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Bella is almost 13 weeks old (I realize some of this behavior is puppy related, but the OVERALL question is: how long can it be excused as puppy behavior?) and she is becoming more and more aggresive towards me. The nipping is now biting and she is growling when she does it. To be honest, I do not think that she is intentionally trying to hurt me, I think she is playing but as she is getting bigger (she has gained almost 10 pounds in 2 weeks) the 'playing' HURTS.
I use the spray bottle and it works for a limited amount of time. I consulted a hunting dog trainer who is a family friend and his advice was to hit her in the head.
Well, I could not do that. He said that the punishment needs to be more severe than the pleasure she gets out of what she is doing. Makes sense, but I just can't hit ANYTHING. I guess I can understand that a hunting dog needs intense training because it can be a life or death situation - not that I would ever agree with the methods, but who am I to judge when I do not know anything about it?

Anyway..Bella does not bite my husband the way she bites me (you should see my hand and leg. She has torn them up!! Broken the skin like 5 different times, on both sides of my hand, so she IS clamping down, not just grazing with those sharp little teeth. I guess I should retract my earlier statement that she is just playing...ha ha...)

But she follows me everywhere, she curls up around my feet, she licks me, she even barks at my neighbors if they approach me when I have her on the leash. I guess she LIKES me, but why is she so aggressive with me? She clearly does NOT respect me...I continue to be dominant with her....

I have a 13 month old son and my husband is a firefighter. so he is sometimes gone for a few days at a time - I also have a chronic back injury that is severely flared at the moment - Do you think that because I am tired and vulnerable with my pain that Bella can sense this and is taking advantage of it? Or am I reading too much into it and it IS puppy behavior?

I am having a trainer coming out to our house next week to do an evaluation. I have to have someone come to me with my husbands revolving schedule, plus we have a 12.5 year old Rott/Chow and he should be included.

Sorry this is so long...but I am just at such a loss and if she continues to grow at this rate (we are pretty sure she is mixed with something else even though she looks totally GSD, so we do not know how large she will get. We are feeding her what is recommended) she is going to be WAY too big for her to continue this behavior.
 

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You are 100% correct- hitting the dog in the head is NOT the solution even if she wasn't a BABY, which she is. I will let others with more experience chime in here because the only thing I know for sure is that hitting her in the head is absolutely the wrong thing to do. Some trainer.
 

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How frustrating for you-- you just want to interact with your puppy! And, poor Bella, too-- she is just itchin' to do somethin'... and needs both her body and her mind to be kept busy!What are you doing to keep her mind occupied? With a GSD, we unfortunately usually can't just 'have a puppy.' They are not a breed for the casual owner.. they sure take involvement!
We really have to WORK this working breed! Yup, even a puppy. At her age, she can be doing simple, food-lured, clicker training sits and downs. Doing those sits and downs on rough surfaces like concrete outside the library.. on grass like at the park.. then on brick walkways... different surfaces... then those same sits and downs on a picnic table! Yup, your puppy NEEDS to be mentally stimulated and tired out. She needs your active involvement. Can you work with her, every day, while you have a young son and a household to run?

Your puppy can learn bite inhibition,
but she is frustrated, bored, and needs an outlet for her physical-- and her mental energy. GSDs have such active minds, that having puppy means we gotta outhink what they need to keep those brains occupied.


Walk her. Letting her out in the yard is not enough. She needs a real walk. Not a long one, but, a walk where you begin to TEACH her loose-lead walking. Not much-- it is only a beginning, she is truly a baby... but she is a baby with a tireless MIND.


If she barks at anyone approaching you and her, I would strongly AVOID giving her any reward for that-- eye contact, petting, soothing talking-- this is likely anxiety-based and not protectiveness. She needs to be out there on walks daily, meeting people, getting socialized and petted by them.

Are you giving her supervised chew toys to play with? How about frozen wet washrags, under supervision, to gnaw to help her teeth and gums feel well?

Keeping her learning will tire her. She can learn those simple food-reward sits and downs, plus a VERY short stay(2 seconds to begin) , too. A few pieces of kibble motivation helps here.


Lots of involvement in having a GSD puppy.
I hope the trainer is supportive and helps you very much!


I sure hope you have a puppy class scheduled to attend with your pup... got a babysitter available, I hope?
 

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A 13 weeks old pup is not agressive, never. He can play rough, may broke skin, but he's not ATTACKING you. To say that your pup hates you because he doesn't know how sharp his teeth are does make as much sense as to sat that your 13 months son hates you because he pulls your hair at playing.

Probably he doesn't bite your husband as hard because he respect him more, but it doesn't mean you have the play the dominant game that is o fancy nowadays. If he bite you more is because he spends more time with you, you feed him, you take care of him and he consider you a pal to play with, like his litter-mates, but the problem is that he thinks that your skin is as hard as the ones of his brothers and sisters.

The two key things to do are to show him when his play mouthing makes you harm, so make a sharp high yelp when he bites too hard and stop playing and ignore him for a few seconds. If he repeatedly keeps biting put him on his crate for some minutes. He must associate his behaviour with the end of playing so try to be clear and consistent. And the other thing to do is to redireccionate. If he insist in biting your hands or legs is because they move in a way that are attractive for him so when he does show him more attractive, some toy he can bite and move it to got his attention.

ETA: It can be excused as puppy behavior at least until he's a yaer old.
 

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OK. So there are some nice suggestions and information here, thanks. Some makes me feel better, other not so much. Good to know that puppy behavior can last until one year.

I am doing the yelping and ignoring when she bites me. It does not seem to phase her, though I continue to do it each time. I also do the bait and switch - if you will - if she is nipping/biting/chewing on something she should not be and give her a chew toy.

I have given her time-outs in her crate. I have only recently started this because I wanted her to like going in to her crate. But she is still fine with going in for bedtime.

When I am alone with her and my son and my older dog, I take them all for a few walks per day. It is a sight! They are not super long, but long enough to tire Bella out. We also are out in the backyard for a long portion of the day - and during my sons nap we are outside working on 'stay', 'come' etc...
I am doing the best that I can...and hopefully this trainer can help.

I just want Bella and I to enjoy each other to the fullest. I love her and I need to learn more about her I guess..which I am fully committed to do

I agree with the poster who said that she wants to play, and does not understand that my skin is not as tough and the litter she is used to playing with. But how far do you let play go when they are not even trained to know the difference yet?
 

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Originally Posted By: CharmedI also do the bait and switch - if you will - if she is nipping/biting/chewing on something she should not be and give her a chew toy.
The same thing works when they're chewing on people too.

Keep tug toys sitting around the house (those ropes with the knots made for dogs work great) and when she's wanting to play rough with you (which is perfectly normal for her age), grab the toy and redirect her attention to it, and play with her that way.

This allows her to fulfill her need for some rough and tumble, chewy play, but teaches her how to do it with you in a *appropriate* manner, using a toy as the interface between the two of you. And the two of you will be having fun together, which is a good thing all around, without you needing to stock up on the bandaids.
 

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Thanks Chris!! I am a proud Mommy right now...I think she just mastered 'come' and 'stay'. We have been working on them all week for short sessions but she has done them perfectly since yesterday. All by myself. My husband has been gone since Tuesday morning and will not be home until Friday evening (weird schedule this week). So I am proud of both of us!!

Thanks everyone for your suggestions and support...I think Bella and I are going to take a nap while my son is sleeping!
 

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Originally Posted By: Charmed

I just want Bella and I to enjoy each other to the fullest. I love her and I need to learn more about her I guess..which I am fully committed to do

Believe me when she's biting you she is enjoying you to the fullest. She is 13 weeks old. Carry a toy around at all times and work through it. Bella might grow out of this in a week or months!!! So just be prepared for it. I've had long horror stories about my pups biting and hes 9 months now. He does it randomly but he now knows enoguh obedient commands to do something else if he decides to start rough housing/biting me.

Once again, bella is 13 weeks old and a GSD. Shes a biter. =)
 

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I've had two mutts and two GSDs the GSDs were both terrible biters.they love it, the human is a walking squeaky toy.turning and ignoring can be effective since they hate to be ignored, stop all play as soon as they bite.paige used to jump and get my hand if I was holding the ball so I would just drop it and go inside, she hated that!
 

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Our GSD puppy was a terrible biter. My hands were like raw hamberger. My wife didn't get the treatment as bad, but they seem to focus on the primary handler. We had a lot of advice, most didn't work. We tried pretending (often didn't need to pretend) that it hurt by saying "owww", tried clamping the snout, etc. What worked best was removing the hands and stoping the playing. Let the puppy know (with "No! No bite!") and then get up and refuse contact for five or ten minutes. It won't take long for the puppy to realize this is unacceptable behavior and the reward for not biting is more contact and play.

Best of luck!!
 

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This might sound weird but, I miss my GSD being a puppy. I know the biting hurts our skin, but that time went very fast for us. My DH and I had scratches all over our skin. I look at Allie's baby pictures and really do not remember all the pain involved. She has grown out of all of that now. This time for you will pass. Keep reading all you can and be consistent. Now my GSD is in the maybe I'll listen and maybe I won't stage. Adolescent stage I guess.
 

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Hang in there.. some GSD pups are bitey.

It will not last if you continue training, exercise, redirecting. It's normal to wonder if they'll ever quit. He will and one day you'll find yourself wondering if it was 'all that bad.'

IMO, sounds like you are doing very well with your puppy.
 
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