Boomers growing and questions - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-19-2012, 08:50 PM Thread Starter
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Boomers growing and questions

Boomer is now 9 weeks old. Growing like crazy! Got him crate trained and doing really well in house just have to watch him. But I have a couple questions.

1. He is biting like crazy. Tried redirection and everything and he just attacks arms. Any good advice will help. What can I do to stop this or at least slow it down lol.

2. He has a growl and starts snapping from time to time. Very meanly. is that!?

He's a great dog and with me all day just looking for some pointers. Thanks!

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post #2 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-19-2012, 11:51 PM
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Really cute pup there. My 13 week old was just the same. I tried everything to get him to quit. Redirection, toys, ignoring, the only thing that eventually worked was old school alpha rolling. Later I learned that he also hates being sprayed in the face with water, so he behaves when I have a bottle.

A GSD owner at the local dog park said to spray my arms with bitter apple. I never tried that. The alpha rolls worked better.

Good luck, it gets better (I hear).
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post #3 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-20-2012, 01:24 AM
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DO NOT, DO NOT, DO NOT alpha roll your puppy!!! Absolutely terrible advice!!
Hopefully you have only had your pup for a week or less... meaning that the pup was with mom and litter mates until at least 8 weeks of age. During this time, the pup begins to learn bite inhibition. There are MANY threads here about the "landshark" stage and bite inhibition. Take time to read through most of them...and ALL of the 'stickies' on the subject. Re-direct with toys, teach a 'soft mouth' and praise for success!! It isn't a short term thing with shepherd puppies. However, GSDs especially seem to be very 'mouthy' dogs. Sometimes they just 'hang on' to their human's arm during times of happiness or feeling connection to their human. There are also many stickies and posts here about the unique things about shepherds, and how to handle them. I suggest looking at those, as well. You'll get some good info., and also some bad advice. If it sounds probably is. You want this pup to learn to trust you completely. That makes training easier, it makes going through different stages and new things easier... and one day that trusting bond will be paid back to you when your dog alerts you to danger. Start bullying a pup and scaring it (alpha roll) and you're damaging your relationship from the very start. Alpha rolling is a long outdated technique, used before there was a real universal understanding of the breed by trainers. I don't believe it was ever intended to be used on puppies, but I could be wrong. GSD pups may appear as though they're challenging you... because they are vocal, they can be demanding, and their play is very rowdy which is sometimes mistaken for aggression. You really need to get to know the breed (hopefully before you bring a pup home) to realize that what is the 'norm' for other breeds isn't for these guys. Once you understand your puppy, you can learn how to work with the pup so everyone is happy and the relationship is maintained. The biggest worry in the first month is to get the pup to trust you and bond to you. I have scars all over both arms and my ankles from the first couple months with my guy. It's worth it. He trusts me completely. He is bonded to me in a way that I believe only GSDs can bond to their handlers. He is mine, and I am his.
Oh, BTW... if you really do have an 'alpha' pup, beware of anyone trying to roll them. My vet had my boy come right off the table at him while trying to put him on his side for an exam. Luckily, the vet is well versed in GSDs (he takes care of all the police dogs) and was quick to avoid the bite that was coming. In a non-alpha pup, you're going to cause insecurity and fear. It's just a no win situation. Please ignore this advice. I almost forgot... don't spray your pup in the face, either. Treat your pup with kindness and compassion. It's only been breathing on this earth for nine weeks. It knows nothing. He's a blank slate for you to fill. Choose wisely how you fill it.
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post #4 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-20-2012, 02:40 AM
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9 WEEKS?? he looks older than that considering this bugger's just 7 weeks.. u mean to say he'll grow THAT much in 2 weeks?? 9 months right?
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post #5 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-20-2012, 09:16 AM
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Jag can call my advice terrible, but Gunnar is glued to my leg, delivering love whenever I'm with him, and he is very well behaved for a 13 week old pup. What I did does not appear to have hurt our relationship, in fact it has strengthened it.

When you look at how pups in the litter respond to biting, the submissive dogs ignore the biter, and the more dominant dogs would bite back. Dogs like knowing where they are in the hierarchy of the pack, just like kids do. I made the decision about how I wanted him to view me and it has worked well. But again, I read all the land shark stickies and tried all the "new" techniques for 3 weeks before moving on to the alpha rolls which have worked for us.

A for the size of your pup, looks just like mine did. He was 14#s at 8 weeks, 18#s a week later he's now 30# at 13 weeks. It's crazy how quick they grow!
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post #6 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-20-2012, 09:27 AM
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So he's adorable!

I would get a nice long tug and engage him with that - it can be used to redirect and as a reward. Check the basics of the bite inhibition thread and go with the methods that encourage inhibition.

Thorny - there are going to be people who will agree with you, probably more who will disagree on rolling a puppy. I will say that it is not something that I would do or recommend that anyone ever does.

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post #7 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-20-2012, 09:41 AM
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I would not alpha roll a puppy - used to do that years ago when it was recommended.

Husband still has scars from THAT little adventure and it was way overkill for the other dogs and never produced lasting results other than letting you get out your anger and adrenaline. Patience and consistency. We have some good sticky notes here in the puppy sections!


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post #8 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-20-2012, 09:53 AM
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I used to believe ... a long long time ago ... that alpha rolling was the "ideal" way to train a dog.

The key thing to remember is that when you alpha roll you are physically challenging the dog. You will likely win while it's a puppy (unless it's Grim LOL). After all, a human adult easily outweighs a puppy.

The relationship that you build with your dog is not one of trust ... but one of ... if you challenge me ... I will fight you back ... and I will win. BUT ... what are you going to do when that 80 pound (or more) dog challenges you and you lose? Because you know what ... you WILL lose. Dogs are carnivores and predators. They are built to fight and to win. No one will win against an 80 pound dog coming at them ... especially if they are being challenged. They have four legs, are built of solid muscle and have huge potential to do a LOT of damage.

I learned this the hard way with a dog ... again, about 20 years ago. I had been doing the alpha roll with loads of success ... and then one of the dogs decided (at around 16 months old) to challenge my "alphaness" ... I lost. I was "flipping" the dog, it was "fighting" me and managed to break free. The next thing I knew the dog was flying at me, in my face barking, snarling and growling. Thankfully, I wasn't physically hurt, the dog never bit me.

Emotionally? I was a wreck. I talked to a lot of other trainers, etc. The ones who support the alpha roll blamed me ... "you weren't fast enough, you slipped, etc." The ones who don't follow that method looked at me like I was a moron (they didn't treat me like one, but I recognized the "look" ... you tried to do what????)

I quit working with dogs for about a year and a half and I did more research, met with more trainers, etc. And I learned a lot ... more than I ever thought. I learned how to build a bond of trust with my dogs, and other people's dogs. I learned how to accept the "challenge" from the dog and turn it into a teaching lesson - for both of us. I've never alpha rolled another dog, and I have no intention of ever trying it again (even on a freaking chihuahua where I know I'd win).

The key thing I learned 20 some years ago about puppies was to teach / guide and almost never correct (sometimes there are certain circumstances, but in my opinion, they are rare!) ... why would you correct a puppy? They have NO clue that what they did was wrong.

This is why when people say my dog is biting me all the time ... HELP ... the responses are shove a toy in the dogs mouth, redirect to another toy, etc. Correcting the puppy at this stage does absolutely NOTHING ... all you are doing is ramping the dog up with more energy. They have NO idea that what they are doing is wrong … they are puppies.

Alpha rolling at this stage ... you're telling the dog that you are physically stronger ... OK ... but like I mentioned earlier ... you won't always be. And if you've raised a puppy to adult hood under the premise of correction and alpha rolling RATHER than teaching / guiding / learning you will NEVER have the bond that you want. You might think you do, until one day ... when you challenge your dog, or your dog challenges you ... and you lose. Where is that bond that you said you had?

I would argue that you never had that bond in the first place, because if you are truly bonded with your dog, and you have taught / guided and led your dog towards a trusting relationship, it won’t challenge you in the first place.

I look back to my first dog I had that I “alpha rolled” into submission. I thought we had a great relationship. Then I look at the dogs I’ve had since, and my current pup Kyleigh. The bond I have with Kyleigh is stronger than any other bond I’ve ever had with any other dog. I’ve never flipped her, I’ve never been her “boss” and I’ve never challenged her. I’ve taught her what is acceptable and what it not, I’ve guided her through the stages of learning. Instead of correcting, I’ve redirected. I’ll give you an example.

I don’t like to weave around dogs when I’m going up or down stairs. Once Ky was able to go up and down stairs normally, I put her on leash, tied the leash to my waist and we started to go up the stairs. The second she put a paw on the stair ahead of me I used my leg and blocked her, and STOPPED right there on the stairs. I waited until she put her paw back down on the stair … either behind me or beside me. I praised her. I started to move up again. Repeated blocking if I had to. I did this a couple of times a day for 3 or 4 days … BOOM … done. I just taught her how to go up and down stairs … I guided her. NEVER once did she need a correction, and I didn’t have to show her who was boss.

The old methods would have had me correcting her the second her paw went ahead of my foot. WHY? She doesn’t know what she’s doing wrong? All she wants to do is go up the stairs with me … that’s what puppies do … follow … sometimes albeit quite rambunctiously. She just needed to be taught (not corrected) in how to do it properly.

THORNY – I’m not going to “bash” you about your method of training. I’m hoping to give you some food for thought. I’m hoping that if you read my post, you will step back and think about your relationship with your dog, and how you got to where you are … and where you want to be. I’m hopeful that you will research other training methods and see what else is out there.

For the OP … there are lots of threads on redirecting during the landshark phase … you’ll get a ton of information. Just remember to be consistent and patient. Your puppy is a BABY … it doesn’t know the difference … yet!

Marion’s Zoo-Kyleigh, Raylan-cat, Echo-TAG,

Last edited by Kyleigh; 12-20-2012 at 09:57 AM.
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post #9 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-20-2012, 10:10 AM
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Please remember that those puppies are PUPPIES!!! They aren't going to learn a new behavior and be constant with it over night. Give them time. Patience is what is needed on your part. Rejoice in the little things. If pup is knawing on all your body parts and you are able to redirect with a toy...praise it for that moment! It certainly doesn't mean it'll do it every time after that. They are babies. Just babies. They aren't able to be anything else.

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post #10 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-20-2012, 10:31 AM
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