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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Aloha, we have a 14 week old American Bulldog. Kind of a rescue, but he's physically fine now. Po, came to me thru a friend who had a litter but the mother had worms bad. I think all the other pups died from worms. "Po" short for po mai ka'i, which is Hawaiian for "lucky", has been a handful.
We got him young, 7 weeks. Any longer he may have died as well. The worms were bad enough where we had to put off his Parvo shots and work on the worms first. So he's a bit behind on getting out and draining that excess energy.
We work at home. He comes in a night. He sleeps on a pillow next to me at night on the floor. Some days we have computer work and he will be inside half the day. He doesn't like rain and we get 200" a year so he begs to come in. And doesn't really like wet grass.
Recently we fenced the 10k square foot lot so he came run free. But Po will pretty much just scratch at the door to come in. I am unsure if we are spending too much time with him. At some point I need to have him outside while we do things inside. i,e, eat, shower, work at the computer. We have the chew toys kong , etc.... No shortage of love between the biting.
Biting....yeah it was alarmingly aggressive for a while. There were many times we just were looking at on another any say " what are we doing??? We are cat people!" BUt really we are push-overs for most any animal. And Po , even though we have scars up and down our arms is still very dear to us. I do not think we could part with him.

He kinda is a brat. He bites when he does not get his way. Scratches the door when you don't open it for him and let him in. Even with a fenced yard he just wants to come in and be around us. If he gets on the couch I try to get him off with positive methods like " come" instead of "off!" . When you grab his harness to help him off he will bite twist and turn,bite,fight. Jump back up , do it again. The situation can deteriorate from there. Snarling etc.... If you put him out to separate him from us and the couch he scratches the screen and barks constantly.

I try to burn his energy with play but he does not really play. He will bring back a ball 2 out of 10 times. We don't have any toys that stir aggression because of the biting. He likes beating up a coconut we call "Wilson" but I think he is getting too aggressive with it. Walking on a leash seems silly to him and us as he normally has free run of the yard. So he kinda gets irritated with being led around by a leash. Mostly chews it . On the couple short walks I have taken him on out of sanity, throwing caution to the wind, he does fine. Maybe a little too ready for adventure but well mannered.

He has learned quick. Pokes his head thru his harness everyday, ready to go.Sits, stays,high five, five down low, other paw, go and lays down when he knows you've really had enough. Rides in the back of the truck fine. Gets excited to go.
I am seeing that dogs can not exercise themselves.

His outside area has a cover breezeway that is attached to my woodworking shop that he is able to come and sleep in, dry. Clean water , food at regular intervals etc...

Funny I came here and started posting because I had to put him on a cable for he was scratching the door. The barking was insane but now...... I do not hear him. Ah, sanity. He really has the capacity to be an amazing animal. I think he is smarter than most and is really a handsome dog.
I have not had a puppy for 30 years and can not remember what they were like when I was a child. Next Parvo shot is in 12 days then he should be good to do more walks etc.... I am hoping life will be better . He has been exhausted from the couple walks I did take him and sleep much there after. They are always cute when they sleep, eh?

I thing the the last thing I would like to say and hope some one can comment, is his routine of getting right angry bratty in the evening. I walked him once to see if he would mellow like in the morning walk but that did not cool him off. He seems to want us to go to bed when he does. It's cute I suppose. We went along with it a few times. Lay down on the bed with the light out. But still he might jump up and bit your arm. You certainly can not pet him now and expect him not to chew on you. He really is all mouth.

Is he just being a puppy????

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He is being a puppy, and you can teach him the rules:
1. Read the Sticky: The Bite Stops Here, in the new owner section.
2. In addition, follow the tweaks that I've listed at the end of this post. Watch for the "apology."
3. One reason that he's cranky, is that he wants more exercise, as you gathered.. and you'll have to wait.
4. Also, at 4 - 5 mos, he is teething, losing his baby teeth and growing his adult teeth, so his mouth may be sore. You can freeze a wet cloth or a stuffed Kong and give it to him to chew, and soothe his gums. Should be better in a few weeks.
5. Pits are loving and intelligent. They want to please you, so when he bites you, if you say Ow!!! and leave the area, he may quickly learn that he shouldn't bite. And, since an adult dog can easily play bite and draw blood, you want to teach him that teeth never touch skin.
6. After you understand how to teach Bite Inhibition, you will want to play games that "stir aggression" so that you can teach him to have Bite Inhibition no matter how excited he gets.
7. I think your pup may like to swim, despite not liking rain. So after the Parvo shots, try taking him to the beach.... then later, take him swimming while it's raining to get over his issue with getting wet...

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 signficant 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....

If Yelp! doesn't work, try Ouch! or Oops!... and if the sound doesn't register, go louder....

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hello Hank thank-you for taking a moment to respond. I must say the ouch! and yelp just gets him going. And he will immediately bite again and sometimes much harder. I think he thinks it is play.
We walk away but he will follow usually nipping at legs and ankles. This seems playful. But I don't want it to continue.
When in time-out he just barks and seems to get more ramped up.
Not having any litter mates really set him back I think.
I have not experienced and desire from him to please. If anything training has only conditioned him to go thru a series of tricks to get a treat.
He does sit well. At every door before coming in. Stays pretty well. Sits before going out and when I get my slippahs on.

Even after evening walks he gets cranky. He seems to like both of us in bed when he lays down. Separation anxiety? We need to get him out of that.

He has cut back on the overall biting in the last few weeks. My wife has some pretty terrible punctures in her thighs where he would jump up and nip. I am more forceful in the "NO" so he doesn't do it to me like he did her. But she has gained some command since. He does like to try and be alpha with her though. He will follow her about and bite at her. It probably is just affection.

Interesting about the swimming. I did get him to get into a brackish pool the other day. It was interesting to watch his reactions. The first time he kinda came in a little, then I coaxed him in more with a treat. Then he had enough. Coming back through on the way home he didn't want to get in at all. It was raining at the time. The rain is not so bothersome to him when he is out on a walk because of all the other stimulation.

How would you approach getting him to stop scratching at doors and screens?
What are appropriate ages when dogs learn certain behavioral traits? I feel that he is ahead of the game but maybe there was too much disapline on our part in the beginning so we had slacked back a nit and tried just to let him be a pup. I don't want to be an over bearing dog owner.

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Please read Culture Clash. It's an easy read that will greatly increase your understanding of your dogs instincts and needs.

For example, "aggressive" play does not encourage aggression. It creates an outlet for natural instincts that all predators have to chase, chomp and chew prey. My dog loves to play chase, he adores tug and we both growl like demons while we do it, but he is so, so gentle with people, especially children. Aggressive play does not create aggressive dogs.

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It's important to teach him as much as possible now, to make rigid rules, and to let him know what they are, while he is a puppy eager to learn, rather than eager to be an independent adolescent. But, use more positive methods, anticipating and avoiding opportunities to do things wrong , while rewarding as many desireable behaviors as possible. Any behavior that you allow as a puppy, he will continue and amplify as an adult...

As far as nipping, you have to be more persistent than the pup for at least 3 days. I imagine that you've stepped on the pup at least once. When he yelped, did he whimper or did he shreik like a firetruck. Make sure that your Ouch! is just as forceful. Also, if you know when he will nip, then try interacting with him in a room, such as the kitchen or bathroom, where you can lock him briefly with no distractions and no potential damage, as a 30 second timeout. Then, every time he nips, screech Ouch!, walk out the room, close the door, and ignore him for 30 sec. ... If he barks or scratches, try to wait him out, opening the door, when he takes a breath... then prepare to say Ouch! and leave him alone again, immediately, when he nips you, this time staying out for 2 min. Try this consistently a few times a day for at least 3 days... He's not being Alpha with your wife... he's being a bully, b/c he can get away with it with no repercussions. Pups tend to learn quickly with quick and consistent consequences.

As far as scratching, if he has scratched, and someone opened the door, then he learned that he can get attention, or come inside by scratching. One suggestion is to ignore him and then let him in only when he's quiet... I've heard of one person that tied a jingle bell to an outside post and another to the backdoor... adn the dog learned to ask to come in or out by nudging the bell. Every time the dog went to the door, the owner jiggled the bell and said Out!, or In!, then let the dog through the door.

In my case, when my pup scratched, I opened the door, kneeled down, quietly said "No!" (to let him know that I had heard him), then closed the door... eventually he seemed to learn that the consequence for scratching was that I actively left him outside. I'm not sure if your pup would let you do that...
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