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Thread: Biting towards only one child Reply to Thread
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Topic Review (Newest First)
05-03-2014 02:51 AM
mamajag Him being a treat dispenser and dog feeder has really helped, both in how much confidence he has around her and how much respect she's showing him. Between that and gating her in the kitchen immediately for mistreating him, she is really making progress. She's a quick study and wants to please. He decided to give her treats for following him around the house politely and for curling up with him calmly to watch TV. Pretty good choices for a 5 year old.

This afternoon I was in the bathroom when Gretchen got feisty, and I came out to find Gretchen in the kitchen and my 9 year old daughter closing the gate. I guess I had a puzzled look on my face because she said Gretchen was nipping at Gabriel so she stopped it. The whole family is willing to stand up for Gabriel.
05-02-2014 09:03 PM
SunCzarina Sounds like you're on the road to better behaved puppy. The part where Gabriel throws her a treat just because he likes how she's acting, that's huge.

It seems so obvious to praise for being mellow but a lot of people forget to look over and say good job when the dog's not doing anything. German shepherd puppy laying down playing quietly alone or napping, that's a good good puppy.
05-02-2014 07:16 PM
mamajag Well, today has been a good day. Gretchen has only been confined to the kitchen twice. No blood was drawn, no clothes were torn, and Gabriel wasn't on the ground. She was just using her mouth inappropriately. We did do the relax in the crate after the afternoon play session and I think that helped, too. I know I'm on my last nerve by the time we come in so maybe she was, too.

My vet suggested letting Gabriel feed her, so I've been coaching him on how to handle it and making her hold a sit until he has the bowl down on the ground and invites her over to eat. Today during our training session the only person who had her very favorite treats was him. Once she figured that out and that he wasn't letting go of treats unless she was sitting (her first thought was to just take them), she was sitting for him like a champ. Every time he is able to get her to do something, his confidence around her grows just a bit.

He's carrying little pieces of treats in his pocket now. I told him whenever she does something he likes and would like her to do again to give her a piece.
05-01-2014 05:11 PM
Galathiel If it's at the end of play time, I would crate the pup. Sometimes they get wound up when overtired. Maybe a little nap in the crate would help it calm down.
05-01-2014 04:33 PM
mamajag She is capable of it any time, but the most common pattern is in the afternoon towards the end of play time and when we first come in. There's about an hour that's just not good.

This morning she fixated on him while the older two were doing schoolwork. I told her no, removed her, and put her in the kitchen. I left her in there for 5 to 10 minutes and let her out again. I thought I was gonna wear the gate out but she lost interest and went back to being my shadow.

The hardest part I think is going to be getting Gabriel to cooperate with the ignore once she's in the kitchen. He sees her behind the gate and wants to play since she can't get to him. I had to change terminology from "time out" to "she's in the corner. She's been naughty." It seems to help him remember not to approach while she's in the kitchen.
05-01-2014 11:32 AM
wolfy dog I have put the shark behind a closed door for about 10 seconds, That is pretty effective too.
Check out Association of Professional Dog Trainers - Dog Training Resources to hopefully find a trainer in your area. Click on "trainer search".
Involve your 5 year old in feeding her, teaching her to sit for him etc. making sure you are there with him.
The good thing is that they grow out of this stuff. You give her a lot of exercise. She also could be overstimulated like kids are when they get tired. Is there a certain time she goes for your child, like when she has had all that exercise, maybe?
05-01-2014 10:17 AM
Galathiel I think your pup gets PLENTY of exercise. Because of my work schedule, I actually didn't want my pup to need a ton of exercise to be good in the house, so we never did long extended play sessions. We play for about half an hour of steady fetch and playing with outside toys two or three times a day (does not include training time .. that's separate). I think encouraging your son to play with the puppy with a toy would be a good idea to take the emphasis off playing with your son's arms, hands, clothes. Even a rag that they can play gentle tug with would be good. Also, have him work on helping 'train' the puppy. Being a source of food is a big deal to puppies. Use the kitchen as needed for a break if he gets mouthy.
05-01-2014 02:36 AM
Ellimaybel I didn't read all of the replies so forgive me if already asked, but those 2-3 hours of play, are they back to back or split up? Because the amazing thing about puppies and children is that they can play for hours on end and nap and then wake up ready to go again. Some days I come home to almost 10 month old Gunther just full of energy and wanting to play so bad he's doing zoomies around the yard for half an hour for no reason whatsoever. You would think that would exhaust him, but it doesn't. For me and him personally I have found that several 10-15 minute sessions of non-stop fetch works best. I run him back and forth until he's exhausted each time, (usually about 10 times a day spaced out) and then he wants to crash. Fun bones such as a stuffed shin bone or "busy bone" can help keep the pup occupied to give yourselves a time out as well. It sounds as though she has picked your son as her favorite playmate that she can't have. Gunther does the same with one of our cats. I can't incorporate my cat into his play but maybe your son can be incorporated? Having your son repeat the basic commands right by your side as you give them, having Gretchen in a sit and stay until your son rewards her, with your constant supervision. Just my opinions, again I didn't read all the replies.
05-01-2014 02:24 AM
mamajag BTW, we play with her with those boring toys. We go on multiple walks and "find the world's most perfect stick" expeditions every day, and we spend hours outside just enjoying the sunshine and Gretchen's company and even go walk down to the lake so she can play in the water. Maybe I'm not the world's most exciting playmate. I'm willing to concede that. Gretchen isn't wanting for attention or interaction for lack of my family trying to entertain her.
05-01-2014 02:04 AM
mamajag We're in the process of building a new home on our property. The mobile home we're living in is small and not laid out well enough for an xpen with rooms already having to do double duty with homeschool. We had 2 full grown GSD mix rescues living with us last year without complication.

I don't see asking a question about one problem I've been unable to solve as needing a lot of support. We've had a lot of successes, too. I've been talking with her breeder, and the advice we got eliminated the problem with 4 out of 5 family members, so it wasn't in vain. It just wasn't helpful with a little boy finding it hard to ignore. I kept reading advice to crate her for a while after one of her incidents, but she likes her crate so much it was almost rewarding her in a way, and things started escalating when we instituted that. I wanted other ideas. I've never seen an xpen used with a larger dog breed, so I got some information I can adapt to our situation. Overall I'm happy and hopeful.

If there were puppy classes around here she'd already be in one. Unfortunately, there are no classes within a 90-minute drive of here that I've been able to find. Next week when we see the vet for her rabies vax I'll ask just in case he knows a local trainer I haven't been able to find. So much in this area is word of mouth that it can be very difficult to find what you need.
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