Problems w/ Athena Help!!!!!

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Control_Freak's picture
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Joined: 2010-08-18

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 We are at our ropes end and need your help!  Athena has been doing a lot of biting.  At first it seemed to be like rough play but she wouldn't stop when we corrected her so we would cradle and massage.  She would submit quickly but then as soon as we let her go she would be right back at it so cradle and massage again with a little more protest on the submission then as soon as we were done she would start biting, growling/groaning, lunging and jumping again.  So then we would take her for a time out which she didn't want to do..biting the whole way.  Now it is getting even worse she been biting at our legs or jumping up and grabbing our arms or clothes and getting more aggressive about it.  She seems to do it when we go outside in the yard with her, going up and down the stairs, a lot when we grab her collar to give time out or bring her inside,  and when we give her a leave it/drop it command.  It seems to be that she is challenging us but nothing is really working and its a constant struggle...we've tried cradle and massage (during which she snaps at us, whines, and struggles with us), time out, turning around and ignoring her (doesn't work at all), lunging back at her and growling...all to no avail.  She has also been barking and growling at anything that comes into her vision while she is in the yard.  Also, she has been attempting to dig to China in our new back yard.  She has just been really wild lately.

We just started walking her again since her surgery and think she might be having some boredom issues but we have given lots of stimulating toys and I have been home with her for a week.  I am sure that it is probably something we are doing wrong but were not sure what that is....do you have any advise or suggestions?!??!  

P.S. We try very hard with the Alpha roles in the house....walk through her not around, we lead the walks, entering a doorway first, she eats after we do and she does not sleep in our bed.

dobieluvr's picture
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Joined: 2010-04-12

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I really wish I could help control_freak as I too am having the same exact problem with Kratos, I think they are roughly the same age. Except at least your partner puts more of an effort to train Athena, my partner works overnights so he'll feed but not much after that. My pup listens to me most of the time but around other people he is a completely different dog. I'm starting to lose my mind, I really hope someone can put some better input then I...good luck...

AlphaAdmin's picture
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Joined: 2010-01-18

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Things you might be doing wrong...

One of the common thing I see people do wrong around a rowdy puppy is inadvertently play with it. Specifically, don't push a puppy away who's biting and being rough. In a puppy's mind, that means you're saying - KEEP PLAYING I'M LOVING IT!!!

Also stimulating is when people talk to the puppy: "No, spot, puppy, leave-it, stop, no biting." It just turns into a murmur that along with grabbing and pushing the puppy, virtually imitates his behavior, as if you're another puppy. This is especially bad with untrained children who make all kinds of noise - exactly like a litter mate.

Things you need to do...

Puppies should be corrected for biting and jumping up - especially jumping up. The way I do it is with a sharp touch and a cat-like short 'tssss' (sometimes a long one). And besides the correction, the puppy should get no attention. If you're using "leave-it" you can continue. Just be sure it's a sharp (seldom) "leave-it" along with some kind of sharp touch - not a push. You could even grab her collar and give it a little jerk toward yourself.

Besides correcting the actual biting and jumping, you should be aware of the attitude producing this behavior and not reward it. Ignore the puppy when he's displaying the high-strung behavior before he even starts biting and jumping. But it sound like right now she's in a fairly instant routine.

A dirty trick I like to use on biters is to choke them a little. I've had puppies that just couldn't seem to keep from greeting me by grabbing my hands, so one day, with one puppy, I just started pushing my hand into his mouth every time he grabbed my hand. I also switched it up with grabbing him by the jaw, which he didn't like either. He soon lost the motivation to bite. 

Control_Freak, where did you get the idea to cradle your naughty girl? I don't see how that would help. When a puppy is instigating play with an older dog who isn't in the mood, the older one rarely cradles the puppy - lol. The older dog lets out a bark along with a tap with it's muzzle and the puppy does backward summersaults squealing all the way.

You're right about the timeout thing too. That's just silly. What's a puppy going to do? Think about what he did?

Eileen B's picture
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Joined: 2010-07-22

Alpha Admin, pleased to read you advice.  We are starting to have this biting and jumping up with our otherwise lovely puppy.  At least it helps to know that others have same problems, and someone will take the time to advise.

Will try your suggestions.

Eileen.

Freyja's Dad's picture
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Joined: 2009-09-03

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We had a similar problem with Freyja when she was a young puppy.  Because she was so quick we found our best solution was a flyswat.  It gave us the added reach we needed for a quick, although harmless, correction for the bad behavior she exhibited.  It wasn't long before just getting the flyswat ended the bad behavior.  Freyja is 22 1/2 months old now and I guess it's been over a year and a half since we've had to pick up the flyswat.  Things do get better. 

dobieluvr's picture
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Joined: 2010-04-12

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I think that's our major issue, we tend to push him away, so I guess we were sending the wrong signals. That little monster, swear he pushes my buttons!

Control_Freak and Dobieluvr

Jewel started this not long ago . When she would mouth ( read bite ) I would bark out a loud and deep " NO ! " and with my hand held like a claw , sharply apply my hand to her shoulder like a ninja strike . That was MY bite . After this I would ignor her for a few minutes . She IS NOT allowed to put her teeth on me or my wife .

As for jumping up on you ( I'm assuming the dogs paws on your shoulders ) , a well placed knee in the chest teaches the best lesson . The dog will have  no idea where that came from and will quickly cease jumping on you . She'll tire of finding herself on her back .

To cuddle and coddle would be to approve of this behaviour , at least in a dogs mind . A " time out " means nothing to a dog . Like Alpa Admin said , they're not going sit in a corner and think about what they did .

Hope this helps ya'll

jeshykai's picture
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Joined: 2010-09-02

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I like the statements that were already made on this issue -- really great.  I had a hard time at first reprimanding Steve because I am used to more fragile dogs.  Now I know he can tolerate that "two-finger" tap on the nose and a loud, "NO!" which would just make my other two dogs cower in fear (a verbal reprimand is enough for a 10lb dog, haha).

 

AlphaAdmin's technique for the gag has already worked for me and I've used it with other puppies before too.  With Steve the easiest thing was to hang on and push my fingers tight along his mouth.  It became quickly uncomfortable for him and he let my hands be.  He still likes to gnaw on feet and flapping pajamas, but its that snap of the fingers and a "NO!" without any further attention until he's over it.  I see the old man Harrison (pomeranian) do this with him as well.  When he is being pushy and annoying, Harry will growl at him and charge him until he backs off.  He won't let him near whatever he's doing for a few minutes then if Steve comes back over with a calmer attitude he's allowed to see what Harry is doing.

 

For older dogs, especially leash-trained ones, one technique I learned from a vet for the jumping is called the "Totem Pole".  You take a leash and stand on it so they have no room to get up from a lay down without self-correcting themselves with the leash when they go to jump.  You do nothing, say nothing, and ignore them 100%.  They learn that the jumping gets them no where and stop it.  I used to this for my friend's doberman when he would not stop leaping up on everyone at a party.  It took him a few tries, he gave up, then I released him from the leash and he was over that desire.  Any attention, even negative, when they are that excited sometimes isn't as effective as finding a way to have them figure it out themselves.

 

Control_Freak's picture
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Joined: 2010-08-18

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OK I am so sorry I have not responded to everyone's suggestions I have had absolutely no extra time lately but I did read them and take them to heart.

First of all I wanted to explain the "craddle and massage" technique I talked about earlier.  This is something we learned from a professional trainer.  It is not a reward with attention type of thing but rather a punishment.  When the dog misbehaves you are supposed to give them a verbal reprimand and if they don't stop then you put them on your legs belly up with one hand you make the dog look at you and any time the struggle they get a verbal command and when they relax they get soft words with a chest rub and after they are calm and submit you let them go.  You are never supposed to let them win no matter how much they fight and struggle only let them go after they submit and on your terms.  It is meant to be an alpha technique.  Now that all being said we have since stopped doing this.

Secondly, we found out when Athena was a very small puppy sometimes the only thing that would work for her would be a short time out in the bathroom.  It would take her out of the situation and break the cycle, whatever it was, stealing socks, chasing the cat, biting, jumping on the couch etc.   I never expected her to "sit in there and think about what she did" but rather when you act like that you don't get to be with the family and you get no attention.  We still use this sometimes but not with her new biting problem because she just bites us the entire way there and is counterproductive.

Now, as for all of your suggestions I quickly realized some stuff I was doing wrong.  The biggest things would be pushing her back to get her off me and correcting her every time she would bite or lunge during her little tantrum...i.e. verbal stimulation.  I also realized what a lot of what you guys said was that she was seeking attention so now when we are in the house or the yard whenever she puts her teeth on us we give her one verbal command and if she does not stop we quickly walk way from her and either go into the house or another room and shut the door.  Hopefully showing her if you bite me you get nothing from me.  This is slowly helping, most of the time she will follow us nipping at our heels but when we return to the room she is has forgotten about it.  It is still a work in progress but the frequency and intensity of her outbursts has drastically reduced.

Also, when she acts out during her walk we can't just walk away from her...so we just started trying something new.  When she starts biting at our legs we try to break her attention from it and give her several commands...sit, down, shake etc....and once she is calm and focused on us we give her a treat and continue on the walk....this is also slowly helping the problem.  The only thing I worry about is that she is going to start associating "if I bite at their legs and do some tricks then I get a treat" but I am hoping by giving her several commands she will associate the reward with the tricks and not the biting.

We also enrolled her in a doggy day care once a week to help with her energy level she goes for the first time on wednesday so I will let you know how that goes.  Thanks to everyone for the suggestions and advice it has been very helpful and I will let everyone know how this progresses.