German Shepherds Forum banner

1 - 20 of 29 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
40 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
HELP, I need some advice!

Tripp, my 4-month old GSD, has quite the nipping problem. At first I tried to yelp like another puppy when he nipped. He couldn’t have cared less and came at me with more fervor. Then I tried “OUCH” as if I was hurt and again he came at me more. I tried shaking a can full of coins, a dog whistle, and an air horn to distract him from doing it, but nothing phased him. Next, I tried to leave the room and he didn’t like that, but when I came out he was all over me again within a few minutes. After that, I tried short leash tugs with a “NO” and he started to carry the leash around in his mouth after the first time I tugged him since he learned that I couldn’t tug if it was in his mouth. Therefore, I try to get the leash out of his mouth and the problem perpetuates as he nips at me when I do that, or he tries to play tug of war. I’ve even tried grabbing his scruff and saying “NO” and he will calm down within a few seconds but the second I let him go he comes right back at me even harder. I feel like I can’t move from one position the entire time I’m near him as when I walk anywhere and he’s in his “nippy mood” he has to nip at me when I do. I almost don’t want to get up at all! All I want to do is love on him and pet him, but I can’t when he’s like this.

I have bruises and scrapes and scratches all over my arms and calves. He’s drawn blood many times to my mom and I. All my shorts, pants, capris, have tooth holes in them (luckily these are replaceable). I love this dog so much that I’m getting so frustrated that I don’t know how to teach him right.

I do have a trainer coming to the house (only 1 session so far and he was the one who suggested the leash tugs and scruff grab). I know I can ask him what to do next, but I would like to get everyone’s advice here as well.

Is this pent up energy? Dominance issues?

From what I can see, he’s trying to be the dominant one and I’m not sure what to do next or what to keep trying.

ETA: After reading someone else's post in this forum it reminded me that I have tried to re-direct his attention to a toy, bone, etc. and that works only a minority of the time, and for just a few minutes.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
32,278 Posts
First off, I'd ditch the trainer that's having you tug on the leash and scruff him. There are much better ways to teach bite inhibition. Did you read the links on this thread: http://www.germanshepherds.com/forum/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=153716&page=1#Post153716

It's going to take time, patience, and consistency, and sometimes a combo approach works better than any single technique by itself. For some dogs the SHARP, LOUD shriek works well, for others, it just amps them up more. But you do need to do it properly before abandoning it - the idea is that you'll startle the pup into stopping for a second, and then you can praise him. Redirecting to a toy is good too, and be sure to also praise him, after all he's now playing with a toy instead of chewing on you! If nothing seems to work and he just gets more and more excited, an immediate, brief time out in his crate or a puppy safe room can get the point across that he needs to play by your rules or the fun stops and you go away. If he comes out of the crate raring to go, "Oops!", back in the crate.

Pent up energy? Yes, it's certainly possible he's not getting enough exercise. Dominance issues? Probably not. He doesn't know it's not okay to bite you until you teach him that it isn't - that's how he played with his littermates. But as I said, don't expect him to figure it out overnight.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
40 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
I have read the links and I need to re-read them. I feel I have to so much to learn that I need to read things a couple times.

How should I praise him? I seem to (want) to pet him and I talk in a good voice. Petting him only gets him going again.

Also, what is a good way to exercise him when he's not good at walking yet? He won't leave the yard for a walk (not a bad thing), but when I drive him to the park, he will only walk a short bit then sits. I have a "flying squirrel" soft frisbee and tennis balls, which he loves but he tires of them before his body gets tired and I'm not sure what else to do.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
40 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
I forgot to mention that spraying with a water bottle gets him excited and he tried to catch it in his mouth once it hits him and he wants to be sprayed. Little Stinker, lol!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
157 Posts
Our pup is now 4 months and we are/have gone through a similar problem although by the sounds of it not as bad. The yelping didn't seem to register, but what did work was getting up and walking away so that the play ended, or if that didn't work (if he followed), he would find himself in his kennel for some quiet time. We really hesitated to do that because the kennel is supposed to be a place of refuge, positive spot, however we felt we were out of options. A strong "NO BITE" accompanied each trip to the kennel.

He is MUCH better now. He still mouths and we still tell NO BITE, etc, but it is 95% better. He is developing a soft mouth but it does take time and consistency.

I'm a first time GSD owner so I'm sure there are many here far more qualified to assist, just thought I'd tell you about my experience.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
40 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
I was actually wondering about wheter to give him a time out in the crate or not, and whether it would be perceived as a bad place by him if I started.

Thanks!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
16,649 Posts
I have had this problem with all of my personal dogs and my foster puppies. It's very typical gsd behavior and as Cassidy's Mom says, a lot of it is due to pent up energy. Your dog is doing this because he wants attention. Any attention, including negative attention, is reinforcing the behavior. He interprets your aggressive responses as invitations to play. I have had the best success at redirecting to toy. It's tedious at first because you basically stuff a toy into the dog's mouth every time they try to bite you but it works. Give the dog the toy and play with him with the toy. When he engages with the toy, praise like crazy. It shouldn't take long for him to figure out that the ttoy is the thing that gets him attention and not the biting.

As for exercise, find a toy that motivates him. If that doesn't work, keep switching toys. At 4 months he should be able to go for good walks. If you don't start leash training him now it will get more difficult to do it. Don't use the leash as a corrective device and scrap the scruff shakes and the trainer.

There is a great book called, "The Power of Positive Training" by Pat Miller. She lays out a step by step training program for puppies. I highly recommend it. http://www.google.com/search?q=dogwise+t...lient=firefox-a
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
32,278 Posts
Originally Posted By: DonnaBThe yelping didn't seem to register, but what did work was getting up and walking away so that the play ended, or if that didn't work (if he followed), he would find himself in his kennel for some quiet time. We really hesitated to do that because the kennel is supposed to be a place of refuge, positive spot, however we felt we were out of options.
A lot of people are hesitant to try this, and many will recommend that you don't use the crate for timeouts, but I've done it with my two current dogs and the one I had prior to that, and never once had it become a problem.

In fact, I WANTED to eventually eliminate Cassidy's crate because it was huge and taking up too much space in our bedroom, but since she still liked to use it for naps and sleep in it at night (we had taken the door off by then), I hated to take it away from her.

And she was the one I had used the crate for timeouts the most because she was such a wild and crazy puppy, and I'd found the absolute best way to get through to her was to go away and ignore her. Everything else just got her more worked up, but removal of attention was like the magic bullet to get her to realize I meant business and to behave. She went through a horrific chewing phase, and if I left her unattended for more than 30 seconds she would destroy something, so crating her and going away was the best option.

With Keefer the puppy shriek and then redirecting to a toy worked best. With Dena, the puppy shriek didn't stop her for a second, so I had to always make sure I had a toy handy to shove in her mouth, lol!

What Ruth said about attention, ANY kind of attention, reinforcing behavior is dead on!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
40 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
I might try some time outs in the crate, go away and ignore him. Getting him to the crate without much more nipping will be the hard part.

We have been working on leash training in the front yard (since he won't leave the yard and just had his final set of shots last week). It's just not going all that well, but not completely awful either. We work on it every night. I will keep at it, thanks!

Thanks for the book recomendation, BowWowMeow!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
228 Posts
Remember to also reinforce that good behavior is good behavior.

Even when he doesn't expect it...

I think this gets overlooked sometimes when teaching bite inhibition, cause our first notion is to redirect him when he does something we don't like.

Here's an example...

Sitting on the floor, chewing on a toy and not attempting to chew on you is good behavior. Praise him a ton for that also. He'll catch on, that good things happen when I chew on the "toy." Verusus a body part.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
40 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
Should I just tell him "Good Boy" and pet him when he's playing nicely with a toy? Is that what most of you do?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
228 Posts
My dog is food oriented, so I'll usually give him a treat, takes his mind off biting me, praise him until he is done chewing it, then proceed to give him the chew toy back.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
40 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
I think petting is a trigger now that you mention it. He does love his treats though... I will try that!

Great tips, everyone. THANK YOU!
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
27,461 Posts
Quote:Also, what is a good way to exercise him when he's not good at walking yet? He won't leave the yard for a walk (not a bad thing), but when I drive him to the park, he will only walk a short bit then sits.
Am I the only one that thinks that is alarming? Not good at walking?

This is what a NORMAL healthy GSD pup can do at 16 weeks:

2 mile offleash hike with 4 other dogs:



Playing tug/chase the stick:


Swimming:


Photo op (it was not a pretty photo shoot
):


And 2 miles back.....


All those photos were on the same day, same hike. And THAT's the energy level you are dealing with and why your puppy is a problem with the biting.

If there is a vet related health issue so you pup physically can't walk, you need to address that. If it's an overly timid and fearful issue so your dog won't leave the house, you need to address that.

To me, you are dealing with a symptom (the biting) of a much much bigger issue dealing with training, socialization, exercise and REAL quality time that a growing GSD puppy requires.

And I hope it's not a bone/joint/health issue.................
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
32,278 Posts
If mine were happily chewing a bone or playing with a toy I made a point to acknowledge it too, but rather interrupt to give a treat or distract them by petting, (I wanted them to KEEP doing what they were doing!) I'd usually just say "good boy, chew your bone!" or "good girl, get that ball!" or whatever. I always named their toys, and by referring to those names while the dogs were playing they eventually learned them, and could go get whatever I asked them to, as long as it was somewhere nearby.

Even now (they're almost 3 and almost 4 years old) I'll tell them how good they're being by chewing a bone and they'll usually stop and look at me happily, thump their tail on the floor a couple of times, and go back to the bone.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
40 Posts
Discussion Starter #18
AHHH! I try to spend all my free time with him, training him and lovin'. HONEST
I am an avid gym-goer and have been there 2 times in the past 2 months as all I want to do is spend time with Tripp. I try to give him REAL quality time. I WILL get us out more as if your pictures indicate what he should be capable of doing, we need to work.

When he sits while at the park while on a walk, it just seems like he doesn't want to walk. He'd rather do something else. I am not getting the indication that he's in pain or anything, just not into walks yet (which seems a tad odd since our other dogs can hardly contain themselves). He's been given a clean bill of health from the vet, but I will mention it next week when we go.

OT: The scenery in those pics is beautiful!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
228 Posts
That's the beauty of pups is that they all are different. The treat worked alot better for me than just saying the phrase. Cause he initally thought that was a cue to play again. So I used the treat as a lure, eventually he caught on. And didn't need the treat.

hockey...start walking him routinely. That helps alot. Make it fun for him. And also using Nothing in Life is Free(NILIF) helps out quite a bit too. I'm sure one of the mods here can point you to the right link.
 
1 - 20 of 29 Posts
Top