3 Month Old, Play Biting & Play Attacking...Need Advice - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-21-2011, 11:38 AM Thread Starter
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3 Month Old, Play Biting & Play Attacking...Need Advice

My Jemma is now 3 months old. She has continued to have play times during the day where she gets "that crazed look" that all of us puppy owners know...whereas she play bites and play attacks. She has only drawn blood with my hubby, seeming to know she can play harder with him. However, she often grabs onto pant legs with me and the kids, hanging on with those sharp teeth and not letting go. Trying to leave the room results in us dragging a puppy leaving holes in our pant legs.

She does not seem to be angry or nervous at all during these periods, and these are the only times she bites. It seems to be play for her, and yet my kids can't stand it and neither can I. I have read and gotten mixed advice. I know I need to pick one RIGHT way to deal with this. This is what I've tried...

YELPING does cause her to stop for a second, and then she gets more crazed and actually lunges at us more as if she thinks this means "GREAT! THEY WANNA PLAY ROUGH NOW!".

Scruff shakes seem to make it way worse, and saying a firm no seems to have no effect at all.

The two things I've found to work somewhat well are:

1) Putting her in the large exercise pen we have set up for us in the family room to seperate her from us. She gets annoyed and barks, but at least she knows we do not want to play with her in this manner.

2) Removing her from the clothing by prying her mouth off, and sticking either a rope or bully stick in her mouth and playing tug with her. This seems to let her play with us without letting her bite us, but a book I read said playing tug can cause her to be more aggressive.

The trainer I just started with suggested making it all about treats and when she starts, telling her to "let go" then telling her to "sit" and when she does, give a treat. This seems good ideally, but when it's all happening fast, and the kids are shrieking...well, I need to just have a plan of one thing that we all stick with.

Advice for a weary land shark owner?

PS - I did read the entire Bite inhibition thread and got lots out of that.

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Jemma, WGSD 08/22/11

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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-21-2011, 11:41 AM Thread Starter
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PS....I'm really hoping this is all in the realm of normal puppy behavior and does not show that she is going to be an aggressive dog. Anyone care to confirm that and put my mind at ease?

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Jemma, WGSD 08/22/11

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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-21-2011, 11:43 AM
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This is VERY normal for a shepherd puppy, don't worry about that The tug idea is great -redirect her to a toy, which you seem to have done. It making the dog "aggressive" is BS in my opinion, it simply gives the pup a way to channel their mouthy behavior.

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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-21-2011, 11:44 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you Shaina! Tug seems to work the best...as putting her in the pen doesn't really teach her anything, just makes her more frustrated...tug seemed to be a really good outlet for the behavior without stifling her....so glad to hear you don't feel it's a bad idea!

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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-21-2011, 11:49 AM
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And, believe it or not, they DO grow out of it. My girl is 8 months and she does still have her moments (like when Im sitting on the computer instead of paying attention to her ) where she will come up and grab my arm, so generally I find a toy and build drive for it (wave it around and act like its the best thing ever) and throw it to her, tug a little, and then let her figure it out from there. It does get better! Putting the pup in her pen isn't a good way of doing it simply because you're making the pen a negative thing. A pen (or crate, whatever you use) should be a safe place for the pup, not somewhere they feel they are going to be punished in.

Good luck!

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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-21-2011, 11:53 AM Thread Starter
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Agree with you on the pen and didn't feel right about it somehow...and her loud annoying barking means she didn't either (ha). Oh, and thank you for letting me know there is a light at the end of the tunnel....whhhheeeew.

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Jemma, WGSD 08/22/11

"Dogs are miracles with paws."

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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-21-2011, 01:53 PM
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Just adding to the people saying that is COMPLETELY normal. Sounds like you are lucky he hasn't drawn blood on you. We had ripped pants, arms totally covered in scratches and bruises, definitely some times he would bite hard enough to make me cry.

It is a rough time, but you just have to be consistent because they grow out of it...

The more you can tire your puppy out the better- my puppy was too busy looking at everything going on in puppy class to be biting me. And if you are both tired and really frustrated and your puppy is biting like crazy- a short time out will really help both of you (I think it is important to stay calm when you are getting frustrated).
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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-21-2011, 08:33 PM
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Heya, check this out Leerburg | Training Puppies Not to Bite

His podcast about puppy mouthing is good too.

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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-02-2011, 06:03 PM
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Wow thanks a lot, my new puppy is doing the same exact thing. Im glad to know that things will get better.
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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-02-2011, 07:53 PM
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I used timeouts in the crate all the time when I had an out of control puppy. They get like cranky overtired toddlers, and nothing really works but to let them cool their jets for a bit. It has never had a negative effect on how my dogs view their crates, they will both go in and nap on their own sometimes, and usually at bedtime they're already in there waiting for me to come close the door. If not I just have to tell them "go to bed" and they go right in. A timeout isn't necessarily a punishment, it's just a little break.

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