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Discussion Starter #1
Hi There!

Thunder has ever since we first saw him been a quite "oral" dog, he will chew on anything, though we limit this as much as possible, quite frequently he will bite or chew on us when we are playing with him. I liken him to a cat/kitten during fast movement. However in the last few days we have seen him "snapping" to bite. I am concerned, and have been grabbing his mouth shutting it, looking him in the eye and saying "no!, no biting!" loudly. The problem is this doesn't seem to be doing the job, he doesn't seem any less inclined. I have also tried grabbing the scruff of his neck and pulling him to the ground the way I have seen mothers do, and he will squeal and then a few moments later do it again. We tried giving him the chew toys we got him ( a half tennis ball is his fav) but that works and then he is back to it. Any ideas?
 

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Welcome to the world of 'GSD Puppies LOVE to Bite'!!! Most of us have exactly the same issue. And you are not crazy, it is WAY worse for this breed than many others.

To the extent we actually made a 'sticky' for this on the site for a reference. Tons of stuff to try. Different things seem to work better as our pups age. But mostly we seem to be able to just manage and take the edge off....

http://www.germanshepherds.com/forum/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=153716&page=1#Post153716
 

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Yah well we have started to let him bite us a little, gently, its difficult to guage what is too hard or not really, but I guess its based on pain threshold.

People have talked about leaving the room, we crate our dog, and I am worried crating him for not behaving will give him a negative opinion of the crate. Anyone got an opinion on this?
 

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I've used the crate for timeouts on 3 dogs, my previous and two current. Coincidentally, those 3 are the only ones that were crate trained, we didn't even HAVE a crate for Sneaker. I've had NO problem with timeouts causing negative feelings towards their crates.

Dena & Keefer are almost 4 and almost 3 years old, and when they get to playing too rowdy in the house and won't stop when I tell them to cut it out, I simply say "that's it, timeout!" and walk towards their crates. If they don't go in on their own, I smack the top and repeat the command. They go in, I close the door, and I leave them there as long as it's convenient for me. They just hang out or take a nap.

When I'm in the bedroom on my Lifecycle Keefer will still go in his crate for a nap (he can see me from there), and at night both dogs either go in their crates on their own, or with the usual "go to bed" command.

Think of timeouts in the crate as a break rather than a punishment. Cassidy was a mouthy little land shark for a long time, so she got frequent brief timeouts as a puppy. And yet she liked her crate so much that we were never able to get rid of it entirely. The door was always open so she could come and go as she pleased, but she CHOSE to sleep there. I would have loved to get rid of that thing!!! But I hated to take it away from her.
 

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I’m very new here; however, I’ve had dogs most of my life and GSD’s for the past 20 years. PLEASE, PLEASE, DO NOT permit your puppy to bite you “just a bit”! First: dogs have no idea what is “a bit”. Second: if you permit any biting at all – of people – you are telling the dog that biting is allowed. It’s rather like giving your puppy and old shoe to chew and then wondering why she chews up your $300 new shoes. Dogs cannot discriminate. If you permit biting, the dog becomes a biter. Yes, all puppies (well most) go through a stage of being mouthy and many will bite you in play. However, when this happens we need to take action – give the dog something else to bite, yell ouch, leave the room, etc. – whatever works for you. No, you don’t have to yell, use force, etc. You do have to take action.
 

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to the op, you've got -- what people haven't mentioned is that your current methods are only escalating the action - Thunder is coming back for more invigorated and responding to the physical action on your part by upping his side of the equation too. I would try the entirely different approaches you have been offered.

Good luck, I know that collectively we CAN manage a GSD puppy!
 

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Quote:Yah well we have started to let him bite us a little, gently, its difficult to guage what is too hard or not really, but I guess its based on pain threshold.
networkn, that never worked for me. And I hate setting my puppy up to fail. Because by allowing any biting of my flesh, there's a chance they will bite too hard and get in trouble. In fact with my GSD pups I could guarantee you 100% if I played with their mouths I would get hurt.

Whereas if INSTEAD I teach them to grab a toy, bring it to me and play/tug with that I am setting my pups up for SUCCESS and to do right. No pain and now a great positive thing for my puppy and for me.

Did you bother to go the the link I posted about Bite Inhibition? Those are the methods that DO work for us.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Hmm OK I'll see how the timeout thing goes. The thing is, at the moment, I am not sure he would ever get out of his crate he bites and nips so much. We will give it a go though.
 

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MaggieRoseLee: We did read the links you gave us, all of them, and it seemed to us from the reading, that the 3 steps to take were:

1) Bite inhibition, teaching your dog soft and hard biting.
2) Bite reduction
3) No biting.

The theory behind this seems to be that a dog with no bite training, doesn't understand soft biting, and if he/she does bite its likely to be a big hard bite, vs a dog which understands soft biting.

Have we misunderstood? I guess one of the hard things as pointed out a previous poster, was that I can see Thunder becoming confused about why he gets timeouts sometimes and not others, if he doesn't understand what hurts and what doesn't. Thunder doesn't seem to be phased by our "ouch" no matter how loud or high pitched. I am not sure if that is an age thing or not.
 

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Not all techniques work as well with all puppies. The loud sharp puppy shriek just got Dena more excited, but it worked well with Keefer. For her, redirecting to a toy worked much better.

The timeout was for when they'd stop biting for a second but come right back to it. I'd give them a couple of tries, sort of a 3 strikes you're out kind of thing, and then they'd go in the crate. Play nice, or mama goes away.


Frequent brief timeouts are more clear, especially if they are immediately after the infraction, because it's easier for them to associate it with their actions. Bring puppy out, puppy bites again, back in the crate. Repeat in a minute or two, etc. Lots of praise and play when he's playing nice.

The puppy classes I took were founded by Dr. Ian Dunbar, who wrote one of the articles on bite inhibition linked to in the sticky thread. His theory is that it's better to teach your dog to inhibit his bite by letting him mouth you as a young puppy (before he's developed full jaw strength) and only reacting to the strongest bites at first, then working gradually towards no bites at all over time, as you've described.

If done correctly, step by step, your puppy should not be confused. It's a gradual progression, not just a random thing.
 

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Thanks cassidy's mum, but I am still a little confused. In that post above you said you use the timeout method and prefer it, but also see the value of the biting inhibition method too? Should I try a mixture of the above.. Perhaps letting him nibble me, but giving him 3 warnings if he is getting rough and then in the crate?

Sorry to sound dense, but its always harder when there are differing opinions.
 

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Quote: The theory behind this seems to be that a dog with no bite training, doesn't understand soft biting, and if he/she does bite its likely to be a big hard bite, vs a dog which understands soft biting.
The reason the link is so good, is because different methods work well for different pups/owners.

For me, for both my GSD pups, I just couldn't bear the pain of any biting from them. They just always seemed to bite too hard and not understand the 'punishments' in correlations to their behaviors.

So, for me, it was just no biting at all on my flesh. Toys only.
 

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Originally Posted By: networknThanks cassidy's mum, but I am still a little confused. In that post above you said you use the timeout method and prefer it, but also see the value of the biting inhibition method too? Should I try a mixture of the above.. Perhaps letting him nibble me, but giving him 3 warnings if he is getting rough and then in the crate?
Sorry I wasn't more clear. Yes, I did do the bite inhibition work as described in the link when Dena & Keefer were pups. I used a combination of methods to stop the hardest bites, then the next hardest bites, then the softer bites, and then no bites at all were tolerated.

With Dena, if I redirected her to a toy and she came back to my arm or my pant leg I gave her another try. As long as I could successfully redirect her to an appropriate toy, play could continue. If she ignored my attempts to get her to stop chewing me, I would do a timeout in the crate. If she came out and played by my rules, we could continue. If she started biting me again instead of the toy, back in the crate.

Keefer did respond to a loud sharp shriek. It would startle him, he'd stop biting and look at me, and then I could then praise him for not biting me anymore, (and also for eye contact!) and play could continue. If he bit me again, I'd give another loud high pitched "OUCH!", and if he stopped biting and played nice, we could continue. Usually I'd give them a couple of chances to be good before doing a timeout.

Timeouts mean the end of fun and I go away. Being with me and getting to play were very rewarding, and they learned that they could control attention and playtime by obeying the rules. Removal of attention can be a very powerful training tool.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
We are going to try and see if this works. So far so good. A timeout does wonders. I think he just gets excited truth be told.
 
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