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My 8 mo old male neutered shepherd nips and bites and it's getting worse. Here's what it looks like: Often when I'm walking he comes behind me and bites my butt and hands. It is more like an open mouthed lunge than a bits. He doesn't necessarily clamp down. However it can be painful with those sharp teeth. It is like he is being defiant and pkaying at same time. He KNOWS this is not acceptable behavior. I'm concerned because it's gettin worse not better. Yesterday my husband was cleanin somethin off the floor. Thor thought he was playing and did an open mouth lunge. His tooth hit my husbands eyebrow and made it bleed!!!

Here's what we've tried: pinch collar, muzzle shakes, ignoring (tough when he won't stop. Is ignoring appropriate for this?), negative experience of sticking fingers down throat, and wrapping hands around muzzle with firm "no", and redirecting him with a command and praising when obeyed.

Nothing seems to be making things better!!! Please help!!! Is this just a phase? I feel owned by my dog.


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if he knew it was not acceptable behavior he wouldn't do it:)

He's still young and sounds like a bratty teenager looking for attention..Any attention is better than no attention:)

one thing you haven't mentioned, how much physical exercise, out in the real world experience is he getting? Also you didn't mention obedience classes which are a great way to learn how to respond to unwanted behaviors ..
 

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Yes! I forgot to mention exercise. Yesterday when this was really bad. He had so much attention and exercise. We were outside with [email protected] all day. Plenty of fetch and attention all day long!!! That's what's so confusing to me. It's more than boredom.

As for obedience classes, I've read books and do research all the time. We live out in country. No training resources within a 100 miles.


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How about some chew bones, something to occupy the mind as well? He may just be as I said, teenage butt head stage. And then you can have ones who get soooo overstimulated they are like kids who are overtired and need a nap..Crate him for a bit when he gets over the top.
 

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In addition to the other advice: leash him inside and reward him for appropriate behavior so he learns to be a follower instead of an 8 month old brat. Tons of exercise alternated with crate time and last but not least: NILIFF treatment.
WD is also 8 months old. He just stood by me as I am writing this, nipping my jeans with his little teeth and looking for my response. He hasn't had a lot of exercise due to a sore foot.
I envision him as an old dog and I know I will miss today.
 

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He KNOWS this is not acceptable behavior.
How do you know he knows? I think Jakoda is probably right that he doesn't really know that he's acting inappropriately. After all, he is still doing it.

Have you done any work on impulse control? I like to make my dogs sit or down before I throw the ball for them, and jumping up and trying to grab toys out of my hand is a big no no. If you haven't already, impose some rules on your playtime.

Does he get attention when he's being bad? How about when he's NOT being bad? Often we're all over our dogs when they're doing something we don't like, which is reinforcing it with our attention. Obviously, we can't always ignore them when they're being bad, but if your dog is amped up and out of control sometimes the best thing is for you to do the opposite and be calm and still, waiting for him to wind down - show him that that's the way to "make" you interact with him.

And we often ignore the other side of the equation, which is to reinforce the kind of behavior that we DO want. It may not come naturally, but try to make a point of acknowledging him when he's being "good", and give him attention and praise for it, like if he's quietly playing or chewing a bone on his own.
 

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My 8 mo old male neutered shepherd nips and bites and it's getting worse. Here's what it looks like: Often when I'm walking he comes behind me and bites my butt and hands. It is more like an open mouthed lunge than a bits. He doesn't necessarily clamp down. However it can be painful with those sharp teeth. It is like he is being defiant and pkaying at same time. He KNOWS this is not acceptable behavior. I'm concerned because it's gettin worse not better. Yesterday my husband was cleanin somethin off the floor. Thor thought he was playing and did an open mouth lunge. His tooth hit my husbands eyebrow and made it bleed!!!

Here's what we've tried: pinch collar, muzzle shakes, ignoring (tough when he won't stop. Is ignoring appropriate for this?), negative experience of sticking fingers down throat, and wrapping hands around muzzle with firm "no", and redirecting him with a command and praising when obeyed.

Nothing seems to be making things better!!! Please help!!! Is this just a phase? I feel owned by my dog.


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Please stop these things. If things are as you say... and the dog feels in control, someone's going to get bitten. How much time EACH DAY do you spend training, walking, hiking, etc. this dog? What are you doing to stimulate his mind? How much time does he spend in a crate to have 'chill time'? Bored shepherds get into trouble. Punishing him with prong collars, grabbing his muzzle, etc. won't do much for you. He needs redirection into things that are fun for him to do to get his mind and body stimulated and tired.
 

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OP, I hate to say it, but all the rough attention he got from the mouthing probably reinforced it. Grabbing him, shoving your hand in his mouth, shaking him...those can be really fun times for physical dogs like GSD puppies. I'd get some bitter apple from the pet store and rub it on the exposed flesh to make him change his mind about how much fun it is to play with it. And a firm "NO", minus all the physical contact, every time.
 

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I can really relate. I have learned that the only thing that drains her is playing with other dogs. Also learning Appropriate tugging game. She will be calm and mellow for the rest of the day. Sasha now has great days and some bad days. She is nine months now and has greatly improved from the previous month. Good luck obedience classes, patience and play dates and of course off leash play.
A good dog is a tired dog


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Discussion Starter #10
Jakota, yes to everythin and positive attention.

Jag, Each day I'd say he gets an hour to 2 hours of exercise consisting of fetch, find the bone outside, and just plain runnin around outside. We live in country. He doesn't leave the yard. He is an indoor dog. We work full time during the week. So he stays in mud room with his kennel door open. This can be 8 hours a day 5 days a week. Sometimes less. Sometimes one of us comes home for lunch. I always have bones for him and chew toys. Some are always available (like his stuffed animals). Bones he has to work for. So when we are home we don't use the crate much as he has already been hangin in mud room for the day. Wish it wasn't this way but it is what it is.

So if everything I'm doing is wrong, what's right. Seems all even the days with lots of fun things and mental and physical stimulation don't change the biting and acting in control. So then what?
And of course he has good moments and days, but I'm nor as concerned about those..


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Well, I'd REALLY suggest a trainer... class of some sort. However, you said there's nothing within 100 miles. If I were in your shoes, I'd be driving it once a week. This guy, IMO, needs some clear direction, leadership, and consistency. Classes are a good way to get him out away from the house and you can learn new ways to deal with behaviors and train your dog. Plus, you'd have a trainer there to show you hands on how to properly use the prong and any other tools. I think your dog would like it. You may be able to learn how to teach tracking or something to give him more mental stimulation. Maybe your guy just really needs a job.
 

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I have a pup that loves to nibble groom, and lately, at 16 months, he's started doing something he's NEVER done before--when he gets into this LOVEY mood, --seriously-- he starts butt-tucking and comes to jump on me like he wants to hug me and starts nibble grooming my arms. THOSE PINCHES HURT, lol. I suspect this is because my work season finally ended and I've been at home all day long for this past week. He has his momma back! What I've done, is he has a really good "No bite!" (which started as an "OFF") and "OFF". All I have to do is say it once and he will stop. It took him a time or two, but he hasn't done it at all today. He kind of did this at the same age as your pup--not to the degree your pup is, but if I tried to grab him at ALL when he got excited and a little nippy, he would immediately go into the play bow and start butt-tucking around, because I WAS PLAYING!! :D Except I wasn't. I DID ignore him. I stood stock still and turned my back on him. I took a few nips to the butt but I lived. And now he is very well-behaved.

Some of this is maturity. Keep on being steady, but pick ONE way to handle it that is clear to the dog and stay the course.
 

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Why did you get a active breed like a GSD if you work these long hours and days? That dog goes crazy from boredom and acts out when you are home. Can't you arrange dog sitting if only for half days?
 

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Behavior like this should be extinguished very early in puppyhood. Now you have 8 months of reinforcement in the dogs mind and I really think you should go to a good trainer and let them tell you what to do to eliminate this quickly and effectively. Some of the advice you may receive on the Internet are populist methods that may require conveying the right message to the dog. If not executed correctly they do not eliminate the behavior effectively and then you have intermitten violations by the dog. Find a trainer and get explained to you how to eliminate this behavior BASED on what your dog is...jmo
 

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Why did you get a active breed like a GSD if you work these long hours and days? That dog goes crazy from boredom and acts out when you are home. Can't you arrange dog sitting if only for half days?
Really? 8 hours a day at work, with a break at lunch at times is not too long. Most people are away even longer hours than that, and the dogs are just fine, as long as they get the proper exercise and training.

Sounds to me like the OP is committed to their dog, so I don't think that it is appropriate to question their suitability to being GSD owners.

I second getting some outside input from an outside trainer - all the aversives that you have tried have not worked, and the pup should have outgrown these behaviours by now, so I'm with those that say that you are inadvertently rewarding him for trying to engage with you in this manner. Your timing for corrections may be off, or a number of other small, subtle behaviours and reactions from you could be what he is looking for, and thus as others have said, have been re-enforcing the behaviour instead of discouraging it.

Having someone else observe the interaction may be able to pick up on these dynamics and show you how to stop the cycle.

Personally I think you dog needs more mental stimulation - I can bike 10 km or hike throught the bush for 3 hours with my dog, and it doesn't seem to make much difference in his energy level, but a 15 - 20 minute session of obedience will get him pretty tired out.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Thanks for the advice. This morning was a terror. Here's to ignoring: he lunged, growled, and bit me front and back about 7 times while i ignored him completely then walked away. Second time, he did the same thing. I made no physical gestures, repeated NO every time he bit like a stuck record (this of course does not work). The third time, I completely ignored again


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Thanks for all the advice. I'll see what I can do about q trainer. Here's to ignoring: this morning was a terror. Getting worse. He lunged, growled, bit me about 7 times front and back while I completely ignored him then walked away. Second time, he did same thing as I was walking. I proceeded to make no physical gesture, and repeated NO like a stuck record. This did not work (I wont be doing that anymore). Third time he did same things. I again completely ignored and walked away... Really not awesome ignoring this...he's still doing it. But I'll keep trying this method for awhile -- that is if I don't go crazy first


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As for obedience classes, I've read books and do research all the time. We live out in country. No training resources within a 100 miles.
That's fine, but set aside 15 minutes every day to work on obedience, whether he needs it or not. Both of you will appreciate it. My dogs think it's fun games to play obedience in the backyard. I incorporate playing/fetching/tugging with obedience, or have food treats for the food lovers. Mental stimulation is so much more satisfying for this breed than just mindless exercise.
 
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