Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: Cheltenham - UK
Biting - Newly Adopted
I'm after some advice if possible. I've just adopted a 17-month old GSD boy, who occasionally jumps/bites me, when we're outside. I'm assuming it's nervousness, but having very little experience in this sort of thing, am not really sure...
Back story provided: He was kept with his brother from a puppy, (whom he apparently depended on to lead the way), by an older lady. When she sadly passed away, her carer decided to try keep them both on, but struggled & so passed them to a rescue centre. During their time before the rescue centre, they were never walked outdoors for further than ~100m. They stayed in rescue for several months before a family tried to adopt them both. They were handed back to the rescue, because they would both jump & bite when on the lead (always initiated by the dog which i've now adopted).
What i've seen: Around the house he's very well behaved, if showing a little separation anxiety (follows me from room to room, even over playing with/staying with my other dog, who he gets on very well with). I assume this is from his extended stay in rescue, and history of being left in circumstances he isn't comfortable in. He doesn't guard, is very subservient, and not vocal at all unless playing with my bitch.
When outside, he can walk fine (if pulls a little), but then without warning may suddenly jump up to my face, and start biting. I have 4 rips in my coat (arm from when i shielded, and upper back when i tried to turn away to ignore the behaviour), and a wounded finger which needed dressing. This was both on and offlead, although offlead happened in stressful situations (when walking with a friend, and their dogs reacted nervously to being separated from one of the owners, whining & struggling to re-unite), which may explain the offlead event. During the jumping/biting episodes (which last approx 20-30 seconds) there is no growling, barking, or baring of teeth beforehand, and there is no timing pattern i've been able to work out as to when this might happen - the roads were empty other than us (one attempt was with both dogs - he jumped sooner than when by himself) & the distance from home was very different. I made one attempt in the back garden, using a chain lead - as he bit through the double-layered reinforced nylon of the previous lead. He started jumping & biting before the lead attached to his collar, so i dropped the lead & walked off, he followed me to the back door & continued to jump & bite for a short while. I then walked back to the lead, bent down to pick it up, and he kicked off again before i turned around to start attempt 2.
He is on herbal calming pills provided by my vet, and did have a DAP collar (both 1.5 weeks, no visible difference yet), the DAP collar now lives on top of his crate/bed, as it snapped off during play.
Question one: Any ideas what is causing the jumping / biting?
Question two: What can i do to solve it?
Thanks very much for your thoughts!