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Hello! I'm sorry in advance if this is a repetitive post, I read through so many great articles and threads on this forum and thought someone could shed some light on my situation, as this is my first ever GSD (I grew up with a sweet adopted mutt and have helped raise my sisters adopted large mix breed puppies).

I have a large 13 1/2 week old male GSD puppy (29 pounds); I'm completely worried about his temperament. He is barking and showing teeth aggressively at being told no, shy's away from 80% of touch, lunges to bite the face (both when over excited and when trying to tell him no), and he is not learning any bite inhibition. He bit my 5 year old son last night leaving a puncture wound just shallow enough where I could get away without a stitch or two, but was definitely on the fence if it was worth an urgent care trip. The moment escalated as Mason (my child) was running from his bedroom to the kitchen for a snack. Is this normal shepherd, 'baby' behavior?

-Things I have tried: Redirecting with toys, 'timeouts', yelping (This method severely failed and he becomes much more aggressive), Walking away, clapping, shaking cans, having him focus on a command (sit usually) and allowing my hand/body to stay in his bite if the grip is soft. All methods have either worsened the behavior or made no difference. I have now taken him to two reputable trainers for consultations (I'm located in San Diego, CA, USA) but when I took him to the consultations, he was more shy to touch and not comfortable enough to exhibit any behaviors, so in return they told me 'he is fine and just needs basic puppy training'.

- We have him in basic puppy class, and currently knows Sit, Down and working on stay. He plays *pretty* well with the other puppies but will begin to become dominant after a few minutes of play. He is not resource guarding, I'm able to pick up his food and stand by him during his meals.

Lifestyle things to note: We live in a very high traffic, large city where my vet told me Parvo is highly concentrated because of our mild climate; for this reason, he has not had the proper exercise in his pre-vaccine stage that he will have soon (His last scheduled 5/1 shots will be this Friday- so he will get to go out fully in about a week).

I'm new at this behavior as I have only been around puppies who quickly learn bite inhibition and to play nice; this is the first time I have ever been worried over a puppy and if they are aggressive. I'm pretty disheartened at the moment and any advice, training ideas, similar backgrounds with success stories would be extremely helpful. Thank you!
 

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From your post, it seems to me that you have a high drive pupy which is a change for you, who I gathered is used to a low drive puppy. I also agree with you that lack of exercise for the puppy and lack of experience on your part are causing these difficulties. Just like a horse who would be acting up with a beginner rider, when an experienced rider gets on his back, all the antics cease, so it is not surprising that at the meeting with the trainer, he behaved very nicely. The incident with your child that is unfortunate but understandable. Your puppy saw your child running, the puppy's prey drive kicked in, and he charged and bit. This puppy is going to take alot of work on your part and management especially with your child. If you are committed to keeping him, I would suggest that you find a trainer who can come to your home and work with you on these issues.
 

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That's not aggression.As Mary Beth pointed out,you have a higher drive herding breed.His instinct is to chase and nip.I would not let him interact with your son unless they are both calm and still.Keep the puppy gated off in another room if possible until the puppy matures a bit and has more self control.Gsds are terrible landsharks until they are done teething!Redirection with toys will work if you animate the toy and make it fun for him.A frustrated owner yelling and hopping around in pain is much more interesting than a inanimate tossed ball:)
 

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If your son runs around the puppy, the dog will chase, herd and nip. It’s normal behavior. Until the dog is a little older, ask your son to walk in the house. It’s temporary. Follow the suggestions and work toward training him. If you are close enough to this one, visit the dog club, watch their training and talk to people there. You need a trainer who understands high drive German Shepherds. Any trainer who looked at your puppy and didn’t explain drive isn’t the right trainer for your dog.

https://www.facebook.com/San-Diego-Schutzhund-Club-147838161918137/
 

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Personally I do not think this is normal puppy behavior. Shy away from touch and interaction?? NOPE. Barking and aggressively showing teeth? At 14 weeks? This is not normal nor can the "high drive puppy" logic be applied.

Puppies should want to interact with you. Yes, they are land sharks but not aggressively so. It is easy for the really sharp teeth to cause a bad cut. Chasing a running toddler is normal. That's not abnormal. But the shying away and aggression is.

Have you talked to your breeder?
 

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Raising a GSD takes a lot of patience. The first 12 plus months can be tough.

Your attitude and controlling your emotions are important.

You have to be firm when saying no while maintaining a calm confident spirit.

Yelling no with a lot of emotion behind it will not help.
 

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There is no instant fix to the biting. Let me repeat, no instant fix to the biting. He is 14 weeks old. You've got a ways to go. Mine is 17 weeks old and I know he still got a ways to go. His siblings are the same way, bitey. My previous dog was the same. Most of the people in here...the same. The biting decreases significantly after he finishes the teething stage. Meanwhile all you can do is just keep doing the "redirections" and the "yelping and walking away." As to the biting of your child....not saying your child is at fault but he was running in front of the pup. The dog is a German Shepherd...a herding dog. His natural instincts kicked in. Btw, at that age, your pup should be on a leash at all times tied to you. If you can't watch him at all times, then in the crate he goes. They can get into all sorts of trouble at that age. Mine certainly does.
 

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Something I noticed: You said, "Redirecting with toys, 'timeouts', yelping, walking away, clapping, shaking cans, having him focus on a command, and allowing my hand/body to stay in his bite..." That's a whole lot of mixed messaging for a puppy who's been with you for (I assume) about five weeks.
 

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Whenever I hear, or read, somone say that they "try" to tell their puppy anything, I'm always inclined to suggest they get a trainer to help them. If at 14 wks you're trying to tell your puppy something that "doesn't work", you're not doing it, or viewing it, correctly and things will escalate from here! Work with someone that can teach you how to effectively communicate with your puppy. Once youve seen how easy it can be, you'll be sooo glad you did! And it really doesn't end up being as expensive as you might be envisioning. Please get some help with your puppy and get these issues under control now, while he's still little, it's easier than you think! And if you put it off, things can get way more difficult as the puppy grows!
 

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quote " I have tried: Redirecting with toys, 'timeouts', yelping (This method severely failed and he becomes much more aggressive), Walking away, clapping, shaking cans, having him focus on a command (sit usually) and allowing my hand/body to stay in his bite if the grip is soft. All methods have either worsened the behavior or made no difference.

I don't know when or where or why this "junk" advice came to be as it is counter productive and prolongs a behaviour that does not need to be .
The dog does not put his mouth on you. Period. You don't play along and let him softly hold your hand . You are not training a retriever to have a soft mouth on the waterfowl he is bring back. You are not the dogs toy.

dsit this discussion http://www.germanshepherds.com/forum/general-puppy-stuff/740162-aggression.html

the dog may or may not be high drive . He has energy but energy is not drive . He hasn't been worked or had that energy applied to something . Who knows the first time you try to work him he may show a totally different self .

the dog so far has too much freedom , . Some are good , others need structure and greater management .

the temperament doesn't sound all that great . If 80% of the time he doesn't like to be touched from you , then all the more reason to prevent avoidance , get the relationship on better and appropriate footing - now.

the trainer said this is fine?

your child is not a prey item , you are not a prey item or a toy.

get that dog onto a collar and leash and have him fixed to you as you are in the house doing your thing.

get basic manners walking on leash . No visits to other dogs . Strangers don't need to pat him . You decide
the direction , the speed, the distance . If the dog looks at you then you give him the good boy acknowledgment.
When you stop - the dog stops . He does not twirl around your legs or pull .

when you are at home and you can't have this intense attention to him then the pooch goes into the crate .

OR -- this dog is not the right one for you .

did you get him from a good breeder - is there a plan to the breeding ?
 

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Any trainer who is still advising the yelp method has never worked with any puppy with a drop of prey drive! Why is this drivel still being pushed? Every single puppy I have ever tried this on responded with pure predatory zeal.
Small children who shriek and bolt should not be near puppies learning to control themselves unless they are seated and quiet. Supervision is key.
Your puppy sounds energetic and maybe a bit much for you to handle, or at least handle alone.
My rules for new puppies are eyes on at all times or crated. That helps with house training but also with everything else.
Find a good trainer and watch your puppy.
 

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Find a good trainer. Someone in this forum can probably recommend someone in that area. I know a trainer in S. CA but I think she is closer to LA. I can check on that for you, she'd be really good and has a lot of experience.

A pup this age should be fairly open and friendly to strangers. And should not avoid touch by his owner, that is a bit of a red flag.

With a new pup, the rule is no teeth on me. Pretty simple. You have to enforce it and mean it in a way the dog understands. A GOOD trainer can help you with this. A bad trainer will try to use a spray bottle, or yelp, or redirect only. It's a real safety issue for the dog- a biting dog is not long for this world in most cases. It's far better to start now than later. And face lunging- well that would merit a firm, fair response from me that would make it unlikely a pup would try that again. That's just never, ever, something I want to see in a dog, any dog for any purpose.

But, don't try it at home yet. Go talk to a good trainer and get some hands-on guidance, and check in with your breeder as well.

Handler aggression that is unpredictable is not something you want to deal with in a full grown GSD. Get help now.
 

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Yes, yelping or saying "OW" loudly stimulates prey drive. That's why toys have squeakers in them...same idea!

Shake cans are garbage. A dog with good nerves will not be intimidated by the cans. I only use them to test a puppy's confidence. My 12 week old pup from good lines wanted to PLAY with the can!

When I was doing community nursing, I visited a family that used a can to intimidate their yappy lapdog. The dog only respected the can, NOT the owner! It totally ignored the owner's please to behave and be quiet until she picked up the can. then it ran and hid behind the sofa.

Get a trainer that understands German shepherds. The methods this one is using obviously aren't working.
 

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One thing that you said stuck out to me, because i had the same attitude from my pup and it worried me at first.. You said he "shows his teeth when he is told no"... My pup used to do the exact same thing.. When i would correct him, and point my finger at him and say no, he would snap at the air and "talk back" to me.. When mine was about the same age as yours, i made a similar post out of fear that he was showing aggression..

Some advice that i was given is to never point your finger at him, for whatever reason they dont like that... Sounded a little strange to me, but i quit doing that and that attitude stopped.. Mine is now 6 months, and is a great dog.. He is definitely a high prey drive dog that has weird quirks and things will still trigger his "drive".. But he isn't aggressive at all to people or other dogs..

Like you, i was used to Labs and Golden Retrievers... GSD's are a completely different experience as puppies, for me at least.. Not better or worse, just different.. Mine sleeps in my bed every night, but doesn't want attention or to be cuddled.. He is very independent, but loves being petted and/or massaged.. It took a little time for me to understand that my pup wasn't aggressive or dominant, just a much more driven and independent breed than what i was used to.. Good luck with your pup, and be patient!
 

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Oh, and another thing... Bite inhibition with my pup was a no go... It is never acceptable for him to put his teeth on me or anyone else.. Not that he bites to hurt, but when he is super excited, sometimes he looses his control.. So for me, it made sense to not teach inhibition, but rather teach him to NEVER PUT TEETH ON ME...
 

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I made a mistake. I was talking only about herding behavior, not anything else. I agree with the suggestions here. This dog is not a match for your family. I would either get a very good trainer and expect to make serious changes in my own interactions with the dog or return to the breeder.
 

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I feel like the yelping thing only works for very sensitive puppies... I did it with Gandalf and it worked. But now that he's an adult if I even sneeze he is like a concerned parent hovering over me. I think it was just in his nature to worry about hurting people. Not all puppies are going to respond like that or understand.
 

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a dog can be very hard and be very clear .

with the litters that I bred and raised there was no handler aggression -.

when my kids ran , the dogs ran beside them. When guests / new owners came with their chldren
to visit or socialize with the pups , and those kids ran , the pups ran beside them or a step behin

i
 
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