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Discussion Starter #1
Hi everyone,

I just read through "The Bite Stops here" and am kicking myself for not starting this training earlier. My Wife really wanted a puppy and when we got him he would just keep biting. Our vet told us to try different things, such a tapping his nose and yelping ouch, but it never seemed to work. Then he suggested maybe just getting a little water spritzer and that seemed to work.

For a time it actually dissipated but now he started it again. I know it's not aggressive. He nips when he wants to play and wags his tail. He's overall an extremely happy and energetic dog. And we love him.

My Wife is starting to get very frustrated though and in a fit yesterday, after a nip mentioned that maybe we should get rid of him. I'm taking it as just frustration but I'm getting desperate.

Is it too late to start the training outlined in "the bite stops here"? What else can I do. As far as I'm concerned Rocky is another member of our family. We got him and as such he's our responsibility. Getting rid of him is not an option in my mind.

I think it's obvious that the failure was ours, I just hope to rectify this so that the three of us can coexist happily.

Any help or advice would be so greatly appreciated.
 

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The bite stops here may help, I'd also suggest "Be A Tree" and "RevUp/CoolDown" both are in the training forum. Make sure EVERYONE in the house is on board with ALL training so the pup learns the rules consistantly. It really sounds like he's entering the teenager stage and just like human teens he's going to 'test' his boundaries, another reason everyone needs to be doing the same thing.
 

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It's never too late to train a dog. The biggest secret to training bite inhibition is patience and consistency. It's not going to work the same day you start. It could take weeks. And if you're sticking to being a tree and your wife isn't, that's not going to work, either.
 

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I have a border collie/Australian shepherd mix. When she was a pup, we had HUGE problems with her biting. Just as your JRT, she bit in play. I agree with what's already been said. Choose a method that seems promising, make sure everyone in the house is on board, and give it time. I thought like your wife at times. The pup drove me through the roof with her biting, and I was tempted to make the problem go away. But it can, and will, be fixed! Don't give up!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I just wanted to say thank you for responding to my question.

I know it'll take time and consistency and we have every intention of making sure our dog is well trained.

We started yesterday and surprisingly "be the tree" seemed to work. Although it may just be me but I felt like he was a little surprised at the change in us.

The only other question is regarding walking away after the second time he nips. Is it ok if he follows you? We have a somewhat open living room, dining room kitchen area. So most of the time when we walk away he follows after you.

Thanks again.
 

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The fact that your dog is biting occurs naturally. He feels the need to explore and to understand the world around him, much like us. This is the time to set some boundaries for him. It is important that he doesn't get any mixed information. If one member of the family tells him to stop chewing and the other ignores him when he is doing it, then he won't understand the message and will continue to do whatever he pleases.
 

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The only other question is regarding walking away after the second time he nips. Is it ok if he follows you? We have a somewhat open living room, dining room kitchen area. So most of the time when we walk away he follows after you.

Thanks again.
You need to put a barrier between you and the dog if possible, it can be as simple as a baby gate.
 

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I wrote the following summary for puppies a while ago. Modify the number of steps to fit your situation. "Yelp" may not work for a 1 yo dog, so you might try "Ouch" or "Oops!" The point is to look for the startle that you've already seen, and to accept apologies when they come. ... You aren't trying to 'punish' the dog, but to communicate that nipping is to hard - play more gently.

Some Tweaks to Bite Inhibition (to get him to stop biting when he wants to play):
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. 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.

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 significant Bite Inhibition. He may still nip, but it will be softer and he won't draw blood. 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....
 

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Persistence is important. I had a biter until recently, and I would immediately us a sharp "NO" followed by completely stopping all attention and doing something non dog related. NO and break interaction. Yelps never seemed to work for me, though I was told with my lab, they like to just put things in their mouth.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks again for all the help. Just a quick update I wanted to share.

We've been working with him for the past few days and I don't know if it's just me but he seems to be improving.

The yelp doesn't work with us, but the Ouch seems to catch his attention. Since we don't have the baby gates, on the second ouch I walk out of the room and into the bedroom or bathroom, closing the door for about 20 seconds. I can hear him pawing at the door outside.

When we come out he would be sitting and we would give him lots of attention and praise. We've had to repeat the process a few times but it does appear to be working.

I didn't realize though that the barking from him or the nudging us was his form of an apology. We'll make sure to accept it next time.
 

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It took me a longer time to learn about the "apology" also... no one ever writes about it... it seems. (Good chapter for a book!)

When you get the "Ouch" to work and understand it, you might try it for other behaviors to improve your communications repertoire.
 
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