We have a 14-week-old puppy who bites at hands and ankes. Because of his size I feel thinkgs are on the verge of getting out of hand. What else would you suggest we do?
We have a 14-week-old German Shepherd puppy who bites at hands and ankles. From reading the articles on the site, I have come to understand that this isn't aggression. But, at 14 weeks, he's almost 40 pounds and, if not aggressive, he's certainly persistent and hard to handle -- to the point that walking him has become extremely difficult.
I have seen in your Puppy video (8 Weeks to 8 Months) that you do not recommend reprimanding a pup for what is basically prey drive. (Before reading the info on your site, we were reprimanding him for biting, and that didn't work.) However, his size is such that I feel things are on the verge of getting out of hand. My husband and I are also following the program described in your DVD on establishing pack structure. It's working well for my husband, but almost immediately after starting the program, my dog and I have become locked in a power struggle. Now, about 20 minutes into a walk, he'll literally try to attach himself to my boot. I have taken to bringing a toy along to divert him away from biting me but, at that half-way point, the toy no longer works.
I now always keep a toy with me to distract while grooming and taking his leash on and off.
Other background info you might find helpful: We got this puppy way too early -- just shy of six weeks. I didn't understand at the time just how young that was. However, at this point, we are committed to this dog and figuring out how best to work with him through this mouthy period.
Any suggestions you have would be appreciated.
First of all, if you notice that he's getting wound up 20 minutes into the walk why don't you make your walks only 10 or 15 minutes? So much of successful puppy raising is controlling the environment and NOT letting the puppy continually rehearsing the problem behaviors. If you have issues taking the leash on and off, then leave it on. Let him drag it around. I've owned dogs that have dragged a leash for the first 12 months of their life. Pick your battles.
This puppy is trying to make something fun happen. You probably need to stimulate his mind more. I would read our article on training dogs with Markers.
So often we spend so much telling the puppies what we don't want them to do, but we don't give them an alternative that is valuable to them. Teach him some simple behaviors through markers, once he's through the teething phase (about 6 months old) teach him to play interactively with you. The Power of Playing Tug with your Dog Advanced Concepts in Motivation
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