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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
HI everyone,

Really need help understanding our puppy and what to do with it. I actually wish I could video tape a whole day, since it seems like there's so much I am confused about.

He is eleven weeks old today. There was some nipping and biting, and we used to say 'ouch' (to train him for bite inhibition), which never worked, or we would say 'no' and give him a toy to bite/ chew on/ just throw the ball. It worked for a while.

Lately though, he keeps on going for whatever part he can reach with his teeth, trying to give him a toy doesn't work and we have been putting him in his playpen, ignoring him and taking him out after he has calmed down. But he starts biting again. We have been trying to tire him out, making him run outside chasing a ball(stopping as soon as he wants to) , and taking him for walks, or new places just for socialisation. That worked for about two days.

Now he crouches and lunges at me for every little thing. I had been trying to train him to follow basic commands which he picked up fairly quickly and was doing very well, but now after a few commands, he starts biting, and he also crouches and lunges and will not let me get around him to pick him up and put him in his playpen. Telling him to get off the couch(or not do something he is doing) elicits the same response. He will not get off, even though he knows what we want him to do , and if we move to take him down, he starts attacking us. Since he is still small enough I can maneuver and pick him up and put him down in his playpen. Once in there, he lies down and starts playing with his toys. When I go in after a few minutes, he ignores me, and any move on my part to involve him in play results in the biting, crouching, lunging, barking response.


There has been no harshness from us toward him. He does try to bite our children as well once or twice a day, and we quickly move in between them and say no if we see him focus on them. But he is also sweet with them at different times, most noticably right after he wakes up or when they get home from school.

When other dog owners meet him they always praise him for his great temperament and sociability. He used to love getting massaged/ bellly rubs and used to want to sleep with his head resting on my feet while I read a book. He ' sat' when we asked him to, either for food, or before heading out , for a walk and generally followed our direction. But now he seems to resent any direction from us. And the gentler calmer time seems to be dimnishing really quickly.

I am working on his crate training. He does not sleep in his crate yet. But he was easy to housetrain. He really loves to sit on the couch, which we do not allow him to, so I wonder if getting him a cushion is a good idea.

I have no idea what to make of all this though. What are we doing wrong? Is this just puppy hood, or signs of bigger trouble that we need to do something about?

And yes, he is enrolled for a basic obedience group class in June.
 

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I'm sure others will give some advice. But to me he sounds like a typically puppy. Yes, they do like to bite/chew things and sometimes that means you are the chew toy. My dog was the same way. I always had a toy with me so if she started to bite me, I would just give her the toy to bite instead. I would say "ouch" or "no" when she would bite me. It seemed like forever before she would listen to the No command. But as she got older, she started to calm down with her biting. Your dog will outgrow the biting stage as he gets older.
 

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i have a 17week old male gsd puppy and it was the same way. just remember to tire them out as much as possible. that means physically and mentally. Jackson is now getting to the point where when he bites and i tell him no he USUALLY stops. but do a search on this forum for "landshark". it sounds like you (just like me) thought you were getting a gsd puppy but in fact there is no such thing. they are landsharks and then they morph into gsd's
 

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My take….you are doing nothing wrong. Some GSD puppies are real landsharks (nippers). Keep in mind some puppies nip harder than others and with more vigor. Our puppy is a landshark. He also began nipping at about 10 weeks of age. Our puppy nipped for our attention and for his strong desire to play.

It sounds like you are familiar with the “bite inhibition” articles on this forum. If you are going that route patience and tolerance is a virtue. I am on the other camp whereas in our situation we enforce “bite prohibition”. This is mainly due to our puppy’s living situation. Bite prohibition is any nipping/biting/mouthing is not tolerated. We began enforcing bite prohibition at about 12 weeks of age. The most effective way we found to enforce “bite prohibition” was through “time outs”. What we did was when our puppy first nipped or bite our clothing we would mark the behavior with a stern “No”. If he immediately nipped or re-bite our clothes we would mark the behavior again while taking hold of his collar and placing him in “time-out”. Time-out is the kitchen where it is blocked by a dog gate. Once in “time-out” he would remain there for only 1 – 2 minutes. We would release him from the gate and if he immediately nipped us again he would go right back to time-out for 1 -2 minutes. Initially we had to repeat this four or five times before he quickly got the picture.

I found this to me the most effective method for “bite prohibition”. Keep in mind you will have to be consistent. In addition to prevent a chase when you are about to put him in time-out grab his collar first and then say “time-out”. Make sure you also use the word “time-out”.
 

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When he is biting you need to sound like another dog/puppy. Try using the word IPE! - That's 'ripe' without the R. Do it high pitched and sharp, then walk away from him and let him think for a minute.

Get some toys that are interactive - anything long you can tug with.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks everyone. The playful biting/nipping does not bother me. Substituing a toy worked for us. MY concern is that it has become agrgessive and reactive/defensive.

For example, today he jumped up on the couch numerous times. Usually when we say down he jumps down, or we put him down. Today though, he just kept looking at me when I said 'down' and bit me every time I reached for him. His stance was also agressive, moving around to face my hands so I can't get a hold of him. When I put him down in his play pen, he lunged at me again to bite before I could close it.

Later I tried spraying him with water from afar, based on advice I read about making the correction seem as if it came from the environment. and act like it didnt come from me. After he got startled and jumped off, he ran to me and started snapping. I just went quickly up the stairs to where he cant reach me.

When he bites me while playing, if I say no or make a sound it just makes it worse. He will not let me get up/ move/ get out of the way/ reach for a toy. He lunges at me and tries to get to some part or the other, and all I can do is evade that bite. Strange as it may seem I can't get away from him even though he is just a puppy.


When I make him run to tire him out, he just gets even more worked up and wild.

At this point, I feel as though we might have to let him go.
 

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Let him go???
It gets better. I could not pet my puppy for two months because she would bite me. If he bites you when you try to take him off the couch don't let him near it in the first place. Leash him. Let him drag the leash around the house. Say off to get off the couch and pull him off with the leash.
Have patience. It gets better. You have typical gsd puppy
 

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He's developed his own game.. He thinks it's fun.

Exercise, mental and physical and google crate training.

When he pulls this, walk away from him. They do not like being ignored.

And, yes, he's a typical smart puppy!

PS keep up the good work - Rome wasn't built in a day.
 

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Where are you located?

Please don't be one of those people who rehomes a puppy because they didnt know what to expect. :(
 

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Our pup is 12 weeks and this sounds EXACTLY like him. I think this is just the nature of them as puppies. They don't know how else to interact except biting/nipping/using their mouths. Thats how they explore and learn about you and their environment.

Dogs hate to be ignored, so the best thing you can do when he gets rough is give him 2 tries. If he bites once, say no and gently push his mouth away (not too rough or else he will mistake it for play). If he comes back, either leave the room for 1-2 minutes or put him somewhere as a "time out" area. Repeat as many times as possible. If you are crate training then try not to do the crate. We actually have a 2nd smaller crate that we use as a time out area if we cannot leave the room. We tried the yelping or yelling NO really loud and it makes him come after us more. He was doing well with the yelping at first and his bite is softer when he wants to nibble a little but for the most part, it doesn't work with ours. He is great with our daughter though, but will go after her maybe twice a day. Her body language towards dogs is really great for only being 3 years old, so he tends to back off from her pretty quickly.

We give our dog a LOT of toys to chew on. Any time he tries to jump up on us and bite, we give him something acceptable to bite on. A few times I've seen him go after me, then turn around and grab a toy. We give him puppy acceptable edible chew sticks and puppy nylabones that are flavored (not the edible ones). Bitter apple is also great. We spray our socks and arms if he is getting too rough. Sometimes shaking the bottle is enough to get him to back off.

We also found that letting him engage in rough puppy play with other puppies really helped him learn that it was okay to play rough with other dogs but not us. We also let him have a lot of outside time to get his energy out any way he wants. When he calms down (and eventually he will, hes a puppy after all), we sit next to him and gently pet him. We also let him nibble on our hands at that point because he will do gently. We can practice bite inhibition much better when hes tired. We also practice taking him in public a LOT, because like you said, we get compliments all the time on how well behaved he is and how calm he is. He loves being outside of his home because he gets all the attention and it really engages all of his senses. Its tiring and almost 'work' for him to go to the pet store and pick out a new treat because of all the steps it takes to get there, get inside, and go back home. Taking a walk around the block also tires him out. He gets to sniff everything, see other dogs inside their yards, meet people who are walking outside as well, and he gets treats if he walks nicely.

Please give it a few more weeks before you consider giving him away. Its going to be a tough journey but these dogs are wonderful deep down. You just need to remember he is just a baby, only 11 weeks and still getting used to being away from his litter mates and mother. Some of the actions is probably from him adjusting to being in a new environment. He just wants to have fun and play around, so try to find things he really enjoys. Our pup loves being outside because he can run around like a goof and find tons of sticks in our yard. He also loves chasing really large balls that he can't grab a hold of. Those things will tire him out after a few hours.

Feel free to message me privately if you want to vent to someone else who is going through the exact same thing with a puppy almost the same age. Its difficult but the end result is worth it for a wonderful family dog and companion. Hang in there!
 

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Your puppy is 100% normal.

What you must do is up his exercise and socialization opportunities outside the home. Getting him physically AND mentally stimulated/worn out with new places and experiences will make him SO MUCH BETTER in the house!

OFF leash opportunities!!!!! Playing with other dogs! Can you make playdates with his breeder/littermates?

http://www.germanshepherds.com/forum/welcome-gsd-faqs-first-time-owner/188549-puppy-biting-hints-tips-help.html

http://www.germanshepherds.com/forum/development-socialization/111084-proper-exercise-puppies.html

Click those links...
 

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This sounds exactly like our puppy Sasha. She is 10 weeks old and constantly nipping/biting my hands, feet, ankles or my pant legs…..very frustrating but I would never even think of giving her back. No way! I have tried IPE, NO, giving her chew toys but no interest just wants the human flesh. After reading various posts, I am trying the “time out” theory and hoping it will help.

Question is, people say to exercise the pup and to socialize them. We were at the vets last night for second set of shots and I asked the vet if she can start socialization classes and puppy school. To my surprise the vet said she can’t until 2 more set of shots….so basically we are looking at JULY. Can someone tell me if this is true? I was hoping that going walks and playing with other dogs would help with the nipping/biting issues.
 

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We only socialize with dogs that we know who are up to date on shots and healthy. Not sure how the puppy classes/socialization groups work or if they have an age limit because of the shots.
 

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Normal as Heck.

Yep, just like all my GSDs so far.

Here's the good news...once the puppy teeth all fall out and once the permanent teeth are fully erupted their tendency to nip will diminish considerably. My puppy's teeth all came out and then in at about 4.5 months. By 5.5 months he left our shoes, woodwork, curtains, pants legs, etc. alone and concentrated on chew toys he knew we'd tolerate him chewing.

But I think when the puppy's teeth are settled and he begins to behave in his choice of chewables it's time to end the hand biting altogether. They're old enough then for correction without fear of destroying that much-sought-after bond.

We used a tap on the nose and a strongly voiced Nein (no) to get him to stop biting our hands. He also liked to bite the leash. And, when corrected he liked to reply with a protest bark.

We don't tolerate any of that behavior and have used whatever level of correction and repetition that is necessary to get him to stop.

Oh, save the lecture about physical corrections. It works. So, I don't want to hear it.

We correct. We don't punish. And, we certainly don't abuse. Still, he absolutely loves us.

LF
 

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Welcome to the club! That land shark-phenomenon startled and surprised me too. Time out worked well and sometimes I just grabbed him by his scruff if timeout was not available. He outgrew it and turned out great. When he is 6 months you'll see a different dog but it requires a lot of work. I think you have to earn a good shepherd.
Going crazy after tiring him out could be a sign of being over-stimulated (like kids sometimes get). When you crate him, he'll most likely goes to sleep to stock up on energy for the next shark attack. Enjoy your puppy, I sometimes miss my former sharky dog.
 

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I can't believe that a load of Gsd owners will say this behavior is ok and normal.
I can't believe that someone who does not have a GSD comes on here and questions the experience of the "load of" us who do.

.
 

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We also have an 11 week old. The way we have taught her not to bite is to gently grab her lips and put them over her teeth whenever she would bite us.( she would be biting herself and us) and telling her "don't bite!", withdrawing our hand and giving her a chew toy immediately! It only took a couple of repeats before she got the idea. When she moved to bite, we commanded, "Don't bite!" and she stopped herself. Then LOTS OF PRAISE!! Worked like a charm!
 

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I can't believe that someone who does not have a GSD comes on here and questions the experience of the "load of" us who do.
Sorry i just life with, bullmastiff mix, lab mix, 2 *terrier mix and gsd/malamute mix. And i walk and mind dogs for friends. What would i know about pack structure and discipline and obedience.

I know trainers/breeders who train for schutzhund with purely german working lines. I have also taken some courses with them and have been seriously researching the subject for the last 2 years. I know the good dogs should have this drive but i also know the seriousness it takes to train them properly. So many accept this biting and dominance from puppies. It's a disgrace. Can you picture the place a true GSD comes from and the upbringing they got. They were not biting there masters children. These people must have had a great knowledge to produce these great dogs but people buy them today without any real knowledge of dog behavior. My trainer used to joke about my friend with his gsd cross. He said he was 'like a learner driver driving a Porche'. I think there are a few amateurs here with pro dogs sorry Sunflower.
 
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