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When Chrono gets into a chasing game with another dog and catches them, he nips them. Other owners have been okay with that, saying that's just how they play, but I feel it's unacceptable. And one day he might run into a dog that feels the same way I do.

I can get him to hold a ball in his mouth and everything is fine, but sometimes he'll drop the ball or he'll lose the ball, and then it's back to nipping. One time he nipped a dog with the ball still in his mouth somehow. I want to correct the behavior, but the people I know with dogs don't want their dogs to be guinea pigs(for obvious reasons), and I can't exactly ask a strange owner, "Hey, can my dog chase your dog around and nip him while I train him not to?"

When I used to take Chrono to the dog park there was a dog there that had the same problem, and the guy just put a wire muzzle on his dog every time it played with other dogs.

I'd like to put a wire muzzle on him so I can see when he is attempting to nip and correct it, but also save the other dog the experience of getting nipped. Is this a good idea, or is there another path to get him to stop nipping?

Right now I just don't allow him to play with other dogs, but I feel like that's avoiding the problem instead of fixing it.
 

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i actually have a wire muzzle. its fitted properly for Riley since he's our resident run and nip at the dog park. It slides off of his nose. I'm seriously. We've tried added an extra notch so we can tighten it and he still manages to get it off. If you're serious about it, depending on your dogs size, you could order a specialty muzzle. They stay on better. But they're pricey too. German Shepherd dog harness, German Shepherd dog muzzle, German Shepherd dog collar, Dog leash, German Shepherd

theres some ideas for you. I have your standard basket muzzle you can buy from an independent pet store. I'm looking into having a leather one made.
 

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Lucy does the same exact thing. If a dogs running, she's running right next to him/her nipping away. I guess it's their natural herding instinct to do this.

I know where you're coming from because eventually they're going to come across the wrong dog, that understandably, does not want to be nipped and that's how fights break out.

Here's an old thread I started a while back about the same issue. I don't know how much a muzzle is going to do because they're still going to attempt to nip. She's almost three years old and i'm still at a loss at how to curb this behavior.

http://www.germanshepherds.com/forum/general-behavior/101029-chasing-nipping-dogs.html
 

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Discussion Starter #4
i actually have a wire muzzle. its fitted properly for Riley since he's our resident run and nip at the dog park. It slides off of his nose. I'm seriously. We've tried added an extra notch so we can tighten it and he still manages to get it off. If you're serious about it, depending on your dogs size, you could order a specialty muzzle. They stay on better. But they're pricey too. German Shepherd dog harness, German Shepherd dog muzzle, German Shepherd dog collar, Dog leash, German Shepherd

theres some ideas for you. I have your standard basket muzzle you can buy from an independent pet store. I'm looking into having a leather one made.
Thanks! That's definitely something to consider. A muzzle that falls off is kind of pointless. I'd like to try one on in person, but the pet stores around here have terrible selection. There's either the cloth kind that basically seals the dog's mouth shut, or the plastic kind that would break apart if you sneezed at it :crazy:.

Lucy does the same exact thing. If a dogs running, she's running right next to him/her nipping away. I guess it's their natural herding instinct to do this.

I know where you're coming from because eventually they're going to come across the wrong dog, that understandably, does not want to be nipped and that's how fights break out.

Here's an old thread I started a while back about the same issue. I don't know how much a muzzle is going to do because they're still going to attempt to nip. She's almost three years old and i'm still at a loss at how to curb this behavior.

http://www.germanshepherds.com/forum/general-behavior/101029-chasing-nipping-dogs.html
Thanks for the link, I just finished reading the thread. That's unfortunate you couldn't find a solution :(. Too bad our dogs couldn't get together and nip each other until they got sick of doing it :D!
 

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Thanks! That's definitely something to consider. A muzzle that falls off is kind of pointless. I'd like to try one on in person, but the pet stores around here have terrible selection. There's either the cloth kind that basically seals the dog's mouth shut, or the plastic kind that would break apart if you sneezed at it :crazy:.



Thanks for the link, I just finished reading the thread. That's unfortunate you couldn't find a solution :(. Too bad our dogs couldn't get together and nip each other until they got sick of doing it :D!

our yearling Shelby has to be muzzled when we kennel her so she doesnt chew her way out (seperation anxiety) and i replace the muzzle about every 2 weeks. its one of those canvas ones to keep them from chewing, barking, and biting but she either rips through it or rubs it til its flimsy and she can shred it then. Hope you get it figured out. Riley at least knows better than to try and demolish his muzzle in his attempts to get it off. Good luck!!!
 

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I think a muzzle is not at all the way to go. They have their place when a situation is dangerous, but all the do with the average dog is cause a great deal of pent up frustration and panic. You could likely end up with a dog with a problem twice and big as it was before.

You need to work on him listening to your corrections. It's s natural nerding instinct for him to do that. You need to get to the point where he will STOP what he is doing when you tell him when play is getting too rough and the other dog is not enjoying themselves.
 

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This is one reason I don't feel that GSDs and most herding breeds are dog park type dogs. They are hard wired to grab/nip if they want to get something under control. A muzzle isn't going to"correct" the problem, it will just stop him from making contact.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I think a muzzle is not at all the way to go. They have their place when a situation is dangerous, but all the do with the average dog is cause a great deal of pent up frustration and panic. You could likely end up with a dog with a problem twice and big as it was before.

You need to work on him listening to your corrections. It's s natural nerding instinct for him to do that. You need to get to the point where he will STOP what he is doing when you tell him when play is getting too rough and the other dog is not enjoying themselves.
Would he even realize that he doesn't have the ability to bite if it's one of those ones that allows him freedom to use his mouth but is just a cage around it, though?

I can get him to listen to corrections if given the opportunity, but I don't want to give him the opportunity to actually nip the dogs, just to think he's about to nip them, and then hopefully correcting his attempts at nipping would stop him from trying to nip.

This is one reason I don't feel that GSDs and most herding breeds are dog park type dogs. They are hard wired to grab/nip if they want to get something under control. A muzzle isn't going to"correct" the problem, it will just stop him from making contact.
Probably, but he's becoming very unsocialized since he doesn't have any doggy friends. I'm not sure of any other way to socialize him than at dog parks. The thing with the muzzle is that it is not what is going to fix the nipping, it is what is going to prevent him from actually nipping while I correct his attempts at nipping. When he used to carry a cuz in his mouth, you could tell when he tried to nip because whenever he got close to the dog, he would squeak his cuz on them. But he drops it a lot, and since there's snow on the ground we can't always find it. :/
 

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Almost all of the GSDs I know do this, as do the aussies, the border collies, the shelties . . . its what they are hard wired to do. Does your dog do it if he is playing with only one other dog, and there are not a bunch more around? Nash cannot handle playing in a group of off leash dogs, but does great with just one other dog. He can get a bit to mouthy still, but is much better, and I simply call him back to me often when he starts to get into that biting mode. He used to do it to Lloyd quite a bit (despite our attempts to correct it) until Lloyd beat his @$$ for it one day, now he is much, much better with Lloyd. Another thing he does, but is better about, is to grab ahold of their scruff. I started spraying who ever he was playing with all around the neck and scruff with bitter apple. That curbed that behavior a lot.

Your dog doesn't have to be off leash playing to socialize with other dogs, greetings on loose leashes are good too. Try to find a few dogs that he can play with one on one and keep it at that. Have you tried to find other GSDs for him to play with? Nash plays best with other GSDs, they "speak the same language" I guess.;)

Another thing that can help some is to do a lot of self control games, like "its yer choice" and the rev up/cool down game.

When he nips the other dogs do they care? Do they yelp or seem upset about it? It is normal play for dogs to mouth and nip at each other, as long as everyone is inhibiting their bite.
 

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I make Onyx carry a ball when she plays. She has very strong herding instincts and will nip if not stuffed with a ball. I tell her to get her ball and she knows it is for the best!
Karlo carries one too, bumps the others with it, and it is safest if Kacie has something in her mouth too. Two females get a bit scrappy when they have teeth bared.
Muzzles are a pain and not fair to the dog wearing them, and can be dangerous during hard playtime.
I really like the holee roller balls for play. They are soft on the dog that is getting bumped and the dog carrying it isn't jambed when bumping(compared to a jollyball)
 

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that's what dogs do. if another isn't comfortable
with it they'll let him know and that doesn't mean
a fight is going to break out. dogs understand dog behaviour
much better than we do.
 

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that's what dogs do. if another isn't comfortable
with it they'll let him know and that doesn't mean
a fight is going to break out. dogs understand dog behaviour
much better than we do.
Doesn't mean a fight will break out, but it definitely means a fight can break out. Trust me from personal experience.

Not all dogs appreciate a german shepherd running and nipping at them as they run. Fights can (not always, but can) break out because of this type of behavior.
 

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Probably, but he's becoming very unsocialized since he doesn't have any doggy friends. I'm not sure of any other way to socialize him than at dog parks. The thing with the muzzle is that it is not what is going to fix the nipping, it is what is going to prevent him from actually nipping while I correct his attempts at nipping. When he used to carry a cuz in his mouth, you could tell when he tried to nip because whenever he got close to the dog, he would squeak his cuz on them. But he drops it a lot, and since there's snow on the ground we can't always find it. :/
IMO dogs don't need "doggy friends" to be socialized. The idea that they do has only been popular thinking for the past 10-15 years. Prior to that socialization with other dogs meant that your dog was polite and well mannered in the presence of other dogs while out and about. The best way to accomplish that is teach your dog to focus on your in the presence of other dogs. To do this take your dog places where other leashed dogs will be and participating in group training classes.
 

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I think doggy friends are important honestly. No one can wear my two out like another dog making it great exercise, humans can't chase and roll around like another 4 legged friend, and dogs are pack animals they learn from and our drawn to play with their own kind. Chasing and nipping to me is NORMAL dog behavior- I've never owned a dog that didn't gnaw on another in play. If it is play as in not upsetting the other dog, causing injury, growling, or real biting why stop it? They can't talk and say hey come here I want the ball or ha ha catch me I have your ball- they nip, taunt, dodge each other, chase, and enjoy this kind of interaction- it's the way they can communicate with each other and something we can not provide. As long as I see wagging tails and give and take of the nipping and chasing behavior I let it be- their dogs!!!
 

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I only bring Madix to the park way early so the fewest dogs are there - and then him and I play ball the entire time while Midas runs around greeting everything that moves...

Not sure if I think muzzle is a good idea at the dog park or not. I have/am training Madix to wear one for just in case - you never know. Anyway I got the JAFCO muzzle and it fits him VERY well - and he can take treats, drink, pant and I can see his entire face and therefore know what he's more or less thinking.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
that's what dogs do. if another isn't comfortable
with it they'll let him know and that doesn't mean
a fight is going to break out. dogs understand dog behaviour
much better than we do.
They do let him know. They yelp, turn around, and bark in his face. He doesn't care.

I think I'm going to request a personal consultation with our obedience trainer.
 

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Would he even realize that he doesn't have the ability to bite if it's one of those ones that allows him freedom to use his mouth but is just a cage around it, though?

I can get him to listen to corrections if given the opportunity, but I don't want to give him the opportunity to actually nip the dogs, just to think he's about to nip them, and then hopefully correcting his attempts at nipping would stop him from trying to nip.
No, IMO, all the muzzle would do was PANIC him and FRUSTRATE him because he just knows that when he goes to do something that comes naturally to him he CAN'T...brain shuts off, and no amount of correcting is going to fix it because all he can focus on is this crazy thing on his face that is preventing him from doing something in a not so plesant way. You're putting way too much of the human thought process on him. There is no way he's going to think to himself "gee, I'm trying to make contact with this dog and I can't...and I have this muzzle on...so it must mean mom doesn't want me to nip this dog."

Again, IMO, you need to make sure when he plays with other dogs, he's doing so on a long line so when he goes for the first attempt at the nip, you can correct, redirect, and reward. I highly doubt this will be a behavior he'll ever totally get out of, but you need to get to the point that when he goes for the nip and you give him an "eh", he'll stop.
 

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Riley does this to my older lab. As soon as we head outside, she starts pushing tucker and trying to grab hold of his neck. I tell her to get her 'chewie'. She still tries to herd him, but she doesn't bite. If she's too wound up and keeps dropping her chewie, she is sent back in the house. No play time for her.

It took a long time but Tucker is definitely happier about outside time now.

I've also started using an ecollar for a tone correction instead of sending her back in the house. it's much easier then getting her in the house.
 

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I think doggy friends are important honestly. No one can wear my two out like another dog making it great exercise, humans can't chase and roll around like another 4 legged friend, and dogs are pack animals they learn from and our drawn to play with their own kind. Chasing and nipping to me is NORMAL dog behavior- I've never owned a dog that didn't gnaw on another in play. If it is play as in not upsetting the other dog, causing injury, growling, or real biting why stop it? They can't talk and say hey come here I want the ball or ha ha catch me I have your ball- they nip, taunt, dodge each other, chase, and enjoy this kind of interaction- it's the way they can communicate with each other and something we can not provide. As long as I see wagging tails and give and take of the nipping and chasing behavior I let it be- their dogs!!!
I worked at a doggy daycare for 9 years, where I sometimes watched 30+ dogs a day by myself. I'm pretty well versed in dog play :) This sort of grabbing while chasing is a frustration behavior that herding breeds often display. It can and does lead to "skin tears" on the dog who is being grabbed.

Not all mature dogs want or need to be social with dogs outside of their family. GSDs are a breed which generally is fairly standoffish with outsiders when mature, both humans and dogs. I used to take my GSD to daycare with me and she would follow me around all day, every day wanting me to throw her ball. She just didn't care about playing with strange dogs and would have been very sad if I left her there. Dogs need training and interaction with their owners, too often group play is used as a replacement for that.

There are also some bad side effects of allowing dogs free for all group play. This article sums it up pretty well: Powered by Google Docs
 

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Discussion Starter #20 (Edited)
No, IMO, all the muzzle would do was PANIC him and FRUSTRATE him because he just knows that when he goes to do something that comes naturally to him he CAN'T...brain shuts off, and no amount of correcting is going to fix it because all he can focus on is this crazy thing on his face that is preventing him from doing something in a not so plesant way. You're putting way too much of the human thought process on him. There is no way he's going to think to himself "gee, I'm trying to make contact with this dog and I can't...and I have this muzzle on...so it must mean mom doesn't want me to nip this dog."

Again, IMO, you need to make sure when he plays with other dogs, he's doing so on a long line so when he goes for the first attempt at the nip, you can correct, redirect, and reward. I highly doubt this will be a behavior he'll ever totally get out of, but you need to get to the point that when he goes for the nip and you give him an "eh", he'll stop.
I think you misunderstand, I'm not making him think that a muzzle means I don't want him to nip since its stopping him from nipping, otherwise the ball would have worked fine. The muzzle has absolutely nothing to do with training him to stop nipping, it's to protect other dogs during the training process.

I wanted a wire muzzle because then when he would TRY to make contact with a dog, I could correct him for attempting because since it's wired, I could still see his mouth. The muzzle wouldn't be the correction, I would be doing the correcting. I came up with this idea because when he has a Cuz in his mouth, he will squeak the Cuz when he is attempting to nip, but can't because he's holding a ball. So even when he can't nip, he still tries to.

Chrono used to be great with other dogs and was a regular at the dog park, but his obedience classes made him leash reactive again because of the class being so high strung with problem dogs and dominant dogs staring him down, so I stopped going to dog parks to focus on that. And then summer came, and I'm terrified of ticks, so I stayed away from dog parks since they were infested. But now that he hasn't had proper interaction with dogs except for walking by them and sniffing them for so long, he has poor dog manners when the leash comes off.

We went to the dog park yesterday and he was okay, but he only met about 3 dogs since it was late. These aren't your typical dog parks where you stand around and let your dogs play, these are off-leash hiking trails where dogs are allowed off-leash. I stuffed a ball in his mouth and he was okay, but he didn't play with any of the dogs so it wasn't much of a test.

Today I was allowed to use a friends dog who loves chasing games. He nipped a few times in the beginning, but a few corrections later and he stopped except for the occasional time where a very long chase made him too focused. I'm going to keep returning to the dog park daily and using this dog to help him until he's better socialized off-leash.

Dogs may not need doggie friends, but that doesn't mean he shouldn't be able to be well behaved off-leash around other dogs. We do a lot of outdoor activity such as quading, biking, hiking, dirt biking, camping, etc with him, and there tends to be a lot of dogs off-leash. He doesn't need to be buddies with every dog he sees, he just needs to not nip them when they run.
 
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