Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: Finger Lakes Region NY
Need Advice Badly
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.