German Shepherds Forum banner

1 - 18 of 18 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Last Friday, my husband and I adopted a 1.5 to 2 year old GSD from the shelter. Someone dropped him off at a kill shelter and when his time was up, the shelter called a no kill shelter in the area and asked them to take him because he was such a good dog....and he IS...sometimes. He won't jump on the counters, even with food on them. He is housebroken. He sits nicely in the car. He goes into his crate at night to sleep and lays down with very little to no whining. HOWEVER....

he is 100% a GIANT puppy. He has NO IDEA how to play safely or stop escalating once engaged. He bites and jumps on us A LOT! We have tried to teach him how to fetch (we NEVER play tug with him) so he can run off some energy, but he is way more interested in biting our arms and hands and feet. We push him down and tell him NO and fold our arms and turn away. We walk away and/or we try to put a toy in his mouth to replace the arm/body part he is biting on, but usually he dismisses it and comes right back with a jump and bite. He WAS getting better about getting down and walking away when we turned and ignored him, but today he started being more persistent and will not get down once he jumps up. Turning and walking away is now making him grab on harder and he is now jumping and snapping at our clothes.

He has improved at coming on command, sitting for short periods and especially for treats, he will take treats "easy" now, when we are able to get him to sit and pet him with a soft "good, boy....easy" he will sometimes calm down, but it's temporary.

He does calm down more at night and allows the cats and older dog to come out with little arousal, but our days are filled with being on watch and telling him to "leave it" because he wants to play with them, too. He's big and intimidating and being hissed, growled and barked at often. He definitely backs off the animals with less redirection than when he first arrived, but it's a moment to moment struggle and we often sacrifice ourselves being bitten to get him to back off the other animals. In all honesty, they have tried to stay away from him more and usually wait until evening to attempt to come out. This has been a blessing because he has a bit more self control then...sometimes. I feel bad for them though...this was after all, their home.

We take him for 2 walks a day (which are awful to get to because the biting is ridiculous to get the harness on, but we can't leave it on because he bites at it and rubs all over the furniture to try to rub it off until he works himself into a craze which makes the jumping and biting at us worse...anyway...) when he returns from the walk, he will lay down for a bit, but only to recharge and come back with the same jumping, biting, and playfulness.

I do not think he is being aggressive. He has snapped at me twice for trying to take a toy he chewed up and for trying to take his treat toy,(which is another issue I need help with,) but I could clearly tell the difference between that aggressiveness and this persistence to play.

Being that he isn't a puppy, we know that he has lived a long time being "allowed" to behave this way and un-training him to re-train him is going to be a lot of work.

We signed up for formal obedience training, but it doesn't start until 8/15 and we need help now! We love this dog, but he is exhausting and we simply need help. If you have any suggestions, PLEASE let us know.

Thank you in advance!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,814 Posts
Definitely, 2 week shut down. Right now, it is just too much too soon. He needs some quiet time to acclimate.

Yes, he is a giant puppy. A puppy that was never taught boundaries. You need to be firmer with him. Keep him on a leash, so you have control. Also, do a search for 'Mind Games'. The techniques worked wonders with my shelter dog. The steps teach the dog to relax and help with resource guarding. Since you know he resource guards, never take from him. Always trade. You can call him away from the treat/toy, or use the leash to move him. Never reach in and take it.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
6,296 Posts
What cloud said^^^
Also a baby gate to separate him from the other animals so they can move freely and not feel oppressed.

Trade him something wonderful for whatever he has in his mouth.An irresistible treat.

Catch him laying calmly and reward him.Toss him a tiny treat and softly spoken Good Boy!

Nothing wrong with tug toys.Many dogs prefer a tug instead of a ball.He can learn to fetch the tug and bite that instead of your arms.Tugging can be a reward for obeying.

Inquire at the club you are enrolled in for ob class if a beginning class for older puppies would be a better fit to start with.

Thank you for rescuing this guy and please update as you go along!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
44 Posts
Oh darlin' I feel for you. Years ago, I was an animal cop and had a horrible habit of wanting to adopt all of the dogs in the shelter. I didn't, but I did adopt one that had been at the shelter since he was a pup. It took me almost a year to untrain and retrain that baby. It can be done. Lots of love and understanding. Reach out to your community there for help as well. It does get better! BTW, he was a biter too. When he does it, have a toy in hand at all times or near you - use it as a distraction, praise praise and more praise when he chooses to chew on the toy.


Good luck!!!!
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
106 Posts
Congratulations!
German Shepherds are wonderful companions, I wish you all the best! Dogs - are individuals, I advise you to start a Diary on him in order to figure out:
1. health issues
2. his temperament;
3. level of his drives;
Maybe, I have forgotten something?
Describing in words his reactions will help you a lot, analysing it on paper will provide you with reference if you wish to look back.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,319 Posts
How long have you had him? Obedience class will be good for him, but you need to be able to get him there. What kind of collar are you using? Does the shelter have a private trainer to consult with you? He has never had firm rules or training, so he made up his own rules. You need to teach him that he must behave and his current behaviors aren't going to be allowed anymore. Do you understand the 2 weeks shut down from the descriptions given?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,873 Posts
His behavior is pretty common and a reason people give up GSDs around this age.

Thing is, you need to address this issue head on. I had a buyer-return pup back because of this behavior, almost the exact same behavior. When I picked him up, first thing he did was try to jump up and get bitey. At that moment, I got very firm with him, I corrected him- not with prong or e-collar, but with my voice, my body language, my hands and body. He tried this one more time with me and never again. He is a social, sweet, real drivey dog thriving in a sport home now. Social butterfly of a dog, a bit confused on how to express frustration or excitement.

This was a 80 lb powerful male dog, I am not a large or especially powerful person- it's not about physical strength, it is about making it clear to the dog that biting will not be tolerated. I don't know how to describe it, some of it is instinctual, some is follow-through.

Two-week shut down? I will not argue with experts, but I have adopted three dogs as adults and never did a shut down and never had issues. A shut down might be a fine idea, but don't expect it to address the jumping and biting issue. It is probably why he is at the shelter.

I am far from a person who says "go find a trainer" but PLEASE, go find a trainer who know about German Shepherds. Maybe some people here have a recommendation. Work with the trainer to address this behavior now- before it becomes even more ingrained. I put zero faith in behaviorists. Find a trainer. This isn't an expensive "fix" but at this point it is an issues that needs to be addressed in the proper way.

If you were nearby, I could model and help you but this is one issue that I think is dangerous to address or advise on in an online forum.

I understand the dog is playing and totally agree- my pup was being super social and is super social with people and dogs- but the behavior simply can not continue.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,319 Posts
I didn't want to argue about two week shutdown, so I didn't say anything. I've never done one, but I agree with Muskeg. The only way to get a dog like that under control is to be able to handle him. I do use training collars, and with the fosters and rescues, the first thing I did was leash work with a prong. The dogs I was getting were anywhere from older puppies to seniors, so were already full grown and much stronger than I was. One was a car chaser. They had never been leash trained properly. The prong only allowed me to get them on the leash and get their attention, so I could start getting respect. I immediately worked on Sit, Down and Off, and then Watch Me. Every time the dog misbehaved, it had to sit and watch me. If it persisted, it had to lie down, and I stood on the leash with one foot, then shortened it so the dog had to stay down. When it was with me and we weren't working, the dog was tethered to a strong table next to me. I did NILIF which has some similarities to the shut down, but the way I did it, gives the dog some working time and a lot of exercise. If the dogs were tired, they were easier to work with.

I tried doing this on my own and with obedience when we kept a foster, but ended up having to use a private trainer because the dogs were better but still not completely under control.

If you don't know how to use a prong and want to use one, you need someone to show you. The purpose isn't to give strong corrections or drag the dog around, it's to communicate. The dog needs to know that old behaviors won't work. You want him to experience the right way to behavior and for it to become his choice. Now, jumping is his first and only choice. You can replace that with sitting or lying down as his first choice.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,814 Posts
I didn't want to argue about two week shutdown, so I didn't say anything. I've never done one, but I agree with Muskeg. The only way to get a dog like that under control is to be able to handle him. I do use training collars, and with the fosters and rescues, the first thing I did was leash work with a prong. The dogs I was getting were anywhere from older puppies to seniors, so were already full grown and much stronger than I was. One was a car chaser. They had never been leash trained properly. The prong only allowed me to get them on the leash and get their attention, so I could start getting respect. I immediately worked on Sit, Down and Off, and then Watch Me. Every time the dog misbehaved, it had to sit and watch me. If it persisted, it had to lie down, and I stood on the leash with one foot, then shortened it so the dog had to stay down. When it was with me and we weren't working, the dog was tethered to a strong table next to me. I did NILIF which has some similarities to the shut down, but the way I did it, gives the dog some working time and a lot of exercise. If the dogs were tired, they were easier to work with.

I tried doing this on my own and with obedience when we kept a foster, but ended up having to use a private trainer because the dogs were better but still not completely under control.

If you don't know how to use a prong and want to use one, you need someone to show you. The purpose isn't to give strong corrections or drag the dog around, it's to communicate. The dog needs to know that old behaviors won't work. You want him to experience the right way to behavior and for it to become his choice. Now, jumping is his first and only choice. You can replace that with sitting or lying down as his first choice.
That is similar to step 4 in Mind Games that I posted. It worked like a charm. Did it EVERY day. My dog will immediately flop on his side and relax, anywhere, anytime.

Here is Step 4

Mind Game #4: Patience!

Dogs that are overly pushy and dogs that are too fearful share one important personality trait: they tend to be impatient. They move, act and make decisions too quickly. Having your dog do a thirty minute down stay every day helps teach your dog how to be patient and just relax.
First teach your dog to do a down. Then put him on leash, have him do a down and run the leash under your own foot. Leave your dog enough slack to lie comfortably but not enough to be comfortable sitting or standing.
If your dog gets up, just stay quiet and keep pressure on the leash. Let your dog discover how to be comfortable. Your dog will eventually relax and just hang out.
If you do this regularly, your dog will start to relax sooner and sooner.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,319 Posts
That is similar to step 4 in Mind Games that I posted. It worked like a charm. Did it EVERY day. My dog will immediately flop on his side and relax, anywhere, anytime.

Here is Step 4

Mind Game #4: Patience!

Dogs that are overly pushy and dogs that are too fearful share one important personality trait: they tend to be impatient. They move, act and make decisions too quickly. Having your dog do a thirty minute down stay every day helps teach your dog how to be patient and just relax.
First teach your dog to do a down. Then put him on leash, have him do a down and run the leash under your own foot. Leave your dog enough slack to lie comfortably but not enough to be comfortable sitting or standing.
If your dog gets up, just stay quiet and keep pressure on the leash. Let your dog discover how to be comfortable. Your dog will eventually relax and just hang out.
If you do this regularly, your dog will start to relax sooner and sooner.
Thank you! I didn't read it yet. I will now. My puppy could use some Mind Games. He's not much of a problem, but I like to switch things up so he doesn't get bored.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
7,657 Posts
Last Friday, my husband and I adopted a 1.5 to 2 year old GSD from the shelter. Someone dropped him off at a kill shelter and when his time was up, the shelter called a no kill shelter in the area and asked them to take him because he was such a good dog....and he IS...sometimes. He won't jump on the counters, even with food on them. He is housebroken. He sits nicely in the car. He goes into his crate at night to sleep and lays down with very little to no whining. HOWEVER....

he is 100% a GIANT puppy. He has NO IDEA how to play safely or stop escalating once engaged. He bites and jumps on us A LOT! We have tried to teach him how to fetch (we NEVER play tug with him) so he can run off some energy, but he is way more interested in biting our arms and hands and feet. We push him down and tell him NO and fold our arms and turn away. We walk away and/or we try to put a toy in his mouth to replace the arm/body part he is biting on, but usually he dismisses it and comes right back with a jump and bite. He WAS getting better about getting down and walking away when we turned and ignored him, but today he started being more persistent and will not get down once he jumps up. Turning and walking away is now making him grab on harder and he is now jumping and snapping at our clothes.

He has improved at coming on command, sitting for short periods and especially for treats, he will take treats "easy" now, when we are able to get him to sit and pet him with a soft "good, boy....easy" he will sometimes calm down, but it's temporary.

He does calm down more at night and allows the cats and older dog to come out with little arousal, but our days are filled with being on watch and telling him to "leave it" because he wants to play with them, too. He's big and intimidating and being hissed, growled and barked at often. He definitely backs off the animals with less redirection than when he first arrived, but it's a moment to moment struggle and we often sacrifice ourselves being bitten to get him to back off the other animals. In all honesty, they have tried to stay away from him more and usually wait until evening to attempt to come out. This has been a blessing because he has a bit more self control then...sometimes. I feel bad for them though...this was after all, their home.

We take him for 2 walks a day (which are awful to get to because the biting is ridiculous to get the harness on, but we can't leave it on because he bites at it and rubs all over the furniture to try to rub it off until he works himself into a craze which makes the jumping and biting at us worse...anyway...) when he returns from the walk, he will lay down for a bit, but only to recharge and come back with the same jumping, biting, and playfulness.

I do not think he is being aggressive. He has snapped at me twice for trying to take a toy he chewed up and for trying to take his treat toy,(which is another issue I need help with,) but I could clearly tell the difference between that aggressiveness and this persistence to play.

Being that he isn't a puppy, we know that he has lived a long time being "allowed" to behave this way and un-training him to re-train him is going to be a lot of work.

We signed up for formal obedience training, but it doesn't start until 8/15 and we need help now! We love this dog, but he is exhausting and we simply need help. If you have any suggestions, PLEASE let us know.

Thank you in advance!
Ok ... I only pitched in when I saw "CloudPumps" advice. :)

But I have now read your post.
First signing up for the "Training Class" is fine and depending on what type of "Trainer" you've found ... they will recommend you "lose" the harness." But that's another tangent.

Sometimes less is more! Right now your house is just "another big kennel"with different people??" But it's not his "home" ... yet! :)

See the article "PumpCloud" suggested. The dog needs time to decompress and process his new situation! Right now your doing what "everybody/JQP" typically does ... there's your bed, there's the food and water, here's the couch and the remote control ... make yourself comfortable. I got "away with it a couple times ... and then I didn't!!!!! :surprise:

And now you seem to be discovering "issue after issue??" The good news is the dog is already "Crate Trained" and seems to know the basics?? Instead of taking those things for granted ... work with them.

Slow your roll, instead of giving him "opportunities" to "exhibit bad behavior??" Work with what he knows and use that to establish "Rules/Structure and Limitations."

Right now the other animals don't want to "associate" with him because they "understand" that you have "little" control of this new creature. He's got to much "energy" so there take... "let's just stay clear." When you get the dog to "dial it down," the other animals will be much more comfortable with him.

So ... Rules Structure and Limitations right now ... indoors the dog should be on "Lock Down" if you do the "I just got a rescue" thing that should be happening??

To be brief the only time this dog should be allowed to "Free Roam" is when he is being, "Exercised or Outdoors." Inside the house he should be in his "Crate" or in "Place" (more on that.)

The rest of the R/L/S thing is here:

http://www.germanshepherds.com/forum/7837361-post12.html

I used to think it was only for "Pack Issues" ie "fighting" but in retro spec ... it's kinda of a "Dog Behaving Badly" Protocol also.

And at least during the "two week shutdown," less sharing of "affection." Sit Stay Down etc and a "simple Pat" on the head and "Good Boy" are about it. To much affection sharing can "ramp a dog up and "create excitement" right "now" that's not what you want!

And it's for two weeks not for life. I'm not a "Pro" but the "over sharing of affection" .... is something I "stumbled" onto by accident! "Rocky and I had some "issues" and I was kinda ticked off at him, he most definitely was "not" a "Good Dog." So for awhile I "stopped, the sharing of affection" with him. That's another story but ... it "Worked out fine." :)

Get those parts alone right and when you go to your "Training Class" you won't have the "worst" dog there. :p


And finally the "Place Command" and "Sit on the Dog" details found here:

Fearful, Anxious or Flat Crazy "The Place CommanD - Boxer Forum : Boxer Breed Dog Forums

Place ... helps to "Train" "Calmness into a Dog" Train an "Off Switch." I would at least work on that during the "two week shutdown??" ... which may be in conflict with the 2 week deal?

But I'm pretty sure when the article was "written" they did not have "Training Calmness in mind??" And an "observation" I've made is that "Training Place" also seems to incorporate "Recall" at the same time. Multiple "Placemats" spaced apart and you "Call" the dog from "Place to Place."

So there is that and the one thing I would also do during the 2 week deal "is" "Sit on the Dog" for certain. It's the same goal "Train Calmness" except this time .... you say "nothing to the dog!"

So yes still the jumping and the poor leash manners?? My thoughts are that if the dog is giving less opportunity to "practice" that bad (behaviour jumping) with the dog in a better state of mind a "verbal marker" may stop it or the "drag Leash" he should have on can be used. When goes to "jump you step on the leash." In the links but (Drag leash short leash with no handle to caught up on furniture ... for use indoors ..take it off when he is in the Crate)

The "walking, thing" ...yeah that's a problem for you. You're actually handicapping yourself with the "harness." Ideally a simple correction "which would be a slight tug" sideways with a "Proper Tool" will stop that crap ... right now! But most likely understanding how to do that is why your going to a "Trainer." :)

Maybe ... the best "approach for now" is to minimize that "issuse??"
Just drive the dog to where ever and let him play?? And work on the leash thing with a trainer?? Not sure ...


But done with your dog in a new "frame of mind where he is "actually" willing to "listen" to you ...everything else will be easier! So ... I'll just take a pass on the walking thing ... :p

Of course there is also the first video clip here:
http://www.germanshepherds.com/forum/5296377-post8.html

That is as "basic" as it gets.

If you get "this" done ... you could have the best untrained dog in "Doggy School." :p

Welcome aboard and ask questions.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
7,657 Posts
One was a car chaser.
Curious of your approach with the "car chaser??" When I was ... 15?? Our "Basenji" used to chase or dad's car off to work ... yea I know .. it was the 60's.

My was getting fed up! And said if the does not stop that dog is outta here!!!!!:eek:

I thought and came up with a plan! Me in the back seat with a bucket of water and here comes Chip (uh ... the dog!) Yeah I nailed him with the water and it only took once! Make better choices dog ... message received! :)

These days I'd simply never given the "opportunity" to even consider doing that (car chasing???!)

But ... what "if" you get one that already does this?? And yes of course the "obvious" solution. But what did you do to stop it "then," hmm whenever then was?? Just curious??
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,319 Posts
Curious of your approach with the "car chaser??"
I didn't have the dog long enough. It was a rare hound breed and they had no other foster home, so I was the lucky one since I had extensive German Shepherd experience. Then they told me the breed was nothing like a GSD and put restrictions on me--the dog is a "sensitive breed," use nothing but PO methods, no choke chains. They didn't say no Prongs, so I got one out and put it on the dog, that gave me control. When we saw a car, I just ignored it, didn't react, didn't say anything.

If I had the dog for several months, I would have worked on focused attention to me and made that more important than anything else including chasing cars away. Also desensitized the dog to cars, so instead of seeing one or two on a walk they would be around hundreds every day. They can't chase 100 cars.

When I turned in an evaluation of the dog for the adoptive family, I suggested they either find an owner with a strong training background or place the dog in a rural area where cars would not be as much of a challenge as on city streets. This was not the dog's most serious problem. It was aggressive toward young men and teenagers, it had been abused, it would not pee outside. It was a mess. But because it was a rare breed that rarely landed in rescue, they had people lining up to adopt and found an excellent home. It worked out very well.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
14 Posts
My GSD is 10 months old and already 75 lbs. I'm only 100 lbs, so I've been having difficulties keeping him on a leash and not pulling me to the ground. I hired a trainer to come out to my house once a week (trainers train you how to train your dog)
Here are some excellent things I've learned:

Biting: anytime you're dog bites you (I'm assuming they're play bites) immediately rip your hand/foot away and Yelp like a dog once very loudly and stop playing for a couple minutes. This is how dogs communicate to each other and he will understand that he was playing too rough with you. Eventually he'll get the idea that biting means he hurts you and you won't play so he'll stop the habit all together.

Sit on the dog: if nothing else, this is the one thing you should practice with your dog that will completely change his manners. Put him on a leash, and sit in a chair on his leash making him lay next to you. Make him lay there for an hour (you can pay your bills/ watch tv/ read a book) but don't get up. It teaches the dog that sometimes there's nothing for him to do and he just has to sit and wait. Over time this will calm him down overall.

Being the alpha: my trainer made the light bulb switch on for me on this topic. Imagine you and you're dog both have charts. Since you met your dog, every time you make a decision for him, you get a tally mark on your side. When your dog makes a decision for himself, he gets a tally mark. Whoever has the most tallies is the alpha. That being said, put more tallies in your chart every day. A few examples:
Don't free feed him, give him a meal, and if he chooses not to eat, take it away until the next meal. If he doesn't eat the second meal I'd take him to the vet (free feeding is also ad because you can't tell they aren't eating)
Make the dog sit by the front door. Open it, but correct him if he gets up or tries to go out. Only let him get up and walk outside under your command. It may take a couple times, but GSDs are smart and learn quickly he'll soon sit on his own by the door without a command.

Burning energy: you'd be amazed at how tired your dog will be after a 30 minute to an hour training session (usually sessions this long is done with a trainer with breaks in between). When you get home play fetch for a while, then do a 10-15 minute training session. He'll be surprisingly pooped afterward.

I've been training with a chain style training collar-no prongs. The collar should have no tension on it unless you need to make a correction, which is a quick pop and release. This simulates how the mother corrects her puppies by biting their neck.

Hope this helps! I've only been with this trainer for two weeks and my puppy has gotten so much better.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
16,941 Posts
Being the alpha: my trainer made the light bulb switch on for me on this topic. Imagine you and you're dog both have charts. Since you met your dog, every time you make a decision for him, you get a tally mark on your side. When your dog makes a decision for himself, he gets a tally mark. Whoever has the most tallies is the alpha. That being said, put more tallies in your chart every day. A few examples:
I love this! Bang on!!
 
1 - 18 of 18 Posts
Top