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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Current Situation:
My German Shepherd, Tiger, will be 5yrs old this July. He has been an outside dog since little. He only really comes in on the very cold winter days/nights. Even in those situations he really stays within the storm door oustide where it is heated.

He enjoys coming inside but we haven't kept him inside for long at a time.


Goal:
I would like to bring him in permanently as an inside dog. I know he's very energetic, and I would be able to provide him with the physical and mental excercise to keep him active. My concern is how this change from being an outside dog for the last 4 years would effect him coming indoors.

Whenever we bring him in we have not really had any problems with him pee or poo inside. But to give him full house training and not have a big effect on him mentally, will this be possible at his age or is he too use to being an outdoor dog now?

Should indoor training be executed as it would be for a pup? I know it won't be as easy as it would have been if I had done this when he was little but as a German Shepherd I know having the open yard has probably grown on him as he is a very active dog.

Any thoughts or past experiences as such would be greatly appreciated.

I did try searching for any past posts on similar topics and found some good tips but haven't seen anything as far as an overall experience like this one.

EDIT: I forgot to mention perviously, Tiger marks extermely when we go on walks. Is there any way to start training him from not marking or is that an instinct that is permanent now?

Thanks!
 

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Sorry, I haven't trained an adult dog, but I think I would go about it very much the same as a puppy. Restrict his space indoors at first, gradually giving him more access. Take him out regularly (every 4 hours after an elimination) and praise him for going potty outside. Watch him like a hawk while he's inside and if you catch him starting to sniff around or go inside, a quick "eh-eh" and lead him outside.
 

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I would start by crate training Tiger. This way when you cannot watch him, he will be confined and he won't want to go to the bathroom where he sleeps. There is a book on this you can get from www.dogwise.com called "Crate Games" which will make the crate a friendly place to him.

When he is not in the crate, you need to watch him closely. If he lifts a leg, take him outside IMMEDIATELY and while he pees outside, tell him "Good Dog" and give him food rewards (1/2 dime size tiny pieces of hot dog will do it).

When you take him for a walk, train him to walk at heel and to sit when you stop and to not do ANY sniffing or marking during these power walks. The object is to teach him there are times when he is "released" and it is OK to mark but there are other times when it is not OK and lifting the leg needs to wait.

Get your dog on a set schedule for eating and going out. When he poops outside, make a big deal out of it and give him praise and treats. If you catch him going indoors at all, interrupt and get him out and as he finishes up, food rewards and praise.

You will eventually know his pooping schedule and when he will need to go.

The object of house training is prevention of going in the house and lots of rewards for going where the dog is supposed to.
 

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TigerGSD
1st off, thank you for deciding to move your GSD to your home. Be prepared as my opinion is that your dog is going to change, he will be a 24 hr family dog and that is going to produce a better dog. elana has covered everything, crate is great idea and yes you start him just as you would a puppy. He is not to be trusted and that's the hard part because you will continue to think of him as an adult. "He is not a house adult" You have to work on your mind set. Little stuff, do not expect him to tell you when he wants to go out, if he does great but don't you dare expect this on a regular if any basis. Right now the marking while walking is something I would not worry about as you have just made a huge jump in his life as he knows it. Down the road you can do other changes with dog's marking etc.
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
Thank you all for your responses.

Elana55, I've seen you refer to the Crate Games book in some of your other posts and do plan on looking into that.

wvasko, Thanks for the comments. And ofcourse I wouldn't expect him to know the rules of the house since he's use to the freedom of the outdoors.

FourIsCompany, I agree with slowly giving him more access to more of the house.


Now in regards to slowly giving him more access, the one problem I have is that the back door to the yard is in my kitchen. He likes to jump on the island and breakfast table when we have food there. What route would you folks take in regards to having that the way to get outside for him to go washroom and at the same time control his jumping? I will work on the strickt "NO!" and pull, but other than that is there anything else I can put in play?

I was at the local PetSmart, and the dog trainer there advised me of bringing Tiger in for a little while at a time and slowly graduating the time he spends inside the house. What are your thoughts on that advice? Do you think I should follow that or just bring him in now and start training him like a new pup I just brought home?

Also, I feed him one big meal a day. I use to feed him twice as a pup but then started the one meal a day when he went to adult food. Should I continue that or is it better to feed twice? Or is there no difference at all? I know some people feed their GSD once while others feed twice a day.
 

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What you have, essentially, is a full grown puppy who has never been taught a single thing. This means that you need to Full Grown Puppy Proof the house so that your dog does no start doing things that are undesirable but self rewarding. Honestly, the best way to train a dog is to reward the correct behavior and prevent the undesirable behaviors from happening.. or if they happen once, prevent them from being repeated. Good Dogs are shown how to be good dogs and not given the chance to be naughty. (It sounds easy.. but it takes a lot of consistancy and attention to detail on your part).

You need to teach this dog to "go to bed" and to sit or lie down on command and then not to do anything else until given a release or a new command. You can use Go to Bed to get him away from the food in the kitchen when you are there preparing or eating a meal. He is an adult dog and all dogs are opportunistic scavengers by design. He does not know of any food that is off limits. It is all there as an opportunity for scavenging.

There is a book called "Control Unleashed" that has things in it like teaching a dog to pay attention and to go to his mat etc. You might want to look into that.

At this point I would remove the dog to his crate when there is food out (feed him part of his meal in the crate). The object here is to NEVER allow the dog to self reward by counter surfing. If the dog never finds food on the counter he won't be inclined to counter surf.

At some point you will need to teach him "OFF" which is to get off anything he has placed his front feet on. This is trained by rewarding (with food) the behavior you want, which is 4 on the floor and not just the back two on the floor.

I used to feed one big meal but now I feed 1/2 C Evo Kibble in the morning and 2 cups Evo at night. I read somewhere, maybe here, that dogs can suffer from low blood sugar if they are not fed 2X a day. My problem is I don't want the dog to need to poop while she is crated during the day and I am at work.. so that is how I handle it and it is working well. BTW my dog is 68.5 pounds and perfect weight for her size.
 

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One thing to keep in mind is if he has safe outdoor confinement (a kennel or a securely fenced yard that he has never tried or been able to escape from), you don't HAVE ot crate train - he can go back outside when you're not supervising.
 

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Dogstar is correct about the outside kennel, my preference has always been a inside crate. Inclement weather dog in and out during rainy/snow/sleet whatever.
To me a crate is more convenient. The dog trainer at PetSmart is also correct as far as starting him slowly. I like the get it over with, dive in and get feet wet approach. These are decisions you make according to your dog work personality as each way with right dog could be a success.

The kitchen island program can be whipped with much more care as to food unattended on island and some obedience for your new inside dog. Think about it, he is doing the same thing a young pup would do with the jumping island routine but since he is larger he can have success with the island jump. Patience, time, Obed work and supervision is the answer. When family sits down to eat a crate would come in handy as a safe place for dog and quiet program for family to eat in peace.
 

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I really used to feel that way, but for me, ahving a safe outdoor enclosuer (attached to a dog door on the house) is really preferable- our climate is mild so much of the year, and the dogs really seem to prefer it - I still find them napping in the two crates that are set up, but just as much I find them outside Supervising the neigbhbors' chickens.... YMMV.


Dogstar is correct about the outside kennel, my preference has always been a inside crate. Inclement weather dog in and out during rainy/snow/sleet whatever.
To me a crate is more convenient. The dog trainer at PetSmart is also correct as far as starting him slowly. I like the get it over with, dive in and get feet wet approach. These are decisions you make according to your dog work personality as each way with right dog could be a success.

The kitchen island program can be whipped with much more care as to food unattended on island and some obedience for your new inside dog. Think about it, he is doing the same thing a young pup would do with the jumping island routine but since he is larger he can have success with the island jump. Patience, time, Obed work and supervision is the answer. When family sits down to eat a crate would come in handy as a safe place for dog and quiet program for family to eat in peace.
 

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The only difference between the kennel vs. crate is that your dog will still be able to go to the bathroom on HIS schedule when outside - depending on the dog, this might be a problem, or might not. With Bandit, it hasn't been an issue - he is crate-trained, but I prefer the 16' x 16' kennel as his primary "unsupervised" confinement. This way, my dogs can spend time together, and watch the world go by. But, I do love the crate for those times when I'll be absorbed in an activity, but want Bandit with me in the room.
 

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I just figure if I'm not paying attention, it doesn't really matter if my dog is in the room or not (as long as they're not being destructive) - they typically choose to be right under my feet. :p
 
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