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Discussion Starter #1
I know this has been discussed many times in numerous threads throughout the forum but was wondering if anyone had any additional suggestions or resources based on our current issue.

Our 11-week old GSD female (Juno) is a great girl at home 95% of the time. She's been a great girl 100% of the time outside the home (vet, friend's, children, other dogs at the vet...etc). We've had her 2 weeks.

Just like many other puppies, she has those few hours a day where she starts bouncing off the walls in play...which is great and a great time for play! However, her mouthing/biting gets pretty extreme and extremely painful. :) She ties this in with jumping and lunging forward and this quickly makes for painful, even dangerous play when she gets near our faces. She's broken skin a few times with punctures (hand, foot)...not due to how hard she was biting but rather due to how fast her jaw's coming down as she lunges. She is clearly playing but it is fairly extreme.

We continue with many forms of trying to re-direct her and although most do work in the immediate, there is no long-term impact yet (only been 2 weeks ). And sometimes getting to a toy (so we can get it in her mouth) is almost impossible and we have to literally get out of the room sometimes due to how quick her movements are when the biting starts and how truly painful it is. Again...she's not slamming her jaws together but it's hard enough to be REALLY painful really quick and many of the techniques just seem to amp her up.

We are: Re-directing her with toys and chew toys, Clearly saying No and showing our disapproval with a glare, turning our heads and putting our arms behind our backs and ignoring her, Leaving the room for 30 seconds to 2 minutes, Training "off" with the clicker and food in the hand...etc., Ensuring she gets lots of play time, exercise and training time. Sometimes we have to literally push her back because she is bounding so hard forward and this sometimes makes her slide to the ground but many times, of course, this just amps her up more as she sees that as a game probably. But we have to do it so we can protect ourselves (especially faces) until we get to a toy or out of the room (past the baby gate).

Again...this is an hour or so, twice a day, and the rest of the day she's a calm, obedient, great girl. The biting and lunging don't seem like aggression or dominance and it definitely is only during a time when she wants to play, even though once in a while there is some light vocalization. She gets her second shots next Saturday and then she'll finally be able to leave the yard for longer walks etc...so maybe that will have some impact but right now I'm not positive that any amount of additional exercise will do the trick and we, like many others, would really like to curb this and make her understand it is painful and therefore unacceptable on our skin (both the biting at that pressure/threshold and the lunging that accompanies it).

Any help you can offer would be most appreciated. We realize we may just need to deal with the behavior while we continue on with our current tactics. We would just like to make sure we're taking the right steps to curb it if we can and also to make sure she grows up a healthy girl without behavior issues.

Thanks!!
 

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Stosh is 7 mos and still does that quick lunge towards the face every once in a while, as you say, when he's really excited. Sounds like you're doing all the right things, have you tried the loud 'ouch' when she nips? That worked for a day or two with mine, it seemed to get them more excited. I have given them a quick pop under the chin so their jaws would shut quickly. Uschi would get so frustrated that she'd snap her teeth in the air at me! It's mostly going to take time, she's just getting started, but you have to be consistent as you know. My niece has a unique approach- she grabs onto a canine tooth and holds on, they hated that! The trainer also tried putting her thumb up against the roof of the mouth, but that involves having at least one finger inside their mouths which is exactly what I'm trying to avoid! Good luck and patience!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks, Yes, sorry, I didn't list that. We've also tried the "yelling ouch" approach and it has the exact opposite effect :) , it very quickly amps her up. We've also tried the thumb against the tongue...etc. as well...but nothing there either.
 

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We realize we may just need to deal with the behavior while we continue on with our current tactics. We would just like to make sure we're taking the right steps to curb it if we can and also to make sure she grows up a healthy girl without behavior issues.

Thanks!!
I think this is sort of where you are at. It sounds to me like you are doing everything right.

My only other thought would be that in those moments where she loses her brain...you give her a time out in the crate (being in the house is a privilege and there are standards of behavior that must be followed or you don't get to be part of the family) or take her outside to burn off the energy.
 

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Well you've gone through our repetoire. Just keep at it- we've all been through it and time is the best medicine.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks Stosh and JKlatsky! JKlatsky - We also just started the time-outs in her crate last night...which if course, by definition, works. :) I'm curious how folks feel about that in general. We didn't do it in a "punishing" way. After constant biting for a minute or so with no re-direction working, we simply picked her up in the middle of it and placed her in her crate for 15-20 minutes. We did not make it a big deal... as we do not want the to associate her crate with punishment because she's been excellent in her crate training so far but did have the need to end the behavior.

Have you seen this method work for you? Anyone else have thoughts on this method, whether it works, and whether there are negative repercussions?

Thanks!!
 

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Sounds just right! Stosh wasn't crazy about the crate so I gave him his most favorite treat only when he went in there. Naturally when it was a 'time out' I didn't give him one and he soon caught on that it was a cooling off period not a good night with a treat. Are you taking him to puppy class? He'll learn a lot about puppy biting there- how it feels and when another pup has had enough.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks Stosh. She starts puppy class in 2 weeks after she gets her second shots. I wish we could start her earlier but she has to have the 2nd shots first.
 

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Thanks Stosh and JKlatsky! JKlatsky - We also just started the time-outs in her crate last night...which if course, by definition, works. :) I'm curious how folks feel about that in general. We didn't do it in a "punishing" way. After constant biting for a minute or so with no re-direction working, we simply picked her up in the middle of it and placed her in her crate for 15-20 minutes. We did not make it a big deal... as we do not want the to associate her crate with punishment because she's been excellent in her crate training so far but did have the need to end the behavior.

Have you seen this method work for you? Anyone else have thoughts on this method, whether it works, and whether there are negative repercussions?

Thanks!!
I think you did it right. It's important that it be unemotional...because you're right. It's not a punishment per se. It's a chance to recollect your brain and think about how to function with the family.

I find that it works for me. In large part, because it keeps me from losing my temper with the puppy and helps to avoid worse issues I might create if I were to become angry and correct the puppy. This is more a management technique for my sanity, that reinforces what I am trying to do with the other techniques and gives me the time I need for those other techniques to work.
 

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Thanks JKlatsky. You summed it up exactly. It seemed to allow a bit of time for both ourselves and Juno to collect our thoughts. After 15 minutes we were able to get back into re-direct mode without that frustration built up and Juno seemed to have come back down a few notches as well. She was still extremely playful, but more appropriate, and our other re-direction techniques were now able to work because of that. Thanks again for the reinforcement in what we're trying to accomplish!!
 
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