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Discussion Starter #1
how do you teach a puppy to not bite you? My shepherd is 4 months and he's always doing it. There was a trainer who told me on the phone that I need to elevate myself from being his littermate to his leader because puppies dont nip leaders. He said that my dog does not respect me. And he said that spraying water would not work on most shepards (I've tried it, he just tries to drink from the container) and yelping would not work either. He told me to firmly grip the scruff and shake it, and I did it but he bite me even more so he said I was not being firm enough. So he came to my house to show me how, he did it only once and my puppy never bite him again it was amazing. I thought I got the hang of it but now he's gone and I'm left with this little monster again. I tried to do what he showed me but it would not work. I don't want him to come back again because h'e's so expensive so if anyone knows how to do it.
 

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I agree with you...this is a tough thing to get them to understand. The trainer that we go to on weekends did it once, maybe twice to Mandi and that was the end of it. I do it and the dog all but up and laughs at me!! We make yelping sounds, turn our backs to her and ignore her, all sorts of things and she keeps on a nibbling on us. I am hoping that in time she will get it.
 

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WOW, not sure that is a good way to get our dog to stop biting. Usually the advice is to try to redirect the pup with a toy, or a training exercise.

Hopefully there will be more advice the the senior members.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
he said that it wasn't about nipping. it was about the fact that he treats me like a littermate than a leader. Believe me I've tried everything else and told the trainer about it and he said that those things would not work on like 70% of shepherd pups because they have tough personalities. He said that he would advise someone with like a labrador pup to use those soft techniques (yelping, water bottle, blah) but I have to be firm with a shepherd pup.

he will absolutely not be redirected all he wants to do is chew ME! He said that if I give him a toy everytime he bites me, he will learn to bite. Then everytime he wants to have another toy, he will bite me. We do give him lots of toys when he's out of the crate we rotate the toys but he prefers to chew on me. He's a real tough one.
 

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Time to get busy. Yup! Puppy needs mental excersise. Sits, downs, stays-- on rough bumpy pavement surfaces like bricks at the library walkway.. green grass at the park.. elevated position like on a picnic table at the park.. etc. Tire that puppy's brain out! He needs more involvement from you. GSDs are not a breed for the casual owner, so, we get really involved and busy in training and excersising their minds. Start teaching focus, too. Lots of books and websites on clicker training are out there.

Your puppy needs physical excersise too. Being let out in the yard is not going to work, he needs walks with you. Often.

The main thing he needs is mental work, mental stimulation. Plan on reading books, doing research online on training, watching training DVDs from the library, and joining a training class with your pup-- and doing LOTS of training homework at home.

Got good chew toys? Kong? Rubber chew toys-- all given only under your supervision, as dogs can and do chew off pieces and ingest them.

Got a wet washcloth wrung out and stuck in the freezer, to give for teething pain while you supervise?

Mostly, plan on becoming much more involved and busy incorperating training into yoir daily life with this smart, driven breed who needs a mental outlet.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
is 24 km walking per day enough or does he need more? the vet said that he should not walk too much.

He gives up easily on the kong and he plays his toys for 5 min and gets bored.

but do I have to like give him commands all day? When will it stop? I mean he knows lots of commands but do I have to give him commands all day just so he won't bite me?
 

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Sounds like puppy needs a little crate time to calm down. You can play too much to the point where he will get over-stimulated and then you have a real monster.

When YOU are done playing and he doesn't get the point, gently lead him to his crate and tell him calmly that it's rest time. He may howl and carry on, but remember, you are the boss and he must learn to do what you say.

Patti's idea of mental stimulation is a good one. Puppers (and dogs) also tire out from mental exercises, not just physical ones.
 

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24Km? (Doing conversion for my American brain...) That's like, 15 miles, right?

Wooo! that's much too far for a 4 month old puppy to walk! A four-month old pup shouldn't go for more than about a 25 minute walk at any given time, with a lot of resting (napping) time in between. Anything else, and you're overdoing it. So Jan is on to something. You may be overdoing it.

Now, for redirecting. There's offering a puppy a toy. Then, there's redirecting. Redirecting is much more persuasive. It means saying to the puppy in a language he will understand that the toy is the ONLY option he has and then generously rewarding him for playing with the toy.

When my high drive European lines GSD was a pup, he was a little shark. But my Dh and I always carried stuffed toys in our pocket and had them stashed EVERYWHERE in the house. Pretty much, every time Campeche opened his mouth in that menacing way that only a GSD puppy can, we popped a toy into his mouth and said "Toy! Good Toy!" with a happy sound in our voices. Then we played with him and the toy for a while. Often, we would even give him a tiny snack to go along with playing with the toy.

In other words, we didn't hand him a toy and expect him to play with it on his own. We put a soft fluffy toy in his mouth. I personally like fluffy toys that are bigger than the puppy mouths because the pups can't do anything for a second because their mouths are stuffed full. Soft toys can't hurt new teeth, and they're a little harder to spit out. That gives me a second to get on my knees and rub him all over and thus reward him "Good Toy!" I'm not saying "NO!" Rather, I'm saying "Yes!" to a new behavior.

It's always easier to teach a dog a new behavior that we want than to extinguish a behavior we don't want. Puppies like learning new things, and they like it when we're happy. They love playing with us.

If your pup spits out the first toy, quickly put another in his mouth. Then give him another. Then another. Quickly, he'll learn that his only option is to play with a toy.

This showed our pup that there is a better option than attacking or our hands and feet, or whatever other thing he was planning to attack (in my house, it was our senior dogs). Toys mean that we would play with him and that was fun, and he made us happy doing that. What a win-win situation!

It didn't take Campeche very long to figure out that HE could bring US toys. (which we responded to by saying "Toy! Good toy!" and stopping everything to play with him...at least, for a while...) He went from being menacing and causing a ruckus to instigating productive play. How great is that? That's the great thing about GSDs. It doesn't take them long to figure things out. They want to be with us. And they like when we're happy and playing with them. We just have to show them how.

But pretty much every GSD pup nips and bites. They don't all have dominance issues. They're herding dogs. It's what they do. We just have to train them to do something more constructive with that instinct.

And, do what Patti and Jan suggest. Physical exercise. Mental stimulation (playing games with you is stimulating. Add in hide and seek, and some "find it" games as well.). And lots of undisturbed naps in between for a growing body, and a growing brain as well.

Good luck!
 

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I'm with Brightelf, I'd much rather spend my time and effort teaching my pup things I DO want so can reward and praise. Then be sitting at home, get 'attacked' and have to do the yelling and 'bad dog' stuff.

First of all, I do NOT agree with your trainer that the 'softer' way won't work with our gsd pups. Just that it may take more time, but they do work.

Key things are to play with your dog is a GOOD way. Cause right now your puppy only knows the #1 way ALL OUR PUPPIES KNOW until we teach them differently. It worked to play with their mom. And their littermates. So, if they want to play with us and are bored and full of energy, those teeth are coming for us.

The key part is we have to TEACH them to play with a toy. Long squeaky toys, tug toys, soft toys, rope toys. Anything we can interact with but NOT have our flesh too close to those sharp teeth. And it has to be fun, meaning WE HAVE TO BE FUN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So when the pup does bring a toy to us we have to drop everything else and PLAY!!!!

Tons more exercise. DOG CLASS. I know if I am having problems it's cause I don't know, so I go to classes and get real help from those who do.

BTW, dog class, especially with puppies, usually allows some play time and guess what??? It tires those pups out with zero effort on our part (and watch the biting, the NORMAL biting, that goes on!).

There are hundreds (thousands?) of us on this site that WERE helped by information on the Teaching BIte Inhibition site so I do not agree with your trainer. Though it may take a bit longer, you end up with a happy pup that is working with your to understand the situation. Not one that is a bit fearful and confused because everytime they go to their favorite person in the world to invite them to PLAY they immediately get yelled at and slammed to the ground or scruffed.....
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I have tried everything ok? I just want to know how to scruff shake my puppy. If a puppy nips his mother, she would bite him back HARDER, and say that it's unaccepcable. I am trying to use dog pshycology because he dog. It would do me no good if I redirect him, I've tried it. He needs to learn that it is not okay to bite me. I need him to see that if he does bad he will get a bad response. I'm sorry if I sound harsh but my previous trainer said the same thing, it's not about just nipping, it's about respect, I believe them. A puppy would never nip his alpha because is alpha will bite him back. When he does something bad, he needs correction.

I'm not talking about training a walrus here. Walrus are only good for doing tricks. But if you LIVE with a walrus, you would need for him to respect you. Right? When you teach a command, you use positive reinforcement, but when you are trying to teach them to respect you, how else could you do it? When a walrus jumps on you, and you throw him a toy or throw him a fish, what are you teaching the walrus?

I just want to know how to scruff shake my puppy because the trainer too expensive it was $425 for that session if you're wondering.

Ok, I think I'm over doing the exercises by a lot.
 

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Here's something to think about -

It seems to me that your pup didn't nip at your trainer after he shook him hard because the trainer SCARED him.

I personally don't want my dog to be afraid of me, or anyone else for that matter.

(Scaring doesn't have anything to do with respect either. I'm afraid of a knife-wielding criminal in a dark alley. That doesn't mean I respect him.)

Your pup isn't so unique. I know it feels that way. It feels like you're all alone. It's frustrating. Your hands, feet and legs are covered in bite marks. You just want to scream. I know because I've been there. But a spunky happy puppy that nips because he hasn't been trained to do anything else can be turned into an fearful puppy. Fearful puppies often become problem adults that lack confidence and see everything as a threat, and yes, these dogs often will BITE. Not nip, but bite with large jaws and imposing teeth.

A *quick* *easy* solution to a normal developmental "issue" now (I'm not calling it a 'problem' because nipping and biting at this age is normal. It's an issue to be managed.) just might cause you a lot of serious problems down the road.

Then you'll really need an expensive trainer.

JMO.
 

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We have had our 11 week old for three weeks now. It seems as though we were sold a highly evolved reptile: crocodile to be exact. All family members were mouthed and enjoyed. We have learned that timing has a huge impact on when he gets mouthy. He bites when he gets tired and over stimulated. This is also when sits and downs, and even redirects, have little influence. That is our clue it is time for a little rest in the crate. Like clockwork, he will fall into a deep sleep. We can now almost predict at what time of day the crocodile will show itself. So, for us, clearly understanding his play and downtime ryhthms have helped limit a lot of the biting. Though he (we!) still has a long way to go. LOL
 

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Just wondering if the pup is to young to start NILF. That method was really helpful when we started it with Rocky, just don't remember how old he was.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
He definately did not scare my puppy. Because Leivi warmed right up to him even after the scruff shake exept that he knows that if he doesn't respect the trainer's personal space, he will get a nip on his scruff. If he was scared I would know. But he was wagging his tail. I don't think a trainer who charges that much money will mess with a puppy like you said.

When a puppy nips you, you need to tell them that it's not okay. But that doesn't mean that I set him up for faliure. You get a negative consequence. My previous trainer told me to wack him with a newspaper and I didn't believe him because he was way cheap and I thought that he didn't know what he was talking about. But this new trainer says the same thing and he has been training police dogs for 3 years and he's had a lot of experiences.

I don't just randomly look in the phone book you know. I got the best trainer here, with credentials. I regret not observing more closely but I can't afford for either of the trainers to come back.

When you say scared, no they don't get scared like humans do, because they are not humans, just because you give them a pinch on the neck. His momma did it to him if he went to close to her if she was eating. because she was the alpha. This is how they reinforce followers. If he had grow up under the same roof with his momma, then he risk being handicapped.

But it depends on what type of relationship you want with your dog. If you want to have a friend relationship, your dog will not be the happiest. I'm no dog but , if a dog makes a mistake, you should correct him the way that his momma would because you're trying to be a leader, not a friend or equal.

I'm not saying that I know everything and I'm not trying to start anything but if you've never had a trainer that charges you so much money then you how would you know what you're saying is right about shepherds?
The bottom line is that they once they nip you, then you punish them, scruff shake, squirt water, wack with newspaper. You can avoid it, but he specifically told me that never to redirect.
 

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Quote: The bottom line is that they once they nip you, then you punish them, scruff shake, squirt water, wack with newspaper. You can avoid it, but he specifically told me that never to redirect.
Clearly you have made up your mind on this, so just keep doing what you are doing, and good luck.

BUT, I wish that instead you would be a bit more open minded. The training methods described are definitely one's I've heard of. But also VERY OLD SCHOOL! Just because I learned to train my one dog one way 15 years ago....... doesn't mean that now I can't learn a new and a better way.

Generally, what has worked for me is to figure out why my puppy is biting. And, generally, it's because she want to play. TO PLAY. So for me to come down like a bag of bricks when all she wants is TO PLAY, I feel isn't fair to my puppy.

Instead, I prefer to teach her a NEW way to play so I don't get hurt. That's where the toys and re-direction come so I can TEACH her what I want rather than punish her for what I do not want.

And this is the 'new' and SMART way many of us choose to now train. To TEACH a behavior we want. The old way is to 'correct/punish' when they do wrong.

Course this is harder. And we have to think. And be smart to come up with a plan. Be consistant and flexible.

So I can see how you'd rather just use the scruff.................

Here's some other sites from also other reputable dog trainers..

http://mysite.verizon.net/respa75m/id10.html

This site talks about scruffing a puppy but sounds like a more gentle move and with a younger pup http://www.itzarion.com/training.html#tempering

http://www.vanerp.net/ilse/GSDINFO/understandyourpuppy.htm

Other thing I forgot to mention was scruffing a pup at this age may bring out 'hand shyness' which is a HUGE problem that's difficult to fix down the line.
 

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Any suggestions on how to get our 5 month old GSD to quit biting our 11 yr old and 8 yr old. He will put his teeth on me but I say uh uh no bite and he will lick instead. He thinks that the kids are chew toys. We have tried the scruff shake but that is not working (the breeder told us to use that and other people we have met at the off leash park with GSDs) we have tried trading a toy but that only works if he is in the mood. We know he can do it since he rarely tries to bite me or my husband anymore. I noticed in one of the websites above to use a soda can with pennies. Has anyone tried this??? Does it work??? Do you think it would work???
 

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Responding to Link's mom:

I would have the pup on a leash in the house. When he is trying to bite the kids, you can use the leash to give him a small correction with the uh uh no bite. I know leashing up a pup is a bit of a pain, but you will see results quickly. You need to fix this now because in a few months he will be considerable bigger and may hurt the kids.

I would also have the kids do some small OB stuff with him, sits and downs. He needs to see the kids as higher in the pack than he is.

Good luck.
 

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Originally Posted By: DSuddJust wondering if the pup is to young to start NILF. That method was really helpful when we started it with Rocky, just don't remember how old he was.
Absolutely not too early! I start NILIF immediately - both Dena & Keefer came home at 9 weeks old and as soon as they could sit on command, (and since they are GSDs, geniuses of the dog world, that was pretty much right away!) they had to sit until released to eat their meals. At first I made it very easy, releasing them the second I put the bowl down and took my hands off it, but as they matured I made it more and more challenging for them. That's what I love about NILIF, it's totally adaptable to the age and mental development of the dog, and very clear to them as well.
 

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Originally Posted By: slapshotWe have had our 11 week old for three weeks now. It seems as though we were sold a highly evolved reptile: crocodile to be exact. All family members were mouthed and enjoyed. We have learned that timing has a huge impact on when he gets mouthy. He bites when he gets tired and over stimulated. This is also when sits and downs, and even redirects, have little influence. That is our clue it is time for a little rest in the crate. Like clockwork, he will fall into a deep sleep. We can now almost predict at what time of day the crocodile will show itself. So, for us, clearly understanding his play and downtime ryhthms have helped limit a lot of the biting. Though he (we!) still has a long way to go. LOL
Great post! I used timeouts as well, and they worked very well. In fact, I STILL use them even though Dena will be 4 in September and Keefer will be 3 in August. Sometimes they just get too rowdy in the house and don't repond when I tell them to cut it out. If they blow me off, I say "that's it, time-out!" in a cheerful tone of voice, and they go right to their crates.

When they were puppies I'd often do frequent brief timeouts, such as when they came out of the crate still wound up and biting - back in they'd go. It sends the message that I won't tolerate the behavior and playtime will immediately stop and I'll go away. Play nice and the fun continues. Other times I'd leave them in for awhile to cool their jets, and after the initial fussing they'd calm down and take a nap. When I let them out later they'd be much subdued.

I just had to add I can't imagine paying $425 for a single private session with a trainer!
Here that would pay for between two and three rounds of 6 or 7 week group classes. Surely there are other training options? I'm not particularly impressed with that trainer's advice.
 

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Originally Posted By: rosielockThe bottom line is that they once they nip you, then you punish them, scruff shake, squirt water, wack with newspaper. You can avoid it, but he specifically told me that never to redirect.
 
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