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Old 01-28-2014, 10:37 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default My desperate plea for help!

Bear with me guys... this might be long.

So Sam is just shy of 6 months... and I'm at my wit's end with her. She was very shy as a new puppy and later turned out to be quite energetic and nippy. No matter how hard I tried, I could not teach her bite inhibition - no amount of yipping or noise or ignoring or stuffing something in her mouth would help (including leaving the room, standing still, etc). She loves to play fight, which I do not allow. Now that is she 50 lbs of trouble, this is getting dangerous.

I started training her as soon as I got her, and she caught on to everything really quickly. I have socialized her (and continue to) as best I could, with people and dogs. Dogs, great, people, huge fail. She is territorial and extremely prey driven. I have never been able to tire her out with any amount of exercise - both physical or mental.

Backtracking - in the mornings, she is quite cuddly and lovable. When I'm at work, my parents look after her, and she is the same with them - cuddly and loveable. When I get home from work, she is wiggly and whimpers and has never acted so excited to see anyone (this includes all people she knows well). As a side note, with my mentally challenged brother, she has never nipped him, only tries to lick him to death. But towards the evening, something changes.

At first I attributed it to teething so I have tried different tactics. Exercise, flirt pole, ball chasing, training, walking, jogging, walking while training, putting her in time outs outside, putting her in her kennel, keeping her on a leash that is tied to me. I think I've actually tried everything other than hitting her or tethering her (actually, there's probably a lot of negative physical things I haven't tried). If I put her in her kennel or outside, she doesn't sleep so its not from overexhaustion either.

The other day she growled and bit me when I was trying to move her and her treat (this is the third time she did it and I only did it because it was absolutely necessary - I tried removing her, not the treat). She does not exhibit food guarding or food aggression with her kibble, just her treats on this third occasion. I know to leave her alone when she's eating, and I have never teased her with treats or have tried to take them away, so I'm not sure where this treat aggression stems from.

Tonight after a long walk and some supper, she was acting up, so I put her outside where she seemed to have settled. I went to take the garbage out, and she ran after me and bit me really hard - not landsharking which is usually a quick nip. This was a solid bite through my pants that took skin and left a bruise right away. She then started lunging at me and growling and nipping at me.

I'm at a loss. I have no idea what to do. I'm not sure if she'll outgrow it. I have wondered if its teething pain but her back molars are in and have been for a couple of weeks.

I am up in northern British Columbia so have found a nearby trainer/breeder with proper training, but haven't met her yet so am not sure how much she'll be able to help. Other than that I'm not sure of any nearby resources. The downside to living in the middle of nowhere.

I'm sure I'll get lots of suggestions of things I've covered but haven't remembered to write here... if so I'll let you know

I have an animal science degree (I went to UBC Vancouver - based on how much I loved my last dog), and have never had problems with any of our previous dogs and can even handle some pretty tough horses. So I know my toughness and my gentleness is there, but I cannot seem to get through to my dog when she's like this. I feel like my only options are to a) give her up to a rescue or b) wait until she does something really awful and have to put her down. Neither of those appeal to me. She has lunged at a care aide at work while I was visiting, and she has bit/nipped a child visiting her at the kennel (I have not taken her back to the kennel since then as I'm not sure why a strange child was allowed to pet her).

Last edited by ubctress; 01-28-2014 at 10:39 PM.
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Old 01-28-2014, 10:45 PM   #2 (permalink)
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When do you meet with the trainer?

Where in B.C.?

This is both a leadership and training issue - your dog WILL NOT outgrow this.

If the trainer you are seeing does not work out, please PM me and we can chat - I am not sure how close to me you are, but I may be able to help. I am in Whitehorse, Yukon.
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Old 01-28-2014, 10:46 PM   #3 (permalink)
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She needs consistent discipline. I do not allow the dogs to growl at me or bite me hard. Kaleb has around trainers since he was 4 months old though. If they saw a problem they talked me through it right away.

When you get home and she is very excited do you match her excitement? I have three dogs and the two little ones get very excited when I get home and I would show I was happy to see them. When we got Kaleb he saw their excitement as playtime and he would often get to rough with them. I've started coming home very mellow. If they act excited I stay calm and speak in a calm voice...usually saying down, because they jump a lot. When I stay calm they stay calmer than they were and the GSD doesn't amp out.

I don't give up on dogs. I would get a trainer involved. They will be able to help with her and you.
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Old 01-28-2014, 10:48 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Growing up we had a dog that was like that and when I got my 2 German shepherds my girl was the same way.

The same approach worked for both dogs. But just to be clear I don't hit my dogs and am not abusive.

You have to show that you are the alpha and make them respect you.

Every time kyra bit me I "tackled" her. Just got on top of her hold her mouth closed and said be nice over and over.

The first few time she would try to over power me and bite me. When that happened just a small bite on her ear (not too hard) and she stopped. It wasn't long before she learned and now she is an amazing girl and a lover


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Old 01-28-2014, 10:51 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bailej77 View Post
Growing up we had a dog that was like that and when I got my 2 German shepherds my girl was the same way.

The same approach worked for both dogs. But just to be clear I don't hit my dogs and am not abusive.

You have to show that you are the alpha and make them respect you.

Every time kyra bit me I "tackled" her. Just got on top of her hold her mouth closed and said be nice over and over.

The first few time she would try to over power me and bite me. When that happened just a small bite on her ear (not too hard) and she stopped. It wasn't long before she learned and now she is an amazing girl and a lover


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While I never bit my dogs ear, I do agree with you. My dog also had aggression issues and was Alpha trained, he is six years old now and very well behaved.
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Old 01-28-2014, 11:09 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I should add that she's been extremely and increasingly skittish lately.... before she could handle thunder storms, the paper shredder, pretty much any loud noise. Lately if there's any small noise she'll jump out of her skin and run. Sometimes she'lll just jump out of her skin for no reason (at least a noise I can't hear). Tonight on our walk the snow plow passed us by and she nearly peed her pants.

In all honesty, if you were to approach her she would probably lunge or act as though she were an abused dog. So I think a lot of this stems from fear.

I do agree that this is a training/leadership issue. I have realized my limitations though that I don't know how to help myself and her (mostly me, I'm guessing, though her skittishness worries me), without professional help.

I am in Burns Lake, BC - so only geographically in the centre of BC but considered "northern" to the rest of BC.

Oh and I'll add as well - growling at me and talking back is not acceptable. Before she would back down and lay down and be quiet. Now she lunges and bites and growls. I have started leaving her on a leash inside so I can get a hold of the situation right away (with constant supervision), but this was the first time she did it outside, where I don't leash her as its a big fenced yard.

And I do low key greetings. I honestly act like the most impartial dog owner in the world sometimes because I know too-exciting greetings can be a problem with GSD. Now I just ignore her when I leave for work and when I get home, which sucks, but I've been trying this tactic too for at least a couple of months.

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Old 01-28-2014, 11:13 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Have you gotten a great basis in ---> Top Training Expectations for Puppies so she knows dozens of tricks already?

Are you familiar with the developmental and fear stages our pups go thru the first year? Why bother to 'socialize' and I want photos/videos of puppies/dogs.....

When you contacted the breeder did they have any hints/tips to help? How are the littermates doing and do their owners have suggestions?

Glad to see you found a trainer because that should help too.
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Old 01-28-2014, 11:38 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Have you gotten a great basis in ---> Top Training Expectations for Puppies so she knows dozens of tricks already?

I'm still working on tricks but there are tons more I need to teach her. She is a quick learner and I'm attempting (!) to train her in high distraction environments which is a struggle for her (if she's not paying attention we'll just keep going on our walk because its not acceptable for her to not obey). I will keep trying though, though with how she is right now she's giving me attitude for even getting her to sit. She always has to follow through with a command though.

Are you familiar with the developmental and fear stages our pups go thru the first year? Why bother to 'socialize' and I want photos/videos of puppies/dogs.....

Yes! But at this point I would not let her off a leash - she seems to be going through her second fear stage which I thought was too early? Unfortunately she is so prey driven that the cat I was going to adopt I've decided not to adopt at this point. She was going to doggy day care but I've noticed her aggression increases for a day or two after going. And unfortunately it is the dead of winter here so there aren't really any outdoor activities or festivals to be taking her to. When she hit about 5 months she decided running away at any chance she got was fun to do - not cool. Unfortunately there's a women's shelter next door so letting her roam about for even a minute is not okay. (I realize this paragraph has a lot of unfortunately's). I wonder if I lived in a city, would that have been better, as there are more people, more dog parks, milder temps, and more trainers.

When you contacted the breeder did they have any hints/tips to help? How are the littermates doing and do their owners have suggestions?

Breeder - a joke. See my last thread. "Champion" showline breeder but from what I have read after scouring the internet, not a great temperament or health line of dogs. If you read my last thread, the breeder was accusatory that its my problem, and that my disabled brother must have abused her to cause her fear reactions. I have had two people contact me on here through PM - one who was also having health issues and one whose dog was so aggressive and unhealthy that they brought her back (same litter). So that is pretty much a dead end.

Glad to see you found a trainer because that should help too.
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Old 01-28-2014, 11:47 PM   #9 (permalink)
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oh boy , lots of problems , serious problems .

You need to go right back to the beginning . You brought home "She was very shy as a new puppy " .

could you tell more about the pup , her dam, the handling and exposure she had while at the breeders. Chances are she needed more good socialization before you brought her home.
If the dam was anxious while in whelp , the pups would have been affected by this . After they were born if the dam was anxious the pups would have copied behaviour , learned flight avoidance . If the dam was an anxious sort , chances are that there is a genetic base in addition to environment .

That "quite energetic and nippy." could well be anxiety .

this is so important "I have socialized her (and continue to) as best I could, with people and dogs. Dogs, great, people, huge fail."

how exactly did you "socialize" her? Dogs , no big matter. People huge fail will define her future.
A dog can live without further exposure or contact with other dogs .

A dog can NOT live without being in contact with people , and now you see she is anxious with you to the point of growling .

so you have to go back to square one and deal with the underlying problem , which is a lack of confidence and trust in people. Slow and cumulative positive steps, at the dogs own pace .
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Old 01-28-2014, 11:57 PM   #10 (permalink)
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this dog doesn't need to go to the county fair to see people -- too much . what she needs is to go to the Post Office in town , and you stand outside feet away from the door , where people do not have to pass you , but you have view of those people coming and going. You are not going to invite people to come see the doggy . Rather not. No social pressure. You are going to be neutral . Let the dog take in the information, and as the ice melts (does not mean you stand there till April!) within her and anxiety lessens , the dog may sit at your side or may even take one step forward and sit in front of you (instead of behind). You give her the power to go forward . That is all for step one. So then you praise quietly , and then leave in the direction away from the doors so that you do not go into the flow of the people.
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