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Discussion Starter #1
Maisey's rambunctious play has become cause for concern. The nipping at feet and tugging on pants legs I can deal with and redirect quite easily. What's happening now, and the reason I need some more experienced advice, is that she has bitten me multiple times hard enough that she has drawn blood. If she is to become a service dog, this behavior must be, pardon the pun, nipped in the bud immediately. How do I get it under control? I've maintained my composure so as not to scare her when it happens while telling her NO in a firm voice. I've given her a kong to chew on instead of my hand. I've ignored her in a sort of time out situation while I cleaned up my injury. I don't know what else to do. :help:

 

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Have you tried yelping really loud? I had to act like Fiona had ripped my arm off and beat me with it. Then I would go in the bathroom and close the door for a time out. She would sit out side the door and whine. She figured out quick. But it has to be immediate. Yell ouch as you get up to go walk away.


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Discussion Starter #3
I haven't yelped, but I did say OUCH in a high pitched loud voice twice when she bit harder than she should have. Maisey seemed to think it was part of the game, wagged her tail, and grabbed my pants leg when I got up to leave for a time out. I'll try yelping next time and see if that works better than just saying OUCH.
 

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Worst thing you can do is pull away while the pup is biting you as this can increase chance of injury and make the pup bite harder.

I don't like the yelp method as this projects weakness to the pup.

I am not a litter mate to a dog, I am it's master. There is a big difference.

The dog may be feeding of the excitement of the situation and seeing what it can get away with.

I have been scolded here by suggesting to give a pup a good slap for this biting hard and drawing blood, but i don't care. I would still prefer to hurt a pup rather than it thinking it can hurt me. That is more unhealthy IMO. I don't need to use this method but i would advice it to anybody who isn't strong enough to stop the dog through body language/redirection etc.

ONe way is hold the pup with one hand under the mouth and slap down on the nose with the other hand while saying no. Then when you say no, you follow up with this slap so the dog learns, no means no and if no is ignored then it gets the slap instead. No dog likes to be slapped like this. It does no harm.

A rolled up piece of paper or a flexible stick is also good as it won't hurt the pup but will get the shock factor to make it realize if it bites then it must face the consequences.

Once the pup gets familiar with this you only have to lift your hand and the pup will to stand down and stop doing what it is doing.

Other method is always leash the dog so if it is biting you can grab the leash and lift slightly off the ground so the pup must release.

Another method is stuff your hand into the pups mouth and teach it it cannot be comfortable biting a human.

Let the bashing begin lol
 

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Have raised three Shepherds over the decades and have been enjoying my 9 month old not biting me or anyone else for the past 4-5 months. All our Shepherds have been "trained" in a similar fashion and most likely not in style many in here would appreciate.

From the first "bite" I have always "bit" the dog back...using my mouth and teeth just like they choose to and more importantly mimicking what their mother would likely do as well. I bite my dog's muzzle and apply enough pressure to let the pup know I mean business. This may sound harsh but all of our Shepherd's have grown into adults which have never bitten humans and have very soft mouths. During this process of teaching them that biting is simply not acceptable, if they chose to persist in the beginning I make a fist and if they choose to nip at that, I move my fist more into their mouth while they are nipping rather than pulling it away..pulling it away simply entices the pup to attempt to bite more...whether it is a game or simple prey drive enhancer..I am not certain.

Yes, I have some nicks and a few drops of blood on my fists during this period of learning but in short order the pup learns.

2 of the 3 Shepherds we have been graced with learned after this period to gingerly remove my socks from my feet without pinching any flesh...now if I could just get them to throw them down the laundry chute..... Our current Shepherd also understands that underneath clothing there is skin and is to be treated with respect.

Shepherd's are not soft mouthed dogs by nature but are MORE than capable ( due to their intelligence ) to discern the difference between gentle playful mouthing with humans and their fierce prey drive bite forces.

As far as any audible signals used during my training sessions teaching our pups not to bite, coupled with pushing my fist towards the pup when they chose to bite, I would use loud surprising noises not necessarily a "yelp" but could have been construed as such by our pups.

The sooner a pup learns that using it's incredible jaw strength inappropriately, the better off everyone will be....mostly your wonderful puppy.

Patience with conviction,

SuperG
 

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Forgot to mention

One other practice I employed with all 3 of our Shepherds from day one was how I gave treats to them. Yes, I know, giving a treat to a dog in the palm of one's hand is the typical approach but I never did as such. Rather, I always held the treat in the tips of my thumb and forefinger with a firm grip and would never release the treat to the puppy unless they took it "nice". Yes, I acquired a scratch or two this way in the beginning but they all learned in short order the only way they got the treat was to take it "nice". Using the word "nice" could then be applied to when the pup wanted to use my hand or any other appendage as a chew toy. All 3 of our Shepherds learned that a gentle taking of the treat in a "nice" fashion was the quickest way to enjoy the treat. Once again, it took some patience along with consistency but within a short time period the pups all learned a soft-mouthed approach resulting in successfully earning it's treat. I also believe a benefit of this is the possibility of someone not getting their fingers nipped if they introduced a treat to our Shepherds.

When I choose to turn the "intensity" up a bit while playing with our Shepherds and they get a bit aggressive with their jaws, a simple " nice" gets the point across. I also used their toys in a similar fashion as they seemed to snap at their toys, balls, sticks etc while in my hands. Once again, they all learned if they were to get their toys from my hands, they had to take them "nice".

Best of luck with your patience, consistency and dedication to your pup,

SuperG
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks so much for all the additional advice because I really need it! Maisey met my dad for the first time yesterday and bit him hard enough to draw blood while playing with him. :(

She really is a good puppy, it's just that the past few days the way she plays with me and her toys is becoming increasingly rough. I know that I am the problem and need to learn how to solve it, so I truly appreciate your willingness to offer suggestions.

Yes, I know, giving a treat to a dog in the palm of one's hand is the typical approach but I never did as such.
I always give Maisey treats the same way that you do -- by holding the treat between my thumb and index finger. I often put her kibble in the palm of my hand and feed her this way when we are out and meal time rolls around. She has never been rough with my hands where food is involved, just toys.

I like the idea of putting the whole fist in the mouth rather than pulling away, so I'll try that today if she bites when we play. Will keep you all posted.

Again, thanks so much for your help! I'm crazy about my puppy and want to do right by her.
 

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She has never been rough with my hands where food is involved
So try to use the food to calm the dog when it is excited. Like if you think the dog is gonna bite you, get some food it likes and waft it in the dogs nose with out letting it have it. Then tell it to sit, reward, by either giving the food or throwing a toy for it to get.

Also get toys that have a rope so you can hold the rope without the pup being able to get to your hand. A flirt pole is handy too. It is a stick with a string attached and a toy or fluffy rag on the end of the string. When you play with this you hopefully don't risk the pup making contact with your hands.

You will need to teach on off command if the pup starts to latch onto toys and not let go. You can try the food or offering another toy, or just prize the mouth open or use some of the techniques i mention in other post

I like the idea of putting the whole fist in the mouth rather than pulling away, so I'll try that today if she bites when we play
The pulling away is probably what is causing her to bite harder. If the dog has to struggle to get something it puts more effort into it. Plus if it holds you and you pull away there is more chance of the sharp long teeth cutting you. Any time a pup or dog bites you have to remain totally calm or there will be more damage than there should be.

If a pup or dog bits me by accident I accept it and move on. I won't get angry, frustrated defeated etc. It is not the end of the game. I will try to get it to focus on something and bite that instead(simple redirection). If it continues to bite me then I will use some technique to stop it. I'm aiming for the dog to be confident but respectful when playing with me and others.
 

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Ugh we've hit that phase with our puppy too...yelping/physical methods/etc weren't working. The "nice" + treat method has helped a bit as well as preventative efforts by exercising a lot during the day (especially with her ball) and that seemed to decrease the number of nipping incidents...as another poster in a related thread said...a tired dog is a less bite-y dog! Just a thought...
 

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if you dont pull away the teeth arent strong enough to puncture skin. if you pull away the skin rips. truthfully the best fix for this comes with age. if your dog is really drivey then they can be monsters when little.

hitting them makes them afraid of your hands. your hands should always be a source of good. youre trying to teach them bite inhibition, not to never touch your hands. what if your dog was big and it knows to leave your hands alone but bites a childs hand roughly because it doesnt know inhibition?

only things that worked for me was to get up and leave the room/put them in timeout. take their fun away. the other thing that worked was to buy bitter apple spray. they can play with my hands but if they bit too hard i gave them a yelp and then sprayed my hand and then gave it back to them to play with. if they bit hard, the hand suddenly turns into this bitter nasty thing thats no fun to play with.
 

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I have a middle aged stray GSD that wandered in to my place in the country. I've had him for several days. When we go for a walk, and I jog a bit, he acts like he wants to jump up and grab my hand. Also, when petting him, he'll sometimes put his paw on my hand, and occasionally gently grab my wrist with his mouth. Suggestions on how to break this, if I keep the dog, would be greatly appreciated. My apologies if this is put in the wrong section.
 

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I've found this has helped us a lot:

Also, feeding him out of my hand more often has helped.

With the kids when they do the training with the puppy, I have them hold the food in a fist because our puppy will automatically back up and when they open their hand and offer him the food he takes it more mindfully. Otherwise, he was rough on their hands and I think that was partly excitement.

Like the other poster said spray bitter apple on your arms and hands. Ours mouths me quite a bit when I am grooming him but the 'OFF' works. And I am working on his body handling tolerance.
 

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My German shep/Belgian Malinois mix was breaking the skin at 7 weeks. I called it puppy bite mode. It is a trance like state, and he'd get all excited and get this look on his face like a great white shark does when it's taking a bite out of a seal with the eyeballs rolling back in its head. It's normal, it's not aggression, it's not malicious it's just prey drive.

The previous poster who said you don't want to get it to stop biting totally is correct if the puppy hasn't started teething yet. The reason puppies have sharp piranha teeth from **** is to learn to control their bite force.

I'd try the OUCH method first, but make sure you do it correctly. You want to freeze when the puppy bites too hard. Don't pull away or you will trigger the prey drive when you jerk away and that pup will come after you. Think about what you do with a toy when you want to get the puppy to go for it. You present that toy and then you pull it away so he goes for it. If you do that with your hands it's bad news bears. You want to shriek loudly enough to startle the pup, give him a hard look for a half a second then turn around and ignore him for 10-15 seconds. You don't have to leave the room or leave him in time out for extended periods of time because the dog won't make the connection between length of punishment and the action he actually did to cause it.

Ideally the next time he comes at you it should be softer. They do this because the puppy will want to keep the game going. It may take a bunch of repetitions to get the desired result.

However... Some puppies (like mine was) are Comanche warriors and your shrieks of pain will only get them excited, and they'll bite harder and some will even start biting you when you turn around to ignore them. Some people at this point will tell you to leave the room. I would advise you abandon the method entirely and use the teaching the off command instead. You will need to teach the off command anyway it really is invaluable. Someone already posted a youtube video showing how it is done. I would go one step further though after you have used that method.

After you have the dog doing the off command for food when he is calm, you will want to use that fist of treats to rile that puppy into progressively higher levels of "puppy bite mode" then you use that off command and reward when he stops. The reason behind this is you want to be able to get the puppy to obey the command even at high states of arousal because that is when you need it the most. Eventually you can fade the treat and use that off command on everything from the puppy jumping on someone to chewing something it isn't supposed to.

The other piece of advise I would give you which seems like common sense but isn't. Don't pet the puppy when hes in puppy bite mode. Pet only when you have a calm nice puppy. If you are trying to pet the pup and he goes after you with teeth don't pet him. People will do it anyway thinking oh it will stop because it is being petted. No it won't! And on top of that you just nurtured puppy bite mode. They are cute as **** at that stage and some people just keep wanting to pet even when it is latching onto the hand.

Just outta curiosity what kind of games are you playing with this pup? Rough housing or tug games? Those will make puppy bite mode worse if not done properly with set structure.

Be prepared to bleed some with a high prey drive pup. I'm not sure if it is possible to get through raising a high prey drive puppy without a little bloodshed on your part. Don't hit the puppy, don't shake the puppy and expect a certain amount of mouthiness. Don't sweat it too much. It's normal it doesn't mean your puppy is destined to maul a small child or need to be put down, but it does need to be worked with.
 

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And you look at it and you go awwww



Then awww some more



Then OH GOD IT'S A MONSTER!
 

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Thanks! He's half German Shepherd half Belgian Malinois. He looks more like a Malinois and has that bite first ask questions later maligator attitude that needed to be tempered. The ouch method worked on him at first but then he just got excited and bit harder. It was off command and redirection to legal targets that allowed control of his mouthiness. He's now 16 weeks old. It was made very clear that his toys are far more fun to play with than hands were. The other thing that helps control puppy bite mode is to keep the puppy well exercised and tired. Bored puppy is a bad puppy. They need to chew and need an outlet for puppy bite mode, so when the puppy has one and are allowed to get it out of their system the rest of the day goes by a lot smoother.

 

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Discussion Starter #19
Since I first posted about Maisey's love of biting, she has gotten much better about it. I contacted her breeder for suggestions as well and what she suggested is working well for us. If Maisey gets too excited when we play and latches onto my hand in the process, I grab the nape of her neck like a mother dog or cat would do and say "Eh" in a sharp, not loud, tone. I think it's the quick tug on the nape of her neck that gets Maisey's attention and lets her know that she's doing something she shouldn't because she usually stops before I even get the "Eh" out of my mouth.

I've also stopped playing tugging games with her for the time being. Once she has completely stopped biting during play, we can tug again; until then, we chase balls and frisbees around the yard in the evening when it's cool or find the hidden treats at the office during the day. The latter is by far her favorite game of all to play, LOL! Sherlock Holmes has nothing on my Maisey :wub:
 

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There ya go, nothing too serious it's more something that catches you off guard the first time more than anything.
 
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