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Hi everyone!

We are new to the community having just picked up our handsome "Van" (short for a long breeder name, but my 5 yr old says it is short for "German "Van" Sheppie"), and 18 month male.

We have researched a lot, and this has been a 2 yr or more process, finding the right breeder, the right dog, and the right timing for us as a family. We love Van, but he does have some behaviors that need modification.

First and most importantly, when he gets excited to see us, especially the kids, he likes to "mouth." Problem is, for a child, the mouthing by an 80 lb dog can be painful. I got the good suggestion of a firm no, accompanied by a "yelp" or "ouch" and redirecting to a chew toy. While this works most of the time, it does not always, and while he is really wanting to play with the kids, he can hurt them. When he is really in a suuper playful mood, it is hard to get him to let go. It worries me. You can tell it is all in plau, but it can hurt the kids. Any thoughts? Obviously, I never leave them alone in a room together.

Secondly, crates. He was crate trained at the breeder. Enjoyed his crate. The first night at home, we had no problem with him going in for "night night" and if we had to go somewhere. We would treat him well and lavish on the "good boys" and all was well. Well, day before yesterday, he started to decide he does NOT like the crate and really wants nothing to do with it. We tried last night moving it into the bedroom, so he would be with us, and that helped as he settled down quickly and got a good night sleep, but he had to be pretty much put in it with a push (we are lucky, no signs of even wanting to attempt any aggression when we put him in it, just sadness!) and I just do not feel right about that. However, with his mouthing, and his strong desire to chew on things, and we have 2 other dogs I am not willing to yet leave freely with him, crating is the only option I can think of. Any thoughts of how to get him to like the crate again? I have to go out for a couple hours this afternoon and dread it, as I am going to have to put him back in it.


And finally, the car. He rode with us very well from the breeder, over 2 hours away. But, he has no interest to get into the car now. Even treats do not work. He ONLY likes "his" kibble (no fillers etc etc, which is great, but there is nothing we can give him for an EXTRA special treat!). I am taking him for a once over at he vet today, and a run in the park, and he really is going to be hard to get in the car.

Thanks so much for the help - the mouthing is my biggest concern right now. I would appreciate any assistance, as my kids have now become scared. And of course when they run or jump he thinks "ohhh playtime!!!"

By the way, I am continuing with his obedience training with a professional trainer starting next week. He has the basics. We chose him as he has much less prey drive than the other shepherds we have met, and researched. So he does not want to chase our other dogs and he is even "okay" with the rabbits. He doesn't pay attention to them. He thinks the chickens look interesting, but they are in a coop, so its okay. A firm "no" and he quits his interest.

Here are a couple pics of my big guy. He is so gentle, and loving. He thinks he is a lap dog. But these behaviors, especially the mouthing, I want to nip in the bud, and fast!
 

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You might want to ask the breeder if he was ever put in the crate for punishment. Not that he would admit that, but it never hurts to ask.

I suspect that he just doesn't want to be left alone. Right now he may be scared and he is trying to adjust to new people and surroundings and just needs a little security from you and your family.

You can try luring him into the crate with treats. Throw one or two in during the day when he doesn't have to be in there and do that periodically throughout the day. THis lets him know the crate isn't such a bad place after all and he gets treats when he goes in.

Frankly, I don't know what to tell you about an adult dog mouthing like that. None of my dogs did that because they were taught as puppies not to. The kids will have to learn to tell him NO, or OFF, just as you do. Make sure the kids have a toy with them that they can use to redirect his attention away from them.

Maybe someone will have a better idea about how to handle an adult dog that does this with kids.
 

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Hi. I also have the same issue with my pup mouthing on the kids. It hurts! I will certainly teach them a basic command they can give Samantha.
 

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My one year old male GSD mouths every once in a while, but I haven't seen him do it with the kids, its usually me and my son. I have been going with a no, followed by give me kisses and that is working really well. Mine also doesn't like the crate, but he was in a shelter for a couple months and that might be part of his problem. Mine would be out of the crate if I trusted him with the cats. Is there a reason that yours can't sleep on a dog bed in your room at night? Eventually will he be allowed out of the crate? I can't even do that with mine because of the cats, but eventually I will have to give up some sleep to do it.
 

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He is brand new to you and you are to him. Take him back to level zero and start training him as though he is a puppy. He should learn quickly. Be patient but firm and consistent. Use one-word commands, everything else is blah, blah, blah to him.
Mouthing is not necessarily a bad thing as long as there is no pressure exerted. My dog is mouthy still at 4 and we never get a mark or injury. Many people don't like it but we don't mind as long as she remains gentle.
 

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You can try luring him into the crate with treats. Throw one or two in during the day when he doesn't have to be in there and do that periodically throughout the day. THis lets him know the crate isn't such a bad place after all and he gets treats when he goes in.
The only thing is likes is kibble. He does not like treats of any kind. So I have started to feed him in the crate - door open. I still find myself having to force him in, poor guy!

No, at the breeder he loved the crate. When they took him home to his (the trainers) house, he was in the crate in the pickup, and he could jump right in (I saw this with my own eyes) and settle nicely for the ride. The first couple nights we had no problem, and then he decided, NO WAY!!!

I have tried EVERYTHING for treats to make the crate "extra special" but he doesn't like ANY of them. :(
 

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Hi. I also have the same issue with my pup mouthing on the kids. It hurts! I will certainly teach them a basic command they can give Samantha.
I give a firm no, but he is so happy to see them.... I think that it is going to be the continued obedience training that is going to help?? I hope!!
 
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