Nipping my toddler - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-14-2017, 02:44 PM Thread Starter
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Nipping my toddler

Hi guyz, i am new to this forum and this is my first post. so my story is that around 1 month ago i adopted a GSD female 1 year 10 months old. so she was and still is a little anxious and fearful of everything but is doing very well with the family and especially me . she bonded really well with me that she does not leave my shadow. so my toddler runs in the house all the time and plays and goes hugs her everytime giver her treats without any problem and she does not do anything to him.No signs of any aggression at all. today while i was carrying my toddler and playing with him throwing him up and down she suddenly got up and came and nipped my son's leg. after some time i tried to do that again and she stood up again and approached us and if i did not tell her No im sure she was gonna nip him again.. Any ideas what is this behavior? is she being protective to me ? or jealous? and how i can correct this quickly before any problem occurs. thanks
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-14-2017, 05:31 PM
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excellent question. Remember at your dog's age, novel stuff and anomalies have to be tested. My two tended to bark at and approach odd things. Odd like a car that is not normally where it should be or the first time one saw a statue of women sitting on the ground, or sea foam billowing on the beach. Even an oddly blowing plastic bag require testing until they figured out it was no big deal. And lately it was a big turtle one found, and he barked at it and tried to gently paw at it and experimented with it. (I did not let him hurt the turtle).

Has you pup watched you toss you son before? She may have been guessing at how she should react. I'd have gone with a very strong NO followed by what is a good thing to do. Perhaps she has a mat you have her lay on or a dog bed. I probably would have had her go there and watch the game for a few minutes. If she watches quietly then you soften and praise her.

Rule of thumb. When ever you tell you dog NO you can't do that, follow with a YES, this you can do. It works for people as well as dogs.
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-14-2017, 05:54 PM
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She could think your son is prey, based on how you were playing with him. I would stop that immediately. I also wouldn't leave her anywhere near him when he is on the floor or unsupervised. You may think they are getting along well, but if she would put teeth on him when you are holding him, she might do worse when you aren't. Hugging her might be perceived as a threat or irritating. She might not like him as much as you think she does.
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-14-2017, 07:45 PM
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Hi April3, I have a 1.5 year-old son and 2 GSDs, so I know it can be challenging sometimes to juggle a family and pets. Was your toddler squealing and laughing while you were tossing him? I wonder if your GSD saw all of the excitement and movement and it either got her over-stimulated or activated her prey or play drive. Sounds like she tried to join the game in an inappropriate way. What was her body language like when this happened? I wonder if she was play-biting rather than being truly aggressive.

Have you done any obedience work or training with your dog? One thing you might try is the "leave it" command. This is a command that you can use to keep your dog from eating something it shouldn't, chasing cats, paying too much attention to other dogs out on a walk, ect. If you're not familiar with how to teach "leave it" I'm sure a google search would yield some good results. You start out by teaching your dog to ignore a treat, then work up to higher value items. After your dog is solid on leaving treats, you could find a toy she is crazy about, and work up to tossing it in the air, bouncing it around like the baby while teaching the dog to "leave it." When she's good at that, then maybe you could try bouncing the baby, but have someone nearby with the dog on a leash to prevent mishaps.

Also crates, fences, and baby gates are your friends. In my opinion, there's nothing wrong with putting the dog in a crate for a while if you are planning to play with the toddler in such a stimulating way. We have an ex-pen in our living room for the dog, and a play pen for the baby, and we made our spare room into a playroom that the dogs are not allowed to enter. Our house is definitely not going to appear in Better Homes and Gardens any time soon. But it preserves my sanity.

I'm just a pet owner, not an expert or a trainer. I'm sure there are many other things you could try. I'd work on your dog's obedience if you haven't done much training with her or if she needs a refresher. For now, I'd probably just crate her if I anticipated a lot of excitement. I let my dogs spend time with the baby, and I let the baby touch and pet the dogs, but I have to watch him closely to make sure he doesn't do something pesty like grabbing ears or fur. I allow pets and gentle touches only. I wouldn't isolate your dog from your baby, but I might not allow the hugging--some dogs don't like it, and your toddler would be at face level with the dog.

Welcome to the site! You'll find lots of good GSD-info here and knowledgeable people. I hope you keep us updated.
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-15-2017, 03:29 AM Thread Starter
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Hello again first of all thank you for the answers. to answer some things you guyz asking sebrench yes my toddler was laughing while we were playing and i am working on obedience with her she listens very well to my NO's and stays and sits , later on yesterday i gave some treats to my son and he gave them to her and she was taking them very gently and today i gave my son her bowl of food and let him put her food down on the floor. After that i tried playing the same way with my son so she stood aup and came to us again.. i was very careful to see what she will do and i let her act and all i saw that she was just trying to join the game with us because she started licking my sons legs..so the nipping yesterday was just joining the game with us which i will be careful and correct that if she does again..

car2ner this was the first time she sees me playing hard with my son.. so either me or her did not know what was going on..

luvshepherds my son is always supervised either me or my wife are around him even if we did not have april (our gsd) because he is very active so if left alone trouble will come.

One more question to you guyz.. my GSD is rescued so i dont know about her past. but what i realize is she was abused because she is afraid of everything.. when someone moves fast, my son drops a toy , or anything happens around she is always tail tucked inside her legs ears back down and tries to hide next to me if im around or goes to a corner if im not around. What can i do to help her go through this. My vet prescribed Actipet Anxiety Free chew treats which is supplement . but i dont know how much this helps. im trying to socialize her as much as i can. im sure she is not socialized well too and i know its a little hard at this age but im trying my best.. any tips would be helpful .. Thank you
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-15-2017, 10:17 AM
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Being afraid of everything doesn't necessarily mean abused. She may just be naturally a nervy dog. Remember, socialization doesn't mean she has to be close to people or being petted or approaching other dogs. It means "exposure" to all that, but at a distance that doesn't make her uncomfortable. Eventually, you may be able to get closer and closer and she becomes more comfortable, but she may never. Work with the dog in front of her and try not to speculate too much on the past that you don't know.
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-15-2017, 03:25 PM
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It sounds like she is the fun-police. When GSDs are a little nervous, they can object to commotion around them. When other critters are ramping up, they might step in and shut that crap down. It isn't her place to do so, I would tell her NO! strongly enough to know she can't do that. Dogs do this to other dogs too, when the roughhousing gets to be too much. Possibly they are instinctively led to try to inhibit play before it turns into fighting. I don't know, but a nip is communication that is definitely a "cut that crap out" admonition.
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-15-2017, 04:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Galathiel View Post
Being afraid of everything doesn't necessarily mean abused. She may just be naturally a nervy dog. Remember, socialization doesn't mean she has to be close to people or being petted or approaching other dogs. It means "exposure" to all that, but at a distance that doesn't make her uncomfortable. Eventually, you may be able to get closer and closer and she becomes more comfortable, but she may never. Work with the dog in front of her and try not to speculate too much on the past that you don't know.
exactly!
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-15-2017, 04:49 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Galathiel View Post
Being afraid of everything doesn't necessarily mean abused. She may just be naturally a nervy dog. Remember, socialization doesn't mean she has to be close to people or being petted or approaching other dogs. It means "exposure" to all that, but at a distance that doesn't make her uncomfortable. Eventually, you may be able to get closer and closer and she becomes more comfortable, but she may never. Work with the dog in front of her and try not to speculate too much on the past that you don't know.
yes it seems so that she is a little nervy one. today when my son was dancing and jumping she came around again and started making noises like whining .i dont know if she wants to play or wants him to stop what he is doing. but she is listening very well to my NO command and gets back immediately. i think. she is listening to all my commands but i think in not correct way because she is afraid when i give a command.her tail tucks in her legs and ears down and goes back to down position.I think she needs some time to settle to her surrounding.Im working both with her and with my son to get used to each other well. my son is serving her food and giving her treats all the time.
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