Snapping and baring teeth - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 28 (permalink) Old 05-23-2019, 09:06 PM Thread Starter
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Angry Snapping and baring teeth

My newly adopted GSD rescue likes to bare her teeth and snap at me when she does not get her way. When I won't let her have my human food, she barks and whines and snaps at me. When I try to get her collar she bites and snaps at me if she is in an excited state (which is often, she is a puppy). I do my best to be a calming influence, but her behavior is becoming annoying. The tops of my hands are very sore due to the clashing canine teeth. I have a spray bottle which is a bit helpful, and I have even used bitter apple, but I am worried about creating conflict rather than curing it.

Maple is VERY willful, and even after playing hard at a dog park for several hours she can still be difficult. Other times she is a gentle doll. She has been pulling dishes off the kitchen counter so they crash onto the floor and basically getting into any mischief she can. I need to get a refill for my Scattt thingy (motion activated compressed air device) for the kitchen, that should solve that issue, but the aggressive snapping worries me.

She has so much anxiety after her previous owner dumped her, hopefully, she will begin to settle in more soon. She HAS begun going out into the back yard alone to do her thing, a big step forward. Me having to go out and leave her alone is a HUGE issue, I have basically not worked for 2 weeks because if I leave her out she is very destructive and if I crate her she howls non-stop and screams. It's heartbreaking. I drive for Lyft so I have some flexibility, but I do have to work. Oh, and I got a hemp CBD oil for her and have tried it once. Not sure if it helped or not, may need to up the dose.

Any suggestions appreciated. Thank you.
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post #2 of 28 (permalink) Old 05-23-2019, 10:54 PM
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She shouldn't be allowed to counter surf or sit by you when you eat if she is being nasty. Do you crate her? Anytime she snaps at your hand stick a toy in her mouth. Do not allow her to bite you.
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post #3 of 28 (permalink) Old 05-23-2019, 11:58 PM
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As crittersitter said, just stop allowing her to take advantage of you! You are the human and she is the dog, make the dog adapt to you, not the other way around! She'll love you for the guidance really!

Since you've had her with you such a short time, I'd suggest slowing things down, give her more time to learn about you and the new household and your rules before taking her out to any dog park or other outside venue. You both need time to learn each other and to form a bond, learn how to communicate with her, learn what makes her happy and what makes her tense, what she knows well and what needs some work. All dogs are different, but for any and all of them learning about who they are, and allowing them to learn who you are, takes time...give her that time!

As I said before, don't be bashful in the meantime letting her know YOUR RULES! Dogs really tend to appreciate clear boundaries and or rules. Don't, whatever you do, fall into the awww poor puppy has had such a rough time school of thought, it's never helpful even if it's true...set clear boundaries, enforce them calmly, but insistently, and it'll all work out as well as it can....often much better than you can or will have ever hoped! Good luck! Please keep us posted on you're progess!
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post #4 of 28 (permalink) Old 05-24-2019, 12:02 AM
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Your dog doesn't know how to calm herself indoors and feels compelled to be anxiously active.Google "sit on the dog" .There are videos and articles that describe how this works.Also "Calming Signals" I believe the author is Patricia McConnell (unsure!) will provide insight.That's available on kindle or paperback.McConnell has a blog that is very good also her other books.
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post #5 of 28 (permalink) Old 05-24-2019, 12:25 AM
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Few questions for you that will help guide our advise/suggestions:

How old is she?
How long have you had her in your home?
Is this your first GSD?
What if any training are you doing with her?
Aside from dog park what other activities do you do with her to exercise her mind and body?

First I would not go for her collar when she is misbehaving. Put a drag line on her (basically a leash that doesn't have a loop handle). That way when she needs a correction you can grab the line and keep your hands away from her mouth. Much safer and less likely to cause aggressive reaction toward hands coming near her going forward.
It's hard to hear them cry and scream but stick with crate training. Make it her safe place. Don't put her in the crate angry. Throw yummy treats in and let her go in leaving the door open a few times. Then work on closing the door.

If she gets mouthy redirect with a toy. As mentioned replace your body parts with a toy.

A trainer with GSD experience would be very helpful. This breed is smart and can be willful. They will take advantage is allowed. A firm yet fair handler is a must. Consistency in training is a must. They learn quickly what they can and can't get away with.

I would also suggest that if you have other options to avoid dog parks. Some GSD's do ok with dog parks and doggy dare cares but most don't. Puppies and very young dogs may seem to do well in that environment until they don't. When they don't it is usually a very ugly scene. Too much chaos and way too many uncontrollable variables that often doesn't end well.
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post #6 of 28 (permalink) Old 05-24-2019, 07:47 AM
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Along with all the very good advice, I just want to touch on the air snapping behavior because it can be a good form of communications and is easily noticed by humans who may not be paying attention. It isn't always a negative behavioral sign but it is an effective sign to grab attention. Case in point: our old girl used this sign many times to let us know that she urgently needed to go potty or that she needed our intervention when she was in no mood for our annoying playful pup. Sometimes we would miss her other cues but her air snap never failed.

She was as sweet and non aggressive as they come. It's just something to consider as you work through this and figure things out.

I'm sure you will.

Edit to add: Imho, using squirt bottles to extinguish behaviors isn't the greatest way to teach a dog what not to do. It could backfire and spill into other things. i.e., trying to bathe the dog using a handheld hose.

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Last edited by Heartandsoul; 05-24-2019 at 07:53 AM.
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post #7 of 28 (permalink) Old 05-25-2019, 06:53 AM
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I would take her to an advanced trainer( especially if you have a training sport club available) and get an on-site assessment of your dog’s temperament and ideas on fixing this problem based on your dog’s temperament and your ability to execute the fix.
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post #8 of 28 (permalink) Old 05-25-2019, 11:00 AM
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Originally Posted by cliffson1 View Post
I would take her to an advanced trainer( especially if you have a training sport club available) and get an on-site assessment of your dog’s temperament and ideas on fixing this problem based on your dog’s temperament and your ability to execute the fix.

^^^^ This. ALL. DAY. LONG.
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post #9 of 28 (permalink) Old 05-25-2019, 12:09 PM
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I would think basic obedience classes would be the place to start ( I'm not talking about box stores like Pet Smart etc )...what you learn in classes followed by what you and her practice at home...heeling--sits--downs--come and stays when done together as a team are the first part of what creates a "bond" between you and the dog...couple that with play time and she should come to respect you... once she respects you many of the behaviors you're seeing in the house will be easier to stop because with "respect"...comes listening to you.. and obeying will place.....sounds to me like the destruction in the back yard and crying in the crate is because she's not sure you're coming back and she's anxious....ultimately it's going to involve plenty of time on your part...whether you go with a one on one trainer or group classes I would guess you'll have plenty of options in the Bay area....most rescues come with some sort of baggage....IMO your issues don't sound to bad YET..but the fix once again will require plenty of your time.....
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post #10 of 28 (permalink) Old 05-25-2019, 04:42 PM
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This isn't real common behavior and could be due to any variety of things, some more difficult to deal with than others. Get the input of an experienced trainer, and work with them toward a solution. She is young so best to get a handle on this early before she forms patterns of behavior.

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