German Shepherds Forum banner

1 - 20 of 58 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
31 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
My puppy is about 3 months old. He is male full blood.
I work offshore and I was home for the first three weeks we had him, and now I have been gone for a week.

His name is Tres Beau - we call him BO. Bo sits and downs and stays and a couple of days before I left home I had him ringing the bell to go outside. Smartest dog I have ever had. I was with him 24/7 for the first two weeks, and took him everywhere with me. To petsmart usually twice a week for bath and brush and socializing in general etc,..

He has been protective since the first week I had him and has barked and growled.
He is taking training classes at petsmart and my sixteen year old son has been working with him since I left. The petsmart training so far is useless except for the socialization with other dogs because we are so past "watch me" and sit. Like I said I was with hiim 24/7 for a couple weeks and took full advantage of the opportunity.

So, on to the problem. My wife tells me a few days ago that Bo was growling and snapping at my daughter whenever she would try to take something from him. I told her to start working on the drop it command. Today my niece came over and Bo had picked up a wallet someone dropped and as my niece went to take it from him Bo jumped up and bit her throat. I don't know how bad it is they are sending me pics right now. I am sure if I had been there it would have never happened.
The truth is my family will help but they aren't as interested or as committed to the dog as I am. (I am almost obsessive about it) Now I am feeling disillusioned and confused. Just need some words of advice. I always have kids coming and going around my house. Anyway thanks for this site and any advice.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,173 Posts
First understand, Bo is still a puppy who doesn't know any better. He needs to be taught what is exceptable and what isn't. Just like you would a child. He needs to be supervised by an adult at all times. (Not sure how old your niece is) And you are right, petsmart classes are useless.

Are you using NILF with him? If not, I would suggest starting that right away. Also start having everyone start taking things from him and be there to correct him if growls or snaps. I've always used the "no bite" techinque.

The main thing to keep in mind, is that he is still a baby and testing his bounderies.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
27,461 Posts
Quote:My puppy is about 3 months old. He is male full blood.
Quote: He has been protective since the first week I had him and has barked and growled.
A normal 3 month old puppy should be happy and fun and playful! Delighted to be in new places and meet new people/dogs. Need to be exercised like the Energizer Bunny. And main goal as a owner is to socialize and make my pup continue to be like that.

NOT OBEDIENCE TRAINING.

Exercise, socialization, play play play, housebreaking. Going everywhere, doing everything. NOT STRICT OBEDIENCE TRAINING. This age is the equivalent of a child being in pre-school. They have the attention span of a gnat and can keep going and going and going.................

And both my GSD's were VERY mouthy, but it's the only way they know how to play. And if they weren't biting in play, they would NOT be biting to protect. A young puppy is like a pre-schooler, do you think a toddler can tell a good guy from a bad guy? NOT. They may be afraid and not go to someone, but otherwise the world is a happy place.

It's hard to tell from this website and the fact you weren't there to really tell about the bite, except it was NOT from protection. Either fearful or playful. Both need to be managed, and the fearful biting should be a huge concern.

Finding the time in a busy family to spend an hour or so one on one with a puppy can be very hard. So the socialization and play needed can be a challenge. Without it, I know my puppies would become a bit like psycho pups and somewhat out of control. All of us have the bite inhibition problems and click here for some ideas.

Here are some sites with good info on how to raise our pups during the first year:

http://www.vanerp.net/ilse/GSDINFO/understandyourpuppy.htm

http://www.dogshome.org/docs/G852_GermShepherd_FactsheetQXD.pdf

http://www.gsdhelpline.com/willis2.htm

http://home.flash.net/~astroman/primer1.html
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
15,195 Posts
i think 3 months old is rather young to be growling and barking. seek the advice of a pro and get your family involved in his training and socializing.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
434 Posts
I would suggest that no children take anything from the pup, until you establish your leadership and address his possession issues. He was just taken from his litter less than a month ago, and that bahavior of growling and snapping at one another is how they handle things. Puppies dont know the difference between their fur-littermates and they human ones (which is how he views your children as of now). You cannot expect him to understand and know what is acceptable and what is not, if you do not teach him. They are animals, and in our world agression is a big no-no, but in their world its a part of life. So it must be taught before the proper behavior can be expected.

Good Luck!!!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
63 Posts
Originally Posted By: doggiedadi think 3 months old is rather young to be growling and barking. seek the advice of a pro and get your family involved in his training and socializing.
I agree and I agree with the previous post that at 3 months old your puppy should be happy go lucky. What are his parents like?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
31 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
I'm glad you both answered. Of course I know it wasn't from protection. I mentioned that because that was the only aggressive behavior I had seen from him.

I am speculating he was simply showing my niece (8yr old) that he is higher up the pack order than her. A kind of correction, maybe?

At any rate I have felt that maybe I was too intense on the training so far but it was so incredible to see how focused and intense Bo is when learning something new. When I grab the clicker and the treat bag that dog zeroes in on me and goes into training mode instantly. Very food motivated.
I trained him for no more than ten minutes at a stretch and then I would periodically throw a command at him just to see. I am convinced that the dog is a genius. It took about a day and a half to learn to ring the bell.

Unfortunately I live in Lufkin Texas. Finding serious dog people there is an exercise in futility. Everyone has a dog but none of them know anything about dogs. There is no leash law, and people are basically just backwards. A bunch of stupid rednecks with dogs penned up in their backyards that they feed every day and thats about it. I try to talk about training with people here and dog behaviors but it is like explaining physics to a chicken. It is so frustrating!!
If there is anyone here from close to me I would love to talk!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
63 Posts
Originally Posted By: Tres Beau....I am speculating he was simply showing my niece (8yr old) that he is higher up the pack order than her. A kind of correction, maybe....
I'm not sure this was the case and if it was, i'm not sure that it's a good thing. If you take him out to Petsmart and he decides to show a child in the store that he's "higher up in the the pack order" by grabbing it by the throat you'll have yourself a major problem.

Keep up the attention and working with him but make sure that you correct behavior such as the growling and snapping as soon as it happens or he'll keep it up. YOU'RE the highest up in the packing order.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
31 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
So if he decides to show a person in petsmart he is higher in the pack and bites their throat that is a bad thing?

Good info,.. I hadn't thought of that.
thanx
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,255 Posts
Originally Posted By: Tres BeauSo if he decides to show a person in petsmart he is higher in the pack and bites their throat that is a bad thing?
You might have just beaten me out for the sarcasm award I was given back in 1994 by a physician I worked with. You, my friend, are a master.

Please don't think I am making light of the situation, just that comment. I hope you find good solutions to this problem. Wish I had something constructive to say but I'm new at this.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
31 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
seriously I thank everyone for their help. I really do. I am just frustrated because I am out here in the gulf of mexico and not there to supervise. I know what to do when I'm home.

My gamble was that my wife could handle it while I am gone, and if I am to be chastised for anything it would be that. I know about separation anxiety and I know about the dominant pack member. I know it would be better if I was there every day. I did not just wake up one day and decide I wanted a 90 pound ball of muscle and fur with teeth. I have researched. I'm not an expert but I know more than many. I knew that my being gone would be tricky but I am hoping to make it work.
sorry for the sarcasm but that comes natural
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
279 Posts
Have you done any bite inhibition work with him? My pup is a little over 5 months now and his absolute favorite chew toy is still my hands. But he hasn't broken the skin in over a month or so now. I started early on to make sure that he knew that humans were wimpy little things that hurt easily. And that if he hurt me I would not let him chew my hands. If he bit too hard I would yelp and turn away. You should have seen all of the licking and apologizing. Now he has a gentle mouth like a setter. We were playing fetch the other day with one of those cheap water bottles that are real thin. It was full of water and I figured he'd chomp big holes in it but he retrieved it everytime and brought it back without so much as a small hole. I was amazed.
I have a 6 yo grand daughter that plays with him but he is still a little rambunctious with her. He always wants to jump up on her but has never offered to bite her. Of course big old sharp claws scratch and hurt on little girls.
At 3 months they are just beginning to enter their full knothead phase. If you play rough with him he'll play rough with everybody.
Unless your little knothead has some serious temperament problems I would think that he is just being a GSD pup and the episode with the neice was just rough play.
I agree about the obedience training being a little early. But training to be well mannered and knowing what the word NO! means is never done too early.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
16,649 Posts
A bite from a puppy that young is really out of the ordinary.

A 3 month old puppy, no matter how smart, should not be pulling rank unless he is VERY dominant. If that is the case then everyone in your family needs to get on board with his training right now. If you don't have trainers nearby then read books and set up training sessions where you teach your family how to work with him in order to make sure everyone is consistent.

I would use Nothing in Life is Free and use positive reinforcement with him for everything. Clicker training is a good thing to look into. You want him to look to all of you as leaders.

Someone asked about his lines--did you meet both of his parents? What were they like? What lines is he from?

In order to be sure nothing like this happens again I would keep him leashed to you, your son or your wife whenever company is over or keep him crated. Use treats or toys as rewards for good behavior and redirect with undesirable behavior but be sure he can't be making decisions about what is his (the wallet) and who comes and goes in your house.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
32,283 Posts
Originally Posted By: Chris08 Have you done any bite inhibition work with him? My pup is a little over 5 months now and his absolute favorite chew toy is still my hands. But he hasn't broken the skin in over a month or so now. I started early on to make sure that he knew that humans were wimpy little things that hurt easily. And that if he hurt me I would not let him chew my hands. If he bit too hard I would yelp and turn away. You should have seen all of the licking and apologizing.
That's what I'm wondering too. You didn't say how old your niece was, or maybe I missed it. A 3 month old puppy play biting can do some damage to a young child unintentionally, it's not necessarily out of aggression, he just doesn't know his own strength or understand that he's hurting you. It does sound like he's got some resource guarding issues that need to be addressed, but that's not an insurmountable problem.

I'd start working with him right away with trading games - you give me what you've got (a low value item initially) for something better, so he learns that giving up stuff is rewarding. Practice several times a day with a variety of things - a toy for a treat, a treat for a bone, a bone for a ball, etc. That's one of those things that I start working on immediately with a new puppy.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
16,649 Posts
It says the neice is 8. I wonder how they are handling taking objects away from him now? I agree with Cassidy's Mom that trading is the way to go. Then thereis no chance he thinks it's a game or he thinks everything is being unfairly taken from him and has a reason to guard.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
31 Posts
Discussion Starter #16
Trading is the way I have advised the family to go as well, and along with crating him when company is over if not supervised.
To answer an earlier question NILF has been practiced since the third or fourth day err,.. well maybe starting the second week. I cannot speak to the consistency of behavior of either pet or family while I am gone, but at any rate, it is supposed to be NILF always.

I mentioned in my second post I use clicker training. Which leads me into an answer and a question.
My dog likes training and has already shown his capacity to learn and his willingness to do so. As long as it is fun and not stressful I don't see the harm, but I could be wrong. How do you guys define STRICT OBEDIENCE training?

Here is where I admit another mistake. I have seen your questions of parents. I don't know them I have never seen them and have no idea about them. Let me say again where I live. I live in Lufkin Texas. They don't sell gsd's there. They don't sell labs or border collies or any other pure bred. In lufkin they sell dogs.
The closest breeder I found was almost 4 hours away. somedayislekennels.com if you wish to see. As soon as I get the papers in the mail I will inform of the bloodlines. I wish I could have visited the kennel before I got him. I wish I could have known the temperament and so forth but unfortunately I had to compromise.
As I said before. I would love to meet some serious dog owners around East Texas and if anyone knows any please PM me and I will be glad to provide my phone number.
I'll put up some pics and move on to another topic soon enough, and once again thanks to all of you who responded. Even to the guy who said biting is bad.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,184 Posts
Something sounds very very wrong here. This is a 12 week old puppy that is showing actual aggression over posessions and lashed out at a childs THROAT!? Too much obedience does not creat this (in fact it would just make a pup a little more timid). Trading games are great, but that is going to be a drop in the bucket if this is what is really happening. Looking at the breeder's site, they do not title their dogs or do anything with them but sell them. No health clearances, no pedigrees. Nothing. There is a mention of American working lines??? My guess is you have one of three issues... 1. This pup has something medically wrong with him and he is lashing out because of it or 2. He is genetically mentally unsound (WAY WAY unsound) or 3. He is an extremely hard and dominant puppy that will grow up to be a massive handful. I would suggest you get this pup evaluated by an experienced trainer ASAP. This does not seem right.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
58 Posts
This pup sounds like a time bomb. I would contact the breeder immediately and see if you can bring him back and get a refund. Even if you can't get a refund, just bring him back. You may be dealing with a serious and dangerous behavioral issue here that you cannot control because you are not living in the home most of the time. He sounds like he is way too difficult for your wife to handle. You don't want ,or need, the liability that a dangerous dog will bring to you if he harms anyone. Cut the ties to this one before it's too late. Normal 3 month old pups don't lunge at and bite someone's throat. I would recommend finding another pup from a breeder that uses sound breeding practices. If he's doing this at age 3 months what will he be doing when he's 6 mos. or 1 year old and much larger and difficult to control?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
53 Posts
I wouldn't take the pup back to THAT breeder. Obviously they are not responsible and shouldn't be given the chance to rehome it.
Tres Beau, is your wife willing to work with Bo as well as your son? I think your family should be given a chance if they all want to keep the dog. And the first rule is, Don't set the pup up for failure! Make sure he isn't around company or your daughter until he is under control. Some GSDs sound aggressive at play and they have to know the difference. If its play, teach him manners. If not, teach him more manners. The rescue suggestion is a good one, and since you aren't home I sympathize because it has to be hard for you, but keep working at it if you all want to keep him.
 
1 - 20 of 58 Posts
Top