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Struggling with new puppy


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My shepherd was a big goof even at 12 weeks but never growled. His paws were too big for his body and his ears were still floppy then. I didn't encourage any tug o war games or games that encouraged aggression or aggressive responses even at play. In this way I think he grew up very trusting in general and made friends very easily at dog parks and public places. He remained fearless around extremely aggressive dogs and never had confidence issues. He was often happy go lucky and a pack leader. When he was young he did tend to chase after more insecure dogs (yappy dogs that were poorly socialized) out of curiosity. He had to be taught not to prey on smaller dogs because of their insecurity or fearfulness because he had never come in contact with that before. I'd emphasize trust and confidence and always keep in mind that your dog is your liability from puppyhood to adulthood.


If he wanted attention in one way and it wasn't acceptable, I'd deflect and show him how to behave instead (replacing a non-acceptable behavior for one that is acceptable). Like Jibralta we also played but it was mostly playful. It wasn't unusual for me to get down to his level on the floor and sit with him or lay there and play. Dogs will test you and try to gain the upper hand. It's not because they disrespect you or have any personal vendetta against you. They're testing to see how far they can get and how malleable you are as a dog owner. For her safety, you should be able to establish that bond and trust/connection with your dog where what you say goes and it's non-negotiable. There may be any number of events that happen later on in your lives and it's on you to protect your pet and other pets or anyone else in the surrounding area (to trust that your dog is not a loose cannon).


There was some nipping too in puppyhood but he outgrew it (they all generally do unless there's no proper training). I think some dog breeds may be more prone to attention-getting or needing that secure bond/trust established. They may need to be told and trained more than other breeds. The shepherd I had was trusting and obedient by nature but very strong. I had my own challenges at the 6 month to 1 year mark and it took us awhile to get used to walking nice for example. I used positive reinforcements and if there was unacceptable behaviour, as I mentioned above, I'd replace it immediately with an alternate behaviour. Then positive reinforcement again. And again and again.


Every exercise you do with your dog will be an exercise in bonding and trust. I really hope it works out for your dog and your family. It takes work but it sure is worth it.


Okay thanks Rose that's very helpful advice

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I really like the idea of having your son volunteer at animal shelters. My friend’s son is 9 and has been doing this for about a year and he’s so proud of himself as he should be. I too would cut losses now especially since it sounds like you also risk your puppy biting someone who comes to the house if this is the situation now. Also I think in the meanwhile your son’s fears will worsen with this type of behavior.

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Lots of dogs, even adult ones "mouth", ie they bite but there is no actual force or intention to hurt behind it. I work in a veterinary hospital and that has happened to me a fair few times. Have you considered what is happening when your puppy bites or shows what may be aggression rather than play aggression? Lots of people think that dogs enjoy all sorts of things that they really don't and she could be getting massively stressed out. Kids especially will do things like dressing up the animal, picking them up, getting them to participate in human things, but there can also be stressors within the environment in terms of noises, nowhere for the dog to escape to, no place that is exclusively their own etc. Be consistent with the "yelping", immediately stop whatever you were doing when the biting/aggression started and turn your back, reward positive behaviour and do not shout. If you are intent on keeping the puppy (which doesn't sound like a good idea, given your son's fear) then puppy training classes are a must and you may need the assistance of a behaviour specialist. I had to get help from one when my ex-husband and I adopted an adult rescue Springer who kept going for me right from the moment we got him home. Although he could never be fully trusted, his behaviour after we worked with him using her techniques massively improved.

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I agree with others. Seek professional dog training and leave it up to the experts for the best advice and teachings. Plus, you need to reinforce what's taught to your dog.


I just finished giving my 14 year old dog a great life. She passed away in Jan. 2019. She went through her puppy stage, matured and became the type of dog who is of 'Guide Dog' for the blind caliber. She was that smart, calm, quiet and behaved extremely well. She's the finest lady I had ever met. I miss her terribly. I doubt I'll own another dog though. I agree, dogs are a lot of work. However, I miss the companionship of a dog.


Anyway, you'll be fine with professional dog training. You have to remain patient and continue training for the dog's life.

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Puppies are babies. They chew on everything - including you. You should tell her "no" or "leave it" and give her something she CAN bite.


I think the WORST thing to do when a child is afraid of dogs is to get a dog.

you get over your child's fear by getting to know other people that have older, calm dogs (since your child might panic) and make slow, brief introductions - plan to be out walking and have the dog owner agree ahead of time to let them briefly meet or meet in a relaxed environment where the child can simply observe the dog.

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That's honestly so hard to read. I always respect your advice so I'm not dismissing it. I absolutely hear you. But I have to give it some more time and effort before I do that because that would be a very very sad thing for me to do.


I disagree. You need to contact the breeder to let them know your struggles. Do not dump an untrained dog back on the breeder when they are a teenage puppy of 6-10 months old. Get her in a puppy kindergarten class. But really, if you alert them and they are actually a good breeder, maybe that have a better home lined up. Sometimes an older dog who is kid experienced is a better match -- all this does is punish the dog. But maybe the breeder is at fault, too, because they let someone who is totally inexperience buy a puppy The dog pound is full of 6 months to 1 1/2 year old dogs people 'gave up on" or "couldn't handle" when they refused to go to multiple training classes or were shocked that puppies didn't come potty trained and they bite things

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Or take your puppy to puppy kindergarten. Then the more advanced puppy class, then basic obedience, and then advanced. The classes train YOU just as much as the puppy. This way you are not teaching your child that pets are disposable and you get rid of them just like that. But only keep if you are willing to commit and set a good example for your child. Your child is watching you. If you step up to the plate, you will have a great furry family member and a companion.Getting a dog was a stupid idea, but now that you are committed -- commit. Jump in with two feet, or talk to the breeder before the puppy is too old.

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Has your son's fear of dogs changed at all since getting the puppy?


His fear of dogs ....it's not a huge problem. I probably should have explained it more. It's more a nervousness and wariness that he has. He's handling the puppy's biting way better then I expected. He doesn't shower her with attention so the puppy doesn't really get the chance to hurt him. He finds her cute and seems ..I guess interested and amused by her?


My daughter adores her. She wanted a dog since she was 6 and she's now 11 so you can imagine her delight. Hence she gets the brunt of the puppy bites. I've now become a lot more serious about making sure she gives puppy space and isn't lifting her every time she feel like it.


As for me, I am figuring out that the pup and I are both learning as we go. I've become very consistent with redirecting her to chew toys when she starts the biting. It doesn't always work but it is working a lot of the time. I realized that she means no harm, its not aggression its just really rough play. And I've learned that being too firm with her makes her worse. And like children, it'll take a while before all the positive reinforcement will kick in. We have her 3 weeks tomorrow and there's definitely been progress and learning for both of us in those three weeks.


For the poster who asked was I too sensitive (I can't remember who said it). You were right. I was. I thought she'd take direction immediately. I thought she'd know a firm voice. I knew puppy's bit. I did not know how hard and how much. I had done the research before I got her but living it was different. But she is just a normal puppy albeit a bitey one!


So we are keeping her. We love her even though its only been three weeks. And her behaviour this week has shown me that she is capable of learning what she is allowed and not allowed to do.


Thanks everyone for you're advice.

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Your puppy sounds very normal. Everything in the mouth, toys, shoes, fingers, hands . . anything they can get too. It's probably not helping your son with his uneasyness.


`The best kinda dog is a 2 year old dog', someone told me once when I was walking our 90 lb one year old lab around the block. Or better said, he was walking me.

I'd love to have a dog, but I respect the time and attention commitment and I just don't have it right now.


The first few months are really rough.


I agree with the others, training and exercise. Wear her out!

I'll bet you'll be back shortly, happy to report you all got past the difficult phase and are enjoying your new furry family member.


Good Luck

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For the poster who asked was I too sensitive (I can't remember who said it). You were right. I was. I thought she'd take direction immediately. I thought she'd know a firm voice. I knew puppy's bit. I did not know how hard and how much. I had done the research before I got her but living it was different. But she is just a normal puppy albeit a bitey one!


You need to train her with POSITIVE reinforcement and PRAISE when she does something right. Not "firmness" at that age. Imagine someone speaking to you in a "firm voice" in a foreign language. You have no clue what they mean. When you teach with positive reinforcement (praise, treats) you are teaching what behavior that you want from them. It sounds like she is not any more bitey than any other people. I HIGHLY suggest you go to puppy class with her. don't delay.

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