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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My 18 week old Doberman Pincher bites at mine and my BF's hands, feet, legs, clothes...whatever he can sink his teeth into. When I try to stop him he becomes more aggressive and bites harder and even makes me bleed. I try to get him to submit by holding him down to the ground OR by grabbing his muzzle and staring him in the eyes but he's not having it. He also growls to the point where his teeth are showing. Help!'
 

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Your puppy is defending himself from YOUR aggression! Knock it off! If a strategy is not working, that doesn't mean you do it more, it means you find a new strategy.

Puppies bite. It hurts sometimes. Welcome to puppies.

Biting can be made worse by over-excitement... are you wrestling and playing very actively until he looses control? Lower the energy level of the play BEFORE he looses control.

Biting can be made worse by over-tiredness. If your puppy needs a nap to settle down, crate him for a bit and allow him to sleep.

Biting can be made worse by an over-abundance of energy. Is your puppy getting enough running and playing exercise?

Your puppy will reflect your energy level. Calm down. S-l-o-w your motions, lower and slow your voice. The kind of disciplinary actions you are using is adding energy to an already out-of-control situation.

Find alternative targets for the pointy sharp teeth... keep toys on you, and substitute those for your body parts and clothing.

Your puppy is a baby. You need to help him find the dog inside that you want to live with. Find a good puppy class and GO. You will learn how to teach your puppy so that it is enjoyable for the both of you. You will learn strategies for dealing with the normal puppy stuff. Hopefully, you will learn some patience and how to be nurturing instead of adversarial while you help your baby puppy to grow up.
 

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Holier Than Now
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Wow. I didn't miss THIS, in my busy-away-from-the-forum time.

Where's tnh317 when you need someone to search out and post all the 4,367.2 previous threads where someone thought their puppy was viciously trying to take over the world?

Bite Inhibition Article

ClickerSolutions Recommends
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks mmctaq. He gets two 40 min walks a day plus he plays in the yard. We take him to the dog park a few times a week where he can run around with other dogs and release his energy that way.
We just started attending puppy Kindergarden and I look forward to better understanding how to work with my little guy in a proactive way which makes us all happy.
I will put your advice to practice. Thanks again.
 

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This is not aggression, and/or dominance. This is a young, untrained puppy. I would recommend not holding him down, or grabbing his muzzle. Tactics that cause your dog to submit through fear are not the way to go. I would start to learn more about positive training techniques. Are you familiar with any training methods?
 

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The best advice I can give is find a good trainer now who can explain what aggression/dominance is and show you how to work with a very NORMAL Doberman puppy in appropriate manners. You are setting yourself up for a very hard long road/battle using the methods you are using (and they aren't working).
 

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Maui does the same thing with the biting. In the mornings I redirect her attention with treats and training. I move to another room and call for her, when she comes, she gets a treat, I then tell her to sit (took me 2 days), when she sits, she gets a treat. I will pet her and tell her she's a good girl, but when she goes to bite me, I walk away from her and tell her no and repeat the above process. She is quickly learning that biting gets her no treats, but coming when called and sitting do. It helps that she is very food motivated too.
 

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Maui does the same thing with the biting. In the mornings I redirect her attention with treats and training. I move to another room and call for her, when she comes, she gets a treat, I then tell her to sit (took me 2 days), when she sits, she gets a treat. I will pet her and tell her she's a good girl, but when she goes to bite me, I walk away from her and tell her no and repeat the above process. She is quickly learning that biting gets her no treats, but coming when called and sitting do. It helps that she is very food motivated too.
For the OP - read this!! What she is doing is rewarding good behavior and extinguishing bad behavior by removing the best play thing her puppy has (HER) when her puppy misbehaves. This method will not always work for everything, but positive reinforcement is much more effective than negative reinforcement - as you are finding out the hard way.

Currently you are reinforcing bad behavior by giving your puppy lots of attention when he is bad. Even negative attention is attention. Methinks your puppy is viewing it as a big fun game!
 

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Puppy's bite, and actually it is an incredibly important social behavior for them. There is a reason little puppy teeth are so sharp, its so they can learn bite inhibition, before they have an adult mouth. When a puppy bites, he is learning what he can and cannot bite, how he can use his mouth and how hard he can bite. In very young puppies, I always let them mouth me. Inevitably your adult dog will put its mouth on a human, someday. If I have taught my young puppy that humans are incredibly fragile and sensitive, then they are less likely to hurt someone, in the future. Here is a you tube video with Ian Dunbar talking about this: Teaching Bite Inhibition - YouTube

I would also warn against rolling a pup, forcing it to submit, or hurting it. These things can severely damage your puppy's confidence in himself and you, not to mention damage the bond you are trying to form. If you watch dogs interact, when one rolls on its back in submission, the other dog NEVER forces it. This is done entirely by the submissive dog. If you force a dog, onto its back you are not really teaching it anything except that you are unfair in your punishment.

here are some youtube videos that offer ideas on dealing with puppy biting:
How To Train Puppy To Stop Biting! - YouTube
Stop puppies biting- clicker dog training - YouTube

there are tons of other, POSITIVE techniques that you could find on youtube and the web, as well. I am glad to see you will be attending puppy kindergarten, that is perfect!

Young puppies are very immature, they do not know what they should be doing, they only know what mother nature instilled in them and that is mostly, to explore their world with their mouth. My advice would be to trade your "Alpha rolls" and muzzle grabbing for a favorite toy and a treat pouch full of goodies and I am sure you will get a much better response. Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I must add that we have tried replacing the biting with toys, treats when calmed down, ice cubes as a distraction, saying NO and ignoring him, saying ouch and pulling away BUT they do not seem to work. That is why I came on here to ask for advice. I agree after reading the replies that the way we sometimes handle him is not positive and could mentally be hurting him.
I would also like to add that I will continue to practice these positive techniques rather than forcing him to submit.
As the day goes by he has already tested me by biting both my thighs from behind while I walked to the kitchen. He just came up to me and bit me on the hands while I am on the computer. I am practicing my patience and I am trying not to take it personal.
BREATHE IN ... BREATHE OUT :)
 

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I would also like to add that I will continue to practice these positive techniques rather than forcing him to submit.
As the day goes by he has already tested me by biting both my thighs from behind while I walked to the kitchen. He just came up to me and bit me on the hands while I am on the computer. I am practicing my patience and I am trying not to take it personal.
BREATHE IN ... BREATHE OUT :)
Just remember that he's not testing you. He's being a puppy. It's typical normal (although ANNOYING) behavior :) And change won't happen overnight. I twill with consistency though.
 

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I must add that we have tried replacing the biting with toys, treats when calmed down, ice cubes as a distraction, saying NO and ignoring him, saying ouch and pulling away BUT they do not seem to work.
Breath :) Just remember why puppies are so cute. If the weren't, we would kill them. lol

One thing I thought about when reading your post is that your info says your puppy is only 18 weeks old. How long did you implement any of these techniques and how consistent were you? it seems like you have tried a lot in a very short time. one thing with training a puppy is consistency, and not just with you but with everyone in the house.

I get the feeling your kiddo thinks biting is a game. When he does bite you, like that, do you move away from him and make lots of noise? My husband is a huge wimp. Our puppy will not bite anyone, except for him. It is super fun to bite him because when she does he squeaks and moves really fast. When she bites me I dont react. The trick is to be absolutely boring, then redirect to a toy and become incredibly interactive.
I also noticed that you may have been using the "Yelp" or Ouch technique wrong. The point of that exercise is for the puppy to let go of you, not for you to pull away. If you pull away you are encouraging his prey drive and he will want to go for another bite. Maybe try the Ouch technique again, but this time, say ouch in the highest pitch, most puppy like yelp you can (the goal is to make a noise that really gets your point across and makes the puppy let go) as soon as your kiddo lets go of you, stick a favorite toy in his mouth and play with him for a few minutes.

The other thing you could do is use a tie out. tie your pup to something in the room, play with him and if he bites, use your "too bad" cue (whatever word you use for telling him he made the wrong decision), stand up, walk out of his reach and ignore him for a few moments. this will teach him that the game stops when you hurt your people.

Also teaching him the "off" command, like in the video I posted, could be helpful, as well.

I wish you luck, puppy's can be little terrors, but its so rewarding when you have a break through, so keep working with him and remember to be patient. You may have to work even harder at it given his history but he will get better if you stay consistent.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
UPDATE: While on his walk today evening he was being very good UNTIL we got closer to home. He started jumping up on me, biting my arms, jeans and sweater. He put a hole in it. I will admit it was very frustrating but I did not lose my cool. My neighbor drove by while this was happening and she even came towards us after parking her car. I felt embarrassed. We chatted a bit and Enzo tried jumping on her.
A few hours after the walk I practiced the "OFF" command with him using treats and he was doing fine. THEN he started biting the hand with the treats. I said OFF but he continued to bite so I removed myself from the room. He came to search for me but I was on the bed so he went in his crate. He is fine now. He is passing out next to me.
To sum it up, today was a bit challenging but I look forward to continuing working with him.
 

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Loki bites, but it is just clothing. Anything that he can grab. It can be daunting, mainly after the 10th time of pulling your pants/skirt/shorts up in front of company. When he first started doing this, I would tell him to sit and after a few seconds, I'd tell him he could go. Then I or my hubby will take him outside and play with him. So far this has helped us. We've only had him and his sister for a few weeks now, but they are learning fast. Good luck!
 

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UPDATE: While on his walk today evening he was being very good UNTIL we got closer to home. He started jumping up on me, biting my arms, jeans and sweater. He put a hole in it. I will admit it was very frustrating but I did not lose my cool. My neighbor drove by while this was happening and she even came towards us after parking her car. I felt embarrassed. We chatted a bit and Enzo tried jumping on her.
A few hours after the walk I practiced the "OFF" command with him using treats and he was doing fine. THEN he started biting the hand with the treats. I said OFF but he continued to bite so I removed myself from the room. He came to search for me but I was on the bed so he went in his crate. He is fine now. He is passing out next to me.
To sum it up, today was a bit challenging but I look forward to continuing working with him.
Good job hanging in there. There is this fun little phenomena when trying to break a dog of a bad habit. A lot of times they will try harder and harder with what they have found that worked in the past, before it gets better. if you just stay really consistent and wait him out, I think you will be happy. Also, if you are working with him and he is being a little rascal, just the act of you walking away for even 20 sec should be good enough to get your point across. (hopefully) I would keep working on the session, but when he gets really feisty, actively ignore him, even if its just walking a few steps and turning your back, then go back and try again. its all about repetition, repetition, repetition.

When do you start your puppy class?

Also, was he getting the hang of Off, and then he regressed back to biting hard, or did he act like he never really understood?
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Good job hanging in there. There is this fun little phenomena when trying to break a dog of a bad habit. A lot of times they will try harder and harder with what they have found that worked in the past, before it gets better. if you just stay really consistent and wait him out, I think you will be happy. Also, if you are working with him and he is being a little rascal, just the act of you walking away for even 20 sec should be good enough to get your point across. (hopefully) I would keep working on the session, but when he gets really feisty, actively ignore him, even if its just walking a few steps and turning your back, then go back and try again. its all about repetition, repetition, repetition.

When do you start your puppy class?

Also, was he getting the hang of Off, and then he regressed back to biting hard, or did he act like he never really understood?
We already started puppy Kindergarden. So far only two classes. Our next class is this Monday coming up.

He was getting the hang of OFF, which we learned the first day in puppy Kindergarden, but then after several minutes he would sniff my hand with the treats and then start to bite that hand. I would say off but he just ignored it and continued biting. I thought maybe he got bored so before it progressed I just walked away.
 

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Ok, here are a couple more pointers to help.

You said he would sniff your hand and then bite? I think I would try and catch him, before he bites. So if he comes up and sniffs, maybe tell him a good, and give him cookies, before he bites. The goal with training a puppy isnt always to correct bad behavior, as much as teaching them good behavior and trying to set them up for success. I might take a step back and teach him that nose or tongue on skin means cookie and teeth means mom stands up, walks away, and pays no attention to you. Then once he is a little more gentle, start working on "off."

Also keep your sessions very short, like maybe 5 mins, several times a day. If he has obviously gotten to bored or stressed by the exercise, then you worked him to long. I cant remember where but I heard a great analogy for working with your dog:

Think about if you went to a friends house and were playing a video game. Your significant other comes in and says its time to go, but you still want to play the game. When you return to your friends house, you will probably be excited to play that game, again. If, on the other hand, a friend forced you to play the game for much longer then you wanted, you might not be as excited to go back to the game, again. Its the same with our dogs. We want to make our sessions long enough for them to progress, but always short enough that we leave them wanting more. this way they are excited to come back to it and keep learning. this time frame is different for every dog so you will just have to watch his body language and get a feel for what he needs.

There is also something to be said for naming and rewarding a behavior. It is thought that by naming and rewarding a behavior it is more likely to happen, again. You might want to put a word like, Gentle, kisses, sniff, ect.. to the behavior when he does something nice with his mouth. And remember to reward when he is good. Even if you arent actively working with him at the time, if he greets you with an appropriate mouth behavior, make sure to mark that and reward it. Since he doesnt really know what to do, besides bite you, its good to teach him what he should be doing, in addition to correcting the bad. This way he doesnt have to try and guess what you want.

I hope I have helped some ( I really feel for you, it certainly can be frustrating), and I would ask your trainer about it in your next puppy class. Since he/she has seen your kiddo in action they may be able to help with more specific comments.
 
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