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Boy do I need help,,, newbie

Hello all. I purchased my first GS puppy. I have had dogs before, mainly labs, poodles and dobermans. This is my first experience with a german shepherd. My pup is only 7.5 weeks old now. But I have a major problem. I KNOW puppies want to bite and chew everything in sight, I accept that, My problem is this puppy wants to bite down hard on everything, I can not stop her from biting the heck out of our hands, arms and feet. I have tried multiple things that I did with the other dogs and they all quit biting, this one does not want to learn it is bad to bite. And I mean she really bites down, I have had to even have stitches put in cause she bites so hard and then rips by shaking her head. When I try to punish her, she thinks it is a game OR else she gets mad back at me and starts growling and taking it further with harder bites. Everytime one tries to touch her, she comes at you snapping her jaws. I have fallen down over on top of her 3 times now because as we walk she is constantly attacking our feet. The sire and dam are both the most gentle dogs Ive seen. They are so sweet and harmless, what happened here? I have tried swatting her on the nose when she bites, I have held her mouth shut, I have held my thumb in her mouth and held her tongue down, I have used a water bottle to spay in her face when she bites, NOTHING works. Am I doing something wrong. I mean even if I get her settled down , when I go to just talk smoothly to her and pet her, she decides it is biting time. (Which I think is pretty normal for a pup) But she bites meanly and hard. If I survive her puppyhood, I will be doing good. I can handle this to a point but I have many small grandchildren and I am afraid of them getting hurt by her. Anyone got any ideas to help us out or do I have one stubborn dog? One more thing about her. I notices that although she will settle down eventually and lay with or by us, she will prefer to go to another room and lay by herself. Isnt that weird? I also want to stay that she does not just get the no word ,, I do try to praise her and give her more love and a treat when she does behave so she should understand the difference. She has alot of potential to be a great dog so I hate to give up on her already. But I cant risk my grandchildren getting hurt either nor do I want to go thru this with her for years. How can I stop her from biting us , hands, feet, face, what ever. Please anyone?
Leigh and Elise Ernsteina Helena (Her german name) Miss Lizzie for short.
 

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Re: Boy do I need help,,, newbie

Hi im kinda new too!
My puppy is about 5 months.. and she did that too during the first 2-3 months... the only thing i can say is be prepared! my dog bit me like crazy too.. the only thing i can say is don't get angry at her.. i think its natural.. im sure others will agree... put her in the kennel if no one is going to watch her.. and give her something to chew on... my puppy stopped that at around the 4month mark....

Don't give up..! wait it out.. it's still early! im new to the GSD game! ( not by choice either ) but i'm starting to get the hang of it!
 

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Re: Boy do I need help,,, newbie

OH I hope so , She could be a great dog and I really dont think she means to do this. I just dont think my hands can take anymore cuts and punctures. And those little teeth are like needles, Im sure you know. you say not by choice. How did that come to be?
 

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Re: Boy do I need help,,, newbie

Have you tried yelping LOUDLY when she bites? I'm thinking this might help as its much the same as what happens with her littermates when she was with them. Also as soon as she lets go I would try to give her something that is acceptable to bite on.
Unfortunately, their mouth is one of the few ways they have of exploring their new world. It will take time but I'm sure she'll learn other ways.
 

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Re: Boy do I need help,,, newbie

I didn't purchase the dog, my pops is a dummy and bought it for a stupid reason, can't train it.. I'm left with the task to train the dog, fell in love with the puppy, and now im taking care of the dog. That's my story in short.

But i remember when he brought her in at 7 weeks old.. She was a total nightmare.. biting everything in sight!

the kennel is the best thing at this stage from my observation, that and giving her an alternative to chew on... other then your hands


Shes teethin, and will take a few months.. maybe weeks.. maybe others will chime in here and share their experiences.. i am pretty new too. i can tell how my experiences went up until 5 months lol
 

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Re: Boy do I need help,,, newbie

Originally Posted By: shilohsmomHave you tried yelping LOUDLY when she bites? I'm thinking this might help as its much the same as what happens with her littermates when she was with them. Also as soon as she lets go I would try to give her something that is acceptable to bite on.
Unfortunately, their mouth is one of the few ways they have of exploring their new world. It will take time but I'm sure she'll learn other ways.
I havent tried yelping, but I have tried growling and barking back at her which scared her and she ran off. also, Yes, I do always give her something else acceptable to chew on once I get her released off my body parts. I have so many different types with various textures that should help any chewing need but she will take them for a couple of min. and then come back looking for blood. LOL . I think that if it is not warm and wiggly, she doesnt like it. and any ideas of why she is such a loner? Thank you , please keep all advice coming.
Leigh
 

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Re: Boy do I need help,,, newbie

How long have you had the pup? If shes only 7.5 weeks now, I'm thinking maybe since 7 weeks? I think pups learn so much from their littermates between 5-8 weeks and one of those things they learn is bite inhabition (I think thats what you call it-I''m really tired right now) but since your little girl didn't get this extra time with her littermates she now has to learn it from you. Let me go back and read some more what you wrote and I'll write again.
 

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Re: Boy do I need help,,, newbie

Jesse did the same to us when he was 8 weeks to 12 weeks, was my husband's only complaint, I kept telling him, don't worry it is puppy, yelping at him didn't work, we tried other things too only thing that worked over all was when he bit done on me I flip his inside cheeks in so he ended up biting them instead, Jesse stopped biting us 100 percent once he learned it caused him pain instead. He has been the best puppy to raise and have had no real complaints once the biting on us ended. We also gave him a toy to replace and praised him well when he was chewing what he was suppose to. Even if we found him chewing a toy out of the blue we told him what a good boy he was. This made the teething stage go great. Also when we were home with Jesse up to 4 months, if we couldn't watch him 100 percent he was in his cage otherwise he was on leash attached to me.
 

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Re: Boy do I need help,,, newbie

I am surprised a 7 1/2 week old puppy needs to be swatted, squirted, mouth held shut, thumb held in mouth, tongue held down.

I am sorry, but dogs give puppies a puppy license until they are four to five months old. They put up with just about anything. I do not think you should. However, physical punishment of a baby is a bit extreme in my opinion.

What I would do, is yelp loudly, stand up and completely ignore the puppy. Stop the game. With puppies, if you do not punish harshly enough, they think it is a game and they will play rougher. I do not advocating physically punishing a puppy.

If yelping does not work, you can say eh! or Ah! and immediately put the puppy in its x-pen or puppy safe room, hopefully not its crate because that should not be used for punishment. What littermates will do when a puppy plays too hard is they will yelp, but if that doesn't work, they will not play with the offensive puppy. So place the puppy where it will be safe and ignore it. When you come back, praise good behavior, use a high cheary voice. When the biting starts EH! and game over.

Pretty soon the puppy will figure out that you will not play or pay attention to him if he is biting.

You also have to have chewables for your pup. It will be teething and it needs an appropriate outlet for those teeth. I would leave this in the puppy's safe place. But I would not hand it to the pup after having bitten hard. If it is biting because of teething, when you set him down in his safe place he will find his chewy think, knuckle bone maybe and go to town, but it shouldn't appear to be a reward for biting.

This puppy is still mighty young and new to your home. It takes some adjustment. Its first impression of you should not be someone who is angry and punishing. So try to be calm, even if you need stitches. Ignore bad behavior and praise good behavior. And get this puppy into a puppy kindergarten or puppy head start class right away.

Expect to be in and out of training classes for at least a year. A good trainer will have plenty of options in how to manage behaviors. You have to kind of size them up. You know your puppy better than anything and deep down you will know if the trainer is telling you something harmful. This first class should be very focussed on positive reinforcement.

If you are calm and consistant with your puppy, by the time he can do serious damage to people, he should be a calm adult. If you are overly harsh, punishing, or get angry easily, then this pup is better off back with the breeder. If you are inconsistant, or your method of correction can be perceived by the puppy as rough play, your puppy will likely hurt your grandchildren, by playing roughly.

I think you need to stop the game. If the pup continues to chew on your pant legs, legs, shoes, feet, you will need to pick him up and put him in his safe place (not crate) where he does not have access to your chewable parts.

I am a little surprised a pup this age wants to go off by itself. That is very independent behavior I think. The independent pup in the litter is often one of the more difficult pups to train. They are usually great working dog partners. But you really have to be committed to working with the dog. Other people here may have a better take on that. I would expect a pup this age to be a little more attached to you.

Now is the time, before you get more attached to this dog, to take it back to the breeder if that is possible. If it is not possible, get it into training right away. I am afraid that this pup might not be the best match for you and for what you are looking for. Can he work out? Probably. But it really depends on your behavior and commitment.

Another thing you need to work on right away is GENTLE. You do this with treats. Show the treat to the dog and put it in you fist and say "GENTLE." If the dog attack your fist, No, Gentle. when he is not biting, but sniffing, open your fist so that your had is palm up with the treat. Normally the dog will not bite you they will take the treat out of an open hand much easier than when you have your fingers on the treat and are offering your dog a treat w/fingers -- bonus! IF the pup is NOT gentle, no treat. He should get it pretty quick that if he takes the treat nicely or GENTLY he gets it. When he is really good at this, and every time your are saying "Gentle" you can then use this word for other things, like grand children GENTLE with the baby.

The dogs are smart, but 7 week old puppies are babies. They remeber your lack of control much more than commands and what they got goodies for. Their attention span is really short so training has to be two or three minutes at a time. Use the words Easy, Gentle to remind the puppy that you do not want to be mauled.

Good luck with the pup. Keep your kool. Get into training.
 

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Re: Boy do I need help,,, newbie

Ok, I re-read your post....sorry like I said, I'm a bit tired at the moment
First, I don't think she will be like this forever-she'll learn. Right now you have a very young puppy and again, she's exploring her world in part with her mouth. I am still interested in how old she was when you got her for the reason's I stated in my earlier post.
At this point when she bites I would YELP (like a puppy would), perhaps replace your hand with something acceptable to bite one and then move away. Perhaps if she sees that her biting is causing you to stop being right there with her, she might stop some of the behavior. She's still young though. Be careful with how your teaching her to play too! Don't play tug games and things like that that encourage pulling, biting down, etc. She won't be able to tell the difference between a tug toy and your hand.
I've had many pups and each time I forget how scratched up I get from all the bites. Whatever you do, don't blink-because before you know it she will be all grown up and that special time called puppyhood will be over. Enjoy it as much as you can!
Best of luck with your new baby!
 

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Re: Boy do I need help,,, newbie

the puppy-safe room should be separated by a baby gate, not by closing the door. That is important.
 

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Re: Boy do I need help,,, newbie

Some pups are little gators!

I think taking her from dam and litter so young gave her less opportunity to be taught by Mom.

You've tried a lot of good approaches, but the one thing pups can't stand is to be ignored.

Try walking out when pup does this.

Also, give it time. They do outgrow it.

Don't scare puppy or engage.

As for your Grans... best to have a crate and crate pup when she gets rowdy. Children often just excite a pup too.

Exercise... play with a ball, a tug toy or some such. Tired pup = good pup.
 

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Re: Boy do I need help,,, newbie

What zyp in particular is emphasizing is called NILIF or Nothing In Life Is Free. Bill campbell in his book the New Better Behavior for Dogs gives a good description of how to implement it.

In the mean time, have you considered welder's gloves?
 

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Re: Boy do I need help,,, newbie

Distract. Distract. Distract. If the puppy (the baby really) is about to bite you, distract him with a rubbery type of toy that he can sink his teeth into before he can get his teeth into you and then tell him what a good boy he is. You'll have to have toys ready for distracting him, but diverting his attention will stop him from biting you because his attention span is so short - ie. hi will forget that he was biting you.
He's not a mean dog because he bites. He's a baby (that probably should have stayed with his mother until he was eight weeks old) and he's practising puppy behaviour.
Also, it's a good idea to have a rubbery toy in the freezer that will be so cold that it will numb his gums and stop the teething pain for a while. I don't know about the choking factor with small pieces of ice, so I won't recommend this, but anything cold will help him through the pain.
As my puppy got older and teething was not the huge problem that it seemed at one time to be, he would often still bite at my hand or tear up something like papers. It finally dawned on me that his behaviour was meant to distract himself because he needed to go to the bathroom and I, obviously, wasn't smart wnough to figure that out. He would do anything to stop from peeing or pooping in the house, even at a very early age. I had to decipher his 'language'.
It's important to try and understand the behaviour from the puppy's point of view.
Good luck with your new baby and have fun with him - the time of puppyhood will pass all too quickly even though it doesn't seem like it now.
 

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Re: Boy do I need help,,, newbie

My pup is almost 12 weeks old and a little terror with her teeth. She bites us as much as she can.

My 5 year old does much better with her than anyone else. She yelps (shrilly) when Marley bites her and Marley immediately sits back and looks at her in a startled way. My DD will then ignore Marley and go somewhere that Marley can't go. (We have baby gates separating rooms. Now the rest of the family has started to use her "training method" and it does work. If she bites, she gets left alone to look at us thru the gate. She settles down in a few minutes and we let her join us again but the minute she bites, she is banished again. I will tell you that 8 weeks to 10 weeks was a terrible time. Bloody marks on everyone but it is getting better.

I would not worry that she is going to grow up to hurt the kids. Make sure they are directly supervised when playing with Miss Lizzie. That way you can yelp for them as soon as you see the teeth come out. I also would make sure they have long sleeves and long pants on until she is better with the biting.

I do agree that Marley is much better behaved when she has a nice walk in the morning and the evening. I also try to play with her (fetch, sits, down, roll over, shake, find it, etc.) at least 4 times a day for about 15 minutes each time. She is in puppy kindergarten which is helping her too as she gets to interact with other puppies there. I make sure we take a trip once a day too just so she can meet people somewhere.

Good luck and keep working with her. She will get it with patience and practice.
 

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Re: Boy do I need help,,, newbie

I never had much success with redirecting to something else but consistantly did it. I also did the yelp. Sometimes it would get so bad though that all I could do was jump up on the couch and tuck my feet in. I didn't realize it at the time, but what I was doing was ending the game, ignoring him. Like someone else said, puppies cannot stand to be ignored. Don't make eye contact when ignoring.
Chatham came around pretty quick when I started ignoring. Fortunately for me, he learned not to bite before he got big enough to get up on the couch.
 

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Re: Boy do I need help,,, newbie

Just wanted to mention something about the grandkids...

I'd plan to heavily supervise any playtime between them and your puppy until the puppy outgrows the chewies. Our puppy is 6 months old and she's still a chomper but she's finally stopped biting down as hard (she used to draw blood but doesn't anymore). Although, when we're playing she'll still get rough and accidentally bite down on us when trying to grab a toy which is painful.

I have young children and they just don't mix well with this type of puppy. Although, amazing as it may sound, our puppy is actually the most gentle with my smallest children but our puppy is around my kids all the time. She tends to get rowdy with my older kids when they're playing with her.

I could have written your post a few months ago. The biting is what brought me to this forum. What I've learned is that there are many GSD puppies out there chewing up those that they love, obedience class helps * a lot* but still won't completely stop the problem, age and maturity help, and eventually "this too shall pass" although not as soon as you might like.

Oh, and our pup is pretty independent, too. She likes to lay by our front door and supervise who is coming and going instead of follow us around. She's not really a "velcro" dog inside like I've read GSD often are, but she is incredibly trustworthy off-leash and wants to stick with our pack of kids and us when we hike. I've only had trouble calling her back once and chickens were involved. Even then, though, she ended up returning after a verbal scolding so I was pretty impressed. She also learns commands so easily you'd think she speaks English.

So...one of those take the good with the bad kind of things. She'll stop biting you eventually, but you may need a new wardrobe from nips (my son does), lots of band-aids and patience, and the grandkids may have a year of two before they can really enjoy her.

(Oh, and we tried all the advice: yelping, crate "time-out", ignoring, distracting, redirecting to toys, etc.... Time really has been the only cure but some of those ideas at least give you the feeling you're not totally helpless.)
 

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Re: Boy do I need help,,, newbie

"I have tried swatting her on the nose when she bites, I have held her mouth shut, I have held my thumb in her mouth and held her tongue down,"

No wonder she comes back harder....none of that stuff is going to do anything but get her into it even more.

Redirect or ignore.

Carry agood tug or squeaky/chewy toy with you everywhere. When she initiates the biting, redirect her attention to the toy.

Ignoring is pretty self explanatory. Holler 'NO!', and immediately stop all contact and attention. Don't touch her, look at her, nothing.

If those don't work after consistently using them, isolate. When she gets too bitey, she gets separated from the rest of the family and is not shown any attention until she is calm and quiet.
 

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Re: Boy do I need help,,, newbie

Your puppy bites you hard enough to require stitches; when you correct her (albeit perhaps not the most effective correction) she growls and gets her hackles up. Do I have the specifics correct? IMO you have a major problem here! It’s true that puppies can be very mouthy – much like young children – and teaching them not to be so mouthy requires work; however, no puppy should be exhibiting the behavior you describe. This does not sound like your standard puppy bites. This sounds like a dominance issue. I’ve got two adult Shepherds and one 10 week old female puppy. I have worked with dogs in several different settings. This is all in manner of letting you know where I come from in my opinions. Both my adult dogs went through the puppy biting stage and my 10 week old is in this stage now. None of my dogs – including the current puppy – have ever growled at me or anyone when being corrected. I do not believe in hitting a dog for any reason; however, I do believe in correcting behavior that you do not want. When my puppy bites at my hand (something she doesn’t do very often) I immediately pull my hand away, put a toy out for her and walk away. If a dog persists then I have used the “hold the tongue down” trick with moderate success. However, since your puppy is acting so dominate you probably should not be using that particular correction for fear of being bit.

My current puppy is one of the easiest I have raised. She’s already figured out that dogs go outside to pee and poop and has had only two accidents inside – a real miracle in my experience! Having older dogs seems to help with this particular issue, but not with the mouthy behavior. I have a strong belief in the power of proper exercise, meaning at least an hour of outside walking/running/playing daily. My puppy goes for a “business walk” in the morning during which we work on leash manners and learning to pay attention to me. She then plays with my older female in an outside enclosure for much of the morning. In the late afternoon she goes for another walk, often downtown so she can get used to people, noise and confusion. After supper she stays in her pen to rest for the evening. We keep the pen in the family room so she can see and hear what we are doing. By then she is tired and often just sleeps. I give her lots of toys, many chewies and lots of hands on loving. All of this seems to keep a puppy good tired and helps them to bond tightly with all of us.

You probably are all ready doing many of the things I list here. Personally, I think you really need to find someone in your area who can evaluate your dog and help you make decisions about the puppy. As I said, what you describe sounds dangerously close to dominance that can lead to real aggression. Obviously, you want to deal with this problem now before the dog gets much older and more dangerous.
 
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