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Nico is an 9 weeks old GS. He has been in our home for 4 days.

We got him at a pet store. He was biting more that I could handle but everybody said he is a puppy and that is what they are. I have had 2 dogs, (1 gs) and I do not remember them biting so much. The first night was bad and wife got scared and I almost wanted to return him( wife did not want from beginning, but she got it for me anyway). Then he seemed to get better,and won over my wife. We got him toys and treats, and when he would try to bite, we would redirect to the toy.

Yesterday night I yelled at him, because after giving him a bath he peed in the crate(he does not like to be yelled at and he will react). This morning, we got up a little late so unfortunately the crate had pee and stool.(more on this later). When I took him out he was almost like the first day. Actually this time he was aiming at the legs. He bit my wife really hard where we were outside so I asked her to leave.

SO he started with me. I gave him a good shake, but he started growling at me. At that point I firmly said no and put his face in the snow. He seemed to understand and he just got down and looked for my hand to lick it.

I think that my reaction was too extreme, and that I should not get to that in order for him to stop. I do not want him to be scared. But I am afraid of this behavior. ( He bites really hard... and he barks already like a small dog, I thought the would learn to bark later)

That is the first issue. The second issue is that when in crate, if we do not take him out soon, and he poops, he will eat his poop.... WHen he tries outside I say no no etc and he backs off. But when in the crate i do not know.

We keep him in the crate for most of the time, but when we are home try to get him out regularly.

Do you have any suggestions on how the above?
 

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Yes please read the posted info--- but immediately stop yelling at and physically punishing him.
 

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1) pet shops are the worst possible place to get a pup - they come from puppy mills.

2) pet shop/puppy mill puppies have been raised in small cages where they defecated and pee, and are forced to live in it. Therefore, it is NORMAL for them to defecated and pee in their crate. Housebreaking will be a long-haul and will require constant supervision, lots of POSITIVE associations with pottying outside, total 100% comitment to work with the pup and raise it right, and work through the issues that puppy mill puppies come with.

3) your wife not being on board with you having a pup is going to be an issue.

4) just how much time is this poor puppy crated?

5) pups are NEVER aggressive! They are BABIES!! Pup is biting really hard because a) it is normal - redirecting is key, good job! and b) as a puppy mill puppy, was probably taken away from parents and siblings at too young an age and did not get a chance to develop bite inhibition. You will have your work cut out for you to teach him to not bite. Scruffing, yelling, corrections, alpha rolls, sticking his head in the snow are all abusive methods and completely inacceptable. Sure it hurts, and you are mad and scared but you are an ADULT, the pup is a baby that knows no better! Stay calm, and stay in control - you are having a bigger tantrums than your pup!

6) For some reason, lots of pups like to eat poo - he should never be allowed alone long enough to poop in his crate, then eat it. At nine weeks, he should always be supervised, and taking him out to potty should be a life-style - no excuses for being late with it!

7) take him back - if you afraid of a nine week old and deal with it by forcing his head in the snow, you are not ready for a dog. Especially not a German Shepherd, and certainly not a puppy mill pup that come with a host of behavioural problems because of how they have started out their lives.

8)Realize your mistakes, and stay on the board, and read everything you can so you can start fresh with more realistic expectations and understanding.
 

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We have been to the vet. We have researched but responses to our questions have been conflicted. The vet said to spray him with water, we have read to leave the room, others have said to yelp, others have said to distract him with something he can chew on. So that is why we thought about writing on here.
 

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I am leaving pretty quick here, but wanted to remind us all (because I have posted, deleted, come back) that we want to help the pup and so need to help his people where they are at, not where we want them to be, in terms of their knowledge and behavior (and same for the pup too!).

I would consider looking for a reputable rescue for him - but if that's not an option, definitely need to get working on easy things to do to help this pup!
 

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in response to castlemaid:
1 and 2. Would he be from a puppy mill if they gave us an akc registration and pedigree line with name and address of owner. Does that still entail that he is from a puppy mill? He was also at the pet store for just that day. Also, if he came from a puppy mill what can I do to modify the behavior.

3. The wife not being on board with getting a dog was because she was afraid that she would be the only one responsible for taking care of the dog and she was not ready for that type of responsibility. She sees me taking an equal responsibility and really loves the dog.

4. We also have a cat and they have been adjusting. We take him outside every two hours for about 20 minutes at a time. We also have been walking him during those times.

5. I have not meant to promote any physical punishment. What would you suggest is the best way. Should I just walk away from the dog. As said in previous post we have received a lot of conflicted responses.

6. We both work so sometimes it is inevitable to stop him from eating his poo.

7. We tried to bring him back after the 2nd day but the pet store said we would not get a refund and they would then give him to an animal shelter. We did not want to that so we decided to keep him and try to be the best parents we could to raise him.

8. We realize our mistakes, which is why we are here writing in this forum. We want to do our best. He also behaves very well with people and he was good at the vet.

Also he has pet food from the pet store and we would like gradually change his food. What puppy foods are suggested?
 

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We have been to the vet. We have researched but responses to our questions have been conflicted. The vet said to spray him with water, we have read to leave the room, others have said to yelp, others have said to distract him with something he can chew on. So that is why we thought about writing on here.
All pups are different. What works for one pup may not work for another. With this pup, using any aggressive, punitive measures will not work. It only riles him up and he thinks you are playing, and if you dial up YOUR aggression it will only confuse him - he does not understand why you are acting this way. When pups act up, they are ALWAYS playing, they just don't know how to channel and limit their outbursts. Correcting/punishing a puppy for wanting to play makes no sense and is counterproductive.

Any method you use to work with bite-inhibition is going to take time. The play/bite behaviour is a strong instinctive developmental stage they go through that prepares them for adult survival behaviours chasing and catching prey, and fighting animals that will fight back. During this developmental stage, you are trying to reprogram this natural instinct, and it won't happen overnight. If you come down with a correction so hard that the pup will never engage with you again, you have created a lot of damage in your relationship, so it is actually better to redirect, and NOT GET SCARED AND ANGRY!

There is a lot to read in those links. Don't believe the hogwash I so often come across on the internet about puppies trying to be aggressive and dominant, and people have to put them in their place. Sure, pups will try and find their pack position among other pups in the litter, but not so with people! People are not littermates of equal stature, they are towering, looming monsters, parent and authority figures, purveyors of all good and bad things - very different from a squeeling, biting, equally sized littermate.

1) If you decide to keep the pup and work with him, two main things:
Pee and Potty accidents are just that: accidents, and YOUR fault for not getting him outside regularly - at this age, your job is to manage his environment and set up his schedule so his pees and potties just happen to coincide by being outside. Reward with praise AND food when he goes outside. When he has an accident inside, kick yourself for not being on the ball, clean up the mess, and carry on.

2) Get some nice tuggies, rope toys, stuffed toys, rags and towels. Always have them around the house and on hand, in your pockets - same for your wife. When pup wants to bite, stuff tuggy in mouth and PLAY!! Show him that playing with you is the funnest best thing! Repeat a zillion times a day. For like, weeks on end - remember you are reprogaming millions or years of instinctual survival play behaviour. The biting will be bad for the first few months, even worse with your pup as he seems to not have had the advantage of normal early litter-mate interaction - but it ususally dies down and peters out around six months or so, when they are done teething.
 

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Nico is an 9 weeks old GS. He has been in our home for 4 days.

We got him at a pet store. He was biting more that I could handle but everybody said he is a puppy and that is what they are. I have had 2 dogs, (1 gs) and I do not remember them biting so much. The first night was bad and wife got scared and I almost wanted to return him( wife did not want from beginning, but she got it for me anyway). Then he seemed to get better,and won over my wife. We got him toys and treats, and when he would try to bite, we would redirect to the toy.

Yesterday night I yelled at him, because after giving him a bath he peed in the crate(he does not like to be yelled at and he will react). This morning, we got up a little late so unfortunately the crate had pee and stool.(more on this later). When I took him out he was almost like the first day. Actually this time he was aiming at the legs. He bit my wife really hard where we were outside so I asked her to leave.

SO he started with me. I gave him a good shake, but he started growling at me. At that point I firmly said no and put his face in the snow. He seemed to understand and he just got down and looked for my hand to lick it.

I think that my reaction was too extreme, and that I should not get to that in order for him to stop. I do not want him to be scared. But I am afraid of this behavior. ( He bites really hard... and he barks already like a small dog, I thought the would learn to bark later)

That is the first issue. The second issue is that when in crate, if we do not take him out soon, and he poops, he will eat his poop.... WHen he tries outside I say no no etc and he backs off. But when in the crate i do not know.

We keep him in the crate for most of the time, but when we are home try to get him out regularly.

Do you have any suggestions on how the above?

Is this post for real? I had to ask! I thought most folks knew by now never to buy from a pet store. This post sounds so bad, it must be fake!:D
 

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in response to castlemaid:
1 and 2. Would he be from a puppy mill if they gave us an akc registration and pedigree line with name and address of owner. Does that still entail that he is from a puppy mill? He was also at the pet store for just that day. Also, if he came from a puppy mill what can I do to modify the behavior.

Short answer, yes it's still a puppy mill dog, good breeders don't sell their dogs to a pet store.

3. The wife not being on board with getting a dog was because she was afraid that she would be the only one responsible for taking care of the dog and she was not ready for that type of responsibility. She sees me taking an equal responsibility and really loves the dog.

So she had good reason but you are helping......great!

4. We also have a cat and they have been adjusting. We take him outside every two hours for about 20 minutes at a time. We also have been walking him during those times.

OK, sounds good though you may have to shorten the time if the dog just ate, drank or just got out of the crate.

5. I have not meant to promote any physical punishment. What would you suggest is the best way. Should I just walk away from the dog. As said in previous post we have received a lot of conflicted responses.

Well you can think of it this way, if you had a 9 week old child would you punish the child or rub it's nose in it to prove something? Lets hope not.
If you catch the dog going in the house CALMLY pick him or her up and take it to where it is that you want him to go, he will learn you need to be patient.

6. We both work so sometimes it is inevitable to stop him from eating his poo.

If you clean the poop up he can't eat it. A nine week old dog can't stay in the crate for 8 or 9 hours without being let out, have someone come over to let the dog out, it has to be taken out, there is no way around it.

7. We tried to bring him back after the 2nd day but the pet store said we would not get a refund and they would then give him to an animal shelter. We did not want to that so we decided to keep him and try to be the best parents we could to raise him.

Wow, 2 days.....awesome! Not trying to sound mean but by this statement, you didn't do any research at all did you?

8. We realize our mistakes, which is why we are here writing in this forum. We want to do our best. He also behaves very well with people and he was good at the vet.

He's only 9 weeks old, he will be good at times and at times he will be a terror. It's good that you realized your mistakes and you will learn a lot here but no one here can give you the patience you will need for the next 12 years of your life, my suggestion is to start reading and make sure you go to obedience classes when the time is appropiate.

Also he has pet food from the pet store and we would like gradually change his food. What puppy foods are suggested?
Dog Food Analysis - Reviews of kibble
 

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in response to castlemaid:
1 and 2. Would he be from a puppy mill if they gave us an akc registration and pedigree line with name and address of owner. Does that still entail that he is from a puppy mill? He was also at the pet store for just that day. Also, if he came from a puppy mill what can I do to modify the behavior.
Yes, very possible. AKC registration is not a guarantee of quality. It only proves that the parents were purebred. Any breeder can buy two AKC registered dogs and breed them, and the puppies can be registered as AKC since they came from registered parents. The parents can have a host of conformational, health and temperament problems, but since they are registered pure bred GSDs, the puppies can be registered too. Not saying that your pup's parents had these faults, but giving examples of how pure-bred with papers can come from a variety of sources.

I can guarantee you that no good, ethical breeder will sell a puppy to a pet store. Good breeders absolutely want to know where their pups are going, and many like to keep in touch with their pups and see how they are developing in order to help them in their future breeding plans. It is possible that this pup came from a casual breeder, who had one pup remaining and sold it to the pet shop, but that still is not the sign of a reputable breeder. Reputable, responsible breeders will hang on their pups until suitable homes are found, regardless of how long it takes.

On the other hand, if the breeders name and address is on the registration papers, you could try and contact her and ask why she sold the pup to the pet shop and ask for help and guidance. Responsible breeders will often make themselves available to new puppy buyers, because they want their pups and the new owners to have as smooth a start together as possible. Though my feeling is that the breeder probably does not care at this stage where the pup is, or who ended up with him, otherwise she would have sold the pup herself.


3. The wife not being on board with getting a dog was because she was afraid that she would be the only one responsible for taking care of the dog and she was not ready for that type of responsibility. She sees me taking an equal responsibility and really loves the dog.
Sounds good! My post above was before I saw this response from you, so ignore the comment about the issue with your wife not being on board.

4. We also have a cat and they have been adjusting. We take him outside every two hours for about 20 minutes at a time. We also have been walking him during those times.
Great to hear that he likes you cat! I have two dogs, and my GSD loves my cats, and they often snuggle together. The taking out every two hours for a bit sounds good. You might want to try and do it a bit more at first, because this with the crate soiling habit, this pup really needs to be set up for success early if you want to make this work.

5. I have not meant to promote any physical punishment. What would you suggest is the best way. Should I just walk away from the dog. As said in previous post we have received a lot of conflicted responses.
We are all human, and our capacity to handle frustration and stress have their limit. If you are not up to dealing with your pup, better to just walk away and ignore him. If he insists on being a pain in the butt, put him in his crate and give yourself a time out! LOL! As much as the pup needs calm, consistent, non-confrontational handling, you need to be able to preserve your sanity.

6. We both work so sometimes it is inevitable to stop him from eating his poo.
How much time is he in his crate when you work?

7. We tried to bring him back after the 2nd day but the pet store said we would not get a refund and they would then give him to an animal shelter. We did not want to that so we decided to keep him and try to be the best parents we could to raise him.
I think that if you are open to the suggestions and info you find here, you will do well. GSD puppies are a handful and do take some skill and understanding of their temperaments to raise correctly.

8. We realize our mistakes, which is why we are here writing in this forum. We want to do our best. He also behaves very well with people and he was good at the vet.
Your pup sounds like a typical GSD puppy! Sorry for some of the posts - it just so upsetting to hear people getting heavy-handed with pups, I'm glad you are sticking around. I learned a lot from this forum for when I first joined, it really helped me understand things from a puppy's point of view, glad you are willing to stick around and weather a few outraged posts. It really shows your commitment to your puppy, and people will respect you for that.


Also he has pet food from the pet store and we would like gradually change his food. What puppy foods are suggested?
What are you feeding him now? Not sure what to recommend, since I feed my dogs a raw diet, but there are a number of good quality kibbles on the marked. What you don't want to feed is grocery store type foods like Iams or Purina.
 

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Great name for your pup, my GSD is Niko. :) Castlemaid gives you great advice, particularly about walking away if you feel like you are getting angry. Your baby puppy doesn't need to be afraid of you, you should be his safe place.

Keep asking your questions, the people on this forum are passionate about their dogs and can be a great resource.
 

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I think you have gotten some GREAT advice, and keep telling yourself,,PUPPIES BITE, PUPPIES CAN BE BRATS, they are like 2 year olds that are out of control:))

Definately find a GOOD trainer where you both can learn ,,also maybe a place who has puppy socialization classes..

Socialize, socialize , socialize, if you know anyone with a nice calm adult dog, set up play dates, ..

Good luck with him, and we would LOVE to see PICS!
 

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GSD puppies are harder than many other puppies to raise, at least in my experience. And you have a few things against you at this point.

Many pet store puppies are removed from their littermates/mom earlier than recommended cause the younger they are the cuter they are and faster they sell. But they NEED to spend the first 7 to 8 weeks in a 'normal' litter environment to learn alot of 'dog' stuff.

Crate training will be harder because of the length of time the pup has been in a crate at the pet store and TAUGHT to poo/pee in it's own living space. So it will be harder for you.

These puppies are BABIES and just don't understand punishment except to fear the humans they give it. They don't learn, they avoid and get fearful but aren't usually learning the specific teaching point (like stop biting?) that is your goal.

They only know one way to play, it's using their sharp teeth, so you need to TEACH them another way to play (we want them to play). Please read the section on bite inhibition for that...http://www.germanshepherds.com/forum/training-our-puppy-basic/134407-teaching-bite-inhibition.html (click that).

Your puppy is what he is and you can definitely love and teach him to be a wonderful new member of your family.
 

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So you got a puppy even though your wife does not want one, she got you one.

You got it from a puppy mill, ie puppy store.

It is nine weeks old and cannot hold its urine or fecies until you bother to get off your backside and let it out.

You leave the puppy in a crate most of the time.

You got a puppy but object to urine and fecies and biting.

WHAT YOU NEED TO DO, NOW THAT IT IS DONE, IS TO MAKE A DECISION.

You need to make an adult, responsible decision, right now.

You need to either take the puppy back to the pet store and get your money back, and buy yourself a fluffy stuffed puppy that does not eliminate or bite. (They have battery operated ones that you can teach to speak, kind of cute, and will fit right in with your requirements, will be fine in that crate all day long.)

Or, you have to make a COMMITMENT to a living breathing baby dog. And you better have your wife on board.

No, the puppy cannot stay in a crate all day long while you are at work. A two month old puppy can stay in a crate three to four hours tops. So, you are either going to have to have someone come home at lunch time, or you are going to have to figure something out while you are not home for this puppy. It cannot stay in the back yard. It cannot stay in the basement or garage, that long all by itself. If you do not have a better idea for this, then you need to take the puppy back.

You need to use an alarm clock and wake up twice in the night and let the puppy out. Remove water and no food after seven PM. Take pup outside the last time and then to bed at eleven PM. Wake up at two, and take the pup out. Wake up at five and take the pup out. In another week you can stretch that to 11 to three, and three to seven. Eventually, your puppy will be able to maintain control. Puppy stores are bad because dogs are not expected to keep their area clean. How can they? But you can overcome this, with schedule.

Schedule feeding, and eliminating.

Train with LOTS of praise. Cut that punishment crap out.

The good news is that dogs live in the present, and if you change your ways, your puppy will get over it and become a great dog.

DO NOT EXCUSE ANY BEHAVIOR OR PROBLEM BECAUSE THIS IS A PUPPY MILL DOG.

You may have to deal with more problems, you may not. But if you allow stuff and excuse stuff because of it, you WILL have more problems than you want to deal with. Just forget about the pup's start in life, and move on.

You need to take the dog to the vet and get the second set of shots. Have the vet go over the dog head to tail. Worm the dog and check for a UTI. IF the dog has a urinary tract infection, training will be unfair, got to clean that up first. If the dog does have ANY infection or problem, do not do vaccinations at the same time.
Even worms, and most puppies do have worms. Best to get all of that cleared up, and then do shots.

But, do not take the puppy ANYWHERE other dogs are until a week or more after that second set of shots. Right now that dog can get parvo or distemper.

Humans were created in such a manner that they get months to prepare for an infant. There is a lot to it. Once you get over the idea that this is happening, you can get together with friends and relatives, read, learn what it takes to take care of a baby. But we can walk into a pet store and bring home a squirmy little puppy.

You owned dogs before, no big deal. But this one bites more than they did when they were puppies. Yep, puppies, like babies have different characteristics/personalities.

Find puppy classes in your area, and join, but make sure you get those shots first.

Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
here is a pic of nico(today)

He was good with peeing and pooping outside today. I took him out every time he woke up and after eating. We had to go to out and left him for about an hour and he was able to hold it.

He is a smart dog, It seems he already knows his name, and also knows the command sit ( or at least I want to think so)). He is also very good outside with people and he does not seem to mind other dogs.

Here is a pic today at the lake:
photo-6.jpg

He gets too excited here at home when we play with him. I try to redirect him to his toy, but once he misses the toy.... ouchhh the bite really hurts. I will be doing a lot of reading about bite inhibition. My wife is helping with that since she has been reading all the links posted.

I am wondering how much sleep is he suppose to get. He does not seem to sleep much. At the "store" they told us that he would sleep about 17 hours. Today he slept for about 2 hours top ( adding all the small naps). He goes to deep sleep only when he is on the couch with us. How long is he suppose to sleep?

Thank you again for all your positive replies. Wherever he came from is not an issue now, for me is where we go together from here.
 

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He is adorable and you won't believe how quickly he changes before your eyes - keep the camera handy.

My Panzer came from a back-yard-breeder (byb) - now I know that, but didn't realize that when I got him. I love Panzer more than I've loved any other dog I've had and think you'll soon feel the same about your GSD. Great that your wife is getting involved in the researching too. :)

Regarding the biting - I had bruises, especially on my arms, for the first couple of months - even sported a nice tooth scratch in between my eyebrows for a while. Every month they mature and the issues change. Pretty soon you'll be here saying that he barks at everything and won't listen to you anymore. This is life with our GSDs. :D `
 

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The puppy phase is very difficult, but it passes so quickly. My skin injures easily, so you wouldn't believe how my arms looked at times. Bo is one year old now and so much easier. We do still have issues, and arm injuries! But it gets better.
 
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