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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My husband and I adopted a now 7 month old puppy 4 months ago(mostly German Shepard/Lab mix). We took him to level one obedience training where we learned to stop his play biting we should grab under his jaw and wrap our fingers and his cheeks over his teeth, hold it and say no bite until he tries to get away or cry. This has not helped much with the biting and now he almost seems scared of us if we say "No, Bite", and I certainly do not want my puppy to think I'm trying to hurt him!

Does anyone have a suggestion for other ways to help curb his biting? Now that he has his adult teeth it is not really nipping any more. When he has energy and we are not playing with him. He bites at us with his adult teeth and it hurts!
 

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Of all the cockamamy things....

Here's the deal. puppies used their mouth on everything, including toys, playmates, and people. A better option is shoving a toy a toy into their mouth every time they try mouthing you. If that doesn't work, then removing access to the thing he is biting (you) by either stepping out of the room (assuming that you have a baby gate up) or putting him in his crate or pen for a few minutes.

Kikopup on YouTube has some good free resources. This is one of her videos.


Fenzi Dog Sports Academy also has a plethora of free resources, some of which talk about puppy mouthing. Fenzi Dog Sports Academy - Pet Dog Training Online - Video Presentations
 

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Ah, you have a mix of two notorious landshark breeds. Congratulations!

The method you described is often ineffective because 1) some dogs just think you're wrestling with them, and 2) some dogs find it scary and painful, as you've witnessed. You certainly don't want you're dog to think you're scary and painful! Instead, you want to teach your dog that teeth on human flesh = an end to fun.

I would suggest setting up some exercise pens and baby gates throughout your house. These are your escape routes where puppy can't follow. Then, when you are playing with puppy and puppy bites you, you're going to encourage him to play with and bite a toy instead. Inevitably, puppy will return to biting you, and then you will get up and leave when teeth meet flesh. Step over the baby gate, the pen, whatever, you're just going to remove attention from puppy for 10-15 minutes. You don't have to say anything, and I guess I wouldn't if he's reacting negatively to "no bite", but some people might 'yelp' (which also might simply excite the dog) or say 'oops'. Personally, the abrupt departure of the fun human appears to be enough.

Rinse and repeat the above procedure, and remain consistent. This will not happen overnight, but you will notice the bites getting softer and softer until he chooses to bite the toy, an appropriate outlet for his natural instinct to bite. Always praise him and encourage him to play with the toy! Have plenty of appropriate chews and toys within reach. I always liked long, fleece ropes because they kept my hands well away from an uncoordinated puppy with razor blades in his mouth. If you need a break from puppy bites but want him to hang out with you, utilize a pen to keep him confined.
 

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Cat-dog, GSD spayed female and Tornado-dog, JRT mix, neutered male
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You've learned an important lessen: hurting and/or forcing a dog will backfire.

Go back to the beginning. Puppies nip and chew - it's natural. You want to teach him that this is not acceptable to do to PEOPLE, not to stop it completely.

Don't ever grab a dog's muzzle and hold it closed. It's like grabbing you around the head and covering your mouth - it instinctively creates a fight or flight reaction.

Make sure you have appropriate toys and chews for him. When he starts to nip while you play, simply stop the play and move your hands/body away from him. When he stops nipping, praise him profusely and change the play to something that doesn't lead to nipping. Play wrassling is fine, but always stop as soon as he gets overexcited and/or starts nipping.

Try more games that do not involve nipping behaviors, etc, like tug of war, fetch (or more usually chase the ball). Have mental stimulation toys like kongs and treat dispensing toys for him. Play "find me" and so on.

Make sure he has toys that he IS allowed to bite and beat up. My Tornado-dog is at this minute grabbing and shaking one of his stuffed (well partially stuffed) toys. When he tires of that, he brings me a different toy to play tug of war and catch. He has learned that playing with me doesn't include biting and other doggy-style roughhousing.

If he chews on you or unacceptable items, simply replace the item with a dog chew. Praise him profusely when he refocuses his chewing.

You will be surprised how quickly he will respond to you. And you will rebuild the trust that you've lost.

I'll also add, that if that is the method the trainer recommended for biting, you should seriously re-evaluate the techniques provided for everything else. Some may be good, but odds are they are more forceful and aversive than necessary.

Both shepherds and labs are eager to please dogs. Labs can be more focused on having fun, but both breeds are bred to want to please their people. This makes them a joy to train. Make the goals fun and show your pleasure at the right behaviors with treats and a ton of praise.

You can find great videos by kikipup on you tube to help you train without the use of force, pain and/or fear.
 
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Of all the cockamamy things....

Here's the deal. puppies used their mouth on everything, including toys, playmates, and people. A better option is shoving a toy a toy into their mouth every time they try mouthing you. If that doesn't work, then removing access to the thing he is biting (you) by either stepping out of the room (assuming that you have a baby gate up) or putting him in his crate or pen for a few minutes.

Kikopup on YouTube has some good free resources. This is one of her videos.


Fenzi Dog Sports Academy also has a plethora of free resources, some of which talk about puppy mouthing. Fenzi Dog Sports Academy - Pet Dog Training Online - Video Presentations
Thank you! I will definitely utilize online training resources 😊
You've learned an important lessen: hurting and/or forcing a dog will backfire.

Go back to the beginning. Puppies nip and chew - it's natural. You want to teach him that this is not acceptable to do to PEOPLE, not to stop it completely.

Don't ever grab a dog's muzzle and hold it closed. It's like grabbing you around the head and covering your mouth - it instinctively creates a fight or flight reaction.

Make sure you have appropriate toys and chews for him. When he starts to nip while you play, simply stop the play and move your hands/body away from him. When he stops nipping, praise him profusely and change the play to something that doesn't lead to nipping. Play wrassling is fine, but always stop as soon as he gets overexcited and/or starts nipping.

Try more games that do not involve nipping behaviors, etc, like tug of war, fetch (or more usually chase the ball). Have mental stimulation toys like kongs and treat dispensing toys for him. Play "find me" and so on.

Make sure he has toys that he IS allowed to bite and beat up. My Tornado-dog is at this minute grabbing and shaking one of his stuffed (well partially stuffed) toys. When he tires of that, he brings me a different toy to play tug of war and catch. He has learned that playing with me doesn't include biting and other doggy-style roughhousing.

If he chews on you or unacceptable items, simply replace the item with a dog chew. Praise him profusely when he refocuses his chewing.

You will be surprised how quickly he will respond to you. And you will rebuild the trust that you've lost.

I'll also add, that if that is the method the trainer recommended for biting, you should seriously re-evaluate the techniques provided for everything else. Some may be good, but odds are they are more forceful and aversive than necessary.

Both shepherds and labs are eager to please dogs. Labs can be more focused on having fun, but both breeds are bred to want to please their people. This makes them a joy to train. Make the goals fun and show your pleasure at the right behaviors with treats and a ton of praise.

You can find great videos by kikipup on you tube to help you train without the use of force, pain and/or fear.
Thank you! I was hoping to go back for level 2 training once when had the basic commands down well but not not so sure 😕

Luckily I think that was the only bad advice we got. Everything else was really just basic commands and grooming tips. No other aggressive suggestions that I can think of
 

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Thank you! I will definitely utilize online training resources 😊

Thank you! I was hoping to go back for level 2 training once when had the basic commands down well but not not so sure 😕

Luckily I think that was the only bad advice we got. Everything else was really just basic commands and grooming tips. No other aggressive suggestions that I can think of
I would not go back. That is no way to treat a baby puppy. It also indicates a lack of understanding of dogs in general.
 

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You've gotten some great advice! I just want to agree with the consensus to not go back to this trainer. In addition to everything mentioned above, grabbing and holding the muzzle like that will often create a 'head-shy' dog who is always worried and avoidant when your hands get near their face/head. This makes everyday tasks difficult, like getting collars or over-the-head harnesses on and off, grooming around the head and ears, brushing teeth, etc. as well as causes unnecessary stress during veterinary exams. If you ever need to administer medical treatments like ear or eyedrops, you'll also have a much bigger headache managing that with a head-shy dog! A trainer that gives you these kinds of 'quick fixes' with no consideration to the long-term consequences isn't someone you want to work with.

It's also a really, really good thing that you recognized that this technique wasn't working for your dog, and reached out for advice! That shows you have great intuition and ability to read your dog. Wishing you luck in working through his mouthy behavior with the more dog-friendly methods shared here. Just be patient! As others have mentioned, both German Shepherds and Labs are notoriously bitey as puppies, and it will take time for your pup to develop the motor skills and impulse control needed to manage his instincts. But it will happen, so long as you're consistent!
 
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