How to curb very rough play biting? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 04-12-2011, 01:22 AM Thread Starter
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How to curb very rough play biting?

Hello all! My husband and I have recently adopted Layla, a three-year-old female German Shepherd, who is a littermate of our of our male Shepherd, Loki. The two dogs are utterly delighted with each other's company and have very rapidly bonded. They kiss, cuddle, and groom each other, eat and drink from the same bowls, sleep on the same bed, and and are frisky and playful with each other. Neither dog has shown hostility, irritability, jealousy, or aggression toward the other. Both dogs are fixed. My husband and I have gently, but firmly and consistently, let both dogs know that we two humans are the alphas, and all has worked out very well thus far.

We do however, have one problem with Layla: very rough play biting with Loki. When playing inside or romping outside, Layla will grab one of Loki's hind legs, front legs, or the scruff of his neck. Loki generally growls, gives her a warning nip or nudge, and trots off, which stops her unwelcome behavior. My husband and I also curb her play biting with a firm "No bite!" command when we are all in close proximity, and she is instantly, sweetly compliant. However, when we take both dogs to a park or other large open spaces for their daily run, Layla play bites and/or tackles Loki in an extremely rough manner when he runs after the ball my husband throws for him. (Layla has no interest in the ball, just Loki.) Because the two dogs are quite a distance away from us when this happens, Layla ignores our efforts from afar to stop her play biting, and Loki concentrates on his ball rather than putting Layla in her place.

We now must walk Layla on a short leash while Loki goes after his ball, but we would very much like Layla to run freely with Loki, for they do love to race together, and it is exhilerating exercise for both dogs -- until Layla goes into her "grab-the-Loki" mode. Is it possible to alter Layla's behavior? Would temporary use of a humane muzzle on Layla during these exercise sessions help her change, or would that only be a stop-gap measure or perhaps make her even more aggressive? In addition, we want to begin socializing Layla with other dogs in our neighborhood, but obviously play dates with our little tomboy are out of the question at present! She does like other people and dogs (except very small, shrill dogs) and is a very sweet, intelligent, lovable dog who wants to please us. Any advice would be very much appreciated!

Jean B.
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 04-12-2011, 04:04 AM
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I don't have an answer, but I have a similar problem with my pup. The difference is that my pup grabs MY legs and MY arms. I have ripped pants and some red marks and scratches. With mine, I've noticed that he does this when there is nothing else for him to do. So he doesn't do it when we're out for a walk or playing in the park or even training. But if I'm just standing or walking around....then he attacks!
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 05-01-2011, 06:27 PM
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While I am not a fan of the shock collar (if used incorrectly it can cause fear and aggression), however I knew of a lady who trained police dogs and she used the shock collar when they got in that mode. In order to keep her from becoming timid use the shock while you are telling her no so she understands she is being corrected instead of just some random frightening occurrence. The muzzle might work but it might also just postpone the issue.
Good luck with Layla
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 05-01-2011, 06:30 PM
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Onyx is a dog that wants to herd, or nip the others. I make her carry a ball and she knows it helps her, so she grabs one when they play. Maybe training Layla to carry a toy will stop the biting?
I think if the dogs are playing a muzzle would be unfair to Layla.

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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 05-01-2011, 06:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BGSD View Post
I don't have an answer, but I have a similar problem with my pup. The difference is that my pup grabs MY legs and MY arms. I have ripped pants and some red marks and scratches. With mine, I've noticed that he does this when there is nothing else for him to do. So he doesn't do it when we're out for a walk or playing in the park or even training. But if I'm just standing or walking around....then he attacks!
Don't let him do this. Brinkley used to when he was very young and he learned not to with the right training, I know of two ways.

Alpha: Give him a firm NO! and stand very aggressively, arms crossed shoulders back. Let him know that you will not allow this. Never, ever his face, but if he doesn't listen try making a claw out your fingers and give him a "nip" much like a older dog would in should a pup do that to him. If you do this never back down or he will think he can win.

Let him know it hurts: If he's tuned into you and not trying to be dominant, he may just be playing. Make whatever hurt noise he responds best and hold what he bit, whining a little and act surprised and hurt that he would do such a thing to you.


Whatever you do be consistent and don't ignore the problem or it will escalate.
Hope this helps, and good luck with your boy.

My doggy companions-

Sammy- 8yro Labrador Retriever

Brinkley- 5 m/o Shepadoodle

Last edited by TXlonestar; 05-01-2011 at 06:48 PM.
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 05-01-2011, 08:57 PM
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I'm not so sure I'm agreeing with the other recommendations. Don't need to add to the stress and over-the-top excitement by throwing the 'I AM ALPHA' to the mix.

This is purely a management situation. Reality is, some dogs just don't place nice with others. Period. They get into that high level of excitement and go over the top. My Bretta is like that. When she plays with me. With her 'sister' Glory, or other dogs.

I KNOW this. So I just really keep an eye on her in the house, as long as they are just wrestling/playing it's fine. But if it starts sounding too intense, the game is OVER period. Calmly though. Not be barrelling in like a ton of bricks. But just STOPPING it so they can chill and calm.

I rarely if EVER let Bretta do any full out tears after Glory in the yard unless there is a ball in Bretta's mouth (same as Onyx'girl) . Same thing happens, she just doesn't place nice. SInce I KNOW she doesn't play nice, there are games she just can't play.

That said, she's absolutely fine with other dogs and out in public and out off leash hiking. But I would NOT take her to a dog park for unmonitored play with other dogs, no way. It would be setting up a potential disaster.

Look at my dogs with other dogs though.... this video show that when they are FINE with others, and it's ok they aren't full out running/chasing each other.





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Last edited by MaggieRoseLee; 05-01-2011 at 09:00 PM.
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