He's a Terrier! He's attacking! Ideas needed! - Page 2

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He's a Terrier! He's attacking! Ideas needed!

This is a discussion on He's a Terrier! He's attacking! Ideas needed! within the Puppy Help forums, part of the Dog Training and Behavior category; Sounds like you are doing an awesome job overall, so no need to even think of giving up! Puppies do grow up! I'm curious when ...

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Old 05-24-2013, 07:01 AM
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Sounds like you are doing an awesome job overall, so no need to even think of giving up! Puppies do grow up!

I'm curious when you say "I'm not fast enough"... that sort of sounds like you are trying to do things quickly with your hands before he has a chance to bite. If you move your hands quickly, he will indeed react to them like they are quarry! You'll need to figure out ways of managing the leash that do not involve darting your hands around to untangle things. That is going to be a VERY stimulating game for puppy, to try to catch your hand!

Calm "games" just means sitting on the floor with him and holding a toy for him to chew on. If he enjoys lap time when tired, then that is a great thing to do with him. Don't "Play" with him. If he wants to play, put him in a pen or safe space outside with a toy that he can toss around himself and attack to his heart's content. Its great you are looking for doggy playmates. That's what he needs. He does not need to practice roughhousing with humans.

Eventually, as he gets a bit more self control, you can teach him to retrieve and that will be a good outlet for his energy, as well as a way for you to interact with him. But for now, you might try taking a break entirely from "playing with him." Again, puppies "play" by using their mouths on their playmates, which is something this puppy does not need to rehearse on human skin.

Even just in the daily handling, he's going to have plenty of chances to chew on you, without riling him up with "play." I'd recommend you check out Ian Dunbar's videos on "bite inhibition." I'll see if I can find them for you.

Last edited by Tess; 05-24-2013 at 07:05 AM.
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Old 05-24-2013, 07:02 AM
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Old 05-24-2013, 07:05 AM
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Old 05-24-2013, 07:23 AM
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Originally Posted by CobbersMom View Post
I'm hand feeding him now, so he associates my hands with good things, not something to attack. I'm trying the kikopup idea of putting my closed fist out (he does not bite a fist) and as soon as he stops nuzzling, licking or nosing it, I reward. He has actually started letting go of my pants/shoes when I tell him to "stop" then sit then reward. So it seems like we're making tiny bits of progress,
^^^^ This is awesome. You are doing exactly the right kind of interacting here, and the fact he is responding and learning is extremely encouraging.

You can extend this type of training to real life situations. So when he gets his leash tangled, put a treat in your closed fist and slowly put your hand near him. Ask for a "sit" and reward him when he sits. Now you have him calm, so SLOWLY untangle the leash. You need to move your hands slowly, so you do not stimulate his prey drive. Quick hands will be seen by his brain like an animal that needs to be chased and caught.

Practice moving like molasses. Keep closed fists, with a small treat in them. Teach him to sit calmly in order to get you to open your fist to reveal the treat.

One of the keys with dog training is to focus on the EMOTIONAL STATE you want from him, more even than the behavior. What you want here is a calm puppy, relaxed and focused on what he needs to do to get a reward. When you think of it this way, then you can start to demonstrate to him the state you want. So YOU are very calm and relaxed and moving SLOWLY and keeping your voice calm.

If you are quick with your movements, panicked, trying to avoid being bitten, then he will be all aroused and will chase your hands. If you move slowly, calmly and stay totally relaxed, that will encourage a different state of mind in him.

Of course he is a puppy, so there will be tantrums and times when he just totally loses control of himself, no matter how calm you are around him. That is normal and you just need to put him in his crate or pen to spin it off. Do so without anger or upset. He'll outgrow this stage eventually.

Hope some of this is making sense.

One thing that might really help us to help you, is if you could take a bit of video of him, so we can see how he reacts.

Last edited by Tess; 05-24-2013 at 07:26 AM.
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Old 05-24-2013, 07:27 AM
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So I forgot to tell you thanks for treating him like a terrier and not a doll. That is what makes terriers get a bad rap when they are awesome dogs and I would never be without one!

Calm games- even trick training can be a game. Obedience is necessary but fun stuff is so much fun to me and I'm sure the dog picks up on that. Leave it command is awesome. Try the kikopup way. To me, that cue is like a game that raises your dogs self control and teaches them good things come to those who wait...not to mention can keep them safe. I had to work hard to teach mine "fetch" and he's still only up for it in certain conditions...inside the house. Outside he gets distracted by nature.

Other fave things are tunnel toys like hide-a-squirrel. Sometimes stick a treat in too. He would rather eat from a food toy vs bowl. Every time we finish a toilet or paper towel roll I make a "Scottie MRE" with food and treats and fold the ends over. He lives for this. Tunneling and foraging games are up his alley.

I have used the flirt pole, though I use it with cues like "leave it" and "drop it" to go from pure fun to a learning opportunity. Same with tug- he lives it and I used that to play "drop it". That has gotten his "drop" command pretty reliable - he will drop a treat do I can make sure it's appropriate.

I also don't think yelping will help some terriers stop biting. They almost seem to enjoy your pain! Remember a lot of them were bred to go find and kill pests by themselves do tenacity in a fight is part if their make up. You yelp and they think " I've almost defeated them...time to finish her off"! I issue verbal correction "ehhh" and ignore. Never strike or yell. Had a trainer auggest shake cans and aversives and I quickly saw those hurt, not help. A lot of people on here say never say "no" or "eh" but some dogs can handle that and need that IMO. No dogs need spanks or yelling though...and I write this not for your benefit but for those who are going to read this and not know when I say correction I mean an annoying sound and not beating your dog
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Old 05-24-2013, 07:40 AM
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Yes, as Marbear says, training is a "game" so go through Kikopup's videos and teach the basics like sit, down, come, and so forth. Doing these sorts of things will get him in the habit of interacting with you in a very good way, that is learning and figuring out how to get a reward. This is so much better behavior to practice than roughhousing.

Remember, what he "rehearses" is what he learns and what becomes habit. So rewarding a "default sit" all day long is a great thing to do. It will become his way of asking you for what he wants. When he is thinking about sitting, he is not thinking about roughhousing, so that is a really good habit to have! If you practice the sit, you'll find he does it spontaneously and will use it when he wants you to toss a toy or let him out or otherwise wants your attention.

I find that once a puppy realizes "sit" will get a reward, he will start doing so frequently, and this is a good thing to encourage!
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Old 05-24-2013, 07:46 AM
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One more thought, then I really must get to these papers on my desk.

You cannot be "faster than the puppy" ... at least not for long. He will quickly become much faster than a human can run or move hands. Nor can you do something he does not notice you are doing. Dogs notice every movement we make and all our emotions too. There is no fooling them!

This is where we humans get to use our big brains, because physically, we do not have a chance of out-doing a dog.
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Old 05-24-2013, 07:57 AM
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If you are quick with your movements, panicked, trying to avoid being bitten, then he will be all aroused and will chase your hands. If you move slowly, calmly and stay totally relaxed, that will encourage a different state of mind in him.
It's amazing how I so totally know this yet it all goes flying out the window when he has a biting meltdown and I get increasingly frustrated and almost panicky. Molasses. I need to be like molasses...
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Old 05-24-2013, 07:59 AM
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One thing that might really help us to help you, is if you could take a bit of video of him, so we can see how he reacts.
I will try. I need a third or fourth hand - LOL!

...Now where's that tripod I used to own....?
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Old 05-24-2013, 08:20 AM
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It's amazing how I so totally know this yet it all goes flying out the window when he has a biting meltdown and I get increasingly frustrated and almost panicky. Molasses. I need to be like molasses...
Sometimes the only thing you can do is tie his leash to the nearest bush and take a few steps out of his range. Then stand like a statue. Play "red light / green light" with him. Take a step towards him when he is calm and a step back when he is spazzing. This exercise might take 10 minutes the first time you do it, but over time and practice he will learn that the only way to get you back is to be calm.

"Red light / green light" is also a good thing to do when you approach his crate to let him out of it.

And this game is good practice for the human too, as it teaches you to move like molasses. You'll find the calmer you are, the sooner he calms down. You can learn from each other.
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