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Clicker training puppies not to bite

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Clicker training puppies not to bite
  • I don't have Lilith home yet (eight more days!), but I have been doing alot of research for a few months now about clicker training and I had a question about a clicker training video I saw online. On another forum I frequent you'll occasionally see people suggest Kikopups videos that are on youtube. So I went to her channel after seeing one of her videos being suggested to a puppy owner and started watching her video on how to "Stop puppies biting" and thought it was brilliant. Sitting and remembering what puppies are like- nipping, chewing etc, I decided if I had a nipping/ play biting issue with Lilith I wanted to try Kikopups method of training a puppy not to bite. Here is her video: Stop puppies biting- clicker dog training . Anyway when I asked the person on the other forum (who had originally suggested kikopup "stop puppies biting video to someone else) what they thought of it and what age they thought I could start teaching it to my puppy, they said they had mixed feelings about it. I don't want to mess up what they said so here is a quote "if you teach them to NEVER put teeth on your skin you may build a pup with NO bite inhibition with humans (he hasn't learned how to SOFTLY use his mouth" . So I decided to write Kikopup and ask her about that and never got a response. So my question to you guys is, do you think its a good thing to teach a puppy not to bite at all or do you think it might cause problems down the road? Thanks Smile

  •  No way! Tootsie was taught at the tender age of 10 weeks, that if teeth touch my skin game over. Her being a herder took until about 6 months to register. Now at the age of 6 she knows about the teeth thing and has an incredibly soft mouth.

     

    ETA; Bite inhibition was taught by her dam. I  just reinforced it.

  • I teach not to bite me, yes to bite toys and other moving objects.  Nikon is trained in bitework, but every once in a while when we are playing he might target for a toy and miss a bit, get my arm or sleeve.  He immediately sits back and has this confused look on his face.  It is not the texture/object he expected.  He has VERY good bite inhibition (even when we play games where I'm teasing with my hands and allowing him to "bite" he never clamps down).  Part of that I attribute to him being in a large litter.

    So I don't teach the dog to never bite anything, but I teach them to bite and tug certain things, and also I teach them to target.  That is important too because a lot of "bites" are really just misses where the dog is targeting wrong, not intending to bite the human.

  • I always thought puppies learned bite inhibition from their mothers too. So I was really scratching my head at what they said. But I honestly do not know enough about training to say they were wrong either with what they said. Lilith does have seven brothers and sisters so I do hope she will also learn that from being around all of them too. Before I saw Kikopups video my goal was to re-direct her attention to a toy and hope she grows out of that phase fast lol. I love the thought of clicker training her to not bite people though. And I do want to teach her whats appropriate to chew on too. I just wanted to make sure that if I did follow Kikopups video and teach Lilith not to bite people, I wouldn't be creating a problem with hard biting.

    Liesje, how did you teach your dogs what was okay to bite? Would I just praise Lilith everytime I saw her chewing one of her toys? Sorry for the dumb question, but Skyline wasnt a biter or much of a chewer.

  • Bean was a very mouthy puppy, despite being born in a large litter (of TEN! Chinese Cresteds). I don't know what age she was removed from her litter, but she was never great at keeping her mouf to herself. I kept Nylabones on my person at all times. Her big thing was "I wanna hold yer hand!". Every time she went for a hand, I stuck a Nylabone or stuffy in her mouth. Now, as an adult dog, she grabs a toy before she greets a human, if she is super excited. She will talk and woo woo and even bark with the toy in her mouth, but her teeth never contact human skin, and I think that's *Very* important for a dog who is out in public as much as she is. I just kept appropriate things in her mouth, and told her she was a good dog for playing with them.

  • I always, always, always, teach bite inhibition before I teach bite prohibition in my puppies.

    Puppies learn how to soften their bite - against other dogs - in the litter (although it needs to be reinforced as the pup grows too, from other dogs. A "use it or lose it" thing). But what a dog finds painful and what fragile human skin finds painful are two very different things. Teaching them to bite tugs, bones, and other toys still isn't teaching them how painful their teeth can be on *humans*, and what touch is not painful. You will never know when a dog might bite a human - every dog is capable - and they will use it as communication when forced to - so I think I giving the dogs the benefit of the doubt and letting them learn how sensitive people are from the beginning is better than never letting them realize that we humans are more sensitive than other dogs.

     I start out only focusing on the hardest bites, and then upping my own criteria to softer and softer bites until before long the pup is only delivering super-gentle mouthing. I don't promote mouthing, but I don't ban all of it immeidiately - that is how I choose what is too hard, and what is not. It is at that point that I will teach total prohibition (if I choose to) of mouthing if it is necessary. Most of the time at that point, the dog has reached an age where it stops mouthing altogether anyhow, as it is mostly a maturity issue. Rarely have I personally had to teach a dog bite prohibition, I can only think of a couple who didn't *grow out of it* in the last 10 years or so. I am always handling my pup's mouths daily though through that same age period, and they learn what it is to have me placing my hands on, in, and around their mouth and how to allow gentle handling of their mouth as well, so it's a combined effect.

    I will use toys to replace and distract from biting at pants, clothing, boots, and jumping at hands while walking, as that to me is a totally different behaviour than puppy mouthing when you are sitting on the floor and playing with the pup, but I do make sure I get in quite a bit of hands-on teaching of the pup about how a pup should use its mouth before it grows out of that stage anyway.

  • Kindredspirits

    I always thought puppies learned bite inhibition from their mothers too. So I was really scratching my head at what they said. But I honestly do not know enough about training to say they were wrong either with what they said. Lilith does have seven brothers and sisters so I do hope she will also learn that from being around all of them too. Before I saw Kikopups video my goal was to re-direct her attention to a toy and hope she grows out of that phase fast lol. I love the thought of clicker training her to not bite people though. And I do want to teach her whats appropriate to chew on too. I just wanted to make sure that if I did follow Kikopups video and teach Lilith not to bite people, I wouldn't be creating a problem with hard biting.

    Liesje, how did you teach your dogs what was okay to bite? Would I just praise Lilith everytime I saw her chewing one of her toys? Sorry for the dumb question, but Skyline wasnt a biter or much of a chewer.

     

    They actually learn it more from siblings than their mother.  By the time the puppies are playing really rough-and-tumble, they are weaned and the mother often wants nothing to do with them and their sharp teeth!

    I use a clicker for a LOT of things, but with a German Shepherd puppy, not for biting.  I'm not saying it doesn't work, it just depends on your goals and my goals involve a lot of drive and natural prey behaviors.  I use clicker more for obedience type training than drive building, so for me, working on *correct* targeting, biting, gripping, and tugging behaviors is not an obedience exercise, at least not until the pup is more like a year old (I do not immediately use these games to train the "out" or work on self-control).

    Basically if a puppy starts gnawing on me and won't quit I press my thumb into the roof of his mouth.  They don't like that so they "spit" me out and at the same time, I have some toy ready and start playing flirt pole or tug.  Excessive mouthiness and into the kennel with a bully stick or chewing bone he goes.  He can chew all he wants, just not on me.

    A lot of the excessive mouthing and biting I see is because puppies have WAY too much freedom.  My pups' lives are very structured.  I have several crates and a larger playpen setup.  The pup only has free reign of the house for maybe 1/2 hour at a time and is closely supervised.  If the puppy is out, he's either playing with the other dogs or playing with me.  There's really no chance for him to follow me around and be biting on me.  They tire easily and need a lot of rest, so at home we may have 1 hour in (the pen or a kennel), 1/2 hour out.  If the puppy is sleeping I do not disturb, just resume with 1/2 hour out when he wakes and needs some exercise.  At work the puppy is in the kennel van and it's more like 2-3 hours in, then 15-45 mins out depending on my breaks.

  • It's important to me to teach bite inhibition and gentle touching through social feedback on what is and is not appropriate touching.

    The way I look at it is pups use their mouths in a tactile sense the same way humans use their hands. So I do see a difference between teaching the correct way to touch others rather than "no touching" at all.

    My youngster Nick was nicknamed "Mr. Bitey" after I adopted him from his owner. She actually had bandaids on her fingers from his puppy teeth when I first met her. He came to live with me at around four months of age. I think he was one of those pups who was taken from mom at an early age and just dropped off at our local shelter along with his sister.

    I kept my hands limp and gentle so as not to encourage more mouthing at first. I also verbally corrected him with an "ouch" if he applied too much pressure. He is still a mouthy guy since I never taught him not to touch me this way, but he is extremely gentle. I also never played rough with my hands because I do believe dogs will match our "energy" and pressure as part of the learning proccess. I think he has been able to learn gentle touching though our interactions, even though he might not have learned it from his biological dog mom.

    For more exhuberant play, we use a tug toy so he can get his "ya-ya's" out that way. 

  • Thanks everyone for helping me with this. I'm still not sure what training I'll do when it comes to the mouthing/ play biting thing, but you've all given me alot to think about and I really appreciate all the suggestions Smile I just can't wait to get the lil stinker home!

  • Liesje

     

    They actually learn it more from siblings than their mother.

     

     You are correct Lies! I knew they learned it from someone dam or littermate. Smile

  • Luke was taught no biting human skin, there's lots of stuff he can bite, but not human skin. He goes out to lots of places, and sometimes goes to work with me. I work with young kids. I cannot bring a dog with me if he has learned light biting is ok. Allowing any sort of biting of skin seriously limits where he can go.

    I didn't teach him the inhibition. He learned it with his mom and littermates. I taught him that biting humans isn't allowed. He continued learning the inhibition in his puppy classes. The first things I did, before I brought him home, were to schedule him for the vet, and to sign him up for puppy classes. Yes, I took a risk in him not being fully vaccinated. I felt I'd rather take that risk than the  risk of him being labeled a biter. I didn't care about him learning the behaviors being taught in that class. It was at Petsmart, so I didn't expect much. I can teach the behaviors taught in puppy classes, and did that myself anyway. He also went to another class somewhere else, the good place that I use most of the time. I'd just say socialize, socialize, socialize, and continue to socialize. With people, with places, and with other animals.
     

  • Thats what I plan on doing with Lilith too with the vet visit and classes. I originally wanted to put her in classes right away, but the place I am taking her won't allow her to go until shes had her second shot. Which isn't until two weeks into the classes. So I'm taking her to their next set of puppy classes which starts on december 1st. When I told them it was too early to give her a second vaccine they told me I could just come and watch the classes without Lilith, but I am only doing the puppy class to socialize her, so it would have defeated the purpose lol. But ya, I'm on my own for a few weeks with socializing. I am going to bring her out for walks everyday, I'm just going to carry her until shes fully vaccinated and I'm going to bring a bunch of treats with me and get anyone I see on the walking path to give her one. I just want to take her everywhere and once shes fully vaccinated get her to walk around busy parts of town meeting more new people, dogs and different sounds. But ya thats my plan while I wait for classes and even after classes.

  •  Luckily, Petsmart didn't care too much. Nor would my regular place have cared, but they didn't have the a class starting at a time I could go to for over a month.