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Thread: My Dog bites only me

  1. #1

    My Dog bites only me

    OK, let me give the low down. I have a 5 month old chocolate lab. He gets a good walk and play time every day. His activities are structured, and is never left alone to wander. He is always under my supervision or in a kennel. He is a great dog, when I have the gentle leader on. But, as soon as he is free and I am just watching him or walking around in the back he procceds to bite me and my clothing; but the kicker is that he only bites me. He does not bite strangers, family or kids (when they aren't running from him) only me. Needless to say I have my Buster play clothes (those are the ones with the holes in them) and my regular clothes.

    I have done several things to stop the biting. Say no, dominate him, use a spray bottle (that works, but he understand when I have no water bottle I am fair game). I have walked away too. Is there something that I am doing wrong, or will he eventually grow out of this?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    I am not a behaviorist...(other more knowlegeable people in this regard will hopefully answer you), but my Golden also was a "nipper" when a puppy. He would bite when playing (or wanting to play) no matter what I did to stop him. He also chewed paper, magazines, toilet paper, newspapers, etc if within reach (yes, we did learn...). Once he finished teething, he stopped chewing the paper and stopped chewing on me.

    Good luck...

    Jake's mom

  3. #3
    Could it be that you are the only one reinforcing the behavior?

    What you have to understand about puppies is that they will do anything for attention, and almost anything will be perceived as attention to them.

    If he bites and you use water, you've obvously only taught him that he can only bite you when you don't have it. The water bottle is controling him and he respects the water bottle, not you. This is one of the major cons with using methods like that or choke collars or shock collars.

    If he bites and you dominate him by rolling him over onto his back, shaking him by the scruff of the neck or grabbing his muzzle......That is how puppies play with each other, plus it's attention in general and again your rewarding it. Those "mama dog" methods like flipping him on his back and growling, or shaking him by the scruff often don't work because you are NOT mama dog! You are a human.

    If you keep scolding him or pushing him off or negotiating with him, again that's just feeding and reinforcing the behavior.

    If you try to walk away and he keeps following you and you keep walking away, you've turned it into a game of tag and follow the leader.

    The fact that you have "buster play clothes" is an obvious sign to me that you are allowing it.

    What you need to do is just flat ignore it. If you are sitting down and he grabs your sleeve, just say absolutely nothing, do absolutely nothing. Just sit there and wait for him to stop. The moment he sits down or lays down or turns around to walk away, thats when you give him some attention. You'll end up modifiying his behavior and redirecting him from biting for attention to sitting or laying for attention.

    If you are playing with him and he does it, say "oops!" or another cue word to mark it then get up and go stand at the counter or sit at the desk or table. If he starts to pull and bite on you there, follow what I said above.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Yorkshire, U.K
    If you use any kind of aversion tactics like the shock tactic using the water, it is imperative that the dog doesn't think it is coming from you and that it is something that just happens when they engage in the unwanted behaviour.

    That is why he still bites when you don't have the water bottle, because he realises the water comes from you.

    You have to make something happen that the dog is unable to connect to you so that he believes it would still happen independantly of you.

    Still, as the first poster said, at 5 months, he is still a pup and is likely to grow out of this as he gets a bit older but as the second person says, the fact that you overreact everytime will fuel his behaviour. You need to stop reacting because that is his current reward.
    Dogs are not our whole lives but they make our lives whole.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Tabbyville, PA
    Most people think "he'll outgrow it" don't think that! He'll grow up thinking its status quo and a-ok to do it, and will continue to do so.

    To a pup, ANY attention is good attention. Hitting is the same as a caress. Yelling is the same as telling him he's the bestest puppy in the world. They don't differentiate from angry and loving forms of attention. Attention is attention.

    So.... what to do? Remove ALL forms of attention. Don't look at him. Don't touch him. Don't talk to him. The moment he behaves and plays nicely with you, you quietly offer attention. He'll figure out (sooner or later - hopefully sooner) that biting got NOTHING while sitting nice got the attention he wanted.

    The only way this is effective? By being 100% consistent with it. Not 99% consistent. You have to ignore him EVERY time in EVERY way. Sounds easier than it is. Basic concept, hard for us humans to follow through and do. Don't yank your arm away from him.... thats reinforcing the biting by playing tug of war. Let him grip on and pretend you don't notice a 50 pound puppy hanging from your tearing sleeve.. go ahead and read the newspaper, watch TV, but don't pull back. The moment he drops your sleeve, reach donw and pet him and tell him what a good little puppy he is. Tugging on your pant leg? Continue to make dinner as if he's not there. The moment you try to pry yourself from him, you're reinforcing and REWARDING the behavior you're trying to stop. He thinks its a game and you're the best game player in town.

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