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Just had to vent a little. I am getting so frustrated with the play biting. Toby is going on 12 weeks now and it hasn't been getting any better. When he is awake he is biting at us. I can't even pet him. He has lots of toys and I try to use them for playtime but he is only interested in biting me - not the toys. I yell no, I yelp, I get up off the floor and ignore him but nothing seems to work. The ignoring did for a little bit but now he immediately goes to the door to be let outside which means I can't ignore him anymore. I'm also having a hard time not comparing him to our last basset Ceasar who we lost to cancer at 4.5 years old. I've caught myself even calling him Ceasar. So I'm sure some of the frustration is that I still miss my cuddly baby Ceasar.
 

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I hope Mikey T doesn't mind, but I copied and pasted his reply to a similiar post in December about puppies biting. He always comes up with the best sites and information. I hope this will help a little with Toby. Also just type in "Biting" in the search portion of the grey bar at the top of the page. You will find lots of other info on biting that has bee posted here.
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QUOTE(Tim Pourciau @ Dec 21 2006, 01:43 AM)

Coltrane is 11 weeks old now and still has a problem with biting us. He is not trying to attack us. When he wants to play, he'll get close to you and start barking. When we try to pet him, he starts biting at us. we tell him no, give him something to bite, yelp if he bit too hard. I have taken the approach of leaving the room and ignoring him for a while until he calms down. All of these tactics work for a little while, but he gets right back at it. I know it'll just take paitence and time for this to stop, but it is aggravating.




Now for the bad news just about the time the puppy mouthing stage ends the puppy teething stage begins


To help speed up the puppy knowledge of appropriate and inapproriate things to chew/mouth you might want to consider adding "tug-of-war" to your play. Given what the vet has told you in the past you have probably heard "tug-of War" created dominance issues in dogs. Nothing could be further from the truth
I highly recommend the following article from the San Francisco SPCA on Tug-of-War

QUOTE
Dog owners have been admonished for decades to never play tug of war with their dogs because of the risk of it increasing aggression and/or dominance in the dog. Even many dog resource people such as breeders, trainers and veterinarians caution against this game. This is partly a failure to discriminate between agonistic behavior (conflict resolution & defensive aggression) and predatory behavior. Also, many people have issues about witnessing intensity. Intensity is not aggression, however.

Played with rules, tug-of-war is a tremendous predatory energy burner and good exercise for both dog and owner. It serves as a barometer of the kind of control you have over the dog, most importantly over his jaws. The game doesn't make the dog a predator: he already is one. The game is an outlet. It’s intense, increases dog focus and confidence and plugs into something very deep inside them. The big payoff is in lowered incidence of behavior problems due to understimulation and a potent motivator for snappy obedience. There is a maxim in training: control the games, control the dog. It's also extremely efficient in terms of space and time requirements.

and later on in a section by Ian Dunbar


QUOTE
Firstly, games are good exercise for dogs and owners – good physical exercise and good mental exercise. Also, games are fun for dogs and owners. As soon as the dog learns the two of them can have fun together, he begins to focus his attention on the owner, rather than always looking to other dogs for enjoyment and amusement. Similarly, the owners learn they can actually have fun with their dog (a sad realization, believe it or not but many owners have to be taught how to have fun with their dogs. In fact, someone has even written an entire book on this topic). Suggesting and describing games is one of the best ways to motivate owners to train their dogs - games, and of course, which have been intricately integrated with basic obedience skills.

A number of trainers have designed entire obedience programs around game-playing, following the maxim - control the games and you control the dog. Indeed, there is nothing like a controlled game of tag to give moribund recalls a spark. Similarly, the dog's favorite tug o' war toy is an ideal lure for teaching sighthounds to come, sit and heel, for teaching terriers anything (and everything), or for re-motivating moose-like dogs and getting them to enjoy obedience and enthusiastically perform with verve and vigor.
The above advantages are really no more than attractive fringe benefits, however, when compared with the primary reasons for playing tag and tug o' war and roughhousing with dogs. When played according to the rules, these games:

1. increase the level of control owners have over their dogs, specifically proofing control at times when the dogs are excited and worked-up and

2. motivate, build confidence and make the dog less aggressive, specifically improving and maintaining his bite inhibition.
 

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When he is awake he is biting at us. I can't even pet him. He has lots of toys and I try to use them for playtime but he is only interested in biting me - not the toys. I yell no, I yelp, I get up off the floor and ignore him but nothing seems to work. The ignoring did for a little bit but now he immediately goes to the door to be let outside which means I can't ignore him anymore.[/b]
My Moe had a biting problem when we adopted him years ago. Our situation was a little different from yours, in that Moe was estimated to be seven to nine months old when we came accross him in a shelter. But, like you, I couldn't even pet him and he was severely bruising myself and my eight year old son. Any touch resulted in biting. He wasn't attacking us or fear biting... he seemed good-natured enough when he bit. We reluctantly lived with it for three weeks, unsure of how to correct him, while he recovered from kennel-cough and recieved his shots. When he was well enough, we took him to see a trainer who worked with the shelter to help new dog-owners overcome problems with thier newly rescued dogs so they could successfully stay in thier new homes. Careful evaluation revealed Moe's biting to be a form of domination over us, and he had never learned bite-inhibition. She taught us how to correct his domination problem, (which I can't share with you, as this type of problem needs to be evaluated by a professional before proceeding with any type of treatment).

From the trainer, and also from this board, I learned some tips for teaching him not to bite, which I'll share happily with you. I used them all, at different times - I think I was afraid that if Moe got used to any one trick it wouldn't work anymore. :blink:

1) Bitter Apple Spray. Initially, it was my best friend and constant compaion. I sprayed everything he bit... my hands, my legs, my arms, my feet. (Later I used it to keep him from destroying things I couldn't pit away... chair legs, table legs, the couch, rugs, or anything he took a fancy to chew.) If he even LOOKED like he'd bite, either me or something he shouldn't, I took the bottle and gave a squirt in his direction (not towards his eyes, but towards and below his mouth - so that he could smell it and maybe even taste it, but not so's it would get in his eyes or nose - the idea is to discourage him, not hurt him). Eventually it got so that all I had to do was show him the bottle (empty by then) and say "NO, MOE, NO!". He'd look at the bottle and stop what he was doing.

2) An empty coke can with 5-10 pennies in it is a great inexpensive tool that works wonders. When tossed near a naughty dog it makes a startlingly LOUD noise that startles them out of misbehaving. You need to toss it near the dog, not AT the dog, and you shouldn't let him see you toss it. They need to think the noise is a reaction caused by what they were doing so that they don't want to do it anymore. I used to put six kids on the bus in the morning in addition to my own. Even after Moe got better about biting the bad habit came out again if he got too excited and having many kids to play with in the morning was exciting. Of all the tricks we used to discourage biting , the kids liked the coke can the best. They kept the coke can nearby when they played and learned when to toss it and when not to. He NEVER hurt one of the visiting kids. We adopted Moe in the month of July, and by the time school started we knew all the tricks and we taught the kids how and when to use them.

3) Ingnore him. (This one you already know.) When he bites, sternly - even loudly - say "NO BITE!!!" and then turn your back to him. Moe would try to get in front of me to get me to lok at him. I'd keep turing so that no matter what I did my back was to him. I did not acknowledge him in any way. Eventually he'd go lay down, with a moan.

4) If your dog has a biting habit, do not play rough-play games or games like tug-o-war with him. To this day, eight years later, Moe will STILL bite when overly excited, and games like tug-o-war get him VERY excited. You can play fetch till the cows come home - it's Moe's favorite game - and it's a 'safe' game. Moe never plays REAL fetch - he won't release what he fetches - but he loves to be chased once he's got the ball, so I chase him for a bit. When he stops I don't try to pull the ball from his mouth - that would be like tug-o-war. He knows I won't throw again till he drops the ball (or toy, or stick) at my feet so I can pick it up. In the winter "catching" snowballs is a favorite game, too, even though the balls disintegrate when he bites down on them. It's fun and safe, because I don't have to get the ball from him.

Lastly, have patience, patience, PATIENCE. It amazes me still that Moe can do a bad behavior just once and it's 'learned', but it takes three months to 'un-learn' it, with a LOT of work on my part. <_< It will take time to change his behavior but persistance and patience will get you, and Toby, through it. It took three months to stop Moe from diminating us by biting. It took about that long to 'control' his other type of biting, but it was closer to two years before I could throw away his empty Bitter Apple bottle. He was probably four when I tossed out his coke can, pennies and all - it was dust-covered from not being used. I still have to ignore him on occasion, but it's not for biting... these days his main interests are finding ways to get food and keeping people off 'his' spot on the couch. I ignore him if he insists it's cookie-time when it's not. :lol:

These are the things that worked for us with Moe. Our trainer also recommended nuetering ASAP because that could help biting problems, too. And, like our vet told us, if you've never had 'ice cream' you'll never miss it, if you know what I mean. ;) I'm sure there are tricks that others used that helped them. All things don't work for all dogs and thier people... you have to find what works for you. Be patient, keep your sense of humor, and don't be discouraged. Whatever tricks you use, give them enough time to work. With persistence and patience eventually you'll be able to pet Toby and snuggle with him without him trying to bite you. Good luck to you both.
 

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Oh, yes, and these two things...

Training - we used clicker triaining. Dogs like to do things with people and training exercises are like games. Clicker training is so easy that a child can do it. My son used to love 'training' Moe when he was only eight years old. You can search for how to do this type of training on-line and I know Petco sells the clickers cheap.

Also, a tired dog is a GOOD dog. Lots of exercise will leave him too tired to misbehave.
 

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I can assure you it will end after he's lost
his puppy teeth - you just have to survive
until then. My arms were full of scratches
after Emma's very sharp teeth. <_<

Yelping should really help, since that's what
siblings and mother will do to warn it's too
much.
 

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My Lily too has this problem (at the wonderful age of almost 3). I am going to try some of the above tricks too.

~Heather
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks so much for the responses. We've already got the apple bitter spray to stop him from chewing other things, never really thought to spray myself. I will give it a try. Tug of war doesn't really work since he slowed moves up the toy to get at my hand. Anyway, I'm sure it is a puppy stage too I was just having a particularly frustrating day.
 

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Thanks so much for the responses. We've already got the apple bitter spray to stop him from chewing other things, never really thought to spray myself. I will give it a try. Tug of war doesn't really work since he slowed moves up the toy to get at my hand. Anyway, I'm sure it is a puppy stage too I was just having a particularly frustrating day.[/b]
Don't get discouraged and don't give up. When you finally overcome the problem it is well worth the wait. It takes time. I used to be very bummed out that, though I finally had a Basset Hound (a dog I'd longed for since high school when I met my first one) I couldn't even pet him without him biting me. How I longed to pet his silky soft head, long beautiful ears, and his soft furry neck. The only caressing I could do without getting bit was belly-rubs. Sometimes the best things in life are the ones we waited for and worked hardest for. For me, Moe was like that. He bit, he took close to a year to housetrain, and for over two years he destroyed anything and everything within his reach. But, when the training finally paid off and he finally settled down, I loved him all the more. Having to work so close with him for so long created a bond with him that I've never had with any other pet I've ever had. We've had many but none has ever been as loved as Moe is...

Keep it up, don't give up, and we'll give you all the encouragement and help that we can.
 

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I yell no, I yelp, I get up off the floor and ignore him but nothing seems to work. The ignoring did for a little bit but now he immediately goes to the door to be let outside which means I can't ignore him anymore.[/b]

In the word of Susan Garrett there is no more powerful motivator for a trainer than fustration. Use it to make things better.

1. what about a crate?

2. "he immediately goes to the door to be let outside which means I can't ignore him anymore." why? So the dog is training the human instead. There are two ways to ignore the dog leave the dog, or cause the dog to leave you or have thge dog leave you. While the first is the easiest to accomplish it is not without risk leave a puppy unsupervised can mean a lot of mischief. The second many find hard to do confining the dog in a space it can not get in to trouble such as a crate or a small puppy proofed room, like a bathroom. For a crate to be used succsessfully without causing fear and other raminfications to the crate down the road a lot of good things need to be asscoiated with the crate ahead of time which is not usually the case with a young pup. If a pup doen't feel oblicated to join me Each time I need to use the toilet, I don't find that necessarily a bad thing ;)

3. For many turning the concept of Ignoring on its head works better. Rather than thinking of punishing the pup for biting Reward the behavior. Just don't reward the behavior with something the dog wants. Dog bites hard Yippee it get to spend time by himself in his "special room" see "You Won the Prize!"

4. For many espcial children Yelping does not work for the following reason they continue to engage with the puppy. The puppy bite the yelp and try to push the puppy away . Naturally it comes back bite more and more the more animate the child get it is a natural puppy reaction. If however the child yelp but then becomes motionless untill the puppy calms down things generally get better. it usually only takes a few seconds. It mimic how puppies play, in the litter. Contininued motion activity etc. signify the yelp, vocalization, bark grow was all in fun and play, ending or stoping motion, pla indicate the vocaliztion was serious.

5. Keep in mind you want to teach bite inhibtion not "no bite" this means at first teach no painful bites, Then no bite, and finely no mouthing. You want to teach the dog to control his mouth not simply not to bite. See: Bite inhibition - How to teach it

6. when getting fustrated with puppies I often refer back to this article IT TAKES A PACK TO RAISE A PUPPY

other useful l articles/links

FAQ Forum - Help with Puppy Chewing and Nipping Links

Insights Into Puppy Mouthing
And about the yelping out in pain technique. I hate when people suggest this as if it is the Holy Grail of stopping mouthing. It totally depends on why the dog is nipping, how you yelp and how they respond to the yelping. With some dogs this idea alone can stop nipping and play biting in its tracks. But as you have discovered there are other dogs who are simply more triggered by the response. And you actually escalate the intensity of the behavior.

We can't ever just say if a dog is doing X behavior that a handler should always do Y handling technique. It just never is that black and white.

Its all about probabilities. If a dog does X behavior and the response is Y technique than we can often say there is a high probability of a particular response happening with most dogs. There are some fundamental things that are very high probability that apply to many dogs that do nothing or get a completely opposite response from other dogs.

Run away there is a good chance the average dog will follow or chase. Squat down or make little cooing noises then the probability is high they will come closer. But you must always take into account the dog's personality, relationship, situation, current emotional and mental state, temperament and history.

Run away from another dog and them may take you down with a bite in the butt. Squat down for and make cooing sounds with an abused fear biter and you may loose your nose.

It looks complicated when plotting it out but in general people have a much better feel for what the dog's probabilities for certain things are then they do in applying that knowledge to specific situations.

90% of the time if I clearly define something for owners and ask what their dog will likely do, they have a wonderfully detailed knowledge of what their dog will probably do. But most people don't look at the perimeters objectively or with clarity and worse they fall into a pattern of waiting until the dog has done the thing they don't want that they knew was probably going to happen. They then respond to what the dog did even though they could have predicted the Undesired response a week ahead of time.[/b]
 
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