Jumping/nipping at strangers, barking - 8 months - German Shepherd Dog Forums

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Old 01-14-2014, 11:43 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Jumping/nipping at strangers, barking - 8 months

My 8 month old GSD has some behaviors that I'm worried about -- not sure if this is typical puppy behavior or not. This is my first puppy I've owned as an adult -- I grew up around GSD's but I don't remember ever encountering these behaviors -- so I'd like to know if these are considered normal phases or not... And please forgive my ignorance on some of this, I'm still learning and just want to be a well-informed dog owner! We've gone to puppy obedience training as well as one-on-one training with a dog trainer (who wants me to use an e-collar which I have done but not consistently -- I am nervous about making her fearful of people or other dogs when using the collar -- maybe I've read too may conflicting posts on these boards since it's such a touchy subject and people have very strong opinions -- either way -- about e-collars...).

My concerns/questions are:
- she constantly barks when she's out in my fenced backyard -- from the moment I let her out, she starts barking. She also barks at any person or dog that passes by on the sidewalk. But she doesn't bark when she's inside. I know that GSDs are known as vocal dogs, but is this normal?

- I've posted about this before but it's not getting better -- she has leash reactivity issues when we go for walks -- she barks and lunges at other dogs. I keep her away from them, tell her to look at me, give her treats when shes does...but is this something she'll grow out of eventually?

- When she sees people other than her "people" at home, she gets a little crazy. She is usually squealing and wanting to greet them, although there have been times when she barks at them and seems nervous. But 90% of the time it *seems* like excitement and she jumps on strangers and nips at their coats or sleeves. She's done this at my home when a potential dog walker came to meet her, at the vet to a woman in the lobby and at doggy daycare when I've brought her in to drop her off and we walk passed people. This HAS TO STOP -- I don't want her to hurt someone -- and obviously people get very nervous with a big dog that they don't know jumping and nipping. How can I get this nipped in the bud?

- when she sees my 7 year old daughter after being away from her, she circles her like crazy. She also squeals, wags her tail and has her ears down -- basically she gets very excited and happy around my daughter. I know she wants to play because she always runs for a toy and brings it to my daughter. I know she adores my daughter, obviously, but what is the circling business all about? She did it yesterday too -- when the potential dog walker came by...what does that mean?

Any advice is much appreciated. I'm very concerned because I was hoping to hire a dog walker to come by 2x a week for when I can't get home from work early enough to take her out for a walk, but if she's going to jump up and nip, I am afraid perhaps she isn't ready for something like that (and perhaps we need to stick to doggy daycare on those days instead).
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Old 01-14-2014, 12:20 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I think this is just excitement issue and not utilizing all the energy. She is not getting enough workouts to wear her enormous energy out...rest continue with the command training...hope things will sort out...but please concentrate on giving her plenty of excersise

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Old 01-14-2014, 12:52 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Sounds to me like you have a GSD puppy This is common behavior. I wouldn't really be concerned with it, but do address it. What does the trainer say to do...if he/she says slap the e collar on and shock her...find another trainer. The only good way to use those is once the dog knows 100% what is being asked and chooses to disobey, that's where the collar comes in handy, at the lowest level that your dog can feel. When guests arrive she needs to be on leash so you can correct her...she gets whiny and jumpy...direct her out to another room, shut the door, wait till the whining stops, try again. It would be benificial (sp) to get people to come to your home for practice with this and tell them if she does jump up to turn with their head up and ignore her. Your daughter...the circling (they are a herding breed) you can also address this on lead also with removal.

Out back you need to teach her to quiet on command. That way when she barks, you say quiet, she stops, you reward. Are there things for her to do in the yard? Or is she just going out to potty? For walking...look up BAT (behavioral adjustment training) It is very helpful! Does she prefer food or toys? You need to find her motivation and it better be stronger than the dogs that are walking by. If food doesn't hold her interest, use a squeaky toy.

Also if a dog walker can't handle a bouncy puppy, they aren't a good dog walker lol. JMO. Find one that knows how to deal with the jumping appropriatly so she can address it as well when she comes to walk her.

And I agree...she needs more activity so a dog walker is good, if they know what they are doing. Also mental stimulation is better at this age than physical, hint hint Good luck!!
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Old 01-14-2014, 08:20 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Great -- thank you for easing my mind! We'll continue the training and increase the exercise!!
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Old 01-14-2014, 08:28 PM   #5 (permalink)
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BriskaBoo -- The trainer had me working with the ecollar to get my dog used to it for awhile to obey commands but in all honesty, I never really felt comfortable with it...except when I would shock her to get her to stop eating her own poop -- and that worked. We didn't work on the jumping and nipping so much, more of the barking and lunging at other dogs when we go for a walk -- but the trainer never resolved the issue -- just told me to keep working at it with the ecollar.

When she goes to the backyard, it's to play and go potty. Today I left our frisbee out there and she's been going crazy trying to pick it up in the snow -- so she's actually been more quiet than usual!

I'll research BAT -- thank you!
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Old 01-15-2014, 10:20 AM   #6 (permalink)
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No offense but that trainer sounds like he is using the e collar as a crutch, which I have found most trainers do and its sad. Find a positive reward based trainer. I am what you might call a balanced trainer. I start all dogs off with learning through motivational training, paying the dog basically for doing as asked. Then once they are doing the commands in as many situations as I can get them in then I wean off the reward. Once the reward is gone I introduce the e collar and only if I think it won't do more harm then good. The e collar to me is proofing the commands. Just like kids...teach them kindly what is expected, once they know what you are asking if they disobey there are concequenses. The e collar is the concequense. Then I wean off the e collar.

If you are not comfortable using the e collar...don't. Don't let a trainer talk you into one either. If it's not what you want, find a reward based trainer. If she was already unsure on walks and he had you shocking her for lunging and barking at the other dogs, he has made the situation worse, not better. They associate the stimulus of the collar with what they are looking at/doing, so she assumes the other dogs that she was already afraid of are causing the pain...not good. BAT will help

Also, if she goes out back a lot, I would suggest going to a dollar store, buying several different toys and treats and making seven different bags with different toys and treats and bones etc in each bag and hiding them in the yard for when she is out there. She can use her nose and find the treats and play with the toys and keep herself occupied so she will not have time to bark so much Good luck
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Old 01-15-2014, 10:28 AM   #7 (permalink)
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i think your dog needs training and socializing. don't blame
the "stages" or an age.
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Old 01-15-2014, 11:16 AM   #8 (permalink)
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I appreciate that advice, BriskaBoo -- very helpful!

Doggiedad -- up until Christmas, my dog had been going to doggy daycare twice a week since July. She is great when she's there around dogs -- when she is off-leash -- it's on-leash that we have problems -- that problem started in August during puppy obedience training. We have also gone through training 1-on-1 with a different trainer (more recently) since she had the issues in a puppy class (and the class ended after 8 weeks). She definitely has a long way to go...if you have some training and socialization tips for an 8-month old puppy, I'd love to hear them.
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