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Old 11-14-2011, 07:35 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Muzzles & Wrestling

Hey guys,

I'm fairly new to the whole world of GSDs and was wondering if I could get some input. Alpha is currently around 12 weeks old and I was wondering if it would be a bad thing to get him a muzzle. My roommate and I were discussing this and our reasoning is that we would like him to be able to roam more freely around the house, especially after he pees and poops. We feel that putting him in his crate most of the day might stall his development, but the problem is when we let him run around he bites EVERYTHING. This usually isn't a problem since we always watch him, but we would also like him to run freely without our supervision, hence the muzzle. Is this a bad idea?

Also, I was reading another thread about playing rough with your dog which most people seem to have no problem with. I was told by a friend that playing rough and wrestling/pinning the dog down will make you seem like you're the one in charge. Is this true? Sometimes when he bites me I'll use my hands to close his mouth and pin him to the ground. He usually whines a little but that's about it. Does anyone have other suggestions as to how to establish myself as the alpha male?

Finally, in regards to biting... he just won't stop, no matter what I try. Are some dogs just like this? I heard they usually stop around 5-6 months. My hands and forearms are all scratched up and it's getting a bit annoying.

Thanks!
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Old 11-14-2011, 07:37 PM   #2 (permalink)
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No. Don't muzzle him. He needs to LEARN not to run around biting everything. The muzzle won't teach him this. You'll have a grown-up dog that still has to be muzzled in the house because he never learned bite inhibition.
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Old 11-14-2011, 07:46 PM   #3 (permalink)
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How can I teach him bite inhibition though? I've tried everything that's been suggested and nothing really works on this guy. Hes a total landshark...
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Old 11-14-2011, 07:51 PM   #4 (permalink)
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he's 12 weeks old, he's a puppy, and they bite and chew ALOT at this age..No I wouldn't muzzle him either, keep him on a long line and supervise supervise supervise.

Get some stuff to gnaw on, he could be teething, give him some ice cubes or freeze some kibble in water, for doggie food cubes..get him a raw bone (but he may get diarhea from it if he's not used to them)..

Get him OUT AND ABOUT, take him for a walk
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Old 11-14-2011, 07:55 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Unfortunately, I can't walk him yet... he just got his second set of shots and the vet says to keep him indoors still I'm already breaking the rules a bit by having him pee and poop outside...
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Old 11-14-2011, 07:56 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I agree with Emore, a muzzle will teach him nothing. Puppies chew things, its what they do. You have to keep providing appropriate things to chew. If he starts chewing something he shouldn't, take it away and replace it with something he is allowed to chew. You have to keep on top of them. Puppies involve a lot of training, you can't expect a quick fix to this.

I also don't think you should be pinning him or grabbing his mouth at this age. If he bites you, act like another puppy would: yelp, stop playing. If you start grabbing his mouth and pinning him enough to stress him, he is going to start learning that having human hands near his mouth is a bad thing. And then you will have a dog that will seriously bite you if you try to touch his mouth.

I suggest talking to a positive reinforcement trainer, or look into puppy books by Ian Dunbar or Sophia Yin. They will teach you good methods to have a well rounded dog. Puppies at that age should only be trained with positive reinforcement, or you may have worse problems down the road.
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Old 11-14-2011, 08:00 PM   #7 (permalink)
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You don't need to establish yourself as "alpha"! Your pup will know you are, because you are providing everything for him.
Quote:
Also, I was reading another thread about playing rough with your dog which most people seem to have no problem with. I was told by a friend that playing rough and wrestling/pinning the dog down will make you seem like you're the one in charge. Is this true? Sometimes when he bites me I'll use my hands to close his mouth and pin him to the ground
Love your pup, play(train) with your pup, tug with your pup and wear him out! He wants to be with you and everything you do should be building his confidence not showing your superiority by doing what I posted in the quote box.
If you want a stable,social, confident dog, showing your dominance now will squash it. Get a flirtpole and tie a rag or ball on the end of it for him to chase, lay his kibble in a 'track' or toss it around the yard for him to search for it. That will wear his little mind along with his body. Tug is great fun, and let your pup win...you control the game by ending it when you want.
During teething time, tug should be put on hold however.
When you see your pup doing good behaviors, be sure to reward them! If pup is doing unwanted behavior, redirect him to something else.
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Your vet is telling you it isn't safe to poop pee outside? As long as you go where random dogs don't wander, I think it is fairly safe for your pup to be out....just don't let him drink out of puddles and supervise him.
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Old 11-14-2011, 08:01 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Here is something that may help:
Puppy Play Biting Leads to Marks on Hands and Arms | Animal Behavior and Medicine Blog | Dr. Sophia Yin, DVM, MS

Also, crate training can be very valuable, and should be done whether or not you plan to keep him in a crate. If your dog ever ends up having to stay at a vet hospital/boarding facility/travel, etc, he should be comfortable in a cage. Crate training at a young age accomplishes this. I have seen many dogs cut up their face/arms and break teeth on cages in vet hospitals because they were not crate trained.
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Old 11-15-2011, 04:38 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Thanks for all the help guys!! I found the links very helpful. I'll try to do more research on my own as well, and hopefully he will be out of the landsharking phase soon.
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Old 11-15-2011, 06:36 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alphatyson View Post
Unfortunately, I can't walk him yet... he just got his second set of shots and the vet says to keep him indoors still I'm already breaking the rules a bit by having him pee and poop outside...
Concur with the advice given (just another voice to add) also I made my own decision that the puppy needed to get out and be socialized at this age more than he needed to be protected from the world. Weight the risk of contracting a disease with the risk of poor social development.

Not dog parks or dog play or even going places where a lot of dogs go....But a whole lot of the world.......so he would be comfortable with lots of people, cars, playground equipment, woods, creeks, you name it. [For example - I did not take him to Petsmart but did find other places with slick white floors]
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