Feel like such a failure... - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-13-2013, 06:10 AM Thread Starter
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Feel like such a failure...

It's only been one week, but I'm beginning to think the first week didn't count (all of the change/stress...my puppy obviously wasn't herself). Well, she's a totally different puppy this week!


Last week...she didn't nip or bite. I thought...maybe we got a more laid back puppy. This week? The little bugger hasn't met a hand, shoe, jacket, pant leg that doesn't make her want to bite. We redirect...going the no biting us route (I have 5 kids...the only things I want her biting at this point are her toys!)

This morning, I was working with her (high value treats...pork sauteed in bacon grease...lucky pup), to try to get her not to bite my hand when I reached for her. I thought the session was a stunning success, because I got her to sit there calmly while she was petted and loved on (I was sitting on the ground with her...she was in my lap, next to me, I stood up and leaned over to pet her...all good. At some point she realized I was out of treats...and it was Game Over. Next thing I know, she's on my hand, my jacket, my upper arm (got a piece of me there), my leg, my feet...and I have to physically pry her mouth off (our shirt/jackets are stuck on her teeth, and she doesn't rally know the "off" command yet (working on it...she'll do it with treats...but not without).

And that's what it seems like. As long as I have treats, she's the most compliant, interested puppy around. I can lure her into a sit, a down, go off-leash in a fenced, private area and she won't leave my side. I can put a treat in my hand, and she will sniff/lick, no biting...I say "off" and she's off like a shot, and gets the reward. But, as soon as the treats are gone...UGH.

I think I wore her out. Brought her back upstairs to our apartment, and she just sacked out in her ex-pen. (Before anyone worries about raising a GSD in an apartment...we're in temporary quarters, and should be moving into a large villa with a very large yard and a pool...and only a few stairs in about a week).

She's lost all of her baby teeth, and her permanent teeth are in various stages of coming in...so tugging on her tugs is actually a bit difficult. Some parts of them are too big...others still slide right through her teeth. And, re-directing to those hasn't been particularly successful (we still try, but she'd still rather grab my shoe or my jacket...or other parts of my anatomy...UNLESS I have treats).

I've read the threads, I've watched the videos, reading articles...so I guess what I do is keep doing what we're doing (re-direct, stop the playing...teaching off...)? What do I do about her nipping at the kids? Do I just keep her away from the kids for the next 3-4 months?

I'm trying to teach my kids not to react so spastic around her -- that their actions get her excited -- but when she gets into that bite-everything mode...UGH (I'm not spastic around her, but when she's nipping at every body part...it's not like I can just walk away. If we're upstairs, and she gets like that I put her in her ex-pen or her crate...but when I'm OUTSIDE, there is no where to put her.)

I'm trying to be patient, but the biting is going to get really old, really fast.
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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-13-2013, 07:08 AM
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Sometimes it's one step forward, then two steps back. She'll get it, it just may take a while...
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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-13-2013, 07:48 AM
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I feel you pain--literally. You are doing good. Keep it up!
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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-13-2013, 07:56 AM
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Originally Posted by ksotto333 View Post
Sometimes it's one step forward, then two steps back. She'll get it, it just may take a while...
I agree, I know it's not easy but patience really is needed. One day soon you'll see the "click" as the conditioning sets in finally

Don't hesitate to take breaks as needed, I kept lots of treats like stuffed kongs, carrots, raw bones, beef tendons, etc in the freezer to give when I needed a few minutes away not to mention multiple toys around the house to grab whenever needed.


My Pack:

Jasmine - Female Miniature Poodle - born Aug 15, 2010
Loker Delgado Von Stalworth - Male GSD - born Jan 26, 2012
Koda & Zazu - 7 year old male cats
Alex - Male Cocker Spaniel (rescue) - RIP Cuddlebug 2007-2010
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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-13-2013, 09:04 AM
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I feel you, since we were there not too long ago. Vicks or Bengay works really well. I kept him away from the kids. They only interacted via training. As you said, the puppy is very well behaved as long as there are treats. And ours was motivated enough to please the kids for treats.

Also a lot of timeouts in playpen. A tired puppy is a happy puppy. But an overtired puppy gets hyper. So we would put him in his playpen with ice cubes, chewy toys, etc. and let him sleep it off.
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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-13-2013, 09:38 AM
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Food motivated dog (esp highly motivated) might give you a training advantage. (I know it doesn't seem like it right now.) Will the pup work for kibble or only higher value food? With OTT food drive, you may be able to ramp it down a little with kibble vs "the good stuff". Otherwise sounds like a nice pup with a good amount of drive. (a real PIA as a pup!)
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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-13-2013, 10:37 AM
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It definitely does not happen overnight! Keep at it, it's probably harder with busy kids but she'll get it
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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-13-2013, 11:10 AM
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I'm on our 3rd week with Luna and it's the same! She just turned 3months last week and her bitting is getting worse and worse and the off method, walk away, crate, other room .. all that stuff seems to get her mad or excited idk but does not make her stop just makes her keep going .. and she doesn't like bones or her toys she LOVES that peanut butter kong though only keeps her entertained for 10min till it's GONE !

help me too !

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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-13-2013, 11:24 AM
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My Shikha is 15 weeks now, and I felt just like you when she was 9 weeks old! I do not have children, though. But have hope, it gets much better. In the beginning, I had scratches all over my hands, she tore my pants, jacket, and so on. I stopped wearing anything I care about when I am around her. All of the dominance techniques backfired: grabbing the scruff, anything like that only made her more determined. Yipping made her think it was game, so she bit down harder.
I felt so much better once I read this forum and found out it was normal for my GSD! And these videos saved our relationship!

I started using this technique to feed her lunch and dinner from my treat pouch. She instantly learned what she needed to do to get her food. And it gave me the chance to pet her. We worked up to hugging, cleaning ears, and brushing. Now at 15 weeks, she will sit nearly still for me to do those things.

And this helped tremendously. My husband is not with her as much, but he says that off keeps her from biting on his shoes or clothes. He hasn't had anything get ripped.

I can say that at 15 weeks, it is now a joy to be with Shikha, she still mouths on me, but not nearly so hard. She enjoys petting without biting hard, and if I do Yelp now, she stops immediately and seems really concerned about me.

Hang in there, you are not alone, and it does get better! I'm sure those with kids can give you some good advice on how to handle it.
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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-13-2013, 07:36 PM
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I guess GSD are just mouthier than most other breeds? I remember the first 2 weeks with Dexter after we got him, I thought I would never be able to touch him without him biting hands, clothing, feet, hair - you name it. I thought he was an alligator mix. Redirecting was the only thing that helped, mainly sticking a toy in his mouth every time he came near me. :-) It's hard to believe, but they do stop at some point.
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