Ignore the Problem?
Ever since Remy was a puppy (6 weeks), she has always kinda nibbled on my hair, not harshly or in a hurting way, but a few months ago, she stopped being gentle and started really grabbing it and pulling it.
I always ignored her when she did this, because that's what all the trainers she's been to previously have said to do- ignore the problem.
Now, it is a BIG problem. She wants my attention by doing this. She starts with barking at me, which I ignore- I either turn away from her, or walk away from her. This doesn't work, she follows me & jumps on me. If I am sitting on the couch and I ignore her, she will continue to bark, and try to bite my hands. When I put my hands somewhere she can't reach, she will then try and get in my face, and then grab my hair with her mouth and just PULL it as hard as she can. I then get up so she can't reach it anymore- but this happens almost on a daily basis.
She gets walked two-three times a day for 30 minutes at a time, we play ball inside, she has plenty of chews to keep her occupied.
Any suggestions for this? I'd rather not lose my hair before she's full grown!;)
Start implementing these techniques!
Mind Games (version 1.0) by M. Shirley Chong
Thank you :)
Sure. When she's acting like that...well, just BEFORE she starts acting like that, play a vigorous game of tug or take her and toss the ball a while.
Come in and put her in a "long down", at 6mos. she could handle 5 min. to start.
Then gradually increase it to 10 min. on a "long down" where you leash her, and keep the leash under your foot while ignoring her.
Implement the others too. You must step up your teaching her boundaries and patience. If she never learns patience now she's going to be a very big PIA as she gets older.
I'm not sure a general 'ignore it' would be what I'd have ever said.
Just not letting the puppy near my head/face in the times when she seemed bored and wanting attention would 100% stop it. Heck, just standing up :) .
But I agree more with manageing the BOREDOM then manageing the hair biting. Because I think it's like when a bored kid just starts poking you to get attention, it's not the poking that started everything, it's the boredom. So being proactive to prevent the general boredom that can only (in the puppy's mind) be stopped by pestering and biting hair is the key.
Generally upping the exercise. Real OFF leash exercise. Car rides to meet other people and dogs is a good mix for also helping with socialization. Dog classes are a built in wonderful mix of everything that tires and teaches and helps the human at the other end of the leash learn our job.
Interactive toys like the Premier Squirrel Dude. They work better for my dogs than Kongs because the hole has rubber prongs to make it harder to work the treats out. I get the large and you can even snip the prongs if it's too hard.
Teaching tricks and best with the clicker is a huge help so your puppy learns there are things you LOVE that they do, and others that get no reward.
I'm a big fan of ignoring some behaviors as a way to extinguish them. If the dog doesn't get a reward, the dog won't do it. I would probably not ignore, but "ignore" that behavior--stand up to where she can't reach me, cross my arms and look at the ceiling. If her goal is to get your attention, she'll learn quickly that this doesn't work.
However, this has to be tied to you figuring out why the dog is doing that, and meeting those needs in other ways. If this is not done, then the behavior is its own reward--eventually she will pull your hair hard enough that you have to react, or even if you don't, the pulling itself is fun--it's basically tug except you're not engaged, after all.
2-3 30 minute walks a day and some tug plus chew toys isn't really enough for most young GSDs. You need to be doing more active exercising, as Maggie suggested. Expose her to new situations, let her run around on her own in new environments (if her recall isn't trustworthy yet, dog parks are a great answer, as is work on a 30-foot lead in an open field), give her things to think about. Tire her out physically and give her plenty of mental stimulation, then ignore the hair pulling on top of that and I bet it will disappear pretty quickly.
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