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bad signs of aggression and biting
  • I have nine week old pup that gets into these biting frenzies. I've tried everything to stop him while he tries to chew on me but that just gets him more pissed and starts to growl at me. When he's normal I'll just say "no" and he leaves me alone, but he gets in these moods where he just keeps trying to bite me hard and the more I try and control him he just gets more and more worked up and gets really aggressive. I've resorted to just putting him in his crate when he gets like this, but is there anything else I can do to stop this? It's starting to get bad.

    [mod edit: re-categorized due to addition of new category]
    Post edited by sunyata at 2013-06-06 10:08:04
  • Every time he gets mouthy, just walk away. You are essentially taking away his toy (you). That typically is punishment enough. Growling is not always aggression, especially for a shiba. It is more likely enthusiasm, and or frustration.
  • Turn your back and walk away then come back and see if hes still like that. They get bored easily so once he realizes you aren't going t o play with him he'll stop. My dog use to do that and I would just make the ah-ah-ah sound and tap his muzzle with my finger and he stopped eventually. All dogs are different though but I would definitely recommend walking away.
  • Serkle kSerkle k
    Posts: 974
    just to add in general, putting your pup in his crate as punishment is not the best idea. He will eventually associate his crate with punishment and never want to go in there.
  • BradA1878BradA1878
    Posts: 2242
    You could give him a "Timeout" when he behaves like that...

    When he starts to get too worked up and is biting too much say "Timeout!", and then take him and put him in the bathroom, or a different room, leave him there (alone!) for no more than 60 seconds, then let him out. Do this calmly. If you hear him freaking out in the other room (during a timeout), just let him freakout and do not let him out until he calms (even if it passes 60 sec).

    Do that consistently and you will see a fast decrease in the behavior.

    This is called "Negative Punishment", you are punishing the dog for the behavior by removing something from the equation (the removal of something is why it is called "Negative Punishment"). This technique is recommended by Jean Donaldson, you can read up on her to get more details on using timeouts.

    Good Luck!

    Post edited by BradA1878 at 2009-12-15 14:59:53
  • thanks for the help guys. i'll stop using his crate for punishment, didn't think that it could have a negative effect on him
  • FoxyDewarsFoxyDewars
    Posts: 12
    I know this is late, but I don't want to stat a new thread. I Just got my now 3 month old Dewars 3 weeks ago and I'm already having dominance/aggression issues. When I go to give him a toy, he snarls it out of my hand and growls at me. When I take it back from him, he growls and bites (it's not like a nip, he bites and clamps down and tugs my hand like a chew toy). I've been trying time outs, but as soon as I take him out it happens again. I use bitter spray to a somewhat success, but when he is on a frenzy, he doesn't care what's on my hand! Please help!!
  • My tuppence worth:

    I agree with all the other commenters. My Moshi scarred my hands for life during his first 3 months (though I'm diabetic and scar easily...) but then I learned how to tell him to stop (using the advice given above). It has worked. He still clamps me and my family and friends who he loves (every now and then) buts thats all it is... clamping with teeth - nothing sharp or damaging. He has his powerful adult jaws and big teeth now but never inflicts damage anymore. It seems to be playfulness and pack games... However since the onset of adolescence he has started eating my books! We need to sort this out otherwise I might fall out with him...
  • KBBD83KBBD83
    Posts: 249
    I basically adhere to what Brada1878 suggested. Just be sure that if you use the bathroom as a "timeout" spot that there isn't a rug or something that the pup can ravage...We learned that fast when Marshall became aware of our bath rug and toilet paper. They can destroy things pretty quickly :O.
  • KCKC
    Posts: 43
    Our 3 month old Mochi does this as well - behavior sounds exactly like Dewars! We keep several soda cans with pennies in them, (tape the top closed), around the house. When Mochi gets into "shark" mode, we shake the can and say "No Bite!" It seems to work in the moment, although not sure if it is lessening the behavior yet.
  • I'm gonna post from my experience. When I got MoJo he was 8 weeks old. As he got a few months older, he started to get more and more mouthy. We'd say HEY! NO BITING! smack his snout. He started to learn he had to be EASY with his mouth. He'd growl and growl...he tried to sound mean...but his growling was only playing. They sound vicious but in many cases the bark is bigger than the bite. My dog can be growling like crazy playing, and if we put our hands in his mouth, he nibbles them and pulls matter how ferocious he sounds. If someone heard him, they'd think he was about to attack..but not the case at all. Maybe alot of what you perceive to be aggressive behavior is just playing? It's kinda like a young teen trying to assert themselves..make themselves heard. Maybe that's not the case with your shiba, but I just wanted to let you know MoJo seemed exactly the same way Also as they get older and develop a love for you, their relationship with you is so much different from when they are young pups. MoJo is almost 1 1/2 yrs. old and his disposition is very different from when he was about a year.
  • FoxyDewarsFoxyDewars
    Posts: 12
    Yea thanks Diane, I'm noticing your experience with MoJo is very similar to mine with Dewars
    Post edited by FoxyDewars at 2010-07-18 15:19:37
  • myamamomyamamo
    Posts: 51
    You can also teach a "redirect" method. With Winnie, I would put a little bit of peanut butter or butter on my hand and let her lick. While licking, I would constantly say "kisses" or "gentle". We'd practice this a few times a day for about 3 days and then she started to understand that "gentle" meant to lick. Whenever she'd get too rough with nipping and biting - I would say "NO!" and then redirect with "kisses" and she'd start to lick instead of biting.

    It's a nice way to teach them what is acceptable if biting is not ok.
  • MarlenaMarlena
    Posts: 42
    Oh could I ask for some advice, now that this issue has been brought up? My dog Riku (who is a big, strong 3 year old) actually attacked and bit me very badly, yesterday. Maybe I was asking for trouble - I was trying to get him to come downstairs with me, and I just gave him a little gentle push on the rump, when he clearly wanted to stay in bed. I do this almost daily, and he usually never seems too upset - he just trots down ahead of me. But this time, he flew into this crazy rage. He made this satanic screaming sounds, and promptly bit both my hands really firmly. He actually drew blood, on my right hand. I was so shocked and upset, I actually cried. He has never been so terrible before; he had this crazy wild look in his eye. He seems to have developed this strange behaviour later in life (since we adopted a second shiba). I should have read the signs - I could see that he was growing irritable because his nose was curling up. Still, how should I handle Riku, if he does it again? My husband just yells at him but I always think this doesn't do anything.
  • JessicaRabbitJessicaRabbit
    Posts: 2217
    There I two things I would very very strongly suggest; the first being, have him checked out by a vet. Sudden personality changes many times are a symptom of an illness or injury. You say this happened when you pushed him on the rump. If he is somehow injured you could have hurt him. One of my dogs had dramatic personality changes and it turned out to be a brain tumor. So get medical issues ruled out.
    The second thing I would suggest is to bring in a behaviorist ASAP. Biting the owner is not something to be handled alone. Even by experienced dog owners. If any of my dogs bit me or my husband, for any reason I would bring a behaviorist in immediately, and I assess dogs for rescue groups regularly, and have worked with and owned dogs for nearly 20 years. This is a case that requires professional help. If you don't already have a behaviorist go to this link
    or ask your vet for a recommendation.

    Please let us know how it goes, and tell your husband to stop yelling, he is making the situation worse.
  • Just wanted to chime in that I agree with Jessica's advice. Not sure how your vet is but you may have to do quite a bit of searching to find a vet that can run the full spectrum of tests if you don't find a cause right away. You're located in Australia right?
  • SayaSaya
    Posts: 6678
    Bump for MamaYoko

    Saya at age of 3 years still is mouthy during play, but she knows to not bite hard, but some dogs don't.

    If your dog was bounced from different homes maybe Yoko didn't learn bite inhibition and to not bite?

    Could be testing you to see if she can play by being mouthy?

    Running away will probably cause her to think your playing a chase me game.

    If you need to remove yourself from the room do it calmly.

    Time outs is a good option too can be in a different room if your worried she'd associate crate as a bad thing because of time outs. Don't do it for too long just minute or two? I never had give timeout probably should have when she was being too mouthy with my mom, dad and brother.

    I hope you can fix this I agree finding a positive type training class might help you bond some and work on some issues.

    If she gets too mouthy during tug of war game or accidentally bites you during it you could end the game and stop playing tug then resume once she is more calmer.

    Does she like to chase balls or plush toys maybe throwing them around help burn her energy down some.
    Nicole, 5year old Bella(Boxer), and 4year old Saya(Shiba inu)
  • I know this is a bit late so I hope someone sees this and can answer my questions. I have a 15 week old shiba inu puppy and he has been testing my limits with mouthing behavior. He has nipped since we brought him home at 8 weeks, but tonight it got worse and he has been gradually biting harder. I have been saying no, stopping play for a few seconds, and sending him to timeout when it escalates, but I don't think it's getting better I feel that he's getting worse. What can I do? Please help!
  • zandramezandrame
    Posts: 1106
    @stomecek, does your pup get to play with other puppies? Really the best way for them to learn proper bite inhibition is through experience. Are you taking a puppy kindergarten class?

    As for at home, keep doing what you are doing. Removing yourself from the fun consistently should teach him biting hard is not OK. Also make sure he has plenty of acceptable toys and chews that he can gnaw on. You can find something that is more rewarding and tasty than you!

    He may be starting to loose his puppy teeth and need something soft to chew on.

    Good luck!
  • Kobe1468Kobe1468
    Posts: 1590
    Hopefully this will help...

    "Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakened."
  • BayBay
    Posts: 58
    I've had my shiba puppy for just over a week and he is just over 8 weeks old. He perfect when it came to us and he actually listened though now he is acting like he's the leader of the pack.

    He gets into this "temper tantrums" where if we are holding him and he doesn't want to be held or we stop him from going to chase the cats (which we are trying to get him out of, hence the holding back) he starts freaking out and screaming, snarling, and tossing his head trying to bite us. He drew blood from my boyfriend this morning, and just bruised my lip when I picked him up to stop him from chewing on my mom's snow pants she was trying to put on.

    When he gets like this I put him in his playpen where he eventually settles down. I hate using it as a punishment but there is no where else I can put him aside from his kennel and he's been doing so well at night I don't want to mess that up.

    I know a part of the problem is that he has a lot of energy but he just doesn't want to focus his energy on me at all anymore, he just wants the cats, and they are none to pleased.

    I know he's still a baby and he's going to go through phases, but he needs to learn not to have these tantrums, they are dangerous.

    He has his second puppy kindergarten class tomorrow night and I really don't want him doing that there, and if he does whats the best way to deal with it? I would probably just leave to be honest, rather than give him his own way because he's biting.

  • BootzBootz
    Posts: 3495
    @Bay have you read the previous posts and try the suggestions?

    If you know part of the problem is because he has a lot of energy, then you should tire him out. Tired puppy = happy owner. Get some high valued treats to keep his attention on you. Do some training exercises for mental stimulation
  • BayBay
    Posts: 58
    Thing is he doesn't keep his attention on me long enough for a good play session, he just wants the cats and I'm sure chasing them around would tire him out but I don't want him to do that either. x-x

    Just a little frustrated with him, but I will try the suggestions and keep doing what I'm doing if he starts his tantrums again. I let him out of his "time out" once he settles down so hopefully he will get the picture.

  • He wants to chase, so maybe give him something he is allowed to chase. Buy a flirt pole for him, or tie a string to a toy and make it "creep" along the floor. The toy becomes more enticing, and he gets a chance to satisfy his prey drive in a positive way. Tired puppy=good puppy.
    This works even better if you limit his access to this toy. This toy only comes out for the chase game, then it is put away. (Also important, because you don't want him to get tangled in the string when you aren't around.)
    As for the temper tantrums, do they "work" for him? When he throws a temper tantrum does he get something he wants? It sounds like you put him down (what he wants) in his playpen (timeout, not what he wants).
    So the question for the puppy, is it worth the time out to no longer be held? If he wants to be put down to chase cats then timeout does not get him what he wants. If he just doesn't want to be held then the tantrum is working just fine, and he's more like to have a fit in the future.
    Shiba's are very smart. You have to outsmart them. You need to find a way to make his bad behaviors not "work" for him, and also find positive ways for him to satisfy all his doggy drives. This is a pain in the butt, and part of the joy of owning a Spitz breed.
    He's a Shiba. He wants to chase things. It's what he was bred for. Right now the cat is his best option to satisfy his chase instinct, so give him a better option. Asking him not to chase things is like asking him not to shed. It's part of the breed.
    Also, remember that negative attention is still attention, so be as calm as possible when putting him in a timeout, even when he's screaming. This is not easy when he's screaming and nipping, but the bigger your response, the more he knows being naughty is "working".
    I'd take him to puppy class for two reasons. He needs to socialize with other puppies, and there will be a trainer there who can watch his behavior and answer your questions. If he misbehaves it may be embarrassing, but the trainer will be able to assess the situation and give you better solutions. It's worth the blushing in my opinion.
    Just make sure you watch him carefully and intervene if he gets too worked up. You don't want him biting others in the class.
  • BayBay
    Posts: 58
    @RustyAngel ~ Thanks for the good advice. I noticed about the toys he gets bored of them so we have a few put away at a time and then take them out when we want him to be engaged with us, that seems to work. But it's still hard to direct him to the toy when the cats decide it's time to walk by, hard to offer a "better" option in his mind for him when that happens. We will continue to work on it though and his tantrums seem to be calming down a bit. We actually put him in a controlled sit rather than put him in his playpen and as long as we stay calm and have a firm but calm grip on him he calms down after about 30 seconds of screaming. Only then do we let him go and then try and direct him back to play.

    I feel extremely privileged to have a shiba in my life, even with all the trials that come with it. Totally worth it, I love my boy.

    On some good notes he sleeps through the night now, he is walking better on his leash, he knows sit and down, and he comes to us when we call for the most part. Outside is a little hit and miss when in the yard, he loves to explore so we just let him. When it's time to go in though he is usually good with that or he lets us know himself when he's ready. My yard is pretty secure but he's still so tiny I don't feel comfortable letting him out unsupervised.

    Thanks again for the advice! Taking him to puppy kindergarten tonight and I hope he does well. =)

  • devonmlewisdevonmlewis
    Posts: 182
    @bay I am going through the same thing with my Shiba- although his instinct to chase isn't as strong as your shiba's seems to be. He will get into tantrums when he feels frustrated-- if he doesn't wan tto go in his kennel, have his jacket (that helps him calm down) on him, or be removed from the other dog's "den". He's tried to bite at me and my parents! I'm unsure of how to handle this. The putting him in a time out for a short period of time is an idea, but getting him there when he's biting me is a bit intimidating. I'm wonder what to do WHILE it is happening. And how to prevent it in the future. ANY HELP?!
  • Kira_KiraKira_Kira
    Posts: 2482
    I would recommend using crate training commands so you don't have to carry him to it anymore. My old dog's command to go into his crate was "Kennel" but Kira's is "Go To Jail" :))

    We taught her that command quite early on, with lots of praise and treats! She will sometimes even go into it if I am standing over it thinking that she will get something. It makes it SO easy to leave to go to work, I don't have to chase her into it at all. The same thing will be useful when you have to put your puppy in "time out"
    Cynthia, Proudly owned by Kira
    Kira the Cream Shiba Inu 吉良 - Facebook Page
    Follow Kira on Instagram! Kira_the_cream_shiba_inu
    Kira's Life Story & Photo Thread - Chronicles of Kira

    “Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.”
    Post edited by Kira_Kira at 2014-03-06 19:32:41
  • sunyatasunyata
    Posts: 8589
    @devonmlewis - If I recall from your intro post, your puppy is 11 weeks old, correct?

    Why does he have a jacket that helps him calm down? Does he have anxiety issues? Are you using this jacket as punishment when he (like any other puppy) gets excited or rambunctious? You need to remember that he is a baby dog: a puppy. He does not understand what you want him to do, which is why you have to train him.

    When he starts biting, walk away. He wants attention, so remove the source of the attention immediately once he starts biting. Do not yell, do not touch him, just walk away. You will need to out smart him when he throws a tantrum. Get some super tasty treats and given them to him when he is calm when you are handling him. Work on his impulse control (doggy zen). And do not allow him access to the other dog's crate/den.

    Set your puppy up for success, not failure. And read through ALL the many MANY threads on biting. Just remember that your 11 week old puppy is not aggressive. He is a Shiba puppy. This is normal and you just have to work through it with him.
    Bella 2Mountains 2Nola 2
    Casey, with Bella and Nola, hanging out in the mountains of Virginia.
    I Wander, I Ride
  • devonmlewisdevonmlewis
    Posts: 182

    Yes-- Yuki is 11 weeks! Sorry I didn't respond to your comment earlier-- I just logged back in today! :)

    I posted about the jacket in another thread. I'm unsure if I could diagnose him with anxiety issues (I'm a Social Worker so the term anxiety is a bit strong haha). He is very energetic puppy style! :) I would say it's more learning to regulate himself before his behaviors cross over to problematic. Like he'll get super bitey with the recliner, and have a hard time calming down and stopping and being "aggressive" with other dogs. We put the jacket on him on for a short time (NOT all day-- about 30 minutes) and it helps regulate him. Then we take it off and he goes back to busy puppy mode.

    This is constructive feedback-- thank you. I've read about ignoring, too. He doesn't have too much of a problem biting us while excited-- he does well with bite inhibition. More just if we are trying to pick him up to move him somewhere or get him to stop doing something (like chewing on the recliner and not stopping even when presented with other mental stimulation, treats or toys).
  • devonmlewisdevonmlewis
    Posts: 182
    @sunyata P.S. I ignored him JUST now (it's like he knew we were writing back and forth!) while he was biting on the recliner. And it worked!!! I thought it was SO interesting, because I didn't give him any alternatives (treats, toys, or attention), and he stopped RIGHT away and came over to me. Mind. Blown. THIS is why I a member of this forum. Thank you!
  • sunyatasunyata
    Posts: 8589
    @devonmlewis - Glad that ignoring him is working. The bitey-ness is not aggression, it is normal Shiba puppy behaviour. It is definitely something that you want to curb (ignoring it and walking away if he is biting you, is the best way to do it), but it will lesson as he gets older, too.

    I would suggest that you stop using the anxiety coat. He is a puppy. He is SUPPOSED to be energetic. If he is having trouble calming down, put him in a brief time out. Wear gloves when you pick him up if he throws a tantrum (just like a two year old, puppies throw tantrums when things do not go their way) and completely ignore him until he calms down.

    You may also want to give him a little more structure during the day, since it seems he gets overly tired (which, also like toddlers, brings on bad behaviour). Why not preemptively give him "naptimes" before his behaviour gets a little unruly.

    But by using the anxiety jacket, you are desensitizing him to it. This can be very bad in the future if he does develop anxiety or need to be calmed during certain times (fireworks on New Year's, July 4th, etc.).
    Bella 2Mountains 2Nola 2
    Casey, with Bella and Nola, hanging out in the mountains of Virginia.
    I Wander, I Ride
  • devonmlewisdevonmlewis
    Posts: 182
    @sunyata Agreed! I can't remember if I posted this, but we just ordered a super expensive "play pen" as a time out area for him (60 second time outs) when he is too bitey to help teach him proper "bitey" behaviors. He's continuing to do well with bite inhibition. I feel like you're in the know here!! I actually just wore gloves the other day, and it REALLY helped with my OWN anxiety over picking him up while he is being bitey.

    I will say that if he bites ME (my legs) I'm unsure if I would ignore it. I put him in a brief time out yesterday for biting my legs and not stopping. I would say that the ignoring would work best for us if he was doing something like biting on furniture in an attempt to get our attention. << this still is hard for me to grasp, because he gets my attention every waking moment. Not kidding. This puppy is VERY well loved. <br />
    Your comments made me really take note of why we're putting the jacket on him. We'll use the coat if he is cray, but a lot of it was puppy energy. I talked about this with my family (who we currently live with), and about the possibility of desenstization. He hasn't worn the coat in several days now, and we're making our walks longer to wear him out! He was always exercised, but now that he is a big boy (3 months old) I'm walking him about 3 miles each day and that seems to really help regulate him while he's in the house. He's still a VERY busy boy, but maybe is learning his boundaries and place in the home as well as being tired fromo a lot of exercise! :)
  • sunyatasunyata
    Posts: 8589
    @devonmlewis - You are doing it backwards... When he is biting you (or something near you for attention), walk away and ignore him. By picking him up and putting him in time out, you are giving him attention.

    When he is chewing on the furniture, etc., redirect him to an appropriate behaviour or give him a super short time out.

    The extra exercise is definitely a good thing. You might want to think of some games to play with him also to work his brain a little more. Mental stimulation is just as important (if not more so) than physical activity. There are lots of good suggestions under the Exercise/Activities category.

    Just remember, a tired Shiba is a good Shiba. :)
    Bella 2Mountains 2Nola 2
    Casey, with Bella and Nola, hanging out in the mountains of Virginia.
    I Wander, I Ride
  • devonmlewisdevonmlewis
    Posts: 182
    @sunyata WHY are you continuously right about these things? Thank you. :)

    I will check out exercise and activities threads for sure! I was considering getting him some games. I feel that he IS mentally stimulated (we are always taking breaks from play time to work on tricks and obediance) and you can tell he's always learning new things and figuring things out, but I definitely don't want a bored shiba on my hands, so it's worth checking out!
  • sunyatasunyata
    Posts: 8589
    @devonmlewis - I have been at this a long time. I am glad that things are slowly getting better. It takes times. Shiba puppies are extraordinarily cute for a reason... So we do not kill them. ;-)
    Bella 2Mountains 2Nola 2
    Casey, with Bella and Nola, hanging out in the mountains of Virginia.
    I Wander, I Ride
  • devonmlewisdevonmlewis
    Posts: 182
    Wisest words I have heard spoken in many moons, @sunyata

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