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I posted yesterday about my pup, Willow and I got a lot of great feedback, so I'm back for more! I really appreciate this forum and I'm happy to be a part of this community.

I read the links that another member posted about bite inhibition and I realized we've started Willow off incorrectly.

Willow is almost 5 months. First of all, she was taken from her litter too early. After that, the only dog that we new who could play with her (teach bite inhibition) didn't exhibit any pain or warning of pain. He's a 90 lb boxer/lab and Willow totally dominates him, biting his face, genitals, butt, etc. It got to a point where we just don't let her play with him, which is unfortunate because he's in our family and we'd love to be able to visit and have them play.

Willow seems to be fine with other dogs, but does tend to jump and bite faces, which I'm not sure is acceptable for most dogs.

With us, (her people), we did know a little about bite inhibition, so when we played with her, we'd yelp, which only ever got her more excited. We'd walk away if she kept at it while playing, but that didn't seem to register with her. So we started taking our hands away and saying no every time she would appear to be about to bite, which was constantly and didn't always stop her.

We also taught her the command, nice, which allows us to pet her while she lays there calmly. This is because even petting her would just be a struggle. She does pretty well with this command in the house now, but out in public is another story.

At this point, she seems to be OK about biting. She doesn't just go for it like she used to, which is a huge relief and surprise, because I'm sure we messed up quite a bit. She doesn't bite as hard or want to continually bite our hands. We always have toys around to distract.

Since we didn't stick it out with the bite inhibition, should we pick it back up now? Or is it kinda past the point? Also, any advice about getting her to be more gentle with the boxer/lab would be awesome. Thanks again. You guys are great!
 

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If you're asking should you let her put her teeth on you for any reason, I'd say no. No, period. I'd say the same thing if she was 7 weeks old, but at 5mos no matter what someone may call it, mouthing or anything else, I think its a mistake.
So many articles I've read about biting urges people to allow mouthing/gentle biting rather than forbidding it, all in hopes of teaching true bite inhibition.



Based on those articles, I've been allowing gentle biting with my 4 month old gsd, and I think it may have been the wrong decision for us. But given the current advice that seems to be everywhere, it makes perfect sense that the OP took the approach they did.
 

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So many articles I've read about biting urges people to allow mouthing/gentle biting rather than forbidding it, all in hopes of teaching true bite inhibition.



Based on those articles, I've been allowing gentle biting with my 4 month old gsd, and I think it may have been the wrong decision for us. But given the current advice that seems to be everywhere, it makes perfect sense that the OP took the approach they did.
Remember though, German Shepherds are supposed to bite. How they bite is part of the breed, its not supposed to be soft mouthed like a lab. But that said, I think it gets confusing because there are always going to be dogs that almost anything will work. There's dogs that will probably stop because you looked sad when they bit. The problem is with the ones that its not going to work, even if they do for some period stay gentle. At around 5 mos the intent of it can change quickly and at 5 mos, they can take your finger off. Now you have a dog that in my opinion doesn't have the respect for you it should and is physically capable of seriously biting you. One of the first things I learned was no teeth on me, period.
 

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With us, (her people), we did know a little about bite inhibition, so when we played with her, we'd yelp, which only ever got her more excited. We'd walk away if she kept at it while playing, but that didn't seem to register with her.
With the German Shepherds I've had if you yelp it keys them up and they ramp up the biting and if we'd walk away they would bite us in the meaty part of our thighs or back of our arms. Neither have been a good option and I feel like those who suggest it should work with GSDs on this.
 

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Hi. You need to get some respect. Now Willow is becoming a teenager. We knew nothing about training dogs. No dogs we ever had required training. Then we got Inga. German Shepherds are wicked smart, they have to be trained or there will be guaranteed chaos. So we found the internet trainer Don Sullivan. He teaches people how to train. So we got his DVDs and training collar and did the work. The collar is like a mild plastic prong collar with pointed links instead of prongs. It is like what a mother dog does to a pup when they misbehave, she bites their neck. Corrections are only given when the KNOW the command but are blowing you off. He does not use treats which seem like bribes to me, he uses praise. They want to please us. So now, Inga knows 30 commands, even hand signals from a quarter mile off. If you google Don Johnson you can find him. Good luck and you can do it.
 
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Here is another post with a lot of people discussing bite inhibition

https://www.germanshepherds.com/for...basic/134407-teaching-bite-inhibition-13.html


After reading your other replies it seems like this is actually the one you were looking at. Please update this if you find something else that works for you. I've got a puppy that'll be 10 weeks old tomorrow so bite inhibition is something we are working on too!
 

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Hi. You need to get some respect. Now Willow is becoming a teenager. We knew nothing about training dogs. No dogs we ever had required training. Then we got Inga. German Shepherds are wicked smart, they have to be trained or there will be guaranteed chaos. So we found the internet trainer Don Sullivan. He teaches people how to train. So we got his DVDs and training collar and did the work. The collar is like a mild plastic prong collar with pointed links instead of prongs. It is like what a mother dog does to a pup when they misbehave, she bites their neck. Corrections are only given when the KNOW the command but are blowing you off. He does not use treats which seem like bribes to me, he uses praise. They want to please us. So now, Inga knows 30 commands, even hand signals from a quarter mile off. If you google Don Johnson you can find him. Good luck and you can do it.
Google came up with some Miami Vice links and a couple things about Melanie Griffith. I don't really think that whole like their mother stuff means anything. I'll never believe they'd confuse us for a dog, if nothing else, they're mother didn't have a leash on them.
 

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True, that is probably just marketing hype. But it is a mild plastic prong collar that can give a good correction and does not look scary. With an older unruly puppy I would go to a real prong. In fact, he suggested we do so.
 

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I'd like to give a hairy-eyeball-glare at the person who first suggested that Yelping when a GSD pup bites and nips would cause them to stop. Consider the squeeky toy. They love biting those and listening to the simulated dying rabbit sound. Of course yelping just makes them want to bite more.


For awhile you may have to fold your arms and move your legs away. You need to find legitimate ways for your pup to bite on things. Find some good videos on how to do tug play. The Collared Scholar has some and so does Leerburg. I know there are more.



I do believe a little time out is good. Sometimes simply standing up and looking like superman can tell the dog you've had enough (watch your pup, though. A dog with a softer temperament might get frightened by that). When the dog backs down, soften and praise...a little. You don't want to amp them up again.

Make sure your pup isn't over tired. Over stimulated and over tired dogs aren't known for smart decisions or self-control.
 

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The link that NB was referring to is here:

https://theperfectdog.com

My take on why people have so much confusion surrounding the topic of bite inhibition, is because it gets viewed in terms that are black and white. Teaching bite inhibition does not mean being your puppy's chew toy! From my perspective, it means teaching them clearly not just to bite softly during play, it's about when and where biting is okay, and clearly when it is not! My current pup and I wrestled with each other a lot, and she bit me a lot. But the wrestling matches were always initiated by me, and always stopped when I said stop! My son doesn't like being scratched up by sharp puppy teeth, so he stopped playing with her immediately if she started biting, and she learned not to bite him pretty quickly. To each their own, but to teach any dog or puppy anything requires consistency! If the dog or puppy isn't learning what you expect, it's usually time to review and rethink YOUR behavior >:)
 
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I'd like to give a hairy-eyeball-glare at the person who first suggested that Yelping when a GSD pup bites and nips would cause them to stop. Consider the squeeky toy. They love biting those and listening to the simulated dying rabbit sound. Of course yelping just makes them want to bite more.


For awhile you may have to fold your arms and move your legs away. You need to find legitimate ways for your pup to bite on things. Find some good videos on how to do tug play. The Collared Scholar has some and so does Leerburg. I know there are more.



I do believe a little time out is good. Sometimes simply standing up and looking like superman can tell the dog you've had enough (watch your pup, though. A dog with a softer temperament might get frightened by that). When the dog backs down, soften and praise...a little. You don't want to amp them up again.

Make sure your pup isn't over tired. Over stimulated and over tired dogs aren't known for smart decisions or self-control.
I have no idea HOW this advice is still in circulation! I would like to throttle the person who came up with it!

As for the OP, I don't train my dogs so I have no real advice. Never bothered with bite inhibition as such, I simply let them outgrow the urge by redirecting to toys. I recall one foster pup who had me in work gloves for a while she was such a little beast, but overall I have not seen much trouble with biting. Shadow enjoyed mauling my ankles but since I was generally in jeans and boots I just ignored it (my step daughter spent a month or so walking on the furniture and shrieking) Eventually Shadow got bored with my lack of response and stopped. On those occasions when she was being the devils daughter I just popped her in the crate for a nap.
 

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The 1st time Beau the mouthy pup bit my hand too hard I yelled Ow! and got up from playing to walk around while the pain receded. Reaction was genuine, in the moment, not an attempt to teach anything, just me dealing with myself. He seemed contrite, and we resumed playing maybe 15 min later, and he was gentler. It happened again on another occasion a few days later, similar sequence of events. After that, he was routinely much gentler mouthing my hands, saved his hard bites for toys and other objects. I brought him home at 12 weeks, don’t know if he’d have stopped biting me so quickly at 8.

Reading some bad advice, I tried to cure his gentle mouthing of my hands with some fake yelps, and there was no change on his part. The yelps got a quizzical head tilt a couple times, but no change in the mouthiness. Not like the real Ow!s did with the hard bites. I guess he could tell the difference.

I gave up trying to stop him mouthing me, as a pup he seemed to really need to do it. He still does from time to time, not often, always my hand. It looks like affection to me. As long as he’s gentle, I don’t mind.
 

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The 1st time Beau the mouthy pup bit my hand too hard I yelled Ow! and got up from playing to walk around while the pain receded. Reaction was genuine, in the moment, not an attempt to teach anything, just me dealing with myself. He seemed contrite, and we resumed playing maybe 15 min later, and he was gentler. It happened again on another occasion a few days later, similar sequence of events. After that, he was routinely much gentler mouthing my hands, saved his hard bites for toys and other objects. I brought him home at 12 weeks, don’t know if he’d have stopped biting me so quickly at 8.

Reading some bad advice, I tried to cure his gentle mouthing of my hands with some fake yelps, and there was no change on his part. The yelps got a quizzical head tilt a couple times, but no change in the mouthiness. Not like the real Ow!s did with the hard bites. I guess he could tell the difference.

I gave up trying to stop him mouthing me, as a pup he seemed to really need to do it. He still does from time to time, not often, always my hand. It looks like affection to me. As long as he’s gentle, I don’t mind.



Yup, the dogs can read us very well and good genuine Ouch! and then the cradling of the hand or arm or ankle and the sudden stop of play can tell a dog volumes. Not the easiest way to teach a dog and I surely wouldn't do it on purpose, but it is a good teachable moment.
 

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The link that NB was referring to is here:

https://theperfectdog.com

My take on why people have so much confusion surrounding the topic of bite inhibition, is because it gets viewed in terms that are black and white. Teaching bite inhibition does not mean being your puppy's chew toy! From my perspective, it means teaching them clearly not just to bite softly during play, it's about when and where biting is okay, and clearly when it is not! My current pup and I wrestled with each other a lot, and she bit me a lot. But the wrestling matches were always initiated by me, and always stopped when I said stop! My son doesn't like being scratched up by sharp puppy teeth, so he stopped playing with her immediately if she started biting, and she learned not to bite him pretty quickly. To each their own, but to teach any dog or puppy anything requires consistency! If the dog or puppy isn't learning what you expect, it's usually time to review and rethink YOUR behavior >:)

^this is how it is with mine as well lol
 
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