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My wife and I got a German Shepherd puppy two weeks ago. She is a showline Schuthund dog and I plan on training her for Schuthund in the future.

This is not the first dog I’ve owned but it is the first puppy. We got her when she was 12 weeks old, making her 14 weeks now. She picks up on things very well and after the first week my wife and I understood her behavior enough that she hasn’t has any more accidents in the house. She is picking up on commands easily and she will often follow me around the house. All in all she is a good dog with a lot of potential.

Unfortunately there are some behavior issues that I am having a hard time dealing with and I am hoping that someone can steer me in the right direction to solving them.

First and foremost is that she is biting the crap out of us. Yes, I understand that puppies bite everything, its how they play, its how they explore. It was bad enough when my hands were covered in scratches and scabs but now she is snapping at anything and everything (puppy teeth really turn on the love handles). I would like to think that she is just trying to play with us but sometimes I wonder. There isn’t any growling involved, her ears aren’t laid back and her hair isn’t standing up.

We have tried the pained noises (screaming, crying, yelping, OUCH!, barking, NO!) but those only seem to get her to bite harder.

We have tried not paying attention to her, she attacks our feet. I have even gone so far as to lock myself in the bathroom when she is doing it, she basically waited by the door till I came out and continued it.

We have tried redirecting her bit to some of her toys. I guess my hands and feet are more fun (even when I am wiggling the unstuffed squeaky skunk).

I’ve covered myself with Bitter apply spray, doesn’t make a difference (work on everything else she wants to chew on).

We have gone so far as to grab her muzzle (gently but firmly) and hold her down. She submits and then when we let her do she continues the bitey thing.

She has really gotten bad lately doing it outside, and even when I am trying to walk her, lunging and snapping at my feet and pants legs.


Which brings me to the next concerns:
I have a hard time getting her engages and playing with toys (other than my hands and feet). I let her out of her crate and she usually just goes somewhere else and lays down. If she has a meaty bone or something she will happily chew away on that. I can only sometimes get her to chase the Kong or a ball, she often doesn’t care about the tug. I have a ball on string that she will go crazy after but she stays crazy and will go all bitey even afterwards (so I had to put that one away). What type of toys would you suggest?

On walks she will often lay down in the grass and just stay there not wanting to come with, or she wants to turn around and go home. How am I supposed to exercise my pup if she doesn’t want to walk or chase toys?

Also my wife is concerned because she (the puppy, not my wife) didn't drink anything and only ate a couple of bites of her food. She has been eating the same food since we got her plus Puperoni treats, raw beef, raw chicken, and some yogurt. We want to make sure she is eating enough.

What are peoples thoughts on this?
 

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For the biting, keep doing what you're doing, but you have to add a "time out"--fun time is over if she bites. You can pop her into an ex-pen or even her crate (if you're calm and gentle she shouldn't get any negative associations) or leave the room (if it's gated so she can't follow). You have to be careful about discouraging biting if you're going to do bitework with her, though. Is there a Schutzhund club in the area? The members there may have ideas on rasing a good Schutzhund dog that does bitework but doesn't eat the family, LOL.

As for the eating, what brand of food? How much is she eating currently? How much of that is the dog food and how much is treats?
 

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She is a shepherd they are a very mouthy breed. More excersise more training more running more play time with other pups. Your pup needs more excersie she needs an outlet for her energy and as she grows she will need even more. A tired puppy is an easy puppy. Take her on longer walks beat her playing fetch.

Training work on basic commands more often. You need to work the dogs mind too.

When they bite just stop do nothing just walk away. End all fun don't even give any attention. When she bites it's game over. If she stops biting play with her again. Also it's time to teach gentle or no bite. I teach gentle with the clicker. I let her bite at my hand to try and get a treat. As soon as she stops biting and licks I click and she gets the treat. Once she gets the idea that only licking gets the treat you give a verbal comamnd.

Once your pup knows gentle means licking only no bites you can give the gentle command to stop biting.

As for Schuthund that is a very intense sport and you have to be extremely committed too it 100%. This is not a sport you just try out for fun you really need to be training constantly. Sent work is something GSD are good at and enjoy. I would really reconsider doing Schuthund. It's very hard core.
 

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Yeah, if you want to do bite work later, grabbing her muzzle and forcing her down is a bad idea. You'll have a hard time convincing her to bite on command if you've associated biting with being scared.

You haven't had her that long. Teaching bite inhibition takes time. Just keep at it.

As to the toys, what toys does does she have? Of what materials? Some dogs love hard rubber, some will only play with soft stuffed animals. It's hard to say without trying them.
 

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You have good advice on the stop biting above. It will come in time and with you being consistant.
On the toy front, if you have a horse supply/ saddlery type shop, they sell buggy whips. Like a fishing rod with a long string attached. Tie a piece of sheep wool to the end of the line and drag this in front of the pup. I guarantee he will chase it.
WHen he grabs the wool, shorten up the line until you can get your hand on the wool and have a game of tug. It will take about 5 minutes tops.
Now you need to teach the release - good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thank you for the replies.

Willowy: Today and yesterday it seems that most of her diet is coming from the beef I am using for training. I'm not measuring things out. The vet recommended putting the dog food (Natures Select High protein chicken and rice) for 15 minutes and let her eat what she wants. she pretty much ignores it. I may have to switch the feed/train times up but I have been trying to use the hunger to build drive and focus with me.

As for the biting, I am very hesitant to try to completely break her of it because of my desire to train Schutzhund. Your point is completely valid.

Pepy311:
I take her on many walks and try to play fetch with her but she only sometimes chases the ball. And the walks can be a be a bear as she will often just sit or lay down in the grass and refuse to go. I *want* to give her more exercise but I find it hard to get her to go along with it. any suggestions?

I will try working on getting her to bite softer instead of no biting at all. I have been using marker training, which is basically the same as clicker training except I use YES! instead of a clicker (I dont always have a clicker with me when working with her).

amaryllis:
I have several different types of toys. She doesn't get into a kong to much. I have a hard rubber ball she ignores. A rope that she will sometimes play with me with. An unstuffed skunk (with two sqeakers and an empty water bottle inside) that she seems to enjoy. Plus things to chew like a nylonabone, antler, cow hoof, kneecap, several bones. I think she likes the softer toys, I need to find and get more of those for her.

Nev Allen:
I use something similiar, I tied a fake tennis ball to a bit of rope, she will chase the crap out of that but then she is extra bitey afterwards. Working on the OUt command.
 

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You've gotten great advice, so I will just add one thought: if you are trying too many techniques to teach bite inhibition (like the pain noises, shutting yourself in the bathroom, ignoring her, Bitter Apple spray, holding her muzzle) then you aren't being clear what your expectations are. Just as with any teacher or parent, you have to be clear about what you want, or you aren't likely to get it.
So, stick with one thing, and do it consistently, every time. With us, we did a combo of a noise, and if they bit again, right away, we did the noise again, and then left the room and (they were gated and couldn't follow us). It did take 4 weeks for our first pup, 1-2 weeks for our second, and with our current foster pup, about 2 weeks.
 

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You don't want her to bite softer. That'll ruin her grips.

Biting humans unprovoked is NEVER acceptable. I also have Shepherds, and we do the work as well, but none of my dogs are EVER allowed to bite us for funsies. That's nipped in the bud when they are babies.

You can still has a dog that does good bitework and establish rules of what is appropriate to bite, and what is not.

I actually have an SDIT that I have to be very careful with in regards to scolding him picking things up, because I will need him to do it for me on command one day. I have to do a lot of redirecting and cut out the scolding. I reward calm holds on appropriate objects, and remove inappropriate objects from his mouth.

I would start initiating timeouts for inappropriate use of her mouth. If she plays with toys, she's allowed to stay out, if she chews on you, she goes in her crate for a couple of minutes.

As for feeding, I HIGHLY suggest scheduled measured feedings.

I have been using marker training, which is basically the same as clicker training except I use YES! instead of a clicker (I dont always have a clicker with me when working with her).
For the record, it's not basically the same. It is the same. You're just using your voice to mark instead of a click.
 

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Do you already have a schutzhund club in mind? Get with one, a good one, as they will help you along.

I recommend jute tugs, puppy bite wedges, puppy sleeves, and bite pillows. Take advantage of this stage, teach her proper grips, target biting, proper tugging, the command for bite, and the command to let go. With schutzhund, you don't need to be concerned about the dog becoming equipment focused as they never get real bites without the sleeve. So you can soon teach him to only bite the equipment. This becomes more difficult in PPD as they need to be confident without equipment.

If you start him right, build his confidence, and direct his biting, then you should have a good prospect.

Another thing to try is a flirt pole, I make mine with a lunge whip, and a favorite jute tug tied to the drop section.
 
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