Help!! - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-27-2019, 07:38 AM Thread Starter
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Help!!

Hi.
Totally new to this but i am desperate for help. I have been in tears this week because of my 6 month old shepherd. We have weekly one on one training with a trainer which so far is going well. However this week Chester (dog) has been playing up only with me and not my partner. When i say no or use other techniques which usually works he shows me his teeth, barks and nips at me, to the point where it hurts and if i try and stop him he bites harder. Im so ashamed and feel terrible for saying it but at times i get a little frightened of him and dont know what to do. My partner today has to come home from work as i just couldn't cope with his behaviour. Any tips would be so grateful ! I feel like im beibg such a bad dog mum!!
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-27-2019, 09:02 PM
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Your pup is testing his boundaries, and yours, with the barking and biting. And the fact that you back down out of fear and ask your partner to take over is just encouraging him to continue with it.

I’ve been challenged with my rescue, who would come up her leash at me when I first got her. Firm, clear corrections and a firm and confident voice stopped her from doing it. She would test it occasionally for the first 4-5 months, but she always got the same reaction from me, which taught her that her nonsense wasn’t going to be rewarded. Our pup now (15 weeks) tries it too, and I ignore her behavior and redirect it. So if she is chewing something she shouldn’t be, and I tell her no, she will bark at me try to nip. Instead of paying attention to that, or what she is trying to keep me from taking, I tell her no in a firm voice, give her another command, usually the “back” command, and start body blocking her and having her back away from me. She does well when redirected with another command. If it’s not something that will harm her, but she shouldn’t be chewing on it anyway, I’ll still tell her no, and give her a toy she can chew on, and when she takes it, I give her a good girl. She does get to a point where nothing is working, and she is just acting out like a spoiled toddler because she needs a nap, literally. She goes into her kennel then for some down time, and when she wakes, she is much better behaved.

But allowing yours to get that reaction of fear from you is just going to increase the behavior, and could end badly with an actual attack. He’s only 6 months old now, he’s a toddler, pushing his limits, and your letting him. When he’s 6yrs old and still getting away with it, it’s because he’s trained you, not the other way around.

If you’re truly afraid of him, I would suggest having your partner crate him before leaving, so you aren’t put in that situation until you can get your trainer in your home environment to assess the behavior and show you the proper way to correct that. Either that, or rehome the dog. He’s not going to get any smaller, and if he gets away with bullying you now, what are you going to feel when he’s an adult and no longer a pup? Have a long and honest conversation with your partner also. You shouldn’t be bullied into keeping a dog in your home you feel unsafe with.

Best of luck, and I hope you get more experienced advice from more senior members here!
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Last edited by Jchrest; 06-27-2019 at 09:06 PM.
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-27-2019, 09:27 PM
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When my pups were testing their strength against me, I used spacial pressure to get them to stop. I folded my arms, squared my shoulders and walked forward toward my pup. The pup would back up. I wasn't mean or angry or loud, just firm and confident as I claimed the space in front of him/her. As soon as the pup backed up and sat or turned its head away, I relaxed and made happy talk. It didn't take long for either of my pups to figure out that I wasn't impressed with their cheekiness.
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-28-2019, 09:28 AM
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He is establishing dominance over you - and you are letting him. So when he nips you, "nip" him back. Pinch a bit of skin between your thumb and forefinger - right over his shoulder - and twist. Fairly hard. As soon as you get a yelp and he stops, give him love and ignore the bad that he was doing.

No, I am not a mean, nasty person. This is what our trainer taught us to do. And it works. It mimics what the mama dog would do which would be to bite the pup on the ruff of the neck. Since I don't think you want a mouthful of fur, this is the next best thing. Your pup is a bit older, so it make take some patience. But combined with the redirection, it should work.

Good luck.
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-28-2019, 11:52 AM
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Our male was terrible with me when we first got him at 9 weeks.
He was the sweetest with my husband and loved the kids... but me, he saw as a play mate and he would jump and attack. I have scares all over my arms from him. I would go to bed at night in tears and tell my husband he hates me and I cant get through this.

We ended up getting him a companion and now she is the one who beats him up (she is a tad thicker then he is and tends to just sit on him- lol).
My suggestions are exercise, train and crate!! When he is acting up you have to show him you are boss and when it gets to much, crate him! He will figure it out eventually and it may seems like forever but he will grow out of it.

Now at 7 months our male is my companion, he is the best with commands with me. It will all work out!

Last edited by LRP; 06-28-2019 at 11:55 AM.
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-28-2019, 04:47 PM
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He is establishing dominance over you - and you are letting him. So when he nips you, "nip" him back. Pinch a bit of skin between your thumb and forefinger - right over his shoulder - and twist. Fairly hard.
Yeah, no, that might work for some dogs but its asking for trouble with a lot of dogs. If I did that to Scarlet when she was a 6 month old puppy, shed have bitten the snot out of me. No thanks. There are better ways to deal with a bratty puppy.
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CARLY ......... Ch. Lauremi's No Reservations (AKC GCh pointed, HIC)
SCARLET ..... Lauremi's Almost Wasn't (AKC pointed)
and absent friends... SAGE ~ Lauremi's Whim Z v Jakmar ~ AKC major ptd, HIC ~ 2010-2015
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-28-2019, 06:51 PM
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Yeah, no, that might work for some dogs but it’s asking for trouble with a lot of dogs. If I did that to Scarlet when she was a 6 month old puppy, she’d have bitten the snot out of me. No thanks. There are better ways to deal with a bratty puppy.
I agree. That is an old training concept that isn’t used anymore. I worked on focus and obedience, both of which kept my dogs attentive and pleasant. I also found if they were behaving badly, a good run worked out the tension and they behaved better. They were calmer and nonconfrontational. I also established I was the boss from an early age.

The OP might want to try NILIF. I haven’t used it in years, but it can sometimes work.

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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-29-2019, 12:28 AM
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Yeah, no, that might work for some dogs but its asking for trouble with a lot of dogs. If I did that to Scarlet when she was a 6 month old puppy, shed have bitten the snot out of me. No thanks. There are better ways to deal with a bratty puppy.
Me too. I already got the snot bitten out of me from day one. He was on a whole other level of landshark-ness than the previous one. For the longest time, I thought I got a devil dog. He just wouldn't stop...like a Malinois or something. If I tried the pinching...forget it...I'd have no fingers left.

To the OP...Yep, I agree with everyone else so far. Your dog is testing you, and you're failing the test. You can't let someone else (your partner) deal with it all. Your dog won't respect you and will continue to use his mouth. My dog is 17 months old and he's still testing me. It's not as often as a year ago, but he still does it sometimes. You have to stand firm and power through these "rough" times. Establish that you're the leader and not a pushover.
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-29-2019, 12:36 AM
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Me too. I already got the snot bitten out of me from day one. He was on a whole other level of landshark-ness than the previous one. For the longest time, I thought I got a devil dog.

But these are the best kind! Im crazy about my demon dog. Shes almost 3 now. Occasionally Ill send my breeder a text that says how come I got the bad dog???!. At least my son finally stopped saying that dog is awful. LOL. Seriously most fun dog ever.
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~ Diane ~

CARLY ......... Ch. Lauremi's No Reservations (AKC GCh pointed, HIC)
SCARLET ..... Lauremi's Almost Wasn't (AKC pointed)
and absent friends... SAGE ~ Lauremi's Whim Z v Jakmar ~ AKC major ptd, HIC ~ 2010-2015
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-29-2019, 09:20 AM
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But these are the best kind! Im crazy about my demon dog. Shes almost 3 now. Occasionally Ill send my breeder a text that says how come I got the bad dog???!. At least my son finally stopped saying that dog is awful. LOL. Seriously most fun dog ever.
Ha ha. I pestered my breeder for the first half year or so. Even though she said I could contact her anytime, I'm pretty sure she was annoyed by me. Every few weeks, she had to reassure me that it would get better. Looking back at it now, I can't stop laughing at what a doorknob I was. To be honest, I don't even know what I did that got him to "calm" down or if it was just a natural maturation progression. But whatever I did or didn't do, it worked. That first half year, I was so ready to return him and adopt his mother instead. I'm so glad now that I stuck with it...he's turning out to be what I expected of a working line GSD. Like yours, he's a "fun dog" too and that includes the 3+ emergency hospital visits too. You know the funny thing is...there are 5 pups in his litter and I seriously thought I got the worst one. Apparently all 4 of his siblings were just as bad, with one (the largest female) supposedly even worse than the rest of ours. Once I realized in the grand scheme of things, mine wasn't even the "worst" and that I could've had an even "worse" biter, that changed my whole outlook.

So, to all the first time GSD puppy owners (for that matter, any puppy owner), the moral of the story is...they bite. They all do. The intensity depends on the individual pup. But what you have to do is deal with it head on and power through these weeks or months because those of us have gone through this at least once, know that it will get better. Enjoy these moments because one day you'll look back at these puppy times fondly and wish it lasted longer.
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