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CarlWBL

Need some GSP advice

7 posts in this topic

My GSP is around 14-15 weeks old and recently he has been showing some aggressive signs towards me. He will start trying to nip at my feet and hands and then backing off and barking real aggressively. I think I might just need to exercise him more, as I walk him at least once a day, usually twice, sometimes three times. I am in an apartment so when we are outside he is constantly leashed. I am moving in 2 months to a place with a yard, but I am curious if there may be more issues or ideas as to what I can do to stop this behavior.

Also, he gets this way when I tell him "no" to being on the furniture and things like that.

Thanks.

Carl

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I don't know what everyone else's take will be, but seems to me that he is exhibiting pack behavior/playing and if he hasn't already he will start to create dominance over you in the pack heirarchy. I know this sounds funny, but a friend had the same problem. You need to be firm with the no when he does this, otherwise he will begin to think that he's the master and you're the dog not the other way around.

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I have a Vizsla pup that is 14 weeks old right now. He'll do the puppy play bite stuff with me, jump and try to bite at my pants or hands. When he does this or anything else that challenges my authority I put him in his place by grabing him by the collar and getting him into a sitting position (usually requires a little force, if you grab his collar from behind you can sort of start kneeling down while on your way down just sit on his back side forcing him to sit down). I'll then kneel on the floor with one leg on either side of the dog with him facing out, he should now be sitting between your legs.

You can get your fingers under the collar to hold him by the chest and collar and keep him from nipping at you. I'll hold him firmly until he's calm, the first time it took awhile 5-10 minutes. Since that first time he calms down the second his backside hits the floor. I'll talk to him firmly but calmly. I want to show my authority but I don't want to escalate his behavior by acting aggressively back to him. If you see an older dog correct a puppy the older dog usually stays fairly calm and just gives the pup a quick correction without escalating the behavior. Sometimes a loud NO sounds alot like a bark to a pup so it may cause him to bark back at you more (depends on the dog).

That is just the way I handle those moments when he's freaking out. There are many other ways to establish dominance over the dog. Make sure he knows you are the source of all good things, food, toys, play time, etc. My pup sits and waits for me to go in or out any doorway before he's allowed to go through, I'll sit his food on the floor once he sits but he doesn't get to start eating until i give him the "OK" command, I'll take his food away while he's eating so he knows I can give it and I can take it away at any time.

Also play time with other dogs seems to help my pup alot. I take him to the dog park and let him play with older dogs. Dogs are really good and sorting out pack order and he learns that he's not always the top dog like he thinks he should be. Besides that it tires him out which makes my life easier at home. I'm sure your GSP is alot like my Vizsla and an hour at the dog park 3-4 times a week is a very good thing. Walks along would never tire out my pup. He'll run for an hour at the park before he'll finally decide he's tired. He's tired 3-4 dogs out in a row before he's ready to quit.

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I am guessing this is your first dog or first dog that you are 100% responsible for taking care of....

The pup is reacting to you and what you are doing and you want to stop the behavior you are rewarding as soon as you can.

I reecommend a couple of books,that is if this is your first dog and/or pointer.

1. How to Help Gun Dogs Train Themselves, Taking Advantage of Early Condtioned Learning by Joan Bailey - you can get it on Amazon.

2. The Training and Care of the Versatile Hunting Dog, also known as the NAVHDA "GREEN BOOK", a little outdated but a very straight forward program that works. Get it from the NAVHDA site.

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My GSP is now 2.5 years old. They are very loving and affectionate, yet independant enough to entertain themselves and not need constant human attention. Anything you don' want your dog to do when he / she is 60 - 70lbs full grown, don't let them do when they are a puppy. It is very easy, and albeit fun to wrestle with the pup, but as was already mentioned they need to know NOW that you are in control. You HAVE to establish dominance right away. Like was already mention, I'd grap my pump and pin him on teh ground and have a hand full of scruff at his neck. This is how the alpha male in a pack would pin the subordinate dogs. You don't have to hurt them, just hold them there until they quit struggling, then let them up and give them loving. Doing this a few times a day for a a few weeks will pay large dividends when they are older. I've got friends whose dogs run all over their owners because they were too leniant with them as pups.

At that age they are 'formable' and not set in their ways. There is no such thing as too much training as a pup. Work them them daily teaching them new thigs as fast as they'll pick them up, when they get older, they are a little harder to train as they become stubborn.

If you are going to hunt with them, interact them with live birds as soon as possible. Teach them the come, whoa, sit, and stay commands as soon as possible.

Good luck, with a little work you will be very happy with this breed.

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Good comments by everyone so far. Before I throw my .02 in, I want to make sure I understood you correctly. His aggressive behavior is only when your correcting him? i.e. telling him no etc. Or do you also see this behavior when playing with him, or just hanging out?

Reason I ask is your pup may be bringing things he has learned during playtime into how he reacts when being corrected.

Does he bark, nipp at you to get your attention sometimes?

I agree a dog park is good at getting the pup tired out and seeing if that helps, but seems that the pup might be ready for being staked out although I usually wait until 24 weeks for that.

every dog is different and difficult to say what is right or wrong with out interacting with the dog. It is a constant tweaking of your method to fit the situations.

Also, is the pup the same way towards other people? And does the pup have frequent interaction with other people?

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From the original posting it seems like he's trying to play. If you watch a pup with other dogs they'll nip and then back off, nip and then back off, bark, nip, bark, etc until the other dog finally gives in a plays with him

My pup does this to some extent in order to get other dogs to chase him. He'll do some of it with me although he's never barked at me. When he does it to me it gets met with no reaction from me as not to encourage it. I do not play with him like that, i do not give him any attention until he sits quietly for at least a few seconds. I've noticed he's starting to default to sitting quietly now instead of jumping and thats when I go play with him. Generally with a pup you need to ignore the bad behavior and praise the good behavior. When he's barking and nipping in a playful manner show him that it won't work and that sitting or another desired action is what will get your attention. They learn quick at this age so it shouldn't take long. You just need to be consistent with praising the desired behavior and ignoring the bad behavior.

Sometimes its very hard. Thats when a little time in the kennel is good for you and the dog. If you find yourself getting fed up with his crazy antics calmly put him in the crate to give yourself a breather. Make sure if you are using a crate you don't make it seem like a punishment or they may develop a dislike for it. Even when I'm mad at the dog for something I'll try to follow the same crateing routine and make it seem fun and rewarding for the pup. Remember puppies have a memory/attention span off a flea. Usually by the time you punish them for something they've already forgotten what it is they did that they are getting punished for.

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