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Hello all,

I am a fairly experienced dog handler, a long time vet tech and all around animal person. Growing up my cousin bred shepherds and my first "personal" dog at age 16 was an amazing german shepherd that I worked through basic AKC obedience, she was an amazing dog and in later years she became my moms dog, but raising her solidified my love for Shepherds. I recently felt ready for a puppy again and I just got my DDR/Czech working lines pup about a week ago, I sought out a breeder of working dogs cause I have always wanted to try out Schutzhund and have been going to a club with a friend of mine and her dog before I even got my pup, just to get exposed. I love my boy...though I had forgotten about the puppy "baby shark" stuff and it was nice to read many reminders here that it is all normal. But I am curious what you all think about some of his behaviors, especially since I want to do IPO stuff I am trying to keep everything positive and not really correct biting- but I am still new to this aspect of dog training so I could use some help. So he doesn't seem overly interested in toys so far, he is warming up to playing tug more daily, and he will bite and chew toys on his own but has little interest in playing with them with me. Most of the time he runs around from toy to toy, plays with them for a minute then runs off and grabs another, if I try to engage in flirt pole or bite rags he is usually pretty disinterested, he'll chase the flirt a bit but gets bored easily.

His FAVORITE thing to bite and play tug with is my arm sleeve, he will latch on and you would think he was already a fully trained IPO dog biting a sleeve! It is literally the only thing he will bite and actually engage in tug of war in with an intense energy, any of the toys he is not nearly as excited or committed. I try to redirect in these moments to a toy on hand but he has zero interest and I literally have to pry his mouth off to even attempt redirecting his bite onto it, then he seems to loose interest and tries to got right back to biting my arm or leg. Also, he will sometimes start humping while he has my arm. I usually remove his mouth from my arm gently and then stand up and ignore him after that behavior, but it still continues, and he doesn't seem to hump otherwise, just when biting me. Any ideas of a better way to redirect his bite? Am I doing damage to IPO prospects by prying his mouth off of me? Any suggestions on the humping? I really want to do this right and keep everything positive. I would love if I got that level of intensity and joy of biting/tug if it was on one of his toys! Otherwise he is doing great, makes beautiful eye contact and already knows to look at me to receive a reward. He is learning his markers well and potty training has been a breeze. He is crate trained and sleeps through the night with no crying, I wake him up to take him out as he doesn't even wake me to do so! He is mostly polite about waiting for his food and easily goes in his crate and preliminary leash walking is starting smoothly. Just curious what ya'll thoughts are on the biting and humping.

Any advice is really appreciated!

SIDE NOTE: My husband also has a shepherd puppy from this same breeder (completely different breeding and pedigree, and she is 5 months old). Long story about why he got her just before I got my pup...I had been planning getting a working line dog for years and reached out to the breeder months before I was ready, and when I asked my husband if he ever wanted one, that way we could plan who would get one first and give some time between the puppies, he told me he didn't want one yet but upon meeting the breeder to talk about getting MY boy decided he wanted to come home with one of her older female puppies (10 weeks at the time). I think the only reason she agreed to us getting two so close together (as she did say its not something she hardly ever allows!) was because of my experience and ability to manage them, (I am not working currently and literally devote all my time to managing them, and we have a house and an ADU and currently I am living in the ADU with my boy to give us time to bond before he gets too attached to my husbands dog. Also my husband takes his pup with him everywhere so we get lots of free time, separately. We are setting up a small farm and will have lots of barn structures and dog runs and areas to separate them when necessary i.e. heat cycles, etc.). The breeder and I also talked about prospects of breeding eventually IF they both title in IPO, have good temperaments, pass all their health checks, AND the breeder agrees its a good match and releases breeding rights....many ifs and I am not dead set on that, but like the POSSIBLE option as I grew up whelping and raising litters with my cousin, albeit all American Show lines so a little different. Trust me I lectured my husband about the whole two puppy at same time thing- but he and his girl bonded so well that he felt it was time, and I have to say overall they have a great relationship and he is doing the work with her and the two houses is allowing me to do the work with mine. We have been so impressed with his female's temperament and prey/bite drive. She has gone to Schutzhund club twice and rocked it and is responding really well to my husband training her and he is currently going to two classes with her weekly, one puppy socialization all happy positive class, and another that is a one on one class with a master trainer in protection/tracking/obedience work. So I feel like we are managing the two puppy thing fine, though I have had my fair share of freakout worries about it! We also have the breeders support and she has been super kind checking in on us and making sure we are doing well.

Thank you all for reading. Picture attached below of my boy.
 

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He is a baby.
A beautiful baby, I might add.
You seem to be doing well, so far. The attention span will get better as he gets older.
Biting, just redirect to something he should be biting, and praise like crazy. If he has an iron grip on you, stick your finger in his mouth between his teeth and push down on his tongue. Say, “ Aus.” As soon as he releases, praise like crazy and stuff his mouth with a toy.

As for the humping, ignore, redirect. He is a baby. They do all kinds of weird things.
 

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Thanks for replying. I am trying so hard to redirect but he seems to care less about the toys and will spit them out immediately and go straight back to my arm, or a blanket, anything he isn't supposed to play with. If he gets my arm sleeve or the blanket he will look so engaged and play so vigorously, I don't get anything close to that with any toy yet (and I have a lot I have tried) - I am still a bit worried and not sure how to proceed cause though I don't want to encourage arm biting it is literally the only thing I have gotten active engagement from out of him. He is hardly interested in me otherwise. He also seems to be super independent and doesn't show much excitement to see me when I get home or let him out of the crate. He is living with me in our own house, I am the only one who gives him treats, feeds him, and I keep other people from laying too much affection on him so it mainly comes from me, but if my husband walks in he wants nothing to do with me and is all about jumping on him. I am just a little worried that the dog I got wanting a super deep bond with to do a lot of work with may end up not being too interested in me. Am I really just being way too worried way too soon? Just trying to stay realistic.
 

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He is still very young, bonding with these dogs takes time. Remember, at nine weeks old, he really has only been aware of himself since he was about six weeks old, because before then, they don’t do much. I would buy myself a puppy bite sleeve and encourage him to go for that. If he goes for your arm, correct and put on the bite sleeve.
You could try a flirt pole with a piece of chamois on the end. If he likes blankets, designate one that is only his for playing and go to town with it.

Use a happy voice when interacting with him, and keep all interactions positive. Continue to do short training sessions, everything should be fun and adventurous at this stage.

In my experience with two of these dogs, they don’t really become super engaged and playful until they are about 11 weeks old. Until then, they are still learning how to be a dog and what playing is all about.
Here’s my Rolf at 10 weeks. Gotta love black GSDs!

PS— Yes, I also spend my time extricating (insert object he’s not supposed to have here) from his little jaws and replacing with toys.
They explore the world with their mouths, so this is their way of trying everything out. I just make sure I have, on me, something he can have.
 

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I don’t allow toys to be laying around. Toys are only brought out by me to start the engagement process. I want my pup to look at me as the one who starts the play time and ends it as well. Fun is with me no fun when ur off on your own. We play together throwing tugging interacting. I always have 2 toys to teach out in a positive way. I redirect any biting on skin and clothing.
I use the pups meal times for OB training.
I only leave nylabone type bones out for pup to chew.
 

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Is he on leash when he is biting your arm? You have no control over him without a leash and can't stop him biting you with a leash before it happens. You said he is part DDR and sounds like he has low prey drive which is not uncommon in dogs that come from DDR lines. Have you tried tying him out and working him on a tug? Even though he doesn't seem to have a lot of prey, and if you do decide to tie him out or have your husband work him with the tug while you hold the leash, I would beg him to bite by increasingly ratcheting up the prey movement in the tug. If you are not experienced with this, you are better off letting this training be done at the club you attend, but even then, you can get bad training at clubs. If he is part DDR, his dominant drive might be defense, in which case, you are better off waiting until he matures to start bite work. Keep in mind that today's schutzhund/IGP is designed for dogs with strong prey drive. You might consider another sport if there is one in your area such as working dogs of America. Another option is to get a very light puppy sleeve and let your husband work him on that. By light, I mean a very thin sleeve that is almost like a tight coat sleeve on your arm. But again, often no training is better than bad training. Using a leash will help keep him off your arm without it becoming a big deal.
 

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Thanks everyone for you’re replies. Sunflowers your pup is gorgeous! All black GSD’s are the best!

I am trying to stay positive. So for an update he is becoming a bit more engaged, he will sometimes play with me with toys but the only way he gets into it is by playing chase around the house, he chases me, I chase him, and then he will play a little with the toys but often seems to get bored and then launches straight for my arm with such intent, looks me dead in the eye and pounces. I got a puppy bite sleeve but it’s kind of thicker than I’d hoped and he will go for my arm around it. If on lead or outside he will not touch a toy with me, he’ll either lay down or walk away if outside.

His focus on me is good and we do lots of food work luring and focusing. What has me wondering now is maybe he is so independent that I need to completely restrict all his fun unless out with me. Up to this point I have let him have bones and chews when out with me in the house and he will happily play with those like toys by himself. If he is outside he will find a stick or old bone and do the same thing and totally ignore me. He seems to want to only play with my husbands dog, my older pit, and the cats. I have been allowing very limited play with my husbands dog, like 5 mins once a week- and otherwise they are separated at all times, I let him around the pit since she mostly ignores him, and the cats stand their ground and otherwise ignore him. But I get the feeling he is able to occupy himself too much with the bones and playing around the yard. I take him for walks in our fenced in orchard and he loves that and will play and romp and follow me around. But if I try to take him for a walk off property he acts frustrated, stressed, and angrily (definitely not in a play sort a way) bites at my legs and whines at me and tries to head back home. He will do the same thing in new environments when he seems to get overwhelmed or stressed. It is making it hard to socialize him since I don’t want to stress him, but the walks are hardly stressful in my mind (I have never seen a pup hate walks so much!), it’s just around the neighborhood block with few cars and people around and he doesn’t seem bothered by cars, just like he wants to head back home, and if he sees a dog or person he desperately wants to greet them.

So I am wondering if maybe I let too much freedom and “just being a puppy time” and I need to only let him out to play with me or go for walks on the leash or outings in town to socialize....this will be hard as he has lots of energy and letting him run in the orchard helps, but it’s like he thinks alone time with me is the most boring and worst thing ever!

I have been binge watching Michael Ellis videos and he talks about social isolation with independent dogs and dogs that need to learn to be more engaged, but I don’t know what age Michael would recommend doing that at, at only 10 weeks I don’t want to isolate him too much and make him anti-social.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
This is the link to the bite sleeve I got,

https://www.amazon.com/PET-ARTIST-Sleeves-Training-Malinois/dp/B07G74BSKP/ref=sr_1_4?crid=1V794AMA83WO1&keywords=puppy+bite+sleeve&qid=1573007019&sprefix=puppy+bite+sleeve,aps,209&sr=8-4

It looked thinner in pictures but is still quite thick. I am contemplating making one myself out of the sweatshirt sleeves that my puppy seems absolutely obsessed with, he goes after it even when I am not wearing it so was considering just sewing one myself and making it his for now. I love Ellis, just confused about some of his recommendations since he rarely mentions what ages to do certain things at, I feel like he usually is working older puppies in his videos so maybe I just need to wait a bit. I rarely play with him on a leash in my house since the one I am in right now is pretty small, I think I need to find a better indoor space to play with him in, one with less distractions than a home. He is getting more and more active daily and his biting of me has become more intense and he will play a bit with the toys then launch onto me, I am trying to redirect each time but it can be hard when they hurt you to not yelp out a no!
 

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That’s because you don’t work very young puppies, you just socialize them, teach them basic commands, and expose them to stuff. They have to be at least six months old before you can start any real work, and for now, just correct the gatoring, build a great bond with him, and enjoy him.

By the way, he’s super gorgeous, but I am super biased also LOL
 

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Thanks all for your thoughtful replies and help, we are doing better and I am just taking it easy with him and trying to bond.

To be clear I am not trying to work him yet like a older dog or begging him to bite, just trying to find things he likes to appropriately redirect the biting since he is determined to bite me I want him biting appropriate toys, he just refuses and launches back on me. I am in no way trying to encourage him to bite me or the sleeve, however when he does bite since I would like to try IPO I am trying to not correct him just redirect him onto a toy or the sleeve, its just hard since of the countless toys I have he doesn't seem interested in engaging with any of them when I redirect, that's my difficulty. I don't expect to be working him like a 6 month old, just want to be able to play with him a bit right now to develop a bond without it turning to him biting my arm each time. The videos I am referring to of Michael Ellis is less so his bite work stuff with puppies and more just him general engagement and motivation stuff.
 

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I have been there, with my first GSD. Preferred me to any toy I tried to offer. I don't know if it was his temperament or my inexperience. He stopped at 5 1/2 months, thankfully. A lot has to do with teething.
Hang in there. It does get better, and then you get to chuckle at new puppy owners who come here and rant about their land sharks.
 
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