Originally Posted by jpolch
We got our puppy Kilo 2 weeks ago and he started off super sweet. From reading a few forums on here it sounds like I was going through the "honeymoon phase" which definitely sounds like that fits. I have a few questions I'd like to ask so please bear with me. Kilo isn't my first puppy but he is our first GSD and working dog so I'm a newbie all over again.
1.My biggest concern is his snapping. If I get on the floor or low enough to the ground he immediately starts snapping at my face. I've tried saying No firmly but not in a loud voice. I've also tried telling him to sit, which he knows how to do but completely ignores. I've tried yelping and standing up or turning my back on him, but that leads to extremely frustrated biting, where he'll find my hair, a wrist or ankle to chew on and he chews quite hard.
2. He gets pretty aggressive when he wants something. Another bad habit is that he'll decide he wants something (to chew on the couch, eat something out of the trashcan, get into the litter box) and no amount of redirection, toy squeaking, calling and pushing him away from what ever it is will stop him. I usually need to drag and/or carry him away from what ever it is and move him to a new location to change his focus.
3. His puppy drive seems to be the complete opposite from any other puppy I've known. Everywhere I read says to play for 15-20 minutes and take the puppy for a short walk and they'll tire out eventually. This morning Kilo went for an hour an a half non stop playing and by the end of it was getting more and more energetic and aggressive. He seems to gain energy instead of losing it. My husband has started taking him on long(ish) walks already, usually around a mile to a mile and a half, and even that doesn't wear him out. I guess I need to find activities that will keep his attention and keep his mind engaged in order to wear him out?
Thanks so much in advance!
When you say working dog, what do you mean? Will he have a specific job, or be a sport prospect? That can determine how you deal with the mouthing. They're affectionately known as "land sharks" and unfortunately it will get worse before it gets better.
If he's really wound up, having him sit isn't going to do much- think of him as a toddler at this age. He has the attention span of a fruit fly- he may know what you're asking, but if he's excited he's going to have a hard time doing it. Unfortunately, because of the lack of impulse control, there's no easy fix for inappropriate chewing. Redirection and consistency and patience are really the key. If he gets REALLY wound up, crate him for a bit to calm down- it's not a punishment, just a reset.
As for the energy level and getting MORE wound up with time- also remember the toddler thing. Think of what happens when a toddler is over-tired... they get cranky and wired. Puppies are very much the same way. Brain games (FUN obedience) is really important, but keep it short and fun! Be the most exciting thing to him- it'll also help with focus. Mental stimulation is typically more important than physical- with a puppy you want to be careful about over-exercising, and you tend to just give them more stamina to be obnoxious
As he gets older it'll be easier to find a better balance between the two. Fun obedience games are also a great way to start teaching rules and boundaries and impulse control- all the things that lay the groundwork for good house manners and focus.