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Hello all,
We got our pup Einstein when he was 9 weeks old. He is now 6 months. He is the second GSD I have owned so I know just how mouthy they can be! I thought we had nipped the problem (so to speak) right after he finished teething. The mouthing had almost completely stopped for a few weeks, but now it is back full force. Here is the behavior I am seeing:

1. He mouths hard all over me when he wants to play. I have trained him to "get a toy" instead of this behavior. He would go grab a toy and bring it to me to let me know what he wanted. It was working beautifully until recently. Now, when he is full of energy, he will jump on me and bite at me relentlessly. He seems to have completely forgotten his training and no amount of correction or redirection seems to work. Saying "OUCH!" when he mouths has only seemed to get him more wound up. Ending play time and walking away is difficult because he will continue to chase and lunge at me.

2. When I correct him for something (like chewing on a rug for example) he will bark at me and try to nip at me. I will correct him by very firmly telling him NO! and trying to redirect his chewing. He doesn't nip hard, but it's almost as if he is trying to see what he can get away with. I worry that some day he might push the envelop too far. I am afraid this is a dominance aggression issue.

3. He does this to me more than my husband. I am a teacher and have been home with him all summer. My husband on the other hand works 2 jobs in the summer and is rarely home. Despite the amount of time I spend with him, he listens to his daddy much better. I feel that he does not see me as a pack leader and I don't know why.

A little background info:
We walk AT LEAST 30 minutes a day. He has been getting plenty of ball play and exercise with me in the yard. We practice NILIF, he is crate trained, well socialized, and has been to puppy classes.

Any suggestions? Is this normal? Thanks!
 

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He sounds like a puppy who is pushy, but because he's allowed to be. I wouldn't worry about aggression. He sounds like he could be understimulated and bored... 30 mins a day is not nearly enough rigorous exercise for a dog this age (besides playing in the yard). How much training do you do daily? Mental exercise goes a long, long way! Think about taking more advanced obedience classes, or getting into a dog sport. If that's not an option, strive to train a few times a day at home... not just obedience, but tricks too- make it fun. Training with him will also help him to establish YOU as a leader, and build the bond between you too as well as his own confidence.
 

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Yes, completely normal. It is adolescence - a trying time. You have a good program just stick with it. Your gsd is testing his limits - just keep enforcing the rules. And he can get pretty worked up as your found out. For the mouthing and grabbing - grab his collar from the side and make him sit - this is not the time to say ouch - say firmly "sit, now!" - if he blows you off - pull back on the collar and insist he sit. When he does - then put your hand up in front of him palm up- say stay - slowly release - he will jump up again - again make him sit and stay- slowly back away - again insisting he hold the stay - when he is calm - then have him come to your for a reward. I would also play tug with him - a good struggle - let him take out the biting and mouthing on the tug - and let him win. That satisfies his prey drive and releases that pent up energy.
 

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Well when I say 30 minutes a day that was probably the bare minimum of walk time. They usually last about 45 to an hour. We were walking twice a day (30 to 45 min) but about a month ago our vet told us it was too much for a growing pup and was concerned it was hard on his joints. I agree he needs more and it is probably time to up the walks.

I feel that I might be getting stale with the tricks. We train for about 20 minutes at a time all throughout the day. We have run the gamut (sit, stay, down, dstay, sstay, leave it alone, fetch, catch, bring it, play dead, roll over, high five, shake (both paws), go to bed, give hugs, etc.. and he knows them all.
I am currently working in having him pick up and put away his toys.
He's getting it, but I am having hard time coming up with more ideas so any suggestions are welcome!

He is enrolled to start classes again in the fall and after that we want to look in to some agility classes as I think he would love them.
 

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Yes, completely normal. It is adolescence - a trying time. You have a good program just stick with it. Your gsd is testing his limits - just keep enforcing the rules. And he can get pretty worked up as your found out. For the mouthing and grabbing - grab his collar from the side and make him sit - this is not the time to say ouch - say firmly "sit, now!" - if he blows you off - pull back on the collar and insist he sit. When he does - then put your hand up in front of him palm up- say stay - slowly release - he will jump up again - again make him sit and stay- slowly back away - again insisting he hold the stay - when he is calm - then have him come to your for a reward. I would also play tug with him - a good struggle - let him take out the biting and mouthing on the tug - and let him win. That satisfies his prey drive and releases that pent up energy.
Thanks for the advice. We play tug nonstop, but I never really let him win. No wonder he keeps going!
 

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Well when I say 30 minutes a day that was probably the bare minimum of walk time. They usually last about 45 to an hour. We were walking twice a day (30 to 45 min) but about a month ago our vet told us it was too much for a growing pup and was concerned it was hard on his joints. I agree he needs more and it is probably time to up the walks.

I feel that I might be getting stale with the tricks. We train for about 20 minutes at a time all throughout the day. We have run the gamut (sit, stay, down, dstay, sstay, leave it alone, fetch, catch, bring it, play dead, roll over, high five, shake (both paws), go to bed, give hugs, etc.. and he knows them all.
I am currently working in having him pick up and put away his toys.
He's getting it, but I am having hard time coming up with more ideas so any suggestions are welcome!

He is enrolled to start classes again in the fall and after that we want to look in to some agility classes as I think he would love them.

Sounds like you guys are on a great track!! They're just obnoxious and pushy at this age in general. It's the doggy equivalent of the terrible twos. Firm but fair are key, but equally so is consistency... and knowing that this too shall pass, with enough of it :)

I'm on my phone so I can't post links, but google "101 tricks to teach your dog"... some of them are really great! They start with the basics as building blocks, but there are a lot of pretty advanced ones. I too ran out of ideas for tricks, lol.
 

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Thanks for the advice. We play tug nonstop, but I never really let him win. No wonder he keeps going!
Don't play with him if he initiates the play, wait till he goes away then you initiates the play. And also you need to let the dog win most of the time.
 

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Don't play with him if he initiates the play, wait till he goes away then you initiates the play. And also you need to let the dog win most of the time.
Good point! I use tug as a reward after an obedience session. It can even be short - a heeling walk around the block and then my Sting has to wait on the down/stay while I walk out in the backyard with the tugs (I use 2 tugs attached to leashes so it is like a fetch/tug game) - He can only charge after the tug when I give the okay.

Sure they need exercise, but also quiet times and to learn to unwind. Being all wound up is contributing to his antics . The Monks of New Skete in How to be Your Dog's Best Friend have a chapter on quiet time. When my Sting was that age, I would attach his leash and have him on the down/stay next to my chair while I read - I ignored him completely - but did give him his bear toy - and if he got up - I insisted he go back down - I started with 5 minutes and worked up to 30 minutes. He soon learned to take a nap. After the session, I released him from the down/stay and rewarded him.
 
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