Help - Swiss Shepherd - Signs Of Aggressiveness

Discussion in 'Dog Behavior Problems' started by swiss-shep13, Feb 4, 2013.


Has anyone had experience with an aggressive Swiss Shepherd dog/pup?

Poll closed Mar 6, 2013.
Yes, and still having problems a few months/years down the track. 0 vote(s) 0.0%
Yes. But has grown out of this. 1 vote(s) 100.0%
No. Not at all. My Swiss Shepherd pup/dog is great with family and other people. 0 vote(s) 0.0%
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. swiss-shep13 Active Member

    Hi there,

    I have a beautiful 10 month old pedigree White Swiss Shepherd. He is so intelligent. Over the last few days he has been showing aggressive behaviour through nipping, biting and constant mouthing. I know he is still young but he is growing very fast and I need him to stop this right away!
    When you tell him "No" he seems to get more and more hyper and the biting just gets worse!
    Has anybody had a swiss shepherd who has pushed their boundaries so much too?
    This is confusing me as one minute he is so obedient, the next he is like this.

    Someone please help me!

    Me :)
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  2. southerngirl Honored Member

    This does not sound like aggression at all. He is a puppy and puppies bite. For the biting you can become a tree, redirect him with a toy, or leave the room. Also this has nothing to do with what breed he is just about everyone with a puppy has these problems.
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  3. swiss-shep13 Active Member

    Thanks for your reply. This isn't the first time I have owned a dog. I know that puppies do bite and I probably am over reacting! I am just finding it hard to socialise him with children when he is like this as he is a big pup! I think I forget sometimes how young he really is because of his size. Thanks for your help :)
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  4. swiss-shep13 Active Member

    I would just like to add some situations where he will nip and bite:

    -Tries to steal food off our plates (nipping/biting at hands - sometimes barks)
    -In play and often when we pet him.
    -Trying to get him out from under the bed (nipping/biting hands - snarling and snaps)
    -When putting colar and leash on.
    -Biting ankles, legs and grabbing hold of the clothing we wear when walking around the house.
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  5. southerngirl Honored Member

    When he's biting while your playing or petting stop right when he starts to bite. Bite=no attention
    When trying to get him from under something try using treats to lure him out instead of pulling
    Putting on collar and leash have him eating treats out of one hand while putting leash/collar on. And may I ask why you don't keep the collar on, it makes it where you can get a hold of him if needed.
    ankles, legs, clothing, I would become a tree or leave the room(where he can't follow.
    Other members will also answer with great ideas and you can use what you feel will work best.
    What is your dogs name?
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  6. swiss-shep13 Active Member

    Thanks. I will try this next time. I am starting to leave his colar on him now so he gets used to it. He's only 10 weeks. I'm assuming that once he is fully vaccinated and I can walk him he will soon see this as an enjoyment and hopefully get excited about his leash. When we try and pull on his colar he will turn his head and try snap or bite us and he yelps as if it is hurting him. We are not rough about the way we do this and it's not a quick, jolting movement either. I think it's something he will learn to get used to.
    His name is Cooper.
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  7. 648117 Honored Member

    Holly's nickname was "rat-shark" when she was a puppy because she was small and very nippy. She would be calm and then suddenly turn shark, or would be running around playing (being a rat) and then would get too excited and turn shark.
    I guess your puppy is similar but without the "rat" part (since he isn't little). It does seem that some pups are a lot more nippy than others (the only other puppy that my family has had never nipped).

    Does your puppy have toys that he is allowed to bite and chew? it might help him if he has things he is allowed to use his mouth on.
    Also be very careful that no one is "rough-housing" with him. My brother would use his hands to play with Holly and would end up encouraging her to nip at them as he roughed her around. This encouraged her to nip at hands because she thought it was play even when we did not want to play or we just wanted to pat her. Holly ended up getting really bad with the nipping until by brother was sternly told (ok, he had to be told a couple of times, humans are harder to train than dogs :cautious: ) to stop playing with her like that and to use a toy instead of bare hands so she could learn not to bite skin. This made a massive difference and Holly was way better within a week of the rough play stopping.

    Holly also liked to bite clothes (pants because she's short). She would be running around being a crazy puppy and then turn shark and launch at my pant leg. I would try to ignore her but those sharp puppy teeth put holes in my clothes and sometimes nipped my actual leg, so I'd pick her up and she would thrash from side to side in my hands trying to bite (looked like a wild racoon or something, it was kind of funny). And she liked to nip at the bottom of my pants while I walked and would grab hold and roll around like a crocodile.

    Lol, you've brought back memories of puppy Holly :X3:, she was a little monster but she has turned out well. So with a little work I'm sure your puppy will grow into a lovely dog too :D

    Also, I understand that you want to wait for him to be fully vaccinated before taking him for walks but you can still take him out. I think as long as you don't put him on the ground or let him interact with strange dogs (that you don't know the vaccination status of) he can still go out. He can also attend puppy classes which will help him learn to not bite so hard.

    To socialise him with kids you could park outside a school/park and sit in the car feeding him treats while watching kids running around (this should encourage him to be calm) or hold him while he gets fed treats by the kids so he has to stay calm. I'm sure others will have better suggestions (we struggled to socialise Holly with young kids and I don't think we did it very well but she is still fine with them)
  8. swiss-shep13 Active Member

    Thanks very much for your reply!! Holly sounds very much like Cooper! Like I said in one of my earlier posts, 'I am probably just over-reacting' but I think it's better to over react instead of ignoring it and not fixing the problem, especially when you are raising a large dog breed who will soon be very strong!

    We have plenty of toys for him but I am thinking it still isn't enough as he gets bored of each toy pretty quickly and some he doesn't pay an attention to at all. He also he chew stick which he has just softened and is now able to get his teeth into! Since he has been chewing his chew stick his need to bite and chew our hands isn't so bad now. I think maybe he had new teeth coming through and could have been giving him a bit of strife?

    I have been taking him out and about like to my grandmas, partners parents, dads work and have also take him into our city centre twice when it was really busy with lots of noises and people and didn't worry him at all! Without ever putting him down of course. We have a girl who lives next door and has been to visit Jock on several occasions. I could believe it, the second time she came around he was so excited to see her! She isn't fond of dogs herself and gets a bit scared when Cooper tries to mouth her so I always have toys around to distract him.
    I also take him to puppy school once a week. He has only been once so far but he was great! So relaxed when the other dogs rolled all over him.

    I have a professional trainer coming around tomorrow to teach me a few things on how to correct puppy mouthing, nipping and biting so hopefully we will get some positive results out of it!

    Thanks again for your post. :)

    GG & Cooper
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  9. Tâmara Vaz Experienced Member

    Just one thing about the toys: You may rotate them so that they "look new" to Cooper and choose some special ones that he can only play with you.(Probably for tug and fetch)
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  10. swiss-shep13 Active Member

    I'm going shopping next week.. Coopers toy box will be loaded!! :)

    Thanks so much to everyone for all your advice. Has been so helpful.
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  11. Adrianna & Calvin Experienced Member


    I have to be honest, I'm not too crazy about this:
    or this:
    This is a sign that he should get A LOT of socialization and dedicated work on handling issues. He's telling you that he's a dog who is more likely to use force than submission (more likely to 'fight' than 'flee') when he encounters something he's afraid of or doesn't want to do. It's not the end of the world by any means, but I would take heed and start with some good, gentle, counterconditioning and handling exercises, including things like object exchanges and dedicated resource guarding prevention. He'll be a big enough dog when he's grown, that you don't want to wait until then to work these things out.

    If you need explanations or links for any of the above, do let us know.

    PS is the White Swiss Shepherd the same as a Berger Blanc?
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  12. swiss-shep13 Active Member

    Thanks Adrianna & Calvin. I am working hard with him but not too hard that he gets bored with his training. I totally understand what you are saying and I also think you are bang on. When I first got him (2 weeks ago) he didn't like to be held. When I picked him up and held him to my chest he would toss and turn, whine, cry and grizzle until I would put him down. I began holding him firmly until he calmed down a bit and then I would praise him and put him down. I was persistant with this and he is now relaxed for good lengths of time in my arms.
    You're right, I think he is the kind of dog who will stand up to things but he can also be a very gentle dog as well so I just need to work on bringing the most of this kind of behavior out of him that I possibly can.

    Thanks again. :)
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  13. swiss-shep13 Active Member

    Oh and what do you mean by dedicated resource guarding prevention? Does this mean preventing him from becoming the kind of dog who will guard his food and toys for example?

    Yes, another name for them is Berger Blanc Suisse.
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  14. jackienmutts Honored Member

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  15. swiss-shep13 Active Member

    Thanks Jackie. I really enjoyed this article. It does make sense ae? Puppies mouth and bite that's just what they do. Teaching them to be soft seems like a good lesson to me.
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  16. jackienmutts Honored Member

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  17. Adrianna & Calvin Experienced Member

    Yep. It is natural for dogs to guard resources such as food, toys, sleeping spots, and people. All dogs do it, they do it by nature. It's our job to work against this by teaching them that it's a Good Thing when humans are around coveted resources. You want a dog who is chewing on a bully stick and gives a happy wag when you approach, rather than hunkering down and eating faster, or turning his back to you, or showing aggression.
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  18. jackienmutts Honored Member

    I found another article on how to work on resource guarding issues, thought it may be of some help, it's very basic, but easy to read, follow, and implement (for any dog). You may want to begin this with Cooper, as you'll eventually and always want to be able to take anything from him easily (if necessary), and without hesitation. The time to start on this is definitely now.

    I hope things went well with the trainer the other day.
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  19. Amateur Experienced Member

    I havent read all that the others contributed....
    but my Zoe a border pup was very " agressive" / " dominant -- but in retrospect it wasn't aggressive at all
    just a hyper frustrated energetic pup. Pleae dont mistake the two. Besides exercise and numerous chew toys ( highly recommend deer antlers) I practiced a lot of calming self restraint things.

    The thing I found most useful when Zoe got in one of her manic nipping running around tizzies was "forced puppy hugs"
    I sat on the ground and scooped her up and laid her in my arms and lap petting her but holding her firmly so shecould not squirm away or bite or scratch. I would talk to her and pet her until she calmed. And by calming she must phyically relax for at least several minutes before I would let her up again. If you think this type of restraint is too much -- a year or so later I wasnt really thinking of doing anything but yelled "puppy Hugs" and zoe cam running and plunked herself down in my lap for cuddles - I gues she didnt mind after all .
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  20. roxieyap Member

    I think 10 month old pups behave just like any other. They nip, bit and chew. All part of growing up, I suppose. As a dog owner, you need to help your dog overcome this behavior by some behavioral modification. Hummer, my labrador has been the aggressive type growing up so we had to intervene to deal with the biting. Here is a useful article on the topic:
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