My 9 week old puppy ( German shepherd), when told off for something such as going for the rubbish bin or chewing something we don't want her to chew, we tell her "no" and gently pull her back or hold whatever it is and say " give" until she gives the back. We try to give her something we want her to chew but this rarely works if we is going for something she really wants.

Sometimes however she snaps back at me or others and occasionally barks at you as if she is upset and trying to dominate back.

When she does this we again say "no" and if need be put her back in her puppy pen and don't give her attention for a few minutes.

We don't often have to tell her off like this but I was just wondering if such a reaction is normal or if we should be handling behaviour like this differently.

2 Answers 2


"Upset" may be the wrong word. But you may be sending your puppy confusing messages!
Ideally, you want her to LIKE her pen. Imagine if she disliked it, and you put her into it because you need her to stay out of the way because you are moving heavy things around, or just cannot keep a close enough eye on her because you are busy with something. Putting her somewhere she doesn't like for these occasions would certainly not be good.
So, take the idea situation that she really likes her pen. Then she snaps at you, you give her the "no!", trying to correct her behaviour, and if she does not follow the correction, you put her into a place she likes to be in! So, no you will not upset her, but you will potentially reinforce a behaviour you do not want; teaching her that if she keeps the snapping up, she gets to be in her pen. THAT you do not want.
So, you would be better of to correct her until she does what you expect, then reward her.

On a sidenote, you seem unsure about the reason for her barking as well. If it worries you, try to work out what she is really signalling. And if it is a warning make sure you correct any aggressive behaviour, but NOT the barking BEFORE being aggressive. But at puppy-age, chances are it is just excitement, so try to work it out, but don't worry TOO much :).


One strategy people have used with success is "trading up." Offer your dog a much better thing than what she has, such as a high-value treat. She will open her mouth to get the better thing. If you do it right, your dog will find things and bring them to you just to trade. The ideal is to teach the dog what you want rather than trying to stop her from doing what you don't want. It's kind of like if someone tells you not to think of pink elephants. You may want to do what they ask, but you're going to think of pink elephants. If they tell you to think of blue monkeys, you won't be thinking of pink elephants anyway.

This video is a great example of how you can get a dog who refuses to give up something she shouldn't have by "telling her off" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yzqs54qMgQA.

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