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Puppy starting to threaten by laying his teeth on my hand

Discussion in 'Dog Training and Behaviour' started by Christie21, Apr 27, 2017.


  1. Christie21

    Christie21 PetForums Newbie

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    Hi,

    I have a 11 week old Japanese Spitz. He's learning not to nip and take treats gently, he knows already his teeth hurt. So far he had been great.

    Normally when he comes back home we wipe his paws because they are muddy, whilst holding him up in our hands and it has worked fine. Today when I put him down and held his paws gently to wipe them, he put his teeth on my hand to threaten me to get my hands off him or he will bite. I am still surprised and upset that he's trying to threaten me with his teeth.

    I tried to clean his paws again whilst he's on the floor and once again he put his teeth on my hand and tried to threaten me. I picked him up and isolated him instantly.

    I don't normally punish him, it's the first time I isolated him for acting like this. Everything else is positive reinforcements, which has worked. I don't know if I did the right thing, and I'm simply just really sad that he tried to threaten me.

    Does anyone know how to stop this behaviour? I would like him to just allow me to clean his paws without him threatening to bite me..
     
  2. Rafa

    Rafa PetForums VIP

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    Without seeing it, it's hard to judge what he was doing, but it's highly unlikely he was threatening you.

    We have a young Staffy and she has a habit of getting hold of your hand. She doesn't apply pressure or hurt, though it's not a behaviour we encourage.

    Even at eleven weeks, had your pup meant to bite, he could have punctured your skin.
     
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  3. Lurcherlad

    Lurcherlad PetForums VIP

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    Punishing him for a behaviour won't help and could make it worse.
     
  4. Christie21

    Christie21 PetForums Newbie

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    Thanks for your reply. My Japanese spitz is normally fine with play biting, holding our hands like your Staffy with his mouth and that's all okay. He gently mouths our hands and we trained him to bite his toys instead. So he usually bites his toys. When we say "OW" he knows that it was a hard bite and licks us a lot to make up for it. We say "OW" a lot less now since he's become much more gentle and there is no need to. He understands his teeth hurt and what pressure to use.

    However, in this case, he knows he's purposely trying to put me off from holding and cleaning his paw. When I didn't let go, his teeth pressure became stronger. Not in a way that he usually is playing, but it was a "get off me or I will actually bite you" I reckon it's because in the past, when he play bites, we used to say "OW" and let go, so he thinks I will let go if he puts his teeth on me.
     
  5. Christie21

    Christie21 PetForums Newbie

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    Thanks LurcherLad. When I meant punishing, this isn't anything physical, it just means he is isolated and doesn't get any attention or get to play with toys. It has been the first time I isolated him.

    Since that first thread message, I let him out of isolation after about 2 minutes once he stopped whining for attention. Then when I held his paw again to clean it, he was more reluctant to put his teeth on my hand and I gave him a treat for not trying to bite my hand.

    I think he doesn't like feeling wet wipes on his paws. But he is fine with us doing the command "shake hands".

    I've cleaned his paw about 6 times just now and he's getting better already, he's trying to pull away his paws but not trying to bite my hand to warn me off anymore; which is progress!

    I just need to keep repeating. Isolating when he puts his teeth on me, as "OW" doesn't work when he's purposely trying to make it hurt. Rewarding and praising him when he lets me clean his paws.
     
  6. rottiepointerhouse

    rottiepointerhouse PetForums VIP

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    So can you turn cleaning his paws in to a game? Start teaching him to give you his paw - use a flat hand and don't grasp it to start with - praise and reward when he gives it but don't do anything else then gradually, when you know he is happy with that build up to holding his paw in your hand for a short time, praise and reward, for a bit longer praise and reward then introduce the towel - praise and reward then wipe paws - praise and reward. Do it gradually. When he put his teeth on you did you try saying "OW" ? Also sorry to be cheeky but wouldn't it just be easier to have a door mat?
     
  7. Christie21

    Christie21 PetForums Newbie

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    Thanks for your reply! Strange thing is, is that he is completely fine with his "Shake hands" trick. He will very willingly let you hold his paw and shake it.. That is a good idea, I will try to slowly introduce it to him. He's had his paws wiped so many times whilst he has been held, so I never knew he would react like this just because he's on the floor.

    Not cheeky at all :) We do have a door mat, but he doesn't really wipe his feet.. it's still wet and leaves footprints..

    When you hold your dog's paws and legs are they completely fine with it even as a puppy?
     
  8. rottiepointerhouse

    rottiepointerhouse PetForums VIP

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    Its actually fairly common for dogs not to like having their paws grasped firmly. Personally I would try not to make too big a deal about it as that can make it difficult when clipping nails etc in the future. With dogs I've had from pups I make it part of a daily examination saying the word for each part "eyes" "ears" "tail" "paw" but I keep it fairly brief and always reward. With the older rescue dogs I pretty much go with what they are comfortable with, one of our rescue rotties really would not tolerate having her paws held and would use teeth to get you to back off. I used to play the give paw game with her and used a clicker/treat if she would leave her paw on my open hand and we did manage a brief close of my hand but she was never happy with it so I didn't push it any further. We later found out she had a condition where the sesamoid bones in the foot (like little cotton reels the tendons run over) were not properly fused so she did actually have some discomfort in her feet so I was glad I'd never forced the issue.
     
  9. leashedForLife

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    .
    .
    possibly silly suggestion, but this has worked well for some dogs:
    Wiping while the dog stands 3-legged is a bit of a drag, it takes balance & patience on the dog's part, & pups aren't very patient creatures. :rolleyes: Alternatively, gently dunk each muddy paw in a cylindrical container of clean warm water, while the dog stands on a towel or bathmat - dunking is very brief, & a dry towel, not a damp chilly wet-wipe, removes the water before the dog steps onto carpet, etc.
    The depth & width of the container depends - on the size of the dog, the amount of muck on their paws, & how far up the leg does the muck extend?...
    .
    For super-muddy days or dogs, when the belly & thighs are slabbed with mud, a spray-off session in the bathroom tub with a hand-held shower is a Good Solution. ;)
    No soap is needed, just spray with hair-growth to get off the outermost layer, AGAINST hair-growth to get to the skin, & a final rinse from topmost point to toenails & heels, inside the leg & down the back, too.
    Stepping out or being placed onto a thick mat will suck-up a lot of the downward dribbling flow; a 2nd towel over the dog is used to move down the body & then down each limb in turn.
    .
    Many dogs don't like having paws wiped, but very few dislike having their paws & legs
    dried - :Happy that simple change, changes their perception of the action.
    .
    .
    .
     
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  10. leashedForLife

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    along RPH suggestion to make paw-handling a game, or to specifically happily pre-condition it, or counter-condition it, if the dog had bad past-experiences or is just unhappy at the prospect of a paw being handled [for claw trims / filing, inspecting for injury, removing a grass-awn, & so on],
    here are 2 excellent videos:
    .

    train a dog to love handling procedures
    Sophia Yin, DVM

    .

    Dog is aggro during toenail trims
    Dr Sophia

    .
    .
    the 1st is training: teach a dog to enjoy handling; the 2nd is B-Mod, to change the emotional response to a [soon-to-be former] trigger.
    .
    .

    .
     
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  11. Christie21

    Christie21 PetForums Newbie

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    I really appreciate your response. That's good to know that other dogs are the same too... Since he is still a young puppy, I will try to get him used to it. He had vet examinations and he's been all cleared, so I don't think it is a condition (plus he reacts the same with all paws). At the moment, I clip his nails when he's sleepy and it has been working. I'll try to do the same as you, and doing "eyes" "ears" "tail" and "paw" at the moment we aren't doing that enough, it's occasionally. I think i'll need to say "clean paws" because holding and "shaking hands/paws" is fine as a trick, but he doesn't like it cleaned and make it a game too like you said earlier.
     
  12. Lurcherlad

    Lurcherlad PetForums VIP

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    Just be careful that you don't sensitise him to having his feet wiped by overdoing it (flooding) in the training process.
     
  13. Lurcherlad

    Lurcherlad PetForums VIP

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    There is a useful poster on Wood Green animal shelter's website explaining signs of anxiety, which we often miss, which might be helpful going forward.

    www.woodgreen.org.uk

    Canine ladder of communication
     
    #13 Lurcherlad, Apr 28, 2017
    Last edited: May 5, 2017
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  14. Burrowzig

    Burrowzig PetForums VIP

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    He's telling you he's not comfortable with what's going on - that's communication - a good thing. And he gets punished for it? So in future, he's more likely to realise that communicating his state of mind is useless, and that makes him more likely to go straight for the bite.
    Lots of people make the same mistake.
     
  15. Wiz201

    Wiz201 PetForums VIP

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    We use a bit of water outside to wash their paws. We teach them to give paw in return for a treat, maybe if you did that he won't put his teeth on your hand? Isolating him from toys won't work, he wouldn't be able to remember what he did wrong.
     
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  16. Christie21

    Christie21 PetForums Newbie

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    The way we used has worked and he's stopped using his teeth now, we did isolation in combination of treat training and he's actually wagging his tail when we clean them now. We find if we allow him to have his way because he's using his teeth to communicate he gets spoilt and then he uses his teeth more to get what he wants. It's the same way as when a dog whines and barks for attention, you don't give in, just because he's trying to communicate that he wants attention.
     
  17. danielled

    danielled Guest

    Wagging tail doesn't always mean a dog is happy.
     
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  18. smokeybear

    smokeybear PetForums VIP

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    I would try the bucket game............................................... google or youtube it.
     
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  19. Christie21

    Christie21 PetForums Newbie

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    ... he's not biting and he's willing to give his paw to be cleaned.. what else would you expect?... not even allowed to wag because that may be he's angry??
     
  20. Christie21

    Christie21 PetForums Newbie

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    Thanks :) he's been really good now with his paws being cleaned. We didn't overload him, it was once in a while.
     
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