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Ask Jane Lefler Your Own Question

Jane Lefler
Jane Lefler, Animal Behaviorist
Category: Dog Training
Satisfied Customers: 19461
Experience:  Dog breeder/Trainer and Behaviorist 18+ years
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My 2+1/2 year old German shepherd is hyperactive and, unlike

Customer Question

My 2+1/2 year old German shepherd is hyperactive and, unlike my previous 6 shepherds, she is very disobedient. She is smart, but doesn't care if she gets scolded. Is there anything to help calm her?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Dog Training
Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 1 year ago.

Hi JaCustomer,

My name is ***** ***** I’ve been involved professionally with dogs in the health and behavioral fields for over 18 years. It will be my pleasure to work with you today.

In order to supply you with an informed answer, it is necessary for me to collect some additional information from you. When I receive your response or reply, it will likely take me between 30-45 minutes to type up my reply if I am still online when I receive notice that you replied. I hope you can be patient.

It sounds like she is very well behaved and trained for the most part but needs just a little tweeking working with distractions and on her long distance recall.

Does it sound like I have the problem isolated?

Is she spayed?

Does she walk next to you, in front of you or behind you?

Where do you normally train her for obedience?

Was she in any classes? If so when was that training?

Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 1 year ago.

I just saw that you submitted your question hours before it showed up in the correct category. I apologize for that. Since you waited so long already, let me give you my thoughts on the subject and if you still have questions, you can respond and I'll answer as soon as I can.

Frequently dogs are trained at home or take a class when they are young and continue training at home after that. They end up pretty well behaved, but often a prey item or other need will override the training you have done and they will disobey and bolt.

I’m going to suggest a few different things for your dog. The first you may have done before, but I do recommend you do it again. Enroll her in another obedience class. It has to be a group class with a fair amount of dogs. You want to work with her around a lot of strangers and dogs. This should help her obey every time with distractions.

Then I want you to find an area where there is prey animals. Work with her on a long lead (50 feet or more). When she sees a prey animal and goes to chase it, Give her the recall command (which ever one you use) and enforce it using the leash. If you can catch her before she bolts, give a firm low toned NO as soon as you see her interest in the distracting prey. If you can stop it before she bolts it is better as you can teach her not to go after it in the first place. This is extremely hard to do since the prey drive is strong is certain breeds. It is worth working on.

The other thing that I suggest you work on is the recall or come command. You need to train your dog to come to you every time regardless of what your dog wants to do. 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. I suggest paper thin hot dog slivers. She probably comes well now, but you want to “finish” the existing training so she comes every single time, the first time you call. The following site goes over the "recall" or come command in detail.

http://www.volhard.com/pages/coming-when-called.php

Now often the further a dog is away from you, the less likely it is that they will obey you. In some case, even with a dog’s good hearing they might not be able to hear you clearly. These are what I refer to as the long recall. The easiest and fastest way to train your dog to a long recall is with a training collar. You start out training them to the recall command. If they don’t immediately return to you, you give a correction with the collar. The collar will then give a tone and follow the tone with a shock. Since many people think shock collars are cruel, I suggest all clients thinking about using one let the collar shock them. In all the collars I have used, the shock intensity is pretty low and it is the unexpectedness of the shock that causes the dog to return to you. The dog usually reacts to the shock by returning to you or returning home if you are close to home. They then get an immediate reprimand for not obeying the recall command and when they do get to you, they get a treat for coming to you. What else this accomplishes is that they start to associate the tone with the shock and start returning to you before the shock occurs. Once that happens, you can turn off the shock and just use tone only and reward when she returns.. From that point on, when the dog hears the tone or your command, they will return to you. This is a method frequently used for hunting dogs that might be miles away from the hunter and where they might not hear a command. The owner hits the tone button and their dog returns to the owner. The collar can also work when a dog goes after prey but I recommend the other method first for prey training and maybe use the collar if she slips and goes for a rabbit.

I hope this information is helpful to you. 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 . If you do find this helpful, please take this opportunity to rate my answer so I am compensated for my time.

If you have questions in the future that you wish me to answer, you may click here and bookmark the page or make it a favorite. It is best to put my name "JANE" in the question as well.

Since there have been recalls on certain foods, please check the following site to be sure the food your animals eat is not affected. If it is affected, contact your vet as soon as possible. Have your dog seen if they have any symptoms.

http://www.fda.gov/AnimalVeterinary/SafetyHealth/RecallsWithdrawals/

Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 1 year ago.

When I answered earlier, I did forget to suggest finding someone with a rabbit or other small animal that you can cage and use as a distraction when training in your own yard. If you haven't already read my previous reply, please scroll up.

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