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  #11  
Old 08-09-2006, 01:59 PM
silverpawz silverpawz is offline
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In a puppy this young I have to wonder if the food aggression is genetic. She's too young at this point for it to be a learned behavior unless you've been taking her bowl away, messing with it, bothering her, punishing her, etc. every time she eats. And I don't get that vibe by reading your posts.

A pup this young and already displaying aggression is something that you NEED to swiftly nip in the bud before it gets worse. This means seeking out a trainer that has experience dealing with aggression in pups. And even with that on your side you may be looking at a lifetime of management with this dog. Now would be the time to back out and rehome her with someone more experienced if you're so inclined to do so. If not, get ready for some intensive training for a very long time.

I doubt you caused this behavior, so please don't beat yourself up about it. But if you do keep her it's your responsiblity to find someone who can help you train her effectivly. Only a trainer that can see you in person can give you tailored advice.
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  #12  
Old 08-09-2006, 02:07 PM
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Wrigley was never food agressive but he was and still is food obsessed--I have heard to deal with food agression you can pour the food and then stand in between the food and your dog. Keep calm and confident. If she tries to go for the food keep moving around the bowl--by doing this you are "claiming" it as your own. After doing this for awhile let her eat--after a few practices you should be able to move the bowl from her without growling or biting.

If Wrigley ever tries to bite (and he has never bitten out of agression more like play biting) I pick him up by the scruff and sternly tell him no--I put him down give him a toy he is allowed to chew on and ignore him.
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  #13  
Old 08-09-2006, 02:28 PM
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Being protective of food is natural in dogs regardless of their place in the heirarchy. They have to be like that to survive in nature. We have to teach them actively how to replace that instinct and live by our rules, not theirs. They are very capable of learning this.They're domestic dogs. It's how I have taught all my dogs. I can take a fresh, meaty, juicy bone from any of them. I no longer trade them. They're just completely trusting when I take something because they never felt they were losing anything. Periodically, however, I will trade them or give them the thing right back.

This comes by way of showing them that they're not going to lose anything, that in fact, they may get something even better. It comes from trusting us as their teacher and guide. That's why the trading is used by modern trainers rather than over powering them with force and domination.

If you can teach you pup to retrieve a ball or stick and make it a game, that will help. When the dog brings you something but doesn't let go, have something better, a yummy treat and show him but don't give it to him until he releases the ball into your hand. Then start adding a cue. "give." Then give him the ball back or throw it if that's a better reward for him. If he gives you the ball, throw it immediately....start with just a short distance. Make it fun. He'll start giving you toys, balls, sticks because it's fun and rewarding to. He gets treats after he gives you something and he gets the thing back again.

Then go to higher valued things. His food. After hand feeding for a few weeks, hold the bowl on your lap. Drop in a piece of cheese or meat. Stand up, holding the bowl, hand him another piece of real meat or cheese. Put the bowl down for him again and walk away and leave him alone the rest of the meal.

Another time, walk by his bowl and if he's "nice," give him a special treat and then leave him.

When he's very comfortable with that, go by his bowl, reach down and put a yummy treat in.

In other words, you're showing him that you are no threat to his stuff and in fact you represent the giver of great things.

Reward behavior you like. Don't give any attention (good or bad) for behavior you don't like. If he's engaged in something which in and of itself is rewarding, you have to distract him, give him an alternative behavior which he can be rewarded for.

Anything close to harsh punishment...things which startle, make nervous, frighten, make him unsure of what's coming will cause him to not trust you completely.

Be calm and relaxing. Be fun. Give him lots and lots of exercise so he's better behaved inside. Teach him basic obedience every day. That makes you the teacher/guide and him the follower. Use motivation and reward, not punishing yanks on the collar as so many people do. Make training fun for him and it will be fun for you.

Look up online information about motivation and reward training so you're not as apt to become frustrated and loose your temper. If you make it a struggle over who is going to out dominate whom, you'll get nowhere fast. Dogs are meant to be with people but they have to be taught how to live by our rules. They are clueless. They are not spiteful or stubborn. That's human stuff. Dogs aren't complex enough for that.

When the dog learns an English cue for a behavior, remember that it isn't the cue which drives the behavior. You have to reinforce it with reward. It's scientific learning law that we all repeat behaviors which are rewarding to us and we tend to not continue with behaviors which are not rewarding. We don't need some punishment to stop us. We simply need to have nothing in it for us to engage in it.

Here are some links which my dogs and I live by. My dogs are happy, well trained and well mannered. They never give me any trouble. I recommend you read these over.

http://www.dogpatch.org/obed/obpage4.cfm

http://www.bogartsdaddy.com/bouvier/...ha-roll_no.htm

http://www.dogbreedinfo.com/nothingfree.htm

http://www.showdogs.co.za/wag_the_dog/dominance.htm
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  #14  
Old 08-09-2006, 02:30 PM
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Quote:
If Wrigley ever tries to bite (and he has never bitten out of agression more like play biting) I pick him up by the scruff and sternly tell him no--I put him down give him a toy he is allowed to chew on and ignore him.
How does that make you a trusted and respected leader? When you put a dog on the defensive, you're asking for aggressive behavior to develop, not to mention ruining your relationship.

I would definitely not recommend this kind of handling. Harsh punishment does nothing to teach a dog what you do want. All it does is make him afraid and defensive of you.
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  #15  
Old 08-09-2006, 02:56 PM
silverpawz silverpawz is offline
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I would definitely not recommend this kind of handling. Harsh punishment does nothing to teach a dog what you do want. All it does is make him afraid and defensive of you.
Please don't think I'm trying to start an argument. That's really not my intention. I'm just wondering how you would handle a situation where you're being bitten? Surely you would do something to let the dog know that behavior is unacceptable, right?

I'm not suggesting hitting or beating a dog for biting is the way to go. Of course not. But I'm interested to know how a purely positive trainer would handle themselves if in such a situation.

Again, not trying to start anything. We all have our own ways of doing something, and while I'm perfectly happy with my way of handling a biter, I'm still curious to know how you'd handle it.
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  #16  
Old 08-09-2006, 03:31 PM
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Dogs have a reason that they're biting. They don't bite for no reason. So, I would try to assess what is causing the dog to feel the need to bite. There are many reasons for a dog to bite. It most often is a defense mechanism. They're untrusting of something or someone. Some dogs bite because they've become too dominant, but my belief is that they are few and that reason is not as common. Some dogs bite because they're playing roughly. Some are teething and their gums hurt. Some bite to protect their food or possession because they think someone is going to take it. Again, a defensive bite. For treating aggression, you never use aggression as a means.

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If Wrigley ever tries to bite (and he has never bitten out of agression more like play biting) I pick him up by the scruff and sternly tell him no--I put him down give him a toy he is allowed to chew on and ignore him.
Here, it is described as play biting. And you certainly don't use aggression to teach a pup who has not been taught how to have a soft mouth and bite inhibition. They need to be taught. It is my belief that since we are humans and not dogs, we cannot emulate a mother dog or littermate closely enough to use this often misconstrued dog-like way of teaching. Mother dogs do not get that rough anyhow and it's few and far between that they get them around their necks or scruffs anyhow. They usually do some subtle thing before that even happens and people who think they're mimicking dogs are probably not. Humans can communicate something like this (and other things) in better ways to dogs and those ways have been determined by science and canine behavioral studies and experience. Our relationship with dogs is different than that of dogs with dogs.

I don't train any dog by using aversives.

If we're talking about play biting, how I would handle it is to remove the payoff the dog is getting for biting. That's me, that's the fun and games or the patting attention. Playtime is OVER immediately. I would walk away and clean out some drawers or wash dishes. I'd make sure the dog has something he can chew on.

I taught my Doberman bite inhibition as a pup. That is, I did not disallow mouthing me altogether. But if it came even close to pressure on my skin, I let him know it hurt and then I'd leave the area for a few minutes. I'd then return and try again. When he would mouth me very very gently, I'd continue patting him or playing with him.

Even now, occassionally, he'll get excited when we're doing agility, he's having so much fun and he may leap up in his frolicking and knock his open mouth against my arm. I'll squeel, "ouch!" I'll promptly end the fun and walk away. He hardly ever forgets, but once in a while.

Scaring, hurting, freaking out a dog by shaking it up doesn't let him know what you want him to do. If the punishment comes a second too late, he may associate it with a behavior which is not the one you meant. Suppose he bites and then stops for 1/2 second. And now he gets shaken. He is being punished for stopping the biting. It takes a second or two to reach over, get a grip on his neck and shake.

If you reward a dog by attention while he's mouthing gently with no pressure, he will see that that behavior is something to continue or to repeat. Nice things happen while he's being gentle.

If you get up the second those teeth make any pressure on your skin, and leave the area and all playtime and affection is over, he will begin to associate those two things...bite too hard, playtime, good things gone. He will learn, if you and all who interact with him are consistant, to choose the way you want him to choose. He needs reinforcements to figure out what you mean. Without reinforcing good behavior, he won't learn.

If you're off on your timing, either way, it can confuse the pup. However, if you're off on your timing with the getting up and walking away, no harm is done to the psyche of the dog. He simply missed an opportunity to learn this one incident. If you're off on your timing with punishment, you may be punishing a desireable behavior which will not tend to be repeated. And you are showing your dog that you are a scary and unpredictable leader and to do certain things in your presence is dangerous, not necessarily to do those things period. (in examples of other behaviors where you're not present all the time)

Punishment, when the timing is right on and when it's severe enough will stop behaviors. But there are serious side effects to aversive punishments.

So, that's why I use motivation and reward training methods, why I try to be observant in what things my dogs may consider a reinforcer or a payoff. Sometimes we have to look hard. What is it that this dog is getting out of this rotten behavior? What's so good about it to him? How can I prevent or remove that payoff? What else can I ask him to do that he can't do at the same time that he's engaging in this rotten behavior? What alternative skill or task could I ask him to do instead? If I don't want him on the furniture and he keeps getting up there, what's the payoff? It's comfy. So, what can I do while I'm in the room? I can put a comfy dog bed on the floor, maybe even more comfy than the couch. I can show him to lie down there. I can give him some extra yummy treats every so often while he's lying there to reinforce him for lying there. If he gets on the couch, I must be right there to show him again, his own bed. In fact, better yet, intercept him while he's just thinking about it, before he leaps up there. When I can't be there to watch him, I must prevent him from being reinforced by getting up on the comfy couch. I'll have to put some cardboard boxes or some other equally uncomfortable thing up there.

I do not have to scruff, yell, jerk, slap, spray, throw things at my dog to teach him to stop an unwanted behavior.

Last edited by Doberluv; 08-09-2006 at 03:42 PM.
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  #17  
Old 08-09-2006, 03:38 PM
silverpawz silverpawz is offline
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Thanks for the reply, but that's not what I ment. I was asking what would you do in the moment you are being bitten by a dog. Not a play bite. Would you allow the dog to bite you? Walk away? Do something?

Again, I'm just wondering, not suggesting that someone should hit or beat a dog for a bite.
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  #18  
Old 08-09-2006, 03:48 PM
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Of course I would not sit there and keep on being bitten. I'd back off until I wasn't a threat to the dog at that moment. I'd look away and not stare at him in the face. I certainly wouldn't antagonize him further.

Then I'd try to determine what the source of the issue was, what made him bite. And I'd work around it. You can't train a dog in one biting instance to not bite ever again. That is not the time to do it. You have to get at the source of the problem and it can't be fixed in 5 minutes. It didn't come on suddenly. Some underlying issue has been building until the dog reached the end of his tolerance level. So, to think you can cure him in 5 minutes like CM does is only supressing the behavior and not dealing with what caused the dog's need to bite. And although he may not bite again for a while, it's bound to re-surface again later.

It would depend on if I could determine what the cause was why he is biting on what I'd do to work the problem...whether it was a possession guarding issue, a defensive, fearful issue, a dog trying to have his own way issue, a re-directed aggression issue, a lack of socialization issue. There are tons of reasons dogs bite.
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  #19  
Old 08-09-2006, 09:49 PM
silverpawz silverpawz is offline
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So, to think you can cure him in 5 minutes like CM does is only supressing the behavior and not dealing with what caused the dog's need to bite. And although he may not bite again for a while, it's bound to re-surface again later.
Sigh. I didn't mention anything whatsoever about CM. Not interested in debating anything with you. Just curious as to what you would have done, and thanks for answering. Not what I'd do, but still interesting.
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  #20  
Old 08-09-2006, 09:54 PM
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I was using him as an example....as something to compare to...compulsive type methods as opposed to what you were asking about....to show a contrast, a different way. I'm not debating either. You asked a question and apparently I didn't get it right the first time, so I tried again to explain it better. Sorry it wasn't what you wanted.
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