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Old 12-01-2012, 08:24 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Exclamation Saying Hello and help with an ill-mannered puppy?

Hi! My name is Cassandra aka "Whiskey", and I have a 3 month old male GSD named Rye. Currently we are driving a semi over the road for Watkins Shepard trucking (kinda ironic, huh? German Shepherd, Watkins Shepard...no? ok nvm...) I've never been a member of a breed forum before and I'm still getting used to the whole thing, so bear with me please...

A little about us:
I've owned various breeds of dogs including Daschunds, Coonhounds, Yorkies, Alaskan Malamutes...etc, but Rye is my first German Shepherd. I've always had friends with GSDs and several of my other dogs had GSD buddies. I do have to admit, while I've had a few varying breeds, I've mostly owned hounds. As some of you probably know, hounds tend to be STUBBORN as crap and hard to train, as well as not being the most people-loyal breeds. 9 times out of 10 they will pick an interesting smell over obeying the Come command. So when I began to look for a dog (almost a year after my beloved Catahoula/pit mix went missing, RIP Jed), German shepherds stuck out to me because of their loyalty, protective instincts, and being easier to train in general than other breeds.

As I just wanted a personal companion, I wasn't worried about finding a pedigreed, registered dog. I wanted a full blood, but I wanted to get a dog from someone who wasn't doing it for the money. And...after looking for a while I came across a family in North Carolina who had two full blooded GSDs that had had puppies. They were unregistered, but I was able to meet the parents, and they were very well-mannered dogs, and seemed to meet the general breed standard with no health issues. Anyway.....long story short I bought a puppy...and my story begins....

For a while he was pretty boring, doing normal puppy things, eat, sleep, play a little, poop, go back to sleep. I began basic obedience right away, leash, easy commands, etc....but as he's gotten older, he seems to be getting more ill-mannered, rather than better....and I'm hoping someone here can suggest some solutions to my issues.

First off would be biting....I know puppies bite. Its natural. Its their way of exporing, etc...I've had enough dogs to know this. However, the older he gets, the worse he gets trying to bite me. I've tried everything, from balling up my fist in his mouth, holding his lower jaw, stopping play completely, and redirecting his mouthiness to a toy. Nothing works.... Now, granted, he does have a pretty good bite inhibition. He rarely bites down hard, and if he does its usually because he was snapping at a toy and caught me by mistake. But, I really dont want him to keep putting his teeth on me every time i touch him. I've never encountered this problem before with any of my other dogs. I've read the other threads on this topic and haven't seen any new information. Should I just continue to discourage the behavior and he'll grow out of it? Or should I be worried...I dont want an adult GSD putting his teeth on me or anyone else thinking that its okay.

That topic leads into my next one, which is really just a menagerie of things. Rye has got to be one of the most bull-headed dogs I've ever had. He wants what he wants when he wants it. And that's all there is to it. I can honestly say I've never had a dog that would throw a fit, but if there is a puppy equivalent to a temper tantrum, Rye definitely throws some big ones. If he wants on the bed, or attention, he will be a brat, barking, whine/howling, peeing on the floor (like 2 minutes after he went outside!!!), getting into things he knows he's not supposed to...etc. Should I just ignore his antics and correct any specific things (i.e...peeing on the floor)...or should I have a more active approach?

I suppose before I close this out I should make a few disclaimers of things I know y'all are going to ask.
Although we DO practically live in a semi, Rye does get regular exercise, outside, alot of the time off leash. I use a Flirt Stick (wooden dowl with a string tied to one end and an old rag or dog toy tied to the end of the string) alot to play with him because it doesn't encourage teeth on people skin. This usually works wonders and he comes back inside tired and ready for a nap. He also gets out of the truck for a walk every 2-3 hours and if we dont play fetch or with his FS, we at least go for a short walk. This having been said, hes definitely getting socialized very well. Being in a new place every day, new smells, sounds, giant scary loud trucks, he does great with it all and while he is showing some signs of his protective nature (hackles go up when another person approaches or he sees something out of the ordinary) he never has showed any aggression towards people or other animals. Apart from exercise, he is getting regular obedience training. Pretty much any time hes outside we go through the basics, sit, down, give paw, leave it, etc. And he does know these commands quite well although he doesn't always choose to listen. He's a baby and I dont expect perfection. But I do wanna nip some of these issues in the bud before he becomes an 80lb dog without manners.

Whew! Wow that was a long post...I hope y'all stuck with me throughout and maybe will have some advice for me, or just say hi! I am very excited about being a member of this forum, and look forward to talking with you all and hearing your stories, etc....

Thanks!!!
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Old 12-02-2012, 12:44 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Hello, there is another member who is a OTR truck driver, Dazedtrucker. I think she may be in a time out though. I don't have a lot of advice, but the raised hackles can mean several things, excitement, ect... Here is a link on piloerection. Piloerection | The Bark
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Old 12-02-2012, 07:53 AM   #3 (permalink)
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maybe I missed it, but how old is he now?
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Old 12-02-2012, 07:54 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
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maybe I missed it, but how old is he now?
First sentence. 3 months.
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Old 12-02-2012, 03:33 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Welcome. Is that 'Whiskey_n_Rye' as in "Good old boys were drinkin' "?

Anyway, if you read around here a little or a lot, you'll see that GSD's are sort of a mixed bag, and it's hard to say, depending on the line, just what you've got there.

But that said, I'd say you're basically on the right track. What you're describing as the way your pup bites sounds pretty normal, and he most likely will grow out of it as long as you keep correcting him. My pup's a little over 7 months old now, and my forearms are just now beginning to completely heal.

As far as his stubbornness, what you've got sounds extreme, but it's not unheard of. The important thing is simply that while he's in this phase, you don't let him win. He's got to respect you as the boss. (And, I will say it's been my own personal experience that male GSD puppies push women harder than they push men. 'Course you might get some people to say that's nuts, and they may even be right, but that has been my experience.)

So my advice is to not give up on the pup, or on what you're doing. You've only got 4-5 months to go.

Got any pictures of him?
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Old 12-02-2012, 04:16 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Welcome to the forum and the breed, there is tons of great info -->Welcome to the GSD/FAQ's for the first time owner - German Shepherd Dog Forums as well as in the stickies in the puppy sections. You are not alone :-)

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Old 12-02-2012, 07:07 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Typhoon View Post
Welcome. Is that 'Whiskey_n_Rye' as in "Good old boys were drinkin' "?

Anyway, if you read around here a little or a lot, you'll see that GSD's are sort of a mixed bag, and it's hard to say, depending on the line, just what you've got there.

But that said, I'd say you're basically on the right track. What you're describing as the way your pup bites sounds pretty normal, and he most likely will grow out of it as long as you keep correcting him. My pup's a little over 7 months old now, and my forearms are just now beginning to completely heal.

As far as his stubbornness, what you've got sounds extreme, but it's not unheard of. The important thing is simply that while he's in this phase, you don't let him win. He's got to respect you as the boss. (And, I will say it's been my own personal experience that male GSD puppies push women harder than they push men. 'Course you might get some people to say that's nuts, and they may even be right, but that has been my experience.)

So my advice is to not give up on the pup, or on what you're doing. You've only got 4-5 months to go.

Got any pictures of him?
Yes, my screen name is from the Don McLean song American Pie. My CB handle is Whiskey, has been for years (came from the Toby Keith song Whiskey Girl), and when I got my pup, Rye just kinda stuck. So now my handle has kinda turned into Whiskey 'n' Rye since he's my copilot now. Although he's a crappy navigator...lol

But anyway, you did confirm what I kinda figured as far as his biting and
all. I've just never had a puppy who was quite this bad about it, so its new for me. Nothing I can't handle.

And I dont doubt that he's going to push me harder than he would a man. I'm 5'1, petite, and as such I dont really have an authoritative sounding voice. All of my dogs have pushed me pretty hard at first. So I think he'll eventually grow up. Otherwise he's very sweet, affectionate, and he's definitely bonding to me pretty strongly. He'll make a great dog once he grows out of these terrible twos. Luckily that stage is alot shorter for dogs than people...

I do have a million pictures of him, but like i said I'm workin on figuring this whole forum thing out...I'll get some up as soon as I do.
Thanks!
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Old 12-02-2012, 07:26 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nigel View Post
Hello, there is another member who is a OTR truck driver, Dazedtrucker. I think she may be in a time out though. I don't have a lot of advice, but the raised hackles can mean several things, excitement, ect... Here is a link on piloerection. Piloerection | The Bark

Thanks for that link. I've always associated piloerection with aggression or fear, but that article shed a bit more light on the situation as it being less specific and more of a heightened state of emotional arousal.

I think with my dog it is mostly him going on what I call "high alert." He puffs himself up, ears erect, head up, tail out, and he's looking intensely at whatever he sees or smells that has got his attention.

For Rye I am beginning to think its a mixture of fear, and that guarding instinct, he's still a baby and he's unsure of himself at times. If a stranger approaches us, or even walks by in the distance, he immediately goes on high alert, but if they approach, he runs behind my legs and then walks up to the person with his ears back and his head kinda lowered, wagging his tail. Being that he hasn't even gotten close to adulthood, I'm not making any conclusions on his personality since he still has alot of growing up to do.

I am going to have him neutered as soon as he is old enough, just in case anyone is wondering.
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Old 12-02-2012, 07:54 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Behavior is not really my field, but 3 months is just 12 weeks. Heck, he still had his puppy teeth. I have let dogs chomp on my arms because like you said he isn't bearing down and all of mine have grown out of it. One other thing I might mention is GSDs are scary smart dogs. So that said, I think you might be expecting a little too much from this pup. His attention span isn't that long so actively training might be an exercise in futility. My vet told me to put my pups in a baby hold. In your arm belly up. You hold them firm for about a minute, then let them go. He might be too big for that now though. But over all, I think you are doing fine by him. Since he hasn't had all his shots yet, I would avoid interaction with other dogs, but after that you might consider letting him around other dogs to help with the socialization and the other dogs will teach him a thing or two
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Old 12-02-2012, 08:05 PM   #10 (permalink)
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One thing I did think of, GSD's are very territorial. One of the fun things for me bringing a new puppy home has always been watching him first become accustomed to his new surroundings, then slowly making them his own.

I've known pups to always be very tentative in new surroundings...and it might just be worth remembering he's more than a little out of the typical GSD element by being a Gypsy. Wouldn't be out of the question that that could cause him to act up from time to time.
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