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Hello everyone,

A bit of backstory: I'm a new dog owner with a 4 month old fell terrier pup, who is absolutely gorgeous. I'd like her to become the most well-mannered young lady any other dog or human could care to meet, but at the moment I feel my training efforts are falling short.
She's on the way with house training, and I've just acquired a crate for her, (mostly for travel) which I'm hoping she'll love, but we do have an ongoing problem with aggression.

Although she seems fine when meeting dogs, about halfway through a walk - and sometimes at home - she starts nipping at my hands, legs or clothes, and works herself up to the point I can't seem to calm her down. This isn't so much of a problem at home when I can give her a little 'time out', but outdoors I'm forced to pick her up and walk home with her in my arms, for fear she might try it on with a passing stranger. (and quite frankly, to protect my soft bits)

Since becoming a dog owner I've heard nothing but mixed messages and scare stories from family and friends which, although I've done my best to ignore them, have made me quite confused about the best course of action to take with her training.
Initially I started with bite inhibition by yelping or distracting her when things got too rough, but her nipping started to get worse, so I tried the water spray method to keep her teeth at bay whenever she started. Now, she's very aware of the presence of a water spray, and apparently very aware of its absence!

I'm getting a bit concerned about her behaviour when out on walks, because I know while growing up she's going to have a lot of energy that needs using, and only getting to take her on these half walks that don't end well must not be very effective or fun for her. Not so long ago when the big wide world was more new, she really took to the lead and even to short jogs while we were out, right now I can't help but think I've made some obvious mistakes along the way.

Thanks, and sorry to introduce myself with a question! I'm loving reading as much as I can on the forum so far, hopefully you guys can go some way towards solving my current dilemma.
 

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Hello and welcome! :)

First of all ... the water method will only make her not trust you. Then .... I understand about the Terrier nipping. Most of my dogs are Terrier mixes. The screeching and yelping just puts them into high prey drive. LOl! :) They think you are a rodent or some prey squealing ...... something they like to hunt ... being bred to do so!

I find that ignoring them and turning my back when they do this ... means that when you nip ... the fun ends. I also redirect them to the proper thing to bite on ... such as a toy or a tug rope. This way ... they keep their trust in me and I have taught them what I "Want" them to do and not what I "Don't Want" them to do. That is the key. It is much easier to train what you want done than to try and undo what you don't want done. :)

We need photos too! :D
 

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She's not being aggressive, she's being a puppy! It's completely normal for her to still be play biting.

I subscribe to the 'all fun ends' method for stopping nipping, too. In the house, it's easy, just step over a baby gate with your back turned for 10-15 seconds and repeat. When out for a walk, you can't leave your dog unattended so it gets harder. What worked for me was "being a tree." Lincoln woul be trying to fashion me shorts out of my jeans while walking and I'd just stand as still as I could, not acknowledging him at all. When he let go, even for a second, we started walking again. He soon realized that he got to do the fun activity (walking) when he kept his teeth to himself. Some dogs might need treats along the way if they find the biting more fun than the walking.
 

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Her behavior is totally normal and something many (most?) puppies do. There's not much you can do beyond 1) turn your back and ignore her; 2) distract her with a toy or stick; 3) use your leash and her harness to hold her out away from you until she calms down.

What she's doing is in no way aggression - she's just a puppy who is overstimulated (or over tired after her walk) and trying to play with you. She will grow out of this craziness and teaching her that biting ends playtime is the best way to help her figure it out.

Stop spraying her with water - she will either learn to be afraid of you, or learn to like it. Either way it's not effective. And as you've found, she's clearly aware of when you can spray her or not.
 

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I agree. No water.
Many people give up on a method before it's really had a chance to start to sink in with the puppy. If you change methods, you just end up confusing the puppy.
For us, it took a good 4 weeks for our first puppy to get his nipping under control, for the second puppy, about 2 weeks, and the third puppy about 3 weeks.

If yelping isn't working (and Abbylynn is right, for some puppies yelping only gets them more hyper) you can try a new sound, like maybe OUCH in a loud, deepish voice. Also, make sure you withdraw your presence (leave the room) so that fun ends when she continues to bite.

Also, watch for "extinction burst" which basically means the puppy likes biting (it's normal and fun for them) so they are going to try even harder to bite, as you try harder get rid of that behavior. It's like the saying "it's darkest before the dawn." She may get worse before better, but, be consistent.
 

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I agree with the advice above. Getting up and leaving the room was the only puppy biting deterrent that was effective for our little girl when she was in that stage. Sometimes I would even go into another room (like the bathroom) and shut the door for a few seconds....otherwise she would follow me, biting my legs or ankles out of the room. She could have cared less if you yelled or said ouch or any of that. It usually made her more excited and wound up.

We were worried it was never going to end. Now, at 9 months, she would never dream of biting hands/feet/legs or nipping faces. In fact, if we get hurt (kick a piece of furniture, etc) and say ouch....she comes running to give kisses and make sure we are ok. The puppy biting is certainly no sign of future aggression. Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thank you for the welcome and advice!

I'll admit the water spray thing did go against my better instincts, it's so easy to hope for a magical 'cure' when you're being chewed to death.
We're going on a little walk now in the lovely sun to make some progress on her manners, (and my woodenness) and hopefully take a picture if she can sit still for a whole second!

(might be a little while until I can post pics, just waiting to finish a roll - yes I know, very old fashioned :D)
 

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OK, here she is in all her unfocused glory!
Wee pup:

Young lady:

I'm not sure I could've taken worse pictures - the second one took some distracting to get her facing the camera - but she's still gorgeous :)
 

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With the mouthing... when yelping does not work...

(Not my idea as I read it at the Pyr forum)
To train the soft mouth using PB or creamcheese in your hand...
Put a glob in one hands & have pup lick it...
Then replace with the other hand...
If dog bites remove, wait & don't give "treat-treated" hands...
Repeat.
Till dog starts to also lick that "un-treat-treated" hands... reward with praises & more treats.

Works for me since its my Roman's breed forum.
Roman loves suckling my hands now...
Romani.jpg Romansit!.jpg Romanii.jpg
And also during vet & grooming visits, giving my hands to suckle calms him down in stressful situations.
 

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When I first decided five years ago that I wanted a dog, I decided to do some research on training. I ended up finding this bit of dog-training information, and it has helped tremendously with my dog. Perhaps it may be of assistance to you as well?

Here's the original link: http://www.dogbreedinfo.com/topdogrules.htm

and here's some more (similar) information: http://www.cbrrescue.org/articles/packleader.htm

I wish you the best of luck with your dog.

Those links contain a lot of misinformation about old and outdated techniques, and the majority of members of this forum would not recommend you following this advice. "pack leader" and "alpha" terms/theories have been disproven for quite awhile now, unfortunately it is still widely accepted as fact.
 

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I'm a trainer who has been teaching for over 7 years. I agree - this is not aggression. The alpha dog links are old news although some of the tips are ok. I'm not sure what your "time out" consists of, but that isn't teaching the dog much unless you are using it to just show she won't get any attention for biting or other unacceptable behaviors. Where does she go during time out?
Get to a reputable Positive Reinforcement training class asap for guidance And socializing.
You do need to stand still when the biting happens. Do Not ever pick her up and carry her home. This is fun attention and empowering by lifting her up higher. You wouldn't pick up a St. Bernard would you? Lol. Terriers are known for being feisty.
I'm not sure why you haven't implemented the crate sooner, but if you did it will make the potty training much easier. Every time she goes in your house reinforces that it is indeed also the bathroom for her.
Best of luck... ~Sue
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Does positive reinforcement go for humans too? :D;)
Her 'time outs' are just me leaving the room until she calms down, (between 10-20 seconds, whatever feels right) but outdoors the biting/ragging can get very painful, of course I'd only pick her up once it looked like it wouldn't stop i.e. drawing blood and tears.
The lateness with the crate is due to some other advice from my mother in law: "Don't you dare ever lock her in a cage"...
Her house training seems to be going fairly well anyway, luckily I'm able to keep a close eye out and she's regular as clockwork! I'm a bit worried about confusing things by introducing this new system to her so late on, but needs must.
Thank you for all the advice, she's booked in for socialization/training next week; hopefully this thread can help someone else in the similar position of trawling through the internet trying to pick out the better methods from the outdated.
 

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I didn't realize that those links were 'out-of-date' whenever I posted them. Even though I didn't follow those guidelines 100%, the ones I did follow helped me out a lot with my dog, and I was just trying to help someone else. But if I was wrong to have posted them here, I apologize. I confess that I know little to nothing about dogs - especially compared with all the experts here. If it makes anyone feel any better, I'll delete my earlier post. Good day.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Honestly don't worry about it at all, I think even though certain methods aren't so much in favour any more, it can be nothing but beneficial to discuss them in one place - if I had that luxury when I was in a massive panic thinking "I'm in over my head here!" maybe I wouldn't have tried one thing, found it didn't work for me (possibly because not enough time spent sticking to it, possibly because not such a good method) it would've been a lot easier to remain calm and carry on, safe in the knowledge I was probably doing the right thing for me and my dog the first time around, and my own instincts just needed some reinforcing.
As it turns out, even after a few days my pup's showing a great improvement, quite likely due to the aforementioned 'extinction burst' erm... extinguishing :)
The main thing I've taken from here is the importance of providing positive guidance for your pup, as opposed to giving her a force to push (/pull) against.
I had no idea such a tiny young thing would need so much attention, but I've been amazed at the rate of learning, which is incredible considering her age. Proud parent here ;)
 

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I didn't realize that those links were 'out-of-date' whenever I posted them. Even though I didn't follow those guidelines 100%, the ones I did follow helped me out a lot with my dog, and I was just trying to help someone else. But if I was wrong to have posted them here, I apologize. I confess that I know little to nothing about dogs - especially compared with all the experts here. If it makes anyone feel any better, I'll delete my earlier post. Good day.
Don't worry about it. :) But here are some more recent things to read:

De-Bunking the "Alpha Dog" Theory
AVSAB Position Statement on the Use of Dominance Theory in Behavior Modification of Animals
Misconceptions of the Mythical Alpha Dog
Wolf expert L. David Mech's site

I like this free, online training textbook (from behaviorist Ian Dunbar) for learning how to teach bite inhibition and other normal puppy things. :)
 

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Does positive reinforcement go for humans too? :D;).......

Lol!!! If your dog tries to train you too.... you have one smart dog in your hands.
Yesterday when I forgot to ring the bell going out to clean Roman's poppies, he just swagger up to the door (slider not closed since its a nice day)... rang the bell for me (tell me I forgot) and proceed to lay down to watch me do my chore... I did not register what was going on till hubby tells me when I came back in...
that little bugger!!!

I believe in crate training though...
 
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