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Our guy is 8 months old and we had him since he was 8 weeks (2 month old). Never showed any angry aggression towards me, wife and kids. He will mouth or nip at times but nothing bad.

The past few days my kids have been telling me that the dog has not been listening to them. My wife also noticed this. Also when we gave him a bath last week I noticed that he had a bad rash on his neck where the collar usually is. I put coconut oil on it and it seems to have healed up. We also left his collar off for a few days.

Last night, we came home from dinner and we saw that he pooped a little in his crate something he hasn't done since we brought him home 6 months ago. I took him out and cleaned out crate but he seemed fine - wanted to play in the yard and was active.

This morning, my wife let him out the crate - he walked around house and went into the bathroom and took out some tissue paper and was trying to eat it. My wife tried to stop him and grabbed his collar to stop him from running and that is when he turned and bit her hand and left bad cut and drew blood.

My wife was extremely upset, I took her to get a tetanus shot. She cried and was worried that someone might want to take our dog away from us. I had to fill out a paper at hospital describing the incident for the animal department. We told them that this is our dog and that he is well behaved but not sure what might have triggered this incident.

I feel it has something to do with that rash we found and he might still be very sensitive when his collar is on, and on top of that we probably is not feeling to good being that he pooped in his crate.

We are very concerned and don't want to lose our dog. When we got back from hospital my wife took him our, fed him and he was fine.

Any suggestions that might help us.
 

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Don't grab him by the collar like that, it can be perceived as an attack by him. Its possible the rash was painful and its caused him to react, but when you say mouthing and nipping, the first thing I think of is that he doesn't have a clear understanding of whats acceptable with putting his teeth on you. He's growing up and he's going to be more willing to escalate those kinds of things. He needs clear boundaries and rules. For right now, I wouldn't let him have access to things you'll have to fight him over like the tissue paper. You don't have to all of a sudden be real harsh about everything, but look to make obedience absolute, mandatory. He has to listen so you don't have to try and grab him when there's things like the tissue around.
 

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Well, this sounds like two possibilities. Maybe he is not feeling that well. I would keep an eye on his health and if anything seems off consult with a vet.
Second, 8 months old is the transition from toddler to teenager. It is a time when testosterone is increasing and you can see the rise of pushy behavior. You said he nipped and mouthed before now he is taking it up a notch. Nipping and mouthing should have been stopped by now. You are experiencing, I think, a natural progression... he is just nipping and mouthing harder to get his way.

I think many folks have to take a few steps back in training at about this time. Go back to basics, if the dog has too many privileges take them away and make him earn them back. Go back to working on "watch me" "leave it" and other basics. Make it fun but keep it clear what the expectations are. Ideally your wife takes him to a training class to reinforce that she is a leader too. Look for someone who has experience with GSD.

I certainly wouldn't freak out about it. Get to work, recommit to him and is training, get eyes-on advice from a good trainer.

Up to you.
 

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My wife tried to stop him and grabbed his collar to stop him from running and that is when he turned and bit her hand and left bad cut and drew blood.
The dog was trying to get away from her and acted in self defense. This does NOT make his biting ok! But just an explanation of the possible "why" of it.

So he has a rash on his neck, he's not listening and behaving in an odd way, he's messing in his crate and eating inappropriate things. Does he often eat inappropriate things? Have you taken him to the vet to address these issues?

And does your dog know a command to "drop" or "leave" something?
 

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First get him checked out by the vet. Second have your wife start training him and you back off on working him for now. If he's not listening to her now, he doesn't respect her and he won't until something changes. My dogs eat napkins and tissues if they can get them just to get our attention or because they are bored, but when my puppy was eating everything off the floor, I upped his food just a little and it stopped. He was hungry.

Finally, read up on NILIF.
 

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From your description of the incident sounds like he nipped as a response from pain.I will suggest a new collar style that doesn't irritate his neck.A rounded leather collar or padded collar,or a martingale that is only on for walks perhaps.
Also he's entering his adolescent phase and will not always listen and will test your patience.Stay calm and insist he obey you.If he grabs something he should not have trade him for something more desirable.Does he have a leave it command?No chasing and collar grabbing!Get your kids on board with this or if that's not possible,closely supervise their interactions.
You may want to schedule a vet visit or at the very least take in a stool sample to check for parasites.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thank you so much for the replies. Just an update on the incident. My wife said I got it wrong, she did not pull his collar but got in front of him to stop him from running away and he growled at her and when she went to take out the tissue that is when he bit her. He has done this before but all other times he will drop what he has in his mouth.

My wife always came with me for training, we took him to two sessions each session was 6 weeks. One was puppy and the other was intermediate with Pet Smart. He usually always listens to me and my wife but yes I'm the one that takes him out to play most often.

The guy at pet smart did tell us that he will challenge us again when he gets a little older and I agree with him and all of you that said he is testing his boundaries.

We called our Vet and left message and will try to get a visit as soon as we can. We will also re-commit to the training that we admittedly got lazy on especially me.

Since the incident my wife has taken him out to pee, fed him, and commanded him to get back in his crate all successfully. He was not aggressive at all.

Thanks again for all your help everyone, we love our Hercules and we have to understand that we also have to be committed in our training with him.

al
 

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Since the incident my wife has taken him out to pee, fed him, and commanded him to get back in his crate all successfully. He was not aggressive at all.
Not saying this is what she did, but be careful about creating conflict over going in the crate. As much as it can be a calming, relaxing place for him, you can turn it into a cornered, defensive feeling too, and your bent down, right there.
 

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Find a trainer who is used to German Shepherds and will show you how to have a better relationship with your dog so he listens to you. There are occasionally decent trainers at Pet Smart, but their own training is with easy dogs, not challenging dogs. I sent a friend with her rescue to one Pet Smart trainer who I've heard only good things about. They have a rescue who has become fear aggressive. Sadly, the dog got worse because the trainer can socialize a compliant dog but has no idea how to change a behavior. I will never recommend her again. I only suggested her because this couple refused to go anyone who doesn't use PO methods. I think I have convinced her to try a balanced trainer like we are using. They can't even walk their dog down their street and they aren't enjoying her at all. I've met her dog and she wasn't aggressive to me, but I knew how to approach her. With their typical neighbors, the dog goes nuts. I don't mean to take this off topic, but I hope you can see from the example that there are good and bad trainers for individual dogs, and why.
 

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What Steve said^^^^ Thinking before you do anything that could make him feel defensive is important.If he ever should balk at the crate,door,car door,etc.Throw a toy or treat for him to follow in,no grabbing,looming over him or cornering.
 

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Thank you so much for the replies. Just an update on the incident. My wife said I got it wrong, she did not pull his collar but got in front of him to stop him from running away and he growled at her and when she went to take out the tissue that is when he bit her. He has done this before but all other times he will drop what he has in his mouth.

My wife always came with me for training, we took him to two sessions each session was 6 weeks. One was puppy and the other was intermediate with Pet Smart. He usually always listens to me and my wife but yes I'm the one that takes him out to play most often.

The guy at pet smart did tell us that he will challenge us again when he gets a little older and I agree with him and all of you that said he is testing his boundaries.

We called our Vet and left message and will try to get a visit as soon as we can. We will also re-commit to the training that we admittedly got lazy on especially me.

Since the incident my wife has taken him out to pee, fed him, and commanded him to get back in his crate all successfully. He was not aggressive at all.

Thanks again for all your help everyone, we love our Hercules and we have to understand that we also have to be committed in our training with him.

al
No more Petsmart. He's growled at your wife before? This is ongoing? And now there is a bite.

Time to get a real trainer. Call this lady. She's in Illinois at the WUSV quaili. right now but she should be able to help you
Dog Obedience Training - Beth Bradley
 

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By all means "enlist the aid of a "Competent Qualified trainer" if you like. But even still ... if the dog is "not" going to a board and train ...
"you need" to make some changes in how you live with the dog. If a dog has "issues" I always "advise" the use of a "Drag Leash" indoors (a short leash with no handle for use indoors) so that people don't have to be "laying hands" on dogs with "issues and stuff."

I would "institute" a "No Free Roaming" in the house policy, no bed no furniture privileges for 30 to 90 days. Train the "Place Command" and "Do Sit on the Dog" all trainers that "successfully rehab dogs with serious issues ... start with those. InIndoors the dog should be in his "Crate" or in "Place" period, outside is for"play" inside is to "chill." And "structured walks" a dog does not need you to "exercise" but he does need you to walk. :)

Rules, Structure and Limitations (to coin a phrase) the rest of the "details" are here:

http://www.germanshepherds.com/forum/7837361-post12.html


As always ... Welcome Aboard and sorry it's been a bumpy ride so far. :(
 

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I would leave his collar off and walk him on a harness as long as his neck hasn't healed. Sort out where that rash can come from: food, vaccinations, material from the collar, a spider bite?
The bite has shown you what he needs. There has been great advice here all over so implement this asap. I don't know how old your kids are but they should now completely ignore him. If this plan is not going to work, things will escalate. He is climbing the social ladder and has to move down a couple of steps. He is a typical adolescent male who needs exercise, consistency and training. Exercise: in a controlled way, which doesn't mean running wild with other dogs. You need to provide that for him and he has to earn every move. Example for fetching: sit next to you-stay- you throw the toy- release him with a command, he returns and has to give up the toy- sit next to you. Repeat a few times. Make variations. If he is not ready for that level, teach all the steps separately, esp. the release. You AND your wife have to start working very hard but in a confident and gentle way, to get this boy back on track. The cutesy stage is over.
 

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Just going to add since max was a pup if I had to take something from max like tissue etc I would always switch it with a treat or toy and this is where he gives it to me right away otherwise he would run around the house with it trying to entice a game. Im sure this helped as I know can always grab something from his mouth like a chicken bone from the garbage which has happened and I just have him a treat right after. Drag leash is important to have on him if he needs correcting. Time to find a good trainer.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Just a quick update - Hercules saw the Vet and was in good health. We found a local trainer that has experience with GSD and going for evaluation this Friday for Obedience lessons.

No aggression toward us since incident and we continued our basic commands again like, stay, sit, leave it, drop it, go to bed, etc... He has his days where he does very well and others where he seems too distracted but will listen with patience. We are staying committed.

Al
 

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Hired Trainer and had our first lesson in our home..He identified a few things like Hercules running to door when someone rings the bell, us coming to him to pet him and Hercules getting away with not listening to commands and us letting him walk away.. Those are all WINS for Hercules and that puts him to the top of the Hierarchy of the family/pack. For the past week we have been working on correcting this without Treats...and its working...GREAT!!!

Now we have a boundary that he will not cross when someone rings our door bell. In fact he now sits down and waits to see who it is. We don't let him get away with not listening to our commands, We end any games that we start with him and we call him to us when we want to pet or hug him. All of this so far has been working great.

can't wait for our next traiing.
 
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