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Old 11-15-2011, 05:54 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default HELP! 4 month old gsd puppy!!

I am an 18 year old girl, and my family consists of my mom, dad, and 13 year old sister. We bought our german shepherd, Chief, from a breeder. His parents seemed to be pretty aggressive, because the breeder lived out in the middle of nowhere and needed protection dogs.

He has been a handful ever since we brought him home. But recently, my family and I have begun to worry. He snaps at us for no reason. If you try to pet him, he will snap at your hand. But he only does this to people he is familiar with, not to strangers who he will allow to pet him. He has also broken skin on us a few times. When he bites, sometimes it is instinctive to pop him on the mouth. Is this bad? What else is there to do?

Also, when we let him into the house, he goes crazy. He picks up shoes, pillows, socks, etc and runs around the house. He wont ever just lay down!

We take him to obidience once a week, but i dont feel like there has been any progress. He can sit and lay down, but i don't know what to teach him next. And what else can I do with him, other than play fetch?

Another weird thing: when anyone in the family comes home from work, school, etc, he pees right there on the spot. Why??
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Old 11-15-2011, 06:14 PM   #2 (permalink)
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This is all stuff you should have expected with puppies. Puppies bite and chew when they play. Have you discussed this with your obedience trainer? Here is a site that may help you:

Puppy Play Biting Leads to Marks on Hands and Arms | Animal Behavior and Medicine Blog | Dr. Sophia Yin, DVM, MS

Don't hit him when he bites you. It is your fault for not training him properly, not his. If you start hitting him, it will only start encouraging him to seriously bite you when your hands come near his face, and then you will have an aggressive dog you can't handle.

When he gets into the house and starts acting crazy? He's acting like a puppy. It is what they do. When they are understimulated, both mentally and physically, they will do this. You can look forward to many months of this. They never run out of energy. You need to be patient, be consistent, and make sure he gets A LOT of training and physical activity. If you are only working on training one hour a week, that will make no difference. Training should be every hour of every day. It should be included with every activity you do. It really isn't that hard to incorporate it. When you are watching tv, practice sits, downs, stays, etc. It shouldn't even involve you having to stand up. Have him tied to you when you are doing chores. Incorporate into play time. Your dog will NEVER get tired if you do not work mentally on him. You could never come up with enough physical activity to do it.

If you ever find you are losing patience, and we all do, the crate can be your best friend. Many times when Dax was that age, I would crate him when I started getting mad, just to give myself time to calm down and try again.

He probably pees from excitement. You should work on keeping him calm when you get home and he greets you.

Again, this is all stuff you should be able to talk to your trainer about.
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Old 11-15-2011, 06:18 PM   #3 (permalink)
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The peeing is either excitement or he's showing submission. DO NOT YELL OR CORRECT HIIM FOR THIS. Try ignoring him for 5 or ten minutes, then calming saying hello and petting if he's calm.

As for the biting, I think he's playing landshark. It's completely normal, and the fact that he only does it to you and your family means he wants to play with you.

Expecting a 4 month old pup to lay quietly (until he's completely worn out) is like expecting a two year old to amuse themselves the entire day by themselves. Seriously. He needs constant supervision, and direction to appropriate outlets (Toys, kongs or chews) and crate training so he can be in the crate with a kong if you're not available. Does he have a crate? GET ONE AND LEARN TO USE IT. It will save you.

Also and last: he needs EXERCISE. And LOTS of it. At 4 months I could walk my pup at least two miles. Sometimes not all at once, but definitely at least that much a day, if not more. Off leash hikes, if you're lucky enough to be able to do that REALLY tire a pup out. And teach him to be by your side, too. Keep your training sessions short, 3-8 mins and do them several times a day. When ever you see him doing something you want, praise and treat him. But EXERCISE, EXERCISE, EXERCISE.

Oh, and did I mention exercise?

Posted at the same time as Sharkey, and I missed the popping on the nose. Please--I have never, in 20 years ever had to resort to hitting any of my dogs. He's just a pup. Get some Ian Dunbar puppy books and read them.

Last edited by RocketDog; 11-15-2011 at 06:21 PM.
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Old 11-15-2011, 06:28 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Yes, as RocketDog said, both Ian Dunbar and Sophia Yin are excellent resources for training a well rounded, confident, and well behaved puppy.
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Old 11-15-2011, 06:39 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Tons of training info from Dr. Ian Dunbar and others on this site: Digital Dog Training Textbook | Dog Star Daily
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