Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: Colorado Spings, CO
Roberts60, sorry to hijack your thread. I'll let this post be my last on it.
Kyleigh, thanks for your input. Let me clarify a bit now that I'm not typing on an iPad.
When Gunnar was with his litter, he was the biggest and was the most outgoing. I watched him when people came to visit the litter and he bit everyone. Potential owners and kids all let him act this way, why wouldn't they, he was a 7 week old pup. I didn't know any better either because my previous Lab was very mouthy but also very soft with her mouth. When we brought Gunnar home we were surprised at how much biting he did. He bit all of my family including my 4 year old son and all of us has blood drawn within the first week. Clearly my pup was not taught by the litter that biting was wrong. Instead he was taught by potential owners that biting is how you interact with people. I suspect that my pup is not the only one who learned this while still at the breeders.
So the issue was that Gunnar only knew how to interact with his teeth (not his mouth) just his teeth. AND he didn't know the name for the behavior so no verbal correction could be used. At that puppy stage of 11 weeks we came to an impass where training could not continue because all he did was bite. If he he was out of his crate or playpen he was looking for someone to bite. And his biting grew from playful nips (that still really hurt) to aggressive frustrated barking and hard biting. He was frustrated and you could tell. He didn't understand how to elicit praise from his people because he literally would bite 100% of the time when he was not eating or sleeping, and he had zero interest in toys being shoved in his mouth. Even food would not redirect him at that stage. This is the point where I rolled him. I had to do it 3 times over a 5 day period. And only for the correction of one behavior. I commanded "No Bite" and if he did not respond he was pinned just like his mom would have done. After I let him up if he bit again I delivered the same command and no compliance met the same response from me. It took a solid 5 minutes for him to get the message that first time. Not acting in anger, but firmly asserting my dominance. When that session ended I could tell that his feelings were hurt. He sulked and avoided me just like a child does after they've been corrected. This was the opportunity to let him know that he's loved and to invite him back into the pack. So I drew him back in and I re-established my love for him. Biting behavior was curbed for about 36 hours with that session and then it came back, so I did the same thing saying no bite, then rolling him for non-compliance, followed by his sulking and my drawing him back in. 2 days later we had our final session of the same thing.
Now at 13 weeks Gunnar knows what biting is, I can command "No Bite" and he stops. I have not had to roll him again, and I don't expect to need to because there is now a command for no biting. When biting turned from the playful experiencing of his surroundings to the aggressive acting out of dominance or frustration it took more than redirection to help my pup understand what good behavior is.
I realize why many people say this is a poor choice tools for training, and there are a lot of opportunities for the trainer to do wrong by the pup if they skip steps or act out in anger. I guess I just assume that people will do their homework and learn all the steps in this training process and do it correctly and not as a first response to every inappropriate behavior. And while Gunnar is just as high drive as he's ever been, he also has a much better understanding of how to act now.
Like I said earlier Roberts60, it gets better. And again, sorry for the hijack, but I think its silly to write off certain training tools just because they aren't the right tool for every pup. Evaluate your options and choose the right tool for the job at hand.