German Shepherds Forum banner

1 - 7 of 7 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
458 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Okay, this is one of my weird problems that other people don't seem to have. My dog likes to grab the toy as close to my (or whoever's) hand as possible when I offer her a toy and she's excited. Often this winds up including part of said person's hand, and she grabs hard. This is actually a problem we encounter regularly as we use toys as a reward for her SAR training. If I don't make sure whoever is rewarding her is wearing leather gloves (I keep two sizes in my training bag), their hands come out looking like they've been through a cheese grater. I'm usually too lazy to grab gloves for myself and my hands are a bleeding disastrous mess.

So you'd think this is a problem of presentation, right? That's what it usually is. But no, not her. No matter how you present the toy, your hand is likely to get bit. She actively targets "toy next to your hand" rather than "toy." Believe me, I'm pretty experienced with presenting toys correctly. I've also had others with far more experience than me working with her, and they've all felt her teeth.

So maybe a toy problem, right? Again, no. Currently we're using a tennis ball on a climbing rope, and that's the best so far. We've tried like 5 different types of tugs though and she's had a problem with all of them.

Anyway, is there a way to get her to target the toy itself rather than focusing on my hands so much? Might she grow out of it as she gets older (she's 9 months now)? Why can't I ever have a normal training problem with my dogs? ;)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
245 Posts
Is the toy (and thus play) "dead" until she bites it in the right position?

(I don't have anything helpful to add beyond that, sorry for your hands. :()
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
701 Posts
My dog does this as well. When I brought it up at a sch eval, I was told that (this is paraphrased) it is an inhibition or a lack of confidence that the dog chooses not to bite at the middle of the toy; much like those dogs that will not bite the middle of the sleeve.

All that I have found what works is to be proactive about redirecting the toy so that dog has no choice but to bite the middle. If he does get your hand, reward is removed right away and back to the task. Now sometimes he goes for the middle on his own. But lately I have found, although he will not play "properly" with me all the time, he will go all out at PSA training, middle of the tug, thrashing, keeping away from the helper. So maybe my dog feels like he does not want to hurt me? what a thoughtful dog.

I can live with it, although yes it is annoying for him to bite at the tug handles or the string on a ball-on-string, I have found ways to get around it. Redirecting the tug to his mouth. A rag reward works nicely. 2 handled tugs so that he can get one end. A thrown ball is our favorite. Still, am hoping that he will grow out of it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
766 Posts
You're not alone :) my pup does this too. I just stop and have him drop it so I can pop it back in his mouth at the correct distance from my hand. I was just consistent about it and now 90% of the time (still learning) he is now biting the toy further away from my hand :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
458 Posts
Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
Thanks, guys. Good to know I'm not alone. :)

Jae, that makes total sense and I'm kind of surprised that hasn't occurred to me (or any of our cadre of trainers) before. Maybe because Abi is freaking nuts most of the time...she doesn't seem like a dog who is lacking in confidence. However, when I first got her, she had been discouraged from playing tug with people because her previous owners thought it would make her aggressive, so I initially really had to encourage her to do it. She is getting better, though. I'm not sure I'm quite ready to start removing the reward if she gets my hand though...we've only been doing this for 2 months and she's still too easily discouraged from playing tug IMO. But I will keep that in mind for the future, when we are fine-tuning her tug game. ;)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
701 Posts
Of course, that is one man's opinion, and I certainly cannot speak to how much truth there is to it. maybe some other experienced person could expand on that notion.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
33 Posts
Stop over analyzing *why*, and correct your dog for biting you.
What would one dog do if another dog bit him and hurt him?
The dog would bite him back, and show him how it feels.
 
1 - 7 of 7 Posts
Top