I got a puppy about a month ago, he's between 3-4 months old; (german shepherd). He bites on EVERYTHING, including me - he chews shoes, my cats!, rugs, everything. I'll tell him no, then he barks at me! Like he's yelling back and he'll snip at me because he thinks I'm playing, but I don't know how to be any more persistant and stern with him than I've been. He'll get mad when I leave him home alone even for 10 minutes and he chews up paper, and the house is a complete mess when I get home, I try leaving the radio on and a lamp for him everytime I leave but it hasn't worked. On top of the chewing problem, he WILL NOT potty train, he'll go to the bathroom right infront of me, he doesn't care that I'm standing right there, then I show him it and say "no" or "bad" and put him outside for about 10-15 minutes but he continues to do it! Any suggestions?
Well, he needs behaviour training. Get in touch with a behaviourist in your area, you might get a number to call from your vet. (Make sure they are good!) He needs it fairly soon because he's growing fast and these traits will become ingrained as habits if you aren't careful. Then you'll find it very hard to change them.
I'm not clever enough to give behaviour advice, beyond a few simple tips. ANY attention that you do give him will be what he craves, whether that is positive or negative attention (ie whether he is being scolded or not) It has to get so that the attention he naturally craves from you will be only praise. The trick is getting him to do the right thing....even ONCE, and then praising him like he was an angel! Or giving him a treat he loves. THAT will sink in. I feel as soon as he's done something right three times, he'll start to get the message.
Scolding him (doesn't this sound illogical?) is just giving him emotional attention, and unfortunately he'll become adapted, so if that is the only attention he gets, so be it! He'll take that rather than nothing. Subconsciously, a dog's greatest fear is NO ATTENTION AT ALL from the ones he holds dear (his pack leaders)
Well I caught him ALMOST going to the bathroom a few days ago so I took him outside and I always reward him for doing good too, but it doesn't seem to sink in, his mom was a fairly DUMB dog - and I'm pretty sure she was mean, but I always thought its the way you raise them that makes them mean or not, hopefully i was right! :P
No such thing as a dumb dog :) The way you raise the dog is what makes a dog the way he is. Ginger is right, your dog needs behavior training, but it's something you can do yourself right now with such a young puppy. Before you consult a professional, you need to teach your dog the basics, and it is very, very easy:
-You must be the "pack leader" to your dog. He cannot be your equal or he will never respect you when you try to discipline him. When he tries biting your hands or toes, do you move them away quickly? If so, that becomes a game to him. Think about what a dog would do in a wild pack: the dog that does not want to play (you) would stiffen up and growl. When your little man tries to bite your hands and toes or anything else, keep them very still and growl at him to stop.
-As far as chewing on furniture and carpets go, you need to have the same pack mentality. First and foremost, never leave anything on the floor for a puppy except for toys. The more toys he has to play with, the less interested in your carpet and furniture he will be. Switch the toys out every other day for variety. Then, when he does go for the wrong things, tell him no/growl, remove him from wherever he is chewing on the wrong things and place him in front of his toys instead. When he starts to play with those, praise him.
-Crate training will help with his potty training AND with his anxiety when you leave. He obviously cannot be left alone in the house yet. Go buy a crate that is large enough for him to stand up and turn around in, but not too large (you can buy them for "life stages" for while he is growing). Since he is potty training, don't put any blankets in there. Keeping blankets and towels in a crate while a dog is potty training makes it more difficult because the dog can cover up his mess. If a dog has an accident in his crate, you WANT him to have to sit in it in order to learn that he hates it (usually takes only one or two times :). He is very young, so never leave him in the crate for more than 3-4 hours without a potty break, because his little bladder does not have the muscle control yet to hold it any longer. Praise the heck out of him when he goes outside. If he has an accident inside, the only time you can scold him is WHILE HE IS HAVING THE ACCIDENT. A dog will not remember his accident 30seconds afterward, so taking him back to the spot and rubbing his nose in it or yelling at him will do NO good. You have to catch him in the act in order for him to realize "oh, I shouldn't be doing this!" Scheduling when you feed your dog will help with the potty training as well. Never leave food out for him to graze freely on; scheduled eating creates for scheduled pottying.
- Never use the crate for punishment. Leave the door open for him all the time so that he will want to go in and out himself. Draping a towel over the top to make it dark can lessen some anxiety and create a "den" for the dog so that they are comfortable staying in there while you are away. At first, of course, you can use treats, etc.. to lure him in until he gets used to it. A smart idea would be buy a KONG and other toys like that to fill up with treats and peanut butter so he can stay busy working on them while in his kennel and not get bored and bark. Ask anyone who works in a pet store for more information and they will have more idea.
A dog doesn't learn any of this himself, it's all you :) Puppy training is all based on ROUTINE, positive and negative reinforcement, and aversive stimuli. If you can get the potty training and crate training down, you and your dog will be much happier. Give it 6 weeks with the above suggestions and you'll have an entirely different dog (friend).
Cases like this are precisely why I advocate for crate training. If done correctly, crate training will have a puppy housebroken within a couple of weeks, and if he is crated only when he should be (ie, while the humans are sleeping or not at home), you will come home to a puppy who is very happy to see you and not a destroyed house.
As Kate said, crating should be for training only, never for punishment. A dog should never be expected to spend inordinate amounts of time in his crate. But a couple of hours is fine, and it will be so much nicier for you to come home to a home that isn't torn apart and chewed up, and a puppy that you can play with instead of having to first put your home back in order before you can do anything with him. Face it, if the puppy tears apart the entire house while you're at work or asleep, you CANNOT reprimand him for it when you come home or wake up, because if it happened longer than a minute or two ago, he no longer connects what he has done with your mood and actions.
When you are playing with him, if he nips you or does something else that hurts you, yipe like a dog that has been hurt and turn your back to him. That will tell him in a language the he understands that he has hurt you and that his actions are unacceptable to you. After he calms down, calmly resume play. Each time he mouths or bites you, repeat it. Eventually he will get the message. If he was taken away from his litter before he was 8-10 weeks old, chances are he didn't learn this very important socialization lesson from his mother and littermates, so it's up to you to teach it to him.
Jaybay is excellent with training suggestions. I'm sure she'll be able to come up with a lot of great suggestions for you that will be helpful, and lots of the members here at MedHelp have tons of their own great advice! You have definitely come to the right place for help!
He has gotten MUCH better about the house breaking thing, it's like one day he woke up and decided to pee and poop outside haha! I'm going to try the biting thing, hopefully that calms down soon, he's such a handful, I'm sure my baby is going to be a breeze after having this dog!
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