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Discussion Starter #1
Seriously, that's what my vet said when we took Shadow in for her rabies shot. I suppose I can understand how she came to that conclusion, but it's still hurtful to hear.

The situation is this: Our vet was poking and prodding Shadow, checking for things that might be wrong. At some point Shadow reached over and bit her, not hard, just mouthing in a "hands off me, punk" sort of way. It was then that she said that this dog is going to bite someone some day just because they touched her.

And Shadow does seem to have a problem being handled. She doesn't like being brushed, unless she's really in the mood to be petted she brings out the teeth shortly after starting to pet her, and trying to get a collar or leash on her guarantees biting. The general mouthing has gotten much less over the last few weeks as she grows up and we work with the "OUCH" thing and redirect her to stuff she's supposed to chew on, so that's good. But how does one teach her to not bite when she's being touched? It's frustrating and I'd really like to train this out of her before she gets much bigger (she's already 50 pounds @ 4.5 months).

Other than that and some resource guarding (food), she's really being a decent dog.
 

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One of the things I started doing with my Heidi from the beginning is "hands on" while she eats. Pet her lightly, touch her back, touch her toes, touch her ears, etc...just so she gets used to it. It was a good time for me to do it...captive audience kind of thing. It just became routine

Also, while she ate, I would pull out the brush and just do a couple of strokes. Nothing major, just a nice brush or two and speak softly saying "good brush." It too just became routine.

They get used to it. Now, at 19 months old I can handle her any way necessary and so can the vet and vet techs.

And, the brushing is matter of fact now. I first start with our other dog...brush, clean ears, dremel claws, etc. She sits, waits and watches right by us. Then, she knows its her turn. And, I can brush, etc. without even tethering her. Still amazes me.


I would say start a daily routine now. Start slow and end positively.

Boy did I have a problem with mouthing. She does have good bite inhibition (now). But that too was something that needed to be addressed. Your girl needs to understand that mouthing can't be tolerated.
 

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Hi there,

What is your dog's history? Has she had health problems?

You want to start counter conditioning your dog now. The above method works but you may have to go even slower and use lots of high value treats (real chicken, cheese, etc.) to reward a non-reaction. You will need to start with really simple touches and then progress as slowly as she needs to, to a more thorough examination. This really is important because bite inhibition is something all dogs need to learn and the earlier, the better!
 

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As a breeder these are things I work on from birth. My pups are handled every day (not by just me but the whole family) and i spend a lot of time with feet and nails and loud sounds. I also put my fingers in their mouth and rub the gums and teeth. As they get older (when their eyes start to open) their already use to much anything or any touch. I also start small obedience work once their eyes are fully open. Before they leave my kennel they have had at least 2 baths and will let you cut or file their nails. when the pups get their meals i have my hands on them or in their bowl the whole time and they have no problem sharing their food with other adults.

I do agree with both Ruth and Barbara you do have to take this very slow.
 

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This is only an 18-week-old puppy. So you've got plenty of time to fix this.

Start handling this puppy--every inch of her body--often. Make it positive and rewarding for her. Even if you have to hand-feed her dinner to her one kibble at a time while you are stroking her. Touch a foot = get a kibble. Touch an ear = get one more kibble. At the end of the bowl, she will have gotten lots of positive reinforcement to touching. You'll have also worked on resource guarding at the same time.

For other members with puppies who read this thread...handle your pups! From the moment you get them, every part of them should be touched--ears, mouth, butt, claws, tail. This is critical socialization for puppies, and it is easiest to do when they are little and you can control them.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Her health history is good. Other than the normal puppy worms she's been quite healthy.

After the first issue of resource guarding happened (when you go to touch her while she's eating, otherwise she's ok) we started hand-feeding her. We did that for about 2 weeks. Now when she gets fed I have my hand in the bowl and I pet her constantly while talking to her. She doesn't growl or attempt to snap at all. It only seems to be that she'll do this if there is nothing around her bowl (read: me) to convince her that it's not HER food and not my food but she's allowed to eat it.

Interestingly enough, I noticed a very big change in her the other day. Right before I fed her, I let her know that the bowl was full of food, and then I held it up to my face and pretended to eat it. Crunching noises and all. The look on her face was one of "HEY!! That's uh, wait, you're eating my, but that's MYYYYY food!" She yipped and jumped up in the air. After a little bit of making her sit there and watch me do that, I allowed her to eat. Since then I've noticed a change in the way she responds to me, to the positive. I'm assuming that she learned that even though she eats it, it's still MY food first and THEN she gets it when I'm done with it.

I will definitely try brushing while she's eating for a bit and see how that goes.

Would obedience class help this issue at all? I'm wondering if it's partially a respect thing. I believe my wife and I are doing a decent job of training her in general but we're looking at trainers who can help us to a better job.
 

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Quote:Right before I fed her, I let her know that the bowl was full of food, and then I held it up to my face and pretended to eat it. Crunching noises and all.
This is exactly right. Keep doing this, and don't give it to her if she's hopping around. make her sit, put the bowl down, make her wait for a release word. As benevolent leader, you will allow her to share some of YOUR food. She has no food that belongs to her.

NILIF (Nothing In Life is Free--Google it) is a great training philosophy that can quickly turn around a relationship with a dog. And it's pretty easy to do, and doesn't require any traditional negative reinforcement. It simply requires the dog to earn everything. Want to go through the door? Sit first. Want me to pet you? Lay down. Want to eat? Wait for my signal. The idea is to make everything a game in which you are setting establishing what the dog must do to "win." She can win every game, but she has to play by your rules. She doesn't get to decide anything for herself.

As the relationship improves, then you can back off. But it sounds like this could be an approach to try.

ETA: Yes, obedience class would help.
 

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Yes to k9 kindergarten class, absolutely. And, you will be pleasantly surprised how quickly NILF affects your relationship with your puppy!
 

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Discussion Starter #9
We're doing the NILIF already... she gets nothing without first doing something to earn it, whether it be going outside to tinkle, eat, even to leave her crate she has to do something. The thing that is frustrating is that she doesn't seem to "get it", or worse, she does "get it" but chooses to act indifferently.

I am hoping it's all puppy-ness... I am seeing differences in her week by week but I'm not keen on taking the chance that she won't grow out of it and then it's too late.
 

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Get her enrolled in a class. It too, will do wonders for both of you.

Enjoy!
 

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OK real NILIF starts with IGNORING the dog except for food & potty for a few days. You avoid so much as looking at her, you don't talk to her, you don't praise her. You will be AMAZED at the results.
 

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Again, this is an 18-week old puppy. You're just starting to establish a relationship. Nothing is indelibly ingrained in this pup. She is still very maleable.
 

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I think it's a puppy phase. She's only 18 weeks, if she was 3 years I could see your vet having a valid point. But also...she probably is going through a teething process. I notice that my pup at 15 weeks already has some of his adult teeth coming in. Couple that with not going to the vet all that often and she could feel a bit uncomfortable.

When you go to the vet, bring plenty of treats, let her do commands that you know that she can easily do. Treat her for that and praise the heck out of her in between the vet coming in & out of visiting her. And hopefully the vet asst. diverts her attention when they are checking temp, shots, etc. It's new everytime she goes there, because at this stage they are doing something different everytime, so make it a positive one for her.

As for NILIF, I use it for pretty much everything. Feeding time is when I especially concentrate on it. John Denver is pretty food motivated, and after about the 2nd or 3rd time he's already anticipating what he needs to do for the food. Exp...I taught him sit...and the 3rd time I go to the food bin...he's already sitting. So you can teach your dog alot of commands, both spoken and hand if they are food motivated.

Don't worry Robert...this is puppy phase. I'm going through it too. And it is really simple things that we tend to forget about that makes our puppy become a disciplined dog. More so because I think we tend to overlook it. Cause we tend to over-complicate it. Once you set the boundaries, and stick to it. Then it becomes fun. Cause then it's mutual respect between you two.
 

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this is a 16 week old puppy and your vet made a comment like that!? Find another vet. Puppies bite and mouth. It is how they explore thier surroundings and share their feelings of frustration and elicit play.

That said, at the vet's I consider it my job to handle my dog while the vet or her tech's do what they have to do. I make sure I am always at their head, and I use treats to distract, and afterwards my vet always makes sure to play with them and give treats so they see the vet's as a fun place to visit.

It goes along with the nail trimming post I just responded to. My dogs are learn "I know you don't like this but we have to do this, and if you cooperate I will help this be over ASAP". They are not given a choice, I don't ask, I handle them however I have to, and when they are cooperating I make sure to use a finger to scratch under their jaw, or whisper to them what a dog dog they are.

If you are confident and relaxed about a situation, and behave like you have complete control, your dog will be much more relaxed.

Having just taken Carlo..my 16 wk old, to the vet's for his first exam and rabies, I did not simply hand my pup off to the vet and stand back. This is a good lesson for the pup to learn to trust me, we are a team. And if I had, my bouncy pup would have jumped clear off the exam table the millisecond my vet let her guard down which is exactly what played out and I was right there to catch him in mid air. Again, I stood right at his head, with some yummy treats, and he never even realized he got a shot in the bum.

I also put my dogs back in the car before I pay my bill, and don't bring them in the lobby until I know our room is ready. Sitting around and watching all those stressed out dogs in complete fear for their lives is not something I want to expose my dog too. I want them to walk in happy, and walk out happy...treats the whole way.

BTW, I hate the word "their"..I always type it wrong and have to go back and fix them all.....why is that!?
 

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My vet said something similar about my adult GSD, she said "all GSD show dogs have very poor temperaments and I'm not surprised if they bite." Well my dog is NOT a show dog, she has a fine temperament, and she has never bitten anyone or even struggled or growled at the vet's office! I changed vets.

As for handling, I agree with the others, start by handling her when it's a positive experience and like Kandi said when you DO handle her don't give her a choice and make sure you are confident with yourself.

I typically let the vet handle my dog because that is their procedure and I have an old back injury so I cannot be lifting adult GSDs onto the table for them or restraining them, but how the dog is handled at the vet's office will depend on the experience and capabilities of the owner and the vet's protocol. Bottom line is if it makes you uncomfortable, you can always find a new vet. Some people need to be holding their own dogs and some don't (and some dogs need their owners touching them and some don't). Recently my other dog had a large wound on his side that needed to be cleaned and shaved. He has a low tolerance for pain and honestly, it's MORE stressful for him if I'm the one having to hold him down. At my vet, for something like that, the dog is taken to the back where he can be properly restrained and the procedure is over within seconds. He came back to me with his tail wagging, wound shaved and cleaned. I *insist* on doing things like nail trims, cleaning ears, brushing, rolling the dog to check for ticks, and giving pills but when it comes to medical procedures where the dog will really struggle I'm more comfortable with the vet and the tech doing it. I don't have any experience or training in how to properly restrain large dogs or perform medical procedures, nor do I really care to. If I don't like how the vet or tech is doing it, I find a new one. For a puppy though, I would definitely be holding the dog's head or always keeping my hands on the dog somewhere, talking to the dog and constantly giving treats. Like others have said it's a good chance to show the dog she can trust you.

I think a puppy class is an excellent idea. I will be taking my puppy to class as soon as possible, even if he's an angel (yeah right!).
 

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Originally Posted By: rokanhausthis is a 16 week old puppy and your vet made a comment like that!? Find another vet. Puppies bite and mouth. It is how they explore thier surroundings and share their feelings of frustration and elicit play.
Where in SD are you? Maybe someone can recommend another vet for you to try out.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I'm in Del Mar. We've been taking Shadow to the same vet we've been using for our greyhound for years. I do agree she was probably a bit presumptive as to Shadow's disposition, but then again mouthing in response to touch isn't really an acceptable thing either.
 

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Quote:this is a 16 week old puppy and your vet made a comment like that!? Find another vet. Puppies bite and mouth. It is how they explore thier surroundings and share their feelings of frustration and elicit play.
Find a vet that knows and loves GSDs! I can almost guarantee you that this vet will never be the source of support you might need.
 

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Originally Posted By: RobertMI'm in Del Mar. We've been taking Shadow to the same vet we've been using for our greyhound for years. I do agree she was probably a bit presumptive as to Shadow's disposition, but then again mouthing in response to touch isn't really an acceptable thing either.
If a vet doesn't know that young GSD pups mouth, then the vet might not be the best vet for a GSD. As Tracy keeps repeating, this is a very young pup.

I know of a wonderful vet in San Carlos (it's a bit of a drive, I know) that's great with GSDs. MSpiker, I'm positive, has a great vet. There are other San Diego members here as well. You can use your local vet as a back up. I wouldn't go to a vet that is predisposed to think of my dog as a "type."

Dogs respond to the people they're with. My GSD was one of the mouthiest puppies you'll ever meet. Truly.
But my vet and the staff loved him. When they needed to run xrays on him when he was still young (about 3 months old), they put him on the xray table and he lay there calmly without sedation. Not because he was well trained, but because they were calm and he felt safe in their presence. THAT is what I want from my vet. If I needed to have separate vets for each of my dogs to get what they each needed, I would.

Some vets don't trust a certain kind of dog,probably because they've been bit by one before. But that's not my dog's fault. I had a trainer (for a therapy dog class) tell me that he had been bit by a GSD two months before, and my big guy made him nervous, not because of anything other than his breed. So he was going to let the co-trainer work with me. I appreciate a professional who realizes they have a bias for whatever reason, is honest about it, and doesn't hold it against my dog.

My job is always to advocate for my dog. And that starts by finding him a vet that adores him. Nothing should stand in the way of his veterinary care, and biases sometimes do have a nasty habit of getting in the way, especially when we least expect them to.

JMO.
 

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agree with 3K9Mom..

Kelso was mouthy mouthy as a puppy..drew blood and all that.
The vet knew he was a little handful, but still just a pup, and our vet has this very calm persona so it made it easier and nice.
I do remember in the notes from the first vet visit at 9 weeks they noted "does not like to be restrained"
I didnt take it to personally, because it was true! We just set off to try to fix it.

the only reason I laugh now is that Kelso, although still rambunctious is very good about the vet. He doesnt even hardly bat an eye when getting eye drops, ear drops, shaved on the neck, or the other weird procedures on his eyes he had to have done (tear tests ect)..this vet is smooth. But this was after a few rounds of going to the vet before he would just do the procedure right then and there (like shots or whatever)..before he would always take him to the "back" with a tech, until he knew Kelso more (and he grew up a bit!)

I think it is that the vet is calm and we worked with Kelso a lot. Redirection was a main thing. Now when he is sassy he runs off and grabs his toys to chew on automatically.

So, just saying that this doesnt mean your dog is going to bite people, and your pup is still so young, so just keep working on all of the above: touching, handling, use treats, redirection ect

I guess I really didnt have much to add, except that we did have a puppy that had a "black mark" so to speak on his vet report card, and he has turned out to be really great at vets, even when we have had to go to a different vet or specialist. I think he just loves all the attention from the staff!
 
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