How Do I Gain Effective Control Of My Dog
It is important that family members set themselves up as good parental leaders very early in their relationship with their dog. Good leaders for dogs treat their dogs more like a good parent would treat children or a good teacher would treat a student. As a pet owner, it is important to provide consistency, patience, persistence, routine and predictability. Rewards for desirable behaviors provide information for the dog and this serves as a guide for the dogs interactions with you. Becoming the leader or being in control does not imply harshness or punishment, but that the dogs behavior is appropriate and will continue to be appropriate. This is accomplished with reward based training, physical control devices and supervision. Consistent responses reduce your dogs anxiety and conflict, by teaching your dog what behaviors will get rewards and what will not. In a sense you gain control over your dogs behavior while your dog gains control over its rewards by offering you the behaviors you want it to learn. . The individual temperament and genetic predisposition of the puppy will determine the methods needed by the owner to become the leader, because some puppies are more assertive, excitable, fearful, easily distracted, or difficult to motivate and therefore more difficult to train .
How Does An Aggressive German Shepherd Behave
An aggressive GSD is coming from an entirely different place psychologically than a dominant one. While dominant behavior is exhibited by a dog to show everyone whos boss, the root of almost all aggression is fear.
So when a GSD displays aggressive behavior, it is not trying to show that hes the boss, although it may appear that way.
Instead, there is either a primal instinct or learned fear from a past experience that is traumatizing the dog and causing it to lash out with aggression.
Types of aggression
What Is Bite Inhibition
Bite inhibition is the ability to controlling how hard your puppy bites by modifying the force used.
An 8 week old German Shepherd puppy has more than enough power in its jaw to break the smaller bones in your fingers and toes.
When a German Shepherd puppy bites you and doesnt crush the bones in your fingers and toes this is because of bite inhibition.Bite inhibition needs to be taught as early as possible before they get their adult teeth. If this isnt taught your pup could get into a lot of trouble when they are older.
Puppies will gauge how much force to use from the reaction of their mom and siblings when playing. If the puppy bite mom too hard she will yelp loudly or in some cases, she may nip back. This should shock the pup to stop. However, if the pup continues to bite too hard mom will yelp louder and will also growl or snarl viciously. This may look scary, but mom is giving a clear message that the biting is not acceptable.
If the puppy continues to bite to hard mom may have to resort to grabbing the puppy by the scruff of their neck and gently shaking them. This again is to let her pup know she means business and will not tolerate that force of biting. Mom may also turn away and have nothing to do with the pup for a while. This gives a clear message that biting too hard will not be accepted.
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Socialise Your German Shepherd Puppy With Other Dogs
Puppies will learn from each other and older dogs. Thats why its so important to socialize your German Shepherd with other dogs from a young age. It will help them learn to understand whats acceptable and whats not.
We often look after puppies for our friends. Our friends will often say what a positive impact they see in their young pups after spending a day in the company of our now older dog. And that can include not as much biting.
Theres another thing here too they will also tire each other out. This means your puppy hopefully wont have the energy to bite you!
What You Shouldnt Do
There are some things that you should avoid when training your dog to stop biting. The first thing you want to do is avoid yelling at your dog or hitting them. Why?
If theyre biting for your attention, youll be giving them what they want. Moreover, itll give them negative feelings, and we dont want that.
Also, when they try to bite your hand, dont move it away. They might think its some sort of a game and keep trying to bite you.
Last but not least, dont opt for shock collars as theyll only cause your puppy pain and they wont solve the problem anyway.
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How To Train A German Shepherd Puppy To Stop Biting
Use treats for positive reinforcement.
When your puppy does something wrong, give him a pre-selected command to express that you are not happy with what hes doing. A simple no will do the trick.
When he responds favorably, give him treats, pet him or allow him to have time with his toy. This response is much better than raising your voice or using other unfavorable training methods that only serve to make the dog resent you.
If youre still having behavioral issues, theres a better than average chance that youre not giving your dog enough exercise.
Increasing his physical activity can go a long way toward curbing any behavioral issues that might still exist.
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How Do We Assess The Risk Of Keeping An Aggressive Dog
According to the CDC, 800,000 people seek medical attention for dog bites each year, half of which are children . Dog bites are not rare these are common events that occur in normal familys lives and it is estimated that 15% of dog owners have been bitten by their own dog. Once a dog bites, he has shown his willingness to use biting as a behavioral strategy at least in that situation and therefore is more likely to bite. Dogs that are willing to use aggression to change the outcome of a situation are rarely cured again. The severity of a bite may be assessed by careful consideration of the situation, the damage caused by the bite, the choices the dog made including the dogs willingness to avoid escalation to a bite by growling, snarling or snapping and the diagnosis of type of aggression. Complex cases may require the experience of a board certified veterinary behaviorist to evaluate and prioritize this assessment.
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Manage His Behavior To Prevent Him From Biting While You Implement A Comprehensive Behavior Modification Program This Requires A Serious Commitment
If your dogs behavior is relatively new and mild, you may be able to accomplish this on your own.
Most owners, however, need the help of an experienced, positive behavior counselor or behaviorist to help them succeed. The behavior professional will help identify your dogs stressors, and set up a program to use desensitization and counter-conditioning to convince him that the things he now perceives as bad are really good. If he changes his perception, they will no longer cause him stress, and they wont push him over his bite threshold.
This doesnt happen overnight. The longer your dog has practiced his aggression responses, the longer it takes to modify them. The more committed you are to working with him, the more opportunities he will have to reprogram his responses and the faster it will happen. Meanwhile, he must be crated or kenneled while visitors or grandkids are at the house, and not taken for walks, car rides, nor left to his own devices in the backyard.
How Can I Treat My Dogs Aggression
Treatment programs will begin by teaching the dog what you DO want him/her to do. This is generally achieved with a positive reinforcement based training program. Tasks taught will vary for the individual dog and situation but may include teaching a dog to go to a confinement area on cue, sit and stay for treats or get off/on furniture on command . Control devices such as head halters and leashes facilitate control and safety without harsh, firm corrections while limiting opportunities for aggression to occur . Advanced exercises can begin once safety and aggression avoiding measures are in place and basic control tasks have been learned. Behavior modification strategies for specific problematic interactions include: classical counter-conditioning, desensitization and exposure gradients such that the dog is not overwhelmed to the point of aggression or defensiveness but instead is slowly exposed to previously arousing stimuli at such low levels the arousal does not occur and then rewarded for the proper response. Simultaneously, the dog is responsible for following new commands and rewarded generously for making new, appropriate decisions.
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How To Stop German Shepherd Puppy From Biting
German Shepherd puppy biting? The most common question we get from new German Shepherd puppy owners is, my puppy wont stop biting me Ive tried everything.
While labeling any dog breed would be unfair, specific characteristics are commonly associated with German Shepherd puppies. Unfortunately, some people have the misconception that German Shepherds have a tendency to be vicious. That could not be further from the truth.
What Should You Do If Your German Shepherd Bites
If your german shepherd has bitten, no matter what level the bite is, the first thing you should do is consult a professional. Even if its a level 1 bite, your german shepherd has already shown they are willing to bite, and you should take this seriously.
When its not taken seriously often the behavior can become worse and worse and in some cases, they can even become fatal. If you speak to a professional then theyll probably offer you the following advice.
- In mild cases, theyll often recommend training and socialization. Both of these are more easily done the younger your german shepherd is, however, they can be successfully done at any age.
- When its more serious they may say that theyll require 1 to 1 training with a professional to make sure that theyre getting the exact attention they need.
- And in some cases, they may recommend that you always keep your german shepherd muzzled when theyre around people, other dogs, or outside.
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Offer Them Frozen Carrots
Puppies tend to bite and chew when their teeth are coming in. They do this to relieve the pain and help soothe themselves.
Freeze fresh carrots and have them on hand for times when your dog is acting out and biting you.
Give them a carrot to gnaw on and bring icy relief to their gums.
Even better, say CARROT when you give your dog the carrot to help train them to understand the word. After a few repetitions of saying the cue word, the next time they bite and nip you say CARROT and see if they follow you to the freezer or race you there.
Things To Remember Before Training Your German Shepherd
Before you train your german shepherd to stop growling there are some important things you need to remember. If you dont remember them then you may end up doing more harm than good.
Your German Shepherd Isnt Being Bad
Its often thought that when a dog growls that its bad behavior. However, when a dog growls theyre simply showing the emotions they feel at that point in time. No emotion your dog feels is bad, its just natural behavior.
If your dog is growling, you should aim to change the behavior, not punish them.
There Are Often Other Warnings Before Growling
If your German shepherd is growling in an aggressive way, there are often lots of other warning signals that will occur before and during the aggression.
As well as growling you may notice that your german shepherd has become completely still and theyre watching your moves carefully. Theyll seem a lot more amped up and ready to jump at any moment. On top of this, they may also snarl at you, or move away from you if theyre resource guarding.
Your german shepherd will show warning signs before and during growling, and if you continue the behavior they dont like, they may end up snapping.
A Well Trained German Shepherd Is Less Likely To Growl
Lastly, you should know that if your german shepherd has been trained well theyll be a lot less likely to growl.
When a dog is trained well, they will become used to a range of different scenarios as well as how to act in them.
And in most cases its still going to be:
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Growls And Barks When Served Food
Another display of aggression unique to specific breeds, including German Shepherds, involves food.
German Shepherds will typically curl up at your feet or follow you around, begging you for a bite of your meal.
If your German Shepherd begins growling at you, snapping at you, or even lunging towards you at dinner time , this is aggressive behavior that can lead to biting.
Here you are seen as the threat, keeping the dog away from its food source.
Behaviors like this can be corrected through proper training, a consistent eating location, as well as a consistent feeding schedule.
What If My Puppy Gets Upset And Starts Barking Or Biting When I Dont Give It What It Wants
Depending on the puppy, if you deny it what it wants, some may sulk, some may accept it, and some may express their frustration by growling or even biting.
This behavior is simply not acceptable, and its potentially dangerous, so you must at this point take great care to discipline your puppy in the correct manner.
If this occurs, your number one priority is to keep cool. Do not express any negative emotion or raise your voice. Keep cool and stay quiet.
Do not respond to your dogs aggression.
And under no circumstances should you get physical with your dog. Do not try to restrain it, and certainly never smack or hit it.
If your dog barks at you or even nips at you, its very important that you do not react back to your dog in a physical manner.
Many many people often make this mistake. They feel that by grabbing onto their dog or physically overpowering it they are showing it whos boss.
This could not be further from the truth.
When a German Shepherd shows aggression towards someone and is met with aggression back, the dog views it as a challenge and a German Shepherd will not back down from a challenge. Its not in their nature.
If you react to your dogs aggression physically, you are also teaching your dog that its ok to act this way.
Your dog is simply trying to get your attention. He already tried sitting and doing a trick or two and that didnt work. So now this is another attempt and nothing more. Do not read into it beyond that.
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S To Modify Aggressive Dog Behavior
Aggression is a classically conditioned response. Your dog does not generally take a seat and ponder whether he is going to bite the next time you try to clip his nails or remove him from the bed. When a stressor occurs, it triggers an involuntary reaction the dogs brain screams, Nail clipping BAD! and the dog bites. If you want the dog to stop from biting when you clip his nails, you have to change his brains reaction to Nail clipping GOOD! See how disciplining a dog for biting is counterproductive yet?
You will use food, a very powerful positive reinforcer, to change the way your dogs brain responds to a stressor, using desensitization and counter-conditioning . Here is one possible program for a dog who bites during nail trimming, as an example. You can change the steps to fit any situation that typically causes your dog to bite.
NOTE: Because the risks associated with a failed program for aggression are high, I strongly recommend that you work with a competent positive behavior professional to implement a D& CC program. The following program is not intended to take the place of professional guidance.
What To Do If A German Shepherd Attacks You
Most well-trained and socialized German Shepherds will not attack people. If you are approached or attacked by this breed, however, there are several ways to diffuse the situation. You can also reduce the risk of injury or damage. Read ahead to find out more:
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What Can Affect A German Shepherds Biting Force
There are a few things that can affect how hard your german shepherd can bite. And in fact, if you somehow notice that your german shepherd isnt biting as hard as they should be, then there may be a problem.
Here are the most common things that can affect your german shepherds biting force.
The Size Of Their Head
This is the same for all dogs. The bigger their head, the harder the biting force is going to be. If youve got a boy german shepherd then theyll typically be able to bite harder than female.
Another big indicator of a german shepherds overall bite force is their body weight. Generally the more muscular they are, the heavier theyll be and the harder theyll be able to bite.
If your german shepherds biting force doesnt seem as powerful as it should be, then there may be a problem with their mouths. It could either be caused by tooth pain, injury, jaw pain and in some cases even masticatory muscle deterioration.
If you think your german shepherd is suffering from any of these, its essential you take them to the vets to be checked out.