Confused on how to train puppy to not bite livestock/small pets - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-09-2019, 05:05 PM Thread Starter
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Confused on how to train puppy to not bite livestock/small pets

Okay, so I got my puppy, Arthur, just over 3 weeks ago. He is 10 weeks old now and I am getting frustrated and confused. I was originally set on getting a female, but realized that was a silly thing to do. I ended telling the breeder to choose whatever puppy she thinks would be the best match for me, male or female. My main goal is to have a companion who can be there with me while I work on the ranch. I rarely have company over and I have to admit, it gets really lonely doing thing on my own. The breeder ended up picking a male, and he is perfect! I got him at 7 weeks 1 day. He was very relaxed when I was holding him. He didn't squirm, bite, try to jump, stiffen or get scared. He just kinda chilled and would lick me here and there. He isn't scared of new things, he is very curious will go sniff with his tail up and once he sniffs he tail starts wagging and he isn't scared around or near the new object. He also was a very light biter. He would mouth very very lightly and then quickly change to licking. He was just perfect in every way. Then he hit 8 weeks and was the puppy I was expecting. Bite, bite, play, eat, sleep, drink, bathroom, play, etc. But I expected that and that's not the problem.

I began introducing him to the goats, at 8 weeks(1 week after I got him) right away he didn't seem bothered. We would play right outside the gate and he would occasionally stop and look at them the back to playing. At 9 weeks, I felt everyone was calm enough to be introduced. For his safety, I was using a baby. 7 week old little bottle kid goat, so he was friendly, small, and couldn't hurt him. It went well. I let them see each other for about 3 minutes then we left. After 2 days of that though, Arthur started to nip the kids ears. He did it hard enough to make him bleed a few times. The kid didn't care much, but I removed them both and tried again the next day with a little bit older bottle kid (15 weeks old) He did the same thing with him as well. I scruffed him and told him a firm NO! He responded pretty well. He would leave the goat alone for about 30 seconds but then would go and do it again. I then started to take him into the adult pen with me(on a 4ft leash to ensure nobody got hurt) and once he was calm I put him on a 12ft lead and let him smell the adults. I didn't expect him to do anything. They are like 15 times his size and 100-250lbs heavier. They are livestock and unpredictable, so I was within 2 feet at all times when he was going towards a goat. The goats couldn't care less about him, but to my surprise he ran right up to them and bit/tried to play with them and when they ran, he chased. Those who didn't run, he would bark at, and then jump up and bite their ears/nose/face. Now, this isn't fear, or aggression. This is play. He play bows, runs from them, constantly wagging, but I know this play can turn into something much worse if it continues. With that, I also have 3 bottle kittens that were 2 weeks when I got him, 5 weeks old now. And he is constantly trying to get them. I have them in a crate secured at all times, but he grabs them if any of the stick anything through, tail, paw, any fur if they sit by the sides. When I feed them he runs over and grabs them and runs away. I'm sure to him they are like toys, and he hasn't hurt them yet, but he is getting waaay too rough for my liking. Again, when he grabbed them I would scruff him and a firm NO! (He also does all of this with rats, adult cats, and chases, chickens, ducks and any animal smaller than him) However, I was talking to a trainer and brought it up and said I was scruffing him. He told me NOT to do that or he will associate negative things when around any of those animals and will get anxious and nervous when they are around, making him more likely to bite the animal, and/or humans. He said to reward and praise every time he looks away or ignores the other animals. Give him no attention and walk away when he looks at, barks, or touches the animals. I also talked to a breeder I know, who has amazing dogs that get along with anyone and everyone, and she told me this behavior needs to be corrected now before it gets worse and she told me to scruff him and tell him "No, No, No!" Then remove everything from the room he is in. No toys, people, or other animals. Just a boring time out room. 5 minutes later, he gets his toys back and praised if he ignores the animals.

This is where I am confused. Which way is the right way? Is there even a right way? I have tried both. Scruffing seems to work every time for about 30 seconds - 2 minutes. Walking away, praising, etc. Seems to work 1 out of 5 times and works for 30 seconds to 5 minutes. I feel both are right in their own way, but I am so confused. I want him to be able to co-exist with other animals. I am just worried one day he might get out somehow and the last thing I need is for him to attack someone's, or my animals. I won't ever get rid of him, even if that does happen, but I would be very disappointed in myself, and feel awful if he has to be locked away from everything all the time. Any help will be greatly appreciated!
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post #2 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-09-2019, 05:44 PM
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Is he leashed when he does this?


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post #3 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-09-2019, 05:55 PM
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At 10 weeks old, nothing has had a chance to actually work. I'd concentrate on keeping him on that 4' leash and around the animals, but use some space for the time being to practice being calm. I don't think you'll get any real association with rewarding or taking away his toys, the animals are overwhelming to him. Think in terms of indifference and as a side note, chasing and biting is part of their herding heritage. German Shepherds are judged on how they do it. The chasing tapers with experience, the biting too, but its something they do.
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post #4 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-09-2019, 06:01 PM
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This may have some helpful thoughts for you:
https://www.german-shepherdherding.c...pherd-herding/

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post #5 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-09-2019, 06:12 PM
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Some people may not like hearing this but an e-collar might be the choice here. Scruffing isn't working but I guarantee an e-collar would. You must make sure that the dog knows "No" and to keep it on a low setting initially and to increase it accordingly. This should work, but I would only have the e-collar on the dog when I was working the dog. I wouldn't keep the e-collar on the dog just to have it on the dog. Those prongs sticking into your neck would probably become annoying or possibly hurt if just left on the dog. Again I advise shock yourself first to see how the shock will feel, then shock the dog when you don't want the dog to do something you don't want him to do. Eventually you will not need the e-collar and the dog will know better.
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post #6 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-09-2019, 06:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dbussan00 View Post
Some people may not like hearing this but an e-collar might be the choice here. Scruffing isn't working but I guarantee an e-collar would. You must make sure that the dog knows "No" and to keep it on a low setting initially and to increase it accordingly. This should work, but I would only have the e-collar on the dog when I was working the dog. I wouldn't keep the e-collar on the dog just to have it on the dog. Those prongs sticking into your neck would probably become annoying or possibly hurt if just left on the dog. Again I advise shock yourself first to see how the shock will feel, then shock the dog when you don't want the dog to do something you don't want him to do. Eventually you will not need the e-collar and the dog will know better.
Low or high, not at 10 weeks old.

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post #7 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-09-2019, 06:17 PM
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My female is great with the farm animals, and helps herd them in every night when we are at the farm. My male tries to eat anything that runs except for the horses. So he goes on rides with us, and Lyka helps work the farm while Crios is only allowed on the “human” part of the property. Not all dogs respond well to farm life. Maybe wait a few months and try again, while working him outside the pens in OB?
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post #8 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-09-2019, 06:51 PM
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When he has the opportunity to bite them, he is rehearsing (reinforcing) a bad and dangerous habit.

10 weeks is too immature to throw him into that. Back way off, work on manners and an understanding of pressure and respect with YOU, away from the livestock. Absolutely no ecollar on a 10 week old.
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post #9 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-09-2019, 07:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dbussan00 View Post
Some people may not like hearing this but an e-collar might be the choice here. Scruffing isn't working but I guarantee an e-collar would. You must make sure that the dog knows "No" and to keep it on a low setting initially and to increase it accordingly. This should work, but I would only have the e-collar on the dog when I was working the dog. I wouldn't keep the e-collar on the dog just to have it on the dog. Those prongs sticking into your neck would probably become annoying or possibly hurt if just left on the dog. Again I advise shock yourself first to see how the shock will feel, then shock the dog when you don't want the dog to do something you don't want him to do. Eventually you will not need the e-collar and the dog will know better.
No.

The dog is 10 weeks old.


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post #10 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-09-2019, 08:28 PM
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Thereís no one correct way to raise a stockdog, but hereís one idea.

Iím just starting an 8 week old on manners and foundation. These pictures are terrible because itís raining right now and I propped up my iPhone on a boot, but anyway...

The 8 week old puppy (blue) is inside an expen while I work my adult dog (red) on ducks.

If the puppy is frantic and out of his mind, or is acting like heís in glazed over prey mode or barrier frustration, Iíd move myself and the stock farther away. But if he is not frantic and just watching, we stay at the same distance or get a bit closer.

The object is NOT to blast him with the fear of God and punishment and lightning bolts - but to have him grow accustomed to the sounds that the stock make when content, moving, afraid, eating, etc. I want him to be keen to work, but not frantic. Frantic/hectic dogs bite. You can do this with or without an adult dog. If I didnít have an adult dog I could trust to work calmly, Iíd drive the ducks around myself.

He is a LONG way away from his first actual exposure to livestock, and he has been nowhere near my goats. He will see sheep through a fence starting next week. But if heís frantic or hectic, Iíll move him away until he is older, then start again.

Donít rush it. You want to reward calm thinking.
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