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Consistent biting- nothing works
  • I know biting in general has a few threads, but no one seems to be having the exact issue I’m having with my 4 month old Nugget, or at least it doesn’t sound it by their descriptions. I know puppy biting is normal due to teething and them just being puppies, but Nugget’s seems to be worse than normal puppy biting. She doesn’t just nip us every so often, she goes into moments where she will just go into a biting frenzy, chomping hands, arms, legs, ankles, feet, anything that’s in line of her mouth. Not nips, full on bites, and has drawn blood multiple times. Yelling ouch as everyone says to do just makes her bite more(I think she thinks of it as playing), and redirecting with toys doesn’t seem to be very affective as she will always bypass the toy to get back to your hands/arms. I don’t think it’s out of aggression, but nothing that i have read seems to be helping her calm down any. Leaving the room works sometimes, depending how much of a biting mood she’s in. Sometimes she will be calm and just go about chewing her toys when i come back in and sometimes she goes right back to biting. I’m running out of ideas on what to do. When they get their adult teeth do they usually stop with this crazy bite issue? Any advice is well needed!
  • AnjyilAnjyil
    Posts: 776
    Hmmm... I never yelled ouch. I used it more like a command (yelling is not good, you want to stay calm and in control). Disengaging yourself after the ouch every single time is important. Sticking around doesn't tell her what she did wrong, leaving each and every time does.

    In a situation like this, I would highly advice never using your hands to play with her. Keep a toy between the two of you. She bites, game over. This may be a case were time out is appropriate. Since she is a small puppy, you can pick her up and put her in a timeout place for around 20 seconds or so. It doesn't need to be long.

    Some pups take longer to get the message across to, and their early life with their littermates (if they had any) makes a big difference as well. This could also be tied to lack of exercise/stimulation. She has too much energy in her and needs to get it out. I find that my pup gets more bity when he hasn't had enough play.

    If it is really an issue that you feel you can't handle, you might want to consider hunting down an experienced behaviorist trainer that can help you get a handle on your pup. I believe there is a post about recommended trainers/behaviorists floating around here somewhere.
    Post edited by Anjyil at 2017-10-12 13:33:27
  • LilikoiLilikoi
    Posts: 1272
    The ouch method used to excite my pup too when he was little. He didn't know what it meant, and seemed to take it as a part of playing. Many people say dogs can't comprehend time outs, but they worked great for us... like Anjyil said, they were literally like 20 second long time outs. If he came out and went straight back into biting frenzy, he went back in time out for 40 seconds the second time.

    It also helped to really "make a scene" when ending playtime. Dogs communicate a lot with body language, and my pup seemed to really respond to my body language when I would make it clear that I was unhappy with the playtime biting. I would dramatically leave the room or step out of the ex pen if we were playing together in there, and would just turn my back and huff and not look at him hah. It wasn't enough to just casually get up and leave as if something else needed my attention. I had to make it a point to leave in a huff lol.

    4 months is still plenty young. I agree, if you feel overwhelmed with it all, finding a good behaviorist can really help. But don't get too discouraged, puppies are just rude and take time to learn manners, like toddlers who flail their arms around and hit people.
  • When you guys are talking about saying ouch- were these for bites that were breaking the skin?
  • ZenkiZenki
    Posts: 396
  • It seems like I may just have to continue with the walking away/ start to put her in a time out instead of me walking away... I was hoping there’d be some miracle answer lol. Hopefully when her adult teeth come in as many people have said, she’ll calm down once the adult teeth kick in because it sounds like that may be part of it, but while I wait I’ll continue the time outs and walking away

    @zenki unfortunately I know nobody with any pups around her age (I’m new to the area so I actually no nobody right now). My aunt has a bulldog, but she sits there and lets her chew on her face and does not bite back at all, so they actually aren’t even alllwed to play now until she learns to control it.
  • Bonsai is about 3.5 months now, and while he's not as bitey as your puppy sounds, he does get very mouthy when he's excited and playing, which is totally normal, but he goes after our faces sometimes, which we wanted to stop immediately. We were given the advice by our trainer to put some lemon juice in a spray bottle and squirt it in his mouth if he was hurting us. Biting too hard then equates to a nasty taste in his mouth. Of course Bonsai is one of the weirdos that likes lemon juice, so we were told to switch to a 1-4 ratio of vinegar and water, and that seems to work. He definitely doesn't like it, and he doesn't bite nearly as hard now. You just have to keep the bottle on you when you play with them.
  • @MeghanBCG For the moment that lemon juice trick is actually working, it’s a miracle. Just a little on our fingers and see the bottle of it and she jumps away and walks away. Hopefully it keeps working, you may have actually been our savior. Going to try the vinegar and water thing next if she starta taking a liking to the lemon, but I hope to god this works out in the end! Thank you so much.
  • @Kayschaefer99 That's awesome, I'm so glad it's working for you!! Glad to be of some help. If you do end up needing to switch to the vinegar and 1-4 is not enough our trainer said you can slowly increase the ratio until it's sufficiently yucky to them. Didn't take much for Bonsai though, hahaha. Best of luck to you! :)
  • AnjyilAnjyil
    Posts: 776
    @plasmodiumplasmodium for pups as young as 3-4 months, yes. They are still learning motor control among other things for their mouth, so they don't yet understand that what they do hurts. If they are older and have their adult teeth, I would strong recommend getting help for that.

    And @Lilikoi is right---making a big, dramatic stink about getting bit is a huge bonus because body language is much more effective then words for dogs. I sum it up to behaving like a queen who has been greatly offended by the common folk. I cross my arms, turn my back, put my nose in the air and just act like the biggest upset snot in the world lol
  • LilikoiLilikoi
    Posts: 1272
    I still always said "ouch" as a marker, and my pup has learned that it means that's too much. I use it for everything, even the tiniest nips. My pup now thinks that humans are extremely sensitive and you have to be very gentle with them, cus even just slightly touching them with teeth causes them pain. :)) it's a very helpful way to train bite inhibition. That way, if some day Ozzy gets really angry at someone or is very uncomfortable or scared or in pain himself... I am confident that if he tells them off for it with a bite, it will not be devastating and damaging. I'm also sure he would warn them by growling or otherwise communicating his discomfort, but point being, I know he will show restraint if he ever was pushed over his threshold.

    Also, to help teach "kisses" like Zenki was saying, i put a little bit of peanut butter on my hand and used the clicker with additional treats to help teach him to lick hands and not bite hem. That also worked great for Ozzy. Most importantly: be consistent. :) if you're constantly changing up the strategy with your method of training, thinking you'll eventually stumble in the holy grail of techniques, that can definitely do more harm then good. It takes some time and a lot of dedication and consistency!
    Post edited by Lilikoi at 2017-10-13 04:51:23
  • AnjyilAnjyil
    Posts: 776
    I wish I had done what Lilikoi pup didn't bite much at all, so we stopped training (or it just kind of disappeared with lack of biting) and now...ugh...gotta start over lol
  • Just a quickie update, that lemon juice is still working great, it’s a miracle. She doesn’t even have to taste it anymore, only smell it and she knows. Although it’s not usually necessary now, every so often she needs the reminder. I’m currently working on training her not to bite people when they sit on the floor with her, because she again thinks you’re a toy when you’re on her level but it’s working great! Now we just have to wait for this teething phase to be over so we can save the furniture and walls!
  • I'm so glad it's still working for you! The relief you feel when something FINALLY works is just so awesome, haha. :)
  • I have a couple questions about bite inhibition training. This lemon juice idea is interesting - do people use that when they are handling their puppy? Whenever I try to restrain my puppy Kiko, or sometimes when I'm carrying her and she's excited, she will try to bite me. Not hard, but I certainly don't want this behavior to continue, and screaming, setting her down, or releasing her would probably only reinforce that biting works. Wondering whether lemon juice when she bites during handling could work, or maybe that would just make her want to avoid handling? I've tried some muzzle-holding (the puppy class trainer recommended it), but I'm not a huge fan of that, because I'm not convinced that it actually teaches bite inhibition. Perhaps using treats to get her to lick during handling would work better?

    Also, I've been having a little trouble with stopping the play and attention-seeking biting. I'm pretty consistent in saying "ouch", "no", or screaming if I get bitten (I can't scream too often, though, because my roommate and her dog hate it), and immediately turning away or ignoring her. But if I withdraw attention, she will just turn and play bite with her big brother or attack the next closest item (hopefully a toy). Do you think the message is getting across in that scenario? Any suggestions for making sure the message is more clear? She is already not so bitey with me as she was when I first got her, but my roommates say that she still bites them a lot, though I remind them frequently to dramatically ignore her if she gets mouthy. Just worried that if I don't nip this in the bud soon, teething and adult teeth will come around and everyone will be having a lot less fun time with puppy mouthing.
  • sunyatasunyata
    Posts: 8589
  • LilikoiLilikoi
    Posts: 1272
    We did the same as sunyata and it worked very good for us. We used a clicker and the command “soft.”

    I wouldn’t want to create a bad association with handling and lemon juice. A great training strategy for shibas is to teach them what you want them to do instead of just telling them what you don’t want them to do.

    I’d keep up with the ouch and always have a toy nearby to substitute. Remind her to “get a toy” and have a small one in your pocket at all times if needed. Or one within reach so you can “ouch” and then immediately redirect to a toy.
    Post edited by Lilikoi at 2018-09-19 05:10:06
  • sunyatasunyata
    Posts: 8589
  • Oh yeah, my friend taught her dog "get a bone" because he was so mouthy and excited. Definitely a lifesaver with him. Lol. Those are great ideas. I will see if I can get my roommates on board with the "lick" command (that's what i am using right now), and remind them to do toy substitutions when she gets too excited. I think part of the problem for one of them is she likes to play with Kiko with her hands and get her riled up. That is a recipe for getting nibbled on, and I don't think she has been telling Kiko it hurts when she bites yet.
  • Kiko is 4 months old now and teething, and the biting has been getting worse than ever. I have a method down for when she puts her teeth on me during nail trimming and handling sessions ("ah-ah", and then "lick", and she doesn't get released until she is calm and not biting), but greetings are still challenging with other people. I've started having to back up on walks to prevent her from meeting people until she is calm (not jumping, pulling, snapping, crying, etc.), and I think I'm going to have to start managing her interactions with my roommates, too, because they are the ones she bites the most and the hardest. She still doesn't seem to understand that she has to play with all humans differently than with other dogs. Because she has played with dogs a lot, her bite inhibition is pretty good, and she doesn't break the skin, but the excited mouthing on strangers is getting excessive... Anyone else have roommates that they had to work with while raising and training their puppy? Any tips for keeping the peace while regulating their interactions with the pup?

    And adding on to something people were saying in another thread, Ian Dunbar's method definitely did NOT work for her either, haha - apparently screaming or saying "ouch!" just means "bite harder!" in Shiba language... the only time it worked for me was when I screamed super loud and high-pitched just like a Shiba puppy, but one of my roommates hated that so I had to switch methods.
  • Update: The new method (saying "ah ah" and taking her away from the human, making her "sit" and "lick" before going back to saying hi, and then "time out" after 2nd offense) seems to be helping with jumping and biting. But it is exhausting, having to watch every single interaction with other people, even people she has met before but is excited to see. And other people can be bad about telling me when she puts her teeth on them, especially if they know I'm going to take her away for a minute. I really hope this is something she grows out of.
  • SethSeth
    Posts: 5
    Can I ask what type of exercise does Kiko get and for how long?
  • kittymskittyms
    Posts: 35
    Yeah. We do a morning long-line (30 ft) walk around the local park for about 20-min, lunch-time training and play session (~15 min), and an evening hike, walk or dog park session (~1 hr). On weekends, I will take Kiko for longer hikes or trips. But I'm a graduate student right now, so I have a pretty flexible schedule - not sure if I will be able to keep this schedule later.

    To update, her biting has gotten much better. She now rarely puts her teeth on other people, and she is much more gentle when she does.

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