Puppy Bite (Legitimate bite, not mouthing/nipping) - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 47 (permalink) Old 03-08-2018, 12:42 PM Thread Starter
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Puppy Bite (Legitimate bite, not mouthing/nipping)

Hey everyone,

Long story short-- I'm the primary owner but my friend/basically roommate splits the costs of Jax as we technically own him together and he stops by during the day to let him outside and play with him while I'm at work (he's in school) and he's been doing alot of puppy school with Jax so he responds more to him because he's technically both of our dogs.

He's never owned a dog before whereas I've owned dogs my entire life, of all sizes and types (I had a Husky as a kid so I know all about troublemakers). We had an incident on Wednesday and I'm not 100% sure how to handle it and wondered if I could have some advice.

Basically- my friend let him off leash to work on walking and recalling in a semi controlled area despite me telling him not to because he doesn't have has much control as I do, and even I only do it in a very isolated area outside. Well Jax found a dog bone that was left out by someone and took off with it and laid in a corner with it.

We've never really had any guarding issues before, he's growled at me when he took something from the kitchen but I showed him that wasn't allowed and took it back with no issues. But he's never had anything that he found / earned on his own (in his mind) and that had so much value to him.

My friend walked up to him and crouched in front of him and Jax (apparently) showed zero signed of reactivity. No snarling, growling, whale eye-- nothing. Or so my friend says (I feel like there was definitely signs), but when he started to reach for the bone, Jax snarled and bit him really hard and growled at him the whole time afterwards.

I've tried explaining how to handle situations like that safely and how to be cautious and to try and predict what things can make a dog do that but my friend is now terrified of Jax and wants nothing to do with him and has completely shut down because I told him it's an experience thing, he's never had a dog so he doesn't know how these things work; and so since he doesn't have experience he basically gives up.

He came around and started to understand why Jax would react that way and said he could get it if it was a stranger and Jax did that, but he doesn't understand why Jax would do that to HIM. I tried gently explaining that he isn't bonded enough with him like I am since Jax lives with me, but he just doesn't get it.

I've attached pictures. Do you have any advice on how to handle the situation? Both with my friend and with Jax? I've been working to prevent food aggression since the day I got him. I stick my hand in his food, take away his chew toys etc constantly to make sure he's not guarding. He always just sits there and waits for me to move my hand or give it back.

Sorry, I know this is quite a read.

Also, the reason the wound is longer is because he freaked out and tried to jerk his hand away. I tried telling him ages ago that yanking combined with baby teeth is asking for a tear, if Jax ever clamps too hard on me, I just press his tongue and he let's go.

Thanks,
Shawn
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post #2 of 47 (permalink) Old 03-08-2018, 01:24 PM
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Unfortunatly, I think you unintentionally started the resource guarding problem by 'constantly' sticking your hands in his food and taking away his toys. What you are doing is an old school technique that only works on dogs who would never be resource guarders to begin with. In others, it creates a resource guarder. Always trade. Never take. You have taught him that you will take his things, therefore he needs to protect them. If you don't take them, he learns there is nothing to fear.

It is natural for a dog to protect what he perceives as his - especially something high value, like the bone he found. Your friend put Jax in a position to fail. Jax should never have been allowed off leash. This would not have happened, if Jax had been leashed. I'm sure there were plenty of signs and your friend needs to learn to read them. We were all new to dogs, at one time. It is a learning process. Your friend can do this.

Teach Jax the commands to 'Drop it' and 'Leave it'. Keep him on a leash, until he has a rock solid recall. Learn Jax's thresholds. Watch for signs of discomfort - body stiffness, lip licking, whale eye, etc. I'm sure some of those signs will be there. Start to desensitize him, by only trading up and never taking his things without reason. Respect his threshold and you will see improvement.

My Natty Boh was a pound puppy and a terrible resource guarder. He would bite, if pushed. He is a hound mix. I hand fed him every day for months. I never, ever bothered his food. Once I sat it down, I didn't touch him or his bowl. (He also guarded toys, antlers, his body, his space) He is 5 years old now. He tends to be a very snarky dog, but he doesn't bite any more. I doubt Jax is as bad as my boy. lol! I hope your friend can get over his fear. It is not pleasant to get bitten and I'm sure he takes it personally. Assure him that it isn't personal and is something that can be corrected.

I am confident you can turn this around.

Jan
Shelby 9-2-14
Natty Boh 6-27-12
Annie 1998 - 8-2-12 RIP
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post #3 of 47 (permalink) Old 03-08-2018, 01:38 PM Thread Starter
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Yeah I already ripped him for letting him off leash. He thought it was okay because he was being a perfect angel; but he didn't even have any high value treats or ANYTHING to hold Jax's attention if a distraction presented itself. He's very hard headed and sensitive so its extremely hard talking with him about it because he gets so defensive and irritated because he thinks that I'm saying its his fault when I start saying how there had to of been signs. Jax knows when he takes something that he shouldn't that his dad is gonna come and he's in trouble and he 99% of the time gives it up without a fight--better than any of my other dogs I've had. So when my friend called me and explained what happened, SOMETHING didn't seem right...

The hardest part is that my friend is completely shut down and basically wants nothing to do with Jax unless I'm present and is noticeable weary of him now, which we all know a smart dog will exploit the heck out of. I have no issues walking him on a leash or getting him to drop things or come when called. But when my friend does any of those things, it's quite a show. He gets walked by Jax.
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post #4 of 47 (permalink) Old 03-08-2018, 01:49 PM
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Puppy Bite (Legitimate bite, not mouthing/nipping)

Stevenzachsmom hit the nail on the head to me as well. I remember reading before I got my girl that to prevent resource guarding, you let the dog be confident that any time you’re near something high value it doesn’t mean it will disappear. Instead it’s either a neutral or positive experience. Neutral in the sense that you aren’t disturbing them, or positive in that you end up trading them for what they have so they never “lose”. Dogs make associations very well. If your presence around a high value item means at some point, the item with disappear, then they tend to guard it. They don’t really make the association beyond that for the most part because the returning part isn’t what matters more, it’s the initial taking that probably settles with them the most.

I would definitely work on a leave it command. I was given great advice that when your pup is young, keep them on a leash inside and walk them by a high value item. If they go for it, tell them “Leave it” and pop their collar until they come. Reward with praise or play. Then continue. It’s also important that when a dog is taught “leave it”, they never received the item they were informed to ignore. If you put a treat down, tell the dog to leave it, but then reward the dog with the same treat that they grab themselves, they learn that the command actually means “Wait” until they can have it. Just something I had picked up myself in puppy classes awhile ago that I didn’t make the association with myself.

And honestly, I think majority of us had a mark like that at least once or twice lol. Though I’m sure to a novice dog owner such as your friend it would be intimidating or scary. My scars from my girl being a pup were much longer than that though! And I was covered from fingernail to shoulder in them.

This photo is faded evidence of such landsharking, and half the time it was accidental haha. That was the smallest amount of scarring I had after my girl was done teething. Majority of those marks are gone now.

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post #5 of 47 (permalink) Old 03-08-2018, 02:00 PM Thread Starter
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I know where you guys are coming from-- I should do some clarification!

First off, I've worked on leave it quite a bit. He's still young so he's learning and has puppy impulses so it's about 50% effective at this point. I typically don't have issues getting him to leave something that isn't food.

As far as taking stuff, I certainly don't make a habit out of it. I maybe just put my hand around his food once a week, sometimes just to have something near him when he's eating. And when I take something, I don't take it and put it away or anything like that, I typically remove it from his mouth, and then give it back. Almost like a little game of tug, if that makes sense?

Thanks for the responses. I'm honestly not concerned about Jax whatsoever because I have yet to see even the slightest sign of any sort of aggression. My biggest issue is my friend who is now, not only terrified of a puppy, but actively wants nothing to do with him any longer. Having a puppy has been overwhelming for him. I tried preparing him by explaining what a puppy is actually like, they're not just all fun and games, and he swore he was prepared. Well, within a week it had basically broken him. Frustrating because he thinks that he can just ditch his commitment to help me raise him. I can handle it on my own, I know that for a fact. But it's obviously harder and something I may not have done at this specific point in time if I knew it would be all on me!
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post #6 of 47 (permalink) Old 03-08-2018, 02:20 PM
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So forgive me for being candid and direct. If you are happy with the progress in your training with your dog, you have a friend problem, not a puppy problem.

There is no advice anyone can give here that will help your friend not be stubborn and weird about what happened with a puppy. It sounds like your friend ignored your wishes to begin with by letting him off lead at such a young age. How old is the pup? I missed it if you said.

Thre is no sugar coated way to say this- you need to not let stubborn novices be in charge of your puppy. Everyone learns on their first dog, but attitude is the difference between a novice that will learn, and one who never will. Your friends sounds like he leans towards the latter. Since this is a young pup with puppy teeth, it sounds like your friend is really overreacting and being a tad immature about holding a grudge against a dog this age. It isn't really a bad bite either. If I were you, my friend being in charge alone of the dog would cease for now until he is willing to listen and get some handling skills under his belt. Inconsistent isn't good for a pup, all handlers in the family should be on same page for best results. Otherwise you get the "why does he listen to my husband (or whoever) but not me?" syndrome.

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post #7 of 47 (permalink) Old 03-08-2018, 02:25 PM
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I wouldn't worry about your friend, he will either get over it or not. If he doesn't it sounds better for you and the puppy. These are your circumstances so take control and responsibility. Not saying that your friend IS this way but watch out for abuse. If your friend doesn't like the puppy or is revengeful I would be worried for the pups sake. It is odd to me that someone would hold a grudge against just a baby...
I've had plenty of people on the streets scream in fear at the sight of an 8 week old german shepherd puppy believe it or not. My in laws were the same way, no dog experience except a husky they bought 30 years ago and couldn't handle because it bit my mother in laws face so they sent it to the pound. When we brought home our 8 week old land shark puppy my in laws were terrified and said he was aggressive and screamed when he walked towards them. Fast forward a year they can't get enough of my "aggressive dog" and cuddle him whenever they come over. He blew my mother in laws mind with how smart he is too. She didn't think dogs were capable of understanding words. I am glad my dog turned out to be a great advocate of his breed and changed their minds completely. My husband never had a dog before either and I had to teach him everything, he was very polite with the puppy and asked him "please" do this , or thank you LOL. I had to teach him about tough love and when to let things go... It is all in the attitude, my husband was willing to learn and open, he didn't get offended. He came with me to puppy classes and never missed a CGC prep class. I am confident in letting my husband who is a first time dog owner take our dog places, our dog respects him just as much as he respects me.
A bratty puppy won't do this however, puppies have a lot to learn and honestly can be a pain the butt. It is your job to teach them what they need to learn to coexist with our society. As far as the pup goes do what others have told you, work on drop it and leave it. I did the put the hand in the bowl too but I always put my hand in with an extra goodie like a bit of bacon, an egg, etc. he learned to associate my hand with giving not taking. I start my pups young on having them wait for their food and not to eat until I say its OK. Anyone can feed my dog now that he is an adult now or take away bones without an issue. But I don't do it just because I can! It is his food and bones that I give him so I leave him in peace to enjoy. I know I sure wouldn't like someone taking my food away constantly... As far as being off leash I've always let my puppys run free from the moment I bring them home. This is the most impressionable age and their natural tendency is to stay near you and follow you. Build off of that natural instinct while you can. I may have missed it, but how old exactly is this puppy? Also you do not have to deal with the landshark phase, I have zero scratches or scars from any of the puppies I've raised. You redirect with toys if he goes in to gnaw on you or crate him if he is getting too out of control. Some puppies when they get tired get cranky and I feel like that is when the landsharking flairs up.
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post #8 of 47 (permalink) Old 03-08-2018, 02:27 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CometDog View Post
So forgive me for being candid and direct. If you are happy with the progress in your training with your dog, you have a friend problem, not a puppy problem.

There is no advice anyone can give here that will help your friend not be stubborn and weird about what happened with a puppy. It sounds like your friend ignored your wishes to begin with by letting him off lead at such a young age. How old is the pup? I missed it if you said.

Thre is no sugar coated way to say this- you need to not let stubborn novices be in charge of your puppy. Everyone learns on their first dog, but attitude is the difference between a novice that will learn, and one who never will. Your friends sounds like he leans towards the latter. Since this is a young pup with puppy teeth, it sounds like your friend is really overreacting and being a tad immature about holding a grudge against a dog this age. It isn't really a bad bite either. If I were you, my friend being in charge alone of the dog would cease for now until he is willing to listen and get some handling skills under his belt. Inconsistent isn't good for a pup, all handlers in the family should be on same page for best results. Otherwise you get the "why does he listen to my husband (or whoever) but not me?" syndrome.

I couldn't agree more my friend. I've instructed him not to do training with the puppy unless it's in a standardized way (puppy school). He does the training in puppy class and at home while I'm there, and I replicate what's done in puppy class on my own time with him. He is definitely a big wuss and totally over reacted to the bite, despite me trying to teach him the less obvious signs (whale eye, stiffness etc). The trainer wants to meet with us (mostly him) to try and help him but only if he's responsive to it. Which is proving to be a problem currently haha. All he's really supposed to do is come over around lunch time and take him for a walk and play with him.

I know no one knows my friend but I was hoping someone maybe had a similar experience and maybe had some insights on some ways I could work with HIM more so than my puppy.
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post #9 of 47 (permalink) Old 03-08-2018, 02:34 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by GandalfTheShepherd View Post
I wouldn't worry about your friend, he will either get over it or not. If he doesn't it sounds better for you and the puppy. These are your circumstances so take control and responsibility. Not saying that your friend IS this way but watch out for abuse. If your friend doesn't like the puppy or is revengeful I would be worried for the pups sake. It is odd to me that someone would hold a grudge against just a baby...
I've had plenty of people on the streets scream in fear at the sight of an 8 week old german shepherd puppy believe it or not. My in laws were the same way, no dog experience except a husky they bought 30 years ago and couldn't handle because it bit my mother in laws face so they sent it to the pound. When we brought home our 8 week old land shark puppy my in laws were terrified and said he was aggressive and screamed when he walked towards them. Fast forward a year they can't get enough of my "aggressive dog" and cuddle him whenever they come over. He blew my mother in laws mind with how smart he is too. She didn't think dogs were capable of understanding words. I am glad my dog turned out to be a great advocate of his breed and changed their minds completely. My husband never had a dog before either and I had to teach him everything, he was very polite with the puppy and asked him "please" do this , or thank you LOL. I had to teach him about tough love and when to let things go... It is all in the attitude, my husband was willing to learn and open, he didn't get offended. He came with me to puppy classes and never missed a CGC prep class. I am confident in letting my husband who is a first time dog owner take our dog places, our dog respects him just as much as he respects me.
A bratty puppy won't do this however, puppies have a lot to learn and honestly can be a pain the butt. It is your job to teach them what they need to learn to coexist with our society. As far as the pup goes do what others have told you, work on drop it and leave it. I did the put the hand in the bowl too but I always put my hand in with an extra goodie like a bit of bacon, an egg, etc. he learned to associate my hand with giving not taking. I start my pups young on having them wait for their food and not to eat until I say its OK. Anyone can feed my dog now that he is an adult now or take away bones without an issue. But I don't do it just because I can! It is his food and bones that I give him so I leave him in peace to enjoy. I know I sure wouldn't like someone taking my food away constantly... As far as being off leash I've always let my puppys run free from the moment I bring them home. This is the most impressionable age and their natural tendency is to stay near you and follow you. Build off of that natural instinct while you can. I may have missed it, but how old exactly is this puppy? Also you do not have to deal with the landshark phase, I have zero scratches or scars from any of the puppies I've raised. You redirect with toys if he goes in to gnaw on you or crate him if he is getting too out of control. Some puppies when they get tired get cranky and I feel like that is when the landsharking flairs up.
I probably should've mentioned that. He's about 4.5 months, so still very young. And I take advantage of the puppy wanting to be near- like I said, I work off leash stuff with him in an isolated area outside where I don't have to worry about other dogs/people and most importantly, roads and cars. He's quote good off leash with me. But I think he tries to take advantage of my friend when I'm not around to guide them both. I don't have issues with him nipping me really at all. I sliced open my finger really good on one of his canines but that was my fault cause I was moving my hands around too fast and I had a toy that I was grabbing by his mouth and I caught my finger on his tooth and sliced myself open on it. Other than that I've had ZERO issues with his teeth--he goes for my feet when hes riled up but that's easily managed.
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post #10 of 47 (permalink) Old 03-08-2018, 02:39 PM
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Yeah, I agree with the others. You have a friend problem. It sounds like you have things under control with Jax. Perhaps it would be better for both you and Jax, if he is just your dog. Maybe I missed it. I know Jax is a puppy and you said young. How old is he?

I wish I could help you with your friend. I've got nothin'. Most of us, like you, aren't afraid of our dogs. We work to understand what makes them tick. We build that bond and trust. Your friend could very well do that - if he is willing. If he isn't, there is nothing you can do. On the other hand, I expect you to be very successful with Jax.

Oops. Sorry, I see 4.5 months. lol!

Jan
Shelby 9-2-14
Natty Boh 6-27-12
Annie 1998 - 8-2-12 RIP
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