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Discussion Starter #1
Hello all,
I am sure you have received numerous threads about aggressive GSD, so I do apologize if you have read this type already.

My gf and I have a 4 month old GS Pup who although I know loves us, sometimes has random outbursts in which is bites at our legs, and randomly will bite our hands but at the same time bark or growl. He wags his tail in the process, but shows his teeth. We have numerous marks on our arms.

This only happens once or twice a day for about 20 minutes to an hour tops. Then he runs around the house like a mad man and passes out. He receives a numerous amount of exercise, plenty of play time and lots of walks.

Aside from the other 23 hours in the day, he is the best dog ever, listens to every command, loves to learn and loves to play.

We do not wrestle, play tug of war, or play rough with the dog.

I have had dogs in the past and even worked police K9. Never had this problem.

I have spoken to other GS owners of the same age group, who also say this happens to them.

I do not want to grab his scruff or place him on his back, for I heard this can be a negative response to him.

Please help, he is a great dog.



Anthony
NYC
 

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You have about another two months of this very normal behavior. Your best bet is to redirect him, never scruff or alpha roll him. You need to have a toy in hand at all times so when the little land shark gets close and starts reaching for you, you can shove a toy in his mouth. You will get chewed on as he is just a baby and that's how he's experiencing his world, just like a human child. He will out grow it so long as you can endure.
 

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As I write this we just had another outburst. I understand he is a puppy. Our deep "NO" or "OW!" has no effect on him. The vet told us to fill a pepsi can with pennies and shake it, and he is not phased by it. Currently he will not stop grabbing for her hands. Putting the toy in his mouth he drops it, and goes right back for the hands, legs and barking / crying. Took him out, repeats itself.

Very frustrating, but understand what comes with it.
 

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Normal play behaviour for a young dog! Called the zoomies. :) No reason at all why you can't play tug, and actually, when GSD puppies get bitey like that, the very best thing in the world is to engage them in play. Grab a tug toy and play tug. Have toys and tugs around the house close at hand so you are ready for him. Some people like to carry a small tug in their pockets all the time. Re-direct his biting to the tug. Don't just give him the tug and walk away, play with him, that is a lot more fun! Let him win lots so that he thinks this is the best game in the world, much better than biting at feet and hands.

It is a common belief that playing tug with a pup and letting him win will encourage aggression and dominance, but actually, it is the opposite. It gives the pup an appropriate outlet for his play-aggression. And a pup this age does not have real aggression, just a lot of energy and zoom. Eventually, after you have redirected a thousand times, pup learns to bring you a tug toy when he wants to play with you, and that is what you want.

Glad everything else is going great. And very glad that you have enough dog-instinct to know not to scruff him or punish him for being a bit wild! Punishing a pup for wanting to interact and play only confuses them. Up to us to teach them instead appropriate ways to play that won't cause deep scarring on our extremities. (I could show you MY hands!)

Something else you may have noticed, is that puppies this age can get over-tired and act bratty and out-of-control, like an over-tired two year old. I could tell there was a certain desperate intensity in my pup's play when it was due to being over-tired. Usually I would take him out a bit and let him chase a ball or a stick to give him a change of scene and let him calm down, then put him in his crate for a nap.

Your pup is just adorable, by the way, and you are lucky that he only goes into shark mode about once a day, with some pups, they are like that all the time! They usually outgrow the bitting around six months or so, when they are done teething. I think it is a developmental stage they have to go through. I got a rescue who was about a year old at the time, and I believe she was a tied dog all her young life, and never had much human interaction up 'till then. Well, she mouthed EVERYTHING!!! ALL THE TIME!!! It did eventually stop after MONTHS OF consistent and gentle dissuation, but it wal like a desperate need for her to make up for a puppy-hood she never had. So I believe, as do others, that it is important to let puppies play with biting and tugging, but the trick is to show them what to bite and what to tug.
 

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This is normal. My arms and legs were scratched up and bleeding for months and my boy ripped up every single pair of my pants while I was wearing them. There were days I found myself sitting on a chair with my legs up and my arms tucked in while the little beast circled looking for some body part to grab. They do get over it.

You might want to exercise your pup a lot more and do play tug and do play rough with him. Most people have no idea just how much exercise a puppy really needs and most puppies do not get anywhere near enough.
 

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I just saw your other post where he drops the tug. Make the tug active and atractive. Have a bit of a line on it, wave it around to get him to want to chase it. As soon as he grabs it, tug!!! Pretend it is all you can do to hold on to it, that he is too strong for you. Make a bit deal out of letting him win! He will Love it!!! If the tug is dead, or if you overpower him, he won't want to play anymore.

And if all else fails, another couple of months and the biting will taper down. Then those arms should have a chance to heal up good, LOL!
 

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I have a four month old GSD pup and he is doing the same thing except he has never growled at me. I make sure that when I go outside that I have a ball or other toy with me and play with him. I bought him knuckle bones so he has something to chew on when I am not home as he recently killed the garden hose and a sprinkler. I try to work him out everyday to burn off his excess energy and it's working. He gets his ball or toy so we can play fetch. I will be taking him to a local Shutzhund club to work on obedience and give him another outlet to expend his energy.
 

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I saw your pic and my GSD did the same thing to my daughter and wife. I forgot to mention that I play tug games to and let him chase and bite an old mop. If your GSD pup loves to play fetch use it and give him a workout. This has helped me a lot and its redirecting his play drive.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I really appreciate all of your replies. He is sleeping now. I kept putting the tug in his mouth over and over again. Tomorrow (prob same time) he will act up, I will try your advice on the rough play and the tug o war. I will allow him to be champ.

Cheers!!!

Anthony

 

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What are you using as a tug. So me we got a breakthrough when we changed up what type of tug we were using. We bought something like this originally.



Hw wanted nothing to do with it. We bought a fleecy cleans (he loves soft toys) and we can actually play tug with him now.



I know some people like using something like these.
 

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Welcome to the site and nice to hear there is another HEALTHY normal GSD puppy out there! ALL of us have arms like yours until we TEACH our puppy a new and less painful (for us) way to play.

You need to get tons of tug toys all over your house so he learns to PLAY in the new way we delicate humans need to do. :wub:

And your puppy classes, socialization and off leash hikes/tears in the woods will help.

Have you had a chance to read this sticky yet?

http://www.germanshepherds.com/forum/puppy-behavior/85888-teaching-bite-inhibition.html

:wild::wub::wild: Good luck!
 

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I didn't know that this was normal GSD behavior? :eek: My GSD never growled or bit at us and I can honestly swear on that. He never showed those signs. He also never chewed a single thing that he wasn't supposed to when he was little. Wow, I never knew how lucky I was until now! My goodness, he was a very good puppy!
 

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How come on almost every "dog site" they insist not to play rough, or play tug? If anything today he was a good dog and slept most of the day due to the rough playing. He also started to bite softer.
 

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We've all been there.Its normal. I would say all of what you heard already but add, sometimes it is ok - esp if he is just too over the top with excitement to play with the tug or take the offered chew toy...to, without any emotion or negative feedback, just take him to his crate with a good chewie or cookie and give BOTH of you a short time to settle down and regain your perspective. You will forgive that cutie for being such a shark and he will prob come out ready to play and be your buddy again for awhile. Trust us, it does get better... just takes awhile.
 

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How come on almost every "dog site" they insist not to play rough, or play tug? If anything today he was a good dog and slept most of the day due to the rough playing. He also started to bite softer.
Great news! Keep up the good work.......... it takes some time to teach them the new and painfree (for us) way to play. But so worth it in the end! ;)
 

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Sorry to say this OP....but at 9 months we STILL deal with this!
ALTHOUGH, it isn't as bad.

What we did is teach the "all done" command. We play and wrestle and tug with the toy and then say "all done". As soon as he stops and relaxes we treat. He doesn't need to sit, just relax. Wait for his body to show the signs. Tail goes down and his body is no longer tense.
The first couple times we had to endure and wait for it. And as soon as he gives we jackpot with hotdog (his favorite).
Now, when he hears "all done" he stops and waits for his treat. What I think this command does is snap his brain out of the "zoomies" mode.

And remember....a tired dog is a good dog. If Timber doesn't get enough exercise this issue comes up more frequently. I like to see him relaxed in the house and if he isn't then he needs to go for a run :)
 

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I have never had this problem with any of my GSD pupies ever, and I always played tug with them, also ran around with a rag for them to chase. Lots of ball toss too. So who ever says don't play with them tug etc I think is so wrong. I have had both showlines and working and one czeck working.
 

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How come on almost every "dog site" they insist not to play rough, or play tug? If anything today he was a good dog and slept most of the day due to the rough playing. He also started to bite softer.
from a great article on 'Pack Structure' in dogs: (sorry it's long but worth the read):

http://judyshealthcafe.com/articles/dogaggression.html

(not sure why the link isn't clickable)
 
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