Curbing the mouthing... - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-17-2017, 10:55 PM Thread Starter
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Curbing the mouthing...

So our little girl, 12 weeks is a land shark with teeth that were personally sharpened by Satan himself. She loves to play and equally loves to bite leaving scrapes and red marks. I understand this is typical behavior and I have read article after article about substituting a chew toy, yelping like it hurt and to turn and ignore the behavior until they lose interest...
But this is the part that I don't understand, this is NOT how it would work if she was biting too hard on either of her parents. They would snap back and bark with a loud deep bark. This teaches not only that the bite was too hard, but reinforces her place in the pack.

So what is the right answer here?

Way back in the day I read several books about training dogs and much of the book was dedicated to understanding how dogs think and pack mentality, how a dog needs to know it's place in the pack (family) to be happy.
Is this not the thinking anymore?
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-17-2017, 11:36 PM
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Hey! I think that it varies depending on the dog. I don't believe dogs see us the same way they would see their siblings in a litter or in a "pack". this is just a matter of (like you said) normal puppy behavior that happens to be inappropriate and all you need to do is teach the pup that the chew, toy etc. is appropriate.

Ways that I would combat this is to have treats handy when the puppy is playing. once she starts biting or mouthing, I would pull away, wait until she doesn't offer the bite, then mark with a big "yes" and reward with treats and praise. then I would substitute the toy. the treat=positive reward, and this creates a positive association and increased desire for the toy. It's just a matter of teaching! I know this isn't going to be popular opinion, and there will likely be several that argue the "alpha/dominant/pack-leader" theories, but like I said I don't believe dogs view us in that way. Hope this helps!
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-18-2017, 01:09 AM
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My pup has not drawn blood in at least a week yet I took those pictures 10 seconds ago Those blackish colored areas were not the natural color of my skin, it was the leftover of what used to be purple-ish blood clots from the impact of her jump-biting jaws. She was the worst biter I have ever known as well as the easiest pup otherwise.

I did a combination of hand-feeding her meals ("no" and remove hand when it hurts), re-direction, holding onto the muzzle for several seconds when it gets really bad yet "no" does not stop her from trying to chase the hand after I remove my hand, and treats when she stops mouthing me or when she chooses a toy over my hand or when she still mouths me but it no longer hurts. I used corrections as well as positive techniques, and it worked out well except she still likes my hand as a chew toy (does not hurt anymore!). I thought about not allowing her soft mouthing all together, but decided it was not worth the risks of getting blood cuts again until her teething finishes.

Regarding the dog parents' snapping, I think corrections alone would definitely stop her from mouthing you, but from my very limited knowledge base of dog training, I think the goal of positive training is to make the dog associate us with good things, which we humans want out of companion dogs yet parent dogs don't consciously care from what I know. However I think corrections set boundaries fast and help build respect when positive training does not work or when it takes too long/too much resources to work and I think that is why we use both of them for the most efficient results.
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-18-2017, 01:15 AM
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you should only have marks on your arms and hands like that if you're playing rough and allowing it. keep allowing that and let me know how that goes.
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-18-2017, 01:24 AM
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you should only have marks on your arms and hands like that if you're playing rough and allowing it. keep allowing that and let me know how that goes.
Are you writing to me? I can't really tell If you did write to me, she only mouths softly now and no hard mouthing has ever been allowed. I rewarded her for mouthing softly to avoid getting cuts, and for now I am just happy her mouth won't ever cause pain anymore

Last edited by lonecat; 01-18-2017 at 01:27 AM.
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-18-2017, 01:59 AM
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yeah lonecat, talkin' to you. shouldn't allow that then try to change the dog. train the correct behavior from day one.
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-18-2017, 02:05 AM
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My arms and hands look the same as Lonecat's.

One minute we'll be happily playing fetch or soccer or doing some training and then suddenly he lunges and takes a bite out my arm or my leg or whatever is closest.
I do walk away/go inside/say NO! some times we can carry on the game most times he has suddenly turned into a biting machine that won't stop.
If he bites really hard, then I have to say I have hit him back.
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-18-2017, 10:26 AM Thread Starter
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My arms and hands look the same as Lonecat's.
Same here. It only takes brief contact to get marks like that with her sharp teeth. I seriously never had a dog with such sharp baby teeth, it's like the very ends are needle sharp and even a very light moughting with no bite on her part breaks the skin like that.

I am having success and she is noticeably much gentler with positive reinforcement and saying "No Bite!" when she gets mouths me. I'm still having problems with her respecting the kids when they walk by, but again it isn't hard, it's just that her teeth are so sharp
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