A really huge thank you to Jennifer for providing this excellent commentary on her puppy, Gypsy Adelaide, from our 2013 Anatolian/White GSD litter. She has been the most perfect owner, and we love her. Gypsy could not have a better home.
Gypsy is an amazing puppy. Her personality is amazing. When my husband and I decided to take the plunge and get a GSD and Anatolian Shepherd we knew this would be different than training our older girl.
Gypsy is a smart dog there is no doubt about that. Having a dog like her has so many positives and some negatives. She is very intuitive and you can see that she learns at everything she chooses to do.
The challenges of having a pup liker her are:
Commands are an option
She is a BIG puppy! Like most puppies they go through awkward stages and have to learn to be graceful. While she has come a long way she bumps things over. She does not realize her size and if she “shakes” your hand prepare yourself to really feel a high five. She moves furniture when she lays down and will lay/lean against you and she feels like a rock. I mostly use patience with her size. Although, I make sure that if she is an obstacle that I make her move. After all, I am not trying to give her alpha status.
As is common with Anatolian Shepherds she picks and chooses when she wants to listen to a command. A LOT of patience is needed in issuing a command. Gypsy will not do a command if she feel it is not necessary. You can see the look in her eye she tilts her head to the side and you can see that she is not going to follow the command. I use my “mom” voice with her quite often. I also use her middle name. I have to be firm when I am giving her a command that she does not want to follow. I also do not give her an option. I have had to make her submit a couple of times. Now I just make sure every now and again I make her submit. When I make her submit I make her lay down and then I dominate her. I lean on her and put my face in her face and growl at her. I also stare her down from time to time and I will not move until she looks away or down. While all this may sound odd or unconventional it works!
Gypsy owns our yard and everything in it. She digs dens all over the yard. All her dens are in places where she has the advantage to see everyone coming or going. Every plastic planter is her personal toy including small landscaping lights. To be honest I am working on a plan of attack to keep her out of my raised beds and flower gardens. I don’t mind that she digs holes so much, because that keeps her working and makes her happy. Any tips would be appreciated for the gardens.
As I stated earlier she does not realize her size. She thinks she is a lap dog. I just reinforce the command “down” and I am firm. She will now put her head on the laps of the visitors she likes and sit in front of them on the floor. Only when it comes to me does she try to get on my lap or if I am giving her sister love.
Perhaps rules and commands are in the same group. As is with everything if she doesn’t find it agreeable she will try not to listen. I should add that she loves our whole family but her and I share a special link. I am her momma. Our older dog bonded with my husband but Gypsy has bonded with me. As a result she challenges my husband on everything he says. When I reinforce a rule or command she will listen to me the first or second time. When my husband tries to correct her she will make him tell her 3-5 times. I believe this is because he has never dominated her the way I have. I truly believe the domination technique I use has helped immensely. Ask yourself this, what would she have to do if she were in a pack of dogs?
Great with Children and pups
I taught her in five seconds where her toy bin is and I am currently working on showing her how to put them away. When confronted with any new situation she tilts her head and just observes. She figures it out. You can literally see the wheels in her head turning and she is forming an opinion. When she was a tiny puppy she figured out if she stepped on the storage chest at the foot of my bed that she could get on the bed. She potty trained quickly and only pooped in our house two or three times. I can honestly admit that the times she pooped it was our fault not hers. She learns all commands within minutes as long as we lock up our older dog. If the older one is out she will not focus on us. She also has trouble focusing if food is involved. She loves eating!
Gypsy is one of the most loyal dogs! She does checks to find out where everyone dog and human are in the house. If someone is not home she will go to the front window and stay there until that person is home. When the person that is home moves she will come and check on them and then go back to the window. This is instinctual. We have not had to teach her this. She will also not leave our side when we are outside. She is not a runner and lord knows we appreciate this trait. I do not have to use leashes if I do not want to. Again we have not taught her this, this is instinctual.
Her size is an asset. As she is becoming more graceful you can see the agility and her speed. We plan on using her size to our advantage and will take time this summer putting her to “work.” We are planning on training her to pull a cart so she can help us garden. I think putting her to more productive work will help with keeping her out of our gardens. I am curious to hear your thoughts.
While it is frustrating when she does not listen to a command it is also nice. Her independence is fantastic because unlike most dogs we do not have to entertain her. She is content playing by herself and keeping herself busy. We just have to make sure that what she has chosen to do isn’t naughty. We do this by keeping toys available to her at all times. She also checks on the chickens quite a bit. However, I think she is more interested in eating the chicken poop.
Gypsy is fantastic with all children and puppies. This is instinctual also. When my niece comes to visit Gypsy is so easy with her. My niece can hit her, crawl on her, and do whatever she wants and Gypsy will let her. We have to discourage my niece from hitting but never have to worry about the puppy nipping. Gypsy has pulled my niece by her pants and moved her where she felt my niece should be (away from the stairs.) She loves to give my niece kisses. We have another friend that just got an English bulldog mix. The puppy is super small. Somehow Gypsy just knows that babies are delicate. When our friend came to our house with his pup she laid down on the floor to play with the puppy. She knew that she had to get as small as possible. It is safe to say that she is a gentle giant when it comes to puppies and children.
She is the calmest puppy I have ever had the pleasure of raising. Due to this and her size I often forget she is still a puppy. What she has managed to do in the few months of her life took my older dog 3 years. It is nice to come home and see an excited puppy that is happy to see me but know she will calm down within a few minutes.
Training Gypsy is both a joy and a frustration. Watching her grow is amazing. Every time she learns something new I feel so proud. My older dog is smart but Gypsy has the most amazing problem solving skills. This is not a dog for a first time dog owner but for a more seasoned dog owner. An owner that gets an Ophidian Pup should understand the intricacies of what it means to own a determined dog. I do not regret getting her and in the future I hope to get another dog just like her.
**These were my suggestions regarding the questions Jennifer asked in the post:
1) Try outlining the area you want her out of with your urine. This way she can get a good idea of the boundary. Then, if she goes in there, growl at her and put her on her side. The idea is that this is your area, and she can’t go there.
2) Make sure she has a spot where she can dig–I would bury some raw bones there for her, so that maybe she won’t even care about anywhere else. Even better if there is meat on them.
3) Put up a visual boundary–you can start with stakes and string, but quite frankly if she gets fixated on going in a certain area and she will not listen you may have to put up a hard boundary that she cannot easily get into, like a fence. Boundary issues is one thing that is VERY difficult with LGD breeds.
I am thinking if she is just digging, that the buried bone idea in her dig area may do the trick. Let me know if any of those things work!!!