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My pup, Hank, will be 5 months old next week. He has a bad habit of biting the leash during walks, and that usually escalates into biting my coat and hands. (I posted on another member's similar thread recently.) However today we had an especially bad episode.

He also "attacks" me, such as biting my feet and calves, when I come out into the backyard when he is playing. (He is always in my sight when he's outside but I'm not always right out there with him.) Today was especially bad outside. He was jumping on me repeatedly, baring his teeth and growling while I attempted to take the leash out of his mouth. I know that trying to remove the leash is basically starting a tug-of-war game with him; but I also can't allow him to get away with it. He will not obey commands to "drop it" or "no bite" when this happens.

A trainer told me that he may believe the outside is "his territory." He rarely bites my feet inside the house. Today, after he attacked me outside, he was immediately obedient and went into a down as soon as we got in the house.

We are in an obedience class, and overall his behavior is good inside the house. I am very much hoping that whatever his problem is outside that it is some form of play, or just being a puppy. That is what I believe, but in the back of my mind I worry that someday I will have a 100-lb. dog jumping on me and baring his teeth. He is already 55 lbs. I am not afraid of him at all, but I do not want this behavior to escalate in any way, shape or form.

Also, at 5 months, how much longer do I have to endure the mouthiness/biting anyway?
 

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Does he like balls? Trade the leash for a ball. Use one that is high value to him for walks only.
Have him carry a ball in his mouth as a pacifier. Some dogs need to have that oral exercise, and while teething it seems to peak. Tug is great for getting out the need, but while teething, that is a no-no.
Usually when they are done with the teething the need to bite is gone, but returns for some reason around 9 months!
 

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Does he like balls? Trade the leash for a ball. Use one that is high value to him for walks only.
Have him carry a ball in his mouth as a pacifier. Some dogs need to have that oral exercise, and while teething it seems to peak. Tug is great for getting out the need, but while teething, that is a no-no.
Usually when they are done with the teething the need to bite is gone, but returns for some reason around 9 months!
I know you are probably not thinking this is cute, but I couldn't help but smile picturing that spitfire.
I know dogs are not human, but what Onyxgirl is saying here is very similar to when a toddler is wanting to get into something that you don't want them to. Seems if I tried taking whatever away or saying no ,they wanted it even more and it became a tug of war with wills and the object. So, I always distracted my kids with something else when this happened. Worked like a charm.
 

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You are talking about normal puppy behavior. The best way to keep your pup from chewing on you when out for walks is to walk faster. If you don't want him to chew the leash, teach him the proper way to drop it and keep something else handy for him to grab like a tug toy.

Your puppy is not "attacking" you outside, he's having fun and the growling is all play with me stuff. Outside is a bigger area so his play is going to be crazier. Again, if you don't like it, give him something to play with. Throw his ball, stuff a toy in his mouth, or do something so he has something good to do. By giving him something you want him to do, he doesn't learn bad habits like continuing to jump on you.

A lot more exercise will help and you have about another month or two of this before you can expect him to understand not to do it.
 

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My first thought was maybe you could get a leash that he wouldn't like the texture of...No, I don't think that would work...

I agree that giving him something to mouth could def. work.

When does he start doing this with the leash? Right when you step out the door or when you start walking?

Either way - I would try ignoring it. If he does it stop walking and if he tries to mouth you just completely ignore it. Just like if you go out back and he does it just ignore it and don't play with him when he does it.

It sounds like he's made it into a game of "if I bite you or bite my leash I'll get attention!!!!"

It's basically what EMarie said that he's kind of a toddler :) He's doing it because he gets your attention - he doesn't care if it's negative attention it's just attention.

I would go out and play with him and when he starts doing it just completely ignore him. Don't look at him, don't touch him if he tries to jump on you just turn away. Eventually he'll have to settle down and look at you and wonder what is going on...maybe.

Heck, it's worth a shot...but, I do think he'll grow out of it...eventually :)
 

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Good point, Elaine, on the exercise. We try to walk every day despite the cold weather, and we just started going to a dog park this week. It just occurred to me that his "outdoor craziness" hasn't happened so far at the dog park. He is very excited to play with the other dogs and explore all the exciting new smells.

I did try to bring balls/toys on walks and that didn't deter him from acting up. Pulling a treat out of my pocket and making him work for it (sit, platz) USUALLY helps but he still acts up causing us to get to that point.

And we really do need to get the point where when I say "drop it" that he obeys immediately!
 

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The suggestions above are good. He soooo wants to interact with you! When he plays appropriately, wiht a toy, he gets attention. When he does not, you completely ignore him.

My rescue was acting like your puppy, and it was overwhelming and scary, as she was not a puppy anymore. She would jump up and grab my jacket and tug away, and more I tried to correct her with all I had, the more amped up she got. And I mean, she REALLY got amped up! So I took a completely different approach. When she started the jumping/biting/growling/tugging, I went COMPLETELY still and limp. I turned my face away from her, closed my eyes, and drained my energy. I completely shut her out. She was taken by surprise at this and would stop and let go, actually a somewhat concerned and worried. As soon as she did stop, I would turn back towards her and very calmly praise her, and very calmly, walk on.

At first, the instant I opened my eyes and turned to her, she figured "Woohoo!!! Game ON!" and would start again! So back I went to turning away, withdrawing energy, going limp. It took several tries like this to get her to stay calm and not start back, but it only took a few more such sessions to completely extinguish her trying to use me as a big chew and tug toy.

We played tug with ropes and other toys a lot, and she never tried the tugging at my jacket game again.

To be honest though, I'm mildly autistic, so withdrawing my energy and going blank sorta comes naturally to me - I'm not sure if a non-autistic person can do it to the same extent, but it is worth a try, I think with some mental self-discipline any person could do it.
 

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By the way Marsha, Hank is a very handsome pup!

I am no expert with training. Lord knows.
I do remember thinking when we had Duchess and when she was a puppy that she had brain damage or something.
(not literally)

She was very content sitting in her filth and foul in her crate and this went on until she was 5 months!
I have that stench imbedded in my brain until the day I die and the memories of her being happy to see us in the morning and SWISH SWISH with her tail and well...my house smelled of Pinesol all the time.
When the movie Marley and Me came out, I almost wanted to ask the author of the book what lines that dog came out of, cause Marley sounded like a Duchess clone.
Wouldn't listen, literally ate our drywall, wanted to "carry" her leash as well not letting me having a say over anything, but once she turned about 9 months it seemed that God finally answered my prayers and gave her a brain overnight.
The posts here are giving wonderful advice. One day you will sit back remembering these times and laugh. Your hair is going to be a lot grayer, but you'll be laughing saying "remember when..?" :D
 

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Discussion Starter #9
She was very content sitting in her filth and foul in her crate and this went on until she was 5 months!
LOL, every pup has their own issues I guess. If Hank wasn't a biter but soiled his crate like Duchess did, then I would probably be on here begging for people to tell me THAT wouldn't last forever. :)

Hank is really SO good in so many areas except the play-biting, so your comment made me stop and think of all his good qualities.

You are right, there is SO much good advice here. Thanks everyone and keep posting your replies for me! I appreciate them all!!
 

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Frodo was very mouthy at that age, he would mouth and nip at my calves and ankles when getting dressed and those milk teeth sure do hurt. He stopped after teething though. He also would bite the leash, usually within the first 5 minutes of the walk. I would just stop walking and let him calm down. It didn't take long before that behavior stopped. Typical puppy behavior, in a few years you'll think back and laugh about it.
 

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i think that is normal for a 5 month old gsd. my puppy is now 5 months old and she is a handful! i think 5 months old is their terrible twos!!!! though mine will not bite me no matter how hard i try to make her play bite with me she wont, it might be weird for me to try to get her to bite me but she just wont. i think consistency is the key. just keep telling him "Get Down!" and "Drop It!" and make him get down and drop it. if he thinks he is boss and not you he will continue to do it. so set your ground and make him do it. eventually he will know you are boss. bite his ear it might work:) jk
 

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Puppy exuberance!

We probably all have a few torn coat sleeves or little scars.

I know 5 months means a big pup with a big mouth and sharp teeth, but puppy, out of control, happy to see you behavior it is...

Sounds like a combo of pent up energy (being outside doesn't use energy - games and exercises do) and need for training the right response.

The way to put a stop to it is to give no attention until he sits.

Since this is a pie in the sky segue :laugh: start by bringing a treat outside with you and demanding a sit when he approaches to receive it. Graduate to just going out and giving sit command when he approaches and reward with a little petting.
 

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Sounds pretty normal to me. Abby destroyed a real nice leather leash
I had. I had it over 12 years and walked my old GSD Mikey on it
his entire life. Abby chewed it into oblivion in 2 months.

I dont even want to talk about my leather jacket with the torn sleeves
and ripped pockets.

As bad as she was she has outgrown that behavior (for the most part).
So hang in there. It does get better.
 

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Mine used to bite the leash.. I just drop the leash and say AAAPPP!!! (Like victoria stillwell) And He no longer does this.
 

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Usually when they are done with the teething the need to bite is gone, but returns for some reason around 9 months!
9 months like clockwork, apparently!
 

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It's normal. He's teething, try everything, tie a washcloth into a knot then wet it, freeze it and throw it to him. This will buy you some time to get bandaids and a glass of wine. It will get better in a couple of months then you'll enter the butthead phase where everything he learned and was good at will disappear. But you'll let him live because you have so much time and money invested in him and you'd look like a real jerk for getting rid of him-- and one fine glorious day when you least expect it he'll be good! And then he'll be good again!! Then those good days add up and you'll read a post from some other poor bleeding, frazzled owner and smile.
 

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It's normal. He's teething, try everything, tie a washcloth into a knot then wet it, freeze it and throw it to him. This will buy you some time to get bandaids and a glass of wine.

Ooh...I like the glass of wine idea. You are very wise! :D
 

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My motto: 'A glass of wine solves everything'
I like that motto! Too bad we didn't live closer. Between you and me we'd end up solving a LOT of things then! ;)
 

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Discussion Starter #20
It's normal. He's teething, try everything, tie a washcloth into a knot then wet it, freeze it and throw it to him. This will buy you some time to get bandaids and a glass of wine. It will get better in a couple of months then you'll enter the butthead phase where everything he learned and was good at will disappear. But you'll let him live because you have so much time and money invested in him and you'd look like a real jerk for getting rid of him-- and one fine glorious day when you least expect it he'll be good! And then he'll be good again!! Then those good days add up and you'll read a post from some other poor bleeding, frazzled owner and smile.
Oh thank you, I really hope so. Your words of wisdom brought tears to my eyes because I do love him and I am working with him and trying so hard and I get rewarded with bites.

We walked today and he was doing so well and then he grabbed the leash, but quite a bit later in the walk than normal. I stopped and ignored him as the advice here stated, although it was very hard because getting my hands bitten even through gloves is very painful. I put my hands in my pockets best I could and turned my back as much as I could. Dropping the leash is not an option since we are not in a fenced or otherwise safe area.

Then towards the end of the walk he jumped on me and as I tried to use the collar to correct him he just got more amped up and that's when the growling began again.

We came home and played out in the yard with a football and I followed the advice of having a pocket full of treats and making him sit before he approached me. That worked pretty well, so at least I've ended the morning on a somewhat positive note.
 
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