weight lead on him so if he starts to bark or lunge at anyone, you can use the lead to get his attention by giving a short tug and a firm low toned "NO" of correction. Right now he gets a reaction from the people he chases and if they continue moving he nips at them. He needs to know that this is unacceptable behavior. To him it is game more than aggressive but is turning aggressive. People jogging and running do become scared of a large dog charging them and their fear will encourage him to be aggressive.

.

If working with him off leash, put a basket muzzle on him. It will allow him to pant normally, drink and eat but won't allow him to bite or nip. Practice that recall until he responds immediately every time and use that to intercept his charges. As he matures, he will be less likely to exhibit this behavior especially if you are consistent with your recalling him .

.

Get a very lightweight lead so he forgets he has it on and you can use that as well. I have an appointment, so if you need more direction, just respond and I'll answer when I return.

.

I hope this information is helpful to you and you are satisfied with my response. If you would like any additional information or have more questions please don’t hesitate to press the reply to expert or continue conversation button so I can address any issues you still have .

.

Jane Lefler, Animal Behaviorist
Category: Dog Training
Satisfied Customers: 19106
Experience: Dog breeder/Trainer and Behaviorist 18+ years
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