13 week old GSD, pretty sure she is trying to kill me - German Shepherd Dog Forums

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Old 01-29-2013, 10:09 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Wink 13 week old GSD, pretty sure she is trying to kill me

Prepare for a wall of text. My wife and I really need some help with several things with our 13 week old female working line GSD.

We've hired a local trainer who does shutzhund with her GSDs and occasionally breeds to help us but, there are some things I just don't think are getting sorted out for some reason. The trainer does say she is a very smart girl, who picks things up very quickly and I sometimes wonder if she isn't a bit too much dog for the trainer never mind my wife and I.

I'll list the issues in order of importance to me.

1. She bites... A LOT AND HARD. I've got cuts all over my hands as does my wife and today she drew blood from my mom who was doing me a favor and letting the dog out while I was at work and my wife who works from home is out of town.

I understand with any puppy and especially GSDs there will be chewing, playful mouthing and that she is probably teething right now. What I'm talking about is for a few hours a day she wants to do nothing but bite anyone or anything around except for what she is supposed to and I'm not sure how to address it. I've tried the methods detailed here:

Teaching Bite Inhibition

Pulling away and making an "ouch" noise just makes her look at you, mouth more softly for a little bit and then when you start to relax put the chomp on you.

When trying to redirect to a toy/chewy/etc... she drops it and bites your hands. When stopping play and walking away she attacks your feet or pants. We did this for the first two weeks with no real improvements. We started to use higher value chews like Bully sticks and pig snouts and saw some improvements initially but, she seemed to get over them pretty quick as well.

We've since tried several different methods recommended by either the breeder, trainer or the Monks of New Skete book I've read. Everything from fingers down her throat, hand under chin other hand behind head until settles, Lifting by scruff while supporting bottom or ribs until settles, lifting front legs off ground with leash and counting to 3... She seems to look at pretty much all of these as an escalation that she should then answer with more biting.

2. Exercise/Walking on a lead, I'm sure this is where a lot of the problem above comes from. I don't think she is getting enough exercise. That being said it's not from a lack of effort on our part. Her and I will play fetch almost all evening and she is great at it. Loves it, doesn't fight to hold on the toy, brings it right back, everything is good.

She will walk on her lead like a champ if it's my wife and I together. However, if it is just one of us trying to walk her she wants nothing to do with it. She won't go past the driveway without serious encouragement, she just sits and looks back to the house. If I kneel down and call her she will come to me but, that is the extent of her progress. I walk 10' forward and repeat the kneeling/calling. I try to walk her when I get up, my wife tries at least 3 times during the day and the only time we really have much luck is when I get home in the evening and we can all go together.

She wears her collar and leash around the house most of the day so she is is used to the sensation of a collar and leash. What is the deal here?

She will also try to carry her leash in her mouth. I'm not sure how to stop this. I've tried the obvious like gently pulling it out her mouth and saying "drop it" like we do in fetch to putting some bitter apple on it, it doesn't seem to phase her in the least.

3. Jumping on people and furniture. I'll admit we totally set her up for failure on the furniture thing. In the first few days when she wasn't sleeping through the night or used to her crate we would put her on the couch with us so, we could catch a nap without worrying where she was or .

This has now evolved into "I will get on any of the furniture whenever I **** well please". When she is in "seek and destroy" mode she runs laps like a lunatic around the living room then leaps onto the couch or chair, possibly from one to the other and is now trying to scale the back of the couch to get onto the sofa table.

I generally try to get a hold of her lead before the she makes the leap up and say "no" or "off" if she is already up there but, it has made no difference. I'm not sure what to do here as in the long term I don't mind her being on the furniture when invited but, she is too young to get that notion yet.

Thanks in advance.
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Old 01-29-2013, 10:24 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Wow, you have really got your hands full Couple of ideas: 1. for the biting - your voice has be stern, say "sharply no, mine" and then offer the toy and say real happy like "this is yours" when she takes it praise her. It helps to have toys all over the house. Also get a flit pole so she can have something to chase and bite instead of you.
2. for the tugging on the leash on walks - this is excitement - you can use an extender leash as that discourages the tugging game or again redirect - carry a ball or toy - and do the same thing - the leash is yours, the toy is hers.
3. for the walking with only 1 of you - start out, then before she can stop, turn in a circle but don't go back to the house - just go in a complete circle and again head out. Also use the ball - throw it a little way and let her get it. Don't coax her - just walk , turn in circles, and distract with the ball. Also keep it short don't try to go to far.
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Old 01-29-2013, 10:28 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I really feel for you, the land shark phase was very hard. Nothing worked for us except time. Hope she stops when she gets older, as Hans did.
He doesn't do any more gatoring, but I still have the scars.
I wouldn't push her too hard to get too far away from the house right now. Make walks fun, take a toy with you, and if she's too scared to go out into the big world there's plenty of time for that. Plus, she still needs to have her vaccinations done.
I highly recommend an expen. I don't know what we would've done without ours. It helps them have a place where they can calm down, they can't get out of it and it teaches them to settle in the house. Hans still uses his as his chillout spot, and we don't use the crate anymore because he doesn't try to get out of his ex-pen. That is his spot and he likes it.
Also, I can always put him in there and I don't have to worry about turning my back. He can't get himself in trouble or ingest something bad for him if he is in his expen with an elk antler.
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Old 01-29-2013, 10:50 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I had the same issue with Grim. I also still have scars all over my ankles and arms. Time, time, time. Keep trying to re-direct. I had to do some serious scruffing with a stern "NO!" at one point because it was so out of control. Do you have a fenced yard? If so, for now just wear her out in the yard. Walks we did a little at a time, with me kneeling down with treats to get him to come forward. It was a slow process. What finally helped was taking our other dogs out at the same time. He wanted to follow them. Others had also said that driving the pup away from home to walk worked. If you can't do that... I'd suggest maybe picking the pup up and walking a ways from the house then putting her down to walk. If shots aren't done yet... then wait for that. Are you getting her out of the house at all? Grim still grabs and carries his leash at times. That's a battle we're not going to have right now. Let me tell you, you're going to have to pick your battles. Maybe the furniture battle isn't one you want to have right now, either. It's up to you. With this kind of pup, you have to decide what things you're going to work on. I found that the more restrictions you try to place, the more they tend to not want to get with the program. Grim was given a lot of latitude for a long time. I wanted him to just be a pup while I could. Good luck to you! I'd really suggest finding a trainer that has lots of shepherd experience that you're comfortable with. I'm not sure that your breeder placed the 'right' pup with you... but if you're OK with her, then just find a good trainer.

Oh, and you must post pics.
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Old 01-29-2013, 11:14 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I still have shirts with holes in them from when the former fuzzygator would jump and bite me repeatedly. He would also love to go for my rear end

I had scratches and bruises everywhere. I, too, scruffed him and got firm with him a few times, and although he looked scared when I did it, moments later he recovered and would be at it again.

When I see him now, so calm and affectionate and with his tail always wagging, it's tough to believe this is the same dog. I do think most grow out of this behavior, if provided with good leadership and training.

Oh, and for jumping-- learn to read her body language and step on her leash as she gets ready to jump. The jumping has to stop now, before she becomes a jumping moose.
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Old 01-30-2013, 08:01 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Thanks everyone. It's just mentally taxing to deal with. Both my wife and I feel like we got this smart well bred dog so, it must be something we aren't doing right. Then it's so easy to get conflicting advice and really spin yourself out.
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Old 01-30-2013, 08:12 AM   #7 (permalink)
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the fact that the "ouch" works for a while says that she understands. She's just a baby and gets excited and goes back to chomping. Give her time and keep at it.
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Old 01-30-2013, 10:23 AM   #8 (permalink)
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We have all been through that land shark stage. It hurts! You have gotten a lot of good suggestions. I particularly like redirecting with a ball or tug and try to wear the pup out with lots of play. Once a day isn't enough for pups. Like everyone else mentioned wait for the shots to take her a lot of places but do play a lot. A tired pup is a good pup. She sounds really smart. You might want to try hiding things (in easy places to find at first) for her to find. I used to show Pyrate what I wanted him to find, then put him in a down while I hid it. Then the command to find would send him off to find it. At first I left the item in clear view so he could find it easily in the yard, then I gradually made it harder by hiding it behind things. If you do this gradually it's fun for the pup and may even make them like searching for things in the future. Lots of praise when they find the item and more play as well.
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Old 01-30-2013, 10:34 AM   #9 (permalink)
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I'd like to add give her something to chew that will keep her busy. I like frozen marrow bones, it seems to not only help with the chewing but also helps their ears stand faster.
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Old 01-30-2013, 10:43 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pyratemom View Post
We have all been through that land shark stage. It hurts! You have gotten a lot of good suggestions. I particularly like redirecting with a ball or tug and try to wear the pup out with lots of play. Once a day isn't enough for pups. Like everyone else mentioned wait for the shots to take her a lot of places but do play a lot. A tired pup is a good pup. She sounds really smart. You might want to try hiding things (in easy places to find at first) for her to find. I used to show Pyrate what I wanted him to find, then put him in a down while I hid it. Then the command to find would send him off to find it. At first I left the item in clear view so he could find it easily in the yard, then I gradually made it harder by hiding it behind things. If you do this gradually it's fun for the pup and may even make them like searching for things in the future. Lots of praise when they find the item and more play as well.
I understand once a day isn't enough for exercise. If she would walk with just one of us she'd be going for around 5 walks a day plus play time.

We have noticed if we carry her up a few streets to somewhere that she can't see the house she will walk better and if I take her to Lowe's she'll walk pretty well so, I'll try taking her somewhere besides our neighborhood and see how that goes.
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