Similar to the two week shutdown mentioned above - one tip I learned from Germans (who are quite good with training dogs) is to not over-do it in the beginning.
Play with the dog for awhile, then put it in another room for awhile alone.
Then after half an hour, bring the dog in to play some more.
Then put dog alone for awhile.
Continue doing this the first few days/weeks.
This lets the dog know that:
Sometimes you go away.
You will come back.
Barking and whining will not bring you back faster.
Trust me when I say you, and your neighbors, will be a lot happier not to have a barking, whining dog missing the owner and having learned that the louder it barks and whines, the faster you come back.
I am so envious - I dearly love German Shepard dogs - they are smart, loyal and great additions to any family - and woe be it to anyone who attempts to attack you or a family member while that dog is around!
I second the idea of not overwhelming the pup with constant attention right away. He’s going to be all shiny and new and you’re going to be fascinated, but he needs to be able to chill out. If the pup has previously been crate trained you might want to get a crate so his has a place of his own that’s safe and familiar.
I have two GSD mixes, and they’re great dogs (as are my doberman, standard poodle, giant schnauzer and english setter). I hope you have many, many years of mutual love and care.
A crate, which is his den and his bed for sleeping, would be a good idea, especially in a household with cats and kids. Teach the kids to leave him alone when he’s in the crate and put it inside a room with a door you can close to keep the cats out.
Most re-homed dogs will experience anxiety for the first couple of weeks and regress, so don’t be surprised if he forgets his commands and isn’t cooperative on the leash. Otherwise, let him set the pace and give him some downtime from all the stimulation as others have mentioned.
I agree that crate training in good for more than house breaking. It gives the dog a safe, happy place you can put him in if you ever need him out of the way (company over, repairmen in the house, etc.) As long as you put the dog in for very short intervals at first with treats in there, etc., he should take to it very well! My dogs love their crates. They sleep in them whenever they need a break or quiet time.
My only other advice would be to get on your hands and knees and look around for any hazards or dangerous items you may have missed from “people height.” At 6 mos, he may not be past his chewing stage, so better to be safe than sorry (or to spend many frantic minutes and $65 on the phone to the ASPCA poison control center because, despite thinking you found everything, your new doggie located an old ant poison square and chewed it up–not that I’d know anything about that :rolleyes: ).
How about your two cats? They are in for a nasty shock. Dogs aren’t always the aggressors either. I’ve seen cats go after dogs that invade their space.
You have any child gates to keep the dog in one area of the house?
Six month old is a great age to get a dog. He’s old enough to easily train, but not set in his ways yet.
I’m a advocate of crate training. Every dog I’ve owned sleeps in a crate. They quickly find it soothing and their “safe” place in this nasty world. My dogs go to their crate anytime they are stressed (like a storm). It calms them down. It also trains them to hold their bladder. Dogs over four months old won’t soil their crate unless they are desperate. It’s good that they learn to hold their urine for a reasonable amount of time ( a few hours). Just like humans learn to hold their bladders during the day. We can’t always pee when the urge strikes.
One house rule. Our kids were taught to never bother the dog in his crate. That’s his refuge. His safe place. When he’s in there, he should be left alone. He’ll come out when called if he wants too. We left the crate door open except for at night.
Another vote for setting up a crate. Find a nice, quiet, out-of-the-way place. For both of my dogs, this means separate crates in separate bedrooms.
To make it even more like a cave, I drape large (old) sheets or tablecloths over the top, back and sides. It’s as aceplace57 says: when they get stressed or it’s storming, they hie themselves off to their respective crates and settle in for a good snooze. The crate doors are left open, so they come and go as they please. They do not go into each others’ crates, but will stand a foot or so outside the door and sniff.
One of my dogs has started stashing certain valuable stuffed toys in his crate. I assume this is either a dog’s version of planning for an emergency or making sure the other dog doesn’t get the best ones.
We do have baby gates to keep the dog confined to the kitchen/master bedroom. We’ve decided that we will have a crate, so that will be in our bedroom. We’ll also keep him on leash when not in his crate for the first week or two. I like the idea upthread of leaving hima lone for intervals, and absolutely the kids will have to leave him alone when he’s in his crate.
We pick him up at noon and have a vet appointment at 1. Yay!
We got the dog! He’s very sweet. He’s 35 lbs now, but not as much GSD as we first thought, according to the vet he’s more of your generic mutt with maybe some GSD in there somewhere. So he will get bigger but not enormous, which is just as well.
He does walk well on a leash, and I’m teaching him to heel, though we need to go to school to get it right. he’s very content in his crate, sleeps there all night without complaint. He peed on the kitchen floor one time yesterday but it was my fault for not paying attention to his cues. That has been the only potty accident.
Our oldest, grumpiest kitty has had one run-in with him, and schooled him with a few swipes towards his nose and I think he’s learning respect, but we are keeping them apart for now.
Oh! and he does great in the car, just chills and relaxes on the floor. I’m really glad of that.
The kids are able to walk him, & he’ll play fetch or “find it” as we are calling it. He’ll let me take things right out of his mouth too, and is learning “drop it”.
He’s a little mouthy - hello puppy - and I’ve read conflicting advice. Some say hold his snout gently shut, others say completely ignore him for a few minutes when it happens. What do you guys think?
Mouthy, like biting? Let him know that hurts - yell “ouch!” or “hey!” or something, then ignore him. When dogs play with each other, and the submissive one hurts the dominant one, the dominant dog will snap or bark. You’re the dominant dog - so let him know, and then ignore him to show there are consequences (no more fun time) when that happens.
If you try to crate train be prepared that it may not work for your dog. Ours just does not get that her crate is her den no matter what size crate we use for her or what toys are in there with her. She pees and poops in there and doesn’t think anything of it, so we learned after about 2 months of attempts at crate training that she can’t handle the crate. She does, however, love sleeping in a laundry basket next to the bed (and she always manages to sneak into the bed with us at around 3 a.m. once she knows for sure that we are asleep) and doesn’t make a peep when we put her in her “room”, which is a small, gated off portion of our second bedroom where she has a water bowl, pee mat, blanket for sleeping on, and about 6 chewy toys. You might have to try different stuff before you find what works for you.