The first thing we need to look at is understanding the breed, what are they bred for? German Shepherd is genetically hardwired to ORIENT->>eye->>stalk->>chase->>(Nip)
They are like a big collie, they herd things and act as a mobile fence around sheep. Their critical period of development is between 4 and 18 weeks during which time the brain volume increases to 80% of its adult size.
If they are socialised and trained well with people during this period they train easily to enjoy practicing this skill appropriately with their family. If they are able to practice their natural herding, retrieving scenting behaviour through games using toys, balls, tuggy toys of retrieve and hunting they will have what is termed a good temperament, with no behavioural issues – their emotional state will be good.
If those skills are not shaped properly ie in an acceptable way they will develop poor social relations, but would still practice the inherent motor patterns.
We need to teach your puppy to chase and play appropriately with games and toys that can be advised on here.
Most importantly your pup is practicing his skills with the children, for him its all fun and he doesn’t realise that it is not right. If you get cross, and upset the pup will become confused and miserable and still practice it when you are not around.
So we have to reward what we DO want your puppy to do.
Firstly, you must not allow the puppy to practice chasing the children, so whilst you are teaching a new behaviour you must manage them both. Children away puppy out to play, puppy away children out to play. This is essential to stop the cycle.
Yes , your puppy is like a rough toddler, and it doesn’t speak your language yet!
We want puppy to sit quietly in a crate or on a mat whilst the children are playing. A tall order for a young puppy but one that is completely teachable and an essential life skill.
Use stuffed Kongs, teaching that the crate is a good place to be.
Game of choice /crate games combined.
This puppy was chasing the cat and the children
This teaches impulse control, ie “you can’t have that, but you can have this (high value reward) instead!”
This is a must for your sanity and the puppy’s it’s not a place of punishment.