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Hi! This is my first post. I have a 12 week gs all white male named Zappa. He is the new love in my life :) He has been really great, caught on to potty training really fast, is pretty calm (for a puppy!), follows me and responds to "come", sits, and all that good stuff. However, he has a few traits that I am nervous about. If these are just because he is still such a baby please let me know and if not then how can I help him stop doing them!
He nips pretty hard. He will mostly bite our hands but also when he gets really excited he will bite our faces (mostly chin) pretty hard. This is freaking me out because he is going to be big very soon and I don't want him scaring or actually doing harm to someone. Right now my boyfriend and I will say "ouch!" pretty loudly and sternly and then stop playing with while giving him something else to chew on. I think he gets it and will stop for that play session but then will do it again later.
Along these same lines he is biting our kitten really hard! She is really young (ten months) and playful and at first loved playing with Zappa but he is now over twice her weight and will just pummel her to the ground and then bite her very hard. He is just playing but he doesn't understand it is hurting her. We have been very stern with this and pull him off and make him calm down by either rolling him over or just taking him out of the room and making him sit but he really won't stop doing this. It is like he doesn't even get what he is doing is wrong.
Then my last question is that he is very vocal around other dogs. He is great around new people, places, sounds but whenever he sees a dog, even one he knows, he will start barking at it. He isn't being mean but he isn't trying to play either. He will just run around the other dog about three feet away barking. He will eventually calm down and then play a little but he will do it again the next time the same dog enters the room (Zappa is our only dog, but our friends' dogs). I usually try to get him to sit and calm down but sometimes he won't listen.
Whew, sorry if this is overload but I am not having much luck with what I am doing. Also, I hate having to list all the bad things he is doing because he is an awesome pup :)
 

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We usually time out right away as soon as they do it and then roll them on to their backs and say no or stop in a strong voice.if they squirm to get up or try to get away do not let them until they give in and relax and that pretty much says you are the boss and enough is enough.showing teeth helps too.if you let them continue with the cat you'll end up with a cat with no tail or a dead one.dogs that realize your the alpha right away tend to be well behaved dogs and listen well.they will have a generally subdued manner most of the time and try to please you alot and give you lots of little licks.a dog thats always pushing the limits is testing his limits for pack status.never hit your dog for wrongs.the back thing really works.keep at it.
 

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Sound like most of the tings my puppy does as well except the barking she does to new humans as well, just a puppy thing. The thing that has worked best for nipping for me is when she does it I put my first finger and thumb around her muzzle (no pressure, just to close her mouth) and say NO firmly...only took a few tries and no I just need to look at her when she starts and she knows...

Good luck with your new pup, I'm sure you'll have tons of fun!
 

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I NEVER suggest alpha rolling. It's dangerous and can ruin your relationship your puppy. Your puppy will see you as a bully. No true alpha needs to constantly assert their alpha roll.

Everyone has their own preference on how to train but I really like this site as he has years of training under his belt;

Leerburg | Dog Training Directory
 

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Welcome to the board and love your new puppy!

These GSD's DO bite more than other puppies. But it is a PLAY behavior we want. So we don't really want to correct and stop it completely. Instead we need to teach them to play in a less painful way. We even have a permanent sticky cause this is so common http://www.germanshepherds.com/forum/puppy-behavior/85888-teaching-bite-inhibition.html

EXERCISE EXERCISE EXERCISE

When you find a way to really socialize and exercise your pup OUTSIDE the house, so many of the 'issues' you are currently seeing will just disappear. Puppy classes are a huge help as well as finding a safe place to have your pup tear around offleash.

 

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If you study pack behaviour its a natural course.when i was learning to become a zoologist my animal of choice to study in my course was the wolf.gsd's tend to have more wolf characteristics than most up with mals and huskys.you should only assert the back roll when it requires it and not use it for every little thing.only serious issues.generally aggression. Tell them no or whatever your command is and then make sure you use consistencey.if need be use the roll.why should the roll be dangerous though?well handled puppies should have this down pat from an early age and be confident and happy with the handler even with the roll in use.it doesn't hurt them just lets them know when they've pushed their limits to far and corrects them before they develope a bad habit.prevention is far better than correction after its learned.you should always be the alpha along with your kids and husband.it natural heiarchy and for the safety of the family that lives with the dog.but to each his own.and whatever works for one may not work for another.
 

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Welcome to the board and love your new puppy!

These GSD's DO bite more than other puppies. But it is a PLAY behavior we want. So we don't really want to correct and stop it completely. Instead we need to teach them to play in a less painful way. We even have a permanent sticky cause this is so common http://www.germanshepherds.com/forum/puppy-behavior/85888-teaching-bite-inhibition.html

EXERCISE EXERCISE EXERCISE

When you find a way to really socialize and exercise your pup OUTSIDE the house, so many of the 'issues' you are currently seeing will just disappear. Puppy classes are a huge help as well as finding a safe place to have your pup tear around offleash.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2oy_jwygiFA
SO cute watching the pup figure out the big log!
 

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If you study pack behaviour its a natural course.when i was learning to become a zoologist my animal of choice to study in my course was the wolf.gsd's tend to have more wolf characteristics than most up with mals and huskys.you should only assert the back roll when it requires it and not use it for every little thing.only serious issues.generally aggression. Tell them no or whatever your command is and then make sure you use consistencey.if need be use the roll.why should the roll be dangerous though?well handled puppies should have this down pat from an early age and be confident and happy with the handler even with the roll in use.it doesn't hurt them just lets them know when they've pushed their limits to far and corrects them before they develope a bad habit.prevention is far better than correction after its learned.you should always be the alpha along with your kids and husband.it natural heiarchy and for the safety of the family that lives with the dog.but to each his own.and whatever works for one may not work for another.
I disagree with the alpha advice above. My credentials are only 25 years of owning and training gsds and other dogs (including fosters and adopted dogs with serious behavioral issues). I used the alpha roll on my first dog b/c I didn't know any better. However, it was a really crappy way to train and made no sense at all to my dog. In fact, it made her think I was unfair and unpredictable--not a good way to establish leadership. Unlike what is written above, physically forcing your dog to roll onto their back can encourage, instead of discourage, aggression. It can destroy your dog's trust in you as a fair and consistent leader. This method of training is outdated and never made real sense.

Wolves don't actually roll other dogs on their backs. The dog who is rolling is submitting to the other dog so the rolling dog is actually offering the behavior to show that they are submissive. I have read and seen a lot of examples of the so-called "alpha roll" in dogs and in wolves and in every case the dog is voluntarily rolling themself. The other dog/wolf never grabs the other dog and forces then down and over.

Here is an example of one dog alpha rolling the other with a written explanation from a trainer:
K-9 Solutions Dog Training, Inc.: An alpha roll on video

And here's Dr. Patricia McConnell, who is a prof at UW-Madison in Zoology, talking about "dominance."

The Concept Formerly Described as “Dominance” TheOtherEndoftheLeash

The best way to discourage nipping and biting is to constantly redirect your dog to a desirable activity like chasing a ball or toy or chewing on a toy. I substitute my body part for a toy and praise like crazy when they take the toy. This method usually works pretty quickly and you will find that your puppy will start automatically grabbing a toy when excited.

My most recent example is Rafi. I adopted him at age 1.5 and he was wired for sound! When he would get excited he would leap straight into the air and snap in my face, or he would grab a hold of his leash and engage me in a game of tug while we walked down the sidewalk. I taught him to put toys in his mouth when he was excited and now he carries a toy with him everywhere in the house and a ball on every single walk. No more leaping and snapping and no more leash tug of war.
 
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