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Categories: Puppy Pack Structure

Q. My German Shepherd puppy literally has to be under me ever second I am around. Can you suggest any corrective measures I can take or will he be fine being that completely dependent on me?
My German Shepherd puppy literally has to be under me ever second I am around. He will not go in the back yard without me to use the restroom, he stays under my feet, in between my legs while we are walking or standing still, he'll sit on my foot when I am cooking, washing dishes, cleaning, laundry, etc. Even when I vacuum the house, the vacuum cleaner noise doesn't deter him from up under my feet and in between my legs or following next to me. It's like he has to see me, watch me, and he literally cries for me (sounds like a small child). I love that we have bonded that way, but I am starting to worry a little if that is good for him to be like that. I trip over him all the time also and I hope I never hurt him or myself for that matter. Can you suggest any corrective measures I can take or will he be fine being that completely dependent on me. Thanks so much for any help you can offer.

A. I would definitely try to work on teaching him to be comfortable on his own and since he's already 15 weeks and likely been practicing this behavior for a while now it may be a struggle at first. Most German Shepherds follow their "person" around but if he is overly attached to you this can create all kinds of issues down the road, especially if your life circumstances change. We want a great bond with our dogs but we also want them to be able to relax away from us (in a crate, ex-pen or another room of the house.) If you would need to board him or have a pet sitter, this could be very stressful for him. This may escalate to separation anxiety in the future which may be dangerous to your belongings as well as to the well being of your pup. I had a friend years ago that had a dog like this and he would chew through drywall, doors and break windows if he was left alone. He never crate or kennel trained the dog as a puppy so he couldn't contain him. The house looked like a demolition crew had been inside. It was really sad for the dog and expensive and distressing for the owner. (this was also a German Shepherd)

I would recommend you watch the video we offer called Raising Your Puppy with Michael Ellis, it's almost 7 hours of great information on how to set healthy habits and training foundation for any puppy but is especially useful for the working breeds. It's available as a DVD or as instant streaming video or as an online course that includes the video cut up into smaller segments with the text that correlates with the videos. Some people like to read the material as well as watch the video portion. I'll add links to a couple of other videos that may be helpful to you also.
  
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Raising A Puppy with Michael Ellis - streaming
Raising A Puppy with Michael Ellis - streaming
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This DVD is going to give you the training skill set you need to develop your puppy into an active training partner.

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Raising Your Puppy with Michael Ellis
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Your Puppy 8 Weeks to 8 Months
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This is one of our most popular training videos for new puppy owners. Over 35 years Ed Frawley bred close to 400 litters of German Shepherd puppies. He knows what new puppy owners need to learn to end up with a calm quiet happy dog in the house. The DVD was updated in October 2010 to reflect how Ed and Cindy raise puppies in their home.

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Establishing Pack Structure with the Family Pet
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The goal of our pack structure training program is to produce a dog that is calm and submissive and a dog that follows the rules of the pack leader. This DVD teaches people how to become a pack leader that their dog respects and loves. Most people are not born pack leaders. In fact, far from it. The majority of dog owners (many who have owned dogs their entire life) simply do not know anything about the instincts that control our dogs or how strong these instincts are in the domestic dog. Oh people may have heard that they need to be a pack leader or they may have heard they need to be an ALPHA with their dog but they do not understand what this really means or how to accomplish it.

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Living with Your Puppy: Establishing Pack Structure
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30% off Micahel Ellis streams, good through December 11th, 11:59 PM CST