Help with a nipping pup

Discussion in 'Dog Training and Behaviour' started by Cloudy Star, Jun 13, 2009.


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  1. leashedForLife

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    Pet Forums Community - View Single Post - Help with a nipping pup
     
  2. butttons

    butttons PetForums Newbie

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    That's what normal happy Springer puppys do & she will stop doing this soon, if you have the patience to get her through her puppyhood.
    My nutcase Springer is now 10mths old & We've been through it all. He would nip chew run & jump at anything that moved. She will grow out of this if you giver her love & attention all of the time & ignore her when she nps jumps up mouthes you, or a quick timeout in a crate also helps if you have one. Good luck:)
     
  3. Nick Jones

    Nick Jones PetForums Junior

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    Many of my clients have been told they'll grow out of it, only to find the dog grew into it and the problem became more deeply embedded and possibly depending on the dog had an overtone of dominance towards the owner.

    Stop and address these issues now quickly and without fuss, and you can be better assured of a calm, respectful pup as you go into the future.

    Many a dog/pup simply does not find the ignoring of unwanted behaviours in any way a deterrent to undesirable behaviour! Stopping and addressing the behaviour in a measured way is a more positive step.

    Thanks,

    Nick
     
  4. sue&harvey

    sue&harvey PetForums VIP

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    Why would anyone set the dog up to fail? :confused1:

    Setting them up to succeed, loads of praise and treats when they get things right, is surely better.

    (Or are all the books I have read wrong?)
     
  5. leashedForLife

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    i very much agree, sue -
    mouthing + nipping is a *stage* of development that is actually useful for teaching a soft-mouth.

    teaching a pup to have an inhibited-bite AKA soft-mouth can save huge problems and even serious injury,
    when the pup is an adult; even a JUSTIFIED bite (pain, fear, feeling threatened, provoking, etc)
    can be minimized by a dog with good bite-inhibition who *pulls the punch* rather than bite full-mouth + full-force.

    the website Dog Star Daily has free books - before U get Ur puppy and After...,
    as well as articles on teaching mouth-manners.

    all my best,
    --- terry
     
  6. pika

    pika PetForums VIP

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    Fantastic thread, helped me a lot with little Skye!!
     
  7. Nick Jones

    Nick Jones PetForums Junior

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    When I say setting the dog up to fail, I mean to elicit the behaviour to then give you a prepared opportunity to address that behaviour. So eventually you set the dog up to succeed. Poor choice of words on my part.

    Thanks,

    Nick
     
  8. sue&harvey

    sue&harvey PetForums VIP

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    But then you are encouraging the dog to Practice the behaviour. Surely capturing the behaviour When/If it is disaplayed is the better approach. I always have a box of treats in each room so I can capture a good behaviour.
    Soft mouth = play
    Appropiate play = treats

    Hard mouthing = being ignored and me withdrawing
     
  9. RobD-BCactive

    RobD-BCactive PetForums VIP

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    I can see where Nick's coming from here. If you know a pup jumps up at strangers but not family members, then you have to meet (and clue up quickly just before pup greets) the strangers so the pup's not rewarded for bad manners, not simply try to avoid them for ever more (which would be impossible). You know the pup's going to fail, many, many times before he "gets it" once the habit is there.

    Another example, the pup I'm training isn't allowed to climb my stairs. If I prevented him by physical barrier, he wouldn't learn he's not allowed here, so I have to allow him to fail, but also allow him to succeed by responding to indication of the house rules.

    Sometimes you are prepared and ready, have the energy to deal with an issue, so exposing the pup at that time, when you expect them to do an undesired behaviour, in order to teach them a positive alternative makes sense to me. What you are really doing, is specific training aimed at improving weaknesses, rather than simply concentrating on strengths.

    I do agree with the points about teaching the pup about how little bite force hurts sensitive human skin makes sense, rather than trying to prevent all mouthing. If nothing else it is nice and reassuring for people, to see the apparently savage pups concerned reactions, when you seem to "yelp" and pause play.

    The Border Collie pup I train, did not prosper with the ignore & crating time out regime, he was becoming more & more intense when interacted with, and getting used to occupying his time if ignored but with some space to roam. I think I tried Nick's restraining suggestion, but the hyper pup would thrash about risking injury, and without a way to calm it, I just felt it was the wrong move in this situation. Finding a way to surprise him out of an undesirable behaviour just as the action started, and then offering positive alternative did work. Working the pup with reward based obedience training, solved the hyper-activity, and allowed everyone to calm him down whilst doing something positive and beneficial; the pup also seems to enjoy this work, it can't just be for the "rewards" as often he's left same kibble uneaten in his food bowl.
     
    #129 RobD-BCactive, Jul 3, 2010
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2010
  10. Nick Jones

    Nick Jones PetForums Junior

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    Yes, though it depends on the dog! Some dogs will not necessarily fit in with the idyllic principles you mention. Whilst they are sound, this approach will not always work :)

    Trying to deal with such behaviour when/if it happens can be rather hit and miss in terms of the owner being there and ready to effectively deal with it.

    What we're talking about here in relation to the OP is overcoming a problem behaviour in a quick and painless manner. Eliciting the behaviour in a controlled manner yields far quicker and much more effective results in my experience.

    Thanks.
     
  11. sue&harvey

    sue&harvey PetForums VIP

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    All I can say is Positive Reinforcement is not "idyllic" It is a well researched and effective way of training a dog, and guiding it through life stages. There are other ways of training a dog or pup bite inhabition without "Creating a negative experience"

    It may take a day or two longer for the pup or dog to get it, but the pooch will have a clear understanding, as well as good self-esteem.

    This is taken from the article first suggested from page 1 of this thread...

    The Bite stops here By Dr Ian Dunbar

    Certainly, puppy biting behaviour must eventually be eliminated: we cannot have an adult dog playfully mauling family, friends and strangers in the manner of a young puppy. However, it is essential that puppy biting behaviour is gradually and progressively eliminated via a systematic four-step process. With some dogs, it is easy to teach the four phases in sequence. With others, the puppy biting may be so severe that the owners will need to embark on all four stages at once. However, it is essential that the pup first learn to inhibit the force of its bites before the biting behaviour is eliminated altogether.

    Inhibiting the force of bites (Bold added)

    No painful bites The first item on the agenda is to stop the puppy bruising people. It is not necessary to reprimand the pup and, certainly, physical punishments are contra-indicated, since they tend to make some pups more excited, and insidiously erode the puppy’s temperament and trust in the owner. But it is essential to let the pup know when it hurts. A simple "ouch!" is usually sufficient. The volume of the "ouch" should vary according to the dog’s mental make-up; a fairly soft "ouch" will suffice for sensitive critters, but a loud "OUCH!!!" may be necessary for a wild and woolly creature. During initial training, even shouting may make the pup more excited, as does physical confinement. An extremely effective technique with boisterous pups is to call the puppy a "jerk!" and leave the room and shut the door. Allow the pup time to reflect on the loss of its favourite human chew toy immediately following the hard nip, and then return to make up. It is important to indicate that you still love the pup – it is the painful bites which are objectionable. Instruct the pup to come and sit, and then resume playing. Ideally, the pup should have been taught not to hurt people well before it is three months old.

    It is much better for the owner to leave the pup than to try to physically restrain and remove it to a confinement area at a time when it is already out of control


    Physiacally restaining the pup on the end of a house line while it is attacking your leg, then pulling it off by it's new collar, is not nesessary.

    The link on the first page seems to be broken.

    The Bite Stops Here by Dr Ian Dunbar

    To me this is preferable to setting the dog up to fail.

    IMO anyway
     
  12. Nick Jones

    Nick Jones PetForums Junior

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    Yes, that's what I'm trying to say, and put much better than I did.

    Thank you :)

    There are remember many different ways to resolve a particular behaviour. Remaining flexible is key, as some dogs will not respond as you hoped or intended to a single approach.

    Thanks,

    Nick
     
  13. lexie2010

    lexie2010 PetForums Senior

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    4mth old beagle is still biting my hands/arms/ankles/legs all the time-hard drawing blood, she gets hyper and nothing stops her. i have tried everything, every tip from every book/website/3 trainers/behaviourists and she still is a demon for me, not so bad with my husband.
    things that havent worked: "ouch",anything verbal, restraint (she bites further when i get hold of her-after she has turned it into a game of chase), leading behaviourist told me to take hold of scruff at underside of neck and growl, taking toys away (she will content herself with something else), putting her outside(she loves that).
    when she is good she lovely, will let me hand feed her, put my hand in her bowl when eating, she won't let me groom her though.
    please help, she still has her baby teeth and her bite is a bite not a nip.
    she has plenty of toys, she gets frozen broccolli and raw carrots and teething treats to help with the teething pain.
    what solutions are left, will try anything as its so hard being her chew toy everyday!!!
     
  14. tripod

    tripod PetForums VIP

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    I have read throught the last couple of pages of this thread and tbh I am a little shocked that professionals and others have and are suggesting the use of aversives, some strong, in an attempt to eliminate this behaviour in young puppies.

    Not to mention the fallout associated with the use of aversives especially when employed by novices, such as you would expect to be reading this thread and heeding the advice but also the lack of understanding of this behaviour it shows.

    The entire point of the little needle-sharp teeth and your puppy's love of chomping down on any and everything is so that they get appropriate feedback in order to learn to inhibit the force of their bites. If puppies are told off, especially with strong aversives, they may stop puppy-nipping altogether. This is DISASTROUS for a puppy's development and learning of acquired bite inhibition.
    If puppies do not bite or stop biting in social situations before they have developed acquired bite inhibition, they may never learn how to use their jaws in social settings with humans. Dogs have jaws that are used to crush bone and tear flesh yet we expect them to only ever by gentle with us - this needs to be learned in the first 14/16 weeks of life, while they still have their needles and before their jaws develop to much strength.

    When puppies bite and their playmate yelps, stops playing or ends the fun this is appropriate feedback telling the puppy that that was too much-in social situations I don't need to or shouldn't use my jaws to that extent. Puppy will soon inhibit that level of force and we can begin to work on the next level down until puppy learns to use mouth very softly.

    Then and ONLY then can we begin to eliminate biting altogether. To do so before they have learned to inhibit force is to potentially create a dangerous dog. ALL dogs potentially bite but by teaching bite inhibition we are safer in that if and when the dog does bite they do not use damaging pressure.

    Thorough socialisation work will hopefully prevent the dog ever feeling uncomfortable enough to bite but bite inhibition training is your insurance policy.

    Please do not attempt to eliminate biting with aversives or anything else until your puppy has leaned to inhibit the force of his/her bites.
    Yelping/OUCH method tends to work for over 8 out of 10 of the puppies I work with. Those that it doesn't help are those that have a history of being slapped, scared and told off for what is deemed inappropriate behaviour, those that have not begun basic training and therefore impulse control and those puppies that are tired, anxious and have difficulty calming down.
    Therefore making sure puppy has lots of down time and is also working on self control is essential.

    I have never had to resort to aversives to teach bite inhibition and I have worked with easily hundreds of puppies of my own, clients and fosters. Once the other boxes were ticked I have found that there is little variety in littermates when it comes to bite inhibition training but more so in variations in environmental conditions. That means its something you as the pet owner can improve.

    Systematically grade your puppy's bite force and work with yelping/time outs at each grade level until he no longer bites with that level of force. Then move onto the next. At this stage the goal is never to eliminate biting.

    I have been so annoyed that I wrote a blog post on this here: Nipping and mouthing and biting oh my! « pawsitive dogs

    Please get to a socialisation class with your puppy, one run by an APDT trainer so as to work on bite inhibition, socialisation and basic manners (i.e. impulse control). Download Dr Dunbar's Before and After You Get Your Puppy for free and read The Bite Stops Here and Teaching Bite Inhibition.

    Your puppy's life literally depends on bite inhibition training as does the safety of people and other dogs around him so please please please get it right :)
     
  15. RobD-BCactive

    RobD-BCactive PetForums VIP

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    Well explained! Later, the first real bite may prove to be fatal to the dog when it injures someone with those adult teeth & jaws.

    I think making an "Ow!" sound as yelp like as possible is easier to do and likely clearer to a pup than "Ouch!" we must remember they don't speak English.

    At what age would you say that playful mouthiness, causing accidental skin scratch punctures, ought to have ceased? Presumably it takes several months for the 10 week old pup, to never become over exuberant and carelessly injure, particularly in herding breeds prone to be attracted to ankles etc.
     
    #135 RobD-BCactive, Jul 12, 2010
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2010
  16. tripod

    tripod PetForums VIP

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    I agree Rob, a high pitched yelp is the best as puppies seem to have an automatic freeze response to this sound. However, some puppies particularly when tired can get a little wound up at this sound - this is a clear indication that the puppy is conflicted. This puppy needs some down time asap with a chew toy so that he can rest and nap - pick up the game later.

    I have never heard of an adult dog acquiring bite inhibition once mature. I feel that the only safe time to encourage your puppy to bite you so that you can yelp etc. is before 14/16 weeks of age. After this stage their jaw muscles begin to develop and their bite pressure increases so as to present problems for those engaged in bite inhibition training.
    I also find single puppies the most difficult to train with bite inhibition as they have not had a few weeks practice on litter mates before being let loose on humans. These puppies tend to have impulse control issues, sorta only-child syndrome :D

    Outside of bite inhibition training so once puppies over 14-16 weeks of age and/or if puppy bites at a level that you have moved on from I feel that contact between human and tooth should be an immediate but calm withdrawal of attention. This must be particularly true if puppy teeth catches clothing, hair, shoes, laces etc. - this is a serious issue and immediate withdrawal is necessary.
    If you like to rough-house with teh dog put this sort of play on cue and allow dog to engage only if invited. Otherwise, withdrawal.

    On the other side of things its not just the puppy's responsibility to inhibit bites - if the owner knows that certain play etc. causes puppy to lose control then this should be avoided until puppy develops enough self control working in lower threshold scenarios.
    Hope that makes sense :)
     
  17. leashedForLife

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    i would not suggest this, nick - :) as *eliciting* usually means, as *sue said, allowing the dog to practice the behavior.
    management to prevent the behavior,
    interrupting or re-directing the dog if the dog begins the behavior,
    or teaching an incompatible behavior are all goof-proof alternatives.

    i have seen trainers ASK a dog to jump-up, then stomp the dogs REAR-Feet! :scared:
    that is IMO shockingly stoopid + cruel - U never, ever, EVER *tell* the dog to Do Something, then PUNISH the dog
    when they perform as requested! - that is a terrible damage to their trust.

    all my best,
    --- terry
     
  18. lexie2010

    lexie2010 PetForums Senior

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    i am fairly new to pet forums, but i would like to bring this thread back to the original question it posed, can we stay away from being horrified by what some people (myself included) have been told to do by behaviourists/trainers and actually come up with some constructive advice please????
    as none of these suggestions are helping my situation (pup still "biting"not nipping at 17weeks (today) and nothing will deter her) and possibly not helping others!
     
  19. tripod

    tripod PetForums VIP

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    Sorry lexie but this is a discussion forum - throughout the umpteen pages of this thread and many others in this section there have been tons and tons and tons of suggestions from all sorts of points of view.

    Your puppy is only 17 weeks of age and you seem to have already gone through lots of options in a very short time (I am presuming that you only have your puppy about two months?). This doesn't seem to be a lot of time to work on anything very consistently.

    As I stated in what I thought was an advice filled (and angst fueled!) post you do not want to stop this biting right now.
    Have you been doing some background work on this issue particularly working on impulse control?
    If your puppy is biting rather than nipping have you consulted a good behaviour-aware vet for help as regards looking at other issues possibly behind this?

    I don't know who your 'leading behaviourist' is but she/he can't be too reputable if those are the sorts of things that are suggested and tried. No wonder your puppy has an aversion to hands etc. and training. What association has certified this person as a 'behaviourist'?

    If you were my client having gone through all this I would ask you to keep a diary of these incidents specificially recording details such as time of day, waht happens immediatley preceeding these events, what does the puppy do (describing particulalry ear, whisker, eye/pupil, feet, tail and body positions), what do you do etc.
    I would also ask you to go back to basics with bite inhibition training, step up remedial socialisation and handling work, do LOTS of impulse control work with games, and follow other specific protocols laid out. I would also ask you to keep your play sessions short with your puppy (no more than 10-15 seconds) and then have a calming down period before continuing again.
    Please read the link I posted as there are links to other relevant exercises in there.
    Has your puppy attended an APDT run puppy socialisation class? If not I would very very very quickly get him into one.

    Your breed is a tough one as they are often associated with resource guarding and impulse control issues when it comes to training - certainly many of the pet lines I see her. What sort of envrionment was your puppy reared in? In any case that is done now and your dog is entering adolescence so things are going to continue to escalate and worsen unless intervention is immediate.
    Does your puppy get to play, supervised, with other safe adult dogs? Supervise play with suitable adult dogs can be great for helping with bite inhibition and self control.

    There is more work needed for you and your puppy and it will take time - there are no quick fixes. It doesn't matter what has happened moreso how you continue. If you are going to hire someone, and I do recommend it, please look into them a little closer and check out their qualifications - there are very few truly special trainers out there but once you find one it will be a great for you and your pet. I wish you the best of luck, anything I can do to help let me know :)
     
  20. RobD-BCactive

    RobD-BCactive PetForums VIP

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    Well when I read your first post on this, it seems you say the over exuberance is centered round you. So perhaps you need to work on avoiding building up that excitement, stay calm, less talking, slower & deeper, no shouting, avoid rough type games. Avoid pushing pup away, make your "Ow!" very yelp like and withdraw effectively (arms crossed back turned). May be the game for the pup is actually to push you around, with the "pay off" being your reaction. Perhaps try impersonal rattle bottle, rather than voice, when you need to distract onto a toy. Try reward based obedience training to gain control of a food motivated pup.
     
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