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Old 10-29-2009, 09:47 AM
 
Location: East Valley, AZ
3,852 posts, read 8,258,092 times
Reputation: 3995

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Beesley LOOOOOOVES to play catch, but sometimes he gets SO excited he nips at me, he's even bit and hung onto my shirt a few times. When I show him a tennis ball, he starts jumping up trying to get it, and will even try to climb up me to get at it. Part of him hanging onto me includes nipping at anything that gets in his way. I've dealt with it so far, but it's getting worse...

Last night I took Beesley to a deserted park for some "free" time (AKA I took him off his leash to play catch even though there are signs everywhere saying "Dogs must be kept on a leash!") He needed to get some energy out, since I don't have a yard for him to run around in. After a few minutes he bit my arm..he didn't break the skin, but it stung! A few seconds later he grabbed onto my shirt again and wouldn't let go.

How do I stop this behavior? He gets so CRAZY when I play around with him I don't think he even realizes what he's doing. I've tried yelling "NO!" when he does it, and walking away from him, but the next time we play, he does it again. I'm afraid he's going to seriously hurt me someday if he continues...any tips?
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Old 10-29-2009, 09:58 AM
 
Location: Mostly in my head
19,815 posts, read 55,790,617 times
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You have to become the expert in "reading" Beesley. A great book is Patricia McConnell's The Other End Of The Leash. I got a used copy on Amazon. Even though I've owned dogs for 40+ years, I learned a few things just in the first few chapters. The library might also have it.

You need to learn his signals and deal w/them and him before he gets too wound up.
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Old 10-29-2009, 10:25 AM
 
Location: St. Louis, Missouri
9,352 posts, read 16,776,804 times
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although i am pretty good at reading bailey, i am still learning dave.... and vice versa..... so after hearing y'all really good and experienced dog people extol its virtues for so long, i just put that book, along with a couple of others, on my amazon wish list.... get paid this weekend and will go back and buy them early next week........

just off the top of my head MA..... beesley needs to learn that play stops IMMEDIATELY and there is NO reward at all for that type of behaviour...... once he is calm and in control of himself again, play can resume..... may even involve just stopping abruptly and taking him home from the park......

the best way i have found to correct bailey when she has misbehaved and been caught in the act is to COMPLETELY ignore her for about 10-15 minutes.... no eye contact, no pets or scritches or strokes, no spoken words..... nothing.... like she doesn't even exist...... this is difficult to maintain on my part, but it just DESTROYS her.... she can NOT stand it...... and has been very effective in correcting undesirable behaviour...... haven't had to use it on her in quite a while......

so maybe when beesley does this nipping thing.... put the ball away and turn around and walk away and ignore him for a while..... he will likely try to get your attention, bailey does, but you can't give in .... can't even look in his direction.......
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Old 10-29-2009, 10:50 AM
 
Location: Visitation between Wal-Mart & Home Depot
8,309 posts, read 34,303,061 times
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A lot of people will probably disagree, but in my opinion an adult dog that is getting too rough or too aggressive is giving you grounds for negative reinforcement beyond verbal reprimand and beyond withdrawal of your affection/attention. A dog that has my shirt is going to get a knee bump. There can not be any anger in it (if you notice afterwards that you are frowning or have tension in your face, then there was emotion in it and you did it wrong) and your objective is not to cause pain. You want to cause an unpleasant surprise and the timing has to be just right so that the dog forms the right memory over the incident. Striking with your hands never works; it just intensifies the situation and is likely to get you bitten. For some inexplicable reason, knees are more neutral.

As for nipping, make sure Beesley is in the right frame of mind before he gets a throw. Right now he's telling you he doesn't have a ton of respect for your authority. If he goes nuts and jumps up and you still throw the ball, you're not only condoning the behavior - you're reinforcing it. He has to do something for you before you throw the ball for him. Make him still at heel for 10 seconds or something like that before he gets a throw. That puts you in charge of the fun and both of you in your natural and healthy hierarchy positions. Really, everything in his life should be that way. He has to do something for you before he gets anything done for him - food, walk, belly-rub, anything.
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Old 10-29-2009, 11:24 AM
 
25,953 posts, read 26,683,442 times
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I typically do this with puppies but I let them lay next to me and just brush their muzzle on each side real gently with my fingers (NO TOYS) and try to pet it and if they nip I say firmly 'no biting' then I keep doing it for as long as it takes and they'll usually roll over on their back and over a few days just to get them relaxed and understand their limitations with such things. It's worked on all the dogs I've had come through here and my most recent min pin who was a little nipper.
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Old 10-29-2009, 01:44 PM
 
1,688 posts, read 6,884,939 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jimboburnsy View Post

If he goes nuts and jumps up and you still throw the ball, you're not only condoning the behavior - you're reinforcing it. He has to do something for you before you throw the ball for him.
Bingo!

If you think about it from a dog's point of view, the task is to drop the ball upon retrieval (maybe coupled with a sit eventually). The reward for completing that task is that it gets thrown again. For a dog that loves playing catch, it's a huge reward.

Think of the whole sequence of events in small individual units - i.e. what does the dog have to do for you to initially throw the ball? Dog needs to sit or sit/down or whatever your preference. Break it all down to units and work with training each unit as a stand-alone event before you string them together. Does that make sense?

If the tennis ball or whatever it is the dog normally plays catch with is too exciting, substitute a soft toy or a rag or something the dog is less nuts about. These are all exercises that can all be practiced and perfected inside.

At the beginning our crazed one (she's obsessed) needed to learn the patience to wait for me to bend down and pick the ball up and that just my hand touching the ball was NOT the appropriate time to try to grab the ball ()... So I would put my foot over the ball when she'd dropped it. It broke the visual link (her eyes do not leave it from the time it appears until the time it's put away) so it was a lot easier to get her to refocus on me for the "sit" she'd have to do for me to throw it again. It just helped her make the right choice - for which she was rewarded with another throw.

Another useful tool is a key phrase or word to signal the end of play time. It lets the dog know it's over and he/she needs to wind down. For us, The Crazed One gets warned "Last one" before the last throw. Then upon retrieval and dropping it, I say "All done. Good girl" and a very specific two pats on the top of the head (a signal I use for all my dog to show them the end of whatever it is that's going on has been reached.)
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Old 10-29-2009, 03:27 PM
 
Location: Mostly in my head
19,815 posts, read 55,790,617 times
Reputation: 18994
Since MA hasn't had Beesley a long time and he was likely abused before, she needs to be positive in reinforcing him. But the turning away is good, just don't scold him. Remember "NILIF", nothing in life is free. He wants a treat, he sits. He wants the ball thrown, he sits. etc.
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