Aggressive/dominant 4.5 month old GSD - German Shepherd Dog Forums

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Old 04-15-2014, 02:41 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Unhappy Aggressive/dominant 4.5 month old GSD

I have a 4.5 month old male GSD puppy who appears to be trying to dominate and is showing some aggression towards me.
I have him in obedience training, and I exercise him regularly but he stills seems to behave as follows:
1. He goes after my hands, wrists, and ankles, it seems to be play biting but he breaks skin and draws blood. I have tried using bitter apple, telling him "no", yelping but this never works on him, and shoving a toy in his mouth. He will avoid the toy and go for skin instead.

2. He jumps at me and tries to tear/rip my shirt and pants. I have tried telling him "no", turning my back on him and leaving the area/ignoring him, spraying him with a water pistol, and redirection with toys. He'll follow me and will continue trying to bite/nip/tear my clothes or skin. The only way to stop him is to wrestle him onto his back, growl at his neck, and force submission.

3. He does this thing where he HAS to get and stay in front of me, and anyone else, when going up the stairs. I assume that this is a sign that he thinks he is the "leader".

I have alpha rolled him multiple times and the behavior has not stopped, he barks and growls when I shoot him with the water pistol to get him to cease bad behavior, and while he initially dislikes the bitter apple, he tends to come back after it has dissipated and continue biting/nipping.


He is very smart and behaves when he wants to so I know he can stop the biting.


My wife lets him sleep in our bed, I disagree with this and I believe that this is adding to the problem b/c the dog thinks that he is equal to a human. She doesn't think it is a big deal. Could this be adding/enabling the problem?


He is not yet fixed and I don't know if getting him fixed will solve these problems. Can someone help steer me in the right direction as to what to do?
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Old 04-15-2014, 02:52 PM   #2 (permalink)
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he is a little young to neuter but definitely have it done by the time he is 1 yr

that said it is merely puppy brattiness and not his desire to run your household

stop alpha rolling him
it is pointless and teaches nothing
stop growling at his neck
you are not a dog you are a person

you are the leader because you control resources such as food and space
use that to your advantage
teach him to sit and feed by hand when he sits for you

he is just a bratty puppy not a dominant monster dog
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Old 04-15-2014, 02:57 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by my boy diesel View Post
you are the leader because you control resources such as food and space
use that to your advantage
This!

The stair thing is nothing, all my dogs think it's a race (even when they have no idea where I'm going) and try to get ahead of me. It's more of an annoyance or safety issue (tripping when the dog stops abruptly) than a dominance position.

Instead of correcting the biting, get ahead of the dog. Present treats and toys as rewards during training and channel the drive to your advantage.

Nipping at me gets a stern vocal correction. Doing it again gets a time out, usually puppy can go outside and play with another dog or get gated off in a room without me. Control access rather than having to physically correct and alpha roll the dog. I'd be he just thinks that's play and as he ages, doing it will only escalate things.
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Old 04-15-2014, 02:59 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Neutering is probably not going to solve the problems- this is a bratty puppy with no boundaries and who sounds understimulated. Keep him off the bed. Practice NILIF. He's not being dominant, he's just being pushy. This is also the age where they are extremely mouthy, due to teething and due to their ability to get really amped up really quickly (hence why he'll continue to go after you- because it's exciting to get a reaction from you). STOP alpha rolling... you're going to create a whole new set of problems. Redirect, be consistent, and if he is getting too amped up, put him in his crate for some calm time to re-set (don't make it a punishment, though).

Shooting him with a water gun is also extremely counter-productive. Everything you are doing is only serving to get him more excited and make the problem worse.

How much obedience training do you do? How much exercise does he get?
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Old 04-15-2014, 03:10 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I'll chime in since my GSD is about the same age as yours and a little land-shark. Remember, this puppy biting stage is temporary!

Your pup is really too young to be worried about dominance IMHO. He is trying to entice you into play the same way he did with his litter by nipping and tugging at you. Unfortunately the more we humans "put on a show" of hollaring, pulling away, etc when they nip, the more exciting the biting game is for some puppies. What's working for me is Vick's Vapor Rub on my hands and feet. She hates the taste and is coming to the conclusion on her own that teeth on me is not a good thing rather than me having to correct her over (when she is really too young to remember not to bite all the time).

Please don't get physical with your puppy. It's not very effective and can have ill effects on your relationship with your dog. The barking and growling is just him being a bratty pup, it's not aggression. Puppies can get worked up to the point where they aren't able to listen or calm down and just need a time out. I have to make my puppy take a break and fine she's passed out in her kennel and was being cranky.

Lastly, you can't expect any good behavior from a pup (OR adult dog for that matter) without exercise. I know I'm beating the dead horse with that comment but working breeds need an outlet for that energy before they can even think straight in some cases. Fawn is a nightmare of biting and heel nipping if she's not had a walk or played fetch for a while. At the least we play tug to take the edge off her.
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Old 04-15-2014, 03:10 PM   #6 (permalink)
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neuter wont solve but for a dog who is already bossy it may help to curb potential aggression and make training easier
by making the dog more tractable
even in the video posted on this site by a woman vet
dr becker (???) she recommends neuter for potentially aggressive males sooner than later
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Old 04-15-2014, 03:12 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I wouldn't consider the behavior you are describing as aggression or dominance. I assume you use a crate. When you take him out, always put him on leash and take him outside. If he is on leash, you can better control his play/prey biting towards you. Also, have a rag tied to a short section of light line, which is tied to a short section of wood or pvc pipe about 18" long. Take him out on leash and walk him and use the rag on the line to get him interested in biting something other than you. You don't stuff a toy into his mouth, but rather, stimulate his prey drive by getting him to chase and then bite the rag or toy. I'd stop the rolling of your pup and the water gun. Be sure to stay calm when working with him. Stop letting him sleep on the bed or furniture. He should be sleeping in a crate for now. I wouldn't neuter him based on puppy behaviors. Some of this will get better if you change your approach, and some will go away with maturity, but you don't seem to have a handle on dealing with the behaviors.
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Old 04-15-2014, 03:13 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by my boy diesel View Post
neuter wont solve but for a dog who is already bossy it may help to curb potential aggression and make training easier
by making the dog more tractable
even in the video posted on this site by a woman vet
dr becker (???) she recommends neuter for potentially aggressive males sooner than later
None of this is aggression.
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Old 04-15-2014, 03:22 PM   #9 (permalink)
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i agree but the op is concerned about it being aggression or becoming aggression
lol some of you are more attached to the dogs testicles than he is himself!
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Old 04-15-2014, 03:31 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I also agree with doing NILIF.

If saying "no", yelping and redirecting him with a toy isn't working then I would put him in a time out. When he starts biting then you stop giving him attention, stop playing with him, stop talking to him and walk away and ignore him. If he doesn't settle down then I would put him in his crate.

Don't growl at him, wrestle him or try to force submission.


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