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frances asked in PetsDogs · 1 decade ago

how can i get my german shepherd to behave?

my german shepherd is becoming aggressive towards other people and animals. she is 4 months old and play bites me alot and i cant get her to stop biting me. but she isnt aggressive to me or my family. she loves my moms dog and my boy friends familys dogs.. it seems like any other person or animal we dont know even if they arent close or paying us any attention she grows at. her hair stands up some times too. she growled at a kid the other day.. she is a very sweet dog and is teething really bad so i think thats why she is biting me playfully. but overall she is a good dog. with a lot of potential.. she just needs to be taught to listen better.. i have been socializing her since i got her when she was a puppy.. is it possible that she is just so protective over me that she will never be able to meet strangers?

advice please !!!

9 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    No Bite!

    Puppies play with other puppies by biting each other! It is a very natural thing to do. It can be very confusing to a pup if you scold him for playing the only way he knows how, and then encourage him to play again.

    I have taught puppies and stray dogs to stop nipping and biting "people" by doing what "mom dog" and "littermates" do. Next time he bites or nips you "yelp" in a noticeably loud and high-pitched voice. Usually, the pup will look at you kind of funny, like he doesn't understand, and then proceed to bite you again. This time you "yelp" louder and in a very high pitch, maybe jumping back at the same time as if you're really hurt. Whenever you do this technique, you must always immediately furnish an appropriate chew toy for him to bite and play with. After a half dozen times of this, the pup usually gets the message. But, he is still a puppy, and he will "forget" next time he wants to play and bite again (after all, that's the only way he's played for his whole life!) It will take a week or two until this pup finally "gets it." Some learn much faster, and others more slowly, but this technique has never failed me as long as every person is consistent. That means every time the pup bites, "yelp!" Tell children and visitors to do the same. (Yes, really tell them to do the same, and make sure they do it; maybe they'll learn something in the process).  If your puppy or dog reacts in a frightened manner of your yelping, then try it again in a softer, less frightening manner.  You do not want to frighten the dog, only let it know that biting too hard hurts.

    As the pup gets older, if he is not 99% reliable not to bite, after you "yelp," put your hand over his muzzle gently but firmly (sometimes referred to as a nose-hug) immediately after you yelp and when you say "No Bite!" Then immediately give him a chew toy and say "Good Bite!" You always want to end a lesson being taught with praise, that way, your dog will be more willing to learn. This will also teach your dog to go get a chew toy when he gets so excited that he just must bite something.

    If these methods fail to work another option you have is to get up, turn your back to your dog and walk away whenever he bites or nips you.   No reprimand, no emotion, simply turn your back to your dog immediately after he bites you (the *first* time) and walk away.  After about 10 minutes, approach him again.  Be sure that you are praising him when he is biting appropriate things and not you.  This will teach your dog that he will not receive the attention he desires unless he behaves appropriately.

    But if none of these things work?  The problem you are experiencing is one of the hardest solutions to describe via the Internet that I have come across. That is because, if the old standby's (yelping and no bite, and walking away) don't work, then the problem is usually based on a lack of communication in general: Meaning, the dog does not understand what you are trying to communicate, so it becomes frustrated at your attempts at getting it to stop biting and in its frustration, bites more. This can actually make the problem worse.

    The first thing to look at is if your dog is getting enough physical and mental stimulation on a daily basis. Your puppy or dog should be able to be off-lead (off-leash), running around quite a bit to expend some of energy.  Depending on the age, size and breed of your dog, she may require up to 2 hours per day of vigorous activity.   Playing fetch and going for walks does not suffice for all dogs.  Both of these activities are quite mindless and can be done for very long periods of time without much mental concentration. 

    Next, teach your dog the Settle command.   Begin teaching your dog at times when she is already resting so it is easy for her to succeed. You can also teach her an "easy" command by holding a treat within your fist and allowing her to gently take the treat. When she is forceful, she does not get the treat, as she becomes gentler and more "easy" she gets the treat. You will be rewarding her for inhibiting her bite and her aggressiveness.

    This takes many, many repetitions. If your dog is biting and nipping continually and getting consistent attention for it (negative or positive) she may have already learned that she can get what she wants by using force.  You need to change this so that she receives more and better rewards for being "easy," for "settling" for "leaving it" etc.

    When you reward, be use a two and three-step approach. At the instant the good behavior is initiated (she lightens up just a little) give her the verbal reward "Good Girl!" This is her cue, so that she learns exactly what behavior pleases you. After the verbal reward, give her a food treat. (step 2). And while she is eating the food treat (or after she inhales it) pat her on the sides for the physical-touch (step 3) reward. The food treat (step 2) can and should be omitted periodically.

    You need to convince her that it is beneficial and in her best interest to behave the way you want her to. Setting her up to succeed so that she can be praised is the best method to do this. Using times when she is more relaxed in the first place... and then giving her a chew toy to chew on and praising her for a good "easy" as she leisurely chews on the chew toy may also help.

    Right now, your focus may be on all her biting and rough-play antics. You may be giving her the most attention during these times. Turn this around, so that you are giving her more (and better) attention when she is behaving appropriately. This can be quite difficult with puppies and young dogs, and her appropriate behavior may disappear quickly - but it is important that you recognize it and praise it in the instant that it is there.

    For example, I have had stray puppies come into the house that have never been in a house before... they run around all the furniture and bounce off the walls, and run into me biting and snapping out of pure joy and excitement. If they refuse the chew toy (a soft stuffed animal) I give to them and persist on biting me instead, I give them my calm, but firm "uh-uh" (meaning: I am not happy with what you are doing). The instant they (or I) put the chew toy in their mouth, I praise "Good Girl" and as I try to pet them, they usually try to bite my hand out of their excitement. So, I say, "Uh-uh" again. If they persist, I turn my back to them. If they climb up on my back, I get up and walk away. When they follow me biting at my heels... I throw a toy for them in front of me (they usually don't even know where it came from) and this, or something similar, usually takes their attention off me and they chase the toy. Sometimes I dangle a toy above their heads to entice them to bite the toy.  When the toy is in their mouth: "Good Girl!" and I try to play with them using the toy again.

    This type of scenario is repeated many, many times. Consistent positive reinforcement for biting appropriate items, and no reinforcement of behaving inappropriately. After an afternoon some pups settle down, others take a few days, and some take a week or more. They will periodically "forget" the rules (very often at first), but will begin to understand the communication at hand, and comply after repeated and consistent "lessons."

    Think about "What am I communicating to my dog?"  And "What is it like to be trained by me?"  Puppies and dogs that continue to nip and bite relentlessly, usually do not understand you. 

    Source(s): german shepherd breeder
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  • (Dog Whisperer) Caesar Milan

    Also a great book, "How To Be Your Dogs Best Friend" By the Monks of New Skeet (Up-state New York) They breed German Shepherds and train all breeds.

    Also, talk with your vet.

    Good Luck and God Bless!

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Yes she is protecting you and letting others know what's heir's. This is common in Shepherds. And at that age most large dogs will play bite. They MAY be playing at times, but as she gets older she may take it to the next level and she could do some harm. My Mastiff use to do the same thing, until I just pulled him to the ground and held him there until he stopped struggling - and only then did I let him go. Most trainers will not agree with this, BUT it WORKED. Just use a firm voice and let her know whose in charge.

    Source(s): Work in shelter Dog owner 30plus years
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  • 4 years ago

    Dogs (especially GSDs!) are really good at sensing things about people. Dogs feel good and bad energy from people, and I would bet there is something bad about that kid. He might not like dogs and your dog senses that - or perhaps he is a future serial killer or something. Dogs are a great judge of character. I'd trust the dog and chase off the kid. A note to Switchfoot - I have 4 GSDs and the last thing I would ever do is have someone try to approach or pet my dog if it is barking and growling. That is asking for trouble.

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  • 1 decade ago

    Definitely obedience training. I'd never have another large breed dog & not have it. Also spay asap. Cesar Millan's (the dog whisperer) books & videos are awesome, too. But obedience first & foremost. Best of luck!

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  • 1 decade ago

    well german shepherds are naturally aloof toward strangers and will protect their family till death. basically there guardians. try training it more and more. Be firm and consistent but gentle. It shouldnt be a problem training it because they are highly trainable.

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  • 1 decade ago

    get her butt in some puppy training,my dog started this way and i had him for 5 years before it got so bad i had to have him put down and that killed me and i would hate to see someone else have to go threw it so put her in training nowww good luck

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  • Here is an article from my website that will be able to help you. The complete steps and rules of Amichein Bonding will be available soon at:

    If you have any more questions feel free to email me at:

    How to Tell if Your Dog Has a Superiority Complex and What to do About it

    Most bad behavior in dogs happens because of a very simple reason. Your dog has a superiority complex. You can take the dog out of the wild, but you can't take the wild out of the dog. Dog’s instincts are basically identical to the instincts of wild dogs and wolves. The only difference is that dogs view humans as part of their 'pack' and wolves and wild dogs do not. The 'leader of the pack' is responsible for the safety and well being of all the pack members. The leader of the pack has certain rights and privileges that come from being the pack leader, such as; the pack leader decides when to show affection or ask for affection, eats before all others in the pack, leads the 'hunt' or walk, and decides what is dangerous to the pack. eg. other dogs. Signs that your dog may feel that he/she is the leader are; pawing at you, staring at you, leaning against you or jumping up on you, nipping and mouthing, barking at you, protective of food or toys, barking at visitors out windows or at fences and when someone comes into your home and pulling on the lead when you are walking, hyperactivity and dominance with other dogs, people and objects, eg. 'humping' Amichein Bonding: These simple steps will get the message across to you dogs that they are not the leader you are, and therefore they do not have to worry about the responsibilities of being the leader. eg. barking at people when they get close to the houes or yard. when you first enter the house from being away, you must show your authority. the leader has a personal bubble of space that can only be penitrated when the leader says so. you must ignore your dogs when you come home until they have settled down. do not look at them, do not acknowledge them and do not pet them. once they have calmed down you may call one of them to you, tell him/her to sit and after they comply you may give them all the love you desire to give. If, however, they start to jump around again you must start all over. They must understand that you will give them affection but only on your terms, no one elses. The second step is gesture eating. The leader always controls the food. The leader always eats before the rest of the pack. Once the leader has gotten his/her fill the rest of the pack is then allowed to eat. I am not a big fan of eating a whole meal infront of my dogs so there is something else you can do that will get the message across just as well. You should never free feed your dogs. This gets the message across that because they have full access to food at all times that they are the leaders. Take a cookie or a cracker and place it on your counter. Place your dogs food bowls beside your cookie and prepare the dogs meal. Before placing your dogs food down for them to eat, make sure that they are watching, and eat your cookie or cracker infront of them. You dont' want to make a big scene, but you do want them to see what you are doing. You want them to think you are eating right out of their food bowls. And when you are finished it looks as if you have taken your fill and the rest of the pack can now eat. Third step. The leader always has a personal space in the house that no one else is allowed into unless allowed by the leader. For me it is my living room. My dogs are not allowed in my living room unless I say it is ok and not before. At first this may be hard to do. The best thing to do is go and get a few baby gates and place them in the opening of the room that is 'off limits' to your dogs. After a while your dogs will get the picture and you will be able to take the gates down. After that it is a constant reminder to your dogs that you are not welcome unless the leader says so. My male, who is a pure bred border collie stud, constantly tests me. He will put one foot into the living room and check to see if I am watching, If I don't see him right away he will put another foot in and check me again. By this time I have caught him and all I need to say is 'out', and he will retreat. However, there are some days that he will test me further and that is when I only need to stand up off the couch and he will back away with a look of, 'I'm sorry, your the leader.' You should never give your dogs full run of the house. Not even when you are home. Fourth step. The leader is always the one to lead the pack on the 'hunt'. The hunt being anytime you and your dogs leave the 'den' house. If your dogs pull on the lead or walk infront of you at anytime, the walk is over and you return to the 'den'. The dogs must understand that the 'hunt' only takes place under your rules. This may take quite a few times, but it is very important to follow all steps. Your dogs will be looking for any sign of weakness from you for them to try and take over again. Practicing 'heal' in a controled environment eg. in the home or in your enclosed yard, on a lead at all times, is a good way to train them for the hunt. All these steps take time and effort, but they will work. I have tested these theory's time and time and time again, not only with my dogs but with numorous clients of mine. This is a way of life with your dogs, not just a quick fix. Once you go back to your old ways your dogs will return to their old ways. By: Sarah Hill - Owner Top Knot Professional Grooming & Paws-itive K9 Consulting

    Source(s): Professional Dog Trainer and Behaviorist
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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    kick it in the face....til it knows who's boss

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