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My puppy "Dutch" (12 weeks today) came from a very reputable breeder. We brought him home at 8 weeks and started some simple basic training recommended by "The art of raising a puppy" . started with sit then down then some basic leash training . The play biting started at around 9 weeks which ok, I was ready for it and used the "yelp" method followed by the leave the area method. (Disclaimer... I cant say I was consistent though) I did spend a lot of time on the "leave it-Take it" method to teach him to leave it rewarding each successful reaction. That seems to help but now I'm having new problems . Every time I slip his leash over his head he goes for my hands again. I worked on this yesterday by repeatedly having him sit , and holding the loop of the leash in front of his face with my left hand while holding a treat in my right. As he focused on the treat I slipped the loop over his head and said good boy and gave him the treat. I did it again (holding the treat in my right hand ) while I used my left hand to slip the loop off his head.... this is going fairly well but He still wants to grab the leash and play tug once its on .


I have been taking him for walks 3 times a day ( starting a week ago about 3/4 mile) and he will get into it (the walk) and all of a sudden start grabbing the leash , tugging , jumping up, grabbing at my pants , biting my leg, barking and growling and this morning, lunging at me because he was so mad. My response to this was to stop dead in my tracks and be quiet and ignore him until he sat down and stopped but as soon as I said heel he started again . Thank God we were almost home. I wanted so bad for our walk to end on a good note but it didn't. Today I can say I was honestly fearful of his actions.


Other information.... We started puppy classes last week , We also did as much socialization as we could without his second set of shots.... took him to lowes, had people come over to visit him etc.
I have had 2 other GSD's but have never had a GSD puppy.
I am a small person with a dog who will likely be 100 lbs.
I intend to continue with obedience for a long time as its so important to me to have a well trained loving companion.
What are your thoughts on "E" collars? At what age?


So, Please tell me this is all normal, that I have a typical GSD puppy! I welcome helpful advice. I want to make sure I'm doing the right thing here.
 

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yuppers, very normal. Little cute Land Sharks and velociraptors in Fur. Use this desire to practice his biting for the power of good. Games of tug become great rewards (be gentle durning the teething times).

Also remember these babies need naps! A human child will get whiny and cranky. Puppies become mouthy and unreasonable. Slow down on socialization. They don't need to meet lots and lots of people. It is actually better if they get to watch folks from a distance and not have to deal with huge strangers coming to touch them.

I know that there is a place for e-collars but honestly, most dogs will never need one. They are for specialized training at distances, considering they were used on gun dogs where leashes were impracticable. At 6 months you might consider a prong collar but in the meantime a martingale is good. Easy on and they don't slip off quickly.
 

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Yes, he sounds like a typical land-shark GSD puppy to me. Perfectly normal. Keep up your obedience work and the classes. Try to find a trainer who is experienced with working breeds, or better yet, GSDs. There are lots of threads on puppy play-biting and loose leash walking if you do a search on this site. Try to be calm, consistent, and confident when working with your pup (easier said than done, I know!)--Dogs can sense frustration and uncertainty, I think. When I am training and getting frustrated, sometimes I have to walk away for a few minutes until I feel calm and in control again. This may differ for everyone, I'm sure, but I don't get good results from my dogs when I'm agitated. For example, I was trying to clip my puppy's nails a while back, and he was wiggling and not letting me work--even though we've done that many times before and he knows better. I was getting irritated. I had to let him go for a minute, take some deep breaths, and when I tried again, feeling calm and confident, he sat there without an issue and let me clip his nails.

I agree with Car2ner about the martingale collar. I've never used an e-collar, but I think your pup might be a little young for that. You might want to have your trainer teach you how to use a prong collar when your pup is 6-8 months old.
 

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I think very short leash walks and way more off leash wandering,sniffing,natural exercise will facilitate a positive change.He needs to do more doggy things and hopefully you can relax and enjoy his puppy hood as he does them.Enjoy and bond with each other:)
 

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Well, I went and bought a padded Martingale collar. I also tried to "enhance my calm" ha ha ... Our walk just now was wonderful... I live in a neighborhood some sidewalks and some side streets that have none .. I also upped the treat quality , using cut up skim mozzarella sticks. He was so good , never freaked out once (well one little time) ... Let me put something else by you ....... This morning it was still dark 630am when we started our walk.... do you think he was a tad afraid of the dark?


One other biggie.... I'm trying to keep him next to me on a loose leash , this afternoon he did start freaking a bit so I let him go on the grass and lo and behold , he had to go!!! jeez forgot all about that, being so focused on the leash training..... My bad! Focus Mommy, he's talking to you to!
 

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I admit I've never raised a puppy, so I'm no expert, but, if I had this cutie I would definitely bring a tug toy and make some play time on the walks--like at the end of a dead end street, a quiet side street, parkette or where-ever. Leashed walks are boring, tugging is fun and can be played on leash.
Enjoy your puppy.
 

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I admit I've never raised a puppy, so I'm no expert, but, if I had this cutie I would definitely bring a tug toy and make some play time on the walks--like at the end of a dead end street, a quiet side street, parkette or where-ever. Leashed walks are boring, tugging is fun and can be played on leash.
Enjoy your puppy.


You are right.... At the moment , I have 2 stopping points (nice grassy empty lots) that we stop so he can lay down and roll around ... He loves the nice thick cool grass and its a great resting point to stop for a belly rub. I'm not sure I want to play with a tug toy though... as I'm trying so hard to break the habit of tugging at his leash as a tug toy, I like when he forgets about it! :wink2:
 

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You are right.... At the moment , I have 2 stopping points (nice grassy empty lots) that we stop so he can lay down and roll around ... He loves the nice thick cool grass and its a great resting point to stop for a belly rub. I'm not sure I want to play with a tug toy though... as I'm trying so hard to break the habit of tugging at his leash as a tug toy, I like when he forgets about it! :wink2:
Bringing a tug toy can redirect his focus from the leash to the toy. He's getting bored on his walk so he wants to play. He is still just a baby. :)
 

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I think very short leash walks and way more off leash wandering,sniffing,natural exercise will facilitate a positive change.He needs to do more doggy things and hopefully you can relax and enjoy his puppy hood as he does them.Enjoy and bond with each other:)
I really don't have a place for off leash wandering as I'm in an in town neighborhood and my yard is quite small. We do however have a small park in our neighborhood so I may take him over there and see how he does. Also, before I let him wander I think we need to perfect the recall... right now its iffy.
 

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I really don't have a place for off leash wandering as I'm in an in town neighborhood and my yard is quite small. We do however have a small park in our neighborhood so I may take him over there and see how he does. Also, before I let him wander I think we need to perfect the recall... right now its iffy.
Put him on a very long rope, 15 - 20 feet, so he can wander and you still have control of him.
 

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I second off leash training at his age. He is too young to run off and if you can use his natural instinct to follow, you will have fewer problems. If you are in traffic or around a lot of other people or dogs, use a leash. At his age, though, he doesn't need long walks. My WL puppy ate through 3 leashes before he finally stopped chewing them. It's all normal and it takes patience and time. I worked with mine more at home at that age. Lots of house manners, putting treats in a fist so they learn to lick rather than bite. Once they have stopped biting, then I wean them from licking.

They have short attention spans, so you don't need to spend more than five minutes at one time on different training activities. At that age, my main focus was on not biting and on housebreaking.
 

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I really don't have a place for off leash wandering as I'm in an in town neighborhood and my yard is quite small. We do however have a small park in our neighborhood so I may take him over there and see how he does. Also, before I let him wander I think we need to perfect the recall... right now its iffy.
You can't do a lot until he has his shots, but you can still reinforce following you in your yard and indoors. If the park has a lot of dogs, you need to think about diseases, unfortunately. There are other types of places you can use. I didn't do this and wish I had.
 

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I really don't have a place for off leash wandering as I'm in an in town neighborhood and my yard is quite small. We do however have a small park in our neighborhood so I may take him over there and see how he does. Also, before I let him wander I think we need to perfect the recall... right now its iffy.
Put a long line on him.A length of clothes line is fine.You can step on it if need be.Gsds tend to stay fairly close and check in with you regularly.A good boy! whenever he looks at you and a treat when he comes close to you voluntarily will further cement this tendency.Run away from him occasionally and call him w he least expects it.I'll bet you he'll come flying back to you asap!
There really a lot of natural areas around if you think about it.School yards,sports fields,fields behind strip malls and industrial areas....
Please give it try and give him the opportunity to be a dog and give yourself the opportunity to enjoy being with him.I'm totally 100% sure you will see a positive change!
 

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And yes, I didn't say it but what you are seeing is perfectly typical for this breed and age! Search this forum for "puppy biting." You will find a lot of previous posts.
 

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Great advice already posted. I second not trying to do too much at once. Play tug play as much tug as you can. It will direct his efforts to his toys and not the leash. As far as wanting to chew on you. Just try and enjoy it. That means he wants to play and interact with you. Just grab a rope or another tug toy and play with him. recall can be worked inside easily. With my pups we would go on opposite sides of the room and take turns calling his name followed by come. So "spot come" while waving his favorite treat. He should come running reach out touch his neck then YES and treat. As he gets the hang of it you can lengthen the distance. To eventually outside with distractions. Long line could be used at first if need but I don't think you will. Only call him with come if you have a treat. Eventually muscle memory will replace the need to treat every time and you can wean him off treats. Enjoy
 

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Some people in my training class had success putting bitter-apple spray on their leashes to stop leash-biting. I didn't try it, so I have no idea if it works with GSDs, but it probably couldn't hurt to try as long as the spray was non-toxic (I've never really looked into it).

I love playing tug with my dogs (as long as it's an appropriate toy in an appropriate time and place). I think it provides a good outlet for all those crazy puppy chomps.

If my pup was acting obnoxious on a walk (biting clothes, jumping ect), I would probably say "no" and give a little leash correction. Also, when a dog jumps up, you can kind of walk into them or step into their space so they go back on all fours. Make sure they have "all four on the floor" when you or anyone else gives them attention so that the jumping isn't reinforced. In our training classes, dogs must be sitting when they get pets from anyone. If they stand or jump, stop giving them pets.

How are your classes going?--they should be a big help. (BTW, the puppy in your avatar is adorable!)
 

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Some people in my training class had success putting bitter-apple spray on their leashes to stop leash-biting. I didn't try it, so I have no idea if it works with GSDs, but it probably couldn't hurt to try as long as the spray was non-toxic (I've never really looked into it).

I love playing tug with my dogs (as long as it's an appropriate toy in an appropriate time and place). I think it provides a good outlet for all those crazy puppy chomps.

If my pup was acting obnoxious on a walk (biting clothes, jumping ect), I would probably say "no" and give a little leash correction. Also, when a dog jumps up, you can kind of walk into them or step into their space so they go back on all fours. Make sure they have "all four on the floor" when you or anyone else gives them attention so that the jumping isn't reinforced. In our training classes, dogs must be sitting when they get pets from anyone. If they stand or jump, stop giving them pets.

How are your classes going?--they should be a big help. (BTW, the puppy in your avatar is adorable!)
Bitter apple comes off on your hands and if you touch your lips or mouth, you taste it. It takes a while to get rid of the taste. My dogs have never minded it.
 

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Some people in my training class had success putting bitter-apple spray on their leashes to stop leash-biting. I didn't try it, so I have no idea if it works with GSDs, but it probably couldn't hurt to try as long as the spray was non-toxic (I've never really looked into it).

I love playing tug with my dogs (as long as it's an appropriate toy in an appropriate time and place). I think it provides a good outlet for all those crazy puppy chomps.

If my pup was acting obnoxious on a walk (biting clothes, jumping ect), I would probably say "no" and give a little leash correction. Also, when a dog jumps up, you can kind of walk into them or step into their space so they go back on all fours. Make sure they have "all four on the floor" when you or anyone else gives them attention so that the jumping isn't reinforced. In our training classes, dogs must be sitting when they get pets from anyone. If they stand or jump, stop giving them pets.

How are your classes going?--they should be a big help. (BTW, the puppy in your avatar is adorable!)


Ha... Thank you! I wish I could post a video but guess I haven't made enough posts yet.... took him to our neighborhood park and he was so good.!
 
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