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Please help me!

I am 16 years old and have just brought my neighbours German Shepard. She is a lovely dog. She's 18 months and, was bred by a respected breeder and sold to a loving couple (my neighbours)

Every time I go in the back yard with her she jumps, bites, scratches and barks. I'm not sure if she's excited or playing or what. No matter how much attention I give her, how sternly I speak or how much I point and tell her "no", she still hurts me.

She's very scary, and it's hard to act like I'm not scared. She is such a beautiful dog but I can't have her acting like this. I need help!


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it sounds like she has no obedience training vs being "mean".

I highly suggest you find a trainer/join an obedience class asap to teach her proper manners:)
 

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I would say it is just excitement. The dog is probably not being aggressive towards you even do the scratching and biting hurts.

A dog needs to have a lot of exercise but it should be on your terms and the dog should be calm when it is at home. It would be good to go cycling or rollerblading with the dog on a regular basis so it does get a chance to run and expend it's energy.

Also playing ball and tug is also good but it's good to cure the biting and scratching before you try playing tug.

Aim to exercise you dog everyday and teach him what you want using food rewards.

Heres a Cesar millan episode with a similar case. Hope it helps


 

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It sounds like you are keeping the dog in the yard not the house?

So the normal EXCITEMENT of greeting from a bored/lonely/excited/BORED pup that's been abandoned in the yard sounds normal to me.

Heck, my dogs jump on me when I get home some of the time.

How is the leash walking going?

How is the playing ball going?

How is the tugging going?

How is the trick training going?
 

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Do the neighbors live close by? A home change is stressful. She needs to be your priority, which is hard when you're 16 and have school and friends. But who is alpha in the house? Establish pack structure. Read, read, read books on shepherds and training. Watch videos on the subject and mimic what you see. Do not be afraid of her. If you send her that message, she will be insecure in her environment and act out. Play with her. Take a toy out in the yard with her, with some treats, and play/train. Put her on a schedule. Dogs are smart and will adapt and look forward to a schedule. Involve your friends. She's your new project :) Don't just keep her in the yard, which is stressful to her. Enjoy her.
 

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I agree with everyone else. It sounds like this is a bored, lonely dog that needs more than she is currently getting.

Many dogs that live outside end up in cyclical behavior patterns with their owner. They are put out in the yard, and they get bored or lonely or scared. Often bouncing from one to the other throughout the day. The owner gets home from school or work, goes out to greet the dog and the dog is overwhelmed. It jumps on the owner, perhaps scratching legs or arms as it does so. It barks. It races around, maybe ramming into the owner a few times. Families with children often complain that the dog will knock the kids over when they go outside to play with the dog.

It is unpleasant for the humans and stressful for the dog. The owner might try telling the dog "NO" or "OFF/DOWN" in an attempt to get some control. But the dog is clueless at this point. The dog might jump on the owner, bark and grab at hands and legs in the space of five seconds, so which behavior is the voice correction aimed at? Dog doesn't know. All the dog knows at this point is that it has been bored and alone for a while and now it has company and it is excited. The owner might raise the volume on their "commands", which gets the dog even more hyped up. So the owner turns around and goes back inside. Which leaves the dog once again alone. So the next time the owner comes out to try it again, the dog is even more excited. The owner gets frustrated. And goes out less and less, and the dog becomes more and more frantic. And the owner comes out less and less. Which causes the dog to get more and more frantic. And so on.

Of course, not all dogs who live outside are caught in this cycle of negativity. But many of the suburban dogs living outside do. Which is why so many times people are advised to bring the dog into the home and to make sure they get adequate exercise and training.

OP, you need to commit to the dog or give her back to the people you got her from. If the dog has to live outside, you need to invest in a good trainer who will help you teach the dog the behaviors and commands that will help provide structure to the dog. And you must increase the dog's activity level. It doesn't sound like she is getting much exercise? Two or three walks a day, totally 2 or 3 miles each, and several quick games of fetch (maybe 5-10 minutes each) should help. Add in a training session or two in each day and you should see a huge improvement with this dog.

But you can't just stick her in a yard and expect her to follow your rules. You need to set her up for success, and that means putting in the time, effort and money to train her and certainly the time and effort to keep her well exercised.
Sheilah
 

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Plus, I actually don't know why you've all assumed that she's lonely, bored or not exercised.

I try very hard to make her happy and I give her as much attention as I can.
i walk her and play ball and tug a war but she'd still rather jump and bite me.


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Plus, I actually don't know why you've all assumed that she's lonely, bored or not exercised.
I try very hard to make her happy and I give her as much attention as I can.
i walk her and play ball and tug a war but she'd still rather jump and bite me.
Well, because that's the most likely reason when someone posts about young dog behavior. Keep that always in mind. Also, a "walk" doesn't really exercise her in the "high" mode, which she needs (aka: running, jumping, etc). Get a Chuck-It launcher and some treats (when she brings the ball back) and really get her moving! Get two balls at first, one to throw and another to entice her to switch and go after that one.

Alright, let's assume that she's well exercised and everything is good in that dept. Then it's an issue of training and respect. All dogs must learn this; some learn easier than others, depending on their temperament and the consistency of the handler. ;)

Tell us more about what exactly happens when she jumps and bites. Is it right when you enter the yard, or anytime you're interacting with her? What do you do and say (words and body language) when she does this?
This will help us help you. And good for you for coming her to ask Q's. :laugh:

Also, have you trained her the basic commands, such as sit, down, come and stay? You have to get a training regimen down. And have patience, too. Being consistent WILL pay off and you will see her do what you want her to do, once she "gets it". :D

By the way, have you done your homework with training books and videos? There is a lot of free content online, too.
 

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They are beautiful dogs, I agree! Like mentioned above, take her to some classes to get some hands on help. If you don't like one, try another! Is the rest of the family involved in taking care of her, training? Can you bring her into the house? They are so devoted to their families, love being with you. It will take time, but eventually if you both hang in there it can be the relationship you have in mind. My boys loved scoccer balls! I'd stand on the patio and kick it for them! They never tired of it! They have the smaller not so slick ones at Walmart for about $5!
 

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I have only had her for 3 days so i haven't had a chance to teach her anything much yet. I can get her to sit, but not anything much else.

Can i train her myself or take her to a professional?

When she jumps and bites me it's pretty much any time i am in the yard with her. The only time she doesn't bite me is when i give her her meals. I tell her "no" and i try to push her down, but when she bites me it's scary and i usually turn my back.

I have read up a bit online, and she isn't allowed in the house at all. My dad is very strict.
 

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For some dogs, telling them "No" or pushing, shoving, etc when they're jumping is actually reinforcing. Like a child lashing out to get attention from their parents. I'd get some goodies and throw one treat on the ground as she runs to you. When she gets it and comes close, tell her "Good!" and quickly reward her low to the ground before she gets a chance to jump... let me find a video that might illustrate this better.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lC_OKgQFgzw
 

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i will tell you that shepherds in general usually do not adjust well at all to living in a yard and not being allowed in the house. it's unfortunate that you did not know this before you made the commitment to have her. you've taken on a large responsibility without the back-up from your parents which would allow the dog to live in the optimal way for bonding to occur. i know you'll get alot of "training" advice here, but just be aware that, without the proper bonding (which comes from living with the family, not out in the yard), it will be a struggle to get the optimal results from your training efforts. dogs are also not very safe when kept outside in the yard alone.
 

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I am just a regular household dog owner, you might try putting her leash on to help keep her under control when you come out, then let her off leash to play. I anyways used "easy" "good boy" . My boys were only 7 weeks old when we got them, so it was a different situation to deal with. You could check with your vet or some local shelters or rescues on training classes that are affordable. Our voc tech offers an obedience class. I imagine it can be kinda scary having a large dog jump and bite on you! Kind of sounds like she is seeing what is going to happen next,( re:new home,new parent) and testing you out, seeing what you are up to or going to do. When Cody and clipper were young, I often put the leash on them even in the house to be able to keep control and out of trouble! Sorry you can't bring her in, they love being with their people, It is calming to them to be with you.
 

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I have only had her for 3 days so i haven't had a chance to teach her anything much yet. I can get her to sit, but not anything much else.

Can i train her myself or take her to a professional?

When she jumps and bites me it's pretty much any time i am in the yard with her. The only time she doesn't bite me is when i give her her meals. I tell her "no" and i try to push her down, but when she bites me it's scary and i usually turn my back.

I have read up a bit online, and she isn't allowed in the house at all. My dad is very strict.

On YouTube you can find videos on how to train different commands. Get some treats and a clicker. Pet smart has clickers fo 99 cents. I use hot dogs from the 99 cents store for treats. I cut the hot dog up into little pieces.
 

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I have only had her for 3 days so i haven't had a chance to teach her anything much yet. I can get her to sit, but not anything much else.

Can i train her myself or take her to a professional?

When she jumps and bites me it's pretty much any time i am in the yard with her. The only time she doesn't bite me is when i give her her meals. I tell her "no" and i try to push her down, but when she bites me it's scary and i usually turn my back.

I have read up a bit online, and she isn't allowed in the house at all. My dad is very strict.
Uh-oh. Well, you can only do what you can do. But GSD's are very family-oriented and don't do well just "outside". In fact, outside dogs "generally" tend to be more independent and not as emotionally bound to their family. There are always exceptions, sure (and I'm sure people will chime in here with their exceptions :wub:).

Of course you can train her by yourself. That, actually, is the best route. Getting a professional trainer is a great idea and if Dad will fund, then go for it! If not, go to the library (or purchase) ANY "Monks of New Skete" book and read it. Then, at the opposite end of the training spectrum, go online to www.leerburg.com and look up their articles. Read and study them.

As for your boy, he's traumatized by the change. He is acting out. Not only does he have a new home, but he's outside (unless he was also outside where he was?). Be careful, he might try to jump the fence and return to his previous home. Hopefully, you have a sound fence 8' tall. :p

Therefore, have patience. If you learn, apply what you learn and are consistent, you will reap the rewards of having an amazing dog. But I will be brutally honest: if he is confined to outside and you aren't fully committed in time and practice, it is NOT going to go well. Sorry to tell you that, but it is the honest truth, hon. :hug:

But the fact that you're here is great. You can get lots of advice. But none of it is substitute for reading and learning thoroughly.

Go to the Rescue/Foster forum and start reading stories and examples of what people went through when they brought an adult dog to a new home. You will learn a lot there.

As far as the biting goes, does he growl first? GSDs often communicate excitedly with their mouths. In other words, if he's barking, jumping, excited and putting his mouth on you, it is not aggression. He's communicating his trauma/anxiety to you. With patience, love and consistent training, this will go away with time.

If he stops dead in his tracks, gives you the death stare, then lunges at you with a deep growl, then that is aggression. So if it is the first example, above, you need not be afraid. Turning your back is good, but IMMEDIATELY turn back around and tell him "sit" and give him a treat as a reward. Once he does that, walk a few paces, tell him "sit" again and reward. Then switch to throwing a ball (get a Chuck-It, if you can, but any ball will do for now). The key is redirecting his excitement away from jumping at you and mouthing, to doing something fun.

Keep doing this, and once he's worn out, if he will let you, pet him and love on him. If he lays by you and lets you stroke him, you've made your friend. :wub:

But GSD's need structure, not just cuddle love. In fact, cuddle love doesn't work with them in the long run unless there is structure. Learn about the pack structure.

That should be enough to get you going until you get further on in your studies. Promise? :apple:

Hugs to you

P.S. Try to convince dad, over time, that GSDs are people/house dogs. Is it a flea/cleanliness issue? You can fix that. Hair issue? Brush him daily. If you can get this boy inside, he will sleep by your bed at night, completely loyal. :wub:
 
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