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Thread: 5 month old GSD - tunnel vision and biting issue

  1. #1
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    Default 5 month old GSD - tunnel vision and biting issue

    So my GSD is now 5 months old and is a great little pup. So far *touch wood* very healthy and doing well after his stomach issues as a younger pup. I do have two major behavioral issues I am trying to deal with that I thought you guys may be able to shed some light on.

    1. My GSD has tunnel vision whenever my boyfriend's Jack Russel X named Tiny is around. Won't leave the poor thing alone at all, despite protests from Tiny. Prince loves playing with him and most - sometimes all - of my commands are ignored when Tiny is present unless I have food in my hands. He is almost perfectly behaved by himself. The boyfriend and I are starting obedience training with the two later this month (him with Tiny and myself with Prince) so I am hoping that will help in easing his zoning in on Tiny, but any suggestions to get me started would be appreciated.

    2. He still bites. He knows what the "off" command means but his excitement unfortunately is channeled into his mouth! He will lunge at your face when excited and if he is close to you and is being worked up by Tiny he'll bite you on the foot, leg or hand (pretty much whatever is closer) from the excitement. I have so far avoided smacking him and have tried using positive reinforcement to prevent this behavior but it's just not working. When I train him he is perfect - I can stick my head right up to his and wave my hair in his face and everything and he won't even so much as lick me, but get him excited when he's playing and I'll cop teeth to the face. (Edited to add he is not biting to injure or being aggressive about it, but those teeth still hurt even when he only nicks you with them!)

    Any ideas guys? I don't ask for much, I know.

  2. #2
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    Oct 2009
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    Hi. On the biting issue I have had great results if I simulate what the mother of the litter does when she is not pleased.
    They put their jaws around the pup's muzzle and growl.
    I put my hand/hands around their muzzle, growl sometimes but usually say a firm NO! Do it a few seconds and release. This should give him an idea that you are not impressed.

    Any posts made under the name of Di_dee1 one can be used by anyone as I do not give a rats.

  3. #3
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    if he lunges grab his scruff firmly, hold him and growl AHHH NO at him, hold him until he settles then walk off. Dont worry about frightening him, you wont be. No dog learns bite inhibition through positive reinforcement I guarentee you that. Dont smack but just be firm, the minute he goes for you nab him. Your dog has little respect for you hence not listening. If you tell him to leave the other dog alone, same rules apply, dont just have food get up and go grab him by the collar, and make him settle and focus. You bought a guarding breed and you need to be firm and consistent with them, positive reinforcement only goes so far in training, he needs to learn consequence to doing the wrong thing and not listening.

  4. #4
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    Bernie mouthed us for the first year. We were very consistent with the AGGGH! each time. But soooo much enthusiasm all directed through his mouth it seemed.
    He'd back off when AGGH sound made always, but annoying that he 'bit' in the first place.
    When mouthing, he was not biting hard, so pulling his punches, but mouthed for a year i swear! so frustrating at times.
    Then i noticed he didnt mouth my husband. that's coz my husband would of back handed him across his muzzle had he tried.

    Whilst i wasnt prepared to back hand my dog around the face, i needed something similar. so next time he mouthed me i went off like some siren at him, like the world was ending right here, right now, coz you mouthed me, and he was frog marched out of the house and door slammed in his face with a NO.
    That was it. done. Over with. Go figure?

    Your dogs drives are clearly food and play, i wonder what else is in there. My GSD has a traffic light system, say for prey drive, thats the natural instinct in him to chase things. So say playing ball, his fave game. He goes into green zone, i can still control him, he's obedient, bringing ball back etc, looking at me to continue the game etc.
    then there is amber zone. I have less control, he's more 'alert' and switched into the zone, but controllable, just.
    then there is red zone: i have no control when bernie is in this zone, he has a thousand mile stare just prior to entering the red zone, he's oblivious to everything and anything in this zone. I can, but rarely get him out of this zone. this is the zone he is in when chasing a rabbit he can see and is close to catching. My dog wont eat or drink when working. so really too low a drive to use much in his training.

    Your dog playing with the JRT cross is in amber zone, if you can use food to take him out of prey/play drive into food drive, that's great. Well done!
    and having the dogs together, but not rumpussing around, actually training, will sort their manners out wonderfully. Currently it seems like every time they see each other they get to chase have fun etc. Whereas at training school, they have a job to do first. The rough n tumble play come later as a reward for doing this really boring shit first.

    They sound happy dogs, have patience, your GSD will stop biting eventually lol

  5. #5
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    I would put him on lead every time he is behaving unacceptably around the JRT - and then separate them if you're not available to hold the lead. It's hardly fair on the JRT to allow the GSD to harrass him all the time. You need to show the GSD that it's not ok - putting him on lead when he ignores the JRT back off signs (turning away, lip licking, failing to return play, growling...). I would also put my dog on lead if she ignores a command. Especially a recall command. I also shut the back door with her on the wrong side of it, if she doesn't come out of the back yard when called - the first time. I put a timer on for five minutes and try again, and she's usually much faster to obey then.

    With the biting - a bit hard when it's your face. You know when he's excited - don't give him the opportunity. I agree with Nekhbet's idea. It's not so much of a problem for me - not the face. Sometimes she gets a bit too excited when we're running - and if I slow down or change direction - she nips at my ribs - and the best thing I can do then is stop dead turn away from her, and be boring for 30 seconds. Or just walk slowly away ie GAME OVER.

    I do the same thing if she accidentally bites me instead of the tug. It's game over - for at least 30 seconds but usually I go back inside and put the tug away. It's a bit harder if it happens on the way into the agility ring.

    If she just latches hold (again she's trying to get me to do something and using her mouth as her hands usually) I push my hand or whatever it is she shouldn't have grabbed, gently towards the back of her mouth until she spits me out. I've done this with adult GSD who have been a bit rough trying to take a treat ie my hand disappears up to my wrist but I don't let go the treat, I push. And they spit me out and they're a bit more thoughtful the next time around.

  6. #6
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    I prefer the hand of god method - if the dog has something unpleasant happen they are more likely to self correct next time because it's now cemented in their minds what a bad idea it actually is. Now I never advocate hurting a dog, don't go round thinking hitting or punching is the method for this (unless you are being genuinely attacked, but that is another story) but a good scruffing and growl never hurt any puppy. All pups get one lesson with me, and they dont do it again. If they latch onto your hands the thumb under the tongue trick works a treat.

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