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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hey guys, this is going to be a combo post; self introduction, picture, training, behavior question post.

My name is John, and I just got my first GSD yesterday; Nika (her registered name is Nika Von Haus Puzic). A friend of mine was living in an apartment complex that didn't allow dogs, and they suddenly changed their policy on this. My friend bought Nika, but then was told by the leasing staff that they didn't want Nika's type in their complex. She was crushed, but I was more than happy to buy Nika from her to help her out.

Nika is four months old, and seems very smart. She already sits and comes on command. She is also on the edge of being house broken, and seems to have warmed up to me awfully fast. She is a very good pup!

Now to the behavioral issies...
She is a biter! It is very playful and non-aggressive, but she has drawn blood from me a couple times. I was always told that when they do this, you were supposed to grab their muzzle and admonish them for this behavior. It seems to actually produce more of the same behavior as Nika seems to be taking it as play. I have only owned Nika for about twenty-four hours, but my hands are about to not be able to take anymore blood loss! :)

The second behavioral issue I have is how she is with my four year old Black Lab, GSD, Rottweiler mix runt doggy (Addy, short for Adriana). Addy is a sweet kid, and is not ussually shy with other dogs, and has never been aggressive with other animals. In fact, I lived with a roommate until this past January who had a Black Lab puppy that was younger than Addy. After they were introduced, they got along great.

Nika is terrorizing Addy! It is all very playful and non-aggressive behavior from Nika. She keeps chasing Addy around in circles, pouncing on her, swatting at her, nipping at her ears, and biting at her front paws. Addy has only growled twice, yelped a dozen times in pain, and run a couple miles of laps in the living room. Addy seems to be acting VERY submissive to Nika. When I verbally admonish Nika to stop, Addy can't decern who is getting admonished and acts like she is in toruble. And Nika just goes right back to the perstering. Addy has now taken to jumping up on the couch to try to escape Nika, but this is not good behavior on Addy's part.

And my last question is; when should I start training Nika to respond to verbal commands other than sit and stay?

Luckily, the only damage so far is a broken lamp and a billion teeth punctures to my hand. Nika has toys to chew on, which she has done, and she doesn't chew on anything else other than me and Addy. Any suggestions?

Now for the picture.
Addy is on the couch trying to be away from Nika, and Nika is acting good for a minute while resting on the ground on the ground, gathering more energy to chase Addy in cirlcles for another hour.


Here you can tell she is the brutal Hater Hound! lol Little tiny eyes, with a lot of eye shine!


All tired from chasing Addy around the house and chewing on me.



Thanks guys! Help me to be a good GSD owner!
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Oh yeah!
Forgot about this:
The next behaviorial issue I am suprised at. At four months old, Nika doesn't cry when in her kennel. In fact, she barely whines or whimpers at all. She barks! She barks until she gets tired of barking and then she lets me sleep. Whats up with this?
 

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LOL GSD's are notorious land sharks get used to it they do grow out of it I promise. People will tell you to redirect with a toy meaning whenever she goes for you or Addy shove a toy in her mouth and engage in play redirecting her urge to bite you. For some this works....for mine and many others it just amps them up for more biting:(

I found taking her out for some off leash play helped because it tired her out, but as soon as she regained her energy it was right back to biting. I tried yelling no, ouch, scruffing her, ignoring her, and honestly nothing worked. My final act was putting her on time out,lol I would put her outside or in her crate when it was raining or too hot until she chilled out with a knuckle or soup bone to gnaw on. It was extremely frustrating for awhile seeing as from 2-6 months she was getting 3+ hours of off leash running a day and still a biting nightmare. She would even dive bomb me at night when I was sleeping, but around 6 months it all stopped and life was wonderful again:)
 

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She will grow out of that too as long as you NEVER let her out when she is mouthing off. She is saying hey I don't want to be in here,lol Did your friend crate her at all? She may not be used to it, but also in a new home even when they were crate trained often they have to readjust to being crated in a new place even if she's in a crate your friend gave you. Zoe barked and cried like she was being murdered in her crate, but within a week or so went in willingly and stayed quiet:)
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I feel bad for my dogs. I am a Sheriff's Deputy, and I work 12 hour shifts at night on a rotation schedule. I am trying to get home every 4 hours to get the puppy outside and allow her some free time out of the kennel...

YAY!!! She is chasing Addy around and Addy is finally getting vocal with Nika about her displeasure with this. Progress!

Quick question about Nika barking up a storm in the kennel while I am trying to sleep. Her kennel is in the room I lock Addy up in while I am away from work. Addy has free run of the room, but likes to sleep in her unsecured kennel.

When I am home and sleeping, Addy sleeps in my bedroom. Last night, Addy slept in my bedroom and Nika was in the "dogs' room" in her kennel by herself.

Should I move her kennel to my bedroom and keep her there while I am sleeping AND while I am at work?

Should I keep going like I did last night and leave Nika in the dogs' room and Addy in my bedroom?

Should I make Addy sleep in the dogs' room with Nika while I am sleep in my room?

Should I drag the kennel from room to room, so she is in the dogs' room while I am at work and in my room while I am asleep?

Or, am I just making this too complicated? :)
 

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i suggest you buy a lot of band aids and take this oppertunity to bond and play. beleve it or not your dogs will grow out of a lot of it and now is the time to train. Gypsy learned the no bite comand and leave it or out comand, now at thirteen months she still bites the fire out of me but never makes me bleed and if she bites too hard during our play all i have to say is no bite and she settles right down and when she picked up somthing she wasent allowed to have i used the oppertunity to teach leave it. if i had it to do over again i'd work harder trying to figure out ways to use her behavours to teach instead of just getting frustrated and beleve me i was a frustrated handler at first but now i miss my puppy and love the dog she is turning out to be.
 

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Start looking in your area for a puppy socialization class/training class that you can start attending to support you through a lot of this commen behavior. Since you work long hours maybe if you can't find a class you can find a private trainer to come to the house. It is never too early to start eaching manners :).

As for the barking in the cage I would give her a KONG ball you can stuff it with some of her food and have her work for her at night or during the times you are home and you can't watch her. Make the crate a great place too be. I think that since you work long hours and you let her out 4 x a day you probably have just enough time to get her to go out and leave and that makes the crate a negative experience because everytime you put her back you leave (that is negative) so give her something to do when you leave and have her distracted so she can't focus on the negative but only the positive which could be a safe bone such as a nylabone and you can smear it with peanut butter to get her actively interested in it.
 

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Move the crate into your bedroom at night. Our pups are pack animals and she's barking cause clearly her 'stupid human' :) has misplaced her and if she barks long enough and loud enough she will be found!

I have found that it's not the hours I am NOT home that matter to my dogs.

It's how I plan and schedule my life when I AM home that makes all the difference.

So I have a real, on the calendar, organized and planned out life for my pups the first year or so.

It includes REAL exercise and socialization like the following:



Real 'training' and all positive toy/treat based. There's tons you can do at home with this but classes are MUCH better to add to the mix:


 

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Biting. GSD pups are landsharks. Sometimes acting like they really hurt you and squealing OWW will break their concentration and give you the opportunity to redirect. Redirecting the biting onto a toy is the best way to go. You have to make the toy the attractant and not your hands. If my pup gets really out of hand then I will just put them away in the crate. Sort of like "if you can't play nice...we won't play at all" It does get better once all the teething is done. I also found that muzzle holding only brought on more.

For your older dog- Shepherd pups play ROUGH. They are herders by nature and use their moths in play a good deal more, and a good deal harder than other dogs. Personally, I keep my pups separated from my older dogs much of the time. The pups like to try to bully the older dogs into playing and they just don't realize how obnoxious they are. I know some people are of the school of thought to just let the older dog handles it's business, but in my experience the older dogs either just bear it (I've had dogs that my pups have actually bitten hard enough to draw blood, and still nothing) or give small deterrents which the pup almost always ignores...until the older dog finally gets to a place where she loses it on the pup. So I do lots of walks with the two dogs together, where I can have both on leash and under control so puppy can learn to be under control around the other dog, and very little off leash togetherness. Maybe only 30-40 minutes a day to play until the puppy can learn some impulse control and not beat the snot out of my older dogs.

I consider accepting kenneling to be one of the most important things you can teach a dog. From a very early age I work hard at making them understand that barking does not get them out of the kennel. Elly's suggestion was good. I always put my dogs into their crates with a treat and a some kind of crate toy to work on.

You're lucky. If you're interested the Atlanta area has several SchH clubs. I've always found them to be the perfect resource because they all know exactly what a bitey GSD pup is like and how to deal with it! Rising Star Working Dog Club is a friendly group of people, and even if they don't work they might know someone you can work with to help with the training of your pup!
 

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Welcome, since this is my first gsd I am not that qualified to give advice on the breed.

My boy went through a stage of biting at hands, pants, anything moving but he grew out of it thank goodness.

I have always kept him in my bedroom with me while I am sleeping, my other 2 dogs sleep in there also. I made him a pallet on the floor beside my bed and that is where he sleeps, he was a good boy so I never had to put him in a crate at night.

If I have to leave he goes in his crate, even though he is a good boy when I am home I feel like leaving him free to roam while I am gone would be asking for trouble.

Hope that everything works out for you! :)
 

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Discussion Starter #11
A sincere thank you for all of the advice. Here is my game plan:

I will be moving Nika's kennel around depending on what is going on. If I am at work, she will be in the dog room (spare bedroom) in her kennel, so she can be with the other dog (Addy). When I am asleep, Nika will be in the kennel in my bedroom near my bed.

I am gonna get her a dog toy that I can put treats or peanut butter in, and buy peanut butter (because I never eat that stuff, ewww).

I started today with redirecting her biting towards a doggie teething toy. It helps a little. I still bled a lot today though! LOL I have also covered her kennel with a blanket last night except for one side so she could still see out. She seems to like this. She already seems to like her kennel as a safe place to go and rest when she is not laying at my feet exhausted from herding Addy around. :) If I open her kennel door, it takes very little to get her to go in on her own.

I am also going to ask the commander over our K9 unit if I can use their training facilities, when they aren't in use, to give Nika a place to run around more. I know GSDs need a lot of attention and physical activity to keep them happy.

She is soooooo on the edge of being house broken, that it makes me kinda proud of her. Her only real problem at this point is holding it until she gets outside, and then once she is outside, she needs to wait until we are downstairs on the grass. I figured out that I can't walk both of my kiddos at the same time. Its too distracitng to Nika to have Addy there.

Thanks again guys. I look forward to learning more about my GSD here and at home!
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
Not many days of ownership here, but great improvement already. Thank you guys. I moved Nika's kennel to my bedroom when I got home from work this morning, and put it right next to my bed. I pulled up one corner of the blanket so she could see me when I checked on her. She didn't bark at all until about 0900 when the maintenance man came to fix my broken heater. Good behavior there. Before I left for work this afternoon, I moved her kennel back to the "dog room" so she can be a aprt of the pack with Addy in that room'

I spoke with one of the K9 handlers today at work about her nipping. He said that they trained our agency's dogs by popping them on the nose with two fingers with a verbal admonishment like "bad" or "no". He said as that begins to work, stopping popping the dog with two fingers and just use the verbal admonishment. What says you guys about this? He said this is the method he would use before her nipping causes a dog fight between her and Addy.

Addy is now being more vocal with Nika about the chasing and nipping. she is also now showing her teeth. While I want Addy to learn to stand up for herself and take a position of dominance, I don't want to behavior to go to far and result in a furball.
 

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I personally do not nose pop. Done gently no it doesn't hurt them but it can make them face shy....ever she a k9 wince or jerk back slightly when someone goes to pet them? I have:) I don't know if you have kids or are around kids with your dog but small kids are eye level with a dog, and when they approach a face shy dog at eye level bad things can happen. I don't want my dog expecting a nose pop when my kids, their friends, or our vet approaches so it's not a practice I've ever employed. The nipping stage is temporary but the damage of repeated nose popping is permanent. Use the kennel and a yummy bone, redirection, put him in the yard, give him a firm no, or leave the room yourself.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
10-4 on the nose popping. i want her to be a happy and well adjusted critter.
 

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Ya, the 12 hours alone will do this...... Also, I have found that most of the time, yelling commands doesn't work, they want your undivided attention... Get some piece of hot dog and start teaching her "off" the other dog, "down and stay" while the other dog moves around, and AUS when she bites you or the dog. AUS at full volume from your belly almost at a growl grabs their attention.... then the minute she lets go, reward her with petting and a bite of her favorite treat. I only give advice on this because I have trained my puppy with 2 kittens (7 week old kittens) and a 15 week old shepherd puppy who is teething with direct control over their time together, and a pocketful of treats for when they both behave. In fact, I make him lay down and stay and let the cats come up and eat hot dogs in front of him, then let him have a piece for leaving them alone. AUS works great, you need to train NOW. AUS with toys is a great place to begin. Get her to pick up something, the repeat the word aus and trade her out with a treat....She'll get the idea that aus = open mouth=he/she gives me treats. Eventually, she will make eye contact as you say this and consider letting go with the whale eyes, keep repeating and when she loosens grip, trade her out. Then, she will progress to letting go immediately or at least responding with eye contact or a pause, and just keep doing it till she gets it. Same with off. Teach her to get down too, cause when all else fails in a jam, get her to get down and stay with a snap and a short/sharp command and toss her small bits of carrot or ice or hot dog or whatever you want and just repeat repeat repeat down stay...... or lie down or whatever. I think multiple pets with a shepherd puppy is hard because they act a bit stressed with other animals initially.

I know you may think I am an idiot, by I do have a puppy who now will let things go, including the cats, even though he forgets sometimes and gets after them, he will leave the kitchen and go lay down (taught by throwing him bits of healthy treat like carrots). stay off his bowls when I feed him, heel, stay while I leave the room. Stay while we go and unload cars, with the door wide open, play fetch and actually drop the ball in my hand, There is a GREAT You tube video on teaching stay. Basically, you teach the sitz and then using a treat, you hold it like you are offering it, but then while repeating stay, if they come towards you, you simply pull the treat back, and make them sit again. You eventaully progress to laying on floor and where you can throw a treat across the room, or leave the room. Works AWESOME..... took Yoshi about 3 minutes to figure that one out. Actually about 3 trys. It works well for tracking purposes as well, you can throw the treat and make them go find it at your command. Then you can switch off treats eventually because they will know.

Also, do timeout. When she works herself up and won't leave the other dog alone, put her in a pause. She'll eventuallly quit with the kennel business as long as you don't pay any attention to her. Don't talk and soothe or anything. Let her out when she's quiet and relaxed. Practice with small amounts of time... Practice, practice, practice. You'll be amazed what 10 minutes at a time will accomplish... Do small 5-10 minute offs, 5-10 minute down practice, a bit of kennel practice every day..... etc. It will iron out in a couple of weeks at that rate! Plus, they love the mind stimulation.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I am gonna try some of this. Nika is responding to some verbal commands. AUS seems to get more of a reaction than NO.

But really, this is a ridiculous amount of biting! I have raised (or helped raise with my family) 2 yellow labs, 4 golden retrievers, 1 jack russell terrier, and 1 mixed mutt (Addy, the current dog trying to adjust to the new GSD). All of these dogs had the puppy nibbles. I have NEVER seen anything like this. Its constant HOURS of biting. She runs around biting at the air when she can't get at me or the other dog. Hearing her teeth snap in the air is almost making me cringe. The joke at work in reference to my bit up hands is that I planted my fists into piles of glass. When I praise her for not biting, I can't even finish getting the words "Good girl" out of my mouth before there are teeth sunk into my hands.

If you can't tell, I am getting fustrated! And I am not the get fustrated type! ****, I drive cop cars at high speeds and point guns at people for a living, and this dog is tearing me up! lol

Aight, that aside...
I am a little confused about where to put her for time out. I have been reading that the kennel should never be used for punishment, but where else should she go for time out?
 

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But really, this is a ridiculous amount of biting! I have raised (or helped raise with my family) 2 yellow labs, 4 golden retrievers, 1 jack russell terrier, and 1 mixed mutt (Addy, the current dog trying to adjust to the new GSD). All of these dogs had the puppy nibbles. I have NEVER seen anything like this. Its constant HOURS of biting.
Welcome to the world of GSD puppies!! As was already mentioned, make sure you have something appropriate for her to chew on. Use that to redirect her when she is getting over board. IMO, you need to correct the puppy for nipping at Addy BEFORE Addy feels the need show teeth or growl. If you can't get the puppy to leave her alone, give the puppy a peanut butter filled kong and place her in the crate for a bit to give Addy (and yourself) a break.

It sounds like the puppy needs more exercise.


Aight, that aside...
I am a little confused about where to put her for time out. I have been reading that the kennel should never be used for punishment, but where else should she go for time out?
The kennel can be used for a short time out. After a minute or two, she's forgotten why you put her in there. IMO, there is a difference between using it for a time out vs. using it for punishment. I think it has to do with how she is put in there... if you are angry and are telling her "no,bad" when putting her in the kennel then it's punishment. But calmly putting her in with a safe chewy or kong then it's time out for puppy and owner.

A good way to wear her out is with training. Mental exercise will exhaust her far quicker than just physical exercise alone.
 

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Hey..... Good job being concerned about the dog's behavior instead of just turning her into a lawn ornament!!!!! You'd be surprised what German words do for training. They are GREAT. I live over here and am doing schutzhund, and man.... the German words just grab attention... For instance..... PLATZ... instead of lay down... Just pops off like the f word :) hahahahhaa.... Anyways...

Dog Training Article: Using a Time Out to Discourage Your Dog's Misbehavior

Using Time-outs in Dog Training - Santa Cruz and Boulder Creek - Bingo Dog Training - Where The Dogs and The People Win


Good articles that I skimmed over for you. Im with the post before you... Abusing the kennel is not good, but honestly, it may be in her best interest to chill out... probably just gets herself all worked up and stuff........gsdraven was great with the training thing. They are SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO much better behaved when you are training.. Get creative,.... drop treats and teach her to track up and down the stairs....

One lady on here told me....train, and make such a ridiculously huge deal over good behavior (like silly happy voice, petting etc....) that they feel they can do no wrong.Treat her like she's the best dog in the world when she does even the littlest thing........ You're right though, I'm not there to see how bad it is... Also on here under the training (how can I teach my dog to....) forum, there's a really great thread about teaching focus...... She really sounds like she needs mental stimulation big time, but not sure.... As far as TO goes, Yoshi had to go today. He doesn't like going outside by himself, but he had to. I haven't worked him today and am doing a million things trying to get ready for company.... and wouldn't you know.... here come the kitties. He got all flustered after about 10 minutes of being patient and accepting them and then decided to not listen to me about the AUS when he put his mouth on the kittie, so he had to go to the yard for about 5 minutes till he quit barking to come in... Then we worked on it again, with hotdogs, and he remembered..... lol :)

Sounds like a tough job on your hands.... Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter #19
A good night of sleep after playing fetch this morning both me and the pup are doing better. I took her for a walk today and that seemed to burn up some energy and we worked on some commands. I'm taking a break before getting back into this. :)
 

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Well, Nika and I have come a long way since I first posted on here. It has taken a lot of work, but she is no longer nipping at everything and everybody. She licks now instead, and occasionally seems to test bite on me. Nothing too ridiculous. But, my hands have stopped bleeding and they are healing up. Sorry, I know, that sounds kind of melodramatic. But, I do have scars now on my hands from her teeth.

As far as Nika's relationship with my other, older mixed breed dog name Addy, they seem to get along great. Addy has learned to let Nika know when to leave her alone. Better yet, two weeks ago, I came home with a cheap toy from Pet Smart that Addy somehow instantly knew was a dog toy. She jumped up and grabbed it from me and started shaking it in Nika's face, right away. They started playing tug! Now they wrestle and play around a lot.

I'm still working on house breaking her. She is just right on the edge. She hasn't crapped in the apartment for a couple of weeks, thankfully. But, she still pees in the apartment. Sometimes, she makes it to the door, but pees after I get her leash on. Sometimes, in the excitement ofplaying, she stops and pees. I am hoping this goes away as her bladder gets bigger and if I just keep up with what I have been doing with her.

Anyways, my little girl is growing up!
When I got her:


Check out the look on Addy's face. Can you tell she wasn't thrilled with the GSD puppy?


And here is how things are today:


 
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