I know this has been asked before, but I'm desperate (biting related) - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 22 (permalink) Old 07-21-2017, 11:24 AM Thread Starter
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I know this has been asked before, but I'm desperate (biting related)

First of all, thanks to those of you who responded in my topic on potty training. It has gotten much better.

Ok, like the topic title says, I've got an issue with biting and I know there are topics on this subject. I promise I have read them, but I need some specific guidance.

My puppy's biting is getting worse. He's biting now when he wants to get down or if you're not taking him somewhere he wants to go. He struggles and whines. Now, he's a puppy, I get it. But NOTHING seems to phase him with regards to correcting his behavior. I know it takes a long time for things to get better, but my issue is that NONE of the techniques I've read about do anything but amp him up even more.

1. "Ow." This one is just laughable with my puppy. He doesn't care. In fact, I think he takes it as a cue to snap like an alligator.
2. "Walk away." He either follows, ankle biting, or he just starts sniffing stuff.
3. "Neck pinch." He just waits and then snaps/nips.
4. "Hold on side." Waits and snaps/nips.
5. "Press teeth on gums." This doesn't seem to bother him at all.

And various other techniques. I know that consistency + time is key, but like I said, my problem is that NONE OF THESE get a positive reaction, so why should I continue using them? What else can I do?
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post #2 of 22 (permalink) Old 07-21-2017, 01:06 PM
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It would be helpful to mention how old your puppy is, and how long you've had him. Also, how much time you devoted to each of the techniques you've tried.

-Debbie-
Cava 1/6/18
Keefer 8/25/05-4/24/19 ~ The sweetest boy
Halo 11/9/08-6/17/18 ~ You left pawprints on our hearts
Dena 9/12/04-10/4/08 ~ Forever would have been too short
Cassidy 6/8/00-10/4/04
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post #3 of 22 (permalink) Old 07-21-2017, 01:18 PM Thread Starter
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He's almost 9 weeks.

I don't know how much time I've spent with these techniques, but I'd say I use them every time we play. I know time is important but my concern is just that, whether it's the first time I've done it or the 100th time, there isn't a POSITIVE reaction. I'm no expert so I defer to you guys, but it seems to me that it would be pointless to continue using a technique that doesn't encourage more negative behavior. Everything I've read to do so far has just encouraged him to bite more.
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post #4 of 22 (permalink) Old 07-21-2017, 02:17 PM
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how do you play?

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post #5 of 22 (permalink) Old 07-21-2017, 02:27 PM
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Did you get him at 8 weeks old? If so, you've only been working on bite inhibition for a week or less. It's a process that can take several months, and sometimes a combination of several things works better than any one technique by itself. If you've tried any or all of those things a couple of times and they didn't work immediately then it's likely due to lack of patience and consistency over time, not that they aren't going to work at all.

I know it seems like a long time when you've got a little land shark hanging off you by it's teeth, but give it some time.

1) When you say "ow", it's it a very loud, sharp sound? I will say this didn't work with all my puppies, but in order to have a chance it needs to be a shriek loud enough to startle him. And even if it does, it may only stop him briefly. That's okay - mark that, even if it's just a second, and then resume play. This worked best with Keefer, who would stop and look at me in surprise when I shrieked.

2) This also isn't going to work with all puppies. It was the most effective with Cassidy, who was 20 weeks old when we got her. For her, the most effective punishment was removal of attention, so we used that. With a more independent puppy, or one that you haven't established a relationship with, they may not value your attention enough yet for it to help.

And generally, I don't use this the first time puppy bites, they get a couple tries to do right before fun ends and I'm gone. She was super destructive and I literally couldn't leave her alone for more than 30 seconds or a minute at a time, so I'd do a couple of very brief tries to get her to stop. When I left, I'd close the door, so she'd be alone on the other side. If after a couple of tries she went right back to it, she'd go in her crate for a brief timeout. Eventually, I could say "do you want a timeout?", and she'd stop whatever she was doing immediately. Smart dog!

I also like using a toy, and with Dena and Halo, I'd always have plenty nearby to shove in their mouths. When I got home from work and went out to the garage pen to let Dena in, I'd pick up a tug on my way, so I had something on hand to engage her with. And don't think you can just give him a toy and that will do the trick, you need to play with him with it. With a puppy who chases after you biting at your clothes a toy is probably a good thing to try. And if he keeps dropping his end of the toy to bite at your arm instead, my personal choice would be to go with removal of attention as a supplemental technique, because he's seeking out engagement with you and needs to learn how to do that the right way. Play nice, we keep playing. Keep biting me, I go away.

Again, whatever thing or combo I did with each of my puppies, I did it more than just a couple of times before abandoning it for something else.

I've never done #3, #4, or #5.
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-Debbie-
Cava 1/6/18
Keefer 8/25/05-4/24/19 ~ The sweetest boy
Halo 11/9/08-6/17/18 ~ You left pawprints on our hearts
Dena 9/12/04-10/4/08 ~ Forever would have been too short
Cassidy 6/8/00-10/4/04

Last edited by Cassidy's Mom; 07-21-2017 at 02:30 PM.
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post #6 of 22 (permalink) Old 07-21-2017, 04:04 PM
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Cassidy's mom gave really good advice. I am not a trainer and a first time dog owner. I have 2 kids under 12. Our pup is just about 6 months old now. We got him at 7 weeks. I was NOT prepared for the land shark! I did a ton of reading and came up with a plan. What worked for my husband did not work for me or our kids. My husband a big guy with a big fist could say "No bite" and make fist in the pups mouth and he would stop still does. For me patience and consistency worked best. I let the pup bite me and worked towards a soft bite with redirection and the withdraw of attention and/or time outs. I worked on a soft bite only when his mood was right, redirection when it was not. I had to always be prepared when interacting with the puppy. To me that was a leash on, toys in hand and near and an effective escape route lol. My kids barely got to enjoy the pup for months. At 6 months he still becomes a an excited spaz sometimes and bites, but it is rare, and I can see it becoming extinct, a quick reminder "Get Toy" and he is off finding a toy to play with us. He is a joy to be around. Now when he does spaz his bite is gentle and if not only recently does he sympathize with an ouch and stop immediately. Like if we are playing and he accidently gets a finger with part of the toy (usually my fault) the pressure instantly stops and he releases. Hope that helps.
I don't know if you have heard of the zoomies, but our pup each night had a witching hour of just insane energy he needed to get rid of. It did not matter how much exercise he got during the day. I would highly recommend a long line and an open field so the pup can just RUN his heart out, if you can safely off leash. Not a dog park imho. I am sure others have done this much quicker than I, but that's my story. I think most people will not recommend you letting your puppy bite you and I truly understand why. Good luck
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post #7 of 22 (permalink) Old 07-21-2017, 07:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Apex1 View Post
I was NOT prepared for the land shark! I did a ton of reading and came up with a plan. What worked for my husband did not work for me or our kids. My husband a big guy with a big fist could say "No bite" and make fist in the pups mouth and he would stop still does. For me patience and consistency worked best.
Yes, that's an interesting point - men have deeper voices, and can have a different physical presence than woman and children. Dogs are experts at reading body language so it's not unusual that they'd react differently. Standing tall, adopting a confident demeanor, and lowering your voice can sometimes help.

Quote:
I let the pup bite me and worked towards a soft bite with redirection and the withdraw of attention and/or time outs. I worked on a soft bite only when his mood was right, redirection when it was not. I had to always be prepared when interacting with the puppy. To me that was a leash on, toys in hand and near and an effective escape route lol. My kids barely got to enjoy the pup for months.
Good for you for having a plan and always being ready to implement it. I personally think that makes a huge difference.

Quote:
I don't know if you have heard of the zoomies, but our pup each night had a witching hour of just insane energy he needed to get rid of. It did not matter how much exercise he got during the day.
Ah, the zoomies! The good thing about the zoomies is that they precipitated a crash, and then we'd get a little peace and calm for awhile. Most evenings there would be a period of time where no matter what I did, Halo was a little hellion. Nothing made a difference, nothing. She was like an overtired toddler spun out of control. I treated it as such by giving her a break in her crate, and she would generally calm down and take a nap. But when she tucked her butt under and her ears back and took off in laps through the house we usually just waited for her to wear herself out and crash on her own.

-Debbie-
Cava 1/6/18
Keefer 8/25/05-4/24/19 ~ The sweetest boy
Halo 11/9/08-6/17/18 ~ You left pawprints on our hearts
Dena 9/12/04-10/4/08 ~ Forever would have been too short
Cassidy 6/8/00-10/4/04
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post #8 of 22 (permalink) Old 07-21-2017, 07:53 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the replies so far.

I feel like I'm not explaining myself well enough. It's not that I'm "just not doing it enough times." I get that. It's that when I do it, there is no positive behavior, so I'm not actually achieving anything. If I go "OW!!!!" really loudly, and the dog doesn't stop biting me, why is he going to stop biting me after the 20th time I yell "OW!!!!"

I'm not trying to be rude but I'm at my wit's end. Today I tried the "ow" and walk away thing. The consequence of that is that my puppy and I don't play at all, because as soon as I come back, it's right back to chomping on my arm. It's just a constant cycle of "ow" and no playing.
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post #9 of 22 (permalink) Old 07-21-2017, 09:36 PM
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I get you loud and clear.
It took me months of work, wish I could say just do this and it will stop. Honestly it got worse before it got better. Be consistent. Find a toy the pup loves to play with you with I have heard flirt poles, mine loved a rag tied on a string, rubber textured toys, bully sticks, balls. If your frustrated put the pup in the crate, pup acting up put it in the crate, use our crate all the time. I hope you find what you are looking for I know it's hard. Ouch as a young puppy never worked for me just hyped him up more.
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post #10 of 22 (permalink) Old 07-21-2017, 09:38 PM
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Keep it up. When a bite gets too hard, play ends. Pups figure it out after awhile. And it does slow down once teething ends.
"Get a toy" is a very good skill. Even at three years old my big boy likes to hold our arms when we come home. We tell him to "get a toy" and he finds something to hold instead of slobbering on our arms.

just remember that you are more interesting than a toy. For awhile my boy would actually get annoyed when we offered him a toy instead of our arm. He didn't want the toy. So we switched to thick leather gloves. It was more interactive and he loved it. When he learned to chomp hard we stopped wearing the gloves and they became tug toys.

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