"My Question: First please let me tell you I loved this book. There is so much information in it that is so helpful to me!
I have a four months old female German Shepherd. She is very mouthy and I am having a hard time getting her to stop biting. She also chases my cats, and nothing I do seems to work. I tried your collar freeze but she just grabs whatever part of my hand or arm she can reach while I reach under her neck for her collar. When I finally get hold of the collar she just lays down with some part of my arm or hand in her mouth! She is descended from working dogs and not show dogs, and she is very smart and figures things out. HELP!!!"
Spelling has been corrected to suffice search engine requirements.
Thank you. Which book? I've published more than a dozen, hard to know which one you mean, and I am SO curious!
When you make no kibble after years of being a dog book author, you crave for every feedback like it was the green stuff. And I don't mean the mold on the kibble.
Okay, humor aside now.
Lucky you! I mean, to have a smart German Shepherd puppy. My new puppy is the opposite.
What You Have Tried
a) A LOT ("nothing I do seems to work")
b) Collar Freeze (yours, not mine - see below).
What You Need To Do
Your 4 months(!) old female German Shepherd puppy is seeing everything as PLAY (chasing the cats, wiggling around and lying down, mouthing/nipping/biting you when you reach for the collar, etc). So you need to draw a clear line between times of play and fun, and times when you need strict compliance from your puppy. This clear line you draw with your own behavior.
Here is what I myself do: When the puppy is playful like yours but when I mean business, then I stop all fast movements (head, hands, arms, legs) and I point my finger to the pup's Westpaw nap mat (yeah, always that, as that is the dog's "crate" here), and I freeze and try to calm down mentally and to radiate that relaxation.
Because your dog is an energy recipient - while your cats are energy donors! Meaning, the calmer we behave, the calmer will our dog behave automatically, within mere seconds! And to get your puppy to stop chasing your cats and to stop nipping you, you simply need a calm puppy. All this puppy behavior that you describe indicates that your pup is hyper. A calm puppy does not play. Play, even mere mental dog games , requires and involves an elevated energy state (state of mind). That energy state is what leads to nipping you, chasing the cats, etc.
Do the Collar Freeze like I do it - or like the Top dog trainer Doggy Dan Abdelnoor does it (he just calls it a bit different and executes it better). Not like you wrote you do it: "she just grabs whatever part of my had or arm she can reach while I reach under her neck for her collar". The photo isn't all that great: I should hold even lower (but I cannot reach so low).
Why do we not reach for the neck when we perform the Collar Freeze? Because you agitate any dog when the dog can't see what you're doing with your hand! Thus you raise the dog's energy level. Instead, the purpose of the Collar Freeze is that we radiate our own calm energy state onto the dog. So if you aren't calm yourself it cannot work anyway, because? Dogs are energy recipients, yes, you got it!
What I do when I thought I am calm enough for the Collar Freeze, but the puppy's wiggling shows, I am not ("she just lays down with some part of my arm or hand in her mouth!")? Then I lead the puppy into the isolation room (ex pantry in this case here).
Why? Because: "When you are stressed go away from your puppy!" , exactly! (Advising others is easy, remembering it myself always is not )
How I lead the puppy into the isolation room? Well, because of a health issue I can't bend down to a tiny puppy while walking to the isolation room! So I carry him there.
What if your puppy continues "biting" you while you carry her? Then you simply need to carry your puppy like I do (now you will need to log in to see more). I do this to avoid getting scratched from the sharp puppy paw nails, you would do this to avoid getting nipped.
This perfectly leads over to the next crucial point:
You MUST do Bite Inhibition Training (urgently: "I have a four month old female german shepherd"). Nothing in your "HELP!!!" request suggests that you even know what this is, so better now spend some time studying some crucial New Puppy skills. Or simply watch how I've done everything with My New Puppy.
Also, perform our renowned Feeding Routine (as a minimum) to establish yourself (and every family member!) as accepted Pack leader for your puppy. That will help a LOT not only with puppy nipping and chasing your cats but also with everything else!
Does this cover everything? Well, I could add more:
How comes that My New Puppy does not chase cats, cars, motorbikes, cyclists and whatever, but yours does? Because I scan the environment (relevant on dog walks, not in your home) and anticipatively remind the puppy to stay with me (STAY here!). Scanning the environment and being anticipative helps enormously in dog training and puppy training! Also consider here: If your puppy learns NOT to chase cats outdoors, she will NOT do it indoors either.
Further, my puppy doesn't chase cats etc because I socialize the puppy with cats, goats, cocks and hens, and whatever. So you need to introduce your new puppy to your resident cats the right way. This is covered in the FREE Adult Dog Checklist.
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