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Hi,

I have an 8 week old pup obtained from a reputable breeder and I have a question for any & all who can help regarding her behavior. This is my 3rd GSD so this isn't my first rodeo. Both my previous male shepherds were canine aggressive & my goal with this shepherd is to have a non-aggressive shepherd of any sort but I have a "hang up" when trying to recognize warning signs of potential future aggression and what is normal puppy behavior and what is not.

My current pup bites a heck of a lot & has drwn blood a couple of times. When I correct her by a light tap on the nose or even if I gently push her back and shake a finger at her (probably not a good idea as she may see that as quite a tempting thing to bite) or even if I do a high pitched "ouch!", she doesn't stop & often snaps back at my correction & has started to "grrr" & then barks in defiance(?)
She seems to be more like this after just getting out of her crate. When I walk her she is less likely to start biting after we get home or if I take her on an excursion like to Petsmart &we get home she is better & less likely to bite.

We have 2 other dogs who are good to her & she seems to really enjoy. She plays with them alot & bites them a lot but they are very tolerant of her bites (no growling or barking occurs during playtime) .

Also I had a spot shampooer running in order to clean up a couple of puppy accidents and she barked & growled at the machine when it was running...I told her no & gently pushed her back away from the machine but she continued. I turned of the machine and again told her no and she stopped. So should I not run the shampooer or vacuum around her or how do I break her of this? Is this behavior an indicator of future aggression and I need to intervene & correct her behavior or is she just being a normal puppy? I don't want to do anything that may lead her down the wrong road but I find myself losing my patience (& my cool) with the biting issue.
she really enjoyed going to Petsmart and often just stopped & watched the things that were going on in the store and in the parking lot. She even fell asleep in one of the aisles when I was looking at toys for her!! She is calm, definately not high strung. If anyone could help give me a clue as to what to watch for if she is getting aggressive & how to stop it from happening it would be great!!
 

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it sounds like you have a typical pup. your pup just may be a little more drivey than what you're used to. I would correct the behavior regarding the shampooer for sure because a bigger dog could cause some expensive damages on it. it also sounds like she isnt getting enough opportunity to vent all that puppy energy. I know when i brought Shasta home at 12 weeks old, her first week with us was a nightmare. she was crazy. One thing i've read on this forum to help with the biting, times outs are great. When she bites and starts snapping and growling, time out. NO coming out until she's calmed down and behaving. invest heavily in chew toys and things she can just shred to pieces like rawhide and such with supervision of course. Another thing, you fold her upper lip in between her teeth and hold down when they start biting saying NO! I've never tried it but i've heard it works nicely. Get into obedience classes as soon as you possibly can.
 

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She sounds like a little spitfire! And she sounds like a very normal little alligator...I mean german shepherd puppy. :crazy:

None of what you're seeing has anything to do with aggression. It's much more effective to redirect than to correct an 8 week old puppy. The growling, barking and biting you see when you correct her for biting is because she interprets your behavior as a move in the game she's trying to engage you in. You're getting her more amped up! At this stage she's just a tiny baby and knows nothing about proper behavior around humans. As far as she's concerned, you're a really large chew toy! ;)

My solution to the biting thing is always to carry a toy on me and substitute my arm, leg, hand or whatever for the toy. I call the toy a toy (or stuffie or whatever) and then pretty soon when the puppy tries to engage my pants leg in a game of tug I cheerfully say, "Go get your toy" and off the pup goes in search of the toy. Pretty soon after that when the pup gets really excited they search out the toy on their own and bring it to me to play tug, fetch, etc.

As for the vacuum cleaner--I would crate her while you're using it. Later on you can redirect her to something else but right now crating is easy and effective.

Two things from my own experience: my gsd Massie used to attack and try to kill the vacuum cleaner and I had to replace many a floor attachment during her lifetime. :rolleyes:

Rafi is a big growler. When he wants to play with me he grabs a ball or toy and starts bouncing up and down like a kangaroo and circling me while growling loudly. It's his play noise.

Try to relax and enjoy your pup. And keep asking questions! :thumbup:
 

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No you should NOT run a shampooer around her. Put her in her crate where she is safe, give her a bone to work on, and do the shampooer in the other room.

I really do not know if their is ANY detergent you can use on a carpet that is safe for puppies, but using and enzyme cleaner for stains and then keeping her away from the spot is ok.

Anyhow, everything you said sounds like normal puppy stuff. If she hid under the bed when you pulled out the vaccume, that would be a little more disturbing.

What you are doing with your hand, she is perceiving as play. Cut it out. Puppies growl and bark when they play with other puppies. And they bite. If you do not like the biting, remove your hands, say Eh, Gentle. She will get it, that you stop playing when she plays too rough.

About the other dogs, yes they should be good with her right now. She has a puppy license and they should pretty much let her do anything without much of a fuss for another month or two anyway. Even then they will be tolerant, but they may lay down some rules.

But letting them romp and play with her can lead to problems. If they accidently walk on her, they can hurt her pretty bad. I would keep the time that they play together, the less active type of play, where everyone is calm and relaxed. Not when they are go go going for a ball, etc.

Please do not let her walk around in PetsMart. Her set of puppy shots may not have kicked in yet, and even if they did, much of what is carried by the canine community has no vaccine. Puppies and elderly dogs are most susceptible to succombing to diseases. Your dog is not even certain to be protected from Parvo or distemper at this point. Wait until her second or even third set of shots to take her to such places.

The first shots -- usually done at the breeder at six to seven weeks of age, may not take any affect if she is still working under her mother's immune system. Vet's do not know when this wears off, varies from pup to pup, so they do a series of puppy shots. Your breeder should have told you NOT to take the dog anywhere there is a lot of canine traffic. No dog parks, No pet stores, not until at least two sets of shots probably three.

If you do not want your dog to become aggressive, do not play aggressively with her -- that teasy game where you waggle your finger in front of her -- don't do that. Instead, stop whatever play you are doing the moment she starts to become rough.

After her second set of shots get her started in puppy classes, once a week forever. Ok, not forever, but puppy class should start at 10 to 12 weeks of age and last six to eight weeks. After puppy class, sign up for a basic class, another six weeks, then an advanced class or repeat basic, another six weeks, then go for CGC, another six to eight weeks.

Plan on taking her to lots of classes. And also take her places, outside the drug store, to the play ground. Etc. The more places she goes the better.
 

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Selzer and BowWowMeow gave you great advice. The only thing I'd add would be that you make sure you spend plenty of time with just you and your new pup. There is a danger that the puppy will bond more with your other dogs than you. Maybe limit the free play between the three dogs to an hour a day?
 

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I'm very new to this but find that my 8 week old puppy gets feisty if I try to stop him from biting. Replacing my hand with a chew toy works way better.
 

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I'm very new to this but find that my 8 week old puppy gets feisty if I try to stop him from biting. Replacing my hand with a chew toy works way better.

I absolutely agree with this. I did this for my puppy and she will grab her toys now. She never bites on hands just her toys. Everytime your puppy goes to bite your hands put a toy in their mouth. It worked for my puppy.
 

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I'm very new to this but find that my 8 week old puppy gets feisty if I try to stop him from biting. Replacing my hand with a chew toy works way better.
Sarahsmith is brilliant! Do what she says and there's also more info on http://www.germanshepherds.com/forum/puppy-behavior/85888-teaching-bite-inhibition.html

Getting a good puppy from a great breeder who knows exactly what you want, and that you love the parent dogs and their temperment are key to the aggression issue.

THEN it's up to you to continue their good work for the next few YEARS! Tons and tons of socialization with tons of dogs/pups/people/cows/chickens whatever. Not just in your home but even more important out in the real world!

PUPPY CLASSES!!!!

EXERCISE!

Activites outside the house/yard/familiar area.

Von Stroman German Shepherd Puppy Primer, Part I

Puppy Development

Von Falconer K-9 Training - Articles / Puppiest 1st Night to 1st Year

Puppy Personality Development | Dog Star Daily
 

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Boy deetles98! That sure does sound like my Timber when he was 8 weeks and even now. To be honest, I never had a puppy act that way when I tried to correct them. So, this being my first GSD, the first time Timber did that little defiant snappy, jumpy bark at me, I was a little intimidated. I too was thinking "Great...he is trying to show me who's boss and he's going to end up being aggressive to me or one of my kids someday".
I too started off with the nose bopping with my finger and I also realized very quickly that, that just seemed to amp him up even more.
So, I started refocusing him with a toy. When that nippie play would begin, I would redirect him with a handy toy. Better to entertain his mouth with a toy than with my pant legs, ankles, hands or arms. ;)
Now that he is 4 and half months old and knows a little more about what I expect out of him, as soon as he starts biting I give a firm Ehh Ehh and if that doesnt stop him, now I can give a little nose bop and he understands that I said quit and I mean quit. So, he'll lick my hand or arm instead and I give him loving praises for that.
Let me just say....only now are we able to finally have some petting/love time without toothpick puppy teeth. Darn little sharks! But there are still a lot of nippy/bitey/barky moments. I just have hope and faith that by me being consistant, I will have a puppy who choses NOT to mouth any one of his pack. Only his toys or other doggie friends....like his girlfriend (boxer/bordercollie mix) Liz.

As far as the shampooer goes, I have an idea that will eventually work. But, not right away. As soon as you have some free time, teach your puppy the leave it command. There are some great videos on youtube and thats how I taught Timber.
Timber didnt like the first time I brought out the broom. I wanted to crate him while I swept but it was one of those moments where I realized that I didnt want to have to crate him everytime I brought the broom out. Eventually he would have to learn right?
So now that Timber knows the leave it command, I take the broom and stand with it next to Timber without moving it. I tell him leave it. I sit there for a few moments until I feel like he is calm. Then I may slightly move it or slightly pick it up and say leave it. If he tries to go for it, I start back at square one with the broom sitting and him calm. Always resort to square one when you see a negative reaction from your dog. Your goal is to desensitize your puppy from the object. Let them see that its not going to hurt them, you or anyone in the house and that it does indeed move and make noise.
Once you have your leave it command and your puppy is sitting there calmly with a slightly moving shampooer or whatever, then you can turn it on and start back at square one again. Each NEW action you take with the object, you should give your puppy time to adjust to the new thing its doing.
Does this make any sense? LOL Its getting late but Im trying to so hard to explain this the right way.
Good luck!
 

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If you do not want your dog to become aggressive, do not play aggressively with her -- that teasy game where you waggle your finger in front of her -- don't do that. Instead, stop whatever play you are doing the moment she starts to become rough.
So, is tug-o-war a bad idea to play with my puppy, who seems to be very similar to the puppy of this subject? I was trying to play with my puppy at his level of energy by trying to wear him down with this simple game, but now that you say this, I'm wondering if it's effective. I ask because he plays for quite a while, but eventually he turns his attention to body parts, especially chasing my kids onto the couch where they stay up in fear of the puppies razor teeth.

Also, I have a question in general, relating to this same subject. Our little guy does get a quite amped up as the original poster has stated about his/her puppy and I've resorted to letting him gnaw on his toy in the crate until he calms down. He does and usually falls asleep quite quickly. Is this a bad idea? Sometimes I feel like we do it as a 'pause' button, and it seems to work a bit, but as always, I have fear that we're doing damage long term. I doubt it, but that's why I'm asking now.
 

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There are different schools of thought about the tug game. People raising police dogs and schutzhund dogs encourage tug games and constantly let the puppy win win win, builds their confidence, uses energy, improves the bite maybe, and the puppies love it. Even there I probably would wait for adult teeth to come in.

But, most of us really do not need a dog that thinks it will win over humans all the time. I do not encourage people who want a pet to play tug with their puppy and young dogs, especially where their is kids.

Dogs can be taught to be careful around kids, and would not deliberately hurt them, but tug winds them up and gets them going so much, that they can literally go for the rope and get some finger. I have my dogs release a toy so I can throw it. I teach give and take it as commands.

I do not think tug will turn your dog into an evil dominant blood thirsty demon.

I guess I just do not like games that match our physical strength against the dogs.

The waggling of the finger, that to me is more like teasing the dog. I would probably want to bite it too.
 

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Thanks!

I just wanted to thank everyone for their help - I have taken in the suggestions as well as some from our trainer as we started puppy classes today. My little alligator was the loudest and most unsettled pup in class which was a suprise to me cuz she is not that loud or fidgety at home. All which goes to show it is a good thing I have in classes already so we can nip this in the bud -I can't imagine what she would be like if I I would have let training slide for awhile. I obviously need to get her out more often so she can get used to different situations. I know she can be a good dog. She is really smart and very observant .
 

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Let me just add that Timber just finished puppy class. And I, like you, believed it was such a good thing Timber was starting when he did. He was also one of the loudest in the class. And.........still is. So, dont think puppy class will fix that all together. Timber is constantly around other dogs, new environments, new surfaces, new experiences and new people. But, keep your hopes up. If you learn well in class and practice lots at home, then you will SEE a different dog by the time 6 weeks ends. But training for us anyway has just begun. We will be starting intermediate classes next week.
 

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IMO I do not think tug is bad. I have always taken turns in who wins the game. Sometimes its the pup and sometimes its me, however I do agree it is not a game for the kids. The pup will from time to time get a finger and can get ramped up, if this happens you just then redirect them to something else.

There is nothing wrong with putting your pup in the crate with a toy when they get to wild. It can be a good way to calm them and for you to have some peace!
 

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When I play tug, I always let my dogs win. I think they both need the confidence boost. I will tell Niko to drop it once in a while, while we are tugging, and he always does, so that's how I know the game has not gotten too intense for him. We also never play it for more than a couple minutes.
 

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Not sure if this is a bad thing to do or not but it does work for us. I put my hand on my dogs side and keep him laying on his side and say stop. He comes back to attack (meaning play bite) and I do it again. This seems to calm him down. While I can handle him, my 8 yr old daughter gets her hair pulled by him and can't divert him as well with a toy, so when he's getting REALLY feisty with her I hold him down a few seconds, a few times, saying STOP and he calms down.
If anyone thinks this is an OK or bad thing to do, I'd welcome the advice.
 

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The waggling of the finger, that to me is more like teasing the dog. I would probably want to bite it too.
yup, did that to my pup and he bit down hard... not sure how im going to curb his drive, but im running out of pants!!! LOL
 
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