Author Topic: Biting puppy  (Read 1786 times)

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Offline PaulaO

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Biting puppy
« on: December 28, 2016, 04:36:49 PM »
Quinn (11wk Rottie) is intelligent but dang, her biting has got to stop.

Tell her No, and you might as well coat it with canned cat food and say have at it.
Take her away from it or do anything that she doesn't want to do (mostly being restrained or held) and she turns into demon dog.
That's 95% of the time when she is biting. The other is when she is playing and grabs my shirt sleeve or pants leg but gets skin too.

Some of it seems to be linked to being tired or overstimulated. But some days, like today, my god, she is nothing but teeth.

I put her in time out (the larger living room crate) if she gets to be too much and even redirecting isn't working. Mostly the time out is to calm me down as well as to remove her from the situation and stop the cycle. 75% of the time, she whines for a few minutes or less then naps. The rest of the time she works herself up into a frenzy. When she does that, I wait for a brief pause of silence then let her out.

I've grabbed her muzzle and shook it, saying "no bite".
I've grabbed her by the back of the neck and said the same thing.
Sometimes they work and she is easily redirected. Other times she turns into a snarling demon.

She can take a treat from my hand. We are working on the Zen level from Susan Ailsby and she leaves it alone for up to 5 seconds when it is in the open palm here in the office but we're still at the closed fist for treats elsewhere in the house. She can chew my fingers and not hurt at all. She'll let me go into her mouth for things she's not supposed to have and not bite me. But lawd help if I try to make her stop doing something she wants to do.

What can I do to calm this Diva down?
Joella. SD, Rottweiler - 8/00 - 12/9/12
Quinn, potential, Rottweiler - 10/9/16
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Online Ariel

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Re: Biting puppy
« Reply #1 on: December 28, 2016, 04:42:33 PM »
I am not a professional trainer so my suggestion may be useless. For nippy puppy teeth I taught a strong "Out" early on. "Out" is our "drop/spit that out right now". In Jubilee's specific case it brought mouth awareness, though she didn't intentionally nip/bite, she just didn't realize she'd leave her mouth open and lick everything including hands and get her teeth caught on it. We worked on playing with her toys and I'd hold it still and tell her "Out" and the second she took her mouth off I'd praise and play with her again. So in application of skin, If I felt a tooth touch me I'd tell her "Out" and she'd do this funny thing where she'd roll her tongue trying to spit my hand or arm or finger or whatever out of her mouth several seconds after she'd already backed up. Then I could work with her again on what I actually wanted. It worked well and that gave a nice buffer for a second or two to reboot and try again. I'm not sure if that would be equally successful if your puppy is chewing and mouthing intentionally.
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Offline mommagrizzly

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Re: Biting puppy
« Reply #2 on: December 28, 2016, 04:44:30 PM »
Is she getting enough physical and mental exercise?
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Offline Kirsten

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Re: Biting puppy
« Reply #3 on: December 28, 2016, 05:16:09 PM »
Restraint is one of the things you test for in a temperament test because there will come a few times in a puppy's or dog's life when you'll have to impose your will over their objections and they're going to have to accept it.  For example, they have to accept restraint when they are ill or injured and receiving veterinary care, when they are getting nail trims, baths or grooming, and when they are trying to get into something that could hurt them (such as a dog fight or chicken bones).

So step one is to work through the restraint issue because you need to not allow her to bite that way and that is going to require restraint when she tries to do it anyway.  The dog's leader has a right to control her body and her mouth.  If she does not accept you having this right then she does not accept you as her leader and you're going to have a problem controlling the dog.  How exactly you fix this depends on the individual puppy.  I'd start by talking to her breeder.  The breeder should well know the pup's temperament, resilience and what methods she is most likely to respond to.  With some dogs force may be necessary and with others that force could destroy your relationship.  So first things first, talk to the breeder.

If the breeder approves, you could start working on IDE (Individual Daily Exam).
http://servicedogcentral.org/content/IDE

A pup with poor bite inhibition generally has not spent sufficient time with her mother and siblings.  It is a poor substitute but better than a human she's not listening to to put her in a play group of similar size and age puppies.  So the other thing she needs badly is a puppy kindergarten class that includes supervised play (supervised by an expert trainer who will intervene if things get out of hand).  Or if the breeder is nearby, see if you can arrange some visits with her own mother who will not tolerate being mauled but also should have sufficient restraint not to injure pup while disciplining her.

Tardis tossed fits about baths, nail trims and brushing.  He was fine with bite inhibition and tooth brushing from day one but was wriggly and vocal in his objections.  Baths, nail trims and brushing (for a long haired dog prone to mats) are necessary for the puppy's wellbeing.  So he wasn't given an option to refuse.  I used firm but gentle restraint and carried on with what needed to be done.  I used two people when necessary to keep him safe and secure.  Lindsay and I both had to get into the tub with him for his first ever bath.  I've never seen a 10 week old puppy toss such a fit.  But he got his bath anyway, without injury to him or to us and fun playtime to follow up while towel drying him.  I guilted the breeder into doing the nail trim so it wouldn't be multiple battles with me, his new person, all at once.  We're since practiced restraint enough on his back, on his side, in a muzzle, in a cone, with his head tucked under my arm, with my hand holding his mouth closed, that when I restrain him he relaxes and I can clean ears, trim nails, brush teeth, clip fur from between nails, de-snarl mats, treat minor injuries or restrain him for the vet.  I don't do it to bully.  He knows/accepts that if I restrain him it is necessary and my heart is right because I remain utterly calm and loving while being insistent.
« Last Edit: December 28, 2016, 05:18:57 PM by Kirsten »
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Offline PaulaO

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Re: Biting puppy
« Reply #4 on: December 28, 2016, 05:41:05 PM »
Yes, she is learning "Drop" and she is grasping that quickly. We work with tug toys during play and anything she has in her mouth (like our pants leg).

Mental exercise probably not. I am physically disabled and have been going through some downs with my depression. Mostly because I feel like I am failing her. We have 3 other dogs and two of them play with her. One loves to, the other plays keep away with whatever he has. So physically she getting a good workout several times a day. Mentally though...I try to rotate her toys so she gets different things every day. We play hide-and-seek with them. I try to train on something at least once a day. I got her sitting for everything she gets a way to curb her impulses.

She does let me examine her feet, teeth, ears. She lets me rub her belly during play. She'll let me hold her but only upright. She has always been mouthy and I've gotten her bite inhibition much better than it was. Her breeder is semi-famous in this area for knowing Rottweilers and produces a good, sound line. The only thing I had concerned about was she was sending the pups home at 7 weeks. I should have pushed to have mine stay there longer and considered it but timing and days off didn't work in our favor.

I can lay her on her back and rub her belly, feel her feet, and her ears. I can even check her teeth most of the time. We work on that every other day or so using clicker and treats.

So when she gets all biting when being held, just keep holding her? I keep her back to me when she is doing this in order to protect my face. She bit my cheek once so I started turning her around. I need falconry gloves.

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Quinn, potential, Rottweiler - 10/9/16
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Offline Kirsten

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Re: Biting puppy
« Reply #5 on: December 28, 2016, 06:11:38 PM »
You have two choices, either you teach her bite inhibition (to always use gentle pressure) or you teach her bite prohibition (to never put teeth on human flesh).  In either case you decide what you are going to allow and then don't allow anything else.  How you are going to prevent her from gnawing on you depends on your ability to restrain her and enforce your will.  If I could see you and the puppy together in real life, if I could interact with you while this was going on, I could coach you through it.  But I can't.  I can't see your dog to read her in real time.  You need a local trainer who is good at reading puppies, ie a good puppy kindergarten instructor.

Seven weeks is too young to send a pup home.  I could have had Tardis at 8 weeks, but arranged for him to stay an extra two weeks because I knew the adult dogs I was bringing him home to were not as good examples as the dogs he was interacting with at his breeder's home. 

Look for an all-breed trainer or one with lots of experience with working breeds (rotties, dobes, sheps).  Because techniques that work well with toy breeds and labs won't necessarily work for a harder headed breed.
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Offline PaulaO

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Re: Biting puppy
« Reply #6 on: December 30, 2016, 10:47:08 PM »
I've been keeping treats open and easily available on my desk. Whenever she is quietly playing on the floor, I toss her a treat. When I tell her DROP and she does, she gets a treat. Whenever she is doing anything calmly, she gets randomly tossed a treat. This has resulted in her being more attentive to what I am doing and she leaves things alone faster, eager for that treat. I also got some "No Hide Beef Stix" for her to chew on. It can take her a long time to finish one. As strong as she is, she can't dent the bully sticks we have for our larger dogs so these are perfect for her. I'm going chew hunting tomorrow to see what else I can find to occupy that mouth.

She was obsessed with her nubbin a few days ago and while at the vet's today for another issue, I asked them to make sure there was nothing wrong with it. They shaved it and removed the EMT I had put on to help with the raw spot she'd made. It looks like she sat on something or got bit by something. But it is healing just fine. And no, it is not the reason she goes Demon Dog when I pick her up. Our vet is having a fun time watching usually confident me get all frustrated with this puppy. And while they were working on Quinn at the vet's office? Not a single growl or nip or anything. She didn't like them messing with her nub but she didn't turn Demon Dog on them.

An owner of one of her siblings contacted me via Facebook. This is her 3rd or 4th Rottweiler and while she is used to the mouthy stage, she was wondering if anyone else was having problems with the extreme of it. She was relieved that I am too and has been a big help today. My depression really has kicked in (down?) since I feel as if I am somehow failing this pup. She feels it is probably an inherited energy level from the parents (it was the sire's first litter) or the fact they were born right after a hurricane. We're not sure. But her male is just as nippy as my Quinn. She has him on a schedule and gives him loud toys to play/chew with.

Both pups are starting puppy classes at the same time so we're eager to see how it goes. She's in PA and I'm in NC though.
Joella. SD, Rottweiler - 8/00 - 12/9/12
Quinn, potential, Rottweiler - 10/9/16
Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, Hypermobility Type

Offline Candy3

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Re: Biting puppy
« Reply #7 on: March 19, 2017, 01:30:25 PM »
I tried all sorts of techniques, and none of them stopped my little nipper from running his razor-like teeth on my ankles. Totally annoyed, I Googled it and finally found something that worked for me. At first, I thought it was inhumane, but realized that it doesn't hurt the puppy at all. According to the article, it is based on how mother dogs discipline their puppies. When puppy nips, take the back of his scruff and give it a quick, firm shake and say "No!" It only took two times, and he never nipped anyone again.


Offline Kirsten

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Re: Biting puppy
« Reply #8 on: March 19, 2017, 03:04:05 PM »
That's not how mother dogs discipline their puppies.  I've been around a lot of bitches with puppies and never once seen them do that.  That's what they do to prey, not puppies.  Moms discipline their puppies by pinning them to the ground, usually with a paw, but sometimes with a very gentle mouth.  They never shake.
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Offline ember

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Re: Biting puppy
« Reply #9 on: March 19, 2017, 03:21:54 PM »
I decided to go with bite inhibition because Max played very roughly with our Boxer female, who has a great mothering instinct and taught him to be very gentle with his mouthing. With a dog that had a problem with biting already, I would go with bite prohibition, but that's just my thinking.

Offline Candy3

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Re: Biting puppy
« Reply #10 on: March 19, 2017, 07:36:35 PM »
That's not how mother dogs discipline their puppies.  I've been around a lot of bitches with puppies and never once seen them do that.  That's what they do to prey, not puppies.  Moms discipline their puppies by pinning them to the ground, usually with a paw, but sometimes with a very gentle mouth.  They never shake.

Well, that's good to know. I guess the author was making that stuff up. But, it did work, though. You don't shake them like prey. You don't lift them off the ground or anything like that. It's not a violent shake at all. It's just a quick, little shake of the skin on the ruff only, to draw their attention. Nothing else on them should shake or move. Not their head or body or anything else, just the skin on the ruff. Not trying to break their neck or hurt them or anything.


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Re: Biting puppy
« Reply #11 on: March 21, 2017, 12:09:00 AM »
Candy, I've seen that kind of firm reprimand depicted and described in the Monks of New Skete book "How to be Your Dog's Best Friend" as well as a swift "jab" under the chin for severe infractions. I personally wouldn't use those kinds of corrections on a dog that wasn't endangered by his behavior and hard enough to take it, but from my experience most puppies take scruffing incredibly well as long as you're calm and not literally shaking them.

Paula, I don't want to be "that person" but the reason multiple owners are having issues with your litter and nippiness could very well be the fact that they were sent home before they had a chance to fully grasp bite inhibition.

Either way you're not failing your girl. She's being hard headed and challenging but what puppy isn't? Tackling the problem head on and being blunt about the issues you're having is the best service you can do for your puppy right now. You've gotten a lot of good advice here.

Have you tried puzzle toys like treat towers and treat balls? They make some you shove food into crevices in and they have to gnaw like hades to get the food out, perhaps that would help stimulate her mentally and exercise that jaw. A snuffle mat may also help stimulate her noggin, at this age she needs all the activity she can get.
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Offline Candy3

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Re: Biting puppy
« Reply #12 on: March 21, 2017, 09:32:09 AM »
Summertime, I've never heard of that book before, but perhaps there has been a huge misunderstanding, and I wish to attempt to clarify because I wouldn't want people to think that that sort of treatment is condoned.

I read a small article, not a book. I don't remember who wrote it. I did not do it how the writer suggested, but in a way, way, way toned down and gentle modified version. I want to make it clear to readers, that what I used was not an an actual shake, as the writer described, but more of a short, little wiggle. The kind that has a loving, gentle, but firm touch. (I am always super gentle with my puppy.)

I apologize for using the writer's original terms to describe it.  I hope this clarifies it better.

Offline Moonsong

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Re: Biting puppy
« Reply #13 on: March 21, 2017, 11:05:02 AM »
I honestly don't know if this will help your hard-headed dog or not; it may just make them more excited, but this is what I did with Max (we received Max too young for my liking, so I did this immediately before the biting had a chance to become a problem): every time he bit me, I cried out like a dog and, in a voice similar to a dog crying said "You bit me, you hurt me, you hurt me". And then immediately followed up with a very firm, growl-like "No. No biting". The cry of pain told him that he had hurt me, which he didn't mean to do, and then the reprimand told him that it was unacceptable. Each dog is different, though. With some, I imagine that this method would only further excite them. Max needed the reprimand + cry for it to work. For my friend's german shepherd/husky/mystery mix I only cried out and she was all over me apologizing and freaking out that she had 'hurt' me.

I also agree that whether you use a forceful correction should depend on the dog's sensitivity. With my oldest dog, I can yank and yank on him and he'll barely even notice (yanking is an exaggeration to make a point). Max does well with a physical correction. With my middle dog, I can't use physical corrections at all because he is so sensitive.


Also, when you say that your dog turns into a demon dog if she doesn't get what she wants, it sounds to me like you might be giving in, or you haven't tried this long enough. I may be wrong, but my opinion is that if a dog doesn't get what it wants over and over again and then is rewarded for doing what it should over and over again you have two strong reinforcers for stopping a bad behavior and performing a good one. This will lead to the bad behavior going through 'extinction' (meaning that they stop doing it because it is no longer rewarding for them). For example, if she bites and you give her the drop it command and she does it; reward like crazy. Give her some lunchmeat for that. If she continues, though, free yourself from her and simply leave the room or somehow make yourself inaccessible for a few minutes. This tells her "not biting gives me HUGE rewards, and biting doesn't get me what I want."

It would also help to do specific training sessions for this. Take her out on a nice, looong, walk. Tire her out. Then, sit down with her and give her opportunities to bite you (but don't encourage her to). If she bites, correct and redirect, then reward HEAVILY if she redirects successfully (even if it's just letting go of you). If she doesn't bite, reward.
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Offline Kirsten

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Re: Biting puppy
« Reply #14 on: March 21, 2017, 06:17:29 PM »
The best place for pup to learn bite inhibition is from his own mother (as he accidentally perforates her while nursing, as well as during play with his mother) and with his littermates during play.

So if a pup was removed from the litter before getting at least a basic grasp on the concept (making it difficult to penetrate his head with it in his new home) I'd go for remedial bite inhibition training through a good puppy kindergarten class where pups are allowed to play and socialize together under the supervision of a skilled trainer/instructor who will intervene if necessary and do subtle things to guide the pups into discovering what they need to learn on their own terms.  Like puppy montisori.  I've helped out with puppy K classes so have some inkling of what is going on that class members might not notice, things like choosing which puppies are appropriate to play with each other and breaking them down into appropriate play groups based on size, age, activity level and personality so that nobody gets overwhelmed or into a situation he isn't ready to handle.

From puppy kindergarten class individual human participants can observe how their puppy interfaces with others and choose playmates that he plays well with in school to arrange play dates with for further socialization outside of class.

A pup who has gotten the foundation from his litter will generally respond appropriately when you yelp to indicate he has hurt you.  Tardis was a hard headed little heathen but he did understand that.  He also came to me with an already soft mouth that I just needed to transfer into being soft on human flesh as well by convincing him that bare naked human flesh was even more delicate than puppy ears.*

If you have a particularly difficult pup to get through to, I suggest consulting with his own breeder (or another breeder of the same breed) or with a trainer who specializes or has significant experience with that breed.  There are things I would do to certain GSD pups that I will not recommend doing simply because I know the breed very very well and know what I can do without harm and where that line is.  With other breeds, I need to be more conservative because I know them less intimately.  What I can say is that if you approach the right trainer, one who is qualified to work with a puppy like yours, they can coach you through this.  They can give you specific exercises tailored to your pup that will work.  But they have to work with the puppy in person, not over the phone or internet.  You'll know you've found one when pup stops biting them without resentment or fear.

* I say puppy ears not because I tweeked his ears, but because that's how I first met him, when I heard a blood curdling scream from the puppy room and thought some puppy had gotten his mouth stuck in the puppy pen bars and ran to pup's rescue to discover baby Tardis being dragged by the ear across the floor of the puppy pen by his sister Josie.  I think had she dragged him by a leg or a tail he would have thought it all jolly good fun, but not his ear.
« Last Edit: March 21, 2017, 06:21:34 PM by Kirsten »
Kirsten and Tardis
In loving memory of Cole (1/11/99 - 6/26/12)  He gave me back my life.

"The one absolute, unselfish friend that man can have in this selfish world -- the one that never proves ungrateful or treacherous -- is his dog." -George G. Vest