German Shepherds Forum banner

1 - 15 of 15 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
Discussion Starter #1


Matilda is roughly 12 weeks old, she's a craigslist dog and I was told she's GSD, not sure of the content but I know she is at least a mix of GSD and godknowswhat.

She's great! Super intelligent - easily the smartest dog I've ever had, absolutely loathes pottying in her crate or indoors, doesn't harass my cats, extremely receptive to correction and 'no', eager to please and not easily influenced by distractions when out in public - but there is one thing I'm not sure if I need to correct or ignore and this only started popping up after a week of having her; I've had her since she was 10 weeks even though I have reason to believe she may have been younger, as well as the vet putting her at 2 months old.

Air Snapping.

I never. In my life.. have had a dog who air snaps.. and once she found out air snapping makes a fun noise, she does it so frequently but only at times of excitement; going to the kitchen to get food, praise, etc. She doesn't display any sort of other dominant behavior, she's easily corrected so it doesn't necessarily concern me or raise any red flags right now but I also have never owned this breed and after reading up on silly little things this breed is known to do - she does all of them - I'll just take the lead from more seasoned shepherd owners on this one. I've owned primarily bully breeds up to this point in my life and I'm of the mindset an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and I just want to make sure I'm not jumping the gun here.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
251 Posts
Is she just snapping at air or is she snapping at flying bugs - flies???

My female chases/snaps at flies. She is insane about it, because of that we are looking into herding activities for her. Something that will challenge her mentally and use that chasing/herding tendencies to something more productive. It does not overwhelm her and she will still take corrections from us so I am not overly worried about it. She is a little thicker of a gal so the extra walking will not kill her ;)

Your pup just may need more mental stimulation, GSD's get bored because they are so intelligent
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,965 Posts
Air snapping is a defensive behavior, and before we ever correct a defense mechanism we need to figure out a root cause and correct or counter condition that. Example: dogs that growl when you touch certain spots, we don't correct the growl we counter condition so the dog loses negative association with touching that spot.
Basically you don't want to make your dog feel that it has no option but to bite.
That said, Shadow does this thing when she is excited that is basically a silent bark. She will huff and open and close her mouth rapidly, could easily be misconstrued as a snap but it isn't if you watch her body language. I corrected for nuisance barking and now she makes no noise but still moves her mouth.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
15,884 Posts
My soon to be 6 yo was really "good" at air snaps --- go to "work" and in certain instances, yup! Play outside, yup. It did not seem to be defensive - just enthusiasm. It diminished over time.



BTW one cute black pup there. Glad you found one another. 8 to 12 weeks is a good time to get a pup and I am glad that she's being good.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,265 Posts
It sounds more like an excited playful air snap. More then a behavioral airsnap. If she is constantly doing it it may be an obsessive thing. You will want to give her some instructions during those times of excitement and important she gets lots of mental stimulation that LRP mentioned .Max will occasionally air snap when playing fetch. He will get super excited and his playful air snap it is just a hurry up throw the ball I can’t wait to catch it that kind of thing out of excitement and playful.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,697 Posts
My dog would air snap virtually everytime I had her back up all through her puppyhood. As she's gotten older she's stopped mostly. I always took it to be playful excitement, but I can see where it's a little backtalk-y too (I know, new word of my own making...don't see it catching on any time soon LOL), so perhaps a little defensive. Either way it diminished with maturity on it's own, and was never threatening or aggressive in any way. Like barks and growls and nose pokes, it's communication, so I would never correct it!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
419 Posts
I never. In my life.. have had a dog who air snaps.. and once she found out air snapping makes a fun noise, she does it so frequently but only at times of excitement; going to the kitchen to get food, praise, etc. She doesn't display any sort of other dominant behavior, she's easily corrected so it doesn't necessarily concern me or raise any red flags right now but I also have never owned this breed and after reading up on silly little things this breed is known to do - she does all of them - I'll just take the lead from more seasoned shepherd owners on this one.
Congratulations on getting such a great dog.

The type of air snapping that you describe is not a behavioral problem. It is a medical problem. It does not need to be "corrected." It needs to be treated.

There's three main possibilities for this that the vets know of.

1. Obssessive-compulsive disorder.

2. Seizures (known as fly catching seizures).

3. Gastrointestinal disorders.

Useful info at:

http://reader.elsevier.com/reader/sd/pii/S1525505015005739?token=2D2DC4F4090DD8173BC3538A54573F2D20D12827C10646AB921D615FF5ADB4F8A65E432B075EAA8AB43AFA8FBC675638http://

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3500118/pdf/cvj_12_1279.pdf

We had a GSD that had fly snapping seizures that became so bad he couldn't sleep. The vet put him on phenobarbital and the fly snapping seizures stopped in two hours. After a week, we were able to taper him off the phenobarbital when we switched him to a lamb and rice kibble diet. That was the only sign of GI trouble he had. Apparently it had something to do with his gut biome and the lamb and rice kibble corrected his gut biome.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
2,334 Posts
Aaaaaaand - there's a difference between snapping and excited teeth clacking.

Some dogs "chatter"/clack their teeth when they're really excited. It's not defensive, aggressive, or anything along those lines.

If you can get a video and share it, you'll probably receive some more opinions. :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
836 Posts
My SIL’s Golden Retriever “air snaps” at us when she wants something. I put it in quotation marks because she’s hilarious. We tried to teach her to speak, but all she ever did was air snap with gentle “woofs” here and there. So that’s just what she does now.

She does it during agility when she’s excited, when we’re eating because she wants some, or when we’re playing because she’s having a blast. My GSD just full on barks instead... but the movement and motion is the exact same, lol.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,149 Posts
By your discription it sounds like excitement vs anything problematic. I have one that is 9 years old and has air snapped since she was a pup. If I pick up a ball, stick, or act as though I'm initiating play she will air snap repeatedly. She will hold whatever position I place her in without fail, but the mouth doesn't stop.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
By your discription it sounds like excitement vs anything problematic. I have one that is 9 years old and has air snapped since she was a pup. If I pick up a ball, stick, or act as though I'm initiating play she will air snap repeatedly. She will hold whatever position I place her in without fail, but the mouth doesn't stop.
Yeah, I'm 98% sure it's just excitement, because it's only during times when there's arousal but nothing for her to do - IE: Waiting on food, or wanting to play while we're hanging out on the couch.

My dog would air snap virtually everytime I had her back up all through her puppyhood. As she's gotten older she's stopped mostly. I always took it to be playful excitement, but I can see where it's a little backtalk-y too (I know, new word of my own making...don't see it catching on any time soon LOL), so perhaps a little defensive. Either way it diminished with maturity on it's own, and was never threatening or aggressive in any way. Like barks and growls and nose pokes, it's communication, so I would never correct it!
I was wondering if maturity would age it out, thanks!

It sounds more like an excited playful air snap. More then a behavioral airsnap. If she is constantly doing it it may be an obsessive thing. You will want to give her some instructions during those times of excitement and important she gets lots of mental stimulation that LRP mentioned .Max will occasionally air snap when playing fetch. He will get super excited and his playful air snap it is just a hurry up throw the ball I can’t wait to catch it that kind of thing out of excitement and playful.
Yeah, I don't believe it's aggression/dom at all. She tries to play with my cats but she's also very receptive to their body language and doesn't impose on them when they're very clearly not having any of her shenanigans. The only time she gets grouchy is when my 1yr old APBT tires her out but *insists* that she still plays.

Is she just snapping at air or is she snapping at flying bugs - flies???

My female chases/snaps at flies. She is insane about it, because of that we are looking into herding activities for her. Something that will challenge her mentally and use that chasing/herding tendencies to something more productive. It does not overwhelm her and she will still take corrections from us so I am not overly worried about it. She is a little thicker of a gal so the extra walking will not kill her ;)

Your pup just may need more mental stimulation, GSD's get bored because they are so intelligent
She definitely hunts bugs, but I can say with confidence there aren't flies around during these particular episodes I'm speaking on :D

----


So basically I just need to mentally stimulate her more. Perfect! We're forced to stay inside during most of the day right now - we live in Florida and it's HOT. I'll up frequency in her training sessions and buy her some more toys for her busy little mind :) Thanks y'all!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,235 Posts
My now 4 y/o went thru a phase of air snapping when I would pick up a toy to play with him. It was excitement....over arousal maybe. As soon as he did it, I'd "play dead"...drop the toy, stare at the ground, not respond in any way. It went away pretty fast.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,914 Posts
One of mine did it when she was excited, for her whole life. She was a very bitey little thing as a puppy, so we worked very hard to stop that. Instead of biting a hand, she learned to bite at the air. It became a form of expression.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,544 Posts
Congratulations on getting such a great dog.

The type of air snapping that you describe is not a behavioral problem. It is a medical problem. It does not need to be "corrected." It needs to be treated.

There's three main possibilities for this that the vets know of.

1. Obssessive-compulsive disorder.

2. Seizures (known as fly catching seizures).

3. Gastrointestinal disorders.

Useful info at:

http://reader.elsevier.com/reader/sd/pii/S1525505015005739?token=2D2DC4F4090DD8173BC3538A54573F2D20D12827C10646AB921D615FF5ADB4F8A65E432B075EAA8AB43AFA8FBC675638http://

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3500118/pdf/cvj_12_1279.pdf

We had a GSD that had fly snapping seizures that became so bad he couldn't sleep. The vet put him on phenobarbital and the fly snapping seizures stopped in two hours. After a week, we were able to taper him off the phenobarbital when we switched him to a lamb and rice kibble diet. That was the only sign of GI trouble he had. Apparently it had something to do with his gut biome and the lamb and rice kibble corrected his gut biome.
Just curious as to whether your dog ever had a reluctance to eat the food that he was intolerant to.
 
1 - 15 of 15 Posts
Top