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We have our first dog, as well as first gsd in the house. She is 5 months old now, and truly for the most part is a great dog.

I have noticed that where she will mind me, she is not so much minding others. I've taken a step back and we have been working with her with my husband and kids taking a commanding lead with her.

Issue today arouse though. My 4yo and myself were outside with Navi (the gsd). My 4yo walked out to the lawn (did not run) to go find her ball. Navi followed after her, jumped and started tugging her clothes. I corrected her, she immediately let go, then did it again before my daughter could move. I told her again to "drop it" and she wouldnt let go.
My momma bear instinct kicked in at that point. I've got a 4yo who's now scared with a gsd latched on to her shirt and wont let go. I go out there, Navi let's go and then starts running around. It was obvious that she thought this was a game. But she would not stop for any command. She was intent on playing a running/chasing game and she LOVES tugging games.
I calmly walked my daughter back inside and put myself between the 2. The dog picked up quickly we werent playing and went to walk beside us and inside with us.

I know Navi was just playing, but that type of play in another few months could really hurt the kid she already outweighs. Any ideas on how to react? How to behave? Maybe some sort of training I could work with Navi and the toddler?

Navi is a very laid back dog for the most part. She doesnt nip and bite. The only time her mouth is on one of us is when we are playing with her and a toy. And she is very gentle, very aware of where our hands are when playing with toys. I just dont want a repeat, especially with summer coming.
 

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If you can find some classes to take both your 4 year old and you dog to. I would look for a balanced trainer who understands young German Shepherds. Bonus if they understand kids! Have your child try being the handler in the class. That way they both build a relationship that can be mutually understood. It might be tricky finding a set up like that but it would be well worth it!
 

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Sounds like what you saw was a GSDs natural born instinct to live up to their namesake and---"herd"--I think they recognize young and vulnerable and in some cases old and frail--I've seen it years ago with my own son and youngsters that spent weeks or longer with us--usually when we had 3-4 GSDs one of them would take on the role of "herder" and not allow the child to get too far from an adult....


As was stated above find a trainer- a good one will be able to tell you how to handle it---for me it was " leave it" and "come"--it did take some time but having a assortment of kids around the house and in the back yard....did provide us with chances to "train"--so to speak
 

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Frustrated/energized/teething/normal puppy. Your puppy needs to know you been business. I say leave it my 4 month old would drop it. I say be nice that one I have to repeat and move in on her so she gets it. I give treats she has to be nice or gentle so she understands the command. She just needs to know your serious. Get up on her and grab her scruff or keep her on a leash until you can trust her. It's not her it's you sorry to say
 

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It is really about obedience. Reliable obedience takes a lot of repetition, knowing how to correctly reinforce and correct, good timing and you have to put the work in. The idea of having all the family being the pack leader is not a great one. She needs a primary trainer and that should be you or your husband. The obedience doesn't have to be complicated. You can focus on sit, down and out (let go.) If you train correctly, the dog should immediately out and then either sit or down, which is incompatible with jumping and tugging at your child and her clothes. You also need to have a release command to let the dog know when she can stop the behavior, such as "free." What motivates your dog? Your options are essentially food, a toy (prey drive) and/or compulsion/corrections. Training Ideally uses all of these stimuli to motivate a dog. For food to be of value, it has to be something the dog likes and the dog has to be hungry. For a toy, the dog has to have prey drive and you have to learn how to use a tug or ball on a string to stimulate prey. Rewarding at the correct time is crucial. You reinforce a behavior immediately after it occurs in the beginning and you reinforce it frequently. You can continuously reinforce a behavior with food but not with a toy because with a toy, you have to interrupt the behavior to pay the dog with the toy. It is not rocket science, but it does require a certain knowledge and skill base and is something you can learn to do better and better with good information. You also have to set up situations to proof or test the reliability of your dog's obedience and have a way to correct the dog if she is disobedient. But a fair handler lays the foundation of teaching the dog certain behaviors through many repetitions before correcting the dog because otherwise you are correcting a dog that doesn't understand what you are asking or expecting of her. To proof an out, sit or down with your dog around your child, you would first, have to have done a lot of outs, sits and downs without distractions, then gradually add distractions and then increase the level of distractions. When it is time to proof the obedience, the dog should have a correctly fitted prong collar and be on a long line so that you can give an effective correction. So you need to learn how to size, put on and use a prong collar correctly. That is another skill set. Training is a lot of work.
 
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