Adopted a GSD....need HELP!!
Last Friday, my husband and I adopted a 1.5 to 2 year old GSD from the shelter. Someone dropped him off at a kill shelter and when his time was up, the shelter called a no kill shelter in the area and asked them to take him because he was such a good dog....and he IS...sometimes. He won't jump on the counters, even with food on them. He is housebroken. He sits nicely in the car. He goes into his crate at night to sleep and lays down with very little to no whining. HOWEVER....
he is 100% a GIANT puppy. He has NO IDEA how to play safely or stop escalating once engaged. He bites and jumps on us A LOT! We have tried to teach him how to fetch (we NEVER play tug with him) so he can run off some energy, but he is way more interested in biting our arms and hands and feet. We push him down and tell him NO and fold our arms and turn away. We walk away and/or we try to put a toy in his mouth to replace the arm/body part he is biting on, but usually he dismisses it and comes right back with a jump and bite. He WAS getting better about getting down and walking away when we turned and ignored him, but today he started being more persistent and will not get down once he jumps up. Turning and walking away is now making him grab on harder and he is now jumping and snapping at our clothes.
He has improved at coming on command, sitting for short periods and especially for treats, he will take treats "easy" now, when we are able to get him to sit and pet him with a soft "good, boy....easy" he will sometimes calm down, but it's temporary.
He does calm down more at night and allows the cats and older dog to come out with little arousal, but our days are filled with being on watch and telling him to "leave it" because he wants to play with them, too. He's big and intimidating and being hissed, growled and barked at often. He definitely backs off the animals with less redirection than when he first arrived, but it's a moment to moment struggle and we often sacrifice ourselves being bitten to get him to back off the other animals. In all honesty, they have tried to stay away from him more and usually wait until evening to attempt to come out. This has been a blessing because he has a bit more self control then...sometimes. I feel bad for them though...this was after all, their home.
We take him for 2 walks a day (which are awful to get to because the biting is ridiculous to get the harness on, but we can't leave it on because he bites at it and rubs all over the furniture to try to rub it off until he works himself into a craze which makes the jumping and biting at us worse...anyway...) when he returns from the walk, he will lay down for a bit, but only to recharge and come back with the same jumping, biting, and playfulness.
I do not think he is being aggressive. He has snapped at me twice for trying to take a toy he chewed up and for trying to take his treat toy,(which is another issue I need help with,) but I could clearly tell the difference between that aggressiveness and this persistence to play.
Being that he isn't a puppy, we know that he has lived a long time being "allowed" to behave this way and un-training him to re-train him is going to be a lot of work.
We signed up for formal obedience training, but it doesn't start until 8/15 and we need help now! We love this dog, but he is exhausting and we simply need help. If you have any suggestions, PLEASE let us know.
Thank you in advance!