Hello all, I know this is a long one…But please - I need some puppy help!
I’m in need of assistance or input from some seasoned dog trainers! I have a German Shorthair Pointer (GSP) puppy that is 9 weeks old as of 20 Dec 08. I had a GSP 3 years ago that passed away on the operating table at 8YOA.
I’m fairly versed at training and my last GSP turned out to be outstanding. I have also helped out others with their dogs problems successfully. I have read numerous books on training and worked with trainers in my past…However, I sure am starting to feel somewhat inadequate these days! I understand that all dogs can exhibit different traits and need to be worked with in different ways. I’m currently doing the basics such as crate training, potty training, no, stay, release, and the likes.
My problem is this GSP puppy has a VERY STRONG WILL and is proving to test all of my training abilities and patience. Out of the past week she would whine and cry the entire night and a couple of other nights she has slept the whole night without a peep. I’m batting about 70/30, with the 30 being the good nights. I have used a scented shirt that I have worn all day and placed in her kennel (which seemed to work well as in the past). I take her out close to every 3-4 hours as necessary. I have covered her kennel which also seemed to help. But again, I feel I’m missing something here?
Additionally, this little pup has a big issue with teething and nipping. She has toys made of all materials, I use bitter apple in NO CHEW areas, and I substitute the hands with her toys as were trying to gently play with her…Yet she still likes the “body parts”. She will also pull out a big burst of energy and throw the “rule book” out the window…Especially with my wife and daughter more so then me. She gets ramped up and will do “a run by nipping”, she will continue to chew hands, arms, and even the face if she gets the chance. We have tried to work a toy into the play/petting time in place of the body parts…But, she keeps going back to the body parts over the toys.
With the bad issues and strong nipping/biting, I/we will correct her with a stern no, then work our way up the “use of force scale” using a no with the ‘scuff of the neck” being shaken right at the time of the offence…She has even stepped back after a stern correcting and stood her ground and barked back at us which leads to another stern correcting…More of a “dominating” scruff of the neck pin on the ground with a NO. Also, with bad issues I/we have rolled her over and held her on her back until she stopped all resisting and I have even went all the way to pinning her on her back and “growling” on her neck until she has stopped fighting back…I know this can sound very strange. However, it has been a proven method with many dogs even fully grown K-9 police dogs (German Shepard’s). With all of the reading and studying I have done I have worked by “thinking with the pack mentality” over striking dogs with any object.
She also has just blown off going out into the cold and urinated inside of the house…Which puppies will do even without the cold until trained as you well know. She has even defecated & urinated in the same spot in the house right after she went outside. But, this one I believe was a territory issue because it was right in front of the cat steps going up to a bed. All known urination or defecation spots get cleaned out of her view and we use Natures Miracle. She still fights the lead (leash), likes to chew/carry a rock in her mouth outside, and is generally very strong willed.
I can’t leave out that she does have positive sides! She has proven to be very intelligent…She learned to urinate on command by the second day (outside)! She has learned to ring a set of bells when she needs to go outside for the call of nature although it has only been a couple of times. She loves to be held, I believe she is on track for her age when it comes to the basics like stay, leave-it, and release, although she still needs assistance with these commands as with any puppy…And she has a very sensitive side that makes a stern correcting a difficult balance.
In closing…The main issue is the strong will, the crying & howling all night!! Nipping, fighting the lead, and the possibility of my worst nightmare…separation anxiety? I can’t forget that she is a puppy and the have their issues! I know this is a long one and I thank you for any ideas that you could provide, any recommended books or CD’s would also be greatly appreciated.
One last question…Am I over worried? Is she just a strong willed puppy that will just take a little longer?? I just don’t want to make a mistake that will mess her up down the road…I really love this pup!
Very Respectfully, Kurt
P.S. I also apologize for any typing errors, spelling mistakes, or bad sentences.