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We have had our puppy (German Shepherd, now 15 weeks old) now for about a month and a half. In that time, we have got him house trained (or so we thought). I know he is still in the teething phase, so we have been patient with the biting, but everything that we have tried to do to get him to stop biting isn't working. We have tried clicker/treats, ignoring bad behavior, yelping, bitter sprays, redirecting...nothing is working. He gets exercise and play time, but is getting aggressive with us regardless of what we do. Recently, he is now taking to pooping and peeing in the house again instead of signaling that he needs to go outside. We have a bell system that he rings when he needs to go outside, and he would ring it each time for a couple weeks and not have any accidents in the house. Now, he is ignoring it and going inside the house whenever and wherever he wants. We have him on a loose routine (my wife and I don't work typical 9-5 work hours, so our schedule changes from day to day) but we are at a loss for why the training isn't taking. Any advice?
 

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At 15 weeks old, your pup IS NOT house trained. You can't really consider a dog house trained until they are around 1 year old and have had no accidents just because they have neither the physical or mental maturity to be fully house trained. Sometimes they don't recognize that they have to go potty until they are going potty....You must continue to give the pup frequent potty breaks and reward him greatly for going outside.

You have a German Shepherd, which is basically a land shark. When puppy bites you, shove a toy in his mouth and praise him for using it. If he continues to use your flesh as a toy, get up and walk away. Step behind a baby gate, close a door, whatever, just remove all attention for 10 to 15 minutes. Whenever puppy puts his teeth on your flesh, you must consistently do this. It will take a long time. He'll likely be mouthy until he is 9 months to 1 year old, but his bites will get lighter if you remain consistent. This isn't something you will see vast improvement with very quickly...it is a long process.

Remember he is a BABY. I know it is frustrating when it feels like your training is getting nowhere, but if you remain consistent you will see improvement over the next few months. You will also see backslides where he seems to forget everything you taught him! Consistency is key! Pick a method and stick with it!
 

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He is still a baby. YOU have to be vigilant and pay attention and get him out and then use food to reward anything he does right outside. When a dog pees or poops in the house the fault is YOURS (assuming the dog is healthy, no diarrhea and so forth). I have my 4th German Shepherd right now. ALL were brought here as puppies. The number of poop accidents in the house? ZERO. The number of pee accidents? 3 MY FAULT for not paying attention. Bell system? Current dog uses it but not because he has to go out but because he is a high energy working dog and wants to get out and train or hike or DO something.

Your puppy biting and so forth is normal. Again.. puppy. These dogs were designed to work. You need to redirect the biting to a game of tug (with an appropriate toy) or fetching a ball or learning obedience. These dogs are not inactive couch dogs. If you want that sort of dog you need a different breed.

I would be interested to know your puppy's pedigree. It might tell us a whole lot of what you need to be doing.

A bored working dog is not a good thing. You must keep their mind engaged and you must be active. If you don't have work for a working dog they will find a job and it will be something you really don't like!
 

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15wks , it saids it's all... Need to set a daily schedule and be consistent in applying it for the pup every day. Down to the nitty gritty detail. The schedule should be everything about who you are, how you want the pup to respect living in your house, so its natural to you when applying it the same every day. During that time you work on all you intro's into Learning and apply OB skills. Look at me when I am talking to you (get that calm eye to eye focus) This is our morning routine, This is how it is when I wake up first thing in the morning, How it is when the household is getting ready to go to work, what the pup will do , be during the day if you are away from the house. what it's like when we come home, how we spend our morning, evening activity time both structural and free play, potty time, meal times, how we spend rest time .. What you can and can not do in the house, what is your area for now in the house.

I know GSD's love the technical mechanics of routines. For me they thrive on it. Pick it up quickly and anticipate doing it on their own. All the while yall are being exposed to building team skills together, physical and verbal. Puppies are looking to you on how do we do things. Written out in a post it seems like a lot, but you do it every day anyway just living your life. GSD's love to be an active part with you. include them, there is nothing too small of a job for them, for their presence to be acknowledge with you. Even if that is only learning to lay down on their rug in the kitchen near you while your making breakfast... Especially if you have some extra eggs put to the side for when your done eating to put in their bowl for mastering the task of laying on that rug helping you in the kitchen. it's the little tiny moments of being a part of what your doing that they love.

The biting part is (do you really have to touch your puppy) do you really have to touch a GSD puppy at all to interact to train with them? I personally can say no you don't. When I got my Major he was 7wks .I picked him out of the litter at 4wks old and was planing to pick him up after 8wks old. What ever happen to him in that household, he was crazy when they called me to please come get him as he was tearing to shreds the adults, the kids and the other puppies ups . That I needed to come get him now. He was a true land shark by then, over excited, hyper, and biting to intentionally hurt , draw blood, to provoke a reaction from doing it. Puppies learn fast what works to get what they need. And Major had learned he didn't want to be touched for what his first experience in being touched had taught him. No intended abuse from those kids, but rough housing and loving the fact that Major went back at them harder and harder just fueled the kids that it was fun, until Major wanted to rough house attack and win all the time he got better and stronger at it and it was Major that didn't want to stop then, .................................................... and it was no longer funny to those kids or anyone else ....

If a pup is like this, don't rough house, don't play and get them excited ,they can't handle it, they need to learn to be calm follow a daily routine for the basics, have quiet time, and a calm household. you can teach all OB skills without touching. that's where you start with them. That is how you bridge the gab of what they do that you don't want and what you want them to learn instead to replace it. And be consistent ...
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the replies; this is all good advice. This is our first puppy, but coming from having various other exotic and non-exotic pets we didn’t realize it would be this different for training. As stated from my first post, my wife and I work jobs were we don’t keep the same schedule day to day (a banker and a public service worker), but I am starting a new job next month that should provide me with more of a steady schedule. My wife had called me the other day in tears because he would not stop biting her which prompted me to make this post to see what more experienced owners would say. Again, thanks for the advice!
 

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some people are more sensitive to sharp puppy teeth. I would say I'm on the tougher side, they can bite fingers really easy, but letting them go at my holding still close fit isn't as fun for them to stop and be bewildered about it "insert something learning to do" . Major was that pup that if you did the owe owe owe little yelping noses he get excited to tear into you more. Giving that pup any sign of a retreating reaction provoked him more.

what are the attack moments yall are dealing with?
 

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what are the attack moments yall are dealing with?
It seems to be more often when he gets overly excited. We’ve curbed some of his play biting by redirecting, but the worst is when he gets excited when he is not playing. Trying to put on/take off his harness to go outside, coming back inside he gets overly excited and tends to bite. It gets nearly impossible to take my coat and shoes off after coming back in because he gets excited and immediately wants to play and then bites.

It’s a learning curve for both my wife and I on how to care for a dog. We’ve had a lot of different animals over the years, but this is our first dog. I just hated that she was calling me in tears because he is supposed to be mainly her dog. Turns out it was just a bad day for everyone.
 

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He's not done yet , your wife will have the dog she wanted so much. Always ends up that way for getting so close and bonded to them trying to help them grow and find their way.

for the harness try a big finger glob of peanut butter to keep him busy if he is not sensitive to having peanut butter.
for games instead of rough housing free for all type games. Try to work on puzzle games, games with rules ,focus on watching you, listening for directions. like the shell game you can use disposable cups, Tupperware containers, boxes... Scent games are great at exhausting them out and can be play'd in the house. There was a book way back when cause Nose work... with lots of ideas in it. and the name it game was always a favorite with my crew of GSD's give things a name , show it , let them examine it then put it down and tell them to (get name it) and bring it too you.. once they get it keep adding objects that way you can put them out in a row and tell them which one to get. you can teach applying OB skills using obstacles. I get board doing stagnic OB stuff,, more fun apply OB skills while maneuvering around kitchen chairs in different way.

you got this..... the little monsters are the ones we love so deeply ....
 

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It seems to be more often when he gets overly excited. We’ve curbed some of his play biting by redirecting, but the worst is when he gets excited when he is not playing. Trying to put on/take off his harness to go outside, coming back inside he gets overly excited and tends to bite. It gets nearly impossible to take my coat and shoes off after coming back in because he gets excited and immediately wants to play and then bites.

It’s a learning curve for both my wife and I on how to care for a dog. We’ve had a lot of different animals over the years, but this is our first dog. I just hated that she was calling me in tears because he is supposed to be mainly her dog. Turns out it was just a bad day for everyone.
Dump the harness. Use a regular dog collar. When you take him out advocate for him (he is a baby). This means not letting every person you meet pet the puppy. This means NEVER letting him greet other dogs on leash. Use a collar (at this age I like a Comfortflex or martingale collar. Just slips over the head and you can have the leash already attached. A collar gives you MUCH better directed control. Remember.. he is going to be a large dog. Get rid of the harness.

When you come back inside, immediately crate him THEN take off coat and shoes. THEN let him out of the crate.

Dogs and people do much better doing one thing at a time. Handling a puppy AND taking off outdoor clothes at the same time is too many things at once. Just like going outside. Attach the leash to the collar FIRST then slip the collar over the dog's head and then go out. Coming in reverse the process and crate the dog THEN do what you have to and THEN let the dog out of the crate.
 
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