Dog Forum banner

1 - 20 of 25 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
453 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hi again,

Okay, here's an example of what I'm trying to deal with on occasion (very unsuccessfully it seems). Cobber's very much a Terrier, and apparently my ankles, jeans cuffs, and shoes are all small rodents to him.

We were just out in my yard after a trip to Petco. No clicker (they were all out!) but I did get Zuke's minis and they are a hit. So I had a small handful of quartered bits. We'd walked a little ways around the yard okay so he could piddle, then I kept going and suddenly (it seemed) he growled and lunged at the cuff of my jeans, locking onto them in a death hold. I honestly don't know how to deal with that!

In this case, I stayed calm, used the lead to pull him off to the side, said "Cobber Sit" and he did so I treated and said "good boy," and we sat there for a few seconds. I took a step, he growled, lunged and sank his teeth into my shoes, again death hold with growling like he's going to kill a rat but it happens to be my shoe. Every time I tried to stay calm, pull him off me, get him to sit and reward the calm sit. Then I take the next step, same attack behavior all over again.

So I ran out of treats before we got anywhere near the front door and didn't see much choice except to pick him up and carry him in to his crate. He was growling, flailing his head, teeth snapping - this isn't nipping, this is (again) wanting to bite hard enough to kill a rodent except it's now my hand. I ended up with one arm under him for support and the other holding his scruff, just to protect myself from him. I walked quickly back inside, said "Crate up!" in a positive voice and put him right in.

He's now in there sound asleep (thank heavens!). But I don't get it. Was he showing that behavior because he was tired and cranky? Because he was overstimulated from our trip to Petco (everyone was "ohhh! what a cute puppy!!" and getting him all excited)? Because he's decided he hates my guts? Because after he peed and I was hoping he'd stay out and poop, he'd simply had enough and got angry?

The kikopup and other videos all stress rewarding the behavior I want, and I thought we'd been working on that, but when this attacking me stuff happens, especially when we're in the yard and I don't have anymore treats, and he's going ape-sh*t crazy on various parts of my body, what is the correct procedure??? Because the last thing I actually want to do is reinforce any of what's happening during those moments, but my natural reaction to the pain is apparently to do exactly what will piss him off more. I need help with this!

Thanks in advance!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,166 Posts
I would chalk it up to over stimulated. I think the way you handled it was great! All puppies get over stimulated sometimes and need their "time out" or "crate time" for a rest and to calm down. :)
Posted via Mobile Device
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
10,820 Posts
If he fell asleep after you put him in the crate then I'd say he was over tired and cranky. Kind of like a toddler getting cranky and needing a nap but refusing to go to sleep until you make them stay in their bed.

If you know that he's had a big day with lots of activity, and he starts acting like a demon puppy then it's time for a nap. If he's had plenty of rest so that you know he can't be tired, and he starts acting like a demon puppy he's probably overstimulated and giving him a chance to calm down should help.

For going ape in the yard I'd just pick him up it's probably the easiest and gentlest way.
 
  • Like
Reactions: pawsnose

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,712 Posts
Dogs are like children at birthday parties and on christmas. Happy, happy, happy TEMPERTANTRUMDEMONCHILD. It's just a combination of overstimulation and fatigue. You can't ask someone to control themselves in that state. It's just not possible. All you can do is put them in time out and let them sleep it off.

Eventually, once he's got sit 100% down in all situations, then you can use sit to help, but he can't learn anything in that state.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,638 Posts
I would keep him on the leash while he is in the nipping phase, too. You will have some control over him and at his size should be fairly easy to keep him at arm's length from your pants.

And you obviously are gonna have to wear real shoes :) and avoid flailing bell bottoms or skirt as that can trigger a prey drive in a young dog that doesn't know better.

It sounds like you might need to work on bite inhibition (there's a sticky in the puppy forum) if he is biting that hard. Has he punctured your skin yet?

How old was he when he was taken from the litter?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
13,331 Posts
Overstimulated and tired.

You handled it well.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
453 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
Marbear - he came to me from his litter a week ago today and was a couple days past 8 weeks old at that point. And, yes, what's been saving the situation is his size, which is pretty easy for me to deal with in most situations. Yes, he has punctured my skin many times. I have 4 cats and all of them combined during the last 3 years haven't done to my skin what Cobber has accomplished all on his own in just a week. I'm learning not to be caught by surprise like I was at first, but it's a struggle - he's very fast and very determined when he goes crazed-demon-terrier on me :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,638 Posts
definitely read the bite inhibition sticky and if you are interested you can google Ian Dunbar bite inhibition and see what he recommends. You want him to be able to develop a softer mouth so if he ever bites it won't be a dangerous bite.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
13,331 Posts
You know what, I would not play flirt pole games with this pup, or tug games. Its going to be important NOT to teach him that being with humans means getting all excited and biting things.

Do calm things with him only.

Find him a playmate... another puppy... to play with regularly. This will help him to learn bite inhibition. I think he may need another dog to help him learn this. He has a hard mouth, so you want to get started asap.

Do not let him bite you. I know that sounds silly and impossible, but clearly you are too often giving him access to your skin. If he is bitey, you need to remove yourself from him. That means stand up so he cannot reach your hands and arms. If he is biting your feet and pant cuffs, then put him on the other side of a baby gate or put him in an x-pen or crate.

The point is, you must not let him "practice" chewing on you so much. He is learning that humans are for chewing on. Don't feel like he needs you to "play with him." He does not need that. He can play with a toy on his own or with another puppy.... but not with humans. Not until he learns to be more gentle.

That's just my 2 cents, for what they are worth, which may only be 2 pennies....
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
453 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
Tess, thank you! And everyone else who posted to help me, thanks! I'm trying to do all the things suggested.

One of the main instances where I'm exposing my hands too much, but don't know how to not do this, is disentangling his lead. I have both retractable and regular, but both get tangled constantly (bushes, trees, chair legs, etc), and each time I reach to detangle the lead, Cobber has the opportunity to go for my hands. So in spite of trying very hard this morning to have him play with other things, I still found myself in the situation of not being quick enough. 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, but after reading some of the above posts from yesterday, I'm still feeling really discouraged.

I'm going to reach out to the head of the local dog/cat shelter here and see if she can help me find puppies to play with. I don't know of any and all the puppy classes I've found that start soon are full.

I looked all around the forum for the biting sticky but couldn't find one specifically addressing that issue. Can you point me to it, please?

Also, what types of calm games are there? He's 9 weeks old, fully of piss, vinegar and energy, and he doesn't want to be calm except when I crate him and he sort of gives in to the inevitableness of being in his crate for awhile.

Thanks, everyone! I still don't want to give up on this pup but he's wearing me down :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
13,331 Posts
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.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
13,331 Posts
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.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,638 Posts
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 ;)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
13,331 Posts
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!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
13,331 Posts
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. ;)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
453 Posts
Discussion Starter #18
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...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
453 Posts
Discussion Starter #19
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....?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
13,331 Posts
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. :)
 
1 - 20 of 25 Posts
Top