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Categories: Puppy Biting/Chewing

Q. I have a pup that likes to bite at me when I try to correct her or even when I'm trying to groom her. What do you suggest I do?
Hello Ed,

I have an almost six month old female German Shepherd that I purchased for my first working dog with high prey drive. She is not my first dog. I have a 12 year old shepherd too. They are never together. The pup loves food treats and she also loves to play ball. According to your videos she is a hard dog. When corrected she sometimes grabs your arm or hand in her mouth with a look like so what are ya gonna do about it? She has never growled . She has always been mouthy but we were able to redirect with toys and by grabbing her by the cheeks and saying no when she was young.

Concerning behaviors in order of severity are:

1. Increasing grabbing my hands and especially my arms into her mouth.

She does this when she is corrected with a pop of the leash on a "sit," "down," "during grooming," trying to pet her, especially her head, trying to hook up her lead, any time that I bend over or squat at her level i.e. to brush her. (She bites at the brush too). I have tried grabbing her by the scruff, telling her no, popping her lead. All of these things stop her momentarily then she is at it again.

After watching your video, I tried turning away from her when she tried biting at the brush and my hand. I had crossed my hands over my chest. She tried to get her mouth around my elbow and then my knee as if to say "keep brushing me" but she doesn't seem to really like to be brushed and never has.

Today, when grooming her I tried something different (usually I groom her in the laundry room at ground level), I took her outside and put her on the upper tier of our yard which was at my upper thigh level while I stood on the lower patio level. Amazingly enough, She stood quietly (I was in shock) and let me brush her with only trying to wiggle away twice. She did NOT try to grab my arm today which was the first time ever since bringing her home(we have several kinds of brushes and all have same result). Maybe I have solved part of the problem but I would like to stress that THIS MOUTHING OCCURS THROUGHOUT MOST OF MY INTERACTIONS WITH HER DURING CORRECTIONS AND TOUCHING HER.

2. She drags me on walks even in our 1 acre yard.

One week ago, I started using your technique of "slow" and then giving a pop on her lead (I only have flat collar on her with leerburg 6 ft lead). She is doing a bit better but still drags me frequently. Sometimes when I give her a pop she comes back to me and jumps up to grab my arm. Other times she will come back and then go ahead.

3. She wants to chase cars that go down our dirt road very slowly. We live in a very rural area.The only time that I have ever even heard this dog bark was when our neighbor drove by us on the road. She went to the end of her leash barking and jumping like crazy. I finally had to tell her to sit while pulling up on the lead. She actually choked herself and calmed down however the car had already gone.

I asked my Schutzhund/trainer and breeder how to deal with the mouthing on my arm. By the way, she is biting a little harder than before but it still doesn't hurt AND I don't want it to! He said to grab her by the collar and smack her on the nose. I have not done that. Please let me know how I can stop this behavior.

Should I be getting the Dominant Dog Video also?

What I have done:

1. I have recently purchased 3 of your videos. Your Puppy 8 weeks to 8 months, Developing Pack Structure (EXCELLENT), and Basic Obedience. I have just ordered and will soon receive a quick release stainless prong collar, dominant dog collar as backup, martingale lead (hope this resolves the hookup problems out of crate), soft dog treats (I was using lamb lung), bait bag, 20ft training lead (I was using a 20ft small cotton cord), orbee ball on rope as an extra.

2. The dog does very well in the crate although she came out of the crate like a race horse. I solved that after seeing your video.

3. The rest of the family are completely ignoring her presence although they are very sad about that. My husband and son are a HUGE distraction to her.

4. I have stopped playing all games including ball reinforcement. I have stopped all obedience (which she was doing pretty well with).

5. I am working on her being calm and submissive in the house. If I praise too much she goes nuts. She appears to be much like your dog "Dama" in the video.We are working on going out of the doors and gates AFTER me.This is hard for her but in one week she has improved. Also, we are working on being calm in the house and she will now lay on her place for a few minutes at a time. She is getting the idea about me going first through the doors but still wants to "fly" through.

6. Since watching your video and for the last 7 days, she has spent a lot of time in her crate, out to go potty, in the house for a bit when calm and on gentle walks then back to her crate. This is much less activity as we were letting her hang out in the laundry room where she could see us thru the baby gate, run in the yard and play ball multiple times a day in the yard for about 20 minutes as well as 15 minutes or so twice a day of obedience training. She was also allowed to play in the yard by herself for a couple of hours at a time (I know, a big mistake). My husband is concerned that she is "in the crate" too much. I told him that it is going to take time to establish that I am the boss. It does seem to be working.

Do you have any other ideas about the mouthing? I am hoping the prong collar will resolve the car chasing and pulling on the lead. I have reviewed your web site and haven't seen anything specific from you as to the mouthing. Maybe I have just missed it.

Thanks for your time. Also, thanks to your staff for such excellent service. Have a Great Day.


A. First of all thanks for your business, we really appreciate it.

I think the prong collar will solve the mouthing and the pulling on walks. I would pop her with the prong, with a firm no. I would not smack her on the nose, like the trainer advocated.

I would also use marker training with her, to give her something to do IN PLACE of the mouthing behavior. I have found with high drive young dogs just a correction isn’t always a great way to maintain a good working relationship so by giving her something positive to do instead she will eventually start to offer the good behavior and the other stuff will become less and less frequent.

Read the article Training With Markers.

I do think your young dog may be showing some dominance so I would recommend our dominant dog video at some point. You also may end up using an ecollar for the car chasing and refining your control off leash. I would suggest the Electric Collar video now, so you could begin to study the info before you actually need to use it.
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