German Shepherds Forum banner

1 - 20 of 23 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hi all, this is my first post!

I am a first time puppy owner but I've had an adult GSD before. Our 17 week old pup Amber is doing really well with training, walking on the lead, crate training, a bit of a handful at times but generally on her way to being a brilliant dog.

However, one habit is really bothering me. She's obsessed with chewing my feet! I've read that this is normal GSD herding behaviour but it's ALL THE TIME. If I am not playing with her, she is chewing my feet. I try redirecting with a toy (which I play with her, I don't just drop it in front of her and expect her to find more interesting than my feet) but that doesn't always work and it's not always practical. It'll be when I'm going to the bin to get her dry food, putting on a coat to take her for a walk, getting a glass of water to fill her water bowl, or something like that, so I can't just stop to play with her or I'd get nothing done.

I wear some old leather pumps round the house and wellies when we go for walks so it doesn't really hurt unless she accidentally gets my ankle (which isn't too often especially if I stand still). It's just obstructive.

I have tried putting things on my shoes like Tiger Balm and vinegar but it only puts her off temporarily. She seems to decide it's worth the nasty taste. She doesn't seem to do it anywhere near as much with my husband.

Is this something she'll grow out of? Or is this something I need to put a stop to? If so, how?

Just some background - we got Amber when she was 8 weeks old, and we leave her crated during the day for around 5 hours, with a neighbour coming halfway through that to let her out for a wee and a run round the garden (which is quite large). Sometimes I am the one who leaves her, and sometimes it's my husband. Sometimes I'm the one who comes home to her first, and sometimes it's him. She's going to training classes and when she knows a training is happening she is very obedient. She gets two walks a day plus games in the garden, training sessions, mental games like "find the treat!" in the house, and plenty of different things to chew. What we seem to find hard is getting her to stop doing things she sets her mind to. She has playdates with other family dogs once or twice a week. We did take her to puppy socialisation sessions at our local dog rescue but she is getting a bit big for that. She plays like a typical GSD!

So if she'd stop chewing my feet she'd be an angel. I would love to hear that she will grow out of it and I just need to make sure I wear hardy shoes in the meantime!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,030 Posts
Kaiser used to do that too... he is 15 months now and kinda grown out of it... there are still occassions where he bites feet..

1. If I've got fuzzy slippers on he can't resist
2. If I'm taking too long to put my shoes on to take him for a walk
3. I'm sitting on the couch and not paying attention to him

I don't think I did anything in particular to stop him just said no and would stand still for a little bit, it was the movement that would make him excited.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
561 Posts
These little pups can be persistent can't they? When redirection didn't work I would crate for a nap or rest. My pup was so active, plus our home is busy he would get ornery he would never voluntarily rest. He loves to be in the middle of everything. So like a toddler in a way I would have to make sure he got his rest lol. So make sure your pup gets adequate rest. The inability to redirect was a sure sign for us that it was nap time.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,910 Posts
I missed that she chews your shoes. Maybe they smell like a toy. Do youngive her rawhides? If so, stop and give her something else. Don’t move your feet because that makes the game more fun. They outgrow all that puppy chewing and biting.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,694 Posts
Why not just make them stop? I'm not trying to be facetious, but if your cute little puppy was knocking over the trash or chasing the cat, or biting your child, you'd have no problem correcting them for that. Why would you not do that with biting your feet?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,694 Posts
Easier said then done speaking for myself.
It's only hard if you aren't sure. For me, when a puppy or dog does something I don't like, I let them know that. It makes for a much more pleasant coexistence!

I think where people often get confused about this is (a) they read too much about it and over think it, or (b) they do the "I need to show them I'm alpha" thing, and get too rough with the puppy or dog, thinking I really need to show them who's boss. Neither is correct IMHO!

What you really need is to have a good relationship and an avenue of communication, with your dog. WHENEVER my puppy, or dog, does anything I don't like I let them know that. Not later, not after trying everything else, immediately. Bear in mind this does not mean I am harsh about it...it's communication, nothing else. But it's immediate and consistent and clear.

Try it...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,030 Posts
Why not just make them stop? I'm not trying to be facetious, but if your cute little puppy was knocking over the trash or chasing the cat, or biting your child, you'd have no problem correcting them for that. Why would you not do that with biting your feet?
But isn't this why the OP is here... they are asking how to stop it?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,694 Posts
Folks, I am just a pet owner, not a professional. But my approach to living with any animal is that they adjust their behavior and schedule and anything else they might think they need/want to me.

To stop your puppy from biting your feet...tell them "no", starting off calmly with a low voice (I.e. the dialog you've built up with your puppy or dog over time), and then increase the intensity of that message until your dog indicates that the message was received. It doesn't happen in one setting, or even one week; but if it bothers you, and you're consistent in communicating that without hesitation, the puppy will stop...And you won't have to deal with the same unwanted behavior for the dog's entire life. Redirection is for things the puppy can't help, like biting stuff while they're teething. You can't correct for that, redirection is appropriate. But biting my feet? No. Not happening in my house... Just keep the correction reasonable for the puppy's age, don't be harsh, it's not needed. Be firm, fair, and consistent....firm, fair, and consistent...that's the key.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
561 Posts
Taking into account this puppy is 17 weeks and my super limited experience. It can actually be hard, puzzling. My puppy would bite kids and adults feet hands didn't matter! Sometimes these bites were serious. It was many months before he learned. Yes most likely my fault from lack of experience. He is solid now. Perhaps this puppy is ready for an EH! Followed by a Yes! Reward. Its very simple fine detail overlooked with big impact. I agree with options A and B am guilty of both. Hindsight is 20/20. Fortunately it was easily identifiable that those options were worthless.
I think what is most important and something it has taken me time to truly understand is to be clear. It's easier to be consistent but clear to the dog is something else.
Sometimes IMHO it's easier to block trash cans or try to tie something to your shoe for the pup to chase or put the pup in the crate for a rest, while I continue to work towards that language of agreement and disagreement and relationship. Preventing bad habits from developing my removing temptation in the meantime. Tbh sometimes the dog just doesn't care what you want and will do what they please or they just sometimes don't understand...in my case anyway lol. I get what you are saying but it took experience for me to get it. It will be great stuff for my next pup. This dog has taught me so much.

Just never give in and give this pup its own shoe to chew lol you will regret it. I had what is probably normal but a serious adventure in a biting puppy.

It's a matter of time if you are consistent I can say the dog will get it, but if you can be clear that will speed it up much more. Give your words meaning be consistent and clear.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
Wow thanks everyone for your inputs! It sounds like I need to try being more firm and consistent when I say NO. I was starting to just sigh, let her do it, wait for her to get bored...but I'm worried I'm going to ingrain something for life.

I do feel like I've exhausted the saying "no" more and more firmly, I think it's just become white noise to her. My husband says I'm not firm enough, but when I try being "firm" I just end up yelling and that stresses me out and there's nowhere to go after that. I do not have a firm voice by nature! When I say "no" to her, about this or any other unwanted behaviour in fact, she doesn't even look up at me unless I do something physical to distract her and I don't want to tap her or push her off in case she takes this as positive reinforcement. When my husband says "no", just once, she stops. It's so frustrating! He says it's because I'm a woman and don't sound masculine enough. Can't do much about that...

I could try timeouts in a box, as some have suggested, though she'll spend so much time in it! She does it regardless whether I move my feet or not, and I'd get nothing done if I just waited for her to stop.

To clarify, she is chewing my shoes more than my feet, and because of the chewing I CONSTANTLY have shoes on around Amber. But I have noticed that she does go for my bare feet in the brief period between taking off indoor shoes and putting on outdoor shoes, so it's not specific to particular shoes or bare feet. I don't give her rawhide so it's not the leather thing (and my outdoor shoes are not leather and she bites those too).

So maybe the real question becomes...how on earth do I get her to listen to me when I tell her to stop doing something? She is really attentive if she'll get something out of it - her recall is great, for example, because she gets stone of praise and a treat when she comes. But I guess this way she doesn't see her end of the bargain.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,731 Posts
You can leash her to gain control; inside and outside. Just before she goes for your feet/shoes, call her name and, if she looks at you, ask for SIT and reward for doing so. Prevention is the key. Forget the word NO; it is just grey noise for her and may even mean "Attack!" since you say "NO" when she bites you and thus marking the behavior with NO.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,694 Posts
I have a friend who works at a local shelter and he uses a small spray bottle with water in it to reinforce his no command...doesn't hurt the puppy, but it's annoying enough to get them to stop >:)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,758 Posts
Do you train the Off command? Its an all purpose command. Off! If no compliance, a correction. Its very useful. My GSD Inga when told not to mouth my feet will then 'flea' or lick my feet. That is OK.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
941 Posts
He says it's because I'm a woman and don't sound masculine enough. Can't do much about that...
Nonsense, of course you can. Take a deep breath to gather your energy, stand/sit up straight (body language is important), lower your voice (don't increase the volume), look her in the eye and say "NO/Eh/Quit" or whatever is your "Stop that!" command. Say it strongly and deeply enough to get her attention and do not smile. I've taken my hand and firmly moved the offending head/teeth aside (YMMV). Then, offer the distracting toy and play with her a bit. Tim's right, you have to be utterly consistent, 24/7. The downside is that it's a pain. The upside is that she's engaging you, but it's the only way she knows --- at the moment...

:smile2:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,030 Posts
Have you trained a No Reward Marker - I find that useful to let them know they are doing something wrong... I see my boy always stops and thinks when he hears the NRM to try and figure out what was wrong.

It is always followed by something positive... a sit and a "good/yes" or something similar.
 
1 - 20 of 23 Posts
Top