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-   -   Blue Heeler biting (http://www.pets.ca/forum/showthread.php?t=84309)

cemagaga July 18th, 2013 12:47 AM

Blue Heeler biting
 
I recently adopted a cute little blue heeler that is about 8-9 weeks old. Since the begining he has been biting at me and others that have visited him and much of the time I tried to distract him by playing but the problem has grown in the last couple of days. He has begun to bite me even more and growls at me some times.

I asked a local trainer about this and he told me that as he was young it was good to start training him to not bite as for his breed it could become a problem in the future. He showed me that I should hit him lightly on the nose for it to bother him as it bothers me when he bites. As bad as I feel about it I have tried it a couple of times and he has bited me even harder. I also try to distract him and tell him "no" In a loud voice and give him a push on the side. Recently he has started to growl at me and even bark so I fear I have not taken the right aproach.

He is my first puppy in a long time and cant really recall having the same problem with my chihuahua or my schnauzer (not sure if written right) so can someone please help me get him to stop biting?

Loki Love July 18th, 2013 04:41 AM

When he nips at you, give a yelp/ow/something to that effect and immediately turn your back to the pup or even get up and leave the room. Essentially when nipping/biting happens, ALL play stops. ALL attention stops. Do NOT push him away (that's just a sign of more attention and play to him :) )

The key to this is to be consistent - everyone involved with the puppy has to be on board and willing to do this in order for it to work.

And yes, please don't use the tap on the nose.. the puppy may think it's playing still (and therefore, wouldn't work) and secondly, as your puppy gets older - they may very well take exception to it.

Longblades July 18th, 2013 07:33 AM

How come you don't know how old he is? Whether 8 weeks or 9 weeks? I'm going to go ahead and assume you did not get this puppy from a reputable breeder, otherwise you'd know how old he is. How long have you had him?

This is important and might be a clue to your problem. Some states have laws governing the age at which it is permissible to sell (or import) a puppy and it's mostly not before 8 weeks old. It's generally agreed that puppies should stay with Mom and siblings till 8 weeks old because in those last two weeks is when they learn some bite inhibition. If your puppy was removed before 8 weeks it might make training not to bite more difficult. Add into that a breed meant to nip when it's herding (not sure if Blue Heelers are, but if) and that adds more to your problem.

Your trainer is right, it is good puppy is biting now when he is small and you can teach him proper behaviour with humans. The dog who never learns this young and then bites at an older age is harder and there is more potential for injury. This is right out of an esteemed and acclaimed dog trainer's writings, Dr. Ian Dunbar, who says exactly that. He wrote

[url=http://www.cockersonline.co.uk/discuss/index.php?topic=64170.0;wap2][B]The Bite Stops Here[/B][/url]

You can find this article on many, many doggy sites on the internet, this link is just one. Dr. Dunbar offers more than one remedy to try.

Good luck. As the owner of a Lab, another strongly mouth oriented breed, as most retrievers are, I feel for you. Well, heck, no I don't. I did and I don't want to again, it hurts. :)

Oh. The growling. Puppies growl when they play, some of them. Puppy classes, bite inhibition training, NILIF, proper exercise will all help you address that.

Jull July 18th, 2013 09:33 AM

With our now 2 year old dog, we had a bit of a biting problem, he was biting us because he was playing, but he was biting hard, so when that happened, we just stand up and stopped playing with him, ignore him for a while.

He got really good quickly (even I was surprised) and now when we play and he bites just a bit hard we just withdraw our hand and "ouch"! he knows it was wrong and he starts giving kisses. Now, before he came to live with us he was socialized with kids already, so not sure if that is what made the difference.

Our new puppy on the other hand, doesn't bite us when he plays, and for the first 4-5 months he was with us I think I only heard him bark twice, now in the last few weeks for some unknown reason he has started barking and growling at everyone, so as soon as I see he starts growling I hold his mouth, I don't hurt him nor do it hard, just hold his mouth and make him look me in the eyes and with a calm voice just tell him to be good and be quiet. Yesterday we went out for a walk and there was people outside of a house, he walked right by them with no growl nor bark so I was very happy.... now I am not a trainer nor did I read this anywhere its just what I have been doing and so far seems to be working for me.

Maybe if you start teaching him to sit and be quiet (no growl-no bark) when a person comes in to your house, and he does, give him a little treat.

Goldfields July 18th, 2013 10:39 AM

Longblades, yes, the Australian Cattle Dog was called a Heeler because they were bred to heel cattle, and they are quite good at heeling people if you don't stop them. :) Roo, at 8 months is biting and mouthing hands every chance he gets, he's the wildest pup we've had. You really need ways of distracting them when they are babies, soft toys, empty water bottles, balls etc.. Keep your hands out of harm's way.

marko July 18th, 2013 11:21 AM

[QUOTE]When he nips at you, give a yelp/ow/something to that effect and immediately turn your back to the pup or even get up and leave the room. Essentially when nipping/biting happens, ALL play stops. ALL attention stops. Do NOT push him away (that's just a sign of more attention and play to him )

The key to this is to be consistent - everyone involved with the puppy has to be on board and willing to do this in order for it to work.

And yes, please don't use the tap on the nose.. the puppy may think it's playing still (and therefore, wouldn't work) and secondly, as your puppy gets older - they may very well take exception to it.[/QUOTE]

+1 LL! saves me from typing :D

cemagaga July 18th, 2013 02:55 PM

Thank you all a lot for all the replies, honestly I did not expect that many. And the reason i do not know his age is that my dad was the one who bought him and Im bad at calculations.

Sorry for being quite dumb but english isnt my native language so a little hard for me to understand. So when Im playing with him and he bites my hand or pants during a game of fetch do i just stand up and leave? I also read that I should turn my head away and look up but dont move. Again thank youall for your replies.

cemagaga July 18th, 2013 03:01 PM

[QUOTE=Goldfields;1059738]Longblades, yes, the Australian Cattle Dog was called a Heeler because they were bred to heel cattle, and they are quite good at heeling people if you don't stop them. :) Roo, at 8 months is biting and mouthing hands every chance he gets, he's the wildest pup we've had. You really need ways of distracting them when they are babies, soft toys, empty water bottles, balls etc.. Keep your hands out of harm's way.[/QUOTE]

also goldfield what I use for him are mostly biting toys, little squishy chicken that makes sounds when gripped (sorry but didnt know how to say it), another toy like that, a little purple hipo tht does the same. And he also took over a towel I used during his first day to play tug of war. Other than that I just use balls for him to run after since the cute little guy just wont get tired.

The first thing he does when I bring him out is go for my ankle so should I just ignore him from that moment or stay playing with him??

cemagaga July 18th, 2013 03:07 PM

[IMG]http://i41.tinypic.com/ev59hf.jpg[/IMG]

Here is a picture of him on his first day home

cemagaga July 18th, 2013 05:59 PM

What Im trying right now is playing with him and every time he bites my leg or my hand to do a sound of pain and go inside the house, but he barks when Im not with him. This is what I should do?

Loki Love July 18th, 2013 06:12 PM

[QUOTE=cemagaga;1059757]What Im trying right now is playing with him and every time he bites my leg or my hand to do a sound of pain and go inside the house, but he barks when Im not with him. This is what I should do?[/QUOTE]

I would continue to do that for a while - he's barking to get your attention back :)

Is your dog an outdoor dog only?

cemagaga July 18th, 2013 06:13 PM

Well we want him to only be outside the house but these last 2 days its been raining a lot so he has been inside. Now he doesnt bark he just waits for me by the door

Goldfields July 18th, 2013 06:15 PM

You'll find it won't be long and he'll be gutting those squishy toys and removing the squeakers, maybe even swallowing them. :eek:Some of the soft toys are a bit more resistant to tearing but I always inspect them daily and repair any seams they have opened. He looks very young, how long ago was this photo taken? These puppies, as you've found out, can be pretty full on. If he is actually heeling you you may need a time out area, a pen is best, where he can calm down but still see you. I strongly suggest you join the ACD-L group, the members there are very experienced with the breed, they'd make you welcome and assure you that there are no stupid questions, they've all 'been there, done that' with cattle dogs, you could find them very helpful.
[url]http://www.cattledog.com/misc/acd-l.html[/url]
This page shows you how to subscribe.

Goldfields July 18th, 2013 06:19 PM

cemegaga, you'll find this breed always wants to be with their owner, not locked outside. They call them the velcro dog for this reason, always stuck to your side. :)

cemagaga July 18th, 2013 07:23 PM

Yeah I realized this lol. I kinda like how always lays down besides me with his toy. the picture was taking about 2 weeks ago when he was kinda calm. Now he has becomed very playful and energetic. I try to not leave the toys with him so he doesnt swallow something dangerous but he still stays with a little towell he likes to bite.thank you all for your help.

cemagaga July 18th, 2013 08:23 PM

Seems everytime I try something I have read here he bites more

Loki Love July 19th, 2013 04:36 AM

[QUOTE=cemagaga;1059768]Seems everytime I try something I have read here he bites more[/QUOTE]

I''m not sure how it's possible for him to be biting more if you are getting up and leaving the pup alone for a period of time? The biting should stop at that point..?

This won't be a quick fix of a day or two - it may take a few days (and consistency is key!) for your pup to make the connection that biting = all play stopping.

hazelrunpack July 19th, 2013 09:32 AM

It will take him a while to learn you mean business when you stop playing. He's trying to get your attention back by stepping up his play...in this case, stepping up the biting. I noticed the same thing when raising puppies so I took to stopping play and distancing myself from the little tyke. Normally we'd be playing in a puppy-proofed room that was gated off, so I'd just step over the gate till puppy had calmed down some. He'll get to the point where he connects the biting with cessation of play but it'll take a little time.

The worst of it for me is always the hamburger hands--they get pretty raw after a while till puppy learns that chewing on them isn't a viable option. To get through the worst of that phase I started using bicycle gloves--the kind that leaves your fingers uncovered but covers the back and palm of your hand. I find my patience with puppy shenanigans stays much stronger when my hands aren't at risk of puppy gnawing.

No denying that raising a puppy is not for the faint-hearted :laughing:, but they're so worth it! :lovestruck:

marko July 19th, 2013 11:02 AM

I'm not sure you need to leave the room and there may be a lot going on in that action...Walking out of a room might take 5-10 or more seconds, that's a lot of time between the behaviour and the 'punishment'. Some dogs are already dreaming of cookies after 2 seconds, lol.

I would try the yelp, and immediately stand up and turn in the opposite direction of the dog with arms folded so that your backside is the view he gets. That should take 1-2 seconds. When the dog settles, or maybe after a "sit", try again. Just a thought. Good luck!

Dog Dancer July 19th, 2013 11:06 AM

Your puppy is very cute, but looks like he was very young when you got him. I have to agree that walking away and not playing is a good strategy. Have a pen area set up for him and leave him in it. Soft squeaky toys are not a good plan given that eventually a puppy will tear them to pieces and probably swallow some of it. This can be fatal. Try to find some harder rubber toys that are not going to rip apart. Kongs are good. Biting takes time to break and heelers are nippers. Please also remember that dogs are pack animals and do not like being left alone, especially the very young.

cemagaga July 19th, 2013 03:30 PM

I made him a little pen with his house at the side of one of the doors so it opens into his pen for easy feeding and such, what I do is play with him on he other side pen and then step over the pen into his little home and go into the house. I have tried ignoring him and turning my back to him but he just starts biting my pants and shoes

Goldfields July 19th, 2013 08:04 PM

LOL. That's a heeler for you. Many ACD pups do not heel people, but if you get one that does, look out! :) I had one that would start heeling me when I was hanging washing out. It was a bit like when dogs get the zoomies, but she'd zoom in, nip, and by the time I could look for her she was crouched down , ready for the next attack. :) Her half brother heeled his owner right around the show ring, which had the judge and everyone else laughing. Siblings to my girl went into working homes and were excellent on sheep, beef and dairy cattle. Mine settled down once she finished teething and did not go on heeling me, so don't despair, cemegaga, if you are patient and consistent with your pup's training, it'll all work out OK I'm sure. When it is old enough, if you can get it along to Obedience classes that will help.

Goldfields July 19th, 2013 08:23 PM

DD, Kongs might be good for other breeds but for cattle dogs, not so good. This breed they call a power chewer and they can wear their teeth down badly during a lifetime of Kong chewing. Might be good for entertaining dogs ocassionally if you fill them with treats and freeze them. I have reared Roo with big beef shin bones. Not cut lengthways by the Butcher but into 3 crossways so he has a choice, chew the meat off or spend hours licking the marrowbone out. Or, as I sometimes hear, hurling it around his pen. LOL. If you have to step through this pen your pup is in, cemegaga, try dropping some titbits in front of it before you do. And if you have to hold it and say "No!" a thousand times to stop it, then do exactly that. One day the penny will drop. I am having a huge battle teaching Roo not to hurl himself up against me, it's repeat, repeat, repeat. He probably thinks his name is "Get down!" by now.

cemagaga July 20th, 2013 01:20 AM

Jajajaja Im quite liking this dog, the others one Ive had before havent been as playfull but were quite disciplined. I try to keep with what I do and thanks for the tip of the kong thing, I bought him one but was never sure to give it to him since I didnt find what to put inside it.

cemagaga July 20th, 2013 01:22 AM

should i keep doing what I do by leaving? I come back like 2 minutes later since I read thats what should I do but would that teach him that I would be back anyways?


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