|UCH Onyx TT|
Do you even- lift?
|Barked: Thu Dec 13, '12 1:09pm PST |
|Most of the things you've been told to do are terrible ideas, imo. Slapping his nose? Pulling his ears? I would run from anyone who told you to do those things to your dog for any reason, much less for wanting to play. At best he's going to think you're playing, and it will encourage the behavior you're trying to stop. At worse he'll begin to retaliate and may bite for real.
I also disagree that his behavior is related to dominance. At eight months old, he's still very much a puppy, and his behavior sounds nothing but playful. We're talking about a breed that doesn't fully mature until 2-3 years old. I absolutely would not recommending using an electronic collar in this situation.
First and foremost, how much exercise is he getting? German Shepherds are a very active breed, and he's at an age where his energy levels are probably through the roof. Walking is good, free running is better. Do you have a safe area you can let him off lead and let him really just flat out run? Many behavioral issues can at least be improved just by increasing exercise. In addition to physical exercise, do make sure you're providing adequate mental stimulation, as GSDs are intelligent dogs bred to work.
As far as your nipping problem, since he likes to play tug, have you tried redirecting him onto a toy when he starts biting? A strong desire to play with toys can be your best friend as toys can very easily be incorporated into obedience. If he starts biting, ask for something simple like a sit. When he sits, out comes the toy and you play tug together for a few seconds. You'll need to teach a solid 'out' or 'drop', anything that means let go of the toy, which is easy enough to do. Stop tugging and hold the toy completely still, tell him to out, and wait. It may take some patience the first few times, but as soon as he gets bored and lets go, tell him 'yes!' and start playing again. He'll learn that the faster he lets go when you ask him to, the sooner he gets to play again.
It's also a good idea to take away whatever toy you're going to use for tug when you're finished. It's not a dominance human-always-has-to-win thing, in fact it's encouraging for the dog to let him win sometimes as long as he brings the toy back to you for more tug, taking the toy away at the end of the session and only bringing it out when you're going to work will keep that toy exciting and interesting. On that note, it's also a good idea to end a tug/obedience session while he's still wanting more. Don't wait until he's bored and tuned out to stop.
Make sure you don't just bring the tug out when he nips you, as you don't want him to start biting as a way to initiate a game of tug. If he does continue pestering you despite increased exercise and tug/obedience sessions, I would try the ignore method. I know you said you've tried that, but remember that any method is going to require some time and consistency before you'll see results. The ignore method needs to be a complete ignore. He bites, you stop whatever you're doing, and stand perfectly still. Don't talk to him, look at him, or acknowledge him in any way. Chances are he won't immediately stop biting, but wait him out. It takes patience, but eventually he will get bored and stop. As soon as he stops, calmly praise and if you can, gently pet him. If he starts biting again, immediately remove all attention. After enough repetitions, he'll figure out that biting makes you incredibly boring, which is the opposite of what he wants.
And at the end of the day, remember that he is entering the notorious bratty GSD adolescent phase, so he'll likely start testing and pushing you. Be firm, consistent, and fair with the rules you've put in place, and remember that if you put in the work now, it will get better as he matures.
Edited by author Thu Dec 13, '12 1:35pm PST
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