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I have a question about a trainer's method that came by last Saturday. She offered her help (like I told in another thread) to see if she can prolong my boy's stay with me and perhaps better the situation so much more that my family could take care of him while I recover my health. It's a bit idealistic, but as I'm having great difficulties with the rehoming process, this is a good midway solution. At least as long as I still manage.

We started working on his biting. Whenever he gets too enthusiastic, he bites. In the trainer's words, "this is what you guys have taught him, he does not know how to ask for attention, so he bites". She does not want me correcting him, ever. Her method is to simply let him bite me and just wait until he stops. When he stops (not because his attention deviated to something else) I need to reward him (I also need to reward him whenever he does approach me in the right way). The thing is, he bites freakin hard (doesn't draw blood). It's pure masochism to just stand there and not make any sound at all. She told me to just curse in my head...

So yesterday I decided to throw this idea out of the window and start walking into another room if he bites, because it was too much (not reacting also seems to feed his behavior, it just ups his drive). This works fine for me, but my sister is too petite to walk to another room while he's pulling her trousers. After some failed attempts she decided to follow this trainer's advice and put on double clothes and a jacket. Madoc's drive was already super high at this point so he immediately jumped at her arms, pulling her full force. It was too painful for her to just keep quiet standing there, so I had to intervene, because at this point he was just playing tug. I had to grab him with force and put him next to me. He barked a few times, but didn't do anything else. I then picked his tug toy and played a bit. Gave it to my sister and she also played a bit. This way I kind of redirected his attention, but it was far from good.
He starts with a soft bite, but whether you give attention or not, he just increases his force. He doesn't do this very often though. You can see when wants to do it and at that point I just need to redirect immediately to a toy.

The trainer told me this same method worked with a Dutch Shepherd she helped train. And that, when done properly, it teaches the dog that it does not get any attention if it bites.

My boy is 15 months. For the people who haven't followed me: I haven't done nearly enough training due to health problems.

Has any of you ever heard of this method? Is it any good? Should I just continue to do what I'm trying to do now?
 

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IMO that sounds ridiculous.The biting itself is rewarding to him.Ideally he should be corrected and stopped immediately.Allowing him to bite and further rewarding him with a game of tug?Doesn't seem logical:(
 

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Maybe it's an attempt to get you to act like dead prey in hopes the dog will lose interest in you. Sounds like a epic fail. She's making the assumption that your dog is in prey drive when he bites--I don't know, I haven't seen him in action. It doesn't matter since it doesn't work.

I think you're on a much better path with the redirect onto a toy. Does he have a favorite? If so, increase its value to him. Take it away and only offer it to him when he gets bitey. Praise like a madman when he grabs your tug. Let him know I really like that toy!
 

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Sounds like a pure positive trainer trying to use extinction.

I agree there is no reason for you to stand there being chewed on by your dog. The trainer might still have something to offer you as far as shaping and rewarding behaviors but if it were me, I'd shut that down.

Does he jump up to bite? Can you just pop him with the leash as he is saying starting to jump? I mean pop as in leash correction not actually whacking him with the leash.
 

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Putting on double clothes just sounds like putting on a bite suit so he can really go to town on you.

My immediate approach would be to take him outside for a bit of training using tug as a reward BEFORE he has a chance to bite anyone at whatever time he is most likely to do it. I.e. give him what he wants, to bite and tug, just have him esrn it on s legal tug and teach him something in the process. Then bring him in on a leash and if he tries it, so no, give him a correction, and if he tries again consider giving him s short timeout in a crate.

If your sister is too little to deal with him then you will have to intervene on her behalf and make the dog behave.

You can employ some reward based training in all this no bite training by marking and rewarding any instance when he approaches but does not immediately bite or try to bite.
 

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My suggestion is to rehome this dog as quickly as possible. You have too much on your plate.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
@dogma13
You're right, I was totally wrong with giving him a tug after this behaviour. Didn't think it that way, but thanks.

@zetti
Alright! Yes, he has a favourite one. Thanks.

@Deb
Thank you. She means really well, it's super kind of her, but this really doesn't seem to be a helpful strategy.

@Thecowboysgirl
She mentioned once that she only does pure positive training, never any corrections. For example, to start working on the pulling on the leash, she wants me to keep feeding him snacks continuously to stay next to me, so I get more interesting then everything else..
He hardly ever does this when he has his leash on (outside), it's almost always indoors. I give him a pop when we're outside though if I see he wants to jump.

Thanks for the tips. I will try that! The last one was actually also something this trainer said; to always reward when he approaches without biting.

@carmspack
She didn't. I did speak with her, she being owner of the rehoming organisation. She mainly explained to me how we should arrange the meeting between the dogs and stuff like that. Never got to that though.

@Nurse Bishop
I know. I have had this suggested by someone I really respect on this website more than a month ago - either I'm too weak, selfish or selfless, I have no idea, but I can't do it as quickly as possible.
 

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OMG, Henricus.


I'm not a behaviourist, but sincerely I wouldn't sit and watch while my dog is happily chewing on me. Even if it makes him feel good. Perhaps the dog can end up "thinking" he's free to bite you whenever he wants since there is no consequences of this behaviour. Mine gets menacing NO each time he's up to no good and it usually works.
 

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I'd agree with everyone else....I think that strategy can work with a puppy who is simply biting because they don't know better and want to explore the world by putting stuff in their mouth. It sounds like you're past that and he is biting simply because he likes biting.
 

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I am all for positive training when teaching a dog a new behavior. I am all for shaping when teaching tricks and household routines but it is quite right to tell a dog NO! Just always follow it with a yes. NO, you cannot bite me. YES, you can sit. Reward the sit with a toy or treat. And as far as treats while you walk, what happens when something crosses your path that is much more interesting than a treat? You dog needs to understand that a NO is not the end of the world and that you still love him. NO, you cannot chase the cat into the street. YES, you can lay here. Now that you are calm you can watch the cat across the street.
 

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I agree with everyone else on the fact that this trainer's method would probably work with a young puppy who is learning not to nip but for a larger dog that could potentially cause some major damage this method will not work and could cause more harm than good, particularly if he ends up knocking you down and that may trigger him to be much more rough in the biting and put you or your sister in a much more vulnerable position. I understand where the trainer is coming from but it sounds like she really hasn't spent a whole lot of time with either you or the dog and a good trainer would take the time to make sure this method is what would work best for your situation, regardless if it follows along with the pure positive philosophy or not. I'm not sure of your situation with the dog as it sounds like there may be some other stuff going on, but if you have the chance I would look for a different trainer who will sit down with you and the dog and find a method that works best for both you and the dog and is safe for everyone involved.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Sorry for the late response, but thanks everybody for the great help.

The few times I have enforced what this trainer has taught seems to have made the behaviour a little bit worse. There are a few other things she said/advised that haven't helped either, some I haven't even tried (e.g.: walking with harness when he's a puller; letting him jump on the kitchen table, or dinner table. We just have to put the things aside so he eventually learns there is nothing interesting to find there and stops jumping....; not play with balls).
This Tuesday I have an appointment with a real (experienced) trainer. I want a realistic assessment if this is something I can do. I'll give an update on the other thread when something interesting comes up.

Thanks again for the help (and patience).
 

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Have you thought about using a device that makes a really loud and unpleasant sound to both interrupt his unwanted behavior and show him that each time he bites you something really aversive happens (but not physically violent/painful)?

When my border collie tried to be sneaky and steal food, or jump on us, we would shake coins in a metal jar and it REALLY worked to change her behavior.. It interrupts them and surprises them (no matter how many times they've heard it) and inherently pairs the unwanted behavior with unwanted stimulus.

I believe you can get a small air horn as well. I have used this method to prevent my dog from chasing ("herding" ;) ) my mom's chickens.
 

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I might be old school but I am kinda of the opinion if you don't want your dog to do something you don't let them do it.

So I wouldn't ever let my dog jump on the dining room table - its not something that I will allow when they are small puppies or big dogs... it will always get a stern No and I will help them get down.

I think your method of going into another room would work well seeing as you say he is doing it to get attention. I wouldn't let my dog just bite me cos he will eventually get bored... hello I'm not a chew toy.

I hope your other trainer gives you better advice.
 

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it's quite obvious to me that this dog ENJOYS chewing on you. The activity itself is its own reward, so waiting for him to stop is NOT going to work.

And having your sister put on more clothing is like the decoy putting on a bite suit - that was MY first thought, too, when I read that!

There have got to be consequences for bad behaviour. What do you do when you're out walking the dog on a leash, and he decides to drag you out into traffic so he can go check out that dog across the road, which is MUCH more interesting than the treats you have?

I've seen people using shake cans. The dog had NO respect for the humans in the household, only for the can. They are a crutch that interferes with building a mutually respectful relationship with your dog.

Also, a German shepherd with good nerves is not intimidated by strange or loud noises. Many trainers use a can full of pebbles or pennies to test a pup's suitability for schutzhund!
 

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I am NOT going to dispute or criticize this warm and fuzzy approach to extinguishing this biting behavior. It may get the whiners up in arms:grin2:,but I will smh!
LOL .. fortunately??? I have no such reservations ... as a wise philosopher once said ... "Sponge Bob Square Pants:

"Kicking Butt and Chewing Gum, is my business and ... I'm all out of gum!!" >:)
 
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