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Old 07-24-2014, 12:43 PM   #1 (permalink)
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I am not a novice. I have had five German Shepherd Dogs in my lifetime. My current dog Marnie is proving to be a challenge though and one I am not sure I can tackle. She is seven months old now.

We got her when she was seven weeks old from a Hobby Breeder. She is a pure bred but we didn't get her papers. We met her mother and an older half brother. No signs of aggression.

From the second day we brought her home she was constantly mouthing. It never stopped. At first my sister who visits often and I just put it off to normal play biting.

We tried taking her to pre K puppy school. She was too scared of the other puppies and we ended up having to leave because she was too disruptive.

I tired all suggestions for dealing with the play biting. Yelling ouch, shaking penny can, hiding my hands, being the tree, etc. Nothing.

At one point I consulted a rescue organization as to whether I should surrender her because she doesn't show remorse when she hurts like my previous Shepherds had. They said they didn't feel she is aggressive just a very stubborn independent alpha female.

We decided to keep her and we went to a master trainer recommended by the rescue.

She too said dog is not aggressive just a very stubborn Alpha female. At one point she even did the alpha huff back to Melissa.

The trainer recommended a vibration collar. Unfortunately Marnie became collar smart right away. The minute its off she starts biting again.

We have been working with the trainer and collar for months now. She is still having for lack of a better word "fits". We can be out playing in the yard and all of a sudden she runs up snarling, grabs my arms and clamps down. I say off, she will stop but then starts biting my ankle.

She just did it when I gave her the go to bed command after she'd been out for two hours and I needed to crate her.

I usually end up grabbing her collar, getting her in a restraint hold, and just keep repeating calm down. She will get all docile acting but the minute I let go, she starts again. So I end up grabbing her collar and crating her.

She doesn't do it all the time, it just seems to come out of the blue.

She doesn't break the skin but leaves swollen painful black and blue marks. She's fine with strangers but if someone stays for more than a half hour she starts mouthing them too.

My other dogs went through mouthing stages but stopped and drooped ears and lowered head when they were given verbal reprimand. Marnie just does it harder with no signs of remorse.

I am starting to worry that she isn't just going to grow out of it like the others did. She's spayed now but that didn't calm her.

The thing is she responded to the other training great. She comes when called, knows her name, leave it in terms of things she is not supposed to have, sit stays, off etc. She doesn't listen well on the down or down stay.

Melissa said it is starting to concern her that she only responds when the collar is on for the not biting. She wants to try a few more things, but at this point I am wondering whether I am the best fit as a parent for Marnie? I just can't seem to get her past this.

I already love her and don't want to give her up but I don't want her hurting anyone else or to get hurt herself. The closer we get the harder this is going to be if she doesn't stop.

The rescue I spoke with told me that day when she was younger that they would still take her for me and find me another dog ASAP with a less dominant personality, if I did decided later on that this isn't the right match. They liked my history as an owner, how clearly attached I am to Marnie, and how I interacted with their other dogs.

I guess I am asking whether anyone thinks this is just still normal play biting that I should keep trying to curb or something I should legitimately be concerned enough about to rehome her?

Last edited by Shepma; 07-24-2014 at 12:45 PM.
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Old 07-24-2014, 12:51 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Old 07-24-2014, 12:52 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Have you tried either carrying treats and toys with you at all times for redirection purposes? For example if she is biting you pull out a toy(tug would be good) and put that in her mouth, play with her, let her win, repeat and walk away. Maybe even break into an obedience session. She bites, tell her no, put her in a sit and teach a watch me. You have to make sure she doesn't think she is getting rewarded for the biting, timing is everything. I would start with the tug.
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Old 07-24-2014, 12:53 PM   #4 (permalink)
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My girl used to be much more like this. Maturity has helped ( she's two).
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Old 07-24-2014, 12:58 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by llombardo View Post
Have you tried either carrying treats and toys with you at all times for redirection purposes? For example if she is biting you pull out a toy(tug would be good) and put that in her mouth, play with her, let her win, repeat and walk away. Maybe even break into an obedience session. She bites, tell her no, put her in a sit and teach a watch me. You have to make sure she doesn't think she is getting rewarded for the biting, timing is everything. I would start with the tug.
Also wondering about this...

Except, I would NOT recommend putting a toy in her mouth and playing with her after she starts mouthing. That is just rewarding the behavior. I would ask for something like a sit or hand touch to break up the behavior, then reward and redirect. You should pay attention to be able to give her a tug and play BEFORE she starts mouthing. It's easy to tell dogs what not to do, but unless you give them an appropriate outlet (tell them what TO do) it doesn't always work well.
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Old 07-24-2014, 01:05 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Also wondering about this...

Except, I would NOT recommend putting a toy in her mouth and playing with her after she starts mouthing. That is just rewarding the behavior. I would ask for something like a sit or hand touch to break up the behavior, then reward and redirect. You should pay attention to be able to give her a tug and play BEFORE she starts mouthing. It's easy to tell dogs what not to do, but unless you give them an appropriate outlet (tell them what TO do) it doesn't always work well.
I should have said going to bite not biting. You are correct. No rewards for doing something bad. I would think with this dog it can be assumed that she is going to bite if she is coming at the owner. Pull out the tug before she get there. I'm slightly concerned with giving treats to a dog that doesn't seem to understand what she is doing is wrong. The timing with the treats will have to be spot on. The toy will probably work better for now.
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Old 07-24-2014, 01:37 PM   #7 (permalink)
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She sounds like a good German Shepherd pup to me.

First off if you just put the collar on when the dog starts to bite then of course it's going to become collar smart. If the trainer can't even prevent your dog from becoming collar smart you need to get a new trainer.

Also you haven't tried everything. Put a prong on and when she bites, correct her hard. Or just smack her hard. After correcting her, immediately redirect her to a toy and if she engages the toy, praise her. That usually solves the problem.

Exercise also helps. If you are unwilling to do those things then it's probably better to rehome her to a more experienced home.
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Old 07-24-2014, 01:39 PM   #8 (permalink)
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She sounds like a good German Shepherd pup to me.

First off if you just put the collar on when the dog starts to bite then of course it's going to become collar smart. If the trainer can't even prevent your dog from becoming collar smart you need to get a new trainer.

Also you haven't tried everything. Put a prong on and when she bites, correct her hard. Or just smack her hard. After correcting her, immediately redirect her to a toy and if she engages the toy, praise her. That usually solves the problem.

Exercise also helps. If you are unwilling to do those things then it's probably better to rehome her to a more experienced home.
If you're unwilling to hit your dog, you need to rehome it?

OP, please don't hit your dog. It doesn't sound like she has very strong nerves to begin with, that's a great way to create a truly aggressive dog.
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Old 07-24-2014, 01:41 PM   #9 (permalink)
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she doesn't show remorse.

amazing stuff I read on this forum
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Old 07-24-2014, 01:42 PM   #10 (permalink)
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The fact that she is fine with the trainers says it's kinda about you? No matter couple of things you can do and they require only time and patience and they might just do the trick!

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