I loved that explanation of 'The Bite Stops Here.' I've read about the yelping technique, but the detail you mentioned here is definitely helpful. We have started implementing it and I think my big pup is trying to test me. The behavior seems to be intensifying- not sure if this is a good thing?I think that a GSD-Lab ... especially the brown variety [ ] ... has the innate sharp intelligence of a GSD, tempered with the laid back, forgiving intelligence of a Lab, making for a dog that's not too sensitive and not too goofy, and a little easier to handle for the average owner...
Shep is sensitive to sights and sounds, and he is my first dog that looks at the people inside of a car. He wakes up quickly (or did when he was younger), but he doesn't hit the ground running at the same time.
My personal opinion - and I think I'm in the minority - is that you should distract him and stop him from stalking squirrels, etc., before he gets going. I feel that if you let dogs chase things, they will increase the behavior, and if you distract them from it, it may decrease or possibly extinguish [I don't really think it will go away, but might diminish.] When Shep chases or trees a squirrel, nothing else exists. I have to walk up to him, put on the leash, and pull him away. If I anticipate and distract him before he gets amped up, he'll walk with me, while looking backwards... Moreover, he is fairly street smart and won't normally run in front of cars, politely letting them pass, BUT... if he sees a squirrel across the street, he will try to use a passing car as a tool for suicide....
I wrote the following for some other folks. Note the time and the apology:
It may help for a 6 mos pup.
The Bite Stops Here takes about 3 days to kick in, even then you only get a reduction of bloodletting, slowly resulting in bloodfree nipping, leading to mouthing, etc. Depending on the reaction of the pup, you don't have to use a Yelp!, you can say Ouch!!!, or Oops, where you want a marking word, to indicate when you are withdrawing attention.
Re-read the Sticky:the Bite Stops Here. perhaps you need to try a little longer. Read this tweak and note the 3 days and the apology....maybe, he ignored the Yelp!, because you ignored the apology. Instead of the Yelp, you can say Ouch! or Oops! Also, it seems to be more effective if you can leave him alone in a timeout ("abandoning him"), rather than putting him into a timeout in the crate. It seems to make the act of withdrawing attention more blatant.
Some Tweaks to Bite Inhibition (to get him to stop biting when he wants to play or otherwise):
1. When the pup bites, then yelp. It should sound about like what the pup does when you step on its paw... don't step on his paw for a sample . When you yelp, the pup should startle briefly and stop nipping. (Look for the startle) Praise and pet. He'll bite.
2. When he bites the second time, Yelp. When he stops, praise and pet. He'll nip again, although it may be a little gentler. ...
3. When he bites a third time, Yelp (see a pattern?). But this time, turn your back for 15 - 30 secs. If he comes around and play bows or barks, then that is an apology. This is important. Accept it, praise and pet... and cringe in expectation of the next nip...
4. When he bites the 4th time, Yelp, then leave the area, placing him in a 2 min. time-out. It is better if you can leave, rather than moving him. Then, return and interact. (He's still hungry...)
5. When he nips the fifth time, yelp, and leave the area, stopping interaction for now.
You can modify the number of steps, but not what you do... for example, you can leave in a huff , after the second nip or even the first, but you always have to provide a vocal marker, to give him something to react to. I still use a light yelp with my 11 yo when he lets teeth touch skin as I give him a treat. No pressure or harm, but I want him to appear very safe to everyone.
Pups need to sleep over night in order to learn their lessons. So, keep doing this for 3 days. By the third day, you should notice signficant Bite Inhibition. He may still nip, but it will be softer and he won't draw blood. And, he should be less aggressive, especially, if you notice the apology. Keep up the training and make sure that everyone yelps.... Very powerful method.
If you learn the technique, then you can apply the "yelp" to other circumstances, also. I believe that "yelp" is "Please don't do that, I don't like it." in dog communication. I currently use the yelp when my dog plays tug, then runs with the toy, when he fetches and keeps it out of reach or when he takes a treat too quickly....
Dogs will grab for tug toy and take along some skin. With good Bite Inhibition, as well as withdrawing attention, you can teach most dogs to slow down grabbing, while still being able to rip your arm out of the socket by pulling. My dog is polite and will return my arm to me, so that we can continue playing.
I also appreciate your perspective on distracting from the stalking of small creatures. I would love to distract Brinkley- because it really disrupts our walks, gets him crazy riled up, and when we start getting him off leash I want him safe!- but it seems like he's already crouching and stalking something before I've even seen it. Once he's in that herding/stalking (?) pose, a large steak will not get his attention. Any tips on how to anticipate this behavior in your dog?
Oh and I like the idea of the brown variety GSD-lab smart and quick, but also sweet and playful