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A few questions about herding instinct and bite inhibition?

Colubridz
December 24th, 2006, 03:38 AM
I have three questions I'm hoping someone can help me out with, as you guys know Duke recently just graduated his 6 week long puppy obedience course and socialization class and now knows all of his basic commands and is much easier to control around the house. He will be 5 months old in two weeks and were still having a bit or trouble getting rid of his nipping. He hasn't lost his puppy teeth yet but every time he bites us we let out a high pitched eeeeee, as saying ow in a high pitched yelp only incited him and made him run around in circles excitedly and continue to nip.

1) When I let out the eee noise he immediately stops and licks me however I'm just curious when exactly the whole teething phase stops and when its more of an aggressive thing?

2)He has a very high prey drive and loves to play fetch however I cannot run in my backyard safely as he chases any feet down growling and trying to nip. I immediately stop him give him a light yank on his lesh and give him a firm no while staring him in the eyes, but it doesn’t seem to help at all. I'm guessing it's because he has three herding breeds in him ( German Shep, Collie and Rotti) but i really want a way to divert this behaviour.

I've started teaching him a send off command when were running so that he focus's on finding an object or if were in the park his favourite dog who's yard faces the park, however he still does it occasionally any suggestions?

3)And lastly he also occasionally almost gives me doggie sass which I interrupt as him trying to tell me he's top dog and doesn’t have to listen to me, for example when i tell him sit or to get off the counter or table, occasionally he will look at me, scrunch up his nose angrily ( or as we call it the ugly face) and then snap at my finger as he complies with the command. It looks cute and I always have to stop myself from laughing as I know he needs to accept 100% that i'm pack leader. Has anyone ever experienced this before? He does have unknown and probably crap genetics in him as he came from a BYB so I'm not sure if it's something I should hire a professional to help me with before it develops into something more serious that won't be funny when he's 80-100 pounds. Whenever he does it if he doesn’t comply with the command ( which he usually will) I will go over while staring him in the eye and firmly but gently put him into the position i asked for, be it a sit or stay and obviously give him lots of treats when he listens ( which he does 90% of the time).

I'm just not sure what behaviours are just innocent puppy play behaviours which will disappear over time and which ones I should actually be concerned about? He loves me to pieces along with everyone in the house and always comes over to cuddle and tries to follow me around everywhere and will refuse to leave a room if I'm in it and my mom is trying to take him upstairs. I just want to help him develop into a well adjusted dog that i can spend the rest of his life with but being my first dog I'm having trouble distinguishing between the minor subtle things which can develop badly down the road.

p.s- incase it helps he is not allowed up on the couch or bed and sleeps in his own crate

Thanks a lot
Kayla

OntarioGreys
December 26th, 2006, 01:36 PM
1) When I let out the eee noise he immediately stops and licks me however I'm just curious when exactly the whole teething phase stops and when its more of an aggressive thing?

2)He has a very high prey drive and loves to play fetch however I cannot run in my backyard safely as he chases any feet down growling and trying to nip. I immediately stop him give him a light yank on his lesh and give him a firm no while staring him in the eyes, but it doesn’t seem to help at all. I'm guessing it's because he has three herding breeds in him ( German Shep, Collie and Rotti) but i really want a way to divert this behaviour.


Always end any play, by turning your back and ignoring him after the EEE! Don't make "eee" high pitched you end up sounding like wounded prey which can instead create heightened excitement much like a squeaky toy does, a low pitched sharp angry sound has a better affect

It's rowdy play behavior rather than herding instinct one of my greyhounds wanted to play the same way, she stopped doing once she realize nipping ended the fun and resulted in getting no attention from me. Staring in the eyes is a challenge but it also provides him with attention, he can learn to nip just inorder to get attention from you

tenderfoot
December 26th, 2006, 04:25 PM
Yes, there is an element of play and rowdy teenager showing up. However the lip curling and the persistence to challenge you - both show a serious lack of respect for you.

We are not keen on the 'eeeoww' in a high pitched tone. It implies submissiveness and not respect. Momma would not yip she would correct. Puppy classes were are great start but you need to step it up some more. This fellow should be working for you throughout the day and practicing his good manners. Have him on the leash attached to you, and set him up for success.

When he is amping up the play and getting snappy at your heels - I would tell him 'leave it' or 'off' in a firm and low tone while I stomped towards him. Hold your ground. Do not yell or get energized because that will just feed into him. But certainly don't let him back you away. It would be best to have him on the leash for this so that you are assured of having the last word - otherwise he just learns he is faster than you are and can juke and dodge you as he tries to engage you in a game. Keep your energy low and clear. It would be best to teach him the difference between 'lets play' and easy'. That way you can control his energy levels on command.

He is simply testing you and seeing how much he can control you and the games. The lip curling is an outright challenge to get you to back off. Time to step up to the plate as the impressive leader and let him in on the rules. This doesn't mean you have to be mean or harsh - just clear and consistent.

Colubridz
December 27th, 2006, 04:29 PM
Thanks for the advice, I really understand what you mean about the whole testing teenager period and deffiently agree with what you said about asserting myself very clearly as the leader and I also agree that this can be done without harsh or cruel methods. He does know off already which I use when he jumps up on people ( I ignore him when he does this as not to reinforce it) and I am curious about how I would teach "easy"?

I have been working with him over the last few weeks ( well I've been training him since day one, for the last 2 months since I've had him) to specially focus on getting him to understand that play can still be alot of fun without putting his teeth on me at all and any time he does I immediatly get up and leave ( I never thought about how the yelping sound would immitate what one of the subbordinate litter mates would do not so much his mom or dominant puppy), if were on walks it simply transilates into me turning my back on him and looking up at the sky. He's been getting much better and if I had to rate how hard and often he nips it's probably been cut in half and any odd occasional nip which does occur is probabaly 60-75% less hard then they used to be which is great.

The one last thing I need help with which I know is a dominant thing is him biting at the lesh which is from what I've read is him actually biting me as they see the leash as an extention of the arm. I do have bitter apple spray which I use on the furniture which has effectively saved the chairs ( not that I care about them more then Duke but my mom was getting mad at me) would you suggest spraying that on the leash? The only thing is we go on a lot of long walks everyday ( at least 40-60 plus mins) and It would suck to have to constantly re apply it during the walk ( again i'm willing to do whatever I need to unsure he learns to respect me and all two legged animals as higher in the pack order then him) is their anything a bit more effective and a little less work? I have been stopping whenever he does it and looking away from him and standing their for up to 10 miniutes but he just keeps grabbing it and growling like he's having a blast so I'm not sure what else I can try.

We have been working on by me ( heel essentially I just like that word better) and I usually have to bring a treat and hold it in my right hand while he's on my left side so that he occasionally glances at it and knows that he's working for that treat and I give it to him after ahwile. However I had started to wean him off treats for all commands ( as I've had friends with completely food obbsessed dogs who would only work for food) and this is when I've started to notice the lesh nipping more as he still hasn't gotten, "by me" down enough yet to do it without a treat and constant praise/

Around the house I will start keeping him on lesh with me but I also make him sit and stay for his breakfast and dinner and only let him eat when I say ok ( which he listens to extremely well) and I always stick my hand in his food while he eats and pet him. Before I let him play with any toy I make him lie down or sit and then give my a bow, or a paw or a high five before letting him play and periodically will take away his toys and make him do to this again to try and reinforce to him that I am top dog. I can't really think of any other ways to assert myself besides like you said stand my ground and do not give into to any of his attempts to assert himself. For example I'll use the first example I gave of me asking him to sit and maybe less then 3% of the time ( though I haven't seen him do this for a few weeks now) he will curl his lips at me before continuing to sit or worse walk away. If he continues to go into a sit I would ask him to do something else like crawl or give a bow and then give him a treat whereas if he tried to walk away I would take his collar and force him into a sit with my body by walking close to him while holding his collar ( the instructor showed me this one as it dosen't use any force it's just a natural reaction for them to sit when you walk close to them while holding their collar, as she to has raised several pure rotties all who she said had the similar 'I'm so tough I don't need to listen to you' attitude when they were going through that testy phase).

I know the most important thing I can do is keep my patience and be consistant. I'm veyr glad I asked though or I would of continued to use a high pitched eee which as you pointed out dosen't make him respect me. I'll keep everyone updated but I'm glad I know where to go from here as socilization and actual command training was very easy for me, especially because Duke is so eager to please and intellegent I just wasn't sure what excactly how to convince him I was pack leader besides what I was already doing ( which I mentioned above).

I'll keep everyone posted though I think he's going to grow up to be a great dog as he's very intellegent and loves everyone ( especially me) to pieces he just needs a bit of guidence along the way especially right now because of his hormones starting to kick in (he's even starting to lose his puppy teeth:))

Thanks alot again I found it very useful
Kayla.

tenderfoot
December 27th, 2006, 10:23 PM
He does know off already which I use when he jumps up on people ( I ignore him when he does this as not to reinforce it)

Question - does he still jump on people? or has he stopped? Is ignoring him actually teaching him not to jump up?

and I am curious about how I would teach "easy"?


You would teach both 'easy' and 'lets play' - teaching opposites. Have him on a leash for control. Start to play with him - grab his legs, rough house a bit etc. and say 'lets play' in an excited tone. You want to bring his energy up to about a 5 not a 10. Hold this for about 15 seconds and then quickly change your energy to a 1 and say 'easy' in a low and firm tone as you start to move VERY slowly. Touch him slowly and nicely. Give him a few seconds to slow down but if he doesn't then repeat yourself in a firmer tone - dogs will typically match your energy. Have him hold the calm energy for 15 seconds (hopefully he is licking your face at this point), and then start all over again. At first it could take him a bit to understand the changes and that you want him to copy you, but very quickly (a few rounds) he should start to match you instantly. As you are successful you can start taking him up to higher levels of energy and simply say 'easy' and he should switch.

The one last thing I need help with which I know is a dominant thing is him biting at the leash ....

Biting the leash is usually about wanting to control the walk or just about having fun. Either way it should not be permitted because if you ever had to tie him up in an emergency, he would be likely to bite through it and he's off. It also makes walks a big pain in the neck.

Bitter apple doesn't teach him to respect you, and often dogs end up liking it - and I agree who wants to have to soak the leash in that stuff all of the time?

Teaching 'drop it' or 'leave it' can be very helpful. Catching him early in all bad behavior is the key. If you can stop the thought before it becomes an action you both have an easier time of it.

If the leash is in his mouth a simple snap of your wrist when you say 'drop it' can make it uncomfortable to get it out of his mouth. When he drops it praise him for the good choice. Don't gush with too much energy though - it could get him riled up again.

I would also set him up for learning - I take 18 inches of leash between my hands and create some slack in the leash. I invite him to play - just as he approaches the leash with his mouth I snap it tight (startle effect) and say 'leave it'. Then I repeat it. Typically he will not make the same mistake twice. When he turns his head away I praise him, and start a better game that he can succeed at. We always end on a good note. But I can promise you the leash stops becoming a game very quickly.

We have been working on by me ( heel essentially I just like that word better) and I usually have to bring a treat and hold it in my right hand while he's on my left side so that he occasionally glances at it and knows that he's working for that treat and I give it to him after ahwile. However I had started to wean him off treats for all commands ( as I've had friends with completely food obbsessed dogs who would only work for food) and this is when I've started to notice the leash nipping more as he still hasn't gotten, "by me" down enough yet to do it without a treat and constant praise.

We had a neighbor who held a jar of cream cheese by her dog's nose for 6 months to teach him to heel. He never seemed to get it. We believe that's because he is working for the cheese but not really learning what to do and what not to do. It's not that treats aren't great, but when you rely on them the dog does too.

Do not plan on going for a walk around the block or to the park. He hasn't earned that yet. Spend a couple of days teaching him manners and you will get to the park with good manners in no time at all.

Five penalty yards can work great. '5 penalty yards' is when he takes even 1 step ahead of you - you immediately go 5 steps backwards - taking him with you on the leash and then placing him back where you want him and start walking slowly forward again. You might go backwards more than forwards until he learns that in order to get where he wants to go he needs to have good manners beside you - usually within five tries.

Also changing your behavior (directions and speed) every 5-10 steps helps him keep his mind on you. Turning into him frequently will encourage him to stay just back from your leg because he never knows when you are going to turn into him and that he needs to respect your space.

For example I'll use the first example I gave of me asking him to sit and maybe less then 3% of the time ( though I haven't seen him do this for a few weeks now) he will curl his lips at me before continuing to sit or worse walk away. If he continues to go into a sit I would ask him to do something else like crawl or give a bow and then give him a treat whereas if he tried to walk away I would take his collar and force him into a sit with my body by walking close to him while holding his collar ( the instructor showed me this one as it dosen't use any force it's just a natural reaction for them to sit when you walk close to them while holding their collar, as she to has raised several pure rotties all who she said had the similar 'I'm so tough I don't need to listen to you' attitude when they were going through that testy phase).

I would rather you use your tone of voice first and then the leash. If he were in a snotty mood and you reached for his collar you could get bit. I would rather you give him a slight leash correction, say 'no' in a very firm tone and then lean into him slightly (not straight over him but to the side) as you point at his bottom. Keep pressuring him with your energy & tone - if he still blows you off then move (with him) 5 steps away from where you were and start again. The second he sits - you stand tall and praise him.

"Force" is subjective - my tone of voice can be a kind of force - it conveys my pleasure or displeasure. Force can also be using a 2x4 to the head - not recommended! But people seem to think that force is evil and it doesn't have to be. When I look at you with a frown, and walk towards you - I am pressuring you to move away from me - is that force? Yeah, kind of. Force is a type of pressure and does not have to be mean - it is simply the opposite of release. My firm tone is pressure - my happy tone is release. A small leash correction is pressure - no movement from the leash is release. Does that make sense? :confused:

Rotties are one of our favorite breeds and it sounds like you are doing a great job. Just keep it up!

:highfive: