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I'd like to get some thoughts on something that happened today. First, I realize I made an error here, but my concerns are really with the dog's behavior and whether it is of any significance.

My dog, Jupiter, is a 14-week old male. He and my daughter and I were playing outside this afternoon, as we do most days, with balls and frisbees and a flirt stick. We were about done, when I had some laundry to do and came inside. Jupiter seemed pretty content to hang around outside, so I let my daughter stay out there with him on his leash. I realize this was a mistake.

Anyway, I was folding laundry while they were playing, trying to keep one eye on them through the window. My daughter had him by the leash and was leading him around and sometimes playing with sticks. She has fairly low skill with dogs, and Jupiter has nipped her legs and fingers from time to time, especially a few weeks ago and a few times when he gets excited playing with the frisbee. Anyway, I'm not sure exactly what happened, but my daughter started screaming and calling for help. Through the window, I could see Jupiter jumping up on her and snapping and biting repeatedly. It wasn't just a single bite, but what appeared to be some sort of attack.

I ran out there and called him, and he stopped. My daughter was quite shaken up, crying and afraid. She had several scratches from the bites, but no blood or broken skin from what I can tell. Of course, I know he can bite a lot harder than that, especially if someone makes the mistake of running alongside him--those leave holes and bruises, too. Just a few days ago, he bit my hand instead of the stick it was holding, and drew blood.

My question here is whether his attack on my daughter sounds like a serious problem or sign of a temperament issue.

By way of background, I've had him for about a month, and we go to puppy training classes, where he is a star student, and I train him three times a day with his kibble. He usually gets to chase balls and such twice a day and gets one walk. Also, I feed him some food in a frozen Kong and let him play with boxes and things to keep his mind working. Jupiter has been extensively socialized since we got him, going to the park a few times a week where he's around kids and is often petted by both adults and kids. He also meets dogs and does okay with them. Generally speaking, he is notably calm, friendly but not enthusiastically so with people, not afraid of anything that I can see except for the our trash can, and seems to be quite stable except for his habit of mouthing and nipping. He has played with much bigger dogs a few times and seemed to enjoy it. Once he was attacked by a dog and whined for about ten seconds and then went back to playing.

I don't know his entire family history, but his mother has solid bloodlines--working and show-hound, that I was told had good nerves, and his parents are both working guard dogs at an auto shop. So of course I am keeping that in the back of my mind.

Thanks for any of your thoughts.
 

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At 14 wks your puppy was playing, not attacking!

Don't beat yourself up, but teach both the puppy and the kid how to handle each other...and in the meantime don't leave them alone together (as you well know)! If your daughter doesn't have much experience with dogs/puppies, now is a great time to teach her! Whatever you do, IMHO, don't make this out to be any kind of bad reflection on the puppy.

Teach him manners yes, but don't be tempted to demonize him or think that he's untrustworthy! He's a baby for crying out loud, treat him as you would a 1 yr old child...gently show him what is and is not appropriate! Be firm, but consistent!

I'm glad your daughter wasn't hurt!
 

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I am glad your daughter is ok.

You know you made a mistake so lets move on. Puppies play rough, too rough for most kids. That sounds like normal play, but I was not there. And this is exactly why the "ow" method doesn't work. It amps them up more. Do not let your daughter alone with puppy again. What usually happens is puppy bites, child squeaks, puppy thinks that's fun and bites more. The more the child shrieks, squeals and jumps around the more fun the game. It will take time to teach him that teeth do not belong on skin and the only thing that is truly effective is time. Whenever he puts his teeth on you stay calm and substitute a toy. Show him what he can chew on.

The "working guard dogs at an auto shop" is generally BYB code for poorly behaved, poorly trained dogs that run the yard and bark like lunatics when someone comes near the fence. Don't let that scare you. I would be much more concerned about the ethics of the breeder. I am saying nothing bad about your puppy, but I would do yourself a favor and purchase pet insurance if you can. I know of no reputable breeder who would advertise that their breeding stock were yard dogs.
 

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Not an attack just play. GSD puppies often get turned on by quick movements and high pitched sounds. Do a search for biting and you will see a lot of posting commenting that squealing and physical reprimands made their puppies bite more. Basically your daughter was acting like a fun toy and your puppy did what young puppies do. IMO interactions with a puppy should always involve a toy as a buffer unless you are willing to take a bite and not hold it against the pup. I would never use a stick, those can end up impaling the back of the throat if grabbed or caught the wrong way.



Young puppies and young kids are a not always a good mix, especially with herding breeds that are activated by motion. Young puppies have very little to no impulse control and often act without thinking. I would not be worried about your puppy becoming a vicious adult that attacks children. I would not allow unsupervised interactions with your daughter and I would make sure interactions involve calm play,nothing that excites him to the point he will start to bite. You also need to teach your daughter how to react if he does start to bite at her, IE no screaming, flailing, hitting the puppy, running, ect... Softer puppies will be cowed by that, but a more driven puppy will simply get amped up. Crossing the arms and turning away can help diffuse a situation. You can also teach your puppy to sit or down when presented with that picture from your daughter. She can use it to calm him down if he is becoming too excited or she feels unsafe.
 

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He's a baby. His sire and dam are working guard dogs? Continuing with classes sounds like a good move. Teaching your daughter to work with him might be a good idea as well. But yes, he's a mouthy critter with teeth, and it will take him some time before he grows out of it, but that doesn't mean you cannot correct him.
 

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That jumping, vocalizing, and rapid biting is very typical play for that age of a GSD puppy. The more excited the other participant gets the more it escalates.

Definitely keep up the training and get pet insurance! Are you in the USA?

I think going to training with your daughter would be great. We had GSDs when I was growing up and I was landsharked a lot, so I have a pet peeve about it happening to kids. It is a very powerless feeling when what is suppose to be a lovely puppy scares the wits out of you and gets you with his very needle-y teeth lol Learning how to handle it will give her confidence that may even bleed over into other things in life.

Good luck and keep us posted!
 

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Thanks everyone for the information and reassurance! I feel better now. My daughter already "forgave" Jupiter last night and he, after seeming to sense our distress and seeming a little down as a result, is back to his normal self. Certainly I'll keep up the training, of both animal and human, and be more careful in the future.
 

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That jumping, vocalizing, and rapid biting is very typical play for that age of a GSD puppy. The more excited the other participant gets the more it escalates.

Definitely keep up the training and get pet insurance! Are you in the USA?

I think going to training with your daughter would be great. We had GSDs when I was growing up and I was landsharked a lot, so I have a pet peeve about it happening to kids. It is a very powerless feeling when what is suppose to be a lovely puppy scares the wits out of you and gets you with his very needle-y teeth lol Learning how to handle it will give her confidence that may even bleed over into other things in life.

Good luck and keep us posted!
CometDog, I am in the USA. I actually don't know what pet insurance is--you don't mean medical insurance for the dog, but something else, I take it? I am a little afraid that having a German Shepherd might actually be bad for our home insurance, but we haven't checked. I am in Tempe, Arizona.

I know what you mean about being afraid of your puppy for a kid. It must feel really terrible for her, expecting a cute bundle of love and getting something that sometimes terrorizes her. She does want to be able to control him and so I'll try to get her involved in training--in a supervised way!
 

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Pet health insurance? It's great. I pay $40 per month and after some really high dollar bills and hard choices with a dog I didn't have insurance on, I'll gladly lose tht money every month.

As far as liability insurance, I don't know a single person that has that unless they have a business or club. Just make sure your home owners covers you.

To me, it sounds like the puppy started nipping and your daughter started shrieking. To your daughter, it was terrible. To the puppy, the high pitched noises that sounded like prey made it more fun. Sabis Mom and Bramble gave good advise on the why's of it all.

So, get your puppy into a class. Find a good obedience class that will motivate your puppy, teach impulse control and use a balanced method that is mostly positive but use correction appropriately. when he starts getting a little less bitey then get your daughter involved in the training. It's a great way to build her confidence and their bond.

This dog here put a ton of holes in my hands at 14 weeks. Here he is with a girl he's seen twice working for his ball

https://www.facebook.com/michelle.j...135745767/?type=2&video_source=user_video_tab

Where are you? Someone might be able to recommend a trainer.
 

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Keep this in the back of your mind and don't minimize what you saw. Not that you are, but some play can be almost like a rehearsal for later behaviors. While this dog matures, pay close attention to the little things that can escalate to big things. Startling when your daughter does something, anything that looks like chasing, tension over space. No playing in a way that leads to contesting over things or competition (tug). Excitement is good if it means he's just happy to be there, it has to be paired with respect though.
 

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Everyone is right...the pup is a baby and was playing....glad your daughter is OK!!!! Taking her to classes and letting her learn to handle the pup is a great idea!!!

Lee
 

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Pet insurance is great. I pay 90 a month for top Nationwide plan for Valor, but it covers absolutely everything at either 80 or 90 % (depending on category) no caps on coverage. I took him for his rabies, and got 3 months of heartguard and nexguard ..bill came to *near* 200.00....within 3 weeks 156.00 was deposited direct right back into my checking from Nationwide. So, 3 year rabies, exam, routine fecal, and 3 months worth of HW and flea/tick preventative costs under 50 bucks. They cover routine, preventatives, everything. So if I spend 1200 per month on vet care via my premiums, and I dont "use" all of that...good! It is way better than having to have financing weigh in on whether or not to save a dog if something big happens. Nationwide and a Care Credit card with a lot of room on it is my emergency vet plan.
 

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Thanks everyone for the information and reassurance! I feel better now. My daughter already "forgave" Jupiter last night and he, after seeming to sense our distress and seeming a little down as a result, is back to his normal self. Certainly I'll keep up the training, of both animal and human, and be more careful in the future.
There's a technique called "Be a Tree" that your daughter could try. The idea is to put her legs together, arms and hands flat against her sides, stare straight ahead, and stay very still. Basically, she becomes very boring, and most dogs will get bored and stop.

When your puppy gets overexcited like that, put him in his crate until he calms down.
 

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I think involving your daughter in his training is a good idea, especially since you mentioned that her dog skills are fairly low. I've taken dozens of classes with several different dogs over the past 30 years and it's not at all unusual for kids to come to class with their parents. Some even handle the dog in class.

Jupiter will learn to respect her, and as her dog skills improve so will her confidence and attitude around him. At first, rather than have her involved in high energy play with balls, frisbees, and a flirt pole (and please be careful about overdoing it with any of these while he's so young, you don't want him to injure himself), calmer activities would be better. I love this impulse control game by top agility competitor Susan Garrett:


Once he learns that he's not to take anything until released to do so, you can apply it to all sorts of things. I like to add in eye contact as a default behavior, so my dogs understand that if I have something they want they must sit and look at me instead. I do this with their food bowls at mealtime - I put it on the floor, and they can't eat until I tell them they can. If they break the sit, I pick the bowl back up and wait for them to sit again. At 14 weeks old he is not too young to learn this. And in the case of a child, you can teach him that he's never to grab anything out of her hands. Calm attentive behavior is what works to get him what he wants.

With everything, begin really easy since he's got a short attention span and is learning a lot of new things, but you can increase the difficulty as he starts to get it.
 

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Thanks, those impulse control exercises look great! We actually learned something similar just on Saturday, where we use the command "Wait" with a treat in the hand, and he can't get it until we give the command "Take it." But those more advanced ones look like a very nice progression as he keeps getting better.
 

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Areli vom T17. Search the forum. I tried to link the thread but it won't let me. T17 is also on facebook and has more videos there.


This pup had a very young handler for a while. They were great together and so very adorable. You might want to let your daughter watch some of the videos, it may give her some ideas. No reason for a child not to handle a dog and actively participate in the training.
 

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I wasn't there to see it, but I wouldn't completely pass it off as a puppy being a puppy. My nieces have played a lot with my pups when they were young, 8 weeks ranging to a year - and also when they are now adults and I've never seen anything remotely like this from my pups. I always supervise, of course, and give the kids instructions on how to redirect the little pups, and use a stick or toy to play with them, but the kids also aren't super dog handlers and don't have dogs at home.

If my pup was doing this, I would be doing a lot of work with my pup and with the kid and pup. This would not be a dog or pup I would let run with the kids unsupervised.

After living and training "working dogs" for a while you come to have an instinctual sense of which dog is going to be completely safe with kids, which dog will need to be supervised, and which dog really shouldn't be around kids without a lot of controls in place. It's a lot about the very nature of the dog and to some extent what he or she was exposed to as a very young pup (3 weeks to 8 weeks). I've seen that make a big difference.

So, certainly bring the pup to classes with your daughter, but do be aware this may be a dog that will need closer supervision when around the little ones. Always best to be aware of the nature of your dog, and to clearly understand his or her limits or tendencies But, since I haven't seen this pup or his interactions, I am just giving my opinion on pups/dogs and kids in a very general sense.
 

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Sounds like completely normal puppy GSD behavior to me. My latest GSD puppy was an evil tormentor who would bite and attack me without mercy is now the sweetest 6 month old ever who wouldn’t hurt a fly. I’d prepare yourself because biting, jumping, etc is only going to get worse before it gets better.
 
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