MemberJune 5, 2016 at 2:28 pm2940
Hi Sam, congrats on the new puppy! Chewing and mouthing is very common and normal behavior for puppies. I would advise you to read through the self help section of the self site, look through the layers of the triangle and review the leadership section. The leadership section is one of the most important and most overlooked sections so please be sure to really review it.
We want our dogs to have only good associations with us. This means we never want them to associate us or our hands with anything bad, painful or uncomfortable. Trouble shooting unwanted behavior at this early stage is pretty easy. Instead of correcting the puppy for the unwanted behavior it is better to show the the puppy the desired behavior you want instead. Puppies have much energy, especially a GSD. If you review the leadership section of the site this is going to be the best guide for you. The goal is to have the puppy in the “provided for” section of all the listed things. If you look at the triangle/pyramid and work your way from the bottom up you will be able to trouble shoot just about any problem you will have now and in the future.
Dogs need outlets for their restless spirit to satisfy their drive balance. If they do not have appropriate outlets provided by us, they will resort to finding outlets any way they can. You want to make sure that you are providing the puppy an appropriate outlet for play. The puppy will need good play sessions to tire her out. Tug is a great game for a GSD. It is good to gauge when your puppy gets the most restless and “nippy” and make sure you get in a good play session before the behavior escalates. If your dog is nipping at and chewing on things that it shouldn’t, you will want to replace the things she shouldn’t be chewing or biting with things that she IS allowed to chew. If she starts chewing on you or your clothes or on anything she shouldn’t redirect her onto something she is allowed to have. A bully stick or something that can keep her occupied for a while is a good idea. Something that will satisfy her drive. This way she knows and can rely on you to provide her with things that fulfill her needs. If you follow the leadership chart and keep her in the “provided for” category for all areas, you will be able to have tools in your back pocket that will be of higher value to her when she is doing these unwanted behaviors. If she has free access to toys and things laying around, she will not know the difference of what she is allowed to have and what she is not allowed to have. If you provider her with what she needs, she will desire what you have for her much more and then you will be able to replace the things she cant have with things she can have instead…AND she will want them more because she doesn’t have free access to them at her own will. Setting her up for success is what you want to do at this stage while she is learning.
Dogs will also do this to you to get your attention. We want to provide our dogs with the affection they need but on our terms never when they solicit it from us. This can lead to bossy, demanding behavior.
If you review the leadership rules, it will further explain in more detail.
Just remember to be calm and patient with your puppy. You will learn so much from each other!
Good luck and please keep us updated on your progress and let us know if you have any questions! 🙂
Here is the link to the leadership section