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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
So, I posted a little over a month ago about my psychotic devil dog and his biting problem. Well, I think I made a mistake by not letting him bite at all because now he has no bite inhibition whatsoever :( He doesn't bite often, but when he does, he does it with full force. Now that he is 30 pounds (and growing fast) with some very strong jaws I am really getting worried. He listens and responds to every command I give, except when he is biting me. It's like he just snaps and has no control and there is no warning. One second he is just laying in my lap and the next thing I know his mouth is locked on my arm, hand, belly, face-anything he can reach. I have to pry his jaws open to get away. Then I gently hold him down and calmly say "time out" and he goes limp and gives me lots of kisses and I leave him alone to calm down, but it's the time in between that I'm worried about. I don't know what comes over him. I have bruises and scrapes all over. He bit my face today, taking a chunk out of my lip and it really, really hurt and scared me.

Does anyone have any tips on teaching bite inhibition at 4 and a half months? He completed puppy classes and was very gentle with other dogs. He never caused a yelp or fear in another pup. He has even been aggressively attacked by other puppies in class and just rolled over, not even tried to fight back. He only does this to me and I assume he thinks he is initiating play, but it is not ok, considering he will top out around 70 or more pounds and I am terrified of what he will do if he is frightened by a stranger or another dog, or what he will do to me on accident. Is it time for professional help or can I still correct this on my own?
 

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Bite inhibition is something puppies learn amongst their littermates at an early age. It can often take some time and development before they have the self-control necessary to employ it in -every- situation, however. If dogs go overboard with each other, they rarely resort to holding each other down, instead they yelp, or if they are very guarded they might snap back in a less-friendly manner. Rarely do they hold each other down.

Until your dog builds such self-control as to keep in mind the limits of your fragile human skin while you play, I find that the best solution is simply to keep skin off-limits. Redirect him to a toy when he tries to chomp at you, so that he can learn a different way of initiating play. If he is all full of steam and jumping around, try some 'long-range' activities like fetch with a launcher like a chuck-it (keeps your hands out of the way) or tug with a long toy. This will tire him out enough that it is easier for him to hold to his 'no skin' rule when you play.
 

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As kelly528 stated above, just keep working on it. It takes time for some dogs. I am speaking from personal experience; my dog's bite inhibition didn't get great until he stopped teething at 6 months.

Be prepared to keep redirecting and removing yourself...over...and over...and over...and over some more. Sometimes, I had to remove myself every 2 minutes, and I"m not kidding. Every 2 minutes, I was stepping over the baby gate with a landshark fully clamped down on my jeans. I was covered in bruises and scratches. But eventually, he figured it out. It just takes time and patience. Also, I think the teething really helped him. His biting would get really bad right before he lost a tooth, probably due to the general discomfort of losing teeth and then cutting adult teeth.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
We already went through the exercise of removing myself, literally every 30 seconds for days. I was in tears because I was so exhausted, I truly did not sit down for almost a week except to sleep. He learned that teeth + flesh = time out and the behavior stopped immediately. He normally buries his face in the couch or in a toy and makes crazy noises when he is restraining himself from mouthing me.

Maybe I wasn't clear in my initial post. These episodes the past 3 days are different. I can't yelp or remove myself because when I yelp he gets aggressive (always has, yelping has never worked from the time we got him). When I remove his bite it makes him viciously attack (he has a VERY strong prey drive and I have only seen him behave this way when chasing his **** trainer toy). I would never hurt, show aggression, or lose my composure with my puppy, which is what another dog would do, so I am doing the one thing that turns him into a cuddle bug - hugs and a soft gentle voice. I have some pretty serious puncture wounds from the past few days and my lip could probably use a few stitches (home remedy of butterfly stitches for now). I won't hold him with force, grab him by the scruff, alpha roll him or do any stupid "dominance" moves on him. I just patiently pry his mouth open, even with tears streaming down my face, until I can get into a position hold him in my arms where he his bite can't reach me and gently stroke his back and in a very soft almost whisper tell him to "calm down, time out, relax". When he snaps out of his episode he immediately goes limp and gives me lots of kisses then buries his face in something soft. It's like he is in another world and doesn't know who I am until he snaps back. He seems confused and sad when it's over like he doesn't know what just happened. Maybe it is just teething and he is in so much pain he can't control himself. He has 4 baby teeth left that I can count, aside from the canines. I was just really worried that there is something wrong with him because this behavior is so out of character since he learned not to bite. I guess I'm just a paranoid puppy mom and if everyone things this is normal I shouldn't worry.
 

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I have much less experience than lots of people here, but it doesn't sound normal to me. I'm from a large family, and we had lots of dogs raised from puppies when I was growing up, and I can think of maybe two times blood was drawn. I'm raising my first dog on my own, and he is much mouthier than any of our family pets were, but he never broke my or my wife's skin.

My dog is very good at following commands, except when he randomly jumps up on me relentlessly for no apparent reason. After a lot of work, I'm finally having lots of success redirecting him. But what you're describing seems WAY more serious than that. If he is puncturing and holding or even taking off a piece of your lip I don't think months of patient waiting in the hopes that he will change is safe, particularly since there doesn't seem to be any identifiable trigger that you can avoid or desensitize him to.

As I say, I am much less experienced than a lot of the posters here, but I would probably try to track down a behaviorist or a trainer you know to be very experienced with this sort of thing. Just my two cents.
 
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