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Discussion Starter #1
I've been reading through these forums. I read "The Bite Stops Here". I've also consumed as much info on positive reinforcement training as I could.

We've had our Airedale for just over 2 weeks. He's very smart. Already goes to the door when he needs to potty, have had very few accidents inside and no accidents in the crate. He's even learned sit and leave it...when I have treats.

Our main concern is that he sometimes gets a little too agressive. When his energy gets high, he can really do some damage. We have the scratches to show it.

We've tried many things. We started out with the "ouch" method, but pretty soon he stopped being startled and letting go when we said "ouch". We've also tried time outs in an exercise pen.

When training, He will sit and I'll click and treat for him letting me pet/scratch his head, belly, chest, chin, etc. He does this really well and very rarely gets mouthy. But this is only when I have treats and a clicker.

He does not resource guard. I always make him sit quietly before feeding.

We've tried ignoring when he bites, but he bites our feet and legs and it's hard to ignore needles going into your leg and drawing blood on occasion.

I've tried to stay calm in these situations because I know if I get upset, it's likely to just make him upset.

Once he gets his 2nd puppy shot this upcoming week (9 weeks) we'll be taking him on walks and out to socialize with people and other dogs. We're really keeping our fingers crossed that this helps.

Any suggestions?
 

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the first problem is that hes 8 weeks and you have had him for 2 weeks.... he was taken from the little FAR too early and never got to appropriately learn.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I'm beginning to wish I had gotten him at 8 weeks. But the closest Airedale breeder to us was 6 hours away and that's when they released theirs. So it wasn't really my choice, sadly.
 

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6 hours isnt that bad. thats how far i went to get my second dane. im not sure where you are from, but a lot of places have laws about selling pups before 8wks of age.
 

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Is it aggression, or just playing rough? Their is a huge difference.

My pups are 9 weeks old. They bite, even drawing blood, and its play. They are just rough dogs, and I don't mind the playing and wrestling. They bite each other, extremely rough. Then there is aggression. When one pup has had enough, they will attack the other, its a firm bite, violent shaking and a different growl than when playing. When one gives in, there is posturing and the "loser" has totally different body language and usually leaves, while the "winner" follows with more growling, stiff legs, tail up and hackles raised.

When this is shown as human aggression, usually it is aimed for your arm, hand, or leg. It is not the same as the growling and snapping with play, usually the pup is MAD! They may act out in a bite, and usually will leave, not continue jumping and playing.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I think it's play, but occasionally it gets so rough it's hard to tell. And if he is biting and we go to put him in time out, once we pick him up he struggles trying to bite because he knows he's in trouble.

But once he's in his ex-pen, after about 45 seconds, he has already calmed down and is either sitting or laying down. We try to reward him anytime he's being calm and well-behaved. But still it escalates sometimes.

So it's nothing he can't be snapped out of. Just sometimes it's as easy as distracting him with a toy. Other times he wants to bite our legs no matter how many times we dodge him.
 

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Being separated so early is a big issue. We had this issue, but ours is a rescue - the litter was abandoned before they were old enough. You absolutely had a choice when it came to this - don't go to the breeder. 6hours is NOTHING, seriously. Many people will fly across the country to get a dog from the best possible breeder. Or you could have got a different breed. Or a rescue. Saying "I had to go to this bad breeder because they were the only one close to me" is kind of like saying "I had to go get this puppy from a pet shop that I know uses mills because it was the closest place". I'm not trying to attack you here, I just feel the need to point out that you did have a choice.

Anyway. On to the issue at hand.

I feel your pain. Our girl does this a little when we are walking - it is absolutely excited play-biting, and there is zero aggression in it, but she is still learning bite inhibition, so it can be pretty sore. As a rule, puppy owners get a few puncture wounds over the first few months, because baby teeth are sharp, and puppies don't know the strength of their bite.

- Try to make sure that you are teaching bit inhibition with softer bites, and during gentler play. It's very easy to ignore the bites that don't hurt, but read "the bite stops here" thread about the stages of teaching bite inhibition, and work with the pup when it is not so worked up that it gets too rough.
- If he doesn't respond to the "ouch" it is probably because of the early separation. He didn't learn that the yipping sound means "stop" the way that puppies do with their mothers. Ours ignores it too - same reason.
- Ignoring DOES work, I promise, but it doesn't mean that you stand there while puppy rips into your legs!! Remember, the pup is either mid-play and doesn't realise that it is getting too rough, or is trying to entice you to play - watch puppies with other dogs, they often try to bite the legs to get them to engage. So ignoring the dog but letting it continue to bite isn't going to work - he's just going to keep trying to say "play with me!" by chewing on you.
- The ignoring method that has been working with us involves keeping a leash on her (luckily, our issue basically only happens on walks, so she is already leashed) or being somewhere that you can get away without having to grapple with her. When he bites, say "ouch" or something in a hurt tone -we usually use "hey" (don't yell - they can see it as barking back at them, and get even more excited!) and then use the leash to put him into a sit. Turn away and ignore him (no eye contact!!) and use the leash to keep him in one spot. If you are inside, rather than using the leash, you can leave the room, go to the other side of a baby gate, or pull your legs up on the couch - then again, ignore him. The idea is that being forced to be still also forces the puppy to calm down a little, while at the same time, you are removing all attention - puppies love attention, so taking it away is a good non-physical negative reinforcement. It is also fairly easy, even though you may have to hold a short leash out from your body once or twice with a whirling dervish of a puppy on the end of it! It's also easier than trying to pick him up to go into a time-out in the pen. For the record, I don't think that he is struggling to bite when you pick him up because he "knows he's in trouble". I think that he is trying to play with you, and then he gets a big whallop of attention in the form of physical contact, and thinks "yay - we are playing now" and goes nuts thinking that this means you have accepted his toothy invitation to playtime! Especially when you think about how you react when you are trying to scoop up a lump of wiggling, biting, manic puppy - you are probably moving your head to keep it safe, making noises, struggling to keep him still....now look at how dogs play - what do you see? Yup - movement, head whipping back and forth, little noises, lots of body contact. He doesn't know he is going in the pen and is in trouble - he thinks you are playing!!

This technique is really helping with our girl - she is far better at not nipping at all, and when she does, she is much faster to calm down, because she has figured out that the faster she calms down, the faster we can start the walk up again.
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
Of course I had a choice. But unlike some people I can't afford to fly across the country. I also didn't want to drive more than 6 hours with a puppy (I felt like it was a long time for him to be in the car even with plenty of bathroom breaks). I admit as a 1st time puppy owner (hence why this is posted here) I didn't know that 6 weeks was too early. I'll know better in the future, but I can't go back in time and fix it. This breeder was not a puppy mill and aside from the 6 wk thing is fine.

Now, thank you for your suggestions. I should have mentioned that sometimes we play with him in his ex-pen so that when he bites we can say ouch and leave the pen to ignore. Sometimes this seems to work and other times he'll bite again as soon as we re-enter the pen.

We will keep trying the ignoring/time out method and hopefully we'll see results soon.

As I said, when he sees that I have treats and the clicker he's a little angel. I have gotten to where I can pet him anywhere and even rub his chest with my foot and he won't bite because he's focused on the treat. We just need to transfer that behavior over to full time. I just don't have enough experience to know how yet.
 

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Do you know any well socialized adult dogs that could come play?
All the above advice is great for teaching the dog not to bite you, but there is nothing like a well mannered adult dog for teaching good doggie manners AND teaching a soft mouth. He's missed some important development time with the litter but he can still play a little catch up.

Otherwise, just stay very consistent in training and have patience.
 

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Now, thank you for your suggestions. I should have mentioned that sometimes we play with him in his ex-pen so that when he bites we can say ouch and leave the pen to ignore. Sometimes this seems to work and other times he'll bite again as soon as we re-enter the pen.
That will happen in the beginning - sometimes he will just be SO excited, that even after you have left him to calm down, he'll get riled right up again! Be patient, and if he bites again, remove yourself from the pen. If he doesn't bite, go back to playing. It will take time, but eventually, he will learn that bite = playtime over, rather than bite = play. And pay attention to body language. usually you can tell when he has calmed down a bit - maybe the ears will soften a little, rather than standing straight up, you may see his muscles relax, or he may go from a full-attention sit into a lying down position. It'll give you a good idea of when he has started to calm down and is ready to go back to playtime.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
We have some friends with a well behaved Pitbull and Dachsund. We want to let our puppy meet them as soon as he gets his next puppy shot.

Thanks to everyone for the tips. Sounds like we just need to be patient and consistent. Hopefully I can give an update in the near future with very good news :)
 

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We have some friends with a well behaved Pitbull and Dachsund. We want to let our puppy meet them as soon as he gets his next puppy shot.

Thanks to everyone for the tips. Sounds like we just need to be patient and consistent. Hopefully I can give an update in the near future with very good news :)
Be sure both of those dogs have had actual experience with puppies before.
Puppies are a lot like children, and just because a dog is okay with adults doesn't mean he's fine with children, remember that.
 

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i personally wouldnt just go and put it with adults that have not been around pups. you have to be sure the adults will correct behavior, but the thing is some correct with too much force. this creates fear and aggression issues in pups if they are roughed up by adult dogs all the time. or there is also the fear of your pup being hurt.
are there any dog daycares or trainers around you? many of them offer puppy socialization for cheap or, in the case of my facility, free. this will be a really good place to take your pup. they will be exposed to pups their age so they will learn from them about how hard they can and cant bite during play, and it actually helps lessen the play biting with humans as well. they also will be exposed to new people all the time and a new place. socialization is key with pups!
 

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With my pups, who insist on mauling my legs with every step, I have a distractor they can't resist. An old milk jug with rocks and a hay string attached. As soon as the biting begins (5 pups at the moment) I shake the jug and toss it and they attack it!

They do learn the yard way with the grown dogs, as mals will push any limit lol. Airedales can be tough too!
 

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we had a pair of airedale siblings do puppy party and then daycare... reffered to as "the airedale twins". (i do that with all litter mates at work) anywho one was very headstrong, typical airedale... the other was extremely shy and reserved and scared of everything.
 

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Just a little idea...I too am a first time puppy owner...we were lucky to find our pup 2 hours away. She was 8 weeks old and still a little nipper so I wish I could have left her there for another couple weeks. The best advice I got about all that nipping and chewing was to just wait and things would turn around and they have!!! She lost all those little needle teeth and the puppy class we went to was helpful. I told the trainer that no matter how much I yelped that pup would just nip me more. She said can the neighbors hear you when you yelp ouch????!!!! Well all it took was a couple blood curdling yelps from me and she pretty much stopped.I am surprised the neighbors didn't call the police. She still mouths us a lot but has developed a very soft mouth. She understands she can play rougher with "dad" and less so with "mom". We have had her for 6 months now and her behavior has greatly improved. Hang in there!
 

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Any suggestions?
I don't think that you realize what you have there. An Airedale is a terrier - and quite a large one. Breedwise, they are generally feisty and "sharp" as adults. You have to start socializing him now because as they get older, they can become difficult.

Start your NILIF now - not tomorrow, but today. Don't be so concerned about teaching "positions" or tricks at this point - concentrate and work on the socialization. A 'sit' is nice for NILIF, but don't worry about anything else for now.

Start your handling training NOW. This is going to be a challenge because your pup was removed from the litter way, way too early, and obviously, your breeder did not do his part to get that started. But you can do it. Your pup MUST learn to be handled and to have close contact without reacting.

Start your bite inhibition training NOW - not tomorrow but today. This is also going to be a challenge because your pup was removed so early. But you can do it with patience and perserverence. It would be very advantageous to give your pup some regular play time with a cooperative - and even tempered - 'doggy friend' to help with the bite inhibition.

Start your bite control training NOW. You are relying entirely too much on your verbal corrections and not enough on body language and facial expression. Some time back, I posted on how to do this. If you are interested, shoot me a PM, and I'll look it up and send you a copy.

Yes, because of the lack of bite inhibition that your pup should have learned in the litter, you MAY lose the bite behavior with respect to people while you are teaching bite control . But right now, with your pup being in unkown status with respect to bite inhibition, I'd have to go that route.

Don't worry about that for now. If later on, you decide you want to get into Schutzhund or similar sports - and Airedales generally do VERY well at those - you CAN bring the bite behavior back under controlled conditions. And having worked on the bite inhibition, you'll be in very good shape with your protection work.

And don't forget the house traing and crate training. Very important to get those done now.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Thank you everyone for the suggestions. We have been socializing him with friends and family. But that's been more about training the people than the dog. We've been trying to make sure people don't try to play tug or wrestle with him a lot. He's done fairly well around new people but occasionally he does get too excited and bite too hard forcing a time out.

I've already been calling around and talking to our vet about puppy socialization classes. We're going to do that ASAP. My friends Pitbull I know is good with puppies because he was grown when they got their Dachsund puppy.
 

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I don't find tug to be a bad thing, in fact for a dog that needs to mouth and kill, it's ideal. But under YOUR rules. Use things like a ball on a rope, stuffy on a rope etc... (I just get light rope, make a loop on one end, loop the rope through and put the stuffy in, pull tight and instant tug toy). The idea being that there is a tug item and the rope is off limits. Have a few. Play tug, let him get it out of his system, but if he grabs the rope, drop the toy and get a new one, offer that to him, same rules. He may enjoy shaking and killing toys that look like rodents too.

Wrestling is harder to manage and more likely to get him biting. To make it easier on him, I wouldn't allow strangers and guests to wrestle or play tug, but just be calm and pleasant with him. Have some stuffed frozen kongs or bones on hand for when guests do come, so he can be distracted too.

A well socialized adult will do a lot of puppy training for you too, well worth it.
 
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