Surviving the puppy
I need help with my GSD/BC girl. I've read so many threads and so much advice but I'm struggling with multiple behaviours. I've had pups of other breeds, and did some reading about the breeds in this girl before I got her, and I thought I knew what I was getting into, but she's 9 weeks old and we are already struggling.
A big problem that's arisen is to do with toileting. She has to be carried downstairs many times a day to toilet outside. She's taken to biting my arms - hard and with intent - when it's time to come upstairs again because she doesn't want to come. The only way I can carry her without dropping her because of the biting and thrashing is to scruff her, and she's still managing to get hold of me. It's not safe to leave her outside alone and downstairs isn't enclosed so it's not like we can just put her in a downstairs room and spend time with her there; she has to be upstairs. I could (almost) cope with it, but when I'm at work I have to leave her in the care of my adolescent children. They are no longer willing to carry her downstairs, and it's not safe for them to do so anyway due to her biting and trying to escape, which means they can't toilet her when I'm not there. Waiting for her to grow out of this isn't an option.
We always have toys on hand to redirect her, and sometimes it works, but a lot of the time she actively seeks our hands around the toys. She snaps at ankles, nips calves, grabs clothes, lunges at faces. Yelping and withdrawing from play doesn't bother her. Telling her no doesn't bother her. Scruffing or pressing her lip just winds her up more. Putting her back in her crate stops further biting but only because she can't reach us, and then she sits there and barks at us.
Problems 2 and 3 are cat-related. She tries to play with them, which is fine and to be expected, and I deal with it by not allowing her near them unsupervised and giving her a correction when she tries to chase (she's always crated or on a lead at the moment so can't take off after them). On the rare occasion when she sees a cat and doesn't react she gets lots of positive reinforcement. More concerning is the way she's started going into a really focused BC crouch and stalk when she sees them, especially one cat who has had a previous traumatic run-in with a dog and takes no rubbish from this pup. I'm worried that she's going to turn out to have too much prey drive to be safe with them. She's also very aggressive in guarding her food from the cats, lunging and snapping at them if they even walk past at a distance. She's watchful with us but only when she has something really high value, and she's learnt that even if I have to move her food she will always get it back so she's becoming more trusting with me.
The children want to rehome her because they've become afraid to go near her. They are also worried about the welfare of the cats, as am I. I'd like to keep her but the safety of the children and cats has to take priority. So I have three problems that all need to be solved - landsharking, stalking cats, and food guarding against the cats.
Spaniels were so much easier.