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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I am having some real behavioral issues that I hope someone can point me in the right direction on here. Sorry for the long intro.

I have a 6 month old Male Beauceron puppy (Ruger) who has since day one been very mouthy, nips and bites constantly. I received him in January at 10 weeks of age. The very first thing I noticed is his persistence in constantly biting your hand, arms, feet and even your face. This was such a concern to me I enlisted the help of a Professional GS training facility to assist with the issue. The training facility train GS for Government Agencies, Military, Police & Guard as well as Show Arena. They came highly recommended by several people including my vet.

Ruger started with a consultation where they witnessed his behavior but labeled it as typical puppy behavior and they would be happy to assist in training him. Ruger has been going to the training for basically 16 weeks now and can sit, stay, down, place, settle, drop-it, take-it, leave-it, walk on a loose leash, shake, hi five and roll over... but he has yet to stop biting.

Throughout the course of training, we kept mentioning the issue with his relentless biting and they kept informing us it would go away and to just ignore the unwanted behavior and it should be pretty much a none issue by the time he is 6 month old. My wife and I didn't quite agree with their recommendation, but did as they instructed hoping they were correct.

Fast forward to today, about 16 weeks later, some $1,200 in training, food and other facility supplies Ruger is now 90lbs and bites every single chance he gets. His biting is not out of aggression, but more him grabbing you and biting down hard and not letting go. He doesn't react to Ouch, Yelp, No, Stop, Quit, Drop it, Leave it or any form of verbal command. Any verbal command and he bites harder and food has zero affect on getting his attention away from his action. His bite is forceful enough to break skin and leave large bruises, punctures and scraps down your skin. Both my arms feel like I have nerve damage due to the force of his bites. Also, when you correct him or swat him, he barks at you, circles you and then bites you from behind, or snaps at you face and chest. He does not give in nor does he back down to correction.

After my final block of training was up I called the trainers out of frustration and on their technique of ignoring the behavior as all the ignoring has basically gotten me a 90 lb beast that refuses to not bite the hand that feeds him. At this point I am almost out of ideas and he is looking more like a liability than a family pet or companion. The trainers have not provided any new solutions other than muzzle him or leave him in his crate until they can come up with a better plan... great life for a 6 month old dog.

I have also tried time outs, turning my back on him, ignoring him, bitter apple, swatting, ouch, yelp loudly... noting works, he just bites harder and comes at you more forceful. My wife has basically given up and wants nothing to do with Ruger. He has been banned from any contact with my kids as I do not trust him not injuring them and fear for any visitor who comes to my home he may grab onto them and then I have a real issue on my hands.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated as I really love the pup, but my health and that of the family comes first and I feel he will only get worse with time. I certainly believe ignoring the biting was the wrong course of action as he has gotten worse over time, not better. Thanks

45LongColt
 

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You should not hit your dog, EVER, unless there is a dangerous situation afoot (potential burns, dog fight, etc). The Beauceron is a French breed that was bred for herding and guarding. Swatting a dog with deep (and still RECENT) roots in protective instincts is asking to be bitten (which the dog is doing).

Herding breeds can be surprisingly mouthy, and Beaus are known for being a bit sharp (the French seem to like sharp dogs).

I would continue with timeouts for him, but they need to be done with NO anger, and very matter of factly. Because things are getting so out of hand already, he cannot be allowed the "three strikes" babies usually get. He puts his teeth on you, he goes into his crate for 2-5 minutes. Try again. Lather rinse repeat.

How much exercise is this puppy getting? Not just physical, but mental? They are busy busy BUSY dogs, and need to be mentally and physically stimulated constantly.

A good friend of mine had a Beauceron, and he was an INTENSE dog. She had to buy him his own treadmill to run on, and if she missed a day with him, he was almost uncontrollable. She had to be on top of his behavior EVERY second, and establish very firm rules with him.

He has gone back to his breeder. He was not dangerous, or out of control. She kept him in excellent condition and gave him everything he needed, but he just was NOT the right kind of dog for her. She said that she'll never have another Beauce :p
 

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The only suggestion I can think of is to contact someone who has extensive knowledge of the breed; perhaps one of the breed clubs, to see if what you are experiencing is normal and how they recommend you move forward.
 

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I understand you love your pup and I am very sorry but to me you have gone WAY above and beyond what can be expected to have a nice family pet. I would look for a rescue or someone who can handle this dog. Your family is, as you say, MOST important.
I believe there is a time when you need to cut your losses. Good luck
 

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did you read "the bite stops here" sticky? Did you even do any of that training in this dogs life? Did anyone teach this dog bite inhibition? Or even stimulus control?

As others have already stated correcting him is not going to work, and it will make matters worse as you have already found out. What Xeph said. This is a hard breed, using force against him will only be met with force from him.
 

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You say he knows "leave it" command. Now is the time to reinforce this. Some of the real drivey protection breeds are hard dogs. Not aggressive, just persistent, and they enjoy biting. Ignoring doesn't work. Turning your back will cause the dog to jump higher, or bite your legs or shoulders.

With the dog getting away with this, you have a challenge now. Using a leash, each time he is handled, when he begins snapping, leave it!, turn directions and begin heeling. Or a down stay, or any and all commands he knows. Now is a good time to give him a good tug or bite pillow to be allowed and give a command to bite. Most important, is to release if he doesn't know this command yet.

Keep in mind, you won't be training aggression or actual bitework, but a game to use his drive to bite. This will take pressure off of your arms. His tug can be his reward, however don't always give a bite or you will create another issue. Also, be sure you handle the tug or pillow (wedge) around the dog, and just because its there he doesn't get a bite. Same as food rewards, or anything else.

I'm not sure of your training facilities, but many LE trainers don't worry much about dogs having manners. They do their job, and aren't concerned with them being pets. I want both, and you can have super high drive and manners together. Good luck, you do have a job on your hands.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks everyone for your replies. Just to answer some of the questions and provide some additional information to assist in finding a viable solution.

1.) This is not my first dog, have raised 4 other dogs from puppies to adulthood and all were model citizens. (Choc Lab, Golden Retriever, German Shorthair and 2 Collies) Also grew up with Shepard's, Collies and Mutts.
2.) I researched the breed for about 6 months before deciding, called and spoke to all the US breeders (which are only about 6) and got their information about the breed prior to getting on the waiting list
3.) I personally know a woman who lives near me and has 2 Beauceron's (females 11 yrs old and 2 yrs old)
4.) Neither the breeders or the owner listed above state the behavior Ruger is displaying is normal for the breed. The breeder I got him from stated she would have never ignored the biting to begin with, the owner above stated the same
5.) Ruger is exercised 2-3 times a day. I walk him in the morning for about a mile before breakfast. Play fetch, Frisbee and take him swimming in the pond when I get home from work and then walk him at night for about a mile and a half. I did buy him a treadmill, but have yet to be successful in getting him on it for more than 5 seconds.
6.) I do daily training work with him on leave its, drop, touch, place, sit, down, settle and musical chairs. Each one is rotated and I spend no more than about 30 minutes doing the training
7.) Ruger is very good on walks, never pulls, does both loose and force walking perfectly. Does sit/stays and down/stays while on the walk. He stops automatically when we reach any crossing or intersection and will not go the bathroom until we are back home in our on yard.
8.) Ruger is very good in the car, travels in the back seat of my pickup, never stands, never drools and never barks or tries to look out the window. I can leave him in the truck while I shop and he touches nothing and will not leave the vehicle
9.) He is not the same dog outside of the home as he is inside the home. He does not mouth, bite, bark, jump up or show any form of discipline when in stores, on walks, at the training facility or even the children's playground. He is a perfect citizen.
10.) He does not display any aggression whatsoever to other dogs. He plays fair, wrestles but never bites other dogs in our yard or at the park or at PetSmart.
11.) He does not display aggression to people. He does not growl, we can handle his food, take anything away from him we want, pet him while he is eating and kids can even pull his tail and accidentally step on him, no reaction from him.
12.) He is fed only raw diet of Beef, Chicken and Fish no dry dog food, grains or cereals

Now to the issue. He does not Bite like a nip, or lunge at you and it is never based off aggression. Instead it is a very simple walk up to you, grab your arm, hand or leg and then bite down. Sometimes he grabs your forearm and then slides down to your hand and eventually grabs your fingers and then holds onto them and pulls you towards him. This morning I made myself surrender to him just to see what would happen. I woke up walked over to his pen and placed his standard nylon collar on him which is the ritual I do every morning. He is not allowed out until he has a collar on. He came out of the pen and I started getting dressed. He wandered around the room then walked over to me and grabbed my arm. I stood still said nothing and he slide his mouth down to my hand and then grabbed one finger. He then pulled me by my finger through the room to the door. Once at the door he let go and we both exited out the door. Even though there was no correction form me he still bit hard, enough so it left scrapes down my forearm to my wrist and at one point fearful he might break my finger. The entire event seemed almost to me he was trying to tell me something... like, hey I want out... NOW! The issue I have with all of this is sometimes he just grabs and holds on and then slowly he starts to bite harder, then harder until it really hurts and I have to react before injury. I really am besides myself on what he is thinking or wanting... almost like he wants to play, but very rough.

Now to the commands issue. When he does this there is absolutely no command on this planet he will react too. It is almost like he goes deft and hears nothing. Not even treats, a ball, people food, nothing makes him stop. Most time I have to physically remove him by using my hand to remove his jaws from my arm. If I do so and yell at him, he will then bark at me and circle me to try to grab another part of my body, leg, butt, back ... you name it. If I leave the room afterwards he will march around the room like he is frustrated and look for something to destroy like a toy, his food bowl or his dog bed... whatever is available. When I return he is happy to see me and may or may not repeat the same ordeal, just depends on his mood. If I return and immediately redirect him to either outside, dinner or ball or something, its basically all over and things are back to normal.

Now this only happen in our house or yard. I have never had him act like this outside of those areas and he does the same thing to me and my wife and older son (10 yrs Old). He does not bother my two younger sons (3 and 5yrs old). At his size and not understanding the force his bite is having on us, I'm am worried that by us listening to the Trainers in their method of ignoring the issue has caused him to not understand he should never touch or bite a person. He at this point to me seems more confused as to why we yell and get upset over it than him really just wanting to grab our arms.

I did read the article about The Bite Stops Here. Problem is I read it after all of this had happened. Seems I should have been working toward stopping him and teach inhibition to bite over ignoring it, which is what the trainers were adamant about us doing. Now I am worried it is too late to change his actions since he is now almost 7 months old.
 

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It's never too late to train a dog, or switch trainers. I would contact a behaviorist. This dog sounds frustrated. That level of exercise and training, well, my mellow little beagle mix gets over an hour of walking, an hour of play and 30 minutes of training per day, too. Your dog isn't mellow. Beaucerons are not labs, retrievers or collies. They are some of the highest drive, hardest dogs out there and it sounds like you need better help than you've been getting. Police dog trainers . . . I'm not saying they're bad at their jobs, but they're training GSDs and Mals, very obedient dogs, to do what they were bred to do. You're trying to train a Beauceron to be a family pet. That's a very different thing.

Go to iaabc.org and find a behaviorist in your area.
 

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It's not too late to teach bite inhibition. I rescued my boy at just over 2 years old and he was very mouthy, he did have SOME bite inhibition but he was still too rough and mouthing was his go to thing when he wanted anything. Using very similar methods to what you'll find in The Bite Stops Here sticky I taught him to be MUCH gentler and that mouthing on me was NOT the way to get what he wants (whatever that may be). He's still pretty mouthy when we rough house and play but it's gentler and if I say "off" he stops what he's doing and backs away until I invite him to play again or simply stop the game and we go do something else.

So it's not too late it just won't be as easy as if you did this when he was younger. My two year old managed it your 7 month old should be able to as well, just have to be consistent and keep it up.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Amaryllis, thanks for the link to the behaviorist. I checked it out and there is a very good one within 10 minutes of my home. I think I will call them just for a consultation to see what they are all about. My thoughts are, doing nothing is no longer an option, so this at minimum gives me a starting point.

What I just cant understand is...my dog is very, very smart, I only need to show him something once of twice and he has it nailed down (examples: he turns the tub faucet on and off to get himself a drink, can open all the doors in the house using his paw to move the handle down, when you run around something, he doesn't chase after you, he heads you off by going the other direction, he can open the cabinet using the dish towel hung from the handle to get a treat, then close the door with his muzzle) so if he is this smart that he can actually do stuff like this, why cant he figure out I don't want him to grab my arm?
 

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I think one of the problems that frequently occurs is that trainers (and owners) sometimes misunderstand the meaning of "ignoring" unwanted behavior. What you want to do is be sure that unwanted behavior is not reinforced. Any reaction to the behavior can be reinforcing. The behavior (especially stuff like mouthing) can be self rewarding - meaning that even if you do nothing, it gives some form of pleasure to the dog. So, instead of simply allowing behavior, what one needs to do is make it clear to the dog that when the behavior happens, the fun goes away -in the form of you leaving or the dog getting a time out. Yelling or trying to physically correct only revs the game up for the dog. And of course you need to also figure out more acceptable ways for the dog to satisfy his need to use his mouth. Some good ones have been mentioned here. And I agree that some in-person help is a good idea, specially with breeds like this.
 

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The behaviorist should make a difference. While waiting, what would happen if you yelled ouch (a valid response), and then left the room for a minute. Then, when you come back and interact... and he bites again; you yell ouch again and leave for two minutes... and keep increasing the time that you leave, until it's 5 - 10 min. Then, leave him alone to amuse himself. Do this twice a day for three days, consistently, and see if he offers a gentler bite that doesn't bruise or break the skin...
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Hi Hanksimon,

I can tell you, when I yell OUCH, he continues to bite down and does it harder. I will still need to remove his mouth from my arm by physical force as he does not let go on his own. I have left the room to return just to have him do it again. I have never gone so far as continue more than twice as I might have to wear a coat to cover my arm as by the third time, it will really be hurting. Usually he bites down hard enough to cause scrapes, bruises and swelling... similar to placing my arm in a vice and turning the handle on it. Below is a picture I took yesterday from just one bite, now multiply this 3-4 times with repeated attempts. Any volunteers :)
 

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The behaviorist should make a difference. While waiting, what would happen if you yelled ouch (a valid response), and then left the room for a minute. Then, when you come back and interact... and he bites again; you yell ouch again and leave for two minutes... and keep increasing the time that you leave, until it's 5 - 10 min. Then, leave him alone to amuse himself. Do this twice a day for three days, consistently, and see if he offers a gentler bite that doesn't bruise or break the skin...

This is a good plan, with one thing I would change. I think that time outs are most effective when they are very short. 5-10 minutes and the dog is likely to forget why he's being timed out. The drama is in the leaving. To the OP, wear a jacket or coat if you need to. Twice is probably not enough to get the point across. For a different plan - what would happen if when the dog approached you made your arms/hands unavailable to him? For instance - folded tightly over your chest? It sounds like maybe a fairly deliberate behavior that perhaps you could predict and then avoid, while giving him other ways to tell you what he wants. One thing you could teach is targeting a buzzer or an Easy Button to get your attention. Most dogs love that.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I called the Behaviorist and left them a message. I will do the recommendation above for three days and see what happens. As you can see from above, I will certainly need to wear something heavy on my arms as 4-5 times will probably make me bite shy. I have tried folding my arms and he then grabs me in the side, back of thigh or actually goes for my crotch. In those cases, my arms seems a better option to me.

I am confused, what exactly do you mean by targeting an easy button?
 

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Go to Staples and get one of these http://www.staples.com/product_606396. Teach your puppy to target it with his nose or paw so that it "talks" When you see him headed your direction, (before he has a chance to latch on) and reward him by meeting his needs for doing so.
OMG.... Easy Button training, Pawzk9 does your awesomeness know no boundaries? I don't have a biter but I've got to get one of those buttons and find a use for it in the dogs training...
 

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The trainers telling you to ignore his puppy biting isn't actually abnormal, and I don't think it created this problem. Pretty standard approaches include some level of ignoring. Focusing on that as the thing that caused his biting isn't going to get you anywhere, because a) it's unlikely, and b) too late to change anyway.

I think one of the problems that frequently occurs is that trainers (and owners) sometimes misunderstand the meaning of "ignoring" unwanted behavior. What you want to do is be sure that unwanted behavior is not reinforced. Any reaction to the behavior can be reinforcing. The behavior (especially stuff like mouthing) can be self rewarding - meaning that even if you do nothing, it gives some form of pleasure to the dog. So, instead of simply allowing behavior, what one needs to do is make it clear to the dog that when the behavior happens, the fun goes away -in the form of you leaving or the dog getting a time out. Yelling or trying to physically correct only revs the game up for the dog. And of course you need to also figure out more acceptable ways for the dog to satisfy his need to use his mouth. Some good ones have been mentioned here. And I agree that some in-person help is a good idea, specially with breeds like this.
Everything Pawzk said. It sounds like you may have been inadvertently reinforcing his biting. You said that you can see that he wants something when he bites you. That means that he's learned he can get what he wants (rewarding responses) by biting. The rewards may not always be obvious to you. But the loud "Ouch!" can be rewarding. Or any reaction at all, if he just wants your attention. Or just the act of biting itself, like people have said. Play, food, out, attention, more fun biting -- he should never get anything in exchange for biting, except responses that you absolutely know are not rewarding, which people have given you. (And not hitting, ever.)

It's great that you're getting a behaviorist. Other good suggestions are to teach replacement behaviors you can use to redirect him when you anticipate that he's going to bite. It's always easier to teach a dog to do something than not to do something. You should also work on proofing his "leave it." And Juliemule gave the idea to give him an appropriate outlet for biting. You said you're worried it's too late at almost 7 months. It's definitely not. Also, it does look like he has learned some bite inhibition.

And, one last thing, running on a treadmill before 1.5 years is supposed to be bad for them.
 

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Discussion Starter #19 (Edited)
I'm definitely going to Staples today at lunch to get an easy button. I told my wife about it and she thought I was crazy... we'll see. If everyone is right, and I suspect they are, he will love hitting the button to hear the noise. I do have one question on using it, do I reward him with a treat when he hits it, or is the sound it makes the reward?

I have an appointment with the behaviorist on the 26th (boy they aren't cheap!). We spoke for about 30 minutes, they asked lots of questions and said they wanted to actually see him in action. They also believe the previous trainers were recommending the correct action of ignoring unwanted mouthing and biting, but felt we may have been enforcing it incorrectly.... and he may be interpreting what we are want and what he thinks we want as two different things. They also said at 7 months, he's no longer a puppy and we should be reinforcing good behavior with other stimulus outside of treats. They also recommended more exercise... which maybe tough as I already spend about 95% of my at home time working or exercising him. They recommended doggie daycare or perhaps a full time walker to come and exercise him thoroughly in the middle of the day. Another thought they had was his diet. Seems raw has a lot of protein and more protein means more energy, which translates into more exercise to wear him out.

I took him on a two hour walk last night. We walked through rain, thunder, lightning and pushed on covering our entire development (about 4 miles in total). His tongue was dragging when we got home, as was my butt. He drank some water and I left him to rest for about 15 minutes while I took a shower. I figured he would have been worn out... wrong, he bit me first change he could get... over I have no clue what, I just walked into the kitchen and picked up my phone, he got up walked over slowly and grabbed my forearm. I was really surprised, thought for sure he would be too tired to even bother, I was wrong. I pulled my arm out and left the kitchen for 3 minutes. Returned, same thing, this time I wanted to remove his collar, he grabbed my arm as I attempted to unbuckle it from his neck. I walked away again. Came back after another 3 minutes, tried again, same reaction. I tried this at least 8 times, each time extending the duration, about the 8th time, he allowed me to get it off without biting me.
 

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OMG.... Easy Button training, Pawzk9 does your awesomeness know no boundaries? I don't have a biter but I've got to get one of those buttons and find a use for it in the dogs training...
Most dogs think it is a great game! I know one lady who uses it with her therapy dog. She'll ask the dog if a trick was hard and the dog hits the button.
 
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