From: Robert B.
Sent: Tuesday, September 26, 2000 10:07 PM
Hi Mr. and Mrs. King!
I hope things are going well.
Jack is a handsome dog; his general training is going well. He is 5 months old now. However, we are still having a biting problem. He bites everyone, but mostly he bites the kids. My five-year-old is scared to death of him. We've tried just about everything. Do you have any suggestions? Is this normal? Will he grow out of it? I want him to be a family dog.
I'll look forward to here from you.
When did he start doing this?
What is going on when he is doing this?
Is it early on in initial contact?
The times this has happened to me it is usually when the pup is 3 or 4 months old and the pup is grabbing for my hand. Ozzie did this to me on the back of my leg, OUCH! And it is usually early on in play or in greeting.
Does the pup want to play? If you can recognize that this is the cause or situation you are in a good position.
Your five-year-old is too close to the size of the pup to command any control, try to keep their contact down until the pup is 'played down' a bit.
Remember to always give a verbal command along with ANY action. One word commands are best. EYE CONTACT should be made a habit on your part. Many times simply taking the dogs face in you hand and looking him straight in the eye while giving a command works when you are not sure what else should be done. REMEMBER YOU DO NOT ALWAYS HAVE TO ADMINISTER PUNISHMENT. You will learn that NO covers a LOT of territory. Reprimands must be given IMMEDIATELY as or after the action occurs; otherwise the dog will not know what you are punishing him FOR. It is better not to reprimand the dog at all that to have this occur. If the dog is across the room say NO immediately, go quickly to the dog but do not run toward the dog. Perform the appropriate action with a second firm NO. A good firm tug on the ear (this should not evoke a yelp of pain) and NO will always get the dogs attention (in minor household refraction's such as chewing on a shoe, chair leg, or paper item). Never strike a dog. NEVER allow the dog to snap back at you. Hold the pup still and stare him down. When all else fails, I suggest you simply put the dog outside or in the crate, without so much as a pat on the head or kind word. Dogs can read the look on you face and the tone of your voice, just as your kids can.
If the dog is biting or nipping, GRAB the muzzle or face from the top of the muzzle, wrapping your hand around the bridge of the nose and include the side of the lips and SQUEEZE. If the lip can be caught in this squeeze it is more effectual. This takes a little practice, you'll know what I mean if you feel the bite instead of the pup feeling it. In other words, it is rather like the "biting a child back" theory. Give a good firm NO command. You are letting the pup know it HURTS.
Does the pup do this in greeting? My Roy pup started this in the yard when he ran to greet me. I could not grab the face; it just wouldn't work that way. He grabbed for my wrist in a small jump. I quickly discovered the one thing that we usually advocate not to do worked and nothing else would. I just smacked him on the nose with a good firm NO. His nose is close enough to the mouth for his to realize that the mouth caused the problem. Not a whack on top of the head, there is a great difference in the two.
He still takes my hand in his mouth when he wants my attention, but it is very gently and is very loving. It makes me realize he wants to be really rubbed and petted. This is a good time for brushing and grooming; it really sooths his need for hands-on. He also does this when he wants to go "outside". He takes me to the door!
Nearly all pups will jump up on you. This is simply another form of greeting. You may not mind this at all. It certainly does not work with a small child. Nor, do you don't want him to greet guests in this manner. Even a large dog can be broken of this habit. For a small pup or dog push him down to all four feet and give a firm NO at the same time. A large dog that is not easily pushed down is actually easier to break. Simply bring up your knee firmly, bumping it on the chest, which forces it off of and away from you saying NO.
My Jack pups are the smartest of any line I have ever handled in the house. My oldest Jack is the only dog I ever had that put his toy up before getting out another. t kept a crate in the office for him, when he was small, he would go in and close the door with his paw when he got tired of the grand-kids play. His signal to go out is to put his paws on the doorknob (of whatever room I am in) and quietly wait bit I notice him. He never barks. The instant my eyes make contact with his, he is back down to all fours and racing for the one door he knows as "outside". He also goes straight to the bathtub when he has been outside for several days. He knows that a bath comes first and he loves it. He will also pick up all the toys that another has left scattered about. You can just see the disgusted look on his face.
Each pup has his or her own special traits. You just have to learn to read them. Your dog will also learn to read you. Pups are just like kids; each one is different. They just can't talk to tell you what they want.
As he starts to get too rough, just get hold of his face and look him straight in the eye, give a single firm shake, and a solid NO. Get his attention and pause the play for play to make an impression. When he gently re-approaches, resume play in a quite manner. This is always a good time for toss the ball or toy. It allows him to romp but keeps you in control.
Teach the child not to run from the dog. Pup just thinks "chase the kid" is fun and games. After you get him settled down some teach your five-year-old these same basic controls. Teach the child to stand firm (with you standing behind for moral support as the pup already recognizes you as the authority figure), point a finger and give a loud and firm NO. You will have to also give the command at first for the pup to realize that this NO also applies to the small person looking puppy he has been used to playing rough with. You'll be amazed at how quickly this will work. And the pup will catch on quicker that a scared child.
Try this for a while and let me know how you progress.