am I doing something wrong? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 31 (permalink) Old 01-28-2014, 07:41 PM Thread Starter
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am I doing something wrong?

Hi, I've posted here once before primarily in regards to my puppy biting our cat, and of course her biting of us. I know it's typical of pups, and we're trying to be persistent but I wanted to make sure we weren't sending the wrong message to her. My pup will typically bite me - I spend the most time with her - and my legs are covered in bruises and cuts. A couple are so deep I'm going to the doctor as I think they're infected, but I digress, I try redirecting but she dodges the toys I put in her face and goes straight for my hands or legs. I then try and ignore her or walk away, but while I'm doing this she is biting even harder than before. In fact, my worst cuts come from me trying to walk away or ignore her. She bites the hardest when I'm trying to ignore her and it's so hard to stay calm because it hurts. Sometimes I've shut myself in the bedroom and cried, while she's been outside the door crying (chucking a tantrum?). My partner actually gets really angry when he sees her doing this to me and we have so many fights as I try to defend her and explain she's just a puppy. He thinks she needs a smack but I'm against physically hitting, even if she does have a major attitude problem. He says we will have to rehome her if she does any major damage to me or doesn't stop biting when she's grown, so I'm determined to get on top of this.

I want to make sure I'm not doing something wrong as the last thing I want to do is confuse her as I know that will make it worse. I guess I just need reassurance, as she is getting bigger so her bites are a lot more painful than they were when she was smaller but sometimes I worry that what I'm doing isn't giving her the right message. I don't believe she's an aggressive pup. She doesn't growl (just barks when in a biting/playing mood) or display possessiveness, and even when she bites our cat her tail is wagging and we think she just wants to play. She is learning commands as I practice with her a few times a day, though when she's in one of her manic playful moods, she likes to ignore commands. Our Vet suggested briefly grabbing her snout (not painfully, just enough to make her back off in surprise) then ignoring her, and I tried this a couple of times but again she thought it was a game and kept coming at me (least I hope she thought it was a game and didn't just decide to 'get back' at me because she didn't like it). I don't want to continue trying something new like that if it's likely to have the opposite effect but then everything I try seems to have the opposite effect. Is it a case of something getting worse before it gets better?

I'm not new to puppies but I am new to German Shepherds (kind of, we had a beautiful GSD when I was a kid growing up) but we all have to start somewhere so I'm trying to learn as much as I can.
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post #2 of 31 (permalink) Old 01-28-2014, 08:02 PM
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You poor thing. GSD pups are truly bad sometimes.

If your pup is getting correct amount of excersise and mental stimulation, then it sounds more like she is getting over tired, over stimulated and bratty. Keep a leash on her. If she is coming at you with that intensity and single minded ness, give her a time out. Take the leash, say nothing, and place her in her crate. Then walk away. I suspect she will holler for a bit then fall asleep.

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post #3 of 31 (permalink) Old 01-28-2014, 08:13 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the reply. She's definitely vocal, and we cringe when we try and put her in time out as I'm sure my neighbours think we're torturing her. So far her time out area is in the hallway (blocked off with a baby gate) because my partner refuses to use her crate for time-out (our Vet doesn't like crates and kept stressing to him that it can't be a negative thing). She's not a big fan of her crate as it is but I'm trying to get her used to it. Any advice in this regard as I'm new to crate training and don't want to traumatize her would be appreciated

Edit: and in regards to exercise, we can't take her on walks as she hasn't had her final shot yet for parvo. Parvo is rampant in our rural town due to the wild dogs from the local indigenous communities so our Vet is really strict on her being housebound. I guess this doesn't help our problem huh.
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post #4 of 31 (permalink) Old 01-28-2014, 08:30 PM
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I love my little pup and wouldn't do anything abusive to her, but I may catch heat for this. When she starts attacking my ankles and feet I'll drop to her level and rough house with her I let her go after my hands as they're less sensitive, and I don't want her to not bite just learn bite inhibition. So when she starts getting to rough I'll grab her nose and gradually start pinching it till the second she squeals then quickly release. She'll let go and then go right back at it only a lot softer. Idk just something that worked for me only did it for the first time yesterday tho. I don't find it inhumane others may disagree.

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post #5 of 31 (permalink) Old 01-28-2014, 10:09 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the reply. Originally I'd have been one of those people but being with a pup now who doesn't seem to care about any sort of repercussions, I'm not going to judge how people address their puppies behaviour (as long as it's not violent). No matter what we do, our pup comes back harder than ever. Just at a loss really.
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post #6 of 31 (permalink) Old 01-28-2014, 10:33 PM
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Besides offering something else to chew on besides me, I would do the "at at" sound, or "easy" . Still have scars on my arms from the land shark stage! Maybe do a little "sit" work to change the play course? Maybe when she chases you put the leash on, do a little walking with the leash work in the house? I did have plenty of knuckle bones for chewing too! I'm no expert by any means, sometimes just do what seems natural, not text book!
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post #7 of 31 (permalink) Old 01-28-2014, 10:55 PM Thread Starter
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I've been saying "gentle", though it's hard when trying not to scream in pain lol

Another thing I feel I'm doing wrong is I lean over and just naturally put my finger into a point and say NO, and she lunges for that finger and starts barking. I feel like it's all a game to her. I read that it's intimidating to loom over them and that she may be acting defensively, but then I have decided that perhaps, as you said, text book isn't the way to go as I'm getting conflicting advice from every book I read. So many people recommended Caesar Millan, so I got a couple of his books but considering Chapter 1 is pretty much always "choose the right puppy - one with a calm temperament" I feel like he can't help lol
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post #8 of 31 (permalink) Old 01-28-2014, 11:11 PM
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i saw your pic in the other thread and i'm not sure what is the purpose of letting your pup bite you like that is?

you need to teach your dog what is acceptable and what is not. when she bites you tell her firmly NO! and then wiggle her toy in a happy voice. she needs to learn what causes you displeasure and what pleases you. if you just let your dog chomp down on you what does nothing except let her know its acceptable and fun. you need to be firm but fair and very consistent! and at least wear sweats or jeans. just letting a dog chomp on you like that is pretty "not smart"
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post #9 of 31 (permalink) Old 01-28-2014, 11:20 PM Thread Starter
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Wow, you're crazy if you think I'm "letting" her do that. I live in the Outback where it's 40+ degrees celcius, so yeah we wear shorts out here, but I do wear pants on occasion and she loves tearing them to shreds. As I have explained, I redirect with toys but she is more interested in biting me and swerves around the toys. It becomes a battle of the wills when she's in fine form, she darts back and forth and lunges and bites. Telling her NO just makes her bark and she'll dart forward for another bite. It's one big game to her.
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post #10 of 31 (permalink) Old 01-28-2014, 11:32 PM
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First how old is the puppy? At least from how you paint the picture I would get this under more control. I had a very bitey puppy but doesn't sound anything like yours. I disagree with the vet and your partner strongly. Crates allow you options and give a break to you and your dog. There is plenty of information on line on how to crate train a dog. This puppy sounds like it is in complete control of your household. If you are very concerned, can you get a trainer to come into the home and help you come up with a structure to help guide this pup to acceptable behavior?

Also , tons of exercise both mental and physical.

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