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update on puppy and can anyone advise please?

(15 Posts)
Clareandjaya Wed 28-Oct-09 17:39:28


I posted on here a while ago about housetraining our gsd puppy.

Dexter is doing fine in this respect- we are pleased. He seems to be taking himself out more and more for the toilet and after we caved in and bought a crate, nightimes have been a lot better too.

He did have a wee in his crate today when I had popped out for a very short time which is a shame, but apart from that ok smile.

In regards to his apparent "hatred" of DP, that has also improved and he will now go outside with DP and enjoys tummy rubs etc.

Now for the question...

Dexter is developing a certain behaviour during the day which I am at a loss to sort out. As soon as DP leaves in the morning, he becomes a different dog. Literally everything (i am hardly exaggerating) that he does is something that we are always showing him not to do or have told him off for. He nips me, grabs and tears shoes/clothes etc right in front of me, runs off with objects and looks for me to chase him, the list is endless. We have tried many methods to put him off- water, can of coins etc but if I do one of those things he backs off for a split second then runs to nip me- usually in the thigh if I am sat on the floor. If i tap his nose or shoulder he nips my hand andv then snatches something else.

Today, i said "no" in a stern voice when he grabbed the remote control.He then bit my hand- not mouthing.

Also, was changing dd's nappy on a mat on the floor. he walked over, and mouthed her hand. i tapped his noser away and said a sharp "no!". He then got up and actually walked over dd (paws on her chest) to get a toy of hers he was eyeing up.

I just don't know how to handle him really. We are trying most things we can think of, and while he wants to be in the room with me, he also does these things.

when we put him crate to calm down, he is worse when he comes out.

With regards to DD, just thought I would add that I am ALWAYS in the room too, but obviously he has to mix with her otherwise we would be setting ourselves up for trouble later on.

When DP gets home, dexter fawns and licks at my feet...

Any ideas how we can solve this?

he is 13 weeks


notimefortv Wed 28-Oct-09 21:32:39

Oh Clareandjaya - that must be so hard but the vision of it is funny - like your DH would be like 'what do you mean he misbehaves?!'

I can't believe how cheeky puppies are. I have no advice as getting a pup next week but am sure you will get some fab suggestions soon.


Clareandjaya Thu 29-Oct-09 08:17:14

lol, I suppose it is funny and when dp has been home a while, dd is in bed and I have a glass of wine in my hand, i can laugh about it! I don't think he does believe all that I tell him...

DP said to me that any time I can see him getting wound up, just to put him in his crate to calm down. But that would be all the time! And I don't want to have to rely on the crate just to get good beahviour as obviously we are building up to eventually being able to go out for longer stretches with him not confined to his crate. If the only way to stop him is his crate, then he will be like a monster unleashed whenever he is not in it!

The thing that I want to sort out the most is the nipping etc that occurs AFTER I have just scolded him. I totally understand that puppies mouth, nip and chew but all the puppies that I have known in my life have usually looked somewhat chastised after being told off. Dexter almost seems to retaliate and if a dog could be vindictive, then he

On a serious note, he has to be socialised with DD and other children, but at the moment I am frightened that me telling him off while she is in the vicinity could result in a nasty nip for her. I have quite a deep nip mark on my hand from yesterday and on a child it could have been nasty.

There is so much info out there but it would be good to know whether anyone else has had this problem and ways of dealing with it that have worked.

Many thanks!

morethanyoubargainfor Thu 29-Oct-09 08:26:55

I think he looks at your DP as 'leader' and you as a litter mate for want of a better expression.

Dont chase him when he runs of with things.

How do you react when he nips you? If you yelp in a high pitched voice and turn away from him and try grumbling no in your roughest growly voice, IYKWIM! You have to be consistent even when DP is htere.

You nustn't forgot that he doesn't know he is being told off and he hasn't got a clue why you are cross with him. He will eventually learn that your voice is not a nice one and he only hears it if he nips you, or displays other unwanted behaviour.

You have 1.5 seconds to praise or to tell off a dog, anything longer than that and you have lost it.

Also please don't put him in his crate to discipline him, he will come to resent it.

Are you taking him to socialise?

And above all he is still very young and is still leraning the boundaries.

itchyandscratchy Thu 29-Oct-09 08:31:21

I am absolutely no expert as have only had our puppy 6 days but the vet advised this method for nipping (and I've also seen minimu advocate this too and she's a dog trainer).

Next time he nips you, yelp really loudly and high-pitched, like a puppy would. Don't say NO or talk to him. Then retract your hands by folding your arms, stand up and turn away from puppy; even leave the room if needed, to show that you are ignoring him. We've been doing this with our pup when she's nipped the dds and they have had loads of success with this - the pup is very contrite when we do this and lies in a corner straight away.

Sounds like your pup is asserting himself and doesn't recognise you as more important than him. Have you also tried holding his muzzle? Vet told us this as well. Puppies will bite each other's muzzles each one trying to be the one who gets the top position (like one-potato-two-potato!). You can hold his muzzle gently but firmly with two fingers. Keep hold until he submits (our pup whines and lies down).

itchyandscratchy Thu 29-Oct-09 08:31:57

x-posts with morethan!

NoNameNameyChangey Thu 29-Oct-09 08:33:57

GSDs are a specialist dog IMO, not as much as some breeds but certainly more than others. They need firm handling but also very calm and not rough handling. It is a difficult line to walk and get right, this is part of the reason GSDs have such a bad name, people not quite getting that approach right. IMO you have to be calm around a GSD puppy all the time, no fuss, no big greetings, no rough housing or anything simply because they can get vey fizzy and excited and that leads them to bad behaviour that becomes a habit.

First up, I would say no hitting on the nose, a GSD is, by breeding, a mouthy dog if you tap his nose or push it etc he will come back at you with his teeth, that is just a natural response. The best things that worked for my dog was holding his scruff and saying No and then ignoring him for a bit or making him leave the room - ie he put his teeth on me I instantly grabbed his collar and wipped him out of the room and door closed before he really knew what had happened - no words, no messing. Once he had calmed down the door was opened and we continued as if nothing had happened.

Walking over people on the floor - mine used to love to do this, he would also lie down on them too. You just have to train him not to, a sharp No and push him off every time - push him firmly so he is aware you are not allowing it (but don't push him over).

Mouthing can take a long time to fix in an GSD and they can and do try to get a bit firmer before they stop, they are just trying their strength and boundaries. Mouthing is such a natural thing for them that is a difficult thing to break but it will happen in the end ust be firm and consistant with him and he will get the idea. Mine is now 7mo and is much better but still has days where he is feeling in a bit of an arse and trys it on again, I just go back to the same response and he gets the idea quickly that it is still not on!

NoNameNameyChangey Thu 29-Oct-09 08:36:07

Please do NOT hold your pups muzzle on a dog his age, size and breeding he will most likely snap back at you after you try it a couple of times and he may well mean it, this may work on some dogs but not GSDs which are mouth oriented.

NoNameNameyChangey Thu 29-Oct-09 08:40:28

Sorry, forgot about the stealing yourself a ground line and stop chasing him.

A ground line is a long lead with no loops on it, designed so it doesn't catch on anything. When he pinches something just stand on the ground line, don't chase him then reel him in and remove the item from him, no fuss. Let him go and carry on, he will learn, in the end that the game is no fun anymore!

Also, in your training sessions teach him "leave it" by getting some good treats in your hand, play with a toy with him then say "leave it" whip the toy away and bring the treat in and reward him, he will soon see that toy going means treat coming, build it up until you can get him to drop a toy and start looking to you for the treat when you say it. THis will help with his stealing things too!

Clareandjaya Thu 29-Oct-09 09:16:19

Those are really useful suggestions. I think putting him out of the room may work as he hates being away from us.

morethan- yes, we are getting out a bit now his vaccinations are sorted. He is (for his age) a dream on the lead. We met a large male labrador on our last walk- Dexter went mad, barking and lunging at him (both were on leads). What is best to do in that situation? The old man who had labrador looked rather alarmed... we haven't been using crate as discipline as such- I think what DP meant is that if I spot the warning signs that he is going to start being trouble, encourage him into thee crate for a short 'calm down' period before he actually gets tpo the point of being told off ifyswim? Don't know if that is ok?

itchyscratchy- Thanks for reply. I am going to try the standing up and turning around thing too, its good to know you have had some success with it.Was looking at your post from the other day- I have had plenty of the 'what have we done?' moments. Everything feels different now- and I also find the constant planning about time, how long I can be out etc quite stifling. I feel a little better now and the thought of not having him is gradually becoming worse than having

no name: again, very useful suggestions. As I said, I do think he is the sort of dog where ignoring would have a big effect. Would you say that tactic works for jumping up as well as nipping?

NoNameNameyChangey Thu 29-Oct-09 09:26:12

Jumping up is a different one, you need to teach him to approach people and sit in front of them. At home your best strategy would be to keep some treats in your pocket (tiny little ones so he always wants more) and practice getting him to come up to you and sit in front of you for a treat, do this in all different situations at different times of the day, do it once, treat and then carry on as if nothing happened. When he jumps up at you push him off with a firm No and ignore him for a minute or two. Once he has walked away or is doing something else do your call, sit thing... after a while he will learn that coming up and sitting in front of you gets a nice reward and jumping does not. Once he is getting the idea replace some of the treats with praise and strokes, maybe treat every other time for a while and reduce it like that, he should still get treats for a long time, just not every time IYSWIM.

NoNameNameyChangey Thu 29-Oct-09 09:44:11

WRT the barking at other dogs, you need to get him properly socialised. Is he going to puppy classes? If he isn't you need to get him in ASAP as the window for easily socialising a puppy is small. Basically you need to teach him that he gets rewarded for sitting and ignoring a dog when they go by on a lead. He also needs to learn how to approach another dog properly. Allt hese things will be covered in traing and a good trainer will help you if you are having pecific problems (mine for example had a problem with Dobermans after he was chased down by one).

The main thing is that you cannot risk having a dog that will lunge, he will get a lot bigger and stronger and you need him properly under control.

BellaBonJovi Thu 29-Oct-09 10:58:20

Morethan and Noname have given you very good advice here, imo.

You have a highly intelligent dog here who needs very careful handling, or huge problems can arise.

I would very strongly recommend you at least sign up for puppy classes, but tbh I think you would benefit from a session with a good, qualified behaviourist (your vet may be able to recommend one). I say this not because your pup has a problem, but because you (without being rude) could probably do with a bit of help to know exactly how to train him.

If his early, formative months aren't handled correctly he could be a problem for years.

Very best of luck.

minimu Fri 30-Oct-09 17:12:01

Basically he is a bored puppy looking for fun! and he is getting it - what is more rewarding than having his owner giving him undivided attention and chasing him all around the house!

First of all has he been exercised in the morning! (hard at this age as they are on restricted exercise)
The first thing I would do is to teach a leave it command. Then Dexter is interacting with you but in a more acceptable way.
So put him on a lead and put something on the floor that he is interested in - say leave it and the second he looks at you give him a yummy treat. Keep doing this over a period of time and leave it to him will mean a fantastic treat. You can build up the distraction so eventually he will even leave a bit of sausage that is on the floor. Never let him have what you are asking him to leave and make sure the treat you give him is a higher value than they leave it item.

I would use the clicker for this but that is personal choice.

As he is on restricted exercise I would do a training session with him frequently for a few minutes several times a day. When dogs use their brains it does tend to tire them out.

So how about a stay command
a fetch command if he does like picking things up. Really useful to have a dog that will bring you the remote and telephone when it rings.

My dogs empty the washing machine for me - just to keep them busy. Can bring shoes and then go to fetch the other one, put rubbih in the bin etc

A good trick book is one by Mary Ray called Dog tricks. With a GSD you would easily be able to do most of these.

GSD are very clever dogs as you know and will not respond to negative handling. Always been firm and consistent. eg never say leave it unless you can give them a treat. So your pockets will be full of bits of cheese for a while!

I would not give him anything for nothing so if I want to give him a hug or a stroke he has to earn it. This may just be by asking him to sit or go down but he must earn everything. Not to be unkind just to get his brain working and he will understand that good behaviour will always bring rewards.

Hope this helps if you need more specific advise on behaviours he can learn just yell.
I would love a GSD I am very envy.

You could do agility with him when he is a bit bigger or heel work to music or how about working trials. - you weekends will never be the same again!

hercules1 Fri 30-Oct-09 17:17:06

You need to know what you are doing with a gsd. I woudlnt have one personally. Too much stimulation, exercise, too intelligent for us.

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