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Discussion Starter #1
OK< time to have an honest discussion about correcting the "landsharking"

I recently had an exchange with a member regarding the land shark phase.

Here it is, in case you missed it:
I can't believe that a load of Gsd owners will say this behavior is ok and normal.
I can't believe that someone who does not have a GSD comes on here and questions the experience of the "load of" us who do.
Sorry i just life with, bullmastiff mix, lab mix, 2 *terrier mix and gsd/malamute mix. And i walk and mind dogs for friends. What would i know about pack structure and discipline and obedience.

I know trainers/breeders who train for schutzhund with purely german working lines. I have also taken some courses with them and have been seriously researching the subject for the last 2 years. I know the good dogs should have this drive but i also know the seriousness it takes to train them properly. So many accept this biting and dominance from puppies. It's a disgrace. Can you picture the place a true GSD comes from and the upbringing they got. They were not biting there masters children. These people must have had a great knowledge to produce these great dogs but people buy them today without any real knowledge of dog behavior. My trainer used to joke about my friend with his gsd cross. He said he was 'like a learner driver driving a Porche'. I think there are a few amateurs here with pro dogs sorry Sunflower.

I am going to ask the "trainers/breeders who train for schutzhund with purely German working lines" who are here to please chime in.

I am also going to ask people who are here and have had GSDs all their lives, and are experienced with the breed, to please give an opinion.

Should you correct an 11 week old with methods such as the lip grip, slamming and scruffing, using a choke chain, beating, etc?

I have read Koehler. I am aware of the methods he used in the 1960s, where he advocated using a length of washer hose with a wooden dowel in it to strike a dog on the muzzle to correct some biting behaviors, or giving him "a real whaling" to stop barking.

Is this what we still need to be doing? Is this what the "pros" who laugh at us "amateurs" are doing?
What advice can you give on controlling puppy biting to the "amateurs here with pro dogs?"
 

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In the past 10 years I have had about 40 dogs living with me for various lengths of time, of various temperaments, and breeds. Also ages - including dogs who came without bite inhibition as older dogs, which is not so much fun as it sounds. ;) One was a 9 year old GSD who liked to snappa-snappa at my face when excited or agitated. Hello! I never knew how good my reflexes were as when she first got here.

Anyway, I use the concepts of bite inhibition. I will use one dog as a main example: I have a dog who was a 3-4 month old puppy biting with intent and drawing blood on children in her first foster home. Not only did she like to bite, she liked to bite hard. It was so important for her to learn the concept of inhibiting the bite, not just stopping it - because if, heaven forbid, someday she didn't stop her bite, it needed to be a bite that was not a level 4 or 5. Realistically, this needs to be the case for all of our dogs, but with most dogs we are not confronted with the reality of the situation.

Compounding this problem of her interest in biting was the fact that she was a likely Chow mix. Chows are much more cat-like than our GSDs, and as such, really aren't going to respond to corrections. I am going to say that a Chow mixed with herding breed (Terv? GSD? not sure what she is) who wants to bite is probably going to be a bit more of a pip about it than a GSD, though perhaps not as energetically bitey! And in all honesty, this was to my dog's advantage, because it forced me to respond to her in a way that is much more productive - using the methods such as here: Peaceable Paws

I use inhibition work on all pups and fosters. I use a replacement behavior with them that works. I have had a GSD puppy largely raised by humans who came with little inhibition of bite at all who turned out to be a loveable silly who stopped using his mouth as hands and just used good behaviors to get attention - he really was a nice puppy despite a mom that was not right.

Now I will say I totally cheat. My dogs teach it mostly and I just reinforce what they do. They will get up and walk away, give a warning noise, etc, but when I am forced :D to do my job, I don't grab lips, shove fingers, etc, because then with most puppies it is game on! It's either going to be fun and an exciting new challenge, or a terrifying person (another one!) who is trying to kill me, and neither thing is something that a typical pet dog owner wants.

I am sure if I were training for Schutzhund, I would do differently! But I am trying to provide safe, balanced, happy dogs who are used to structure and consequences, to other homes, or keep the dogs that I have out of trouble. Non-physical methods can provide that.

I know this is long, and I used a non PB GSD as an example but I think the time and effort that has been put into all of the dogs here has to count for something. :)

ETA - that Chow mix is one of my best puppy raisers too - she is awesome at teaching them bite inhibition, and a very good sport for holiday pics!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
OMG, that is one of the cutest dogs I've ever seen.

Thank you so much. So this is what you recommend:

The Four R’s of Teaching Puppy Bite Inhibition

1.Remove:
When your puppy bites hard enough to cause you pain, say “Ouch” in a calm voice, gently remove your body part from his mouth, and take your attention away from him for two to five seconds. You’re using negative punishment – just like the pup’s mom and littermates. If he continues to jump and grab at you when you remove your attention, put yourself on the other side of a baby gate or exercise pen. When he is calm, re-engage with him.

2.Repeat:
Puppies (and adult dogs, and humans) learn through repetition. It will take time – and many repetitions of Step #1 above, for your pup to learn to voluntarily control the pressure of his bite. Puppies do have a very strong need to bite and chew, so at first you’ll “Ouch and Remove” only if he bites down hard enough to hurt you. Softer bites are acceptable – for now. If you try to stop all puppy biting at once, both of you will become frustrated. This is a shaping process (See “The Shape of Things to Come”, March 2006). You are just looking for a small decrease in the pressure of his teeth at first. When he is voluntarily inhibiting his bite a little – enough that it’s not hurting you, you can then start doing your “Ouch and Remove” for slightly softer bites, until you have eventually shaped him not to bite at all. By the time he’s eight months old he should have learned not to put his mouth on humans, unless you decide to teach him to mouth gently on cue.

3.Reinforce:
Like all dogs (and humans), your pup wants good stuff to stick around. When he discovers that biting hard makes you (good stuff) go away, he will decrease the pressure of his bite, and eventually stop biting hard. This works especially well if you remember to reinforce him with your attention when he bites less hard. It works even better if you use a reward marker when he’s using appropriate mouth pressure. Given that my hands are probably full of puppy at that particular moment, I’d use a verbal marker followed by praise to let him know he’s doing well. “Yes!” makes the soft-mouth moment, followed by “Good puppy!” praise to let him know he’s wonderful.

4.Redirect:
You probably are well aware that there are times when your pup is calmer and softer, and times when he’s more aroused and more likely to bite hard. It’s always a good idea to have soft toys handy to occupy your pup’s teeth when he’s in a persistent biting mood. If you know even before he makes contact with you that he’s in high-energy hard-bite mode arm yourself with a few soft toys and offer them before your hand is puppy-punctured. If he’s already made contact, or you’re working on repetitions of Step #1, reinforce appropriate softer bites occasionally with a favorite squeaky toy play moment. If there are children in the home with a mouthy puppy, it’s imperative that you arm them with soft toys and have toys easily available in every room of the house, so they can protect themselves by redirecting puppy teeth rather than running away and screaming – a game that most bitey pups find highly reinforcing.
 

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Yes - and my dogs do it too. I am lucky, again, to have them, and no little running bite sleeves (kids). I use the phrase kissy-kiss and praise when they lick instead of bite, or touch works too (because I realized some of my dogs and fosters were annoying with the kisses). My (now) sweet Ilsa I have caught "aggressively" licking another dog. Ha! But I cannot say enough that it is easier for me due to repetition (getting new dogs more frequently than the average puppy or dog owner should), and because of my dogs. Plus, working with kids for over half my career - I had to control them without pinching their lips, or grabbing them by the neck :D so it is a more natural thing for me to modify behavior this way.

I also do a lot of stuff to give them things to do with their teeth - toys, tugs, and bones. I give them a Premier Busy Buddy like the squirrel so they have to get some of their meals out by working their jaws. And I freeze a lot of pumpkin or other soft stuff - like you do for teething babies except our dogs would chew through a frozen teething ring!

And between me and the dogs, they exercise quite a bit (while being careful not to over-tire them to that point of manic stimulation - which I still sometimes do anyway by mistake) and need down time to rest, and if they aren't old enough to go out because of shots, I do a lot of weird surfaces, noises, etc, in a fun way, to keep their minds moving and that is tiring too. Add a clicker and the puppies are probably glad when I leave them alone!

I will also say that I met a Duck Tolling Retriever puppy and she was adorable. I was playing with her and kept, I don't know, waiting for her to mouth or bite me? And when she wouldn't, I was like, huh, is she broken or something? Even though I knew in my logic brain that she should be like that, a little part of me thought she wasn't quite as much fun as she should have been. Yikes!
 

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i have had numerous foster puppies and raised 3 dogs from pups to adults.. each one went thru a landshark stage (usually at teething time for some ,others were just taken to young from parents or just really drivey pups)

i used the method of having toys/tugs all over the place and using them to help with the biting stage and doing more advanced obedience to tire their little brains,plus my adult dogs helped out and corrected the really devilish ones lol... i never ever even thought of choke chains or hard corrections for biting puppies.. some pups are more mouthier then others.. all it takes is patience and a ton of tug toys and stuffed toys to redirect the little needle teeth and put that energy elsewhere.. i never considered biting mouthy pups to be "dominent" either..
 

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Discussion Starter #7
From the article:

"The original description of the basic difference between dominance and submission in dogs comes from Konrad Lorenz in his book, "King Solomon's Ring," (1949). Lorenz, who was a Nobel Prize winning ethologist and animal behaviorist, based this idea on observations of his own dogs. If one dog appeared to be more aggressive and powerful (dominant) the other dog would acknowledge this by giving ground or rolling on its back (submission). Lorenz felt that humans also had dominance relationships with dogs, since if he struck or threatened one of his dogs they acted similarly submissively toward him.

The thinking of scientists usually reflects the culture and the beliefs of the historical era and the place that they live in. Lorenz was born in Austria in 1903. His thinking about dogs was doubtless influenced by the dog training procedures common at that time, most of which had been developed by the German military for teaching service dogs. The methods used to train dogs reflected the attitudes of the military at the time and were based upon strict discipline supported by force if necessary. Certain tools that were developed for training reflect this attitude, such as a leash that was braided and made rigid at the loop end so that it could be turned around and used as a whip if the dog failed to obey.

Colonel Konrad Most summarized that Germanic philosophy of training when he wrote, "In the absence of compulsion neither human education nor canine training is feasible. Even the most soft hearted dog-owner cannot get on terms with his idolized favorite without some form of compulsion." In other words, one should use force to establish dominance and then use that dominance to control the animal's behavior."


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But what I want to know from those experts who still employ these, or similar methods today is what exactly one needs to do with an 11 week old puppy when he bites.

Generalities don't help.
Telling people to use compulsion isn't very useful, if one doesn't know exactly what that means.
And Kenzi, I know you don't use punishment, I just need to know from those who do.
 

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We have a working line girl and raised her imprinting her for Schutzhund as we knew that's what we wanted to do with her and have done some but wont be able to fully do it until we move. With that being said our breeder trains and competes in Schutzhund and so do other people who buy her puppies and she (and them) are what got me through this crazy land shark phase because my oh my was this little fuzz ball relentless in her desire for flesh. Of course things like keeping them worn out go without saying. Things that tend to be common practice and we definitely used (and still use with foster monsters) try the yipe to signify what litter mates do when the pup is too rough, end playtime and walk away, BIG ONE is too always always always redirect. Redirect those little flesh cutters to a toy they should be chewing on and play with it so its not boring and praise while teeth are on you and not you. As a last resort a CALM scruff with a firm no can be used but it can not be angry or shake the pup. If you have a driven pup the odds are the scruff will just make it want to play even harder. Some of these may work with some pups some or all may not work with some pups. If you have a particularly driven mouthy little critter like my girl was you just have to be very consistent with the redirect and let them grow up some. Lots of stuff for them to chew on of course and outlets for their energy and remember they get particularly rebellious when tired and need more sleep as pups then most people realized so sometimes forced naps are required.


Sent from Petguide.com Free App
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
Sorry I misunderstood! I didn't think you did!
No, you did not misunderstand.
The article you posted was extremely useful, because it illustrated the way the original breeders of a GSD disciplined a dog.
What you say is that we can use different methods. So do I, on a very young puppy.

I do believe that, when the dog is older and understands some things, not to mention has better impulse control, then, yes, a yank on a prong might be necessary and useful.

But what do about the land shark phase, when you are trying to establish trust and build confidence in a pup?

The fact that Madlab came on here and expressed disapproval to those of us who redirect and wait until the dog is older, plus said we are ridiculed in private by trainers, made me ask the question.
 

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I think it's fair to say that there's more than one way to train a puppy. Not to say that I agree with another's method - but to accept the fact that my way isn't the only way. And it's probably a good thing too, because I encourage my puppies to mouth me. IMO, this helps to build our bond and also teaches a soft bite. Am I right? Who knows, but it works for me and my dogs so we're happy. I taught DH to redirect, since he disagrees with my philosophy. My puppy, my rules, lol.
 

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I've only been "in" dogs for the last 4 years, I'm young..

That said, I've raised a handful of dogs, fostered almost 20, worked in 4 dog shelters, worked at a dog park, dog sat, boarded and trained, and now I work for a professional training company, so it's just my quick .02

I've never needed to hit or correct a puppy to get it to stop biting me. It's completely unacceptable, but I'm telling them what to do instead. I have a very dominant and socially "aggressive" pit bull puppy currently who was very close to being euthanized at my suggestion for his lack of bite inhibition and disregard of people.

Well, I've never hit him, he's come a long way in the 7 weeks I've had him, and he is now a fantastic candidate for adoption.

And guess what? I didn't ruin his drive or crush him in the process.
 

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We redirected the biting. Sometimes he really wanted to bite us though and it hurt. When the redirecting didn't work we did out out thumb with gentle pressure inside his mouth on the bottom jaw and said "no bite". He finally got it. He will still soft mouth us, but it does not hurt and I look at it as playing. He only does it when he's playing.

I don't spank or hit my dogs. I don't think it's needed in training.
 

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First of all you never need to hurt a dog. (I have a friend whose Collie was raised with the Koehler method. She is obedient to avoid punishment and afraid to make a mistake).
I wonder if the land sharks have had enough contact with siblings and parents before they were adopted out. WD came from a litter of two so maybe that was not enough education on bite inhibition. He was bad for about a month but it took a lot of distraction, chew toys, exercise, leash work and once in a while when he caught me off guard I held him by his neck but never shaking or putting him on his back; just to stop him. I have raised and trained many dogs successfully ; my own, fosters, clients' but WD was the first land shark.The forum helped me realize that many GSD puppies are like this; I didn't know this. If you were to see WD now, you couldn't imagine him like this set of teeth on four legs. They do outgrow it but it took a lot of work and sometimes, I have to admit, I wondered if I chose the right dog. But hey......I did!!!
 

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I got my GSD at 5 weeks and was anticipating a rough teething, but now she's 6 months old and I feel like I missed something. She worst she did was some chewing on the metal doorstops, but never put teeth to the chairs or tables. She does latch onto clothes when we're running around, though.
 

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I got my GSD at 5 weeks and was anticipating a rough teething, but now she's 6 months old and I feel like I missed something. She worst she did was some chewing on the metal doorstops, but never put teeth to the chairs or tables. She does latch onto clothes when we're running around, though.
Riley never chewed up anything in the house when I'm home. When I go to work he has chewed up a remote control and he always has my shoes out, but no bite marks in them. (he is either upset I left or my husband just doesn't watch him well.) When he was a puppy he mostly played with his teeth with us. We were all marked up until he learned not to bite us.
 

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I compete in multiple bite sports. I didn't realize it until this thread but I guess I have been doing the "4 R's". That being said, I have found the only affective way(for me at least) is just suffering through it. Nothing I have tried can I say worked 100%. I have found they just need to grow out of it. It's funny how around the 7 or 8 month mark it just stops. With my last puppy I tried everything I could think of including physical correction. Guess what? Didn't work. So like I said 4 R's and wait it out.
 

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This 4 R's thing sounds like what my soon to be trainer said to use. I told her we were starting the bite inhibition and she said she doesn't believe in that. There is too much danger and chance for something to go wrong when in a different situation. Everything she said made sense so for now the "no bite" route is the way we are going. Thank you for posting the 4 R's. It's working for right now. All I have to do is say "uh - uh" in my mom voice and she starts licking.
 

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First of all, the ancestors of modern GSD were the herding dogs whose characteristics GSD carries up to this very day. Herding dogs... Would a dog, with a nice forbearing character, bite young lamb's buttocks? Or, you probably, think, that sheep are scared of the predator naturally? They are not, and that is their trouble (with a real predator).
GSDs would never be put in a group of "companion dogs" because ALL OF THEM have agression inbuilt, I don't want here to count a few inoffensive individuals you may come across even among ASTs. All attempts to breed out "agressive gene" lead to GSD degradation, loss of their superior to other breeds intellect. Somehow it runs together - their agressiveness and intelligence, you cannot remove one without removing the other. Their intellect - but that is exactly what we love them for! If someone bought a GSD puppy for the looks and good reputation of the breed - that person might bought a time bomb which might explode in a year time.
Highly trainable, the GSD is a "plasticine dog", you can make anything out of him with the right training. If we respect our dogs, they will respect us. If we are nice to them - they will be nice to us. To be moderately agressive and to be conducted by reason is typical of a true GSD. I met many overagressive GSDs, and all them were owned by agressive men, bossy and pushy women (though those expressed themselves in fair syllables!), so, maybe there is not the "plasticine dog" matters but the sculptor?
 
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