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Discussion Starter #1
Hello fellow dog lovers,
My wife and I just adopted our second dog about 3 weeks ago, she is a catahoula/weimaranar mix and she is sweet as can be (although we are working through some fear issues). She is our first big dog (18 weeks old and 27 pounds), our other is a 12 pound min-pin terrier mix.

What is some advice you would give to a first time "big dog" parent, things you wish people would have told you when you got your first, or just things that will be helpful. Any and all advice would be much appreciated.

Thanks!!!
 

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Train, train, train! Do not put up with behaviors like jumping on people now, because that will hurt people when she's full grown. Consider long term always. Sitting on the couch might be fine now, but what about when she's full grown? Is the couch that big? What about the bed?

Really train leash manners. A big dog can and will pull you 100 yards on your face after a rabbit if you don't really train leash manners.

Also, there is no need for violence in training big dogs. Not to say anything about you, but people seem to think the bigger the dog, the more it needs leash pops and prong collars and shocks. Big dogs tend to be big babies and clickers work the same at 100 lbs as at 10.
 

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Provide them with enough excercise

Get it?
Big dog advice...
eh? eh?

sigh...

Agree with everything said so far, nothing to add, just came here to make a bad joke.
 

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I was worried when we got Caeda, since she's a Swissy, I was SO worried about the whole "big dog" thing. All I can say is that I'm glad she's a runt, all 65lbs heh....

I second Amaryllis's advice, train train train, be especially sticky on not jumping on people, leash walking and bite inhibition. I would put these above "sit" and almost above recall. Recall is of course super important, but that is in general for all dogs. Be prepared to put work into stopping counter surfing ;)
General impulse control is really important, check out the Doggy Zen sticky, I think Caeda learned a lot from those exercises.

You might want to decide now if you're going to be ok with a big dog on your furniture, in your bed etc. It would be kind of mean to be ok with it as a puppy then one day "sorry, you're too big", it'll just create confusion. Same goes with rough play, decide limits now for what you expect you'll be ok with in the future.

HUGE thing....SOCIALIZE!!! If your dog is well socialized to lots of people, animals and situations it may be less prone to feel the need to break out of those nice leash manners and drag you 100 feet.

If you see any issues like guarding or aggression try to deal with the behaviour early, so it doesn't turn into a problem when the dog is too big to control, though try not to mistake puppy rough play with aggression, which many do (I almost did in a few cases). I did have a guarding incident and I got on it right away and I'm happy to say it isn't a problem now.

I also wholeheartedly agree do not use violence, intimidation or a heavy handed approach. A clicker works great, or a marker word. The Kikopup channel on Youtube is great for training techniques.

You might also want to consider dietary requirements for a larger breed, and of course, as above exercise!!! An unruly small dog is annoying, an unruly large one (or even medium like Caeda) has the potential to wreck your house.

Do not leave your dog on a tether unattended, no brainer for any dog, but with a strong dog collars can break (Caeda broke one at 3 months!), and so can tethers, plus the potential for trachea damage. Leashes (flexi's expecially) can break too!

Good luck!!!
Oh, and haha NikoBellic ;) bad joke, but I still laughed.
 

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In addition to the great advice already given I would like to add that when living with a medium or larger dog be careful what you put in the "wag zone". A wagging tail on a larger dog can quickly clear a coffee or end table. Keep breakables up out of reach. Also be careful not to leave food on the kitchen counter or table unsupervised. I learned the hard way not to leave meat defrosting on the counter.
 

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Having had mainly large dogs for many years ... the plus side to larger dogs is not having to bend so far to praise and treat them!

Socialize, socialize, socialize as soon as you can! This will be your friend! ... believe me.

Training! Manners is a big one with me ... Having a large dog knocking down your friends and family members from over-excitement .... well some folks find that just plain rude. :) One of the first things I always train besides recall is "Sit" To me ... that is the next most important command next to recall! :)
 

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I agree.. Sit - as perfect as possible is critical. Socialize with lots of people, lots of locations, and lots of large and small dogs and animals.

And, try get find a dog with around the same energy level to play with at least once a week. Socializing is exposure, but I consider play to be learning non-aggressive interaction.

@NikoBellic - it wasn't a bad joke... it was a B I G joke :)
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks everybody for your awesome posts, the advice has been spectacular.

And yet I have so many questions, hahaha.

1. Is there a good way to teach a big dog where to walk? Silly question I know, but Tally has a tendancy to walk in front of me and the only thing I can think of is to keep walking and let her take a knee in the side. I feel bad about doing that, but Im not sure of a better way.

2. Everyone has said exercise, which we are working on (Tally has huge fear issues, so going for walks is taking some time, but she has grown so so much in that area its awesome). How much exercise? Right now we go for a 30 to 45 minute walk in the late afternoon/evening, its half walk half run(practice). She is a phenominal runner I love it. I dont want to wear her out as a puppy but I want to make sure she gets all the play time she can.

3. Someone mentioned sit training, we started that on day one and she is great at it, but two things. How do I teach her to sit where she is not right at my leg, and when it comes to perfectly still, she can do that but her tail wags is that ok?

Thanks for the advice on giving her affection, I love giving her affection she is so sweet and like others said above she really is a big softy.
 

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1. Walk: Google "Loose Leash walking" and "Silky Leash" . Is there a reason that you don't want her to walk in front of you? If so, then you can teach her to walk in another position... note that "heel" is used as a rigid directive command different from a casual walk for pleasure or exercise... however, there is nothing wrong with a dog walking relaxed, in general heel, position at your side. BTW, my dog walks on my right side and about 6 feet in front of me, so that he can sniff, and so that I don't knee him.
2. Don't run her on leash until she's fully grown, but she can run all she wants off leash in a confined area. Feel free to tire her out, as long as she doesn't get overheated (We're in Texas with 90 degree evenings, so overheated comes before over tired.) A 30 - 40 min. walk in the morning and in the evening should be fine. You can also play fetch and do other training to help burn off some energy. Note that some dogs need a little 15 min. walk just before bedtime to burn off that last bit of energy...
3. A tail wag is always OK. In the dog shows on TV, I think the dogs get extra points if their tail wags. She is still young and she'll learn to be calmer during sit. But if you use treats or praise for Sit training (even better if you use a clicker), then very gradually reward the desired position. If you gently guide her, she will learn to Sit the way that you want.

Two free downloads that may help: http://www.dogstardaily.com/free-downloads
 

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3. Someone mentioned sit training, we started that on day one and she is great at it, but two things. How do I teach her to sit where she is not right at my leg, and when it comes to perfectly still, she can do that but her tail wags is that ok?
I went through that a few months ago, teaching Jubel that sit meant sit right where you are NOT come over and sit in front of me. I hadn't every really thought about it before as most of the time I asked him to sit he was already near me until we mastered stay and I started asking for downs and sits from a distance while he was in a stay. When I asked for either he'd come over in front of me and down or sit.

What worked for me was placing a cardboard box in front of he to make it harder for him to come towards me when I asked for a sit. I started off just asking for a sit/down/stand (killing three birds with one stone) with only the box between us, then took a step back and asked for sit/down/stand (randomly between the three not in a consistent sequence). If he started to go around the box to get to me I'd use my no reward marker "eh ehe" sound and get him back behind the box and repeat from closer. The first day he really didn't seem to be getting it but as hanksimon often says in their training advice dogs often need a night to sleep on it. Day two he was leaps and bounds better and I was up to about 5-6' away with the box in front of Jubel. Day three no box needed and I could be clear across the room.

Your dog is still a puppy so I'd expect it to take her a bit longer just because everything is still new to her but she should get it. I made a thread looking for suggestions for this so you can search for it if you'd like more ideas that just what I found worked for my boy.

Good luck.
 

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I don't think it's a small big issue with dogs besides the one obvious thing SIZE....it's more the breed and group, you have a Sporting and herding mix and as stated above going to need a lot of excercise.....Also what greater swiss & abbylynn said SOCIALIzE especially wiht the catahoula mix....

OK i breezed through this forgive me if I missed something you mentioned fear issues twice and didnt see anyone ask WHAT fear issues can you please explain this?

And what about the knee thing "please not ceaser :)" you have to learn loose leash techniques and some commands on your walk.....When dog pulls you are a tree you never move forward when dog is pulling, switch dorections, everytime you strat from a stop you say lets go, when you change directions or turn this way, use a noise or slap on leg when dog turn to you you reward. So when dog starts to tighten leash make your noise dog turns and loosens leash reward........For the sits you lure the dog where you ewant him to sit as dog gets better you shape the sit only gets treats for positon and staight sits "in steps'

And all the other adise above train train train,,,read read read.....


Please tell us the fear issues...puppies go through two fear stages before there adults hopefully this is what you are talking about but we need to know from you.....If dog has fear issues do to breeding you have to build its confidense and start with whatever your seeing...don't want to scare you but fear is one of the worse thinf to work on as it is an emotion......

hope this makes some sense :)
 

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Discussion Starter #13
thanks everybody for more posts!!

The fear issues. I should start by telling you Tallie is a rescue dog we adopted from our local shelter, all she knew for the first 4 months of her life was the rescue.

Her fear issues basically come down to noise. when we first had her she would flee in terror at the sound of a car, she would military crawl in order to get as close she to could to the door. She would sit on the back porch and not come out. If a lawn mower is going she panics. She would not go anywhere near our gates or front door, and getting her to go on a walk was IMPOSSIBLE!!!

Thankfully, after two weeks, (as I type this we are starting week 4) my sister came up and worked with us. She has a lot of experience working with Dogs. In just a day, she had us out in the front yard and we even went for a really enjoyable walk around the block together.

Now we walk regularly, with a little encouragement (and some cheese) we happily walk out the front door for a walk, we arent great about the gate yet, but even that has gotten better. Now when we walk she doesnt cower or try to flee when a car comes, in fact yesterday she even kept walking as the car came by. It has been amazing to see her grow this last week. We walk regularly now, once in the mornings and once in the evenings useually for 30 minutes or so. It has really warmed my heart to see how confident she is getting.

So although the issues are there, she and I are really working on overcoming them, and it has been amazing to watch!! Thank goodness for mozzarrella cheese :clap2:
 

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First i want to say HATS OFF TO YOU for resuing a dog AWESOME job !

Your sister is right even though you didnt mention what she did :) but I am assuming she is doing remedisl socialization....With all shelter dogs it takes a few days to settle into there environment. It sounds like your little one has not been socialized around all these things so keep up the treats before she sees and then wjhen she sees the things taht are setting her off....She will associate them with good things .....After time she will grow confidence and start looking to you when she sees something she is not sure off REWARD everytime she checks in either with praise or treat "primary , secondary" reinforcers....

Keep working on obedience and the fear issues...the emotion fear is very important one "and one of the hardest" work on that a lot as it is very stressfull for any dog and can turn into aggression or constently shut down.....It seems remeduial socializing would help as you seen a big change in a day or two! I personnaly seen fear issues take a year or more :) good luck great job !
 

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oh right, duh, sorry it would be helpful to discuss what we did with Tallie.

We started with her on the back porch with the leash tite, but not pulling, then anytime she moved to me she got a high value treat, we started with chicken, but cheese seems to work better. When we got to the gate, we took a step out and she majorly panicked. We just stood there with the leash tight and let her decide when it was ok to move forward. The first time we came out of the gate, it took 15 minutes to get to the front yard. Once in the front yard we let her get to a chilled state of mind, then we went back to the backyard through the other gate. When we were in the front yard she got a treat anytime a loud noise popped up. We waited abot 30 minutes and tried again, this time it only took about 5 minutes to get to the front yard, treats during noise, and then back to the back yard. We took a break for about an hour and went to dinner. When we got back we did it again and this time she seemed to actually enjoy the front yard. So we took it a step further and took her for a short walk.

One of the things that has really helped is having Roman. He is our other dog and he is very confident (a little napoleanish sometimes hahaha) and wherever Roman goes, Tallie wants to go with him. His confidence is rubbing off on her and it has been really helpful in helping her.

Also, during this last week I have fed Tallie at the front door, litterally placing her food against the front door so that she will associate that with good things. This has paid off HUGE, she now runs out the front door like its nothing.

So yeah, LOTS and LOTS of possitive assocaition work with her, and it works. We also work on zen training and command work with her. When she reaches a year I want to take her to agility classes and further help her develop confidence.
 

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Awesome your on the right path keep at it and good luck! And positive training always work :) motivation an Learning go together...great job
 
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