Biting (14 months) - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 3 (permalink) Old 01-24-2017, 07:29 AM Thread Starter
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Biting (14 months)

In lieu of my recent post, that most of you have probably read, I wish to ask you about my pup's biting issue. I don't see enough time for me to solve it, as this has been an issue for quite a while and will probably need an almost equal amount of time to unlearn. However, it is very important I inform a potential new owner about each and every detail, so they know exactly what they're getting into. This is hands down the most difficult thing indoors with my boy and also the one I have the least grasp on how to better it, as is apparent by the fact that it still exists.

Madoc is a real chewer. He greets me, especially in the morning, with a jump and nipping on my arm. Correcting, either physical or vocal, seems to have little to no effect. It probably makes it even worse. The best way for me to avoid him doing it is only releasing him from his crate while holding a toy he can chew on. I can then play five minutes of tug before going on our (short) morning walk. This is the easy part though.

The next step is him biting when you touch him. He generally accepts me petting him for a short amount of time, but he isn't cuddly at all, so I avoid that as much as I can humanly can (although these last few weeks that part has gotten more difficult as I know my time with him is possibly extremely limited at this point). If he's on the couch next to me, I sometimes (without thinking, or out of stubbornness to see it it works this time) put my arm across his body. If he's tired he'll eventually get up and lie down somewhere else, but if he's wide awake he'll probably bite/nip me. With strangers it's something different. He will not let anybody touch him without returning the favor with his teeth. The more I hold him back, the more he pushes in a super excited state to get to them. He might then start to bark at them. So I generally leave him crated when somebody comes by. I always get the, "Ohh, yep, that's a GSD", or the, "that's what you get when you don't neuter, he's very dominant". I always respond with "sure...". I know plain well it's a training issue.
I do leave him loose when a person is staying for longer. He sometimes (he does this often with my sisters or mother, sporadically with me) bites the ankle of the person visiting us. He can also direct his bite to the butt (this he also does with me sometimes). Correction, either physical or vocal has again never really seemed to help. If I'm very busy I crate him for a few minutes, if I'm not, I try to redirect his attention to something else. Both calm him down.

Now for the difficult part. He sometimes gets into a state that seems like he's confused and protesting. It is generally a reaction after a failed attempt to correct him, though not exclusively. He starts barking really loud, turning his head to the side, then stop the barking while staring at me, then start barking again (generally does a stretched bow while doing this). Each small movement I make, makes him do a sudden movement/small jump. He can then come at me to bite any part of me that's closest to him (doesn't bite really hard, but depending on where he bites it does hurt, especially if he gets just a little bit of skin instead of a full bite). If I make a full body movement he runs a few feet away from me, and then comes back again repeating the same thing. He does not lift his back hairs up, nor does he seem scared (outside of the running away) or angry (has never shown his teeth). At this point he does not listen to any commands. Walking away to another room helps sometimes, but only if he gets annoyed by it and starts scratching the door. If not, he sometimes just walks away and jumps on the kitchen table or whatever, which draws me back immediately. Again, if for whatever reason I do not have the time at that moment, I simply crate him for a while (he generally gets calm immediately in there, but also instant energetic when I take him out). The better option is getting a toy for him to play with him with, like tug of war. Or getting small bites of cheese and doing some basic obedience.

My assessment of this is that he's generally under exercised, no consistency in training and corrections which might make him uncertain, a generally stressful living area and an unclear hierarchy.
Is this what I can pass along to a potential new owner? Should the issue better itself when the the things I just mentioned are done better by someone else, or is there an additional thing that might be needed?

PS: I spend about 4 to 6 hours with him daily doing stuff (mostly indoors). It tires him out enough to sleep some hours during the afternoon and after dinner. However, as explained in my other post, I cannot give him nearly enough.
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post #2 of 3 (permalink) Old 01-24-2017, 08:37 AM
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It appears by what you wrote a lot of this was created inadvertently by you. I don't mean this negatively, but your dog's behavior is the number one reason for most of my consultations....90 percent of time it is correctable if gotten to as pup under one year, and or the owner is capable of exercising the remedy. It would take a phone call to discuss indepth just things you wrote that contribute to the dog retaining this behavior. PM me if you would like and we can talk via phone....I'm not trying to change your mind about your future with this dog, but more so to enlighten you for future dogs.
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post #3 of 3 (permalink) Old 01-24-2017, 09:51 AM
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This sounds very much like the behavior I saw when I first went to see the pup I now have. He is 6 mos old. I have seen remnants of it here (he has been here 3 wks tomorrow) but really not to the same extent that I saw it with his first owner. I suspect that is also why his second owner gave him up and he ended up with me. Both previous owners described him as dominant and aggressive. I see him as submissive and somewhat fearful. I would be really interested in a quick explanation of the behavior.
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