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bella - advice if you please!!!

(12 Posts)
myermay Wed 12-Aug-09 18:11:41

Hi bella or any other dog/gsd owners, i hope you remember me asking a while back about gets a gsd???? anyhow.......my parents got a rescue bitch only 15 - 20 months old, and she's lovely, settled in really well and shown no signs of agression, she's very loyal and protective of us all.

However, i want your advise on 3 situations that have happeed now, all involviny my eldest son, whose 7. We look after her twice a week.

First instance we were out on a walk, ds on his bike, and he skidded, the dog turned around and very gentle put her teeth around his leg, and straight away let go (i think the noise fightened the dog)

Secondly, my she did the same one day infront of my bil but on arm, again no agression or marks from biting

thirdly, today my sons' been a footie training all day, so overtired. he left my side and seconds later started crying (tierd cry and not pain cry) holding his arm saying dog had bitten his arm. Dog followed him into the kitchen looking worried why he was crying. I looked for marks and there were none, he said he was stroking her and she bit him

Now, i don't think for a minute he's lying as he loves the dog. But why him and not my younger son??? there have been no marks left so i don't consider this a bite. I'm not even sure it's a warning as no agression? what do you think. My house is only small and most of the time the dog follows me everywhere, so they are rarely alone for more than a couple of seconds.

I hope this makes sense and any experience would be gratefully recieved [smil]

myermay Wed 12-Aug-09 18:13:15

smile that was meant to be!

Bella21 Thu 13-Aug-09 10:46:50

Hi Myermay

First of all - here's my disclaimer. I'm not a behaviourist (just training to be one) and if you are in any doubt about this please get the advice of a qualified behaviourist (the vet your parents use should be able to recommend one).

It's hard to say without seeing it but it doesn't sound aggressive. To me it sounds like mouthing and possibly herding. As you can imagine, if a dog like that had really mean any harm it could have casued serious damage, but if there were no scratches and no bruising it sounds like an inhibited bite, which is used as a gesture rather than as an aggressive move.

GSD's are high in prey drive so will tend to use their mouths and be stimulated by moving objects. Man channelled these talents into using it as a shepherd dog, literally for herding livestock.

I think the dog has either got over excited during play or was trying to herd your son.

A GSD is a working dog: highly intelligent and highly trainable. All these talents need an outlet, so obedience training is essential, and ideally they need some sort of 'job', e.g. agility.

I genuinely don't think the dog meant any harm, but she is essentially still a big boisterous pup and can get carried away.

hth

Bella21 Thu 13-Aug-09 10:49:03

Oh - and I assume you always supervise her with the dc wink

myermay Thu 13-Aug-09 14:13:14

thank you bella, i agree, def not agression, 5 mins later ds1 was giving her a hug, so he's not afraid of her. I also think that as gsd's have their mouths open alot, panting - she possibly turned her head whilst he was stroking her and then caught his arm - she's done it to me. She was so worried when he was crying.

Thanks so much for your advice

myermay Thu 13-Aug-09 15:52:13

also, yes i do supervise, but often pop into the kitchen, upstairs, loo - but usually the dog follows me.

Also how is the best way to stop her chasing my cat!!!??? you should charge for this grin

minimu Thu 13-Aug-09 16:37:08

I agree with bella21 but I think the dog needs to be told that it is not acceptable behaviour to mouth your son. If the dog does it again your son should say "ow" really loudly. If a puppy bites or mouths another puppy too hard they would react by yelping. The dog will understand the ow is a yelp and that this is not right. You son should then leave the area and ignore the dog for a few minutes.

My only slight reservation in suggesting this is if the dog is noise phobic but I guess living with young kids this will not be the case.

Bella how is the training going and what course are you on? I've been dog behaviour for a few years and love it to bits I gave up a secure job but the best thing I ever did

Bella21 Thu 13-Aug-09 16:39:03

Water pistol or trailing house lead.

Very hard to stop once established, since it is self-rewarding.

Give lots of chase type games instead: frisbee, balls etc. It's a natural instinct on the dog's part to chase, so give it an outlet.

Minimu is a professional dog trainer, I believe....grin

Bella21 Thu 13-Aug-09 16:41:16

oops - x post!

I'm doing an advanced diploma in canine behaviour minimu - I used to be a vet nurse but I am doing this for fun really grin

Good to hear you enjoy it wink

minimu Fri 14-Aug-09 09:33:13

I started my behaviour course for fun but it tended to lend me further and further into the dog world!

Good luck with the course and be interesting to see where it leads you smile

Bella21 Fri 14-Aug-09 09:40:31

Which one did you do, minimu?

My life always leads me in unexpected directions grin

minimu Fri 14-Aug-09 13:03:05

I went to Bishop Burton College and did a degree in dog training and behaviour - loved every second of it. which one are you doing?

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