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 Landshark! A little help here?

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Epimetheus
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Join date : 2013-03-23
Location : Middle of MA, USA

PostSubject: Landshark! A little help here?   Mon Apr 15, 2013 7:53 am

We need a little reassurance and guidance that we are training properly for a pup with a real landshark attitude.

Sheila the Husky puppy is a more aggressive and persistant biter than any other pup we have had. We adopted her from the shelter at 12 weeks old and she has been with us 2 1/2 weeks. She is also food-crazy; all our other Huskies have been picky eaters, and she is reactive to being touched on the waist and hindquarters. It all means she will nip your hand if there is the chance of food and tears at your clothes to play. If you run hands along her flanks, she will whip around and growl and snap. It does not seem like rage, rather, she learned to get her way with this behavior.

We must choose methods we can all manage. Our adult son is developmentally delayed with mild palsy. It is difficult for him to move his hands out of the way all the time. On the plus side, he is very gentle with animals and they respond. Our adult Huskies have their own ways to manage the pup; they growl and display teeth that could take her in one gulp. We read the entire sticky about puppy biting.

These are our goals:
  • Bite inhibition. Never put teeth on human skin. If you are surprised, whip around and mouthing is OK. Play with dogs acceptably (between Huskies, acceptably can be rough)
  • Human aggression - no. Move away when the tail pulling becomes intolerable. Warning air snaps are OK.
  • Dog aggression - meet and greet appropriately, then if you do not get along, avoid the other.


We choose to use these methods:
  • Every time it nips say "Eh!" loudly, move your hands out of reach, and ignore the pup for a while. The sound is a marker like a clicker.
  • Do not eat food around the pup. If our son wants to watch TV with a snack, the dog must be sealed away by doors. At our dinner time she stays in the crate.
  • Desensitize the pup. The more nimble adults handle the pup extensively and ignore the growing and air snaps.
  • Leave the pup alone to calm down when it is over stimulated and grabbing at everything.
  • We find our adult Siberians can be trusted with a pup. Kestrel can be too rough, but Avalanche intervenes if he is hard on her. If the pup ki-yiies, watch but let the dogs manage it. The pup was "spanked"
  • Bitter apple -THANK YOU for mentioning this idea. That stuff is nasty and yes I tasted it before introducing it to the pup. (I always test things before the dogs. Like the electric fence. One moment I was crouched over the wires, the next I was on my back looking at all the stars. At 2 in the afternoon.)
    We spray bitter apple all over ourselves like bug repellant. I needed to work in the kitchen and sprayed the tools and plastic tubing.


This is what we chose not to do:
  • Do not physically correct the pup. It can have unintended consequences unless you are extremely precise. We are not precise.
  • Do not hold the mouth shut or pinch the inside.
  • Do not use a squirt bottle because our son cannot use it reliably.
  • Do not give up on the pup.

Other adult dogs have had behaviors we could not manage. This pup is responding slowly. She will be more feisty and pushy than our other dogs

Does that sound reasonable? And please, when do the landshark behaviors start to fade?
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Tika
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Male Join date : 2011-08-11
Location : Montreal, QC

PostSubject: Re: Landshark! A little help here?   Mon Apr 15, 2013 9:16 am

Looks good to me.

I can't see anything I would change on paper. Meeting and see the pup in action might be different, but if you are comfortable with these methods, all handlers can do and get behind them, and you keep at it, It reads as if you should see results.


How long? I can't say. Ripley, our rescue, had a couple of those issues when we got her. She was 4 years of age though, and it took us about 2 months to get her following our boundaries and expectations of her. With a puppy I would expect faster results, especially considering you have 2 dogs you can use to teach through mimicry.

I really hope it works out and best of luck to you,
~Chris~

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Is this about the cake problem? What's the matter with you mathematicians, cake is never a problem. - Professor Lazlo
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wpskier222
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PostSubject: Re: Landshark! A little help here?   Mon Apr 15, 2013 10:51 am

One thing I would add is to try and mitigate the puppy's excitement if you can (I know easier said then done). Dogs, and puppies especially, can really escalate a lot of the behaviors you are describing as their excitement escalates. Tasha was absolutely insane when she was a puppy, but I noticed if I stayed calm, spoke softly, and moved slowly, it took the edge off of her behavior. If I got excited she would continue to get more and more excited and enter zoomie phase, and redirect energy toward running, biting, or however she could. Your time out plan sounds really good.

It also may help to limit direct attention to her for a while, until she learns the flow of the pack and the house. Only give her any kind of attention, cuddles, play, treats when she is calm (well, calm relative to her normal level) and behaving as you want. Otherwise, ignore her. It will have a burst of getting worse before it goes away, but if you notice a sudden increase, just know that is a sign the behavior is dying.

For the desensitization, I stumbled on this link the other day. About halfway down the page in section E is an exercise this vet uses to desensitize a dog to toenail trimming that I think you could adapt to her for the flank thing. There's also a really cute one on there about a jack russel who snaps everytime someone blows in his face, and how she worked to desensitize him from that. Weather or not you agree with her philosophy on training/dominance isn't really the point, I just thought of this exercise when you were describing her flank touchiness. I like this better than simply ignoring the biting and air snapping because the process of that training will be negative. Meaning you'll have to either use some force to keep her from biting you or running away. This way, the end result is that it turns the thing she doesn't like into a positive, rather then a neutral. Flank touching = awesome vs. flank toughing = indifferent.

http://drsophiayin.com/philosophy/dominance/?/dominance.php

In terms of 'air snapping,' I would do everything you can to train that not to happen towards humans. If a child or someone else moves erratically when she does the air snap, it could turn into an accidental bite. Plus I think it would be hard for a dog to distinguish air snap = ok, other snap = bad. What she does need to learn is that using her mouth to deal with frustration isn't okay. If I surprised, or accidently hurt Tasha (happened from time to time during raking for coat blowing), she would whip her head around, yelp, and lick me.

For the nipping when she thinks there's food, you could work on 'easy' or 'gentle.' Show her the treat and then make a fist and offer it to her. The second she eases up, mark good and give her the treat, as she gets better at it add the command. I only suggest waiting to add the command because you want to reward the behavior right away and not have to worry about the timing of command, action, reward.

Anyway, those are some other ideas. Smile Good luck, it sounds like you have a great plan already. Smile
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Stone Free
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PostSubject: Re: Landshark! A little help here?   Mon Apr 15, 2013 1:20 pm

Haha, I use the same term (landshark) on mine. She's 15 weeks and we've made some progress on the biting and air snapping but she will still do it when she's really excited. She's pretty good (now) at not doing it at strangers and she has never done it to children, so I'm hoping that before long she won't be doing it at all.
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Epimetheus
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PostSubject: Re: Landshark! A little help here?   Mon Apr 15, 2013 5:54 pm

Thank you for the info about the age when it fades.

decrease the dog's excitement - oh. She gets crazy right before bed but so do children. There is something about bedtime. I thought encouraging the zoomies an hour before bed would help. Now I see that we would be training her to get crazy at, say 7pm. Then when company is over, she would have the zoomies because we trained her to do so. NG

Withhold attention. Hmm. had not even considered that. I see how it could work because the pup would get many interactions from the adult dogs (five, not two. They are peaceful.) Burst of getting worse - yes, the behavior extinction pattern.

Desensitization to touching the flank - I had forgotten the stimulus should remain below the level of reaction. TQ for the reminder. We do not have the time to wait for the animal to randomly do the right thing.

For biting, I see how desensitization can work better than just ignoring. Our son will continue to use the ignore technique, and we will work the animal towards accepting anyone.

The bitter apple is an effective positive punishment because it is passive and the dog gets the punishment at the instant of mouthing, it does not depend on our timing.

Treating when she thinks there is food - In my perception it would encourage the dog to be underfoot at all times. I see how it could train the dog to take food gently. The bread, refrigerator, and treats are in the same area. What is your view if we never treated the dog there, only elsewhere in the room. Could that encourage the dog to go to a certain corner away from you?

Currently when the other dogs hear the rattle of the biscotti jar lid, they trot into the kitchen for treats. They do not slam into our knees because they only get treats if they offer a behavior - sit, down, stay, any of those.



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dbingham12
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PostSubject: Re: Landshark! A little help here?   Tue Apr 16, 2013 1:06 am

@Epimetheus wrote:
and she is reactive to being touched on the waist and hindquarters. . . . If you run hands along her flanks, she will whip around and growl and snap. It does not seem like rage, rather, she learned to get her way with this behavior.

It sounds like you have a great plan, however, this behavior concerns me a little. This may be a sign of an injury either a recent one or an old one that did not heal properly. Have you had your pup checked by a vet for an injury to this area? If not I would recommend it to rule out a current injury or pain from a previous one. Just a thought hope it helps.
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Epimetheus
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PostSubject: Re: Landshark! A little help here?   Wed Apr 17, 2013 1:18 pm

@dbingham12 wrote:
@Epimetheus wrote:
and she is reactive to being touched on the waist and hindquarters. . . .

It sounds like you have a great plan, however, this behavior concerns me a little. This may be a sign of an injury either a recent one or an old one that did not heal properly. Have you had your pup checked by a vet for an injury to this area? If not I would recommend it to rule out a current injury or pain from a previous one. Just a thought hope it helps.

Thank you for reminding me. She is due to visit the vet at the end of the month. We will ask him to check for possible previous injuries.

We put her on the bed and she started gnawing on my scalp. A little "hairspray" of bitter apple and she found something else to chew on - DW's foot. More spray ...
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