This didn't bother you too much, although at times it does make you a bit wary of the dog. However, things have changed recently with the arrival of a new baby. You aren't so much concerned for the present time as you are about what happens when the baby starts to crawl and then play with the dog. It leaves you with an uneasy feeling in the pit of your stomach.
Fortunately, you are facing up to the situation now and have plenty of time to take things in hand.
In an ideal world, prevention is better than cure and by teaching a puppy to have a soft mouth future problems can be avoided. However, if you have missed this opportunity, even adult dogs can often be rehabilitated with some patience and know-how.
For those dogs that are aggressive or you feel out of your depth with, always seek professional help. Your vet can put you in touch with a certified animal behaviorist who can look at all the relevant factors to put a strategy in place to keep everyone safe.
To do this you need basic equipment and motivators such as:
When some else that’s not in our family walks in the front door Jasper runs up barking and then bites the person and I recently had a baby and he actually started snapping at my kid and got him yesterday. How do I get Jasper to stop biting
Hello Alanna, First of all get Jasper used to wearing a soft silicone basket muzzle. To do this, show him the muzzle and give him a treat. Touch the muzzle to him and give him a treat. Hold the muzzle against his face briefly and give him treats through the muzzle's holes. Hold the muzzle against his face for longer and give him treats through the holes. Finally, put the muzzle on him and feed him treats through the holes while he is wearing it. Only put the muzzle on him for a minute, and gradually increase the amount of time that he wears it for while he is being rewarded. Practice all of this over the next couple of weeks, until he is comfortable wearing the muzzle. Go slow and do not move onto the next level of touch with the muzzle until he is comfortable with the current amount of contact with the muzzle. He needs to be wearing the muzzle when he is around the baby and when people come over. A soft silicone muzzle will still allow him to open his mouth, receive treats through the holes, and it will conform to his face and be more comfortable to wear. He needs to wear the muzzle for other's protection but also to learn that biting does not get him what he wants. Since he has bitten numerous people or times, he has learned that he can control the actions of others with his mouth. He needs that control taken away from him. Look up Jeff Gelhman from SolidK9Training. He is an expert in aggression and has a free YouTube channel with videos demonstrating aggression treatment protocols. They are far more complex than what I can get into here. I would highly suggest hiring a professional trainer to come to your home though, especially with the baby there. Aggression is one issue that I recommend people hire a professional for. It can be complex to address and often involves a combination of obedience for management, classical conditioning to make something that the dog dislikes pleasant to him, and boundaries and discipline to teach the dog that he cannot control people and he needs to trust and respect his owners. There is not one quick fix. Look for a trainer who uses both positive reinforcement and fair discipline and has extensive experience dealing with aggression. Also, check out Jeff Gelhman's videos for practical things you can be doing in the mean time. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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Our cocker Ferdi has always been mouthy, he’s always used his mouth when you stroke him and play with him. Recently this has tailed off but he now bites ( nips) more aggressively when he’s not in the mood for being stroked. He doesn’t give a warning growl either. We have two children and always have their friends over. His nipped both our little girls and drawn blood. He’s also possessive over the post when it arrives and growls if he try to get it off him.
Can we train him to stop this behaviour? I’m so worried about him hurting someone. We live in central London so any recommendations would be great.
Hello Victoria, The mouthing is normal for a puppy but can be a bit rude...The biting when you go to pet and guarding the paper is an attitude issue though. He probably needs an attitude bootcamp. To help with overall attitude you can practice the following: Place for 1-2 hours at a time: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omg5DVPWIWo Crate manners: https://thegooddog.net/training-videos/free-how-to-training-videos/learn-to-train-the-good-dog-way-the-crate/ Thresholds: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-w28C2g68M Heel article - The turns method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel Heel Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OTiKVc4ZZWo Working method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-doberman-to-listen-to-you Resource guarding protocol: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=19RnH9dLip0&t=1120s Once the attitude improves when you deal with the resource guarding (which I would hire professional help with that), you can follow up the training by helping him associate people being near objects he used to guard as good, by practicing approaching him and tossing treats, approaching and tossing treats, holding one end of the paper - giving a treat - then giving paper back. You want to make giving and taking things a fun game associated with rewards to build trust around things he wants as well - but the respect issues need to be dealt with before you can move onto the positive stuff that follows it up. The same goes for handling/touch. Once you have worked on him working for things, structure, boundaries and things to build respect, then you can build trust by pairing his daily kibble with touch. For example, gently touch an ear while you give a treat. Gently touch a paw - give a treat. Gently hold his collar - give a treat. Practice these types of touches with all areas of his body gently, using his entire meal, one piece of food at a time, as often at meal times as you can - put the food into a baggie you have and grab from there - don't stick your hand in his bowl of food to do this. Work on establishing respect first so he is less resistant though, and take precautions like a basket muzzle if you feel you may be bitten - a basket muzzle should let him open his mouth still and have holes to pass treats through if you get a good one. Look for a trainer who is very experienced with a variety of types of aggression - more than just fear-aggression, but also dominance/resource guarding/genetic/ect..., has good client reviews, is good at communicating, and uses both positive reinforcement and fair corrections balanced in training. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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Stanley just loves to bite our hands,arms etc during play or to instigate play. He knows commands but just doesn't listen to them when hes in play. Please help.
Hello, I suggest teaching Leave It and Out commands. Leave It method for biting: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bite Out command (Out means leave the area): https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-to-teach-a-dog-the-out-command/ Work on those commands until he understands them both well. When he starts to get mouthy tell him to "Leave It" in a calm but no-nonsense tone of voice (not angry, timid, or excited). If he obeys, reward him with a chew toy he likes to hold in his mouth instead. If he doesn't listen (which he probably won't some of the time at first), then tell him "Out" and use the "How to use it to deal with pushy behavior" method from the Out article linked above. You will essentially make him leave the room by calmly but firmly walking toward him until he backs out of the room AND backs two feet away from you. Imagine that you are a firm brick wall when you do this and your attitude should mean business but also be calm. He will probably try harder to get your attention when you do this, but when he does, walk toward him again until he has to back away. Don't worry about bumping into him if he doesn't move. He needs to learn to respect your space, but do be careful not to step on him. Shuffle your feet instead of take steps if you have to - to avoid his paws. You want him to learn that when he doesn't calm down when told to, people will get boring, the fun will end, and he will have to leave the room. The Out command tells a dog through your body language also to respect your personal space. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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