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Okay, so if you've read any of my previous posts you know that we adopted a 4 month old GSD in December and that we've had a really difficult time training her. We were working with a local trainer, but we weren't too fond of her methods so we've been on the hunt for a new trainer. We are now working on getting her into Ivan Balabanov's program after a few suggestions from forum members but there is a long wait period. In the meantime, I'm working with her on my own but there are 2 behaviors that are driving me CRAZY... biting and jumping. She's always been quite mouthy, and I honestly believe part of the problem is the way her previous owner handled it. We won't go there... But we've worked on it consistently since adopting her with very little progress. Whenever she's excited, she jumps all over people (mostly me) and grabs at arms, feet, legs, or whatever else she can get her mouth on. I've recently been trying to turn my back to her until I cant get her into a calm enough state to sit but it's extremely frustrating. She also bites out of frustration when being forced to do something she doesn't want to. She's not a mean dog by any means, but she's now 8 months old and her bites HURT. Does anyone have any tips for breaking these habits?
 

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Maybe not the popular opinion, but i used an e-collar to stop my dog from jumping up on people.. I didnt shock him, just used the vibrate function.. Just to give him a touch sensation to go along with the verbal "no".. He quickly picked up on what i was correcting him for.. Another option was to leave a small section of leash attached to his collar so that you could step on it when they are almost ready to pounce.. But the e-collar worked for my pup.. I would recommend one..

Mine was a mouther too, but that passed with age.. 9 or 10 months was the last time i had any issue with that.. Mine is 1-1/2 now..
 

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In one of your last posts, you answered a members question about her drives, i.e. Food, ball etc. your reply was basically that she has food drive and ball drive but haven't played fetch much due to focusing on obedience and that your other dog doesn't allow it i.e. possessive of the ball?

Based on this, what are her outlets for fun and activity? Tug is a great outlet for the need to mouth, grab, shake and receive active interactive attention with their owner with something that is acceptable to mouth and bite. Same with ball play. I think if you know what drives her, you can utilize those drives to teach her what is allowed to do and what is absolutely unacceptable. Example, you have the ball, you show her you are ready to play, she gets amped and jumps, very firmly call "no, sit!" As soon as her butt hits that floor, toss the ball for her to chase or catch and praise the heck out of her. If she doesn't sit, help her/make her sit and then toss that ball and praise the heck out of her again. Get the ball, she even looks like she going to jump, stop her. Help her get in the sit. Before doing any fun obedience play with her, remove your older dog from the area, room or yard. This is yours and her alone time and should not be interrupted or disrupted no matter how much your older dog protests. If you feel bad about excluding you older one, then fit in some Alone playing time with him after.

Tug, or food, same deal. She wants it, she has to sit first, with your help if need be but she has to do it every single time. It is called NILF. (Nothing in life is free) and should be applied for anything she wants to do. It may sound harsh but if you do it in a positive manner, once they get it, something lights up in them. Life gets easier and more rewarding. It isn't confrontational if done right.

I'm a novice with only one GSD under my belt but he understands that doing what I command gets him what he wants and that one way or another he is going to comply first so that I can reward him.

don't turn your back on her as it leaves you unprotected even though she doesn't mean harm, her age and size can cause a knock down or other mishaps.

Take what I've offed that seems sound advice for you and or tweek the suggestions to fit what may best work for her until you are able to start with the trainer. I do know that Ivan has a couple of YouTube short clips of his training techniques and methods that are worth watching.
 

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Okay, so if you've read any of my previous posts you know that we adopted a 4 month old GSD in December and that we've had a really difficult time training her. We were working with a local trainer, but we weren't too fond of her methods so we've been on the hunt for a new trainer. We are now working on getting her into Ivan Balabanov's program after a few suggestions from forum members but there is a long wait period. In the meantime, I'm working with her on my own but there are 2 behaviors that are driving me CRAZY... biting and jumping. She's always been quite mouthy, and I honestly believe part of the problem is the way her previous owner handled it. We won't go there... But we've worked on it consistently since adopting her with very little progress. Whenever she's excited, she jumps all over people (mostly me) and grabs at arms, feet, legs, or whatever else she can get her mouth on. I've recently been trying to turn my back to her until I cant get her into a calm enough state to sit but it's extremely frustrating. She also bites out of frustration when being forced to do something she doesn't want to. She's not a mean dog by any means, but she's now 8 months old and her bites HURT. Does anyone have any tips for breaking these habits?
Pretty normal behavior. Different dogs, different schedules. Mine is almost 15 months. He likes to combine all the "bad" habits into one act. Zoomies, right into launching himself at me (the jumping), and in the middle of the jump - a bite. Up until yesterday, I thought his biting was all but gone. He was jumping at me and I gave my back to him and when I did that, he nipped me in my butt. Fun times. So don't get discouraged about the biting (and the jumping for that matter). There aren't instant fixes. It takes time. There are a lot of threads in these forums about the biting. You should spend some time and read them. As for the jumping, I also use an e collar for that. If you decide to use an ecollar, learn to use one properly. And, not everyone in here are fans of ecollars.
 

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I would say two things (and take my advice however you want)
1) She's still pretty young. These dogs bite. My one year old can be mouthy at times as well.
2) She's a working breed and wants something to do

As far as the jumping is concerned, I have always heard the ignoring is the best option. Just turn around. If she won't leave you alone, completely ignore her and walk away. It may be tough as you love the dog and want it to love you back, but if you react at all (one way or the other, really), the dog will respond. I was like you, for sure. It's frustrating when you have this wonderful dog who wants to be mischievous all the time. However, as the your GSD gets older, the behaviors will be less and less tolerable.

As far as biting, we had the best results by offering our do and alternative to biting hands and skin. Keep chewable toys (especially non-fluffy or non-shreddable) all over the place. Show her what is okay to chew on. It makes a huge difference.

Finally, to help with both behaviors, it would do you a lot of good to get your dog accustomed to fetching and bringing back a ball. Slow and steady. Most GSDs need some kind of job, and honestly for mine walking for two or three miles simply wasn't sufficient. Your dog is ball driven, which leads me to believe she can be taught to fetch fairly easily. I would recommend the two ball method. Get two identical chuckit balls. Have one ready to throw and the other hidden. What our guy would do is go get the first ball, come back, but he wouldn't want to drop it. We would basically show him the matching ball and a light would go off in his head "Oh! I want that ball now". Say "Drop it" and then mark the drop by throwing the other ball. It's amazing how well it works. Eventually what I did was show him the other ball, make him drop the ball in his mouth, and use a chuck it to pick up the ball he dropped. Now, about 90% of the time I don't need to throw the second ball.

I know that was a lot, but basically it comes down to this: Ignore, divert, and job. You love your dog now, but imagine how happy you'll be when she is a well-mannered athlete!
 

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Diversion, redirecting, and learning what "no" means can all help with biting. Patience, long pants/long sleeves, and a toy at the ready are all called for.


Jumping is different. I fix that one with a replacement behavior to ask for attention: come sit by me.


The first goal is to teach jumping won't get fun attention. The second goal is to have a dog that will run up and sit when it wants your attention.



My trainer teaches a "yielding" exercise for this, and then we connect it to a sit-stay. I've used this technique to break countless adolescent foster dogs of jumping (because it prevents them from being adopted in homes with young kids or seniors, I don't want to send them home with this behavior). It's gentle, painless, and requires no skill other than patience.



To practice it, wear long pants and long sleeves, and cross your arms so you don't have any attractive fingers to nip at.


  • Let the dog jump (don't invite it; just let it do what it always does by standing there as a target when it's in the mood to do this).
  • Shuffle your feet gently into the square of flooring that the dog just used as its launch pad, claiming the ground it's standing on. It will scamper away. No stomping, stepping on dog feet, etc.: gently slide your feet to move.
  • Let the dog jump from a different angle, and shuffle to claim that one too.
  • Repeat until the dog stops the episode of jumping (most dogs give up after 3-4 tries because giving up ground isn't "fun").
  • Finish by putting the dog in a sit-stay -- NOW give it attention and lavish praise (now we're showing the different behavior that will get the sought-after attention).
 

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My trainer teaches a "yielding" exercise for this, and then we connect it to a sit-stay. I've used this technique to break countless adolescent foster dogs of jumping (because it prevents them from being adopted in homes with young kids or seniors, I don't want to send them home with this behavior). It's gentle, painless, and requires no skill other than patience.



To practice it, wear long pants and long sleeves, and cross your arms so you don't have any attractive fingers to nip at.


  • Let the dog jump (don't invite it; just let it do what it always does by standing there as a target when it's in the mood to do this).
  • Shuffle your feet gently into the square of flooring that the dog just used as its launch pad, claiming the ground it's standing on. It will scamper away. No stomping, stepping on dog feet, etc.: gently slide your feet to move.
  • Let the dog jump from a different angle, and shuffle to claim that one too.
  • Repeat until the dog stops the episode of jumping (most dogs give up after 3-4 tries because giving up ground isn't "fun").
  • Finish by putting the dog in a sit-stay -- NOW give it attention and lavish praise (now we're showing the different behavior that will get the sought-after attention).
worked for me, I also made sure my body was straight and large and held with confidence. As soon as my pup moved back and put his little rump on the floor, I softened my body and voice. My face was never harsh even as I claimed his turf.
 

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Do you crate your dog? One thing that really helped slow down my dog's "exuberance" was teaching and *always* using a "wait" command when releasing him from the crate and when opening ANY door he was going to go through. It's about impulse control. A lot of simple but effective treats scattered when he exits and you sitting, and using "sit" as he approaches (after he cleans up the current treats). Use a really high value treat for the "sit" when he is learning that "sit" means he will get attention.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Maybe not the popular opinion, but i used an e-collar to stop my dog from jumping up on people.. I didnt shock him, just used the vibrate function.. Just to give him a touch sensation to go along with the verbal "no".. He quickly picked up on what i was correcting him for.. Another option was to leave a small section of leash attached to his collar so that you could step on it when they are almost ready to pounce.. But the e-collar worked for my pup.. I would recommend one..

Mine was a mouther too, but that passed with age.. 9 or 10 months was the last time i had any issue with that.. Mine is 1-1/2 now..
Thank you for the suggestions and encouragement! A few of the trainers we've met with have encouraged the use of an e-collar (on a low setting), but we're really hoping to be able to get the behaviors under control some other way.
 

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In one of your last posts, you answered a members question about her drives, i.e. Food, ball etc. your reply was basically that she has food drive and ball drive but haven't played fetch much due to focusing on obedience and that your other dog doesn't allow it i.e. possessive of the ball?

Based on this, what are her outlets for fun and activity? Tug is a great outlet for the need to mouth, grab, shake and receive active interactive attention with their owner with something that is acceptable to mouth and bite. Same with ball play. I think if you know what drives her, you can utilize those drives to teach her what is allowed to do and what is absolutely unacceptable. Example, you have the ball, you show her you are ready to play, she gets amped and jumps, very firmly call "no, sit!" As soon as her butt hits that floor, toss the ball for her to chase or catch and praise the heck out of her. If she doesn't sit, help her/make her sit and then toss that ball and praise the heck out of her again. Get the ball, she even looks like she going to jump, stop her. Help her get in the sit. Before doing any fun obedience play with her, remove your older dog from the area, room or yard. This is yours and her alone time and should not be interrupted or disrupted no matter how much your older dog protests. If you feel bad about excluding you older one, then fit in some Alone playing time with him after.

Tug, or food, same deal. She wants it, she has to sit first, with your help if need be but she has to do it every single time. It is called NILF. (Nothing in life is free) and should be applied for anything she wants to do. It may sound harsh but if you do it in a positive manner, once they get it, something lights up in them. Life gets easier and more rewarding. It isn't confrontational if done right.

I'm a novice with only one GSD under my belt but he understands that doing what I command gets him what he wants and that one way or another he is going to comply first so that I can reward him.

don't turn your back on her as it leaves you unprotected even though she doesn't mean harm, her age and size can cause a knock down or other mishaps.

Take what I've offed that seems sound advice for you and or tweek the suggestions to fit what may best work for her until you are able to start with the trainer. I do know that Ivan has a couple of YouTube short clips of his training techniques and methods that are worth watching.
Thanks for your input! After reading a lot of different threads on here and replies to my previous post, I began implementing separate "play" and/or "training" time for her multiple times a day. You're right though. I do feel bad because our older dog really enjoys fetch and playing like that but doesn't have the orthopedic health to do much of it at all. I'm trying to push those feelings aside and focus on giving him attention in other ways. But back to the puppy... She LOVES tug and fetches the tug toy really well. We're still working on fetching the ball because she seems to grow tired of it quickly and isn't great about bringing it back to me. These activities do help to expend energy in that moment, but overall I haven't seen a big improvement in her behavior. She's compliant when she thinks there are treats/food or toys involved but first thing in the morning, when I come in the front door, or we walk outside... It's pure madness trying to get her to calm down. And she jumps to put her feet on the counter all. the time.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Pretty normal behavior. Different dogs, different schedules. Mine is almost 15 months. He likes to combine all the "bad" habits into one act. Zoomies, right into launching himself at me (the jumping), and in the middle of the jump - a bite. Up until yesterday, I thought his biting was all but gone. He was jumping at me and I gave my back to him and when I did that, he nipped me in my butt. Fun times. So don't get discouraged about the biting (and the jumping for that matter). There aren't instant fixes. It takes time. There are a lot of threads in these forums about the biting. You should spend some time and read them. As for the jumping, I also use an e collar for that. If you decide to use an ecollar, learn to use one properly. And, not everyone in here are fans of ecollars.
Glad I'm not alone! LOL! When she's excited to see me (when we wake up or come home) she flies through the air, mouth wide open, to grab whatever she can. I have a new bruise every day from her shenanigans. We definitely aren't fans of the idea of using an e-collar, which is why I've been spending so much time reading forums, blogs, etc. to see if there are any tips we haven't already tried. Of course, the jumping and biting annoy me but I'm more concerned about breaking the habits so she doesn't annoy and/or unintentionally hurt any guests too.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I would say two things (and take my advice however you want)
1) She's still pretty young. These dogs bite. My one year old can be mouthy at times as well.
2) She's a working breed and wants something to do

As far as the jumping is concerned, I have always heard the ignoring is the best option. Just turn around. If she won't leave you alone, completely ignore her and walk away. It may be tough as you love the dog and want it to love you back, but if you react at all (one way or the other, really), the dog will respond. I was like you, for sure. It's frustrating when you have this wonderful dog who wants to be mischievous all the time. However, as the your GSD gets older, the behaviors will be less and less tolerable.

As far as biting, we had the best results by offering our do and alternative to biting hands and skin. Keep chewable toys (especially non-fluffy or non-shreddable) all over the place. Show her what is okay to chew on. It makes a huge difference.

Finally, to help with both behaviors, it would do you a lot of good to get your dog accustomed to fetching and bringing back a ball. Slow and steady. Most GSDs need some kind of job, and honestly for mine walking for two or three miles simply wasn't sufficient. Your dog is ball driven, which leads me to believe she can be taught to fetch fairly easily. I would recommend the two ball method. Get two identical chuckit balls. Have one ready to throw and the other hidden. What our guy would do is go get the first ball, come back, but he wouldn't want to drop it. We would basically show him the matching ball and a light would go off in his head "Oh! I want that ball now". Say "Drop it" and then mark the drop by throwing the other ball. It's amazing how well it works. Eventually what I did was show him the other ball, make him drop the ball in his mouth, and use a chuck it to pick up the ball he dropped. Now, about 90% of the time I don't need to throw the second ball.

I know that was a lot, but basically it comes down to this: Ignore, divert, and job. You love your dog now, but imagine how happy you'll be when she is a well-mannered athlete!
We are integrating all of these suggestions to some degree at the moment. I spend designated time each day walking her around the neighborhood, playing fetch, and tug. Two questions though, and I'm sure there are varied opinions on this... Since I've started trying to ignore her when she's excited and jumping/biting, she still jumps and bites either my clothes, butt, or back so ultimately she still ends up getting some sort of attention from it, whether good or bad. Should I abandon ship on this method? And like you, I had read and heard that if she bites I need to give her some other alternative so we have a ton of bones and chew toys that I will try to redirect her attention to. However, a trainer that I discussed the problem with while trying to find a new one to start sessions with told me I'm handling that incorrectly because I'm basically rewarding her for the bad behavior? I'm know every dog is different, but I've yet to figure out what really works for her.
 

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A prong collar is what worked best for me. My dogs had jumping problems, but not anymore. You can practice the correction without a prong on your own. Whenever your dog jumps on you, pull your knee up to your chest and tell her no. When she does it to someone else, with a prong on, correct the behavior physically with the prong and tell her no.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Diversion, redirecting, and learning what "no" means can all help with biting. Patience, long pants/long sleeves, and a toy at the ready are all called for.


Jumping is different. I fix that one with a replacement behavior to ask for attention: come sit by me.


The first goal is to teach jumping won't get fun attention. The second goal is to have a dog that will run up and sit when it wants your attention.



My trainer teaches a "yielding" exercise for this, and then we connect it to a sit-stay. I've used this technique to break countless adolescent foster dogs of jumping (because it prevents them from being adopted in homes with young kids or seniors, I don't want to send them home with this behavior). It's gentle, painless, and requires no skill other than patience.



To practice it, wear long pants and long sleeves, and cross your arms so you don't have any attractive fingers to nip at.


  • Let the dog jump (don't invite it; just let it do what it always does by standing there as a target when it's in the mood to do this).
  • Shuffle your feet gently into the square of flooring that the dog just used as its launch pad, claiming the ground it's standing on. It will scamper away. No stomping, stepping on dog feet, etc.: gently slide your feet to move.
  • Let the dog jump from a different angle, and shuffle to claim that one too.
  • Repeat until the dog stops the episode of jumping (most dogs give up after 3-4 tries because giving up ground isn't "fun").
  • Finish by putting the dog in a sit-stay -- NOW give it attention and lavish praise (now we're showing the different behavior that will get the sought-after attention).
This is a new suggestion! I mean... I guess our previous trainer was suggesting a similar technique, but we felt that the way she encouraged me to handle it was in an attempt to intimidate the puppy. For example, when she would start biting my feet or legs, the trainer would tell me to stand tall, say "no", and walk into her even if I really wanted to retreat. Those sort of intimidation methods are really what made us decide to stop using her.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
worked for me, I also made sure my body was straight and large and held with confidence. As soon as my pup moved back and put his little rump on the floor, I softened my body and voice. My face was never harsh even as I claimed his turf.
I could see how this would work. Our problem with doing it this way when the trainer suggested it is that she made it more confrontational/intimidating. The things she said were also contradictory though. She would tell me to try to have no feeling about it, but to stand tall and walk into her when she was going for my feet or legs. The way she would have me do it made our puppy seem scared which I didn't like.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Do you crate your dog? One thing that really helped slow down my dog's "exuberance" was teaching and *always* using a "wait" command when releasing him from the crate and when opening ANY door he was going to go through. It's about impulse control. A lot of simple but effective treats scattered when he exits and you sitting, and using "sit" as he approaches (after he cleans up the current treats). Use a really high value treat for the "sit" when he is learning that "sit" means he will get attention.
We do crate her at night, and I do have her "sit back" when she's about to be let out of the crate but once she's out you would think she's been locked in there forever by the way she acts. She really doesn't spend much time in the crate at all since one of us (either myself or my husband) is typically at home during the day. We were trying to have her spend more "quiet time" in the crate before for short periods throughout the day, but that seemed to make matters worse. She would spin constantly, pee in the crate, or bark. Just a few weeks ago, she even bent the bars on her new crate while we were at dinner with friends, which was just for an hour or two.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
A prong collar is what worked best for me. My dogs had jumping problems, but not anymore. You can practice the correction without a prong on your own. Whenever your dog jumps on you, pull your knee up to your chest and tell her no. When she does it to someone else, with a prong on, correct the behavior physically with the prong and tell her no.
I have seen one trainer use the knee method. I'm wondering if maybe I should be doing that instead of giving her my back.
 

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Over the ears I have determined that dogs are very self serving creatures. Generally speaking most behaviors are repeated because they gain the dog something. Once that gain is taken out of the equation the behavior dies a natural death. Very few of my dogs jump because I stop it before it starts.
In general dogs jump because they wish for attention, I don't pet jumping dogs. One of the quickest ways to stop the behavior is to walk in on them. I am neither careful nor aggressive, I simply move forward.
Let me clarify that, at no point do I allow my dog to dictate my actions. Not on leash, in a crate or in the house. If I am walking, I walk. If the dog gets pushed or stepped on that's not my problem. If I want to sit on the couch and the dog is in the way I say move then I sit down. If the dog gets sat on that's not my problem. If I come through the door and the dog rushes at me to jump I simply don't stop moving. I absolutely never walk in and rush to the crate. I announce my presence, put my crap away, change my clothes or whatever and then let them out. But I also don't muck around with the opening of the crate, I open it and walk away.
Jumping starts with tiny puppies and their moms. They continue with us and it makes sense. They are little and we are big. They want to get near our faces. That's a long way up. When dealing with puppies I get down to their level, I avoid the need to jump so very few of my older pups jump.

Full disclosure, most of my dogs hit me on recall. It's a product of the way I teach it and it doesn't bother me. I guess that could be called jumping on me. And Shadow hits me with her teeth a lot, because she has a bad heart and it makes her pant a lot and pretty wobbly and uncoordinated if she is running a lot. Figured someone would bring up past comments on me.
 
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