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My newly adopted GSD rescue likes to bare her teeth and snap at me when she does not get her way. When I won't let her have my human food, she barks and whines and snaps at me. When I try to get her collar she bites and snaps at me if she is in an excited state (which is often, she is a puppy). I do my best to be a calming influence, but her behavior is becoming annoying. The tops of my hands are very sore due to the clashing canine teeth. I have a spray bottle which is a bit helpful, and I have even used bitter apple, but I am worried about creating conflict rather than curing it.

Maple is VERY willful, and even after playing hard at a dog park for several hours she can still be difficult. Other times she is a gentle doll. She has been pulling dishes off the kitchen counter so they crash onto the floor and basically getting into any mischief she can. I need to get a refill for my Scattt thingy (motion activated compressed air device) for the kitchen, that should solve that issue, but the aggressive snapping worries me.

She has so much anxiety after her previous owner dumped her, hopefully, she will begin to settle in more soon. She HAS begun going out into the back yard alone to do her thing, a big step forward. Me having to go out and leave her alone is a HUGE issue, I have basically not worked for 2 weeks because if I leave her out she is very destructive and if I crate her she howls non-stop and screams. It's heartbreaking. I drive for Lyft so I have some flexibility, but I do have to work. Oh, and I got a hemp CBD oil for her and have tried it once. Not sure if it helped or not, may need to up the dose.

Any suggestions appreciated. Thank you.
 

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She shouldn't be allowed to counter surf or sit by you when you eat if she is being nasty. Do you crate her? Anytime she snaps at your hand stick a toy in her mouth. Do not allow her to bite you.
 

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As crittersitter said, just stop allowing her to take advantage of you! You are the human and she is the dog, make the dog adapt to you, not the other way around! She'll love you for the guidance really!

Since you've had her with you such a short time, I'd suggest slowing things down, give her more time to learn about you and the new household and your rules before taking her out to any dog park or other outside venue. You both need time to learn each other and to form a bond, learn how to communicate with her, learn what makes her happy and what makes her tense, what she knows well and what needs some work. All dogs are different, but for any and all of them learning about who they are, and allowing them to learn who you are, takes time...give her that time!

As I said before, don't be bashful in the meantime letting her know YOUR RULES! Dogs really tend to appreciate clear boundaries and or rules. Don't, whatever you do, fall into the awww poor puppy has had such a rough time school of thought, it's never helpful even if it's true...set clear boundaries, enforce them calmly, but insistently, and it'll all work out as well as it can....often much better than you can or will have ever hoped! Good luck! Please keep us posted on you're progess!
 

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Your dog doesn't know how to calm herself indoors and feels compelled to be anxiously active.Google "sit on the dog" .There are videos and articles that describe how this works.Also "Calming Signals" I believe the author is Patricia McConnell (unsure!) will provide insight.That's available on kindle or paperback.McConnell has a blog that is very good also her other books.
 

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Few questions for you that will help guide our advise/suggestions:

How old is she?
How long have you had her in your home?
Is this your first GSD?
What if any training are you doing with her?
Aside from dog park what other activities do you do with her to exercise her mind and body?

First I would not go for her collar when she is misbehaving. Put a drag line on her (basically a leash that doesn't have a loop handle). That way when she needs a correction you can grab the line and keep your hands away from her mouth. Much safer and less likely to cause aggressive reaction toward hands coming near her going forward.
It's hard to hear them cry and scream but stick with crate training. Make it her safe place. Don't put her in the crate angry. Throw yummy treats in and let her go in leaving the door open a few times. Then work on closing the door.

If she gets mouthy redirect with a toy. As mentioned replace your body parts with a toy.

A trainer with GSD experience would be very helpful. This breed is smart and can be willful. They will take advantage is allowed. A firm yet fair handler is a must. Consistency in training is a must. They learn quickly what they can and can't get away with.

I would also suggest that if you have other options to avoid dog parks. Some GSD's do ok with dog parks and doggy dare cares but most don't. Puppies and very young dogs may seem to do well in that environment until they don't. When they don't it is usually a very ugly scene. Too much chaos and way too many uncontrollable variables that often doesn't end well.
 

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Along with all the very good advice, I just want to touch on the air snapping behavior because it can be a good form of communications and is easily noticed by humans who may not be paying attention. It isn't always a negative behavioral sign but it is an effective sign to grab attention. Case in point: our old girl used this sign many times to let us know that she urgently needed to go potty or that she needed our intervention when she was in no mood for our annoying playful pup. Sometimes we would miss her other cues but her air snap never failed.

She was as sweet and non aggressive as they come. It's just something to consider as you work through this and figure things out.

I'm sure you will.

Edit to add: Imho, using squirt bottles to extinguish behaviors isn't the greatest way to teach a dog what not to do. It could backfire and spill into other things. i.e., trying to bathe the dog using a handheld hose.
 

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I would take her to an advanced trainer( especially if you have a training sport club available) and get an on-site assessment of your dog’s temperament and ideas on fixing this problem based on your dog’s temperament and your ability to execute the fix.
 

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I would take her to an advanced trainer( especially if you have a training sport club available) and get an on-site assessment of your dog’s temperament and ideas on fixing this problem based on your dog’s temperament and your ability to execute the fix.

^^^^ This. ALL. DAY. LONG.
 

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I would think basic obedience classes would be the place to start ( I'm not talking about box stores like Pet Smart etc )...what you learn in classes followed by what you and her practice at home...heeling--sits--downs--come and stays when done together as a team are the first part of what creates a "bond" between you and the dog...couple that with play time and she should come to respect you... once she respects you many of the behaviors you're seeing in the house will be easier to stop because with "respect"...comes listening to you.. and obeying will fall.in place.....sounds to me like the destruction in the back yard and crying in the crate is because she's not sure you're coming back and she's anxious....ultimately it's going to involve plenty of time on your part...whether you go with a one on one trainer or group classes I would guess you'll have plenty of options in the Bay area....most rescues come with some sort of baggage....IMO your issues don't sound to bad YET..but the fix once again will require plenty of your time.....
 

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This isn't real common behavior and could be due to any variety of things, some more difficult to deal with than others. Get the input of an experienced trainer, and work with them toward a solution. She is young so best to get a handle on this early before she forms patterns of behavior.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
This isn't real common behavior and could be due to any variety of things, some more difficult to deal with than others. Get the input of an experienced trainer, and work with them toward a solution. She is young so best to get a handle on this early before she forms patterns of behavior.
I am setting up a one-hour session with a behaviorist, thank you :).
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I would think basic obedience classes would be the place to start ( I'm not talking about box stores like Pet Smart etc )...what you learn in classes followed by what you and her practice at home...heeling--sits--downs--come and stays when done together as a team are the first part of what creates a "bond" between you and the dog...couple that with play time and she should come to respect you... once she respects you many of the behaviors you're seeing in the house will be easier to stop because with "respect"...comes listening to you.. and obeying will fall.in place.....sounds to me like the destruction in the back yard and crying in the crate is because she's not sure you're coming back and she's anxious....ultimately it's going to involve plenty of time on your part...whether you go with a one on one trainer or group classes I would guess you'll have plenty of options in the Bay area....most rescues come with some sort of baggage....IMO your issues don't sound to bad YET..but the fix once again will require plenty of your time.....
Thank you, we are in class 3 of 6 now at the SPCA where I adopted her. They also have a behaviorist who I am scheduling a session with. We are also visiting a Schutzhund school tomorrow just to observe. She has actually settled down a bit over the past few days, she is going into the backyard alone now which is a big thing for her, and she actually did not get up when I left the room today. She is feeling much more secure. The biting and snapping is mainly when we are at home and she has too much energy and is bored. She is like a child who has had too much sugar, but in public and honestly much of the time, she is marvelous.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I would take her to an advanced trainer( especially if you have a training sport club available) and get an on-site assessment of your dog’s temperament and ideas on fixing this problem based on your dog’s temperament and your ability to execute the fix.
There is a Schutzhund training facility not too far from me that does basic training in addition to the Schutzhund training. They are open to the public and I was made to feel very welcome when I asked if Maple and I could come to observe tomorrow. I will speak with them, they seem to be very friendly and helpful.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I spoke with a woman yesterday who told me her dad taught his GSD to count, he'd say 4 and she'd snap 4 times, she knew several numbers. I think that is very cool! Most tricks I teach are just natural behaviors, When I had 2 cats and a Golden Retriever they all sat for treats at bedtime each night and did their tricks. It is fun and rewarding to work with animals, and I have a lot of patience :).
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Few questions for you that will help guide our advise/suggestions:

How old is she?
How long have you had her in your home?
Is this your first GSD?
What if any training are you doing with her?
Aside from dog park what other activities do you do with her to exercise her mind and body?

First I would not go for her collar when she is misbehaving. Put a drag line on her (basically a leash that doesn't have a loop handle). That way when she needs a correction you can grab the line and keep your hands away from her mouth. Much safer and less likely to cause aggressive reaction toward hands coming near her going forward.
It's hard to hear them cry and scream but stick with crate training. Make it her safe place. Don't put her in the crate angry. Throw yummy treats in and let her go in leaving the door open a few times. Then work on closing the door.

If she gets mouthy redirect with a toy. As mentioned replace your body parts with a toy.

A trainer with GSD experience would be very helpful. This breed is smart and can be willful. They will take advantage is allowed. A firm yet fair handler is a must. Consistency in training is a must. They learn quickly what they can and can't get away with.

I would also suggest that if you have other options to avoid dog parks. Some GSD's do ok with dog parks and doggy dare cares but most don't. Puppies and very young dogs may seem to do well in that environment until they don't. When they don't it is usually a very ugly scene. Too much chaos and way too many uncontrollable variables that often doesn't end well.
Maple is approx 8 months, I adopted her from the SPCA about 2 weeks ago. She is actually starting to feel more comfortable and is showing improvement. She would not go into the backyard before unless I went out first and sat on the patio. I am guessing that the previous owner (who dumped her) kept her locked in the backyard. In the past few days, she began going out alone. She also felt relaxed enough to not get up when I had to go to the bathroom which was a big step for her.

First GSD, yes! I have had large dogs all of my life, mainly retrievers and one dobie. I am very good with dogs and have always enjoyed working with them, but as you know GSD's are different in many ways, so I am on a steep learning curve.

The dog park we visit is wonderful, she has regular friends now and we are there for at least 2 hours a day. There is an agility course which the dogs love and they get to run full-out and get a lot of exercise. She basically goes with me everywhere except when I drive Lyft. I have started her on nose-work, hiding treats in boxes and having her find them, we also work on our puppy school lessons.

I am looking forward to visiting the Schutzhund school tomorrow with her, we are only observing and asking questions.

As to the crate training, she actually went in on her own to nap so I took that as a positive sign. I hope I answered all of your questions :).
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Your dog doesn't know how to calm herself indoors and feels compelled to be anxiously active.Google "sit on the dog" .There are videos and articles that describe how this works.Also "Calming Signals" I believe the author is Patricia McConnell (unsure!) will provide insight.That's available on kindle or paperback.McConnell has a blog that is very good also her other books.
Really interesting, thank you! I have watched some videos now :).
 

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Discussion Starter #17
She shouldn't be allowed to counter surf or sit by you when you eat if she is being nasty. Do you crate her? Anytime she snaps at your hand stick a toy in her mouth. Do not allow her to bite you.
I think I can curb the counter surfing by using my Scattt device, it is only motion activated compressed air and it cured my counter surfing golden. I just need to pick up the refill can. Yes, I do crate her, she screams and howls but eventually settles down but it takes some time. Yes, I try to keep toys near me!
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I am quite proud of my girl, we went to an event today in the small town of Port Costa (Bay Area) and she was quite a big hit. The streets were full of people and dogs. She loves children and patiently let them pet and hug her, she also doled out many kisses. She was ooohed and awwwwed over all day and numerous people asked permission to pet her. She loves everyone and especially loves little dogs and puppies. Her temperament is really quite amazing, she is fearless and doesn't spook at anything. She actually stood right in front of a large industrial bubble machine and completely ignored the bubbles. I was actually hoping she would love them, oh well! The only thing she has tried to chase so far is a squirrel and the only vicious behavior I have seen is directed at my windshield wipers (go figure). They are the ENEMY! I think as she settles in more she is going to be a fantastic dog, she just needs to get past the counter surfing and the zoomie frenzies. She never snaps at people in public, and I don't need to worry about that, she is very sweet and gentle.
 

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Hahaha...following you to the bathroom. That's so much a GSD thing. Mine is 6 and she still follows me to the bathroom much of the time. I've learned not to trip over her after a shower as she guards the door for me.:grin2:
 

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I think as she settles in more she is going to be a fantastic dog, she just needs to get past the counter surfing and the zoomie frenzies.
Celebrate the zoomies, don't consider them something that needs to be corrected! Puppies grow out of that, but WOW, you'll come to miss the exuberance when it's gone as she matures!
 
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