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Discussion Starter #1
Hello, I'm new to the forum and though I'd say hello. Me and my Fiance' have been fans of "The Dog Whisperer" for years. We finally decided to get a dog a few months ago. We both grew up with dogs, so it's nothing new. We rescued a Coon hound mix, about 8-9 months old, about 40 lbs, named Trigger. We did nearly everything that Cesear teaches. For example, he was absolutely terrible on the walk. Now he requires little correction. He also was house trained within a week. Hasn't had an accident since.

The problem. He is the boss. As much as we've tried to be the pack leader, it hasn't worked. The problem is he wants to ply all the time and loves to be chased.

For example, we'll be grilling something on the deck and he walks up and tugs on my pant leg. I reach down to "bite" him back (the touch), and he takes that as game on. Then he'll grab my pant leg, let go and take off running. Ignoring doesn't work. Once I get him and put him into a submissive position, (on his side), he'll fight for a bit, then give up. I can usually stand over him with him on his side. Once I let him up, he's usually back to how he was.

He's also VERY mouthy. He plays with his mouth, and we can't break him of that.

We give him lots of exercise. He gets usually 30 minute walks a day, sometimes more. A few times a week I'll take him on a 4 mile run. He still has tons of energy.

We also take him to the dog park several times a week. He humps every dog in the place. I correct him and it doesn't bother him at all. There was a small fight that broke out the last time we were there. Where was Trigger? He was humping one of the dogs involved in the fight. Talk about embarrassing! I walked/ran him for 30 minutes around the dog park, then walked him into the park and put him onto his side and let all the other dogs sniff him. Didn't work at all, and all the owners there thought I was crazy.

Like I said, we follow Ceaser's advice to the T. And I feel like we're making any more progress.

Anyway, just wanted to get some opinions on what we could do differently.

Thanks,
Steve

 

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I'm not going to act biased here, but you should know that many people hear at DF don't follow the advice of CM. (Ceasar)

I know I don't. I think most of his methods are too "wild" for a "domesticated" companion... But that's neither here nor there, what works for you works for you. : )

What have you "tried" to do to change this behavior?

I'm not a dog expert, so I'm not going to try to sound like one... ; ) But I've had dogs that were "mouthy" before, and I've read several differnt books on 'dogs' and most of them say that when you've got a dog like that, you can go at correcting the behavior several different ways...

One being, ignore the behavior- He starts "mouthing" you, chewing on you, ignore him. Get up and leave. I know you said it doesn't work, but if you ignore him in a different way he may get the point. Another way, one that I've done, (It did take awhile for the dog to catch on,) was, every time he gets "mouthy", I'd change the direction to a toy, I'd put a toy in his mouth... I just kept going with that one... I would do my best to make sure my hands never got close to his mouth. Also, with younger puppies that bite, many people "yelp" when their dog bites or chews on them, and sometimes that can help.

You said you exercise him a lot, it sounds like you do a fair amount in that department, but have you tried "training"? Mental stimulation can be almost, and sometimes more, exhausting than physical exercise... You can also give him KONGS, you know what they are right? Fill them up with peanut-butter or some substance that will take him hours to work on... He'll wear himself out trying to get it out...

I hope these "SUGGESTIONS" can give you an idea to something that will help you. : ) Good luck!
 

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I don't have much time here, as I'm on my lunch, but as stated above, Cesars methods are really not for your ordinary dog. Cesar deals with dogs with issues. And if you've seen his shows, etc, how many times has he said that he is not a trainer, but rather a rehabilitator. He takes problem dogs, gets them back to what he calls a clean slate, then you, as the dog owner needs to either begin the dogs training, or get a trainer.

So that being said, if I were you, I would find myself a good trainer and begin as soon as you can. There are a lot of good trainers out there. Also, if trainers are too expensive, look for a kennel club that offers classes. The trainers here usually charge 30-50 per session, and at the local kennel club, they charge 70.00 for 7 weeks for the Obedience classes. That's only 10.00 per week. The regular trainer would cost 200.00-300.00 for the same. There's a lot of good help out there.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I disagree. I'm not going to get into the CM thing, because it sounds like its "one of those topics". My problem is not "sit, stay, down", it's a dominance issue. To a point where it's very difficult to control him. My fiance, who is 5'2" and about 112lbs has a very hard time. If you ignore his biting, he bites harder. She has bruises on her legs from him. That's not an option.

The dog park again is another issue. His tail is straight up in the air the whole time. When a larger dog stands his ground, I tell the owners not to stop, let them work it out (they usually feel bad that their dog is pushing T around). But it does seem to help.

I think CM has a very good point about the Pack Leader. Someone has to be the leader, and if it's not the owner, it's the dog.

How do I stop the dominance?

Thanks for the help,
Steve
 

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My step-mother has three dogs... One of which is a hard-headed JR Terrier-mix... He is stubborn, hard-headed, and refuses to listen to her...

My advice to her was to "get the voice like you're going to beat'em"... Taking a hands-on approach could very well make things worse since this a "mouthing" issue.

When I had to work with my mother's JR Terrier-mix, he'd try to ignore me, or he'd start doing what he wanted to do... I got the deepest, loudest, meanest voice I could muster- Leaned aggressively over him and said, "KNOCK IT OFF!" A simple, "NO" would have been sufficient but he was pushing my buttons.

Well. He knocked it off! He sat down and looked at me with a shocked look on his face.

Have you tried that?

What else have you tried?

If you haven't already, I'd really really start working on training him. HARD. Get him to a point that when he's "mouthing", you put him in a "sit" and tell him to "stay", or say, "NO. Down."

Is he crate trained? If not, now might be the perfect reason to start... He starts mouthing, put him a "time-out", make him go to his crate and "lay down".
 

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Start doing NILIF religiously. Cesar doesn't verbalize it, but I'll bet his dogs are on it all the time.

For example, we'll be grilling something on the deck and he walks up and tugs on my pant leg.
I was going to suggest the same thing deege did. He comes up and bites your pant leg, he has to go pay the price. A time out, getting locked in the house, crated, whatever.

I reach down to "bite" him back (the touch), and he takes that as game on.
Then don't do it. If you know he takes it as game on, there's no reason to do it as it's not having the desired effect. I would calmly take him by the collar (not jerking or rough) or "move" him with your energy, and take him to a time out. You want to give him the message that if he acts like that, he can't be at the party.

This will take some repetition on your part and may be a little strange at first to keep walking him in the house as soon as he misbehaves, but keep at it and he will get it. Leave him longer each time. 5 minutes, 10 minutes, 15 minutes. half hour. Party's over, but his behavior had consequences.

Likewise, when he's acting like a productive member of the family, make sure you pay attention and reward him for his good behavior.

We also take him to the dog park several times a week. He humps every dog in the place. I correct him and it doesn't bother him at all.
Then leave. Go home. No more dog park until he knows how to act there. Take him. He humps, you leave. Next day, take him again, He humps, you leave immediately. Again, repetition is going to be necessary, but when he makes the connection, he'll stop if he wants to be at the park.

Like I said, we follow Ceaser's advice to the T.
I like Cesar a lot. I have used his basic philosophy to raise all my dogs. But unless you have his energy and knowledge, it's hard to do the techniques and be successful. I'd be all for you having Cesar work with your dog, but not many people have his talent. :)
 

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You have asked for advice and promptly dismissed what was given, perhaps because it doesn't resemble Caesar Milan's methods. Here's the thing...You have already said that what you're doing is no longer working, so it might be time to let go of it and try something else.

Nothing you've said sounds like an example of a dog that is trying to "dominate" you. It all sounds like the behavior of a young puppy who hasn't yet learned what you want him to do.

So the dog pulls on your pant leg while you're grilling. Of course he does...he's young and he wants to play with you, but you're not paying attention. You get agitated by his behavior and begin to go after him. Perfect! Chasing him is exactly what he wants you to do, so you are giving him all the power when you do this, which seems to be exactly the opposite of what you want. And pushing him to the ground so that you can pin him there until he "submits" teaches him nothing except that you like to push dogs to the ground and pin them there. Surely that isn't the lesson you want your dog to take away from this interaction. So what DO you want him to learn? Rather than pulling on your pant leg while you're grilling, what would you like him to do? Rest in his crate? Down-stay on a mat? Chew a bone? Start teaching him to do this alternate behavior.

Deege gave some great options for dealing with the biting. To clarify (since you argued about it), when we say "ignore," we often mean "IGNORE." As in, you bit me, so I'm getting up and leaving the room, closing the door behind me. The dog can't bite you harder if it is another room. It's somewhat analogous to a time-out with a little kid. If puppy can't play nicely, then his playmate (you) will get up and leave him alone to cool off for a few minutes before returning. I would just add that it isn't all that uncommon to see a few bruises and scrapes on the new owner of a puppy!

I'm going to be honest when I say I don't really have a lot of advice for the dog park. I'm not sure why you mention that the dog's tail is up the whole time you're there...is there some significance to this? As for the humping, I would probably redirect my dog a few times if he was doing this constantly, but if he couldn't control himself, I'd go ahead and leave and not make any more dog park trips for a while. We would work on doggy manners at home, with one familiar dog at a time. Humping behavior like that which you describe often dies out as a pup gets older.

I don't necessarily agree that the dog is getting enough exercise. My dog is nine years old and lame in one leg and he gets two thirty-minute walks a day, plus yard time and training time. Sometimes we hit up the dog park during the week as well. Given that, does it seem likely that a thirty-minute walk once (or even twice) a day is going to be enough exercise for a healthy, young, extremely high energy breed? You have to remember that hounds are made to cover great distances at a flat out run. An amble around the neighborhood with your dog is going to leave you with a pup who has enough spare energy to pull on your pant leg while you're grilling.

You might want to check out some other training techniques. No matter how great Caesar Milan is, he isn't the only person with dog expertise out there. Sometimes you have to mix your methods to get the best results.
 

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I'd be all for you having Cesar work with your dog, but not many people have his talent. :)
I'll just state, that I think that's why I don't follow Cesar; I will admit that I've watched some of his shows, and things he's done with a few dogs pleasantly surprised me... But at the same time, you've got the average Joe-Blow with an IQ lower than that of a can of peas, and he's out there trying to wrestle down a dog twice his weight, "It's okay. I watched this from Cesar." And wamo-blamo you hear Ambulance sirens two minutes later... Hehe...

I agree that if a lot more people had talent, and actually studied his techniques, they might have a lot more success. I'm not sure...

I'm just not keen on the idea of "alpha-rolling", or anything to that degree.

But I'm done now, I don't want this to turn into a Cesar-debate.

I think the OP has a lot of good ideas that have been posted his way... Good luck to you and your pooch, and your Fiancee, I hope her bruises heal soon. : )
 

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"How do I stop the dominance?" Steve

I would stop worrying about it and train your dog. Chasing him down and pinning until he "submits" isn't going to teach him what you want him TO do. Repeatedly correcting him when he probably isn't going to listen and allowing him to hump dogs all over the dog park isn't teaching him what you want him TO do. Turn off the TV, enroll in a positively trained obedience class as suggested, work at it and you'll all benefit.
 

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Boy, you guys really know how to make a new member want to stick around. ;)

Steve, I hope you do stick around and try some of the suggestions given you and try not to let the anti-Cesar-syndrome chase you away.
 

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To the OP,

we had nearly the same problem with our 3 month old dominating pup..(biting/mouthing/not listening)...and all the alpha dog techniques i tried didn't work (i looked them up online..:). I used to dread each day with the puppy. But then we did the NILIF which worked really well...she stopped tearing my pant legs and biting my hands. I actually used to sit with boots and gloves inside :)...so that I could ignore her when she tugged (otherwise it hurt). Look up NILIF here or just search for it...its effective.

As for the pulling, my arms nearly got dislocated till we got her a prong collar; and combined with the basic leash walking techniques...we can finally take her on a walk and all parties enjoy it. i'm sure your fiancee will appreciate the prong collar.

Now she is 8 months old and still a dominating puppy but a work in progress. Hope that helps. :)
 

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For example, we'll be grilling something on the deck and he walks up and tugs on my pant leg. I reach down to "bite" him back (the touch), and he takes that as game on. Then he'll grab my pant leg, let go and take off running. Ignoring doesn't work. Once I get him and put him into a submissive position, (on his side), he'll fight for a bit, then give up. I can usually stand over him with him on his side. Once I let him up, he's usually back to how he was.
I think that he is seeing this as a game. He probably thinks that you are playing with him when he tugs on your pant leg and you touch him back.. and then chase after him when he runs off. I would stop going after him to put him on his side. If he tugs at your leg.. correct him.. but don't be lured into his game.

You could also try teaching him to 'Lay down' and 'Stay' and then ask him to do this when he tries to do the pant leg thing. I think the Lay and stay is your best bet actually.. Zoey, my 9 month old Lhasa used to be the same way, now when she get's too mouthy or won't stop the game, I just ask her to lay down, and she always will, no matter how much she wants to play, and then I tell her to Stay... and then she seems to know that the game is done.

Hope that helps! :)

Edit, just to mention that I also use CM methods to train my dogs, not so much the alpha roll, but lots of the other leadership things.

When I had to work with my mother's JR Terrier-mix, he'd try to ignore me, or he'd start doing what he wanted to do... I got the deepest, loudest, meanest voice I could muster- Leaned aggressively over him and said, "KNOCK IT OFF!" A simple, "NO" would have been sufficient but he was pushing my buttons.
This..also works! :p
 

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I think CM has a very good point about the Pack Leader. Someone has to be the leader, and if it's not the owner, it's the dog.
Ummm, I kind of have to disagree with ya there as well. I have all of CM's videos, as well as all of the seasons that he has out on DVD, as well as books, and when I tried using his stuff on a cattle dog I once had, it was not like him doing it. That's where you, as well as I, failed, is we are not Cesar. He has something about him that works for him. What works for him may not work for you, or me. I stopped trying to work with his things because my Betty was getting worse, so I had to turn to other ways, which is how I found out about Kathy Sdao and her DVD sets. Totally awsome. You see, the problem is that 'YOU' need to find what works for 'YOU', just like 'I' found what works for 'ME'. I found that Betty was never going to be stress free living in town, she was a working dog. So I finally found a 400+ acre ranch with cattle, and now she's in Cattle Dog Heaven. It was hard letting her go, but it was for her, and not me. But now I have 2 Border Collies and a Sheltie, and they are all wonderful dogs. I just love them to death. So, I'm not trying to rain on your parade or anything, just letting you know that we, as dog owners, need to find what really works for us, as our dogs are not all the same. They are individuals, with their own separate needs. And that's what we need to find.

Now for the training, no, I am not talking about sit, down, etc, etc. I'm talking about a trainer that will help with your dogs individual needs. Working with mouthing, biting, jumping, etc, etc. Whatever it is that you need to work on, a good trainer will be able to help you. And as for the costs that I posted above, those were just examples to show the differences between kennel clubs and individual trainers and not saying you need to take Obedience classes. You need to get control of your dog, and a good trainer will be able to help you with that, and tailor a plan to your specific needs. Here on DF, we don't know what your dog is really like, as he have never met him. A good trainer will be able to tailor a good plan for your needs.
 

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Hello, I'm new to the forum and though I'd say hello.
HELLLO STEVE!! Welcome to our forum.

The problem. He is the boss. As much as we've tried to be the pack leader, it hasn't worked. The problem is he wants to ply all the time and loves to be chased.
You must have worked for a boss Steve, once or twice in your life? Would you characterize your boss as someone who wants to play all the time? If your dog wants to play that means he's playful. If you were to demonstrate what the opposite of playful is, what would that be? TEACH THAT.

That may mean teaching the dog to expend his energy in other, preferred ways, and that may mean teaching the dog to settle. In fact, I'd do both and our sticky titled 'Doggy Zen' does exactly that.

For example, we'll be grilling something on the deck and he walks up and tugs on my pant leg. I reach down to "bite" him back (the touch), and he takes that as game on. Then he'll grab my pant leg, let go and take off running. Ignoring doesn't work. Once I get him and put him into a submissive position, (on his side), he'll fight for a bit, then give up. I can usually stand over him with him on his side. Once I let him up, he's usually back to how he was.
Persistent behavior is the result of unpredictable rewards. Your technique exacerbates the exact problem you are trying to remedy. The suggestion of NILIF is a good one in helping the dog determine the predictability of rewards.

He's also VERY mouthy. He plays with his mouth, and we can't break him of that.
Google 'The Bite Stops Here'.

We give him lots of exercise. He gets usually 30 minute walks a day, sometimes more. A few times a week I'll take him on a 4 mile run. He still has tons of energy.
Welcome to owning a puppy!

We also take him to the dog park several times a week. He humps every dog in the place. I correct him and it doesn't bother him at all. There was a small fight that broke out the last time we were there. Where was Trigger? He was humping one of the dogs involved in the fight. Talk about embarrassing! I walked/ran him for 30 minutes around the dog park, then walked him into the park and put him onto his side and let all the other dogs sniff him. Didn't work at all, and all the owners there thought I was crazy.
Behaviors reinforced are behaviors repeated. Every time you take your dog to the park, and allow him to practice this behavior, he will continue to practice the behavior. The behavior is very natural so you need to defend yourself with a cue to defer attention to you, and it must be really, really fun.

Dog parks suck on many levels, not more so than absent-owners. Don't be one of them. If you want to enjoy the dog park, participate with your dog in the experience. Teach your dog some fun outdoor games, maybe fetch, and use NILIF to get his attention and other behavior you want at the dog park. If you want your dog to practice behavior at the dog park, let it be behaviors you want. It's not going to happen over night, so practice a lot at home, practice a lot outside of the dog park before entering.

My problem is not "sit, stay, down", it's a dominance issue. To a point where it's very difficult to control him. My fiance, who is 5'2" and about 112lbs has a very hard time. If you ignore his biting, he bites harder. She has bruises on her legs from him. That's not an option.
It's quite possible your ineffectiveness (and I don't mean this in a demeaning way) will need the assistance of a certified dog trainer.

I'd recommend:
http://www.apdt.com/po/ts/default.aspx
or
http://ccpdt.org/rstr/index.html

How do I stop the dominance?
Dominance is a self fulfilling prophecy. You don't stop it, you become a better trainer and it disappears. Your inquiry would be a sign that you're well on your way to being a better trainer.

Good luck!
 

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Oh, I forgot to mention, does your dog like ball or frisbee? I love my Nelly to death, but when I had first got her, I thought a walk in the morning and one in the evening would be enough. But when we are at home, she would sit by the door. When she went out, she would want back in, then out, then in, lol. I found the cure to that. Instead of a walk in the morning, now I take all 3 dogs for 30-45 minutes of solid FRISBEE. That cured Nell's bordom. Plus it tires her out, and she's really good all day, doesn't bother me when I'm working on something, and then we have our training times, play times, and then she sometimes comes over and cuddles with me (but Sonny cuddles more, lol). So if you might think bordom could be a possible cause, try something that doesn't take a lot of time, like FRISBEE if your dog likes it, and do it solid, tire the dog out, instead of the one walk. Then you can do a walk in the evening so the dog gets the benefit of walking as well. But maybe your just not tiring the dog out enough, and he's got so much energy built up in him. Remember, he's still a puppy, lol. And they do have energy that needs to be bled off.
 

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I disagree. I'm not going to get into the CM thing, because it sounds like its "one of those topics". My problem is not "sit, stay, down", it's a dominance issue. To a point where it's very difficult to control him. My fiance, who is 5'2" and about 112lbs has a very hard time. If you ignore his biting, he bites harder. She has bruises on her legs from him. That's not an option.

The dog park again is another issue. His tail is straight up in the air the whole time. When a larger dog stands his ground, I tell the owners not to stop, let them work it out (they usually feel bad that their dog is pushing T around). But it does seem to help.

I think CM has a very good point about the Pack Leader. Someone has to be the leader, and if it's not the owner, it's the dog.

How do I stop the dominance?

Thanks for the help,
Steve

Lol, you are not in a position to disagree here..
You are now surrounded by HUNDREDS of trainers, experienced dog owners, and breeders who knows the RIGHT way.

Ceasar's way is just there to cause traumas to your dogs if done the wrong way.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
OK....so, this is Steve's soon to be "other half", Ashlie. I appreciate all of the input from you guys. Obviously we wouldn't be on here if we had everything under control and if all of CM's training/behavior techniques were working for us. So thank you for other points of view,as well. Heres' what IS working for us so far. Trigg is crate trained (not a peep, no accidnets, can not come out of his crate or go in until he sits or is clam), allows both of use to walk through the doorway first, sits patiently before food is given or his leash is put on. After looking at the NILIF site, it looks like these are some of the techniques used. In this regard I feel that he does understand that NILIF, but it looks like the attention and play are the big areas we need to work on. I know people have said to just "ignore " the biting/niping, etc by putting him outside/inside "away" from us. If we do this......put him outside for ex., he will tear around the back yard digging up the landscaping or if we put him in, he will find something to tear up inside. His crate is upstairs and I feel it would be impossible for ME to get him upstairs to put him in a "time-out" in his crate, when he is biting at me. And we want his crate to be a good experience.
Any other suggestions? Steve goes on business trips for work sometimes 4 days out of the week and I am left alone to deal w/him. When in the backyard and playing, sometimes he will come running towards me full speed....and I don't move b/c I dont want him to chase me...and he will literally just run into my chin/leg and it's a wonder I don't get knocked down. After this, I just can't catch him......we have a huge backyard. He has also plowed into house guests as well. He may be only 40lbs but is extremely strong.
Has using a squirt bottle proven helpful for any of you guys? So far, this seems to be the only thing that he responds to, but it's hard to carry that thing around everywhere.

Thanks guys.
AsH
 

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For working on Focus, there's a great book out there, and it's rather inexpensive, called 'In Focus'. Excellent book, I would highly recommend. Another book to check out is 'When Pigs Fly! Training Success with Impossible Dogs'. Those are 2 great books. Another is 'Control Unleashed'. Just in case you might want to check on them.
 

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My Bernese who is now 13 months old was a HUGE mouthy nut. I too complained about this very issue. What worked for us is to teach her to take treats really nice so she knows hands are to be gentle with, also we never give up on the NO BITE! and ignoring her, walk around the place like your all that and are soo confident and won't take any nonsense, I taught her that I will only throw the ball or whatever when she relaxes and sits. Playing tug helped alot with mine, we play on my terms and she has great bite control when she does accidently get your hand. She still does get mouthy once in awhile when she's really excited but it's getting less and less. She is growing up little by little;) We still have some issues with other things but they are getting better with consistant teaching.
Did you mention pulling on the leash? The prong works best for mine to keep her in line, since she's a super strong puller. I wouldn't use it though if your dog is aggressive. I actually walked my dog a half block without her pulling my arm off yesterday and this was with a normal collar!!! This is a big deal for us:D Keep asking advice, teaching your pup, and I'm sure he will get better
 

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You deserve the same welcome, no? HELLLO ASHLIE! Welcome to our forum.

I know people have said to just "ignore " the biting/niping, etc by putting him outside/inside "away" from us. If we do this......put him outside for ex., he will tear around the back yard digging up the landscaping or if we put him in, he will find something to tear up inside. His crate is upstairs and I feel it would be impossible for ME to get him upstairs to put him in a "time-out" in his crate, when he is biting at me. And we want his crate to be a good experience.
Any other suggestions?
You're likely to get a bunch of advice and wonder what to do with it. Allow me to give you a an order of preference when sifting through the lot.

Priority 1: Total Management
Look around your home and all the stiff your dog wants/likes to play with, put it out of his reach. You want behavior, you'll use this stuff to get behavior. If he's allowed to play with it on his own, he'll choose the behaviors he prefers, and currently that's not working out for you.

Your dog is smart, so he'll find new stuff to play with, just do your best to to use what he wants/likes to get the behaviors you want/prefer.

This will help with the mouthing too since he won't have much stuff to mouth.

Priority 2: (You're not going to like this one but...) Hand Feed Your Dog
View each piece of kibble is a behavior. Do not give a piece of kibble unless the dog is doing something you want. Eye contact...kibble. Sitting politely...kibble. Laying down to rest...kibble. Preferred behavior...kibble, preferred behavior...kibble. You say you're doing these things, do it more.

Since mouthing seems to be a big problem do not offer the kibble with fingers extended. You're inviting a bite if you do. Cup it in your hand so he has to use his tongue to get it out, but...do not give it to him if he insists on getting it out. Wait for him to stop insisting (he'll back away), then give him the kibble. He's smart, the first few attempts may be painful, but the more persistent you are, the more he'll back away to have the kibble.

Priority 3: Classical Conditioning
This is actually very much a part of 2 also, but worth mentioning. Classical conditioning is simply the pairing of a good thing, like food rewards, butt sniffing, or play with complicating scenarios.

You mentioned new guests... Practice sitting in order to meet new guests. You can use food to reinforce the sit and you can use the guest to reinforce the sit by allowing your dog to great them. The plowing people over thing I'll get to later.

Priority 4: Progressive Desensitization
This means asking for small behaviors for lots of rewards and expanding the behavior for less reinforcement. That means, lots and lots of practice.

Say you want your dog to settle on a mat when guests arrive. You would practice a brief sit when guests are around, and lots of reward for sitting. Very important, if your dog is not sitting, no reward. You'll have to be quick. As you progress (catch that in the title), you'll expand the length of time he must sit or lay down on the mat. I would keep a watch handy to monitor the seconds. Again, if he breaks the sit, no reward, just start over, and go back to a point where he is earning reward.

Other priorities that are always going on: Operant Conditioning (NILIF) and Reward Cessation. Reward Cessation is basically your persistence must be greater than the dog's. You mentioned ignoring him wasn't working. It wasn't working because you gave up, and likely rewarded him with exactly he was looking for...attention. Keep in mind that even negative attention is attention.

Persistant dogs are tough and if you're continually finding yourself frustrated I emplore you to hire a certified trainer. Your dog doesn't want to cause you trouble in spite of what you may glean from popular TV.

When in the backyard and playing, sometimes he will come running towards me full speed....and I don't move b/c I dont want him to chase me...and he will literally just run into my chin/leg and it's a wonder I don't get knocked down.
You're right about the chasing...don't want that. But this is one of those times where safety is much more important. Instead of chasing him or doing nothing, approach him with your hand extended at halt, maybe get his attention with a "HEY!", and if he stops, reward him for being such a good dog!

Hope this helps!
 
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