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Jane Lefler
Jane Lefler, Animal Behaviorist
Category: Dog Training
Satisfied Customers: 19760
Experience:  Dog breeder/Trainer and Behaviorist 18+ years
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Our 10 month old German Shepherd jumps up and bites at hands

Resolved Question:

Our 10 month old German Shepherd jumps up and bites at hands or sleeves ( not severly) when she first makes contact. She settles quickly but it's frightening for some people. How do we stop this behaviour?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Dog Training
Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 1 year ago.
Hi JaCustomer, My name is ***** ***** I’ve been involved professionally with dogs in the health and behavioral fields for over 18 years. It will be my pleasure to work with you today. In order to supply you with an informed answer, it is necessary for me to collect some additional information from you. When I receive your response or reply, it will likely take me between 30-45 minutes to type up my reply if I am still online when I receive notice that you replied. I hope you can be patient. What obedience training has she had?Is she spayed or not?What have you tried so far to stop the behavior?
Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 1 year ago.
Hi again, I was hoping to get a response to my request for more information but also don't want you to have to wait on an answer. She obviously needs some obedience training. Even if she had training as a young pup, she needs some more work on her obedience. The following site is helpful in helping owners train their dog. Be sure and click on the link to the page on obedience at the bottom. and links on subsequent pages leading to detailed instructions.http://www.schutzhund-training.com/training_theory.html Training works best if you train at least 30 minutes a day (two 15 minute sessions). I would start making your dog work via the Nothing in life is free program (NILF). It is outlined below.http://www.pets.ca/articles/article-dog_nilf.htmhttp://www.humanesociety.org/animals/dogs/tips/training_nothing_in_life_is_free.html If she already knows the commands, then formally practice them with her, rewarding her when she obeys with hot dog slivers and calm praise. This helps her want to always obey you. As time passes, lessen the amount of treats but never completely cut them out so she never knows when she will get them or not. Once she is listening well you can then command her to sit and stay for a greeting and not jump and nip. If she is just mouthing their hands, there is something for that as well, but lets stop the jumping first. Until your dog is obedience trained, there is a method I've used for over 15 years and is very effective and not cruel for a dog that jumps on people. It cures even the most stubborn large dog. However, everyone in the family will have to be consistent until she learns it is not acceptable. What you will be doing is putting one knee up to waist level any time you see the dog start to jump up. Put it up before the dog is close to you, so she sees it. YOU DO NOT KNEE THE DOG. Instead you put your knee up long before she reaches you and she jumps onto your knee generally hitting himself in the chest as a result. Since your knee is up and you aren't moving when it happens, she does not interpret it as something you are doing. At the same time you need to say in a low toned firm voice, NO JUMP. She'll learn that when she jumps, she ends up hitting her chest and will associate NO JUMP with that feeling and learn to not jump on people. She may still dance around on her hind legs, but they do usually learn not to touch the person. Again, I want to stress that the knee should not be used to hit the dog, but instead let the dog run into the knee. Your dog may try and come at you from the side, but just shift position until she learns that she can't jump. You should also start teaching her that she will not get petted or get treats or affection or even talked to unless she is calm and she works for them by sitting or laying down. If she only does it to visitors, have a trusted visitor to help her learn this lesson. You can also use a no jump harness. See one here:http://www.petsmart.com/dog/harnesses/top-paw-sporn-no-jump-dog-harness-zid36-19395/cat-36-catid-100082 Now if she is mouthing people as well shich is putting her mouth on your hand or arm and putting a little pressure but not really biting or holding them, then it gets a little trickier and you may only want to do this if she is mouthing a family member. You can stop mouthing and biting hard by going the opposite direction. Instead of taking your hand out of her mouth, put it further in the mouth. DO NOT do this meanly (not that you would). Do not do it quickly or shove it in too far, just move it further in enough that it makes her uncomfortable so that she pulls her mouth away from your hand. SHe will learn that putting her mouth on your hand results in the hand going further in and possibly triggering a gag reflex which she will not find pleasant. I'v found that this methods works on the most stubborn puppies and young adults. For strangers, she should be sitting and not able to display this behavior. Initially when training you might consider a basket muzzle to prevent her ability to mouth even if you only keep it on her until she calms down. I hope this information is helpful to you. If you would like any additional information or have more questions please don’t hesitate to press the reply to expert or continue conversation button so I can address any issues you still have . If you do find this helpful, please take this opportunity to rate my answer positively so I am compensated for my time.
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Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thanks for the information. We have tried the hand in the mouth but not consistently enough. The websites are helpful so we'll try that because she's a lovely dog.Kind regards
Phyllis