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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all!

For the most part, our 4.5 month old GSD is pretty dang smart and she behaves well most of the day. She has a pretty good routine going with two people being home everyday to keep her stimulated and whatnot. We go to bed every night around 10 pm, and she gets into her crate without resistance and doesn't cry the entire night. But, the mornings are just out of control. The moment we let her out, she's just a ball of intense energy that doesn't quite know what to do. We've become aware that much of it is that she needs to go potty, she's hungry, and maybe that she missed us all night. Unfortunately, to tell us all of that she nips, and it is out of control. If we don't pet her she jumps on us (trying to work on that), and if we pet her she nips (hard) at our hand.

For the most part her nipping isn't too bad. A simple timeout (or five) usually does the trick, but it also gets worse when guest are around. She comes up to you like she wants to be pet but then the second you pet her she goes for your or someones hand. It's frustrating.

I can't imagine that we are the only ones with this issue. And, it may go away over time but I thought I'd try the best source of information I had, y'all.

Any help or similar stories are welcome!


262 Posts
I don't need to tell you this but 4.5 months is too old to be nipping, they can do unintended damage with those needles and adult teeth are on the way. Littermates (or definitely Mom) would have corrected this swiftly and very firmly by now.
This is a difficult time of day (first thing) you're encountering it since they really need to go out and relieve themselves by now. Re-crating is definitely not the answer...and I don't like using the crate as punishment in any event unless it's just time to settle, not punish per se.

What does the litter mate do when it's bitten too hard? Yelp or bite back.
More importantly, what does Mom do? Snarl, bite, pin or scruff shake.

This is too important an issue to go easy on or let slide. It's not cute any longer, it's not just frustrating, it will soon be dangerous. Even if you have to wear gloves, I would immediately and forcefully lift that pup slightly off the ground by the scruff under his chin and give a firm but not aggressive "No bite!" and a quick shake back and forth.

The dog should be suitably surprised and respectful of the correction. Trust me, Mom does it must more forcibly than you will. Personally, I'd snap a lead on him and praise and take him outside that way before letting him off the lead to do his business if that's what you usually do.

After 1 or maybe 2 at the most corrections like this, the "No bite!" as you're letting him out of the crate will suffice. You've simply let him know that the reaction is worse than the action he enjoys but the longer you let it go, the more it becomes an excitable habit.

Too many owners are afraid to be seen as somehow abusive to a pup and instead of a corrected well behaved joy they put up with an aggressive, ill-behaved problem that no one wants to be around or worse, people are afraid of.

Normal non-crazed mouthing/nipping at this stage is best corrected with a simple "no bite" correction and re-direction to the proper items to chew, especially during teething.

Jumping up is easily corrected again by the reaction being more unpleasant than the action brings joy (they love to jump and get closer to your face). Convention wisdom says try turning around and leaving if the dog jumps up and reenter only to leave immediately again until the dog understands that jumping causes you to leave and not give him what he wants; your attention. You might have to do this a dozen times in a row for multiple days.

Similar advice is to ignore the action (turn your back, walk away) for the same reasons. But I have seen Fido jump on people following all around the main floor. It's dangerous and needless, yet people allow jumpers for years and years and decades in the house. Why?

Some suggest, holding their paws in the air until they tire and sit. Or getting them to sit before greeting them at all. The common thread is the dog doesn't get what it wants (you!) until they behave in an acceptable manner.

GSD are sooooooooooo smart and can learn acceptable behavior/tricks/agility courses in single lessons if taught properly. Bad behavior allowed to become a habit are harder to break. Why let it happen the 2nd or 3rd time?
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