Puppy will not stop hard biting hand and arms - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 51 (permalink) Old 02-13-2009, 12:33 PM Thread Starter
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Puppy will not stop hard biting hand and arms

I need some advice on how to stop my 16 week old from his extreme hard biting of hands and arms. I am not talking about the 90% of the dogs that can redirected to a toy or distracted by a training session right then but one that will not stop until he is able to bite enough to satisfy his desire. I am talking about a dog that behaves like this.

Dog gets it in his head that he wants to play by biting hands or grabbing sleeve and pulling for all he is worth.
A toy may buy you a few minutes but he will be back shortly.
If you do not allow him to bite he gives a puppy "C'mon let's play" bark.
If you continue to not allow him to bite he gives a serious "Stop being a jerk and let me bite!" bark and starts lunging and snapping. No toy or bone will distract him at this point.
If you continue to not allow biting then the frustration builds until he cannot take it any more and starts running around the house at full speed, knocking over tables and lamps. Depending on your mix of carpet and hardwoods he may end up hurting himself.
After a few minutes of crazy running and assuming he has not hurt himself, he finds a piece of furniture and begins to destroy it.
If you try to distract him from the furniture the biting starts all over again.

He gets exercise and many sessions of training per day. I know a tired dog is a good dog but nothing can wear him out. No amount of mental stimulation slows him down. Exercise, training and going out to public places for socializing just seem to increase his energy, not use it up. I could get him out of his crate at 3am and he will lay next to me and start chewing on my hand rather hard. If I attempt to disallow it then we go right through all the stages outlined above.

The only solution I have is to keep him in his crate most of the time except when training, exercising, or socializing. I am very frustrated that I have to do it and would prefer to be able to allow him out of his crate for most of the evening to be with us. I don't very much because I am just not in the mood to be a chew toy and deal with the bite fight that happens within 15 minutes of being let out. I want to raise a pet dog, not a working dog that only gets out of his kennel/crate when it is time to work. Does anyone that had such a dog have any suggestions that worked for them? Do I just have to wait until he grows out of it and gets his adult teeth? The trainers in the area are not much help because to them he is the perfect Schutzhund dog that won't need to be taught to bite.

Additional notes:
When we picked him out at the breeder he was the sweetest, friendliest, calmest dog there, had excellence bite inhibition, and was a good confident dog. The bite inhibition and calm lasted about a week. He is a great dog other than this extreme biting issue but I absolutely need to get it under control. When he meets total strangers he is all licks and kisses, just as he was when we picked him out. It is only people he knows that he will bite onto but mostly it is me, his primary care-giver and trainer.
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post #2 of 51 (permalink) Old 02-13-2009, 12:44 PM
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Re: Puppy will not stop hard biting hand and arms

Quote:The only solution I have is to keep him in his crate most of the time except when training, exercising, or socializing.
um, no. When the puppy comes to bite you, you put him in time out. Not in his box, in the kitchen or the bathroom for 5 minutes. First time he nips, you say no biting. Second time he nips you say 'You need a time out' Put him in time out.

Don't get frustrated with him, it's not going to help.


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post #3 of 51 (permalink) Old 02-13-2009, 12:56 PM
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Re: Puppy will not stop hard biting hand and arms

I would get him a puppy tug and teach him to bite the puppy tug. IMy guy was like this and I taught him to carry around a toy in his mouth.
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post #4 of 51 (permalink) Old 02-13-2009, 01:00 PM
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Re: Puppy will not stop hard biting hand and arms

Bite tug sounds like the answer for this boy. Have you watched Ivan Balabanov's DVD "The Game"? It might be something that would help you.
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post #5 of 51 (permalink) Old 02-13-2009, 01:12 PM
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Re: Puppy will not stop hard biting hand and arms

Quoteog gets it in his head that he wants to play by biting hands or grabbing sleeve and pulling for all he is worth.
A toy may buy you a few minutes but he will be back shortly.
He wants to play WITH you.

Get a tug toy and play WITH him. HAve him bite the tug and then start pulling.

He doesn't want to play by himself - he wants interaction with you.
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post #6 of 51 (permalink) Old 02-13-2009, 01:20 PM
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Re: Puppy will not stop hard biting hand and arms

Sorry no real words of wisdom but we went through much the same with Hardy, and it meant tons and tons of time out and staying crated when we had had enough. At one stage husband and I were having serious doubts as to why we had chosen to have a dog and we were beginning to wonder if the breeder had misjudged our pup. I seriously contemplated taking back to the breeder as I couldn't see how we could get over this.

I rang the breeder, she is also a trainer, and she came to visit us at home. She came when he was around 6 months, everything changed, he suddenly calmed down and stopped biting. She said he was actually a good dog and we had done well but needed to be more assertive and be careful not to get cross, as that was just firing him up more. She gave us some obedience work to do with him wearing a training collar, previously he had only had a flat collar, and suggested we leave it and a short leash on him whenever he was out of the crate, so that we could give a correction quickly. Within a week he was a changed dog. He is now fab and a joy to have around. And he learns things so fast these days.

Looking back our biggest mistake was getting cross with him, if we had kept a calm demeanor while correcting him I think it would all have worked out quicker. We did start off calm but soon got cross because he wouldn't stop nipping, as soon as you corrected him he would come straight back at you and bark and nip again. He would even just walk past you and then suddenly reach out and nip you. Really did our heads in. I think it took him 6 months to finally understand No. In his defense, he is the first dog we have had as a family so it was and still is quite a learning curve for us. I think it was good to get someone come to the house and her reassurance was really good for hubby and me. i think we had almost been too hard on ourselves, we so want Hardy to be a good representation of the breed and don't want to get anything wrong. So hearing that we had generally done a good job made us feel better and helped us focus on what needed doing.

So like I said no words of wisdom but I know what you are going through, stay consistent, make sure you set your dog up to succeed rather than fail, don't get cross and hang in there.

Hardy was a hyper puppy so I am kind of hoping the teenage stage is OK, we shall have to wait and see lol!


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post #7 of 51 (permalink) Old 02-13-2009, 01:35 PM
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Re: Puppy will not stop hard biting hand and arms

This is such a common problem with our puppies that not only is there another thread going on right now about exactly the same issue, but we also have a permanent sticky about 'bite inhibition' !

Just Click here to read!


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post #8 of 51 (permalink) Old 02-13-2009, 01:47 PM
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Re: Puppy will not stop hard biting hand and arms

no training expert here by any means...but...i think hardy is right on about not being cross...seems like the tug idea is just great too. i have found that what these dogs usually want more than ANYTHING is interaction with their person and to BE WITH their person, and if you can stay calm and redirect once...then if you get no cooperation, you walk away, remove yourself and IGNORE him...if he keeps coming to you go in another room, i.e., puppy bites and you're gone. you might try some other form of containment if he's destroying furniture, like an x-pen or a gated room. crates are great but i fear a bit overused (tho i recognize it's out of necessity sometimes), and i think the puppy can get really frustrated being crated too often for too much time. most of all patience and limits, limits and patience. good luck, puppy sounds like a pistol.

just an afterthought...if this behavior is really, really impossible to deal with and nothing that anyone suggests works it's time for an evaluation by a qualified professional. sadly, there are many shepherds out there with less than stellar temperments.

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post #9 of 51 (permalink) Old 02-13-2009, 02:18 PM
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Re: Puppy will not stop hard biting hand and arms

What toys does his have? Do you play fetch with a ball? His favorite stuffed animal? Do you play tug? Does he have anything to chew, like a bully stick, nylabone, healthy edible bone?

The running fit is just a burst of energy...he has high energy and needs to play. I highly suggest finding a ball or whatever he likes to play with and play fetch. Locking him away in a crate is going to do nothing but keep pent up energy and lead to more running fits/crazy biting playing.

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post #10 of 51 (permalink) Old 02-13-2009, 02:30 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Puppy will not stop hard biting hand and arms

I have already read the sticky thread and it is clear I have one of those dogs that does not respond to the normal techniques. He has a toy to carry in his mouth and he will for a few minutes. We constantly give it to him and praise him whenever he picks it up. I play with him using a tug or the toy he brings me all the time. Playing with him though will always escalate to the biting behavior when the toy is no longer as interesting as my arm.

The problem I had with the tug was one time I was playing with him to wear him out and we were playing pretty hard. All of of sudden he turned "ON". He forgot the tug and came at me with full bite force on my bare arm over and over. He wasn't being mean or aggressive, just "ON". I switched to doing some training to calm him down, which he did until I stopped and then came at me again. When I prevented him from biting me he went into destruction mode and starting ripping up the carpet. I put him in his crate for 10 minutes to calm him down and then took him on a long walk. When we got back he was still cranked up but no longer "ON". From then on I have reduced our tug games to a much lower key and less often.

I started with timeout not in the crate and it did nothing. He simply waited until I returned and then started in again. Go away again and restart when I return. I don't use the crate as timeout, I use it as a safe place for the dog.

I guess you are just going to have believe me or not that at some point my puppy is not interested in playing with tugs, toys, balls or whatever and the ONLY thing he wants to do is bite my hand or arm and I have found nothing that can dissuade him from that one goal at that moment except maybe going for a long walk and he will likely start up again within 15 minutes of returning from the walk. Going outside to play doesn't stop the behavior as he just lunges and bites outside to the exclusion of other games. Another issue is the more we play, the more the biting behavior comes out. He just gets so excited that he needs to bite. If I were single I probably would not care and really crank up his drives but I am married with kids so he needs to stop biting or at least have a soft mouth when it is time to stop biting.

I have a friend who is a trainer and I could find another one but it won't help because they will never see the behavior. He acts completely differently when new people are around. I don't think anyone at the SCH club believes me either because he is such a perfect puppy at training class.
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