running, biting and growing help
Hello I need some advice. My 9 week old male puppy has recently been biting everything and anything in site, most of all me. I have toys for him to play with and he just ignored them and went straight for my hands, feet, and anything else he could reach. Then he growls at me. He's not normally like this but today has been crazy... any help would be appreciated.
search this site for 'bite inhibition'. Hate to tell you that's normal but it is.
Try engaging him in play with one of his toys. Make it interesting. Remember that he used to have play mates that played with him. Now he only has you. You can put treats in certain toys like the KONG Wobbler. This is great for exercise and also for mental stimulation. Both vital for puppy growth and training. Engage him in play. Get down to his level and shake the toy around. Throw it then scurry after it and move it around. Do a play bow. Anything that gets his attention and makes him want to play.
Never let your puppy bite or chew you or your furniture in the beginning stages. German Shepherds get big fast which can lead to big trouble in their future if they learn that furniture is fun to chew and biting is ok. However, I like to let my dogs mouth me SOFTLY once they know that I'm leader and they learn that no, means no. In the dog world I would consider it to be rude if I gently mouthed a dog and they smacked my nose. The downside to this is many people may consider it "biting" and "aggression", especially with such a big dog, so choose wisely if you want you dog to have zero mouth on skin or some soft mouthing.
If your puppy tries to bite you or nip you you can try the following:
Giving a firm loud "No."
Giving a firm "No." and making a loud noise (Clapping your hands perhaps?)
Giving a firm "No." and ignoring your puppy for at least 10 minutes (15-20 would be better)
Yelping or squealing loudly like a litter mate would do if your puppy were to hurt him/her then turn your back and walk away.
This particular issue sounds like a teething or dominance issue. He may just want to play but despite what some people believe dominance problems CAN start early. Heres what you can do to prevent problems from occuring:
Give your dog LOTS of attention - Puppies are like babies. They are a lot of work. Creating a schedule and designating at least 3 hours of your day 5x a week to your puppy is a good idea. During this period of time teach obedience and play with your puppy.
Give your dog plenty of exercise - This is very important. It promotes healthy growth and muscle tone while getting your puppy tired at the end of the day so he sleeps a good night sleep. Try giving your puppy 30 minutes of exercise a day in the beginning and steadily increasing to 1 hour as your puppy gets older. If your puppy is too young to go out into the open world, play in the yard. Run around with your puppy as you would a toddler. Play with toys with your puppy etc. Puppies 3-4 months + should begin experiencing the outside world. Make sure to give your puppy it's vaccines.
Getting the Appropriate Toys - You will need mentally stimulating toys, teething toys, and play toys. KONG toys are often very durable and good for mental stimulation. Make sure you get toys appropriate for your puppy. Like the KONG classic puppy toy or the KONG wobbler. They have certain treats you can put inside. Your puppy must work for his treat. Be sure to show your puppy how to play with the toy as he may not understand.
Look up a guide of Dog Behavior - Learn to read your dogs signs and counteract bad ones. This is one of the best things you can do to prevent and stop aggression in its tracks.
Training, Training, Training - Lots of training in obedience. This is a great way to get to know your dog while also teaching your dog who's higher in rank. Looking up different methods of training is a great idea. Three common ways are Victoria Stiwell's way (Positive trainer), Cesar's way, and Positive training. I personally like a mix of all of them. I guess you could call me a mutt in dog training :P. Begin in calm places then slowly work your way up to crowded places.
Socialize - Be sure to begin socializing your dog at 12 weeks through 2 years. Be around all different types of animals and people. Kids, People with big hats, glasses, baggy clothes, horses, birds, ducks, chickens, rabbits, cats, you name it. This will prevent dog-animal or dog-human aggression. Be sure your puppy has its vaccines before hand.
Be in LOTS of different situations. - One of the best things you can do. Jumping straight into a stressful situation is a very bad idea. Go to a relaxed, calm park then steadily increase the pressure to crowded, busy places. Its best to start this at 4 months of age after your puppy has finished basic obedience.
"Nothing in life is free" - Not particularly my favorite for well trained dogs but will help with dominance issues. I use this one partially at all times. Basically your dog must wait or follow a command before getting something they want. Let's say the dog wants a treat. You must tell the dog to sit or you must make the dog wait before he/she can achieve eating that treat. If your dog want's to go out. Your dog should sit and wait a certain distance away from the door for lets say 10 seconds before walking out the door on cue. If your dog wants to jump on the couch. He must sit before allowing him to do so. I used this method for my own GSD as a puppy. It helps out when training A LOT because your doing it almost all the time.
Be sure to get your puppy his puppy shots before going out into public. There are fatal diseases such as Parvo and Distemper that could kill your puppy otherwise. If money is an issue, look up low cost veterinary clinics in your area. Be sure to check reviews to make sure that they are decent places. I think I covered most of it. I hope this helps =)
Puppies do like to nip & 'play mouth/bite', yours is very young yet. I wouldn't be as hard on a 9 week puppy as I may be on a 6 month old dog.
The younger they are I'd be easier on them, the bonding process is still the highest priority. I'll also accept a little bit of play mouthing. One of the 1st things a dog needs to learn is the meaning of a firm "NO".
I don't have a list of links & videos to watch, though some are very helpful. It's all very simple, they'll continue to do what you allow. What would your Grandfather(or Grandmother) do decades ago if their pup bit them to firmly?
Again, no need to be to firm with a 9 week old pup, but it's better to get ahead of this early. I don't consider tap in the side of the butt with a firm 'NO' to harsh to correct the biting, mostly as the dog is weeks older.
With a dog you recently took home, redirect as much as possible. They will also grow out of much of it. Keep on top of it.
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