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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Timber has most certainly been my little land shark from day one. He is now 4 months old and slowing down a bit on how much he mouths, chases, nips and so on. He is especially bad about the chasing and nipping when me or my 4 year old are walking down the hallway. I guess the prey instinct really kicks in there for some reason.

I guess my main two concerns are:

#1 My 4 year old son. Whenever my son comes over the gate to the kitchen, dinning room and hall area where Timber stays. Its always the chasing and nipping or biting. When I stand over my 4 year old to tell Timber "no bite", Timber seems to get bossy with me. Kind of barking and nipping the air. I always try to keep toys available to hand Timber whenever he starts doing this. But I dont really think its changing anything. He REALLY wants to jump, bite and nip the 4 year old even after Ive explained for him to walk slow and keep his hands at his sides as to not excite Timber.

#2 I live in my parents home. They work out of state. My Dad is concerned about me having a GSD with children in the home. My son will get on the phone with his grandpa and tell him that Timber bites him all the time. Of course this isnt what Grandpa wants to hear. My Dad used to raise Aussies and knows about herding instincts and puppy mouthing. But he is afraid that as a GSD, he wont EVER stop mouthing/biting/ nipping. And my dad worries about his safety. He thinks that one day I will go to correct Timber for jumping on my son and Timber will then turn on ME.
I have to be honest. I have had this fear myself but I never told my dad that.
Like I said in #1, when I attempt to keep Timber off of the 4 year old. He jumps on me and bites and barks. One time he wrapped his front legs around mine while he was doing it. To me, from what Ive learned about the wrapping of the legs, means fight. I could be wrong but Im just sayin. :)

During the day, Timber and I do really good with eachother. I feel like we are finally getting into the groove with one another.
But these things do concern me. I think to myself "What if he doesnt grow out of this"? Are these signs of future aggression? There was also a time when I was giving him some time in the living room with me and he jumped onto the recliner, wedged himself behind me and when I got up and told him "off" he did that same nipping at the air and barking.

I keep seeing post where people say "they will grow out of this I promise", I get my hopes up that some day things will change but secretely Im really worried they wont.

Thank you!
Jennifer and Timber
 

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They won't just grow out of it. It's play behavior and your puppy want to play with the other puppies in the house (your kids). Play is natural and normal and we want it.

So the adults in the home need to learn to manage the situation better while TEACHING our pups how to play more appropriately and who they can play what games with.

This will not happen naturally.

I know I have to take my pups for MILES of off leashing walking/running to get the edge off when we are home so they don't CONSTANTLY feel the need to play (instead they want to crawl off and nap :) )

I know my pups need to be in the car alot and off to visit and socialize with tons of people. Wears them out mentally and physically.

I know my pups have to attend puppy/dog classes for as long as we need to attend puppy/dog classes (that means more than one simple 8 week session). We go until my pup is practically perfect. Cause there is TONS for my puppy to learn and I sure didn't come with a natural ability to teach it. Classes are way more about teaching me (and it takes months, uh, make that I'm still learning 15 years later :) ) then an amazing thing occurrs with my puppy learning too!
 

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Your puppy won't grow out of it on it's own. You have to manage it.
One suggestion...you mentioned that you give a toy to your puppy when he is nipping, etc. Don't do that. What is he learning by this behavior is that if he nips, you will reward him with a toy ! Show him the toy, but withhold it from him till he calms down. Then he earns his toy. They learn a lot by association and if they learn that nipping earns him a reward, then you are heading for trouble.

There are lots of books and articles on the web on how to break bad habits in pets. Read a few. Basically you want to enforce the fact that every human in the household (including the small kids) have a higher hierarchy in the family pack than the dog. Once the puppy has understood this, you will see a vast difference.
 

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Sounds like he needs to learn some self control. I'd definitely take him to a class, at least do clicker training at home and start NILF. At a class he can play with other dogs and get his biting and wrestling time, right now his playmates are limited to you and your son. Uschi was a terrible biter and she would snap in the air and bark at me when I corrected her. It was really funny and cute but I couldn't laugh!
 

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Sounds like he needs to learn some self control. I'd definitely take him to a class, at least do clicker training at home and start NILF. At a class he can play with other dogs and get his biting and wrestling time, right now his playmates are limited to you and your son. Uschi was a terrible biter and she would snap in the air and bark at me when I corrected her. It was really funny and cute but I couldn't laugh!
I second this. When Willow was about the same age, every time I corrected her she gave me the "You're not the boss of me" bark and I stood my ground with the "Yes, I AM the boss of you stare" until she calmed down and moved on to more appropriate behavior. Puppies are a handful and don't always just "grow out of it". They need training, training and more training. Will just turned 13 months and we just finished our 4th different class. Taking a 4 week break and then might start something new!
Good luck and have fun with your pup!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
"Sounds like he needs to learn some self control. I'd definitely take him to a class, at least do clicker training at home and start NILF."
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Timber actually has pretty good self control in other areas. For instance.... I make him wait before we got out the door, or crate or wherever.
When I set his food or water down I wait for him to be calm. As soon as he is, I set the food or water down then I wait for him to look up at me and then I say "OKAY". Then he eats or drinks. He also knows the "wait" command very well.
Timber is in his 4 week of puppy class. Immediately after that class ends, we will be starting intermmediate and we will continue until there are no other classes to take.
Our puppy class is limited to class only. Really no play time. Besides, Timber does well with other humans but its like he loses all control around other dogs. He just gets soooo excited!!! And the other dogs cant stand him because if he is not right next to them or touching them, he's yap, yap yapping incessently at them!
 

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We are in the same boat! Hugo nips and chases us all over, but when we are out and about he is sooo GREAT! At home when he is out with us in the house I keep him attatched to me with his leash. It keeps him from doing all the nipping and I can correct him right away if he starts. He is getting better day by day and we love to go on tons of off leash walks! It helps a ton :) Oh and I have also taught him to walk/run next to my bike that way I can really make him tired!
Good luck and you are not alone :)
Lauren
 

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It's more than likely his age, he's being a brat. :)
Like others mentioned he'll do it forever if you don't teach him not to, but it sounds like you are training him.

I'd say keep doing what you're doing It's really easy to let little things slip because we're tired, in a hurry etc. so just make sure you're being consistant. Every command is written in stone, no means no, etc. etc. etc.
 

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I have a 10 month old, and the behavior that you describe sounds very, very much like my Sofie when she was that age. I remember being so frustrated on several occasions that I was sure that even though I love her we had just made a bad choice in getting her.

At 10 months, she now almost never mouths me, and when she does it is very gentle, and she's usually trying to tell me that she has to go outside to the restroom.

Our solution was exactly what Maggie said in an earlier post, way up the exercise (we walk her 6 miles a day), obedience class, and training every day.
 

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Timber sounds like he knows your a little fearful of him- the jumping in your chair and barking at you when you say to get down is not okay and shows he thinks just maybe he is boss. He also sounds like he needs more exercise and some real training. All dogs need to go to puppy school not just for the basics of learning to sit, down, stay, and shake but to learn how to interact with strange dogs, and new adults, and most importantly for him to associate all this learning with you being in control so he respects you as well. He will grow out of it if you make these changes- if not he will continue to push boundaries because these boundaries are not clear to him right now:)
 

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Really, how much excersice are you giving him every day? You're talking about him not getting any in OB class. Right, it's not time for running in the fields. That's the mental work. You need to be making him so tired all he wants to do is sleep when your son is running around the house.

I'd also leash him at all times so you have something to grab. Also, when he's bratty do the tether idea. If he's always by your side and you're making him work, then he won't ever get the chance to be too rough with your son. You want to prevent this behavior, not try to stop after he's already been harassing him.
 

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You are getting a lot of great suggestions here. Probably the best thing is to know that at 4 months your dog's behavior is normal. Mine did that too, including biting the air when I told her no. My wife's hands were covered with pinholes and scratches. But we held our ground, continued with a LOT of exercise and our own assertiveness and the dog came around (matured).
 

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I also had a brat that would bite at my feet all the time. He is much different than the other GSD's I have had. Normal corrections did not work, it made him come back at me more. And yes he was in class and was getting exercise plenty. The only thing that worked for me was to grab him by the scruff (I had to use 2 hands and grab each side) lift his front feet off the ground and give him a gentle shake with a very firm NO! He would then walk away. This of course took several times but now at 10 months he pretty much no longer does it. If he does now a firm no works.

I only suggest this if you have done everything else suggested and it is not working. Also you need to get over worrying about him turning on you. You need to be in charge and you had better start now. I realized that if I did not find a way to stop Max I would have a very large brat later on. Otherwise he was a very good dog, the biting was the only real challenge I had.
 
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