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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi, all. We're having a biting problem with Jupiter, our 8-month-old lab mix. When we got her, we did the whole 'stand up and ignore when teeth touch skin' thing, and it seemed to be working, until a couple months ago, when she stared nipping at our hands.
She bites when she's not getting her way, she bites sometimes when she wants to play, and she bites especially when she's hyper. I'm not talking the quick 'leave me alone' type of snap dogs give as a warning, rather she keeps nipping at our hands like she's obsessed.
Tonight we came home from a walk and a trip to the dog park, and she immediately jumped on my boyfriend who was lying on the couch and started biting his hands and feet. She started biting me when I went to put her in her crate to calm down.
If we try to ignore her or walk away, the biting just gets more intense, because we're giving her something to chase. I'm not really sure what to do, since all the kikopup-type videos on youtube are for much younger dogs.
Any suggestions? The biting doesn't hurt and she's never broken the skin, but I can tell it's getting harder.
 

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Don't run and have her chase you, just stand up in place and stay still. Fold your arms. Don't say a single word or give her eye contact. Become as boring as possible and I promise eventually she will go away. The second she shows less interest praise her calmly with soft words and some treats. Don't get her hyped again, you want to instill calm behavior.
 

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you could try training an abort signal with the meaning "stop whatever activity you're doing right now".
the goal would be that the dog stops the activity (biting, barking, etc.) when it hears a sound signal and pays attention to you to recieve a reward.

make sure your dog has also enough exercise. a tired dog is more unlikely to act out than a bored dog.
 

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I have a mouthy dog too. It's improved considerably, but still, I feel your pain!

I work on two things with her: impulse control and teaching her how to use her mouth appropriately. Of the two, impulse control is probably the more important. Dogs are naturally impulsive (especially when they are teenagers, like yours!), whereas self-control tends to be something they learn slowly, over time, and with help. Check out the sticky thread on impulse control: http://www.dogforum.com/training-behavior-stickies/biting-mouthing-nipping-168082/. I like the It's Yer Choice game as a foundation. It might not seem like teaching a dog not to immediately lunge for food (or whatever else she wants) is directly related to biting, but it's actually a great way to start teaching a dog that the best way to get what she wants is to be thoughtful and controlled.

For "how to use your mouth appropriately," there are some good videos and articles in this thread: http://www.dogforum.com/training-behavior-stickies/biting-mouthing-nipping-168082/. Even if a particular game seems aimed at baby puppies, it usually works just fine with dogs of any age (although it may take longer, in some cases). You might find that different games work better for you, so try a couple of them...I really like the "falling treats" game, which helped my dog stop snapping at food in my hands.

I'm not there, but by guess is that the stand-up-and-ignore thing was working fine until your dog got some kind of accidental reinforcement (someone lost their temper and told her to knock it off, or someone tried to walk away at just the wrong moment, you stopped the stand-and-ignore thing just a little too soon, or whatever...it happens to all of us!). A little reinforcement on an unpredictable schedule is a POWERFUL motivator, as anyone in front of a slot machine will tell you. Dogs will continue to do anything that is reinforcing. If a particular action only "pays off" sometimes, they are likely to try varying that action, doing it louder, harder, more insistently, to see if they can manage to shake some kind of reward loose.

It is amazing what can serve as reinforcement for over-aroused biting. Saying "no" or "ah ah," yelling, scolding, yelping, pushing the dog away, kneeing the dog, walking away from the dog, or, well, pretty much doing anything at all might accidentally reinforce the behavior. For a long time after my dog had (mostly) stopped biting me, she was still predictably leaping on my partner and biting him regularly. That's because biting him would sometimes trigger a specific reaction -- distracted by whatever else he was doing, he would put out his spare arm and hold his hand flat against her chest, effectively blocking her from coming any closer. Just that little amount of push-back was enough to make her keep coming back and doing it again and again, until he finally changed his behavior.

Besides doing the stand-and-ignore thing, during times when your dog is relatively calm and not leaping/biting, make sure to reward her regularly for behaviors you DO like. By reinforcing desired behaviors, you build up her list of ideas for things to do besides jumping.
 

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I'm having the same problem but with a dog that's a bit younger. I find when I ignore her, she bites as my clothing or nibbles on my leg/back/body with her front teeth. I have to put her in her ex pen and leave her be in order to get her to stop.

You really have to look at how you are reinforcing the behaviour. Any sort of attention will continue it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks, everyone! The advice to stop moving away and just stand still is invaluable.
Besides this biting thing, she really is a great dog. :)
 
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