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Discussion Starter #1
I know, this appears to be a popular topic right now. Anyhow, Izzie is eight weeks and she bites pretty hard. I have tried: yelping, saying ouch, ignoring/isolation, redirection, etc. and they are not working very well. I have read elsewhere of four other techniques that I wanted to run by you guys and get your opinions.

1) After she bites, with one hand, hold her mouth shut for up to fifteen seconds, while simultaneously telling her "don't bite."

2) Using a spray bottle (filled with water), and squirting her in the face when/after she bites.

3) Putting thumb ontop of tongue and applying pressure, in effect pinching her lower jaw.

4) After she bites, use index and middle finger to tap (lightly) on her nose.

A part of me is hesitant to utilize any of these techniques because I don't want her to become a mean dog...seeking revenge on me when she's older...
 

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What about putting something to chew on, soft chew toy or a frozen washcloth in her mouth when she is biting. I would use positive redirection only. No pinching or pressure on the muzzle. Tapping her on the nose will only get her more excited, she'll think it is part of the "game".
 

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The best technique is the one the mother dog uses when discipling her crew. She takes ahold of the puppies muzzles and applies pressure with her mouth until puppy squeals and then she holds it just a bit longer to make sure the point has been gotten across while she looks into puppies eyes. This works and is pretty much your #1 solution.
This is how puppies will understand you mean business. Depending on the temperament of the puppy this may take numerous times. I also add a "UH UH" really sternly when I see their mouth open coming at me. This kind snaps them out of it and they stop. Even from across the room if you see them going to bite something the "UH UH' will stop them.
I should add to give the puppy something acceptable to chew on after to redirect her biting behaviour. It is ok to bite somethings!
Consistency is the key and don't worry that puppy will want to seek revenge on you!!!! This will not make her a mean dog this is communicating to her in the exact way her mother did, and believe me it doesn't take long for puppy to get it when momma does it. I have been around enough puppies to see this in action, it works.

I have used your number 4 "thumping" technique on older dogs and man they do not like it. The nose is the most sensitive part of their body and a quick "thump" is unpleasant to them. Won't work on puppies though in my opinion. They just don't get it.

On the #1 technique trying to close the entire mouth with one hand won't work as usually if you come at them they will open their mouth and you can't get a hold of both. Just the upper muzzle is fine, the bottom one still can't close on you then. So one hand over the muzzle and I actually push/press the "lips" onto a tooth on each side, yes they yelp but that is what I want. Measley corrections become nagging corrections and are ignored, you want swift and definitive, this is not acceptable behaviour!!
 

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I appreciate your reluctance to go the strong-arm route. Of course you are stronger than a puppy but you are smart enough to figure out a GSD too. I would not be concerned that she would "retaliate" when she got older. Now, however, she might decide you were escalating the game and get even more bitey. The whole deal here is not to force the dog to do what you want but to get it to want to do what you want.

How about substituting something or going back to your earlier tactic but doing it consistently - that is consistently turning and walking away? I think consistency is the key here, not harder and harder confrontational tactics. I know it gets to be tiresome for you but it will also get tiresome and boring for the puppy!

BTW they DO get bigger. And you'll look back, really you will, with some fondness on the trials and tribulations of Ms. Shark.
 

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http://www.germanshepherds.com/forum/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=153716&page=1#Post153716

The articles are the most important part.

Interesting that the mom does the muzzle clamp-how often does that happen? I am also guessing it happens when the puppy is at that overtired stage of obnoxiousness? Not when they are playing.

What I am getting at is that the mom probably isn't doing this every time the puppy bites and that they do let them play bite. And they don't do it harshly it's more of a gentle move than what we think (even though it looks like they are eating the puppy). I am not arguing with what you are saying you see, but trying to point out that from what I have seen there is a build up before they get to that level of correction.

I think dogs do things way better than we do.


I have a non-related pack that has raised puppies and they are very tolerant. It takes a lot for a puppy to earn a muzzle grab. What they DO do is give the puppy a tug item or get up and ignore them. If the puppy does nail them for a yelp, it is combined with ignoring. And it is purposeful ignoring. The puppy knows it is being ignored.

Don't discount the power of "the Look" (but don't use it to scare the puppy of course!)


This little guy was raised by humans prior to me getting him at about 8 weeks. He had no bite inhibition-I did nothing-and he ended up with a soft mouth and good inhibition thanks to my dogs. See the other foster dog pulling back-after that she got up and walked away and would not play with him. It killed him.


Find the puppy in the pile-learning how hard to bite in play:


Oh-we think he's so cute-and he's learning how to approach appropriately:


Cut to a little bit later-okay, junior, we are almost done here-we went in because he was getting tired and she was starting to wish she knew how to get him in his crate (which is another tool-not using as punishment but a nice relaxing time out with an ice cube or something enjoyable):


Hope you don't mind-but I think it is interesting to watch how adult, non-related dogs communicate to puppies.
 

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I have to say that i had the same problem with oliver when he was a pup.he used to sneak behind me and grab my foot right above the heel.OUTCH!!!THAT'S IS VERY PAINFUL!
One time,too many,i had enought and he did it again,my reaction was not really nice,more like a smack across his face.Not too hard,but not too soft.He yep/cried(i hurt him),i felt bad,really bad.I did not know if i went too far with it,but at the time i just had it.
Well,after that smack,he never,ever did it again.
Lesson learn!
This was the only time i ever corrected him this hard.
 

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I posted about my pup biting my little girl, and crooked creek told me to apply pressure to his muzzle. At first when i did this he would try to bite me again and he barked, but after doing this several times he finally got the point, my little girl can walk up to him and hug him and pet him without getting bitten. The pups are smart and they learn fast, and when your consistant with getting after them for the behavior they start to get the point and they know its something they are not suppose to do.

Just thought id share my story.
 

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Emjworks05
I'm so glad the technique worked for you, it always does if done consistently. Puppy will harbor no ill will because of this so don't worry. We have to protect that little girl of yours and make sure puppy knows she has to be submissive to the "little two leggers" as well. Make sure your little girls knows to leave this type of discipline to you Mom on the puppy she may try to grab puppies mouth too.

I'll also recommend this book to you as well
"Raising puppies and KidsTogether AGuide for Parents by Silvani and Eckhardt
 

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Thanks so much! My little girl know that me or her dad are suppose to discipline the pup not her. she like the fact that she can love on the pup now and not run away crying because he bit her.
 

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i always placed my hand on my dogs chest, holding him back and i would say "no biting". then i would play with his lips or rub his mouth and when he bit again i simply would repeat the holding him back. of course when he didn't bite i would let him lick my hands and praise him. one of my favorite corrections method is, hold them in the scruff of the neck and raise my voice, "no biting, no peeing in the house ( take them outside immediately), no whatever. all of my dogs really react to the scruff of the neck hold. out of your 4 methods i would use the hand over the mouth method. i also use the hand over the mouth when my dog isn't listening or mishaving. when i do it i always lift his head so we're looking at each other. he still turns his eyes away but he gets the message. spray bottle, what are you going to do, walk around with a spray all of the time. pressure on the tongue, to harsh, plus that's a good way to get biten. tap on the nose, no the nose is to sensitive, plus you might miss and poke the eye. i assume you're kidding if you think your dog is going to become mean or seek revenge on you.
 

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Originally Posted By: doggiedad
when i do it i always lift his head so we're looking at each other. he still turns his eyes away but he gets the message.
My puppy wouldn't turn his eyes away. He returns the look and is ready to take the challenge. Not every puppy can be intimidated so I would proceed carefully with some of the advice.
 

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doggiedad, spray bottles can work if used effectively. Some dogs think it's a game, in which case I would ignore him, redirect him, or use the muzzle technique, but if the dog hates the spray bottle, usually just the sight of it can get the point across to the dog instead of squirting it every time.

Pryght, everyone here has provided you with very insightful methods, it really just determines which one you like best and what works on your dog. Me, personally, I have had great results with getting up and walking away from the dog when he bites because my dogs love playing too much to give it up. The spray bottle may work for you, but it didn't for me, too much of a game for my boys. The muzzle pinch is effective, but I would try ignoring the pup, or using the spray bottle first, but that's just me.
 

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not trying to intimidate at all. i've never found a reason to intimidate. i use the "Soft Hand, Spoken Work" method. i just want him to look at me so i know he's paying attention. even when he looks away and that's if he looks away i know he's paying attention.
Originally Posted By: GSD07
Originally Posted By: doggiedad
when i do it i always lift his head so we're looking at each other. he still turns his eyes away but he gets the message.
My puppy wouldn't turn his eyes away. He returns the look and is ready to take the challenge. Not every puppy can be intimidated so I would proceed carefully with some of the advice.
 

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i've never tried any methods other than the ones i mentioned. i did use the spray bottle on the cats.
Originally Posted By: GSDOwner2008doggiedad, spray bottles can work if used effectively. Some dogs think it's a game, in which case I would ignore him, redirect him, or use the muzzle technique, but if the dog hates the spray bottle, usually just the sight of it can get the point across to the dog instead of squirting it every time.

Pryght, everyone here has provided you with very insightful methods, it really just determines which one you like best and what works on your dog. Me, personally, I have had great results with getting up and walking away from the dog when he bites because my dogs love playing too much to give it up. The spray bottle may work for you, but it didn't for me, too much of a game for my boys. The muzzle pinch is effective, but I would try ignoring the pup, or using the spray bottle first, but that's just me.
 

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Personally, I like the various approaches in the sticky thread that Jean posted. Lots of good articles with effective methods, but you have to realize that it will take time and patience for ANY of them to work. Some will work better for some puppies than others, and sometimes a combination approach works best, so you often have to experiment.

If you've tried some of them already and they aren't effective yet, it's because your puppy is only 8 weeks old! It can take weeks or months for them to finally get it, and often it's a slow, gradual process. It's possible that a very harsh aversive method will scare or hurt your puppy enough to make him stop RIGHT NOW, but that will risk your relationship with him, which should be based on trust and respect.

Originally Posted By: Pryght
1) After she bites, with one hand, hold her mouth shut for up to fifteen seconds, while simultaneously telling her "don't bite."
I can't even imagine trying to hold onto a squirming puppy's muzzle for 15 seconds. And if I DID, the first thing I'd expect to happen the second I let go would be to get bit again.

Quote:2) Using a spray bottle (filled with water), and squirting her in the face when/after she bites.
This is only an aversive for puppies that don't love water. I've tried spraying Keefer when he gets barky and demanding at meal time, and he has a terrific time biting at the water. Not exactly what I had in mind.


Quote:3) Putting thumb ontop of tongue and applying pressure, in effect pinching her lower jaw.
See response to #1.

Quote:4) After she bites, use index and middle finger to tap (lightly) on her nose.
See response to #1.

Quote:A part of me is hesitant to utilize any of these techniques because I don't want her to become a mean dog...seeking revenge on me when she's older...
Good for you! But she won't be seeking revenge on you when she's older, what will likely happen is that her biting will escalate NOW.

For me, the puppy shriek, which must be LOUD and SHARP enough to startle the puppy worked very well for Keefer, but not so much for Dena. Redirecting them to a toy worked well for both. I had to always be armed with something else for them to bite instead of me, but that's easily done. And last but definitely not least, is the removal of attention, as someone else mentioned. Play nice or playtime stops and mom/dad goes away. After a couple of tries if they didn't stop, they got a brief time out in the crate. They learn very quickly what is and is not acceptable in order to keep your attention.
 

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Pryght, I have a question for you, What are your plans with your pup? If you have a thought about even trying SchH, then you don't really want to teach bite inhibition, you want to use the re-direct technique. You teach the pup that toys and tugs are appropriate to bite and always use that to replace your human flesh.

I have scars from each one of my pups, to me that is just part of the package you get when you want a herding or working type dog.

All pups learn the same way and explore pretty much the same way they use their mouth. So the only method I prefer to use is to redirect the pup to some thing that is acceptable to bite.

So you have options of teaching bite inhibition and shutting down your pups desire to want to do things in the future like play tugs or do SchH. You can teach redirect and the pup will learn what is acceptable to bite on and at the same time your build the drive and the love of toy and tug.

Some of the methods posted earlier will probably give you faster results, but I am not looking for fast, I am looking for building play and drives. I use those things as training progresses, to me it is easier to work with a dogs drives than to try to squash them.

Val
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Thank you everyone for your responses, they have been very helpful.

Val, I am not interested in pursuing SchH. I will take her to obedience classes, etc., and train (intellectually stimulate) her, but SchH, to me, is a whole different level. From what I've read (which I admit is limited), SchH sometimes involves harsh corrections...something that I won't do. In my eyes, it is just not worth it.
 

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Dave, the harshness in training depends on the trainer and once in a while the dog. So I wouldn't rule out SchH, you can go to clubs and train and not do protection and get OB and TR (Obedience and Tracking) titles.

I like the redirect and getting my pups loving playing with toys or tugs because like I said I can use that in any form of training.

Val
 

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In regard to mom dog clamping pup's muzzle....

Reich is about 7 months old now and we currently have a 6 week old pit/boxer pup staying with us.

This boy is Tenacious with a capital T. Bite bite bite....EVERYTHING. And once he gets those teeth on it, he tugs with all his little might.

She likes to play with him, but when she's had enough of those tiny razors she clamps his muzzle, holds it until he cries, waits a few seconds..and lets go. So far she's having more success than me LOL
 
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