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Doggie Dilemmas

Thank you for visiting Doggie Dilemmas!On this page, you will find information on how to stop many unwanted behaviors
that you and your German Shepherd dog may be experiencing. Check back each month for advice on three new situations.
Please email me if you have any questions!

(1) Stop Excessive Barking
Barking is part of a dog's nature. There are three different types of barking: separation, alarm, and attention. Regardless of the type of barking that your German Shepherd is displaying, punishment is not the answer.
Separation barking occurs when the dog barks because he/she simply wants to tell you to come back into the room so that he/she can feel safe. Try redirecting the dog's attention onto something else so that he/she doesn't miss you so much. Start training your dog to be quiet by offering her a hard rubber toy or a bone stuffed with goodies when you leave the room. Eventually, the dog will learn that when you go away, you will come back.
Alarm barking occurs when a dog senses danger and is trying to warn you about it or ward it off. The best way to overcome this behavior is to teach the dog to "speak" on command. Set off the alarm barking with a trigger, and then reward the dog when he/she "speaks." Next, tell the dog "quiet" and reward him/her with a treat. In this situation, once barking becomes something you can start, it also becomes something you can stop.
Attention barking involves the dog barking for your attention because he/she has been rewarded for it in the past. For example, a dog who drops a ball at your feet and then barks excessively does it because he/she knows that you will throw the ball. To stop this behavior, simply ignore the dog at all costs when he/she is barking. This means no eye contact, no calling his/her name, and no telling him/her to stop. Although the barking may get worse at first, it will eventually stop because it is no longer being rewarded.

(2) Stop Chewing
If a dog chews something he/she shouldn't, it's 99% your fault and 1% his/her fault. Teething puppies are going to chew things; it is important to get them to chew things that are appropriate. During the teething stage, puppies should not be left alone with objects that are not his/hers to chew. If you catch your dog in the act of chewing something that isn't his/hers, try NOT to make a big deal out of it. Simply replace the object with something that is OK for him/her to chew. Remember, dogs love attention so it is better to praise hardily for good behavior and treat bad behavior with as little emotion as possible. If your dog is chewing furniture, try spraying the furniture with a bitter-tasting chewing repellent, lemon juice, vinegar, or cayenne pepper. If your dog continues to chew no matter what you try, consider that your dog may have a dental problem and check in with your veterinarian.

(3) Stop Jumping
Dogs love to jump on humans because they want to be near your face, which is where all the excitement and stimuli come from. The bottom line in preventing jumping is this:Praise for four paws on the floor; no praise for two paws in the air. If you know what triggers jumping, simply keep your dog away from that trigger. Using the sit command is also a great way to get a dog to stop jumping. Another way to get a dog to stop jumping is to make the act itself very unrewarding. For example, turn your body away from your dog when it jumps on you.

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