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Old 11-03-2008, 05:24 PM   #1
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Default serious biting from my little guy causing serious issues!

Hi everyone! So I've been trying to read through some of the "Biting" threads not to repeat any questions and it seems that I've tried everyone's ideas...

my little guy who's 7 months has SERIOUS biting issues...i have a little brother who is 8 and we seem to have the most trouble with him. he bites everyday a lot. he'll randomly attack my brother, mostly when he's making a commotion (but he's 8...that's what boys do) and he'll charge at him with NO remorse. once he latches on he has no intention of letting go!

i've tried ignoring him, i've tried telling him no, i've tried punishing him- but these are all hard techniques when he's not only biting my family, but attacking them...there isn't much time before we have to rip him off because he leaves huge gashes.

i think this might have been something we've done because we play with him roughly because he likes it. we rough him up and use our hands so i know it's our fault.

it's getting so bad and i don't know what to do...he's starting obedience classes this weekend but does anyone have any advice? anyone have this problem so severely?

it's weird too because he is SO SWEET otherwise, and loves people...very very strange to me. I'M BEWILDERED AND TERRIBLY STRESSED!

HELP!?
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Old 11-03-2008, 08:36 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by bennysmybaby View Post
Hi everyone! So I've been trying to read through some of the "Biting" threads not to repeat any questions and it seems that I've tried everyone's ideas...

my little guy who's 7 months has SERIOUS biting issues...i have a little brother who is 8 and we seem to have the most trouble with him. he bites everyday a lot. he'll randomly attack my brother, mostly when he's making a commotion (but he's 8...that's what boys do) and he'll charge at him with NO remorse. once he latches on he has no intention of letting go!

i've tried ignoring him, i've tried telling him no, i've tried punishing him- but these are all hard techniques when he's not only biting my family, but attacking them...there isn't much time before we have to rip him off because he leaves huge gashes.

i think this might have been something we've done because we play with him roughly because he likes it. we rough him up and use our hands so i know it's our fault.

it's getting so bad and i don't know what to do...he's starting obedience classes this weekend but does anyone have any advice? anyone have this problem so severely?

it's weird too because he is SO SWEET otherwise, and loves people...very very strange to me. I'M BEWILDERED AND TERRIBLY STRESSED!

HELP!?

First and foremost and listen well>>>> You did not cause this by rough housing it is what it is and yes maybe rough housing should stop until you have better control but do not blame yourself.

Not knowing all the details and also it not being professonial at all to deal with this at this level on line sight unseen your best bet is to go to class if it is postive based and no correction as in who is it you are going to?

Second nothing in life is free should be started. So puppy earns everything from supper to pets to going out to pee by doing the tasks he will learn in class. He needs to learn self control this will help.
He is reactive so he will attack that which he dee,s casuing stress so a fast moving boy.Great way to teach the boy to slow down it to put him to work helping the dog.

If your trainer is not postive you need to find one let me know there are a few in your area that I can get thier links.

You have tried a great deal pick one and stick to it passed you see it making a change and then it fails as you get to just the point the brain rewires and it forgets what you taught and you think you have failed... gentle keep going teach it again and hang in as you increase things nt working each time you swtich as the dog learns to wait you out.

JL
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Old 11-18-2008, 11:33 AM   #3
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i think this might have been something we've done because we play with him roughly because he likes it. we rough him up and use our hands so i know it's our fault.
Quote:
First and foremost and listen well>>>> You did not cause this by rough housing it is what it is and yes maybe rough housing should stop until you have better control but do not blame yourself.
I respectfully disagree with this. Every dog I've ever known that was taught to put teeth on their masters in play eventually developed some kind of aggression/dominance issue. Rough housing is what sibling dogs do with each other. Pack leaders do not rough house with their subordinates. Therefore, if you rough house with your dog, it will not respect you as alpha, which seems to be the case here. In my opinion, rough housing did help create this issue (though the dog might have had some kind of dominance issue innately - rough housing just exacerbates problems like that).

It doesn't sound to me like the dog respects you or anyone in your family, since he feels he has earned the privilege to put teeth on them. Also seems like the dog got no proper bite inhibition training as a pup. This is a socialization problem that should have been addressed at a much younger age.

I suggest you take back the alpha role in your dog's life. I agree with YorkieMother that a "Nothing In Life Is Free" training program will help reestablish your dominance over the dog. And some rigid obedience training.

You could also try grabbing him whenever he attacks your family, putting him on his back, baring your teeth at him, and telling him no in a low, gruff, authoritative voice (think growl). The added emphasis and the physical restraint will reinforce your superiority. He'll probably resist at first (after all, it seems like he feels he's been in charge of your family for awhile) but it may help.

Also, whenever he shows aggression, try immediately shutting him away from you (not in a happy place like his crate, but in a separate room). Every gesture of body language, every tone of your voice, your eye contact, and your posture need to tell your dog, I am your alpha, and this is unacceptable.

You have got to stop your dog's behavior, or someone in your family is going to get seriously hurt, and your dog may end up being put down for aggression. It will be harder to undo this kind of behavior than it would have been to prevent it.

Good luck!
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Old 11-18-2008, 11:44 AM   #4
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I am trying to read into this myself, I have one who is a female and I have 2 males but one is ill and tiny, 3 other females all about the same age and size. I can no longer let them all out to play together. I can let the 2 smallest and the 2 males out at the same time. I can let my healthy male out and my oldest female and then the bigger of the other females out together, but if I let the other male out they will attack him if he gets too close and wants to play.
I am having barking issues and snarling at each other. The tiniest female who is only 14 weeks old seems to yelp back saying ah just leave me alone or she won't let you out to play, I'll make sure she hears you trying to pick on me. She will just hop around the others while they are in the crates and jump up and down and turn around then she will run off, if their tone gets louder. Its almost whimsical if It wasn't a problem I need to solve.
I love them all and they love to sit or lay down by me.
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Old 11-18-2008, 08:39 PM   #5
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Default molie is learning

molie when she gets to wound up, chasing the kids, dogs biteing i put her in her high sided box and she settles down.
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Old 11-18-2008, 09:05 PM   #6
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YorkieMother is right. Also, under no circumstances should you alpha roll him. You will either scare him or make him react further and you could get hurt. When he reacts he probably goes into a 'zone' and you won't be able to get through to him. You need to learn what sets him off and learn how to stop it before it starts.

Aggression/reactivity is often based in fear or pain. You need a good trainer who can figure out WHY he is reacting this way, to what exactly he is reacting to (loud noises, someone with food, etc.) and how to re-condition him. You need to learn how to get him trust you so he can look to you for cues. The trainer will also teach you how to do NILIF which is a GREAT program if you can get everyone in the household to participate in it. You will need to manage the situation in the mean time (and possibly forever). Please seek out a trainer right away.

Good luck. Let us know how it goes.
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Old 11-19-2008, 11:25 AM   #7
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Thanks Erin for the support on this one.

Reactivity is fear and aggression is usually 95% fear based.

What left out of that 5% is a truly domante dog r one chemicahl messed up in the head.

This dog I highly doubt is dominante although it could hve a chemical issuse going on.

Bhikku

Respect is built by trust and understanding not tough love. Tough it stops two way comunication and teachs the dog you are going to hurt him if he does not comply and right now.

Mouthing is just language and teaching them to be gentle with their mouth is useful in teaching them self control and respect for others.
Dogs mouth cause they do to mouth and learn to be gentle,from other dogs and if a dog was a pack animal like a wolf they learn from the pack leader its parent to easy up on the teeth.
They mouth cause they do not have hands and it their way to be close.

JL
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Old 11-19-2008, 12:24 PM   #8
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i've tried ignoring him, i've tried telling him no, i've tried punishing him- but these are all hard techniques when he's not only biting my family, but attacking them...there isn't much time before we have to rip him off because he leaves huge gashes.
This does not sound like a "mouthing" problem to me. "Mouthing" puppies, in my experience, do not typically "leave huge gashes" or draw blood whatsoever. If you have a biting dog that draws blood, that's a major issue. My puppy mouths me in play, I yip, and he lets go. That's mouthing as I would define it. This dog doesn't sound like it's playing to me. And no puppy should be putting its teeth on humans after 3 months of age. Ever.

There is a difference between a puppy snapping at a little boy because it's afraid of him and actually taking after him and attacking...

Quote:
Respect is built by trust and understanding not tough love. Tough it stops two way comunication and teachs the dog you are going to hurt him if he does not comply and right now.
I have never hurt a dog by alpha rolling them and I generally do not use negative reinforcement to stop a behavior in my dog. I use positive reinforcement to counteract it.

However, I have used alpha-based training in conjunction with a ton of positive reinforcement with all of my dogs, and I've never had any kind of an issue with the dogs fearing me. A lot of my training is through posture, touch, and eye contact. I train my dogs to hand signals, the clicker, and verbal commands. My main currency is praise, treats, and toys. Only occasionally do I have to "pull rank"...

My dogs respect my authority, not because I use "tough love" on them but because they are secure in their subordinate social positions in my pack. They don't attack any startling noise or movement because they know that I am strong enough to protect them, and it's my duty to do it. Not theirs.

When I talk about the alpha roll, I'm not talking about grabbing the dog by the scruff and throwing it hard on its back, I'm talking about picking it up firmly (because the OP did not mention that the dog bites her, just her family members) and putting the dog on his back, holding him there with a hand to the chest until he settles down, Cesar-Milan style. Sure he'll resist, but once he's done, he'll probably see things a lot differently.

I don't generally believe in "tough love." However, when my dog acting out in a way which is putting others in danger (or himself by extension, since most "SERIOUS biting problems" end up being euthanized) tough love is something I think becomes a necessity. Otherwise you can coddle your aggressive dog into an early grave and maybe get some stitches for your trouble.

Maybe smaller dogs do need a lighter touch, but I think that being afraid to discipline your small dog is the reason many of them have the reputation of being fear biters with nasty tempers. The dog, if it is reacting aggressively out of fear, is afraid because it's insecure. Any strong gesture of authority from its master should serve to help placate those fears, if done correctly.
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Old 11-19-2008, 12:33 PM   #9
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We did the alpha roll the one and only time chachi was agressive and he never did it again. I dont think it is the answer for everyone but it worked for us
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Old 11-19-2008, 12:48 PM   #10
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This does not sound like a "mouthing" problem to me. "Mouthing" puppies, in my experience, do not typically "leave huge gashes" or draw blood whatsoever. If you have a biting dog that draws blood, that's a major issue. My puppy mouths me in play, I yip, and he lets go. That's mouthing as I would define it. This dog doesn't sound like it's playing to me. And no puppy should be putting its teeth on humans after 3 months of age. Ever.
She isn't suggesting that the problem is only mouthing. You said that the dog is biting because it wasn't taught not to mouth when it was a puppy. She is just saying that mouthing as a puppy isn't an "aggressive" behavior and has nothing to do with this problem. Obviously the biting is a problem.

We didn't get Sammy until she was 10 months old and she was never taught not to "mouth" as a puppy. She is in no way aggressive toward us nor has she ever even tried to bite us. But when she is playing she has her mouth open and will put her mouth on us but never ever bite. It's annoying and we discourage it by telling her no, turning our backs and stopping play. Anyway, it's my anecdotal evidence vs. yours.

An alpha roll might have no negative consequences in 90% of dogs but it can cause serious issues (adding to fear, increased aggression) in other dogs and how are you to know which dog you have?? It's so much easier to just use positive methods.

Did you know that leash pops are also effective correction? They are, HOWEVER you must know EXACTLY how and when to do it - your timing must be spot on so the dog knows what it is being corrected for. AND, you should never need to do it more than once because if you HURT the dog properly he will never repeat the act. But if you have a fearful dog or a dog that lacks confidence you run the risk of that dog associating very negative things with that correction forever. For example - Dog barks at Bird=>leash pop=> PAIN=>Dog is now afraid of birds. In this case if they frighten him for attacking the child, of which he is probably already afraid (!), they could escalate the problem. There are MUCH better ways which is why I don't ever recommend aversive methods. The saddest thing ever is to see people walking down the sidewalk with their dog yanking at it's neck every 2 seconds. Anyway, the stuff we're talking about has science behind it. Cesar Milan voodoo does not.
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Old 11-19-2008, 01:28 PM   #11
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You said that the dog is biting because it wasn't taught not to mouth when it was a puppy.
That was only in addition to my main theory (which is an uneducated one, seeing that I've never actually seen this dog attack anyone) that the dog sounds dominantly aggressive to me. I'm only saying if the puppy had been properly trained not to mouth in play, I think it would be less likely to use its teeth aggressively.

Quote:
She is just saying that mouthing as a puppy isn't an "aggressive" behavior and has nothing to do with this problem.
Mouthing isn't an aggressive behavior in itself, but not teaching bite inhibition will certainly exacerbate the issue of an aggressive dog. A dog which has been taught bite inhibition as a pup may nip if accidentally startled or injured, but a dog which hasn't is more likely to bite.

My brother was mauled and disfigured for life by our first family dog (who had shown no previous signs of aggression), and I used to work with ex-fighting dogs and ferals at a municipal shelter, so I take dog aggression very, very seriously. I love dogs, but I never forget that no matter what size they are, they have the potential to be a very dangerous animal.

Quote:
We didn't get Sammy until she was 10 months old and she was never taught not to "mouth" as a puppy. She is in no way aggressive toward us nor has she ever even tried to bite us. But when she is playing she has her mouth open and will put her mouth on us but never ever bite. It's annoying and we discourage it by telling her no, turning our backs and stopping play. Anyway, it's my anecdotal evidence vs. yours.
I'm not saying mouthing leads to aggression. All puppies mouth. I'm saying that mouthing, if unchecked, leaves the dog open to aggressive behavior down the road (in my opinion). In any case, you may have a more submissive dog than the OP's...submissive dogs obviously have to be dealt with in a different manner than dominant dogs. It all comes down to personality. I would not train my Golden Vito the same way I would train my Golden Bella - they're complete individuals. My approach to each of them is different.

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An alpha roll might have no negative consequences in 90% of dogs but it can cause serious issues (adding to fear, increased aggression) in other dogs and how are you to know which dog you have??
According to who? I think it's pretty easy to tell the difference between a dominant and a submissive dog if you have any kind of fluency in the body language of animals...dogs are so easy to read.

Quote:
It's so much easier to just use positive methods.
It sounds like she's tried "light" training in the past (ignoring the dog, verbal corrections, etc...) and it hasn't worked. I agree that the NILIF program is a great one that she should try though. It goes a long way towards earning your dog's respect without having to lay hands on him. It's easier on the dog to use just positive methods, but what about the bites her family members have to sustain in the meantime while the dog is re-conditioned, a process that could take several weeks or months? In the meantime, someone could be seriously injured.

Quote:
Did you know that leash pops are also effective correction? They are, HOWEVER you must know EXACTLY how and when to do it - your timing must be spot on so the dog knows what it is being corrected for. AND, you should never need to do it more than once because if you HURT the dog properly he will never repeat the act.
I don't believe in corrections that hurt a dog. If you have to hurt the dog, you're not doing it right.

Quote:
In this case if they frighten him for attacking the child, of which he is probably already afraid (!), they could escalate the problem.
It could. Or it could solve the problem entirely. *shrug* I can't tell her what she should do, obviously. I can only give a suggestion based on the information she supplied. Based on her description of a dog which does not apparently attack her but attacks ever other member in her family, "charging" at them and drawing blood, does not seem to me to be a fear-based aggression. I don't think a fearful dog would "charge" a creature several times its size unless cornered.

But I could be wrong.

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There are MUCH better ways which is why I don't ever recommend aversive methods.
What methods do you suggest?

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The saddest thing ever is to see people walking down the sidewalk with their dog yanking at it's neck every 2 seconds.
I find it sadder to see people yanked down the street by their uncontrollable dogs because they have no idea how to train them to be gentle, confident, and well-behaved.

Quote:
Anyway, the stuff we're talking about has science behind it. Cesar Milan voodoo does not.
Sure doesn't seem like his dogs are afraid of him.
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Old 11-20-2008, 08:12 AM   #12
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Bhikku

If you are intrested in why both Erin and I speck of training as we do there a long list of books and training seminars and even a course which I have attennded I can give you. Non of them by a certain someone on TV.

For starters find anything by Dr. McConnell, Dr Overall, Dr. Dunbar.
Teryy Ryan, Jean Donaldson. Pat Miller, James O heare, Dr Dodman, Dr Wright.
Karen Pryor, Melssia Alexander, Emma Parsons, Scott and Fullers work and lastly Raymond Coppinger. To name a few.

Your not going to find to many of these in your local book store they are going to have to be special ordered from dog wise or amazon or Mungo books for dogs.
I would not start with Dr Overalls as it a tough go. Fuller and Scott will curl your toe nails but it is amazing and Coppinger is not easy either but your going to walk away from that one knowing dogs are not wolves. Coppingers will teach you trying to dominate a wolf that we base so much dog trainig on will only get you killed.

Then your going to understand according to who and also that what we say is based in science not a fantasic blend of folk lore and myth. Roll up with wives tales and half truths.

Science in it every changing growning wonderous way says So. It says it needed to grow and change and not be what some assume was and really was not and it grows into waht it is now and what it will become.
Someday the way I train will be concidered wrong and not gentle enough and that will be ok as I will grow and learn and change as we learn more.

Erin... I disagree on one thing it is about the 90%.......100% of all dogs that are trained by adversives are effected negativley and the relationship is impacted by it. It not up to the owner and it does not matter if the dog still does what it is told.. adversives do not build a relationship and it does not build trust. I know you know that and I understand why you said that but I am not moving on it adversives in training are wrong!

In closing and this is closing I not fighting this battle again been there done that.
There is never any excuse to use adversives if one is willing to use ones brain and allow the dog to use the one that was given them and to work as a team.
Dogs that are allowed to use there brains are happier, healthier and genrally smarter then those told what to do ever waking minute.( Just cause one does not use adversives does not mean that we do not ask or expect our dogs to do what we ask when we ask. we just ask please and say thank you and listen to them if they say they can not do it. We tend to have dogs that listen better as we listen to them.

JL
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Old 11-20-2008, 08:16 AM   #13
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He need's a vet visit to rule out any medical problems & a professional trainer & to be kept away from the 8 year old til you can get this undercontrol.
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Old 11-20-2008, 08:29 AM   #14
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JL - I made that number up. The point I was trying to make is that when people give me anecdotal stories about how they alpha rolled their dog and it was fine, their dog is the exception - or possibly they just don't recognize the signs.

For example - Bhikku said that Cesar Milan's dogs are not afraid of him. Actually the dogs on the show that he trains do show major stress signals. They obey him because they fear him or fear the consequences. I prefer training that helps my dog to trust me, not fear me.

Also this subject of dominance is taken out of context. A dog is not submissive or dominant. A dog can be confident or not confidence, however submission & dominance are fluid. You said Sammy might be submissive - actually she is dominant in most situations over Loki (in that he defers to her) but she is submissive to new dogs she meets. Dogs also know that we are not dogs and while they can see us as leaders and look to us for cues, they do not see us as "alpha" anything. Dog body language is complicated and difficult to understand. Dogs understand other dogs. We can understand them if we practice enough and read enough and train enough.

What methods? Though positive reinforcement (which I suggest the OP find a trainer to help with specific methods) you can train the dog that the child is a good thing - that being in the room with the child and being calm means they get treats. It's called conditioning. Only a trainer can look at the situation and say "OK the dog bites when the child shrieks" - then you desensitize the dog to that noise. Why do you think dogs bark at the UPS man? Dog barks=UPS man goes away. It's self rewarding and a conditioned response. Of course the UPS man is going to go away whether the dog barks or not, but the dog doesn't know that.

Loki barks at strange dogs. Through training I not only know his body language to see when he is nervous so I can begin to re-direct him, but I trained him to look at ME for further instructions and a treat.

It sounds like the OP has a dog that has no confidence and doesn't know what to do about the situation so he bites. I would be willing to bet there are some warning signals first before he bites, but without training the OP won't be clued into what they are.

Very few dogs are actually "dominant aggressive" And they aren't like this dog who obviously has triggers that set him off, which to me says fear. This sounds like one specific behavior with a specific trigger. If she had said the dog was biting over food, over resources like the couch, whenever people pet him, etc. that is different. A dominant aggressive dog would not be "so sweet otherwise" Something is setting him off. She has to figure out what that is.

To the OP: I'm sorry this has gotten out of hand. We only want what is best for your dog. Please seek out a trainer who can come to your home and address this immediately. Some steps can be taken right away and others will need to be done on a daily basis for months, but there is hope.
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Old 11-20-2008, 08:41 AM   #15
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I have never used alpha roll but I do pin them on occasion. I also use positive praise. Not to brag, (ok I am) but I have two of the best behaved dogs any of my friends have ever seen. They are also happy, healthy, loved, and a delight to be around. As I did not know what an alpha roll was I googled it and found this Alpha roll - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. I found it quite interesting. I also rough play with them on occasion and they would never dream of biting their beloved, respected, and adored mom.
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