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Old 12-05-2012, 11:37 AM   #131 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by GrammaD View Post
From what I can see you are so focused on correction and teaching your dog what NOT to do that I don't believe you have offered instruction in what you want the dog TO do.
This is so true - it pretty well sums up any training I've ever done with my dogs. I'm not going to be able to help you with keeping Bubbles from biting you, since I encourage this behavior. But keep in mind that she's not 'biting' you: what she's doing is 'mouthing' and she's like every other GSD puppy out there - they call them "landsharks" for a reason, lol. She wants to play with you and this is how they initiate it.

Human babies put everything in their mouths too, to explore. It's so normal and to be expected from puppies as well. It's too bad that their teeth are so sharp, but it's also a good thing, because when they bite too hard with each other they learn not to use so much pressure because whichever one gets the bite will yelp, or even stop playing. They learn not to bite so hard this way, because they want to play all day - until they're too tired to keep it up anymore.

When I teach my puppy not to bite hard, I stop playing just before it hurts too much. The worst thing, IMO, is when you grab their muzzles when they bite, because this is just too rough. It'll escalate the intensity, which is the exact opposite of what I'm trying to teach. I don't want the game to get rougher, I want it to get gentler. So this is probably why Bubbles is getting you so frustrated since she's probably getting way too rough and you think she's being aggressive, but she's just playing the game you taught her by mistake.

What toys are you using to redirect her mouthing? This is the only thing that worked for DH, because he doesn't agree with me and wouldn't let my puppy mouth him. He tried holding his muzzle, because that worked for him with different breeds (lol) but he found out the hard way that my puppy liked that even more, and came back at him twice as hard. I told him not to do that, to shove toys in his mouth, but not let go of the toy - keep him engaged in a chewy fun game. It's not like putting a pacifier in a baby's mouth because a puppy won't be satisfied with just a plug, they want games. Lots of playing, lots of games, lots of chewing.

When my puppy wasn't playing chewing games with us, he chewed on bones. When he wasn't chewing, he was sleeping. LOL, but I'm not kidding.
Does Bubbles have any bones that she can chew when she needs to? Part of the problem is that they're teething, so they want something to chew on, so you need to give them something: bones, kongs, rope toys, whatever she'll enjoy.
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Old 12-05-2012, 01:33 PM   #132 (permalink)
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One of things I failed to mention about Kaylee is her excessive mouthy behavior. She is the mouthiest dog I have ever had. She is not the first GSD we have had either. Since she was a landshark one of the things I made sure to do is figure out games that involve a lot of biting and mouth work. Rather than punish/correct the unwanted behavior we turned it into a good behavior where Kaylee can bite the crap out of something other than her human pack members, lol.

I did a lot of trial and error to see what motivated her to play. Keep in mind I am 100% capable of doing any kind of physical activity, but my mother is not. She has serious back, hip, and other medical issues that do not allow her to walk far. So the serious play/work games I do and my mother can do fetch and retrieve type games which allows her to sit in the chair. We figured out Kaylee is a ball nut. We went out and got 20 different balls for fetch games. They were different colors and textures to keep it interesting. Then I have my soccer balls (8 of them) I used for the intense games.

Even though we had taught her how to play and what the rules were she STILL would insist on constantly testing and biting and was a relentless brat from 5 months until she was near 7 months old. Keep in mind we had an arsenal of chew toys too. I would take specific bones fill it will peanut butter and put those in the freezer along with other frozen treats to help with the teething process.

Her bad behavior was only displayed here at home and would escalate when she was off lead. So from 5 months on I kept her on a chain lead (short one) to keep my hands off the collar when she would start in. I can grab the lead make a quick firm tug correction and if she refused to stop or be redirected then she was taken out of the environment and put in her crate for 5-10 minutes to calm down. I did not freak out, yell, or show any emotion during the correction or placing her in her crate. If I was frustrated I would walk away and let the dog be because the emotions you project the dog will pick up on it.

Some times this can be extremely hard to do when the pup is biting and you have gone through all of the tools to redirect them yet it does not work. I have had my moments of extreme frustration. Then it is time to place them in a calm quiet place which was Kaylee's crate. The crate was a happy place filled with special crate only toys. I found removing myself from the situation and doing this worked 80% of the time. Putting her on a lead at all times worked 100% to keep me from getting bit.

What I found that I was doing wrong was miss reading Kaylee's greeting behaviors. This is where the rank drive comes in. Using the techniques and rank drive I noticed a big difference. Keep in mind she is trained. She knows basic OB and passed her OB class. Leadership & waiting exercises were consistent along with her basic OB training that was done with me.

Kaylee also knew bite inhibition. When she became demanding to play or seek attention this went out the window and the biting, jumping, lunging was extremely hard and relentless at times. Kaylee was good 90% of the time, but still had her bad relentless biting moments and was a bratty pest who became Cujo when she wanted to get her way.

What I discovered other family members were not being consistent and were breaking the rules and this caused confusion in the dog. So I made it clear certain people were not allowed to have contact with her and all of the training was done only by me. I decided to use the rank drive and now I have a dog who understands her place and is not confused. She no longer bites to get her way or tests the rules unlike before.

I now have an 8 month old who is dedicated to me. The foundation is the most important thing to have and it must be solid. Before I could not play tug games with her because she would go for the hands or the body not the toy. She would not listen to commands during a tug game. One of my favorite things to do is play tug games with my dogs. Since laying down the rank drive after the first three weeks I tested her to see what would happen during a tug game. She listened to the commands and went for the toy. That is when I knew it worked and we are on the right track.

Honestly all the time and work I have put in with her has been worth it and I have a much happier dog. I think once the owner figures out what works in time things will improve you just have to push through it and be consistent. Things will get better once you figure it out.
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Old 12-06-2012, 07:04 AM   #133 (permalink)
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If you have a sound dog, raised properly, it should never come to a physical confrontation where your health and safety are at risk. My dogs are twice as strong as me, so if they set their minds to it I'm not sure I could physically overpower them, but fortunately, they're not going to "turn on me" so I have no need to defend myself from them. There are plenty of ways to asset leadership without needing to physically overpower a dog.
Totally agree, and my post was not to inspire dominance through aggression, merely stating that I personally would not feel confortable owning a dog that I could not physically overpower. People and animals develop mental illnesses all the time, so if something like that happened (and it is very unlikely) I would have to be prepared.

dogs can also develop aggression and whilst it is important to seek behavioural advice if this occurs, I have to consider the possibility of living with such an animal (again unlikely) and what meassures I can put in place to stop the animal causing harm to anyone, including specifically my wife.

I also know of a friend of mine who had a very large and powerful dog (much bigger than a GSD), who was caught in a trap, she tried to help him and in his desperation, he attacked her face and she is now scared for life. unfortunately the dog had to be put down due to its injurys, and im not saying that because I am bigger and stronger than my friend, had I been there the situation would have been different, the story just illustrates that certain situations can make a dog act unpredictably.

I hope noone is put in the position where they have to physically defend themselves or someone else against their dog, but *if* it ever happens to me, I will be prepared for it.
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Old 12-06-2012, 09:26 AM   #134 (permalink)
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It would be hard for the average man, let alone most average women to "win" a physical battle with an 80lb GSD intent on winning. I certainly recall a story where it took a gun to end the fight.

Even the police I train with....its all about building a solid relationship with the dog and more and more I see they argue that getting into a fight or forcing the dog to submit as a way of training is not necessarily the best way. There are other ways to build respect with a dog with bone crushing jaws. Obviously they can't back down if it winds up that way but why take it to that point? [the article I posted from Police K9 Magazine is very much in line with what I have been observing]

I went to a field lab person for help and she was all about compulsion. I went to a police master trainer and he was all about being smarter than the dog and using motivation and reward. She works with labs who are just goofy and don't pull a lot of rank issues. He works with very focused GSDs and Malinois with a lot of REAL fight drive.

I walked away the day the lab trainer took Beau and cranked down on his prong for a minor infraction. He was only a 9 mo old puppy and he growled at her and she corrected the growling but did not take it further - it was too much for him at that age - a little older and I think he may have gone up the lead at her - I learned after that with the police that there is a certain amount of finesse required for a good prong correction because a really strong one can escalate, not subdue fight drive in the right dog - just as a strong ecollar correction can result in redirection of the worst kind.

What works, works! Good training results in a partnership and not a master/slave relationship I think. Pretty important I would say when those officers' lives may depend on their dog.
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Old 12-06-2012, 12:01 PM   #135 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Marc View Post
Totally agree, and my post was not to inspire dominance through aggression, merely stating that I personally would not feel confortable owning a dog that I could not physically overpower. People and animals develop mental illnesses all the time, so if something like that happened (and it is very unlikely) I would have to be prepared.

dogs can also develop aggression and whilst it is important to seek behavioural advice if this occurs, I have to consider the possibility of living with such an animal (again unlikely) and what meassures I can put in place to stop the animal causing harm to anyone, including specifically my wife.

I also know of a friend of mine who had a very large and powerful dog (much bigger than a GSD), who was caught in a trap, she tried to help him and in his desperation, he attacked her face and she is now scared for life. unfortunately the dog had to be put down due to its injurys, and im not saying that because I am bigger and stronger than my friend, had I been there the situation would have been different, the story just illustrates that certain situations can make a dog act unpredictably.

I hope noone is put in the position where they have to physically defend themselves or someone else against their dog, but *if* it ever happens to me, I will be prepared for it.

How about a son (or daughter)? People also get mentally ill and we parents get older (and weaker!). At some point the kid can beat the "old man" - same with a dog.

Same wit a dog - i would hate to have to fight my own dog seriously (without a handy weapon of some type). Think I would bet on the dog!

BTW, don't assume that you can beat any good size dog - until you have seen a dog fighting for it's life we really don't know our animals!
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Old 12-06-2012, 12:11 PM   #136 (permalink)
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until you have seen a dog fighting for it's life we really don't know our animals!
Don't forget that our dogs often go into "fear" mode and to them, every "fight", is a fight for it's life.
Even bathing. I've observed this so many times in rescue; dogs come here who've lived their entire lives outdoors and it's obvious have never been bathed.

You cannot, ever, physically overpower a dog, well, you might at some point be able to but you're going to get severely injured in the process.

My 11lb. Dachshund, muzzled for nail clipping due to his unnatural terror at having his nails done (was probably quicked in the past), can scrape the living daylights out of my husband's arm with his nails and the muzzle.
People think a muzzled dog can't hurt you!? OH they can hurt you alright! They still hit with their muzzles and try to bite!

The key is to earn your dog's trust and build that relationship so they never "go nuts" on you.
I don't sit around contemplating if we can overpower our dogs...I have no reason to fear them or they'd never be in my house!

MIND GAMES Mind Games (version 1.0) by M. Shirley Chong is a beautiful, simple way of life that enforces that you are the leader and the dog is the follower.
It works for us
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Old 12-06-2012, 12:16 PM   #137 (permalink)
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The mind games stuff is very consistent with the police article I think and with every direction we have been taking. I like the checklist. Makes it simple.
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Old 12-06-2012, 12:26 PM   #138 (permalink)
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You cannot, ever, physically overpower a dog, well, you might at some point be able to but you're going to get severely injured in the process.
I agree with this 100% ... and most people do realize ... your full grown adult GSD will be practically impossible to physically overpower IF you ever had to - for whatever reason.


I see one sentence in my post was taken out of context by some. When I said it would be a war and the dog will win.

From the OPs posts, she's already in a "war" with her puppy, and she is losing ... which is why she posted on here for help. I didn't mean it in a dominance / submissive way, or an alpha way or anything ... maybe I should have used "battle / fights / scraps" or something else.

What I was trying to say was that she is "losing" whatever it is she is trying to do with her puppy regarding biting while the pup is teething, and going through the "landshark" phase.

My comment ... "you won't win" stands, especially if she can't get control of it NOW while the pup is young. I'm not saying her dog will attack her, but I am saying that if she thinks she CAN physically over power her puppy as he grows up ... she won't be able to.

Thanks everyone for the positive comments on my post. In all fairness, I do hope people saw my sentence that read ... credit to the original posters of the ideas (or something like that). I felt bad for the OP because she sounds like she's young and in over her head ... a hard place to be with a demanding / hyper puppy. I read the whole thread a number of times and tried to consolidate everyones ideas into one post. It took me almost an hour to write the post, and I didn't want to go back and start "quoting" every single comment.

So a big thanks to those that contributed "first!"
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Last edited by Kyleigh; 12-06-2012 at 12:29 PM.
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Old 12-06-2012, 12:29 PM   #139 (permalink)
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Totally agree, and my post was not to inspire dominance through aggression, merely stating that I personally would not feel confortable owning a dog that I could not physically overpower.
I was replying to Marc...(since you used a quote out of my post)
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Old 12-06-2012, 12:40 PM   #140 (permalink)
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I know, and I was agreeing with you!
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