Go Back   Pet forum for dogs cats and humans - Pets.ca > Discussion Groups - mainly cats and dogs > Dog training - dog behavior

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old May 9th, 2011, 05:58 PM
Dogpark007 Dogpark007 is offline
Junior Member
 
Join Date: May 2011
Posts: 2
Biting problem!

Hi everybody,

I'm having a problem with one of my dogs and I need advice. I know it's hard to do on a forum, but who knows.

My dog is a rescue, an old german shepherd. He's just been fixed a few months ago. He's a very good dog 99% of the time. Calm, confident, patient and focused. He's a working dog and naturally very competitive. His job is to fetch the ball, and he's very good at it! And he's not even possessive of the ball.

The problem arises when he starts to play. Two instances:
1- Dogs: When wrestling, he uses his teeth like all dogs, but his bites are harder. No gums though, just well placed bites to win the game. Most often too hard for the other dog though. Similarly, when running after a dog, he might bite him on the back/side after a little while. If the dog stops, the game is over, he calms down. But the bite is usually too strong; it hurts the other dog.
* I deal with this by always watching him well; when I see his intensity go too high, I call him and focus him on catching the ball. Once he has the ball in his mouth, he usually keeps it and doesn't bite other dogs. He most often runs after the other dogs while keeping his ball, he plays well that way; I figure the ball gives him the sense of being a winner and he doesn't get too competitive that way.

2- Humans throwing the ball:
-- When it's me, no problem at all. He sits, he waits, perfect. He wins once in a while, he plays with the other dogs, he's not possessive, it's all good.
-- When it's someone else, he's a lot more excited. He will most often run after the ball, not being possessive, just playing, no biting, even though he doesn't win as often as when it's me throwing. HOWEVER: if the intensity in the park is high, example when there are cocky unfixed males around, he gets really really excited, more competitive and eventually frustrated. He's old, slower than the other males, so he doesn't win the ball often. He wants the ball and gets frustrated. Now here's the absolute WORST problem that happens then: 3 times so far, he has bitten the person throwing the ball. 3 different persons over a few months. Always under the same circumstances. Never enough to break the skin, but enough to create a bruise.

The 3rd time was earlier today. The way I see it, he bites the thrower to control the game, to dominate, out of frustration.

My plan is to manage the dog park situations more carefully: when intensity climbs, I'll refocus my dog and channel his intensity elsewhere and calm him down. If I catch him on the spot biting, I'll correct him firmly but calmly. I'll also avoid the park if the timing/setting is not in our favor and too hard to manage. I'll also have him play with well balanced dogs and correct him when he gets over the line, so he ends up knowing very well where the line is.

I love my dog to death. My german shepherd never got into a fight. Dogs have tried to pick fights with him or dominate him and he always walks away or ignores them. He's very patient, calm and self-assured. I know I can manage the situation in the future, but I'd love my dog to play like all the other dogs and be more respectful, so I'd very much like to improve my strategy. If any of you has an idea, I'm all ears! And eyes!

Thank you!
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old May 9th, 2011, 08:20 PM
millitntanimist's Avatar
millitntanimist millitntanimist is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Kitchener, ON
Posts: 129
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dogpark007 View Post
1- Dogs: When wrestling, he uses his teeth like all dogs, but his bites are harder. No gums though, just well placed bites to win the game. Most often too hard for the other dog though. Similarly, when running after a dog, he might bite him on the back/side after a little while. If the dog stops, the game is over, he calms down. But the bite is usually too strong; it hurts the other dog.
. . .
The 3rd time was earlier today. The way I see it, he bites the thrower to control the game, to dominate, out of frustration.
I wouldn't bring "dominance" into it, he just needs to learn that his access to play is dependent on keeping his mouth in check. As a working line shepherd his drive will be very strong, he is simply getting overstimulated. You are doing well with the re-direction, all you need to do is watch for signs that he is becoming too worked up so that you can intervene and end the game BEFORE he starts biting. Even if its just for 30 seconds.
If he gets too rowdy in play with people (or dogs) that the game needs to end. Instantly. For people, the person drops the ball, turns their back and walks away. For dogs, you call him to you and ask for a sit, or have him drag a long line so you can (gently) pull him away from the dog. He will quickly learn that if he wants to play he has to be gentle with his mouth. You can also institute ball rules for other people to help him stay below his threshold. They should ask him for a sit or lie down before the ball is thrown, it will keep from building his excitement level and will establish the expectation of good behavior with all people (not just you )
He will learn fastest if you practice this in less stimulating environments (like your backyard) and with people he knows first, rather than at the dog park.

I would also nix the correction - you are probably correcting him too late for him to learn anything. In the time it takes you to walk over to the person he has bitten the context of your punishment will change. Also, correction will increase his level of arousal.

You could teach him an "off" command for use with people when he does become too excited.
This is a video on puppy biting, but he has a great "off" tutorial.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZKjk8...7C660271967C13

Hope this helps, honestly it already sounds like you are on the right track.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old May 9th, 2011, 11:09 PM
Dogpark007 Dogpark007 is offline
Junior Member
 
Join Date: May 2011
Posts: 2
Thanks for the reply! I agree with all of it.

I'll be looking at that video.
Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off


Forum Terms of Use

  • All Bulletin Board Posts are for personal/non-commercial use only.
  • Self-promotion and/or promotion in general is prohibited.
  • Debate is healthy but profane and deliberately rude posts will be deleted.
  • Posters not following the rules will be banned at the Admins' discretion.
  • Read the Full Forum Rules

Forum Details

  • Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8
    Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
    vBulletin Optimisation by vB Optimise (Reduced on this page: MySQL 0%).
  • All times are GMT -5. The time now is 03:57 AM.