This week we have a question from a reader for our very own celebrity dog trainer, Inger Martens, about a very alert Australian Shepherd who won't stop biting.
Let's see if Inger can help…
"I need help with my dog Laddie. He is a 6 year old Australian Shepard… and in many ways an awesome dog.
He isn't destructive, gets along well with other dogs, and is overall a nice guy… but… I can't get him to quit play biting.
We have been trying now for 4 1/2 years (sine we adopted him) and nothing sticks. We have 'yelped'… he thinks its funny and plays and bites down harder. We have done the Ceasar Milan dominant posture with 'biting' him. He also sees that as an invitation to play. We've grabbed his muzzle and said 'no' firmly… we've ignored him… we have hired 4 dog trainers over the years and two have actually quit on us because they were tired of being bitten by him.
Once, in desperation, we even put nasty smelling anti-chew stuff on our arms. No affect. He just thinks this is the most fun way in the world to play and if he doesn't feel like he is getting enough attention your forearm will end up in his jaws. We don't know what to do. He gets exercise, has two doggie-siblings to socialize with, a fine diet, and more toys than most human children.
I don't know what we are missing. Any other insight on how to get him to knock it off?"
Here is your Paws For A Minute™ quick tip:
Thanks for the question!
Well you're right yelping, barking back, muzzle grabbing or dominating postures don't work on people, why would it work with a dog! It sounds like you need to use a little reverse psychology, and be a little smarter than Laddie, instead. Think about doing a combination of things.
Nipping and play biting can be attributed to many things. Voice inflection, sometimes playing tug of war, and not having any routines can contribute to this wild child behavior.
Daily life's full of patterns. Lots of people come home and have a crazy hello greetings. Bingo the nipping biting starts. Change that! Walk in the door with a big dog cookie. Gesture the letter "J" while holding the dog cookie and redirect him to sit and give him the cookie. That will change that pattern, oh and… zip it with the high pitched hi! No tug of war or rough play, think massage instead. Another big culprit to that annoying habit is you can have a ton of toys but no chew bones for him to chew.
Think about changing the pattern of initiated chew time which equates to chill time. Then YOU can decide when to play.
Oh and by the way, doing some simple 5 minute training commands "on the leash" in the house (now and then) can really help create eye contact and show him the way to pleasing you!
Try it, you'll like it.
Have a question???? Email us at Tips@TeddyHilton.com or check out more tips from Inger on her website Paws For A Minute!