Teaching bite inhibition

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Victory
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Teaching bite inhibition

Postby Victory » Tue Feb 06, 2007 2:48 pm

I've been thinking about posting this for a bit, but havn't done it but seeing another post asking about teaching a puppy not to bite has been the trigger. There are a lot of puppies here now and this one thing is very, very important, in fact I'm going to say this is THE most important thing to teach your chow and no matter how young a puppy is it is something that needs to be addressed from day one, minute one.

The first is to understand that what you are teaching is not just for the puppy to not bite you, but to instill enough bite inhibition that the chow will back off even during play or when they are reaching for something else and accidentially come into contact with you or another person in your household. An example of why this is important is something that happened to me with my chow Darkwind. He was a big boy, 70lbs and I was petting his sister Firesong, when she reached around and nipped him, he swung around to get her and ended up with half my hand in his mouth. He didn't bite, I only felt a whisper of his teeth (which is how I knew how much of my hand was in his mouth) then he pulled away from me gave me and apologistic look and glared at Firesong, before snorting and leaving the room. Had he never been taught good bite inhibition I would have had some very serious damage to my hand.

How do you teach bite inhibition, my rule is that my chows are never, ever allowed to mouth, not in any way. They can lick but open mouthed approachs for attention or anything else are firmly discouraged. Closed mouthed nosing, or licking is okay, (to a point), dogs do communicate with their mouths this is understood. But no dog you own should ever approach you to grap you with their mouths open.

A firm "no" or a high pitched "ow" is the first step, then ignore them for a few minutes, no talking to them, don't even look at them, if they approach before the 2-5 minutes is up, say "no" again firmly and if necessary grate them or make them go lie down else where. 8-12 week old puppies are at the right mental stage to learn this, as they've already learned some of it from their sibs and mom, (or should have if they were left with them until 8 weeks of age) so now you has the new chow parent has to continue this. I started with Dreamdancer before I even took him out of his carrier, I let him sniff and lick, my fingers and said good boy, when he mouthed I removed my hand and said "no biting" in a week I had a puppy that didn't bite me, and I worked with him with other trusted people, 'no bite' and if he insisted I'd pull him away from the person. Now he's a kisser, he loves giving kisses but he doesn't mouth, bite or nip even when taking treats. Which is another time to teach bite inhibition, you should be able to put the treat in their mouths, they don't take it from you, this discourages snatching and accidental bites.

For this I use treats that are big enough that I control when I release them, they are allowed to take the first part into their mouths slowly, gently and then I release it, it they rear up or try to snatch I pull the treat back out of their reach and say, "no" then when they are calm I try again, first saying "gently".

If they become pushy during this I will just put the treat away and they don't get it, I make them go away to lay down and have a time out. Then we try the treats later, maybe even the next day. (and don't for a minute think a chow doesn't get it, they do)

Dreamdancer at 7 months old is a gentleman about playing with me and about taking his treats. Firesong who came with less than perfect bite inhibition and treat manners at a year of age is a lady about both now.

I do this training and feel it is important because it helps me to know that it will take a lot to get either of my chows to bite someone, it's not something they do in play, while eating or asking for attention.

I hope this will help people understand how very important this training is and how simple it is to accomplish. Like others and myself have said before, chows are stuborn, they are rough, tough and strong. Everyone who has two of them know what I'm talking about, it is important for the safety of you, your family and your chow to make them understand that biting a human is a big NO NO under everyday circumstances.
Victory, Darkwind, (our angel), Firesong, and Dreamdancer
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Postby Mikosmom » Tue Feb 06, 2007 2:55 pm

Victory,
Your post is so very important. Dreamdancer's sister, Ginger Lily, has becaome a real lady & also knows that open mouth is just NOT acceptable, although she might lick you to death!
We too have taught all of our Chows (and our Bichon) that biting is not OK & all attention stops if they forget.
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Postby dchernandez » Tue Feb 06, 2007 3:43 pm

I like this post. Very helpful. I've had that problem with Riley and we have used the spray bottle. So far it seems to work. I'll have to try some of your tips too :)
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Postby furballchowbaby » Tue Feb 06, 2007 5:32 pm

Thank you... this is very helpful! Maggie is very mouthy. We will start working with her on it ASAP!
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Postby CodasMum » Tue Feb 06, 2007 7:43 pm

Thanks for the great info. I am definately going to put it to good use with Coda :)

CodasMum

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Postby LuLu33 » Tue Feb 06, 2007 8:16 pm

Awesome Advice Vicoty! This is what makes this board so great how we can all share advice and ideas and make ours and our chows lives better! Thanks!!!

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Postby vicster605 » Tue Feb 06, 2007 10:43 pm

BEST ADVICE I'VE HEARD ALL DAY!!!! That goes for EVERY Breed, every dog should have GOOD MANNERS!!! Just like kids they DON'T KNOW they're hurting you unless you let them know, and NOBODY should get a treat if they SNATCH IT out of your hand.......accidents happen all the time, but if you teach them better from the start, it shouldn't happen at all.
Learned the same advice from my daughter who raised her Boxer with 2 babies, who has NEVER even on accident, teethed anyone. NO BITE, OOOUUNNT and taking the treat back has worked for Kearra from the very start, as well as the high pitched OUCH!!!!
YEA!!! FOR VICTORY!!! This is why I love this site, WONDERFUL CARING ADVICE!!!!

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Postby ronnichow » Wed Feb 07, 2007 10:17 pm

what are we talkin here, actual biting?? andu hasn't bitten or even teased about it yet, when does this kick in??
and if she gives kisses its just nose to nose
and she's not loud either
doesn't bark much
well she does bark at blue the 90 pound lab when he won't play but very quiet otherwise
she takes well to a quick stern "no"
i think perhaps she is the 'golden child' i mean 'golden chow' of course . . .
well then there is that "come" thing
its not her favorite word to obey
its her favorite word to get away from
i'm tryin other words now
i find that if i clap my hands and say "what ya doin du du"
she listens and hops over, gets about a foot away and mulls it over
oh my gosh and its so adorable how she hops down the stairs
all fours hop hop hop
i think i love her y'all
ronni and andu

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Postby IliamnasQuest » Thu Feb 08, 2007 12:47 am

Great post, Victory.

A good rule of thumb for people to have is that they don't accept or encourage any behavior in their puppies that they wouldn't like in a fully grown adult dog. While mouthing can seem relatively harmless, dogs that feel they have the right to put their mouths on human flesh can easily transfer that to actual biting.

Bite inhibition is mostly a learned behavior. Some breeds have a higher natural level of bite inhibition, but pretty much all puppies bite. They start to learn to inhibit the behavior while they're with their littermates (one of the reasons why staying until at least eight weeks old is valuable) but most need help beyond that age. Done consistently, firmly but fairly, training for bite inhibition can be successful especially if you start young.

One additional thing to remember when working with dogs and treats - pulling your hand back or jerking it away when giving a treat only teaches a dog to grab. While the dog is a puppy, a good thing to do is always push the treat into the dog's mouth when you give it. I don't mean this in a forceful way, but in a proactive way. This teaches the dog not to grab forward after a treat, but to actually pull his head back a bit and to take it gently without grabbing. If you have kind of a grabby puppy, you will probably get your knuckles scraped up a bit the first few times you do this. But I can take a grabby puppy and after just a couple of treats have it taking the treat carefully (because if they grab forward while I'm pushing forward, the treat goes too far forward and is uncomfortable).

Don't try this with an adult dog that has a biting habit. If you do, wear heavy gloves!

Melanie and the gang in Alaska

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Postby IliamnasQuest » Thu Feb 08, 2007 12:50 am

By the way, it sure would be handy in this forum to have a training sections where posts like this one on bite inhibition can be stickied or posted permanently. A lot of the training questions (how do I stop my dog from pulling? my dog is guarding his food, what do I do? etc.) get asked over and over and it gets old giving the same advice. This is why I put a lot of stuff on my website - it was easier just to give the link.

Melanie and the gang

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Postby sit_by_the_beach » Thu Feb 08, 2007 5:29 am

Victory and Melanie, excellent advice. My first chow did some mouthing, I thought it was harmless, the trainer didn't think so. I am so glad that woman was around to tell me otherwise. Luna was a quick study, easy to train, for the next 10 years, not once did she mouth at me again. Playfighting was out of the question, she did grab the sleeve of my winter coat a couple of times. With some type of dogs, gentle play only. A sticky post is a gread idea. Melanie's website is very helpful.
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Postby CodasMum » Thu Feb 08, 2007 10:39 am

I've taken your advice and started using it on Coda yesterday. I can already see some improvement. I can't believe how much good advice I am finding on this board and want to say thank you to all who take the time to help us newbies learn how to train our pups. :D
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Postby shisha » Tue Feb 13, 2007 10:12 am

very helpful. ive had these biting problems with my 6-month old. and some say that the habit is hard to break since she is already old. so all i can do is say 'no' and so far, she seems to understand it now.

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Postby Victory » Tue Feb 13, 2007 10:24 am

It's never too late to teach bite inhibition. It just takes longer once it's become a habit. At 6 months she's still a puppy though an older one. She can learn, just be more presistent than she is. She'll soon get it.
Victory, Darkwind, (our angel), Firesong, and Dreamdancer

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Postby sit_by_the_beach » Tue Feb 13, 2007 11:01 am

shisha wrote:very helpful. ive had these biting problems with my 6-month old. and some say that the habit is hard to break since she is already old. so all i can do is say 'no' and so far, she seems to understand it now.


It's never too late, a chow is never too old to retrain. Luna was two years old when I adopted her, she was feral, never been inside a house, never on a leash. She didn't know what a treat was, she left treats alone. To train Luna was a wonderful experience, it taught me patience. I have become a more patient person.

My present chow Mikki was 4 or 5 yrs old when she chose me as her new master, yes I am the master, not her. I only had one issue with her, the pulling. She no longer pulls on the leash, only when she sees a squirrel, we're working on that one at the moment. It's the same as raising kids, consistent, perseverance, discipline and lots of love and hugs and kisses.
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Postby Juniper » Tue Feb 13, 2007 1:27 pm

Well it's taking forever for Troy deBadBoy to be trained. I've been doing everything Victory and Melanie have posted since I rescued him last June 10, 2006 and Troy still nips. I've got so many broken veins and bruises it's ridiculous! I don't allow any pet, let alone Troy to lick me - don't like it. But Troy consistently wants to lick me and everything in his path.

All we have are evenings and weekends for training and that may not be enough for Troy - he needs a 24 hour Training Boot Camp to break out of this habit and I don't really have that kind of time. All I seem to say with him is No Bite, OW.. and it's very frustrating to say the least. He doesn't show any remorse, not even when it's time out in the bathroom. Withdrawal of treats does nothing for him since there is so much to lick...furniture, floors, dirt, rocks.... Everything is a game and play time for him. He reminds me so much of Midnight, a cat I used to have. Maybe Midnight has reincarnated into Troy the Chow to drive me crazy again? :cry: I didn't have problems training Sheena to not bite and she was a growler. Troy's the sneaky playful happy biter.

Well, I'm just venting 'cause I got another broken vein this weekend. I'm glad others have had success. Troy is probably just a truly damaged rescue since the pound stated they just found him wandering loose in the streets at 7 months old and he was friendly as good be. Yeah, right. Just don't let any of your body parts come in contact with him.
Jennifer & Sheena

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Postby sit_by_the_beach » Tue Feb 13, 2007 2:18 pm

Sorry, can't be much help. I'd crate the chow for a few hours. Then take him for long walks in the evening. If he continues to nip, I'd suggest the spray bottle.

My chow Luna was feral. Two years of intense training. All at night and weekends. I let my housework and dirty dishes sit there. I walked that chow in the morning and again at night, 2 or 3 hours a day. I tired her out. It was good exercise for me too. I lost pounds. My clothes fit again.
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Postby Juniper » Tue Feb 13, 2007 5:53 pm

Thanks for the understanding Karin. Unfortunately, walks are out of the question at the moment since I'm still healing from an ankle/foot/shoulder injury from Oct. '06 (which was my bad - Troy had nothing to do with it) and work is now aggravating the situation.

But now that you mention it they are both probably going stir crazy since I haven't walked them in about 6 months. Initially when I got Troy he was so uncontrollable & I had so many injuries from him (hand, wrist, feet, back) that walks were out of the question for both Sheena & Troy. I couldn't do much but try to heal so I could go on my scheduled camping trip in Aug '06. That trip was exhausting but enjoyable for all of us.

So both of my chows are having cabin fever, including me, but there isn't much I can do about it at the moment but grin and bear it. I have a fenced yard he can run in but if I'm outside he will slam right into me and injure my legs. I had stood against some pottery along the fence line one time and he decided to jump into and over the clay pottery between me and the fence! The pottery fell & slammed against my leg and foot. If I don't go outside to play he isn't interested in being outside. He's extremely needy and who knew he was a Maximum Extreme Chow?

Well, I can emote forever. Just called and now I need to go in for jury duty tomorrow. Drats. Sitting in a chair and waiting for 4 to 8 hours is a drag.

Thanks to all for reading and listening to this.

PS: My Troy looks just like your Luna (if that's a picture of her in your signature.)
Jennifer & Sheena

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Postby Victory » Tue Feb 13, 2007 6:02 pm

Juniper wrote:Well it's taking forever for Troy deBadBoy to be trained. I've been doing everything Victory and Melanie have posted since I rescued him last June 10, 2006 and Troy still nips. I've got so many broken veins and bruises it's ridiculous! I don't allow any pet, let alone Troy to lick me - don't like it. But Troy consistently wants to lick me and everything in his path.

All we have are evenings and weekends for training and that may not be enough for Troy - he needs a 24 hour Training Boot Camp to break out of this habit and I don't really have that kind of time. All I seem to say with him is No Bite, OW.. and it's very frustrating to say the least. He doesn't show any remorse, not even when it's time out in the bathroom. Withdrawal of treats does nothing for him since there is so much to lick...furniture, floors, dirt, rocks.... Everything is a game and play time for him. He reminds me so much of Midnight, a cat I used to have. Maybe Midnight has reincarnated into Troy the Chow to drive me crazy again? :cry: I didn't have problems training Sheena to not bite and she was a growler. Troy's the sneaky playful happy biter.

Well, I'm just venting 'cause I got another broken vein this weekend. I'm glad others have had success. Troy is probably just a truly damaged rescue since the pound stated they just found him wandering loose in the streets at 7 months old and he was friendly as good be. Yeah, right. Just don't let any of your body parts come in contact with him.


You stated in another thread that Troy is in the bathroom a lot of the time. He doesn't see the bathroom as a time out space, but his space and he's happy there. He hasn't bonded with you very well. He also doesn't see you as a leader. I think you have enough time to be with Troy and train him, but first you have to relax and please stop calling him debadboy, if that's how you actually feel about him this isn't going to work.

First, he's a rescue and if he was living on the streets as a stray and un-neutered at the time, he's very, very independent. Second he's still a puppy, males don't mature completely until after they are 2 years old, he's between 15 months and 18 months or so by what you've said. These two things combined are causing him to see you as a convienent source of food and attention on HIS terms and when you're not around he simply doesn't care. This is one of the main problems with male chows, especially ones that lived on the street for a time, they have to see you as leader, they have to bond with you, more so than the females.

Also because of his young age and being in the bathroom all day, he's got a lot of energy stored up. Chows don't always show their over energized state except in being too forceful, too naughty and too independent. Most chows can walk 1-3 miles a day every day with no problem and some of them need that amount of exercise just to settle them down. Make sure he's getting the amount of exercise he needs.

And when he's in the bathroom during the day, is there a solid door between he and Sheena or a baby gate they can see, smell and talk to each other through? It should be the baby gate, they need to interact more and bond to each other as well.

I'd put Troy on a Nothing In Life Is Free program, I'd spend as much time with him as possible, sometimes with Sheena, and sometime without her. I'd spend 20 minutes each and every day with him, (minimum) just working through basic commands and basic good behavior. And I'd spend that amount of time just being quiet with him, just sitting with him being quiet. I do that with my chows on occasion, just sit on the floor with them, vegging together, me gently stroking them or giving them a bit of a massage. I've found that it is a very good bonding time with them.

Also does Troy look you directly in the eye? This is important I noticed that Darkwind when I got him wouldn't look me directly in the eye, sort of sideways sometimes when he wanted something. I taught him through praise and getting he and I on the same eye to eye level, (amazing the uses of stairs) to look me in the eye. I used the command "to me" and when his eyes caught mine, lots of praise and sometimes a treat. I don't know what others will say about this, but I don't like it when a dog won't look directly at me, that eye to eye contact lets me know that they are watching me, and alert to what I might do.

About the licking, I know a lot of people don't like it, but licking is an attempt by him to show submissiveness, he's trying to please you and when you reject it you confuse him and again you're not acting like a leader. A leader accpets a bit of this behavior as their due, this is the way a submissive should act. The licking of every other thing is an symptom of nerves or a lot of energy that is going no where. If it continues as he grows older it could become him licking himself and causing skin problems.

I think he'll be a wonderful chow; he needs intense and persistent training and he needs it from someone who KNOWS that he will learn and be a good chow. I really and strongly encourage you to start seeing him that way and approaching him with that mind set. This is something I think the best trainers do, they approach every dog with the idea that the dog can be trained, will learn, and will become a well mannered dog. It's something we ordinary owners experienced or not, need to take to heart as well.
Victory, Darkwind, (our angel), Firesong, and Dreamdancer

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Postby sit_by_the_beach » Tue Feb 13, 2007 6:14 pm

Juniper wrote:Thanks for the understanding Karin.

PS: My Troy looks just like your Luna (if that's a picture of her in your signature.)



Luna died last summer. She was around 12, I had her for 10 years. The bl. chow is my new chow Mikki. She's spoiled, easy to care for, is happy with anything, doesn't ask for much, well mannered. She only weighs 35 pounds. Maybe we should trade? I liked the challenge of owning a wild chow. I have done a bit of sports all my life, I am in pretty good shape for an old girl.:)

I did have to go for physio at one time, I had Luna on the leash, she whipped around to start fighting with another dog and I ended up with a frozen shoulder, very, very painful.
Karin

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Postby nuke » Tue Feb 13, 2007 6:26 pm

Victory, I am always amazed at the advice you give.

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Postby sit_by_the_beach » Tue Feb 13, 2007 6:44 pm

I agree everything Victory wrote. Please take the time out and train and exercise your chow. Put aside an hour or two and take your chow for a walk. It's only an hour. If he is a bit unruly, keep him on a very short leash. Then gradually lengthen the leash and let him have more freedom. I hope this helps a bit.
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Postby Juniper » Tue Feb 13, 2007 8:10 pm

Karin: Luna was beautiful and I'm sorry for your loss. Yep, in the first two months of getting Troy, I thought many, many, times about trading or returning him and almost did. Mikki sure does sound more like my speed. But then Sheena would definitely have a say in the matter and it would be 'no way Jose' Troy must stay.

Victory: I understand that Troy doesn't see me as a leader or he'd be controlled like Sheena is. He does have a host of health problems which attribute, I am sure, to his behavior, aside from being 17 months old. (Believe me if I knew he would be a pup for 2 years with the health problems he has I would never had gotten him for Sheena.) I know he's frustrated, bored, doesn't get as much attention as he needs but that is all I can offer him right now due to my own health circumstances and I have no one to help me.

The bathroom is a locked door and it's the best I can do right now. Sheena doesn't have any contact with him during the day when I'm not there.

Troy always looks me directly in the eye. Sometimes he's challenging my patience, most of the time he wants to play fetch. He acts more like a labrador retriever. He's extremely attentive and comes to me with just a whisper of his name.

Troy is literally by my side whenever I am home, like an appendage, very needy. UP and MOVE are the words I use the most or I will reinjure myself by tripping over him.

There is no such thing as quiet time with Troy and being close while sitting on the floor massaging him. I tried it and he gets too excited and begins nipping or gets the zoomies. There's plenty of quiet time when I'm on the bed and he's on the floor but as soon as I touch him he goes hog wild. I can't even sit on my sofa or chair anymore without him wanting to jump on my lap just to be near me!

I know I may sound like a horrible owner, rejecting the advances of a loving chow but I can only do what I can do and need to take care of me first or I won't be able to take care of them. It's hard to say this, but at times I am sorry I ever got into rescuing Sheena off the street or Troy even though I love them both very dearly. I'm basically exhausted from all the effort I've already put in but somehow I manage to muster the energy to continue.

I am discouraged by Troy since I've put in an enormous amount of energy into him, at times at the detriment of Sheena's well-being, and even though he's improved, he just hasn't learned as quickly as Sheena has. I'm very, very tired and you said it right with intensive, persistent training he would be a wonderful chow but I don't have the physical strength or stamina to give him that right now.

And although I call him Troy deBadBoy, that's a term of endearment. I've always found he's a good boy when he decides to be and have always believed he has the capability to learn, just not in my timeline unfortunately.

Victory, I do appreciate the time you spent in responding to this post and thank you.
Jennifer & Sheena

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Postby mitchan14 » Sun Feb 18, 2007 9:11 pm

I'm having the same trouble with my Clowie. :( SHe LOVES to mouth people and I've done all the advice and all I've read from doggy books and SHE STILL won't stop. I'm not even sure she knows she's hurting us with her teeth. I scream, say 'ow' and she still chews. I spray her, she stops for a moment...then chews again! I crate her and when she comes out, she stops chewing. But then she chews again later on. I love Clowie so much but my grandma is scared of her and it's becoming a problem.

Do you think it's time to hire a dog trainer?

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Postby sit_by_the_beach » Mon Feb 19, 2007 1:09 am

If you have access to a dogtrainer, it might be worth the try. If you do a search on this site, you will find plenty of help.

Here's a link to Melanie's website with tips and help re chows. Melanie is a member of this forum.

http://www.kippsdogs.com./tips.html

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