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Old 07-14-2010, 03:04 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Cool stop arm grabbing?

Kiai is one year old now.
We had problems with him jumping up and grabbing arms since he was big enough to reach an arm.
I've been asking questions about how to stop him from doing this rough play since he was a small puppy.
He has bite inhibition, so its not too bad, as long as I wear a leather jacket.
He seems to be improving and I think I understand more about him now.

I think he is dominant. At a dog park he will back off if a small dog barks at him, but if a big dog approaches him he gets into a stance with his tail up, and growls at the approaching dog. They usually back off. If not he chases them barking in their face, until they back off and stay away.

When he wants something he grabs my arm to get it.
Recently we were out at a concert. He was doing real good so I gave him some treats for following commands. I thought that would be a reward for being good. Instead he wanted more commands and more treats and started grabbing my arm to get them, so I had to put him back in the car.

He loves to be trained and keep getting treats.

I didn't teach him a "leave it" command.
What advice can you give on how to get him to stop the grabbing?
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Old 07-14-2010, 03:24 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Chrono used to do this with arms and hands when he was excited. If I caught him just before he was going to do it, I would shove a toy in his mouth for him to hold. That stopped him from being mouthy.

Unfortunately, that brought on another bad behavior. Now when he's excited, he races around the house trying to find something on the floor for him to put in his mouth. I haven't fixed this, but it's better than the biting.
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Old 07-14-2010, 03:27 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I think at this age I would probably issue a correction. It sounds like your dog is pushing you. It could be dominance or it could just be high spirits and pushiness.

In this video I am working with my 10 month old dog, and you can see there are several points where he goes to grab my arm. This is a combination of prey drive and high spirits. You can see he's excited, and probably not thinking as clearly as he could. Does this resemble what you see? I ignore him in the video, or maybe give him a verbal stop...but if it were to continue of get very bad I would probably give him a collar correction for doing it.

Or does your dog grab you more calmly to demand what he wants or to protest what you are doing? This is more serious. There are not many but there are some rank driven dogs out there that will challenge their people. If you think he's expressing domiance towards you, you probably need to step up NILIF and work on pack leadership.
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Old 07-14-2010, 03:28 PM   #4 (permalink)
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My dog is the same age and has the same problem, except with different triggers. With my dog, is bites if you grab his collar or try to take leashes on and off and stuff like that. I just sat and worked on grabbing his collar over and over again and would click and treat if he didn't bite or if he let go as soon as I protested. He still has his days and moments where he still jumps and grabs at my arms, but overall he's gotten much better. He used to get impatient if he didn't get treats on his terms and would bite just like you're describing, but over time he's learned what will and won't earn him a treat and doesn't do that as much.

Recently I've started to work with "leave it" and am using it with his biting, and it seems to be working. I'd definitely work on that with your dog - it couldn't hurt, and it can be used for other things even if it doesn't work for this particular situation. Plus if he likes being given a job to do and being rewarded, then "leaving" your arm would be a win-win situation.

Also, with my dog, ignoring his jumping and biting was better than addressing it. If I turned away from him or said anything like "No!" it only got him more wound up, so I just hold my ground and wait for him to realize that it's not effecting me and it won't get him what he wants. If he's really wound up and that doesn't work, I get the treats and clicker and do a few commands to get him to settle (because he knows he won't get the treats if he's being a spaz). That usually works with my dog, but every dog is different.

This is just a thought, I could be wrong, but your dog sounds bored to me. If he's bugging you to give him something to do (commands to follow and the treats), then maybe you should get him some of those toys that you can put treats in and it'll give him some mental exercise. That would be great for settings like that concert where he needs to be calm but stimulated.

Edit: I just watched the video in the post above mine, and my dog used to do the same thing whenever I would run. Sometimes he would decide he didn't like the leash and would turn around to chew on it and my hands. A correction on a prong collar has put a stop to that.

Last edited by Namara; 07-14-2010 at 03:35 PM.
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Old 07-14-2010, 06:00 PM   #5 (permalink)
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It's similar to the video, but I can't do it in a short sleeve shirt. I wear leather jacket. I would have bloody arms, sometimes even with the jacket. It's not a calm grab, as was asked. Do you think he is dominant? Also, I still use a nylon martingale type collar, that gives some choke.
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Old 07-14-2010, 10:31 PM   #6 (permalink)
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As Namara said you can ignore him. That means when he starts to grab your arm, immediately turn your back and at the same time fold your arms up or cross them out of reach. If he comes around to the front - just turn away from him - slowly walk away - if you have to go in another room. No contact - no treats. There is also a more direct approach (useful when he tries to grab your arm when you're out in public) when he grabs at your arms - say "no" "Sit" - grab his collar from behind and push him in that sit position - that way he can't get at your arms. When he has held the sit - then slowly release - have him hold the sit/stay - you will need to use the hand signal - and walk sideways away from him - you don't want to face him, as he'll just go for your arms again. When he has held his sit/stay then release him and praise/reward. It he goes for your arms again - repeat again. You need to make sure he holds that sit/stay so that he calms down. It will be more helpful if you used hand signals for your commands. After a while, you will notice when he is starting to get worked up - you can then put him on the sit/stay. My Sting rammed - right at the knees. That is what I did to train him out of it (both ignoring and the sit/stay) . After a while, to stop him, all I had to do was either turn my back or if he was running toward me - hold out my hand - palm down - the hand signal for sit and he would come up and sit "on a dime". Also play tug with him. So he can use his mouth and work out his prey drive. Remember he has to bite hard on tug and after a "hard battle" win tug. He sounds like a wonderful dog with a great drive. Good Luck!
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Old 07-15-2010, 05:38 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I can't just ignore him when he grabs my arm, because he can get worked up and start to pull hard.
I have been trying to get him to sit and then down to let go of my arm, and that works sometimes.
Part of the problem I have is that I don't want him to connect grabbing my arm with being told to sit and then get a reward. Thats often what he really wants, I think.
He can plan ahead and sometimes tries to initiate training or getting turned loose so he can grab my arm again.
When he his off leash he will sometimes walk off and sit, waiting for me to call him. He knows he will get a treat for that.
If I have to grab him and get him into a down, I have to hold his collar because he will fake it. He will do the down command, but wait for me to let go of the collar and then go back after my arms again.

So what do you think of the idea of finding a way to disconnect getting a treat from what looks like his plan to grab my arm, and get a treat for letting go and sitting. Thats why I was thinking of finding a way to use the "leave it" command in some way that would not reward him for grabbing my arm.

Any ideas on a strategy for that?
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Old 07-15-2010, 09:19 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Why do you have to "grab him and get him into a down"? Couldn't you teach him the "Down" command?

That would also be a good command for when he is jumping/biting also if you can get him trained well enough to do it under distraction.
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Old 07-15-2010, 09:20 PM   #9 (permalink)
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My dog still does this when she gets excited, and if excited enough, turning my back just results in bite bruises. What works is (if ignoring doesn't), gently reaching for her collar and holding her head arm's length away without saying anything. She may try again one more time after this but then will settle.
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Old 07-15-2010, 10:08 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Yes, like Runswithdogs says, I did this also with Sting when he would get all wound up at 10 months - I also looked away from him - no eye contact - no words. I had to get a firm grip on the collar or he would jerk free. Travistee, you are rightly concerned about the connection Kiai is making between grab arm - respond to sit -and get a treat. You'll want to break that cycle. You're on the right track - stop rewarding everytime with the treat - you can reward with praise. You can reward by throwing a ball. There are many ways. You may want to check out the training advice on http://leerburg.com/ - there is a method that is called "marker training" it is like clicker training. If there are obedience classes in your area, it would be good for you and Kiai to attend or if available to work privately with a trainer. Also you haven't mentioned how much exercise Kiai gets - that's important too as Kiai needs to work off his excess energy as one of the posts already has said. Also, he needs to be played with like tug and fetch (for Kiai use 2 balls - throw one, then with the other, toss it a bit to tease him, when he comes toward you with the one ball and drops it - that's when you throw the next one). Natural dog training has some great ideas - here's a link http://www.naturaldogtraining.com/.
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