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Hey everyone,

We've been trying to teach Chiana appropriate puppy play and I have kept in mind that she is probably teething but the play has been so aggressive. When I sit on the floor and play with her she bites at my face and actually made contact and I reacted inappropriately but it startled me. I sort of pushed her back and she just went right on biting at me. Sometimes when she's on leash and sees the cat she will reach the end and bite at the air. You know the sound chattering teeth make when they close together? That's what I've been seeing/hearing and it concerns me because I don't want her to think that it's okay to do that.

I've been doing the "ouch" method and leaving the room but its not sinking in and I've also tried redirection which doesn't work for her at all. This is the only problem I've had with her and I feel like its getting out of control. I know punishment is a no no but I don't know what else to do. My boyfriend trained his dog with punishment and his dog behaves very well but I don't want to do this because I don't want her to be scared of us. He has already held her down when she bit him really hard on the hand. :mad:

I've looked at kikopup videos and tab289 but they make it look so easy. I'm successful with most things like I said, but this is really getting me down.

Is it because she's an Australian Shepherd and naturally is bred to nip or my error in training or both?
 

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Firstly, your boyfriends deserved to be bitten. If you let him "train" her, he will make things worse then she really will be aggressive, or, maybe like his dog and shut down out of fear.

If I'm looking correctly, your dog is an Aussie? If I'm right, Aussies are a herding breed that use their teeth. She's going to be more intense than most puppies.
Just continue to redirect her onto toys then stop the play. If she goes for your face, either immediately leave the room or put her crate for a moment until she calms down.
 

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Agreed.

The Ouch method can take 3 days before it begins to sink in. People in the videos know what to do, what to expect, what to look for, and how to adapt ... due to years of experience with a variety of dogs. Keep saying Ouch when you get nipped, then leave the room. ... But, come back after a 30 sec. time out, increasing the timeout time by 30 secs for each nip in a 'training' session.

If the pup reacts, stopping the nipping, after you say Ouch, then praise and pet. And prepare for another nip.
If she does a play bow or barks at you after you say ouch, take that as 'an apology,' then praise and pet. And prepare for another nip.

Ideally, you want the pup to 'startle' or at least stop nipping when you say 'ouch.' She doesn't learn to nip more softly, eventually just mouthing, until she goes through many repetitions.
 

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I once fostered a puppy who was a newfoundland, or a newfoundland mix. He was such a HORRIBLE biter. You REALLY have to be consistent, like you wouldn't believe, and be VERY over-dramatic about it all. I had tried simple methods like re-direction with him for a while, but it never mattered; people were more fun to bite. So I started saying OUCH! really loudly, and getting up and leaving the room, making a bit more fuss. You don't want to make the dog scared of you, but you need him to realize it's a big deal. I would stay gone for 30 seconds to begin with, and increase after a few more bites, like hanksimon said. After about two weeks of this, I got bit 8 out of 10 times instead of 10 out of 10. It was SLOOOOOOW progress, but it WAS progress.

Try to catch your puppy doing other good things, such as sitting, laying down, chewing on a toy, and praising and treating that. When he starts to realize some of these things get him praised, he will do them a bit more, and bite a tiny bit less.

It's really, really hard, but just keep working at it. Good luck! =]
 

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How long are you trying these methods for?

We redirected my bulldog. He was a landshark as a small puppy: Pets (6).jpg Pets (8).jpg

But redirection was the only thing we really found to work. Yelping or startling him made him more excited. But saying "NO" firmly and then handing him a chew and in an upbeat tone of voice, saying "Good boy, yes!" he eventually got the hint.
It took a LONG time, this was not an overnight change, at all. He was still pretty landsharky for about 3 months but gradually, the biting turned more into a mouthing and then the mouthing turned into licking.. and now? I can honestly say I don't remember the last time he mouthed me purposely. Even accidentally if he feels my skin when he chomps on a toy, he drops it or adjusts himself so he's not as close to me.

Don't expect an outcome in a week, you're not teaching sit/stay/roll over, you're looking to change a behaviour. It takes time to break old habits. Puppies play using their mouths, you just have to teach her what is okay to use her mouth on.
 

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It take TIME. I tried everything. You have to scream like they have really bitten you HARD. I had a trainer ask me once when I told her that i cried "Ouch".....she said "Did the neighbors hear you because if they didn't then you aren't yelling loud enough."! Really though the only thing that worked for us was time....she finally outgrew the constant nipping. Good luck, I know how frustrating it can be.
 

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Ammy wasn't a horrible biter, at least from other stories I've read on here! Or maybe I'm just desensitized, my cats have always played rough with me haha. I usually have some kind of scratch on my hand :p. With Ammy I just YELLED, ow!!! I often startled her and my fiancee, haha. But after yelling I'd turn my back to her, or put her on the floor if we were on the couch. After a few seconds I'd give her another toy to redirect. It does take time, Ammy was 4.5-5 months before she moved from nipping to just mouthing. She's still a little mouthy, but I chalk that up to being an excited teenager and I expect that to die down in a couple months.

Ammy still chases the cats, but she always stops short of them because my siamese/ragdoll especially will not put up with her antics. I always let the dogs learn the lesson with the cats so they give the cats space. My cats have never been really mean, they just give a couple of warning swipes and the dogs/puppies get the message. I'm still working on Ammy not chasing the cats...it's slow progress.

I'm with you on the BF too, my fiancee and I often argue about punishment vs positive reinforcement. Luckily, I do 99% of the training so it's never an issue in real life, but it's a point of contention between us.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks everyone for the suggestions. I understand it does take time, I guess I'm just getting frustrated with it. I've had 2 dogs before this and I know puppies have sharp teeth, but this time it seems different. It really hurts and is more often D:

I tried the redirection for a few days but gave up after I felt like she was just ignoring the toys and wanted to bite my hands. The "ouch" method I've been trying for a few days, I feel like she keeps herself entertained until I get back. :laugh: Like you guys said, it takes time. I guess I should of been proactive the first week, but all I was really paying attention to was the potty training. I just wonder what I did to reinforce the biting. She only bites at my face when I'm down to her level I've found. Other times it's just the hands and feet.

@Kyndall, I've let her go up and smell the cat while he's lounging and he just swats at her. I know shes only trying to play though, but he is just not having it. Lol Hopefully we can get to "friends" and not just tolerant. I'm just amazed he is already back in my bedroom in his favorite spot. The only thing is, he'll go up to her crate and just sit there while shes in there and of course that excites her. She just wants to play! He is the instigator. D: Darn cat! (He likes to bite my toes while I'm SLEEPING.)

Yeah, the boyfriend is one of those guys who doesn't play with the biting and it annoys him. I'm training most of the time too, but man there is times where I just need him to help walk her or something and when they get back in that's where the problems start. He hates the herding lol. I know it's herding too because she'll circle and nip at the back of his feet. I actually think it's kinda' funny, but I know it can be annoying and not something that should be reinforced.
 

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Icarus loves Ammy's kennel. He'll go in there and lay down all the time, I've accidentally locked them both in there couple of times and then they're both grumpy, haha. Ammy always wants to love on my fiancee but he usually doesn't feel like it, but that's okay because I cuddle with her enough for the both us :).

Ammy hasn't had much of a herding instinct towards us, sometimes she'll try and nip at me going up the stairs. But you probably got Chiana from a reputable breeder unlike us, we took her out to see some goats and she just wanted to play with them, haha. I don't know if she has a very strong herding instinct!

Just keep it up with the biting, it gets better. I hated Ammy's tiny vampire teeth stage :p.
 

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This is absolutely 100% normal. Pretty much every puppy does this. So just keep that in mind. This is how puppies play with each other, and they really just don't understand that it's not appropriate to play with people the same way. It takes most puppies months and months to get the hang of this, no matter how consistent you are.

Keep saying "ouch" and then leaving the room. It really does work, but this is a behavior that takes a long time to get rid of. It takes even longer in breeds that are bred to nip or retrieve, so yes it could absolutely take her longer because she's an aussie. My spaniel pup still mouths at 1 years old, but at least it doesn't hurt anymore. It's going to seem like it's never going to end, but one day you'll realize that she's biting a lot less hard, and then you'll realize she's biting a lot less often. The more consistent everyone in the house is with this method, the faster it works. If sometimes she is rewarded for mouthing by getting to play with you, and other times you tell her it's not ok, she's going to be confused.

And don't let your boyfriend pin her. Some dogs take this as play, in which case it obviously isn't going to help. Many dogs become scared and start biting for real because they don't know how else to make the person stop.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Today she was going after my shins and I yelped really loudly then left the room for the 30 seconds. This time she was actually crying at the door until I came back. Kind of made me feel bad but hopefully this is a step in the right direction. Like you guys have said it will take a while I just need to be more patient. She still nipped later in the day but at least she didn't go right back to nipping earlier.

I've also told my boyfriend not to man handle her anymore as nicely as I could. He said he would love for this too work but he does have his doubts. I guess this is because he has trained his dog the other way and got results. I'll show him. :laugh:

I also wanted to thank Crantastic for the wonderful website! I signed up and have been watching the short videos today. I've never thought to feed her strictly from her kong, but I will start tomorrow. This should help with actually enjoying her chew toys. Another very important thing is "off" and I feel like such a doofus because I can get her to "leave" certain things but not others. I like how this guy teaches "off" and will introduce it tomorrow in training.

Another quick question: what do you guys stuff in your chew toys besides peanut butter or kibble? Dog biscuits are such a pain to break apart and stuff in there.

Again thank you everyone! This forum is so helpful :D
 

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I mostly use kibble mixed with peanut butter or canned dog food, sometimes peanut butter with a bit of mashed banana, but other things you can use include baby food (as long as it has no onions or onion powder), natural applesauce, plain yogurt... just make sure you don't use anything "low-fat" that uses artificial sweeteners. Xylitol in particular is deadly for dogs.

We had a thread a while back with lots of ideas: http://www.dogforums.com/general-dog-forum/188450-kong-fillers.html
 

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I strongly agree with what others are suggesting here. Another thing you can do is calm the puppy down before he reaches the stage of trying to nip you. If you gently put your hands on him and speak to him slowly and gently (almost a whisper). I have always found this to work with over excited pups. I also teach the word 'gently' and incorporate that word into the calming process. I have later found that word incredibly useful when introducing them to other animals and small children.

When he does nip you and you 'ouch' and leave the room, when you come back in, softly say 'gently' and use your hands to calmly stroke him and praise him. He will learn because he wants to be liked, loved and praised :)
 
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