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 Biting at hands and feet - solved!

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Karu4Link
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Female Join date : 2014-10-21
Location : Fort Worth, Texas

PostSubject: Biting at hands and feet - solved!   Fri Oct 31, 2014 12:40 pm

I just thought I'd pop in and share something with you guys. We've been having a problem with Gaia nipping at our hands and ankles when she gets excited, or chewing on our hands when we try to pet her head. We had tried everything I could find to try on the forums. We tried time-out, which didn't really have much effect. We tried redirecting to other toys when she started chewing on us, which didn't seem to work at all. We tried yelping when she nipped, and a combination of that, plus saying a sharp "hey!" seemed to work for a short time. Then she started ignoring the yelps/heys, so we tried another method I had read on here where when she starts chewing, you grab her lower jaw firmly but gently, and put your thumb under her tongue and firmly tell her "No." That just made her chew harder. We were at our wits end, and were waiting on a bottle of bitter apple to be delivered in the mail, when we unwittingly stumbled upon something that, so far, has worked perfectly.

I wanted to share it to maybe help others with the same problem. Obviously all dogs are different, but we had tried everything else, and this is the only thing that worked for us.

When she bites at us now, we firmly but gently wrap our hand around her muzzle and hold her mouth closed until she starts backing up, then we release. When we offer her our hands afterwards, she is significantly calmer, and licks rather than bites. We make sure to shower her with praise and treats when she licks rather than bites. So far it has worked every single time!

Another method we use to calm her when she is getting overly excited/dramatic/flopping down and refusing to move, is to just pick her up and carry her around a little bit. It calms her down almost instantly. We were also able to have her near our cats this way and she was still calm! When we put her down, she stays pretty calm as well.

She's added several new tricks to her repertoire, and is getting so much better with "leave it". So thankful that we've found something to help curb the mouthing though! Smile
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amymeme
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PostSubject: Re: Biting at hands and feet - solved!   Fri Oct 31, 2014 1:39 pm

I have also found that any kind of yelp/loud no etc would excite Ami rather than calm him down. So far, the best way for me to stop unwanted behavior with him is to just stop interacting with him. When I give him a loud no about the pool cover I get an immediate gleam in his eye and "watch me!" He thinks its all an invitation to play bounce
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Karu4Link
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Female Join date : 2014-10-21
Location : Fort Worth, Texas

PostSubject: Re: Biting at hands and feet - solved!   Fri Oct 31, 2014 1:46 pm

Yeah, we tried the ignoring thing, but it didn't work. As soon as we would come back, she would be right back to jumping on us and biting our hands lol. So far, gently holding her mouth closed has been the most effective. She really hates it, and it will usually get her to behave after doing it once or twice. It's progress at least!
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seattlesibe
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PostSubject: Re: Biting at hands and feet - solved!   Fri Oct 31, 2014 2:09 pm

Then, do you think she is responding to this method because she fears you or respects you?
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Karu4Link
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Female Join date : 2014-10-21
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PostSubject: Re: Biting at hands and feet - solved!   Fri Oct 31, 2014 2:53 pm

@seattlesibe wrote:
Then, do you think she is responding to this method because she fears you or respects you?
I think it's more respect than fear. She doesn't seem scared from what I can tell, but I'm far from and expert. I look her in the eyes and firmly say no when I do it, and she usually obeys after. Her tail is wagging when she comes back up to us to lick our hands. I'm not really sure how I would differentiate between fear and respect? Do you think I should try to find another method? This seems to work for us but I definitely don't want to continue it if you think it will make her scared of us. That's the last thing I want.
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seattlesibe
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PostSubject: Re: Biting at hands and feet - solved!   Fri Oct 31, 2014 3:08 pm

Well I can't make any judgement on it because I don't know your dog and I haven't seen it, so it's not really about that. I'm not trying to make a prescription here.

But anytime we take physically assertive actions with our dogs to try to correct behaviors I just think it is generally a good idea to question the reason why we get results.

As long as you are aware of the possibilities and you assess her reactions afterwords then you are probably fine.

Are there any times that you could allow her to mouth you, on your terms and with your initiation? It is a great bonding method to allow her to do it sometimes, especially if you are down on all 4s with her. Once I started doing this with Link the mouthing, on his terms, stopped.

I think in general that teaching our dogs a Yes to go with every No is a great thing. This allows them to learn to defer to you when trying something or encountering something. Rechanneling a behavior is for the most part healthier than just eliminating a behavior.
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Karu4Link
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Female Join date : 2014-10-21
Location : Fort Worth, Texas

PostSubject: Re: Biting at hands and feet - solved!   Fri Oct 31, 2014 4:26 pm

@seattlesibe wrote:
Well I can't make any judgement on it because I don't know your dog and I haven't seen it, so it's not really about that.  I'm not trying to make a prescription here.  

But anytime we take physically assertive actions with our dogs to try to correct behaviors I just think it is generally a good idea to question the reason why we get results.    

As long as you are aware of the possibilities and you assess her reactions afterwords then you are probably fine.

Are there any times that you could allow her to mouth you, on your terms and with your initiation?  It is a great bonding method to allow her to do it sometimes, especially if you are down on all 4s with her.   Once I started doing this with Link the mouthing, on his terms, stopped.  

I think in general that teaching our dogs a Yes to go with every No is a great thing.  This allows them to learn to defer to you when trying something or encountering something.   Rechanneling a behavior is for the most part healthier than just eliminating a behavior.

I haven't been letting her use teeth. If she's just holding my hand in her mouth, I leave her be, but she tends to chew after awhile, or nip at my ankles. I tell her to drop it, and if she keeps chewing, then I grab her nose and look her in the eyes and say no. Usually one or the other works, depending on how mischievous she's feeling at the time lol.

I'll have to keep an eye on her reactions. I hadn't noticed any fear, and I hope not to. We love all of our animals, and definitely don't want them to obey out of fear. We want them to obey because they want to.

I think a lot of it is just puppy/husky energy. She's a lot better behaved after we've tired her out through walks and obedience training/play. Her papers say she was born June 5th of this year, but the vet said judging by her teeth she looked older than that, so I don't really know for sure how old she is lol. It's kind of confusing. But she's definitely still just a puppy.
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Kaiser
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PostSubject: Re: Biting at hands and feet - solved!   Sat Nov 01, 2014 8:00 pm

Im having this issue with Kaiser, 2 months old puppy, and since the first time he started bitting, i used this method of holding his mouth/muzzle at the same time i say a strong NO!, but it hasn't been working, after i release he starts to bite again or gets more excited, and i think im just creating fear
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amymeme
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PostSubject: Re: Biting at hands and feet - solved!   Sat Nov 01, 2014 8:12 pm

With Kaiser only 2 months old, I think I would just get down on the floor, substitute something he can chew on and play with him.
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Kaiser
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PostSubject: Re: Biting at hands and feet - solved!   Sat Nov 01, 2014 10:25 pm

i also did that, he has a plastic bone, 2 types of ball, an old socks to play with, when he is in that state, i give him one of those toys but he loses interest on them very quickly and comes back to me.

I used to sleep with my feet past the edge of the bed, now i have to keep them inside or he also bites them in the night lol.
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Karu4Link
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Location : Fort Worth, Texas

PostSubject: Re: Biting at hands and feet - solved!   Sat Nov 01, 2014 10:42 pm

Have you tried spraying your hands and feet with bitter apple as a deterrent? I hear that works for some people, though our dog just licked our hands clean lol.
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amymeme
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PostSubject: Re: Biting at hands and feet - solved!   Sun Nov 02, 2014 12:00 am

Since Kaiser is just a baby, it will be a long process - you just have to be consistent. (I used to have to keep my feet under the covers as a kid - kitty cat like pounce on them Razz )
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seattlesibe
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PostSubject: Re: Biting at hands and feet - solved!   Sun Nov 02, 2014 3:22 am

You can not expect anything whatsoever to take effect quickly with these puppies.  You have to think about the dog you want in a year and shoot for that as  your goal.  

Part of solving these problems (a major problem being of course that they aren't problems for them, just us......keep reading) is figuring out what their motivation is for doing them in the first place.

So, when puppies mouth us and nip at us, what is the motivation?  Socializing and bonding.  

With that, for a lot of them, physically or verbally interacting with them is not going to work because these are forms of just getting what they wanted all along.   If you want to tackle it from a motivation standpoint, stop what you are doing cold turkey--no touch or talk or acknowledgment--and just walk away and leave the room.  

Will they do it again in 10 minutes? Yes.  10 days? Yes.  10 weeks? Much less.  10 months? No, or at least not until you invite them to do so.  

You just have to stay consistent and not allow their behaviors to be self-motivating.
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