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Old 09-23-2005, 07:06 PM
Harley Harley is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 23
Unhappy I'm not a chew toy....

....& neither are my kids!

I could sure use some help. Yesterday & today Harley thinks that my kids & I are his chew toy. He's always done this but wasn't as bad. We have spoiled him with toys! He will start chewing on one of us & I will go give him one of his toys. He'll take it then in about 10 seconds will drop it & come for one of us. I've tried yelling OUCH!!! That has done nothing. When he does come to me & doesn't chew on me, I'll say "Good boy". Then he'll start chewing on me again. He's 16 weeks. I know that he's probably losing some of his baby teeth. Is there something that I can get him or do for him that will make him more comfortable then chewing on us? If I'm wrong about the losing teeth thing can someone tell me whats going on & how to stop or limit it?
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Old 09-23-2005, 08:32 PM
Gempress Gempress is offline
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Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 11,955

My golden retreiver was a very nippy puppy, and this is how the breeder told us to deal with it.

When Harley starts to nibble on you, grasp him by the muzzle and gently hold his mouth closed. While holding, look him in the eye and say "no" in a low, tough voice. Then release. Don't be alarmed if he whimpers a bit: you're not hurting him. It's an "I'm sorry" whine, like puppies will do for their mothers.

Granted, that method is probably not one favored by those who prefer positive training. You certainly don't have to use it if you don't want to. But it worked wonders for my little golden girl.
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Old 09-23-2005, 08:55 PM
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Doberluv Doberluv is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: western Wa
Posts: 22,020

A really simple rule of thumb that works for any behavior is based on scientific learning theory...operant and classical conditioning and if you are consistant and don't skip arond from one method to another...stick with it, you'll find that it works. Here's the rule: The liklihood of any behavior being repeated is greatly increased when there is a payoff. (reward) The liklihood of any behavior being extinguished is greatly increased when there is no payoff.

Here's where people go wrong: They don't recognize a payoff when they see it. They inadvertantly reward their dog, thinking they're punishing it. A punishment often has to be very harsh in order to deter a behavior. Sometimes, in general, with many dogs, grabbing the muzzle may be interpretted as more play or more attention. If a punishment is mild, it is not much of a deterant and the dog just might rather have that attention anyhow. So, good or bad attention is still attention.

Besides inadvertantly rewarding or paying attention to a dog when you want a behavior to phase out, a payoff can come in the form of the dog self rewarding, such as when it gets into the garbage. The payoff is the garbage. Remove the garbage so there is no payoff and that behavior will not tend to develop. In the case of chewing on human skin, the payoff is that it feels good, it's fun and the pup is getting your attention....a look, a scowl, a word, a touch. Remove all payoff. Get up and go away (social isolation) and end all playtime with you or anyone. Playtime over when the chewing starts.

Here are a few tips:

In addition, you can give an alternate behavior and praise for that. (sit, down) Give a chew toy. Be sure to lay on the praise thickly when the dog complies or anytime you see a behavior that you like. Emphasise what your dog does that you like, reward and praise heavily. Distract, give alternate behaviors to perform and praise for that. Remove the reward that the dog is getting for undesireable behaviors. Do not give a command that you cannot enforce. Use motivation and reward to teach your dog.

Some dogs are more sensative than others and punishment based training can cause a lack of trust for the owner by the dog. It's safer, more fun and it motivates a dog to learn better when training is fun and the dog is working for reward, not out of avoidance of punishment or fear/distrust. This has been shown by science to work better....working for reward, as opposed to avoidance of punishment, fear or distrust.
This rule works for any behavior. Discover what the payoff is and remove it if you want to extinguish a behavior.

You don't do etc... if there is no payoff, right? No mammal does. Somewhere, directly or indirectly there is something in it for you. That's the same with dogs.
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Old 09-25-2005, 11:26 AM
ChocLabLover ChocLabLover is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Ottawa
Posts: 18

I also believe that if your puppy nibbles on your finger and you tell him NO while holding his mouth then you want to stop paying any attention to your puppy. If you do so he will associate nibbling on your fingers with you not giving him any attention anymore and puppy will probably hate that!
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