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Old 04-02-2013, 02:35 PM
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DJEtzel DJEtzel is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Kalamazoo, MI
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Default Teaching bite inhibition towards other dogs?

So, I'm a little confused about how to proceed with my foster puppy and I could use some advice. I do not have a lot of experience in this department and don't want to ruin anyone. I will be talking to my boss (dog trainer) about him tonight as well as emailing the rescue, but wanted some more ideas/thoughts to process and consider in the meantime.

I'm fostering a ~5 week old pit, boxer, or bulldog mix. It's hard to tell and everyone has a different guess. Anyway. I have my dogs around for socialization of course and we're working on basic handling without biting people because that is ALL he wants to do right now... understandable, he is still bringing teeth in. The work with people is getting better, however it is obvious that he does NOT enjoy being handled whatsoever and the biting is more aggravated than mouthy... still, getting better. I have a feeling this is the first time he's lived with/interacted with people on a daily basis and I'm sure it's confusing.

What I'm having the most trouble assessing, is his behavior towards other dogs. I've seen plenty of litters interact and fight, play, harass, wrestle with each other and know what is normal in that context, but I have no experience with very young puppies and adult dog interactions. What Tug will do, is harass the dogs and chew/bite on them relentlessly, until they tell him off (which none of my dogs do very quickly, they are all very tolerant and this is the first time I've actually seen Sir tell another dog off about ANYTHING) and when they DO, he puts up a fight and comes back snarling, snapping, growling, and biting harder to the point where my dogs are put in the position of RUNNING from him, or pinning him down, which Recon almost did two nights ago, because he wouldn't stop. Typically I remove Tug from the situation and redirect with a toy, but I don't know if he NEEDS that kind of correction as a littermate/mother would do to learn, if it's a worthless battle, or if redirection will stop it and a correction would mak eit worse?? I needed to see how far he would let it go, which is why Recon got to the point of jumping into action. I don't think that's fair though. Occasionally, if they snap/bark at him as a correction loud enough, he will give up and walk away. If he's wound up though, he will not.

From what I can tell, it is not appropriate and needs to be redirected/stopped, but I'm unsure how to handle it in this context. I don't want to put my dogs in the position where they feel threatened and have to react OR correct him, but I don't want him to think the behavior is OK, either.

I keep thinking, well, he's a bully/terrier so he's going to be more tenacious, more active, etc. and he's teething and adjusting to new dogs, new people, new surroundings, but I don't want to let anything get out of hand before I can stop it or understand it. He's already showed great improvement with people and biting, so I'm hoping it is something he will grow out of/learn not to do.

It's just a little bizarre to see a 3 pound pup so young pinning down my Border Collie and growling in his face.
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