Four month female out of control - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 46 (permalink) Old 06-14-2018, 12:11 PM Thread Starter
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Unhappy Four month female out of control

Gypsy just had her 4 month birthday and despite near constant attention and training, she is completely out of control. For example, out of the blue she decided to jump onto the bed on pee. (She is potty trained, so this was a surprise.) She is destructive as well. And despite numerous reprimands, she continues to want to bite. (My arms are in shreds from puppy teeth. I've taken to doing physically grabbing her by the scruff of the neck and pinning her to the floor when she bites. This correction lasts about 15 seconds and she's right back doing it again. It's like trying to tame a mountain lion. The odd part is that is actually learns commands easily. She just decides that she doesn't want to behave and goes into the "I'm going rogue. Try and stop me" mode.

I've tried to tire her out. I run her nearly two miles every morning and that used to be good for a few hours of peace. But now that just fires her up.

This is not my first shepherd by any means. And I've had a wolf hybrid. But Gypsy is a whole order of magnitude more of trouble than her predecessors. A shock collar is starting to look really attractive about now. This is the most headstrong dog I've ever come across. I'm open to suggestions.
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post #2 of 46 (permalink) Old 06-14-2018, 12:32 PM
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Is she crate trained? When she gets really amped up, I’d crate her. She’s probably overtired. Are you working on teaching her to be calm? That’s just as important as tiring her out with exercise. Also, a puppy as young as yours should not be run for 2 miles. Free running and playing is fine, but the forced pace and repetitive motion of a longer run are terrible for growing puppies.

Train the dog in front of you.
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post #3 of 46 (permalink) Old 06-14-2018, 12:48 PM
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I would also immediately stop pinning her when she bites. That is not going to get you anywhere, and she will stop trusting you. It will only damage the relationship. Instead, get a toy and play with her with it. Don’t just expect her to play on her own. If you can’t play in that moment or that isn’t working so well either, put her in her crate for a little while. She likely needs time to herself to rest and calm down.
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Forrest - GSD 9/1/2016 - 5/14/2017 RIP
Brooklyn - Golden retriever 1/30/11
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post #4 of 46 (permalink) Old 06-14-2018, 12:49 PM
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Please don’t use a shock collar on a 4 month old puppy. Biting is completely normal, and a shock collar will do more harm than good.

Forrest - GSD 9/1/2016 - 5/14/2017 RIP
Brooklyn - Golden retriever 1/30/11

Last edited by Pytheis; 06-14-2018 at 01:25 PM.
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post #5 of 46 (permalink) Old 06-14-2018, 01:03 PM Thread Starter
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She outgrew her crate and she never really accepted it. (Lots of screaming.) For now, I've taken to tying her to tree outside when she needs a time out. I would just let her run free, but she throws herself at the windows trying to get back inside and I'm afraid there's going to be broken glass and a lot of blood.

Teaching her to be calm has been fruitless so far. She quickly gets bored at being calm and the problems start right up again. Right now, I've decided to go from your basic alpha-leader to hard-core drill instructor. Enticements with treats and simple verbal corrections are just being ignored. I don't want to go full-bore nasty with her. But I think she still hasn't accepted that there is just one boss.
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post #6 of 46 (permalink) Old 06-14-2018, 01:16 PM
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You need a trainer. Your puppy has learned that if she fusses enough, she’ll get her way. This is not a problem with her, this is a problem with how you are managing her. No puppy likes to be forced to practice being calm. That doesn’t mean we give up and don’t work on it. She’s very young, and if you go full on drill sergeant with her you are just going to damage your relationship. Stop thinking you need to dominate your puppy and work on building real engagement instead. I’d reintroduce an appropriately sized crate. Try Susan Garrett’s Crate Games.

Train the dog in front of you.
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post #7 of 46 (permalink) Old 06-14-2018, 01:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Calipso View Post
She outgrew her crate and she never really accepted it. (Lots of screaming.) For now, I've taken to tying her to tree outside when she needs a time out. I would just let her run free, but she throws herself at the windows trying to get back inside and I'm afraid there's going to be broken glass and a lot of blood.

Teaching her to be calm has been fruitless so far. She quickly gets bored at being calm and the problems start right up again. Right now, I've decided to go from your basic alpha-leader to hard-core drill instructor. Enticements with treats and simple verbal corrections are just being ignored. I don't want to go full-bore nasty with her. But I think she still hasn't accepted that there is just one boss.
Don't mean to be harsh, you are not the "boss", instead it sounds like your approach has already been WAY too heavy handed! You are not teaching your dog, you're bullying her. It simply is not possible to correct the puppy for being a puppy, biting is an integral part of that! Peeing on your bed is her way of telling you what she thinks of that! She sounds like a good puppy!

So take a step back, change your perspective, lead your bundle of energy TOWARD behaviors you want to see. Praise and reward profusely! Learn to read her better and preempt the biting with play, loose this whole domineering attitude, play, engage, steer her with praise. Keep plenty of plastic bottles and cardboard boxes on hand for her to bite and play with! Lead her on exploration adventures in the backyard, or on trails. She's not being bad, she's showing her frustration (just like you are showing her yours)!

If you opt for your "full out drill instructor" mode, as you put it, I predict this dog will retaliate in the future!
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It's not the size of the dog in the fight, it's the size of the fight in the dog. Mark Twain

Tim
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post #8 of 46 (permalink) Old 06-14-2018, 01:28 PM
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I will apologize, in advance, for the abrupt quality of my comments but I literally have 5 minutes before I have to jump on a call. Here's what I see and would recommend, in no particular order of priority.

1. Re-examine your attitude. Whatever her size, this is still a baby. A baby who apparently hasn't learned the rudiments of self-control. That's on you. Ditch the alpha/drill instructor stuff and refocus on training with a healthy dose of patience and what may feel like endless repetitions. The old adage is still true: "Training Takes Time."

2. I don't know about you, but I've never had a puppy that learned to calm down overnight or completely on its own. We (owners) have to teach that and we do it by restricting the puppy to a smaller space (e.g., laundry room) or, preferably, a crate. I don't like tie-outs, frankly, and I abhor them for puppies. What tie-outs seem to do (IME) is ramp up frustration (hence the noisy protest) with very little benefit and a LOT of risk (e.g., injury, death by strangulation, etc.).

3. Go back to crating, but do it better this time. Search this list for Crate Games; lots of good ideas there. You've got to teach her that the crate means quiet time; no exciting encounters with you (or anybody else) no matter how much she protests.

4. Find a GSD experienced, reputable trainer and have them observe how you interact with and train the puppy. S/he will likely have more than a few suggestions for the best way to go forward and we all can benefit from an extra set of eyes, no matter how experienced we may be.

5. Post pictures; I like hellions myself.

Gotta go,

Aly
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post #9 of 46 (permalink) Old 06-14-2018, 01:29 PM Thread Starter
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Gypsy has learned to take advantage of people being patient with her. There's a real concern that she's going to carry this idea into adulthood. Being her best friend has become something to exploit. I do hear you and understand that there's a potential downside to zero-tolerance training. But her behavior is exceptionally bad even by puppy standards and it has to stop. I don't want to do it, but she's become a hazard in the household. Everyone here has been bloodied by her. I've lost count of how many shirts and pants she has ripped up (while I was wearing them no less). I'm not kidding when I say a mountain lion would be safer in the house.
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post #10 of 46 (permalink) Old 06-14-2018, 01:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Calipso View Post
I do hear you and understand that there's a potential downside to zero-tolerance training. But her behavior is exceptionally bad even by puppy standards and it has to stop. I don't want to do it, but she's become a hazard in the household. Everyone here has been bloodied by her.
But do you understand that your "zero-tolerance" approach is what got you here? Continue on this path and you'll either (a) completely break your dog's spirit, or (b) escalate the biting to a point that will soon become dangerous for you and your family! Seriously, hire a trainer to help you get a handle on repairing your relationship and training methodology, or re-home this puppy before you ruin her!

It's not the size of the dog in the fight, it's the size of the fight in the dog. Mark Twain

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