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Old 04-30-2014, 08:18 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Biting towards only one child

Hi, I am a new mama to Gretchen, a 12-week-old GSD. At first she nipped and bit at everyone for attention. We stopped her from going after myself, my husband, and my 2 daughters (7 and 9) with the yelping and ignoring. It took less than a week. The problem is with my 5-year-old son. When he yelps and tries to ignore her, it feeds her frenzy. She gets worse and recently she drew blood from my son's ear. I know she's a pup and doesn't know better. How can I stop her from going after my son? He was so happy to be getting a puppy as he's not really a cat person, but now he's afraid of her. He says she wants to eat him up. She's trying to play, but she's playing very inappropriately.

She gets 3 long walks a day (we have 6 acres and walk the perimeter twice which ends in tired puppy begging to go in the house), 2 play sessions with me (usually fetching a tennis ball and playing tug of war), 2 to 3 hours outside with the kids in the yard (we're homeschoolers), and several short training sessions (just your basic sit, stay, come, etc right now as she hasn't mastered them yet). She walks on the leash very well, rides in the van with us for short errands, and hangs out with me in the church's park while the kids have Bible study. We tire her out regularly. She hangs out with me on the bed for about an hour before bedtime. By the time I am sending her to her crate for sleep, she is grateful for it and drags her favorite stuffy in with her for the night.

I don't know how to handle the situation with my son, though. She has ripped 2 of his shirts and a pair of jeans and in general treats him more like another puppy than anything else. She feeds off of his panic, and it's making me sad that he's getting such a rough time from a pup he was so excited about, kwim?
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Old 04-30-2014, 08:39 PM   #2 (permalink)
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What would she do if he stood completely still? I have a 5 yr old as well and the first few weeks she had a rough time. We told her to "be a tree" and every time Zoe would get amped up she'd stand completely still and say "stay brave"....I felt awful for her that she was scared and Zoe was (still is) always on a leash. In addition to that putting Zoe in her crate worked wonders. When she was still only 12 weeks she usually just needed a nap when she was going bonkers. It's LOADS better now. They are best friends. Of course now Zoe has targeted my 9 yr old daughter. I don't know why she seems to focus on just one.

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Old 04-30-2014, 08:50 PM   #3 (permalink)
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You need to prevent her from going after your son. She has too much freedom. Teach her crate and X pen training. Leerburg has a good Xpen training video on Youtube.
At this age they can be annoying little monsters so you have to teach them. There is plenty of info when you go onto the search icon.
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Old 04-30-2014, 08:52 PM   #4 (permalink)
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What would she do if he stood completely still? I have a 5 yr old as well and the first few weeks she had a rough time. We told her to "be a tree" and every time Zoe would get amped up she'd stand completely still and say "stay brave"....I felt awful for her that she was scared and Zoe was (still is) always on a leash. In addition to that putting Zoe in her crate worked wonders. When she was still only 12 weeks she usually just needed a nap when she was going bonkers. It's LOADS better now. They are best friends. Of course now Zoe has targeted my 9 yr old daughter. I don't know why she seems to focus on just one.

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She ends up knocking him down and getting on top of him. She tries to puppy wrestle with him, but he's not a pup so ends up with scratches and scrapes from her attempts. Putting her in her crate is nothing. She likes it there (which I've read she should?). I know being gated into the kitchen annoys the snot out of her. That's all I've got, and why I came here for ideas. I haven't done the puppy thing in a long time. I've adopted dogs around a year of age the last couple of times I adopted a dog.
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Old 04-30-2014, 08:58 PM   #5 (permalink)
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She ends up knocking him down and getting on top of him. She tries to puppy wrestle with him, but he's not a pup so ends up with scratches and scrapes from her attempts. Putting her in her crate is nothing. She likes it there (which I've read she should?). I know being gated into the kitchen annoys the snot out of her. That's all I've got, and why I came here for ideas. I haven't done the puppy thing in a long time. I've adopted dogs around a year of age the last couple of times I adopted a dog.
Do you keep her on a lead? Zoe is still (at 19 weeks) always on leash in the house so that I can make sure she doesn't knock them over. I know it sucks when they can't play with the pups they so desperately wanted. I'm still struggling at times so hopefully someone else has some great ideas.
Does she have a favorite toy? Zoe will grab her favorite toy when she gets really excited and I think it helps keep her mouth busy.

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Old 04-30-2014, 09:03 PM   #6 (permalink)
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leash the puppy
use a crate judiciously and an ex pen judiciously
provide more exercise and toys
wolfy said it
she has too much freedom
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Old 04-30-2014, 09:45 PM   #7 (permalink)
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OK, I have a tiny house so no room for an xpen. I do, however, have a gated off kitchen. Do you think that could sub for an xpen? It's a pretty small kitchen.

She's got tons of toys. My kids are jealous because Gretchen gets so many toys. I tell them she's the baby and it keeps her from eating their toys. She's got stuffed toys and squeaky toys and bones and pulling toys. I don't know what to get her that she doesn't already have besides a Kong to stuff some treats into.

The leashing I can do, no problem. More exercise, okay, we'll try that too. What do I do in the moment when she's acting inappropriately?
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Old 04-30-2014, 10:02 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Yes. When she tries to play in appropriately with your son, he needs to walk away ' I'm not playing with you anymore' and then the puppy needs to be alone gated in the kitchen for 5 minutes. Your older children being girls probably already got the message across to her but boys are different with pups 'heheh, it doesn't hurt giggle giggle ow she's trying to kill me!' I have 2 boys, they were 3 and 5 when Otto was a puppy. He was just playing... my daughter was the first one to master bite inhibition. She's dramatic...

Also I'd try giving your son a tug to play with her. Otto would play far more gently with the kids than me. Venus doesn't want to tug with them but she was never that big on biting to take down, she's more jump in your face kiss your nose with my teeth.
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Old 04-30-2014, 10:27 PM   #9 (permalink)
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OK, this I can do and hopefully get Gabriel's cooperation on, too. He's always kind of let people push him around. He lets it go like water off a duck's back, which makes it hard for the pup to take him seriously.

It shall be a noisy house tomorrow, that's for certain. She alternates between whining, barking, and growling when the kitchen gate is closed. I put her in there while vacuuming and I swear if I had neighbors close enough to hear her animal welfare would be beating down my door.

This is my only issue with her. We've been able to redirect her intense chewing onto appropriate things, she's polite if insistent with the cats, she's on a pretty reliable potty schedule, and just all the other little things I could want from a dog are there. I just need her and my son's relationship to improve. She's a pretty calm girl otherwise.

Thank you all for your time and input.
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Old 04-30-2014, 11:04 PM   #10 (permalink)
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you will have her on a leash so she cannot start biting the child
when you see she wants to then get the squeaky toy and give her that
lather rinse repeat
she will learn
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