Can't break a bad habit...need advice

Discussion in 'The Loafing Shed' started by alljackedup, Jan 20, 2009.

  1. alljackedup

    alljackedup New Member

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    As most of you know, we got a 1 yr old boxer/golden ret. mix 2 weeks ago, and Max is a wonderful dog, and we have broken ALMOST all of his bad habits, but have a couple lurking that I just can't seem to get to stop.

    He was allowed to lick at his old home, and I can't stand to be licked by dogs, nor have we ever allowed any of our other dogs to lick. We nipped it in the bud when they were puppies, and that was that. He is only a year old, but that's a whole year that he licked everyone in sight. How do I break him of it?

    His other problem is biting at our fingers while we're walking or playing with him. He doesn't do it aggressively, but he gets a little more aggresive with our 11 yr old.

    We have broken the jumping up, begging when we eat, and tug-o-war things, but this is the 1st time we've gotten a new dog that wasn't a puppy, and I don't want to break his spirit, but want him to know that the biting and licking have got to stop.

    HELP!!!!
     
  2. Buffy

    Buffy New Member

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    I would treat the biting just like I would a puppies. Sounds harsh, but a quick snap to the nose as SOON as he goes for the fingers does the trick for me.
     

  3. alljackedup

    alljackedup New Member

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    As soon as I smack his little nose, he tries to bite. I think maybe they tried to get him to quit, but went about it all wrong, and now he thinks you're being agressive. He does NOT respond well to little taps on the nose. That's how we broke the pups from doing it, but not working with this big guy. I know that he would NEVER intentionally hurt anyone, but don't wanna take thta chance. We've only had him for 2 weeks.
     
  4. BUC

    BUC Administrator

    Shock collar. Sounds harsh, yes...this is not a good habit and can be a dangerous one to break if he thinks a tap is aggressive.
     
  5. alljackedup

    alljackedup New Member

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    we do have shock collars from field training gunther, so maybe I can just turn it way down and try it. Thanks BUc...hadn't even thought about that.
     
  6. equusteacher

    equusteacher New Member

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    The biggest thing you need to be sure you (and the kidletts) aren't doing when playing with him is using your hands too much. If you are tugging his paws in play or using your hands around his mouth/head at all, he will reciprocate. His mouth are his hands. It's all he has.

    I'm not saying you are doing this, just wanted to bring it up.
     
  7. alljackedup

    alljackedup New Member

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    Thanks ET. We haven't ever allowed rough play or pulling (tug o war) games with any of our dogs. When we 1st got him, all he wanted to do wa play pulling games, and we stopped that right off the bat. The biting at our hands is just a tiny playful bite, but we still don't like it. The kids were raised to never play with dogs' paws, because it IS 1 of only 2 of their defenses.
     
  8. Shell

    Shell New Member

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    For the nipping try saying OUCH! or NO! BAD DOG! every time. Hurt his feelings, dogs know when their owners aren't happy with them.
    For the licking, push him away and tell him to SIT and ignor him! Make him understand each time he does it you don't like it and want nothing to do with him.
     
  9. Angien

    Angien New Member

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    Spray him with water from a water bottle. Don't "spritz" him make sure it is hard like from a water gun...At the same time your say NO use the water.
    That way your hands are not involved. I did this with my pit mix who was serverly agressive with other dogs..Took 5 times and never again...
     
  10. lori

    lori New Member

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    Kady is also mouthy as hell. I've found having a bunch of chew appropriate toys (and a husky to wear her out) and telling her no and redirecting pretty much fixes it.
     
  11. Tbitt

    Tbitt Most beloved member of MW

    My little guy Pip is (as Lori so eloquently put it) "Mouthy as hell" also............but he is all of 12 lbs.......... :th_fluffbunny:

    As soon as he does it, say "NO" and then pull completely away. Walk away from him, or turn your back toward him, and totally ignore him. They HATE being put out of the group...............

    Maybe start asking him to "sit" and stay sitting before you pet him.

    Or, If you are taking him some place say to the barn with you, and he does it............YELL NO!!! and then take him right into the house! Leave him there while you go back to doing what you were doing. (or if this happens in the kitchen, scold him, take him to the bathroom and shut the door) Putting him in time out for a few minutes works.........keep doing it as soon as he nips he will get the hint.......
     
  12. Mass

    Mass Senior Member and Masscaster

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    Water bottle works great.
     
  13. JenR

    JenR Formerly Underworld Queen

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    Does he know to sit? If so, whenever he tries to lick, put him in a sit and reward him for the sit. If he tries to lick -- no more attention, turn your back on him, wait a few seconds, ask him to sit, and then reward him for sitting. Don't get mad at him -- licking is an appeasement - attention getting ploy; if you get mad at him he may just lick more, vicious circle time. Redirect him to a good behavior for some lovin's; be consistent with it and he'll get the message. If he doesn't know how to sit, start teaching it.

    The mouthing is a retriever thing; if he mouths same thing -- ignore him, wait a few seconds, give him a toy and then praise for taking and mouthing the proper thing (toy) instead of your hand or clothes. If he goes back to you -- 'no", ignore (turn your back on him), wait a few seconds, give him a toy, if he takes the toy praise. The mouthing is essentially a play gesture - attention getting ploy; if you get mad at him he may go to the licking or some other bad behavior. Give him an out to do something approved of.

    a year old dog may be a bit more work than a puppy, but is still pretty young and pliable; besides, a Boxer/Golden cross is a young, happy go lucky, boisterous mix of breeds -- even in the best of homes the two behaviors you're describing would most likely be an issue to be dealt with

    * now if he's not mouthing but nipping at you -- then a firm "no, out" and ignore him until he offers up a sit or moves on to something more appropriate to do; I would also say schedule some time each day to do some training (it can be sit, down, shake, roll over whatever as long as it's training) followed by some play time; do a bit of training before he gets to go out and before he gets to eat as well. That way he gets the hint: be a good dog, do your school work, and then you get this wonderful play/outside/food. It will help reinforce ignoring him when he's bad (aka. any attention you give him is a great thing, truly awful if it's taken away, being bad gets attention=play taken away -- mustn't be a bad boy)

    ** a word about water bottles -- they can work great; I used them all the time, and it was the one thing that finally got the message through to my mom's rather wilfull and naughty Jack Russell. However, there are some dogs out there that it does not work on (Jack our BC is one) -- there are some who will see the water bottle as just another really great toy and great fun; if your dog starts to show signs of being one of those dogs, then don't persist

    *** as with shock collars -- unless you are the type of person who can be completely consistent, fair, and have great timing in applying it don't use one. In the right hands a shock collar can be really effective on a hard dog, but with the wrong person (my ex's wife for instance) you can end up with a confused and neurotic dog, which is a bigger problem than the one you started with
     
  14. alljackedup

    alljackedup New Member

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    The shock collar is being saved as a last resort. Now that I think about it, when we met him and his previous owner out at Morganfan's, MGF's boyfriend got the water bottle out when he wouldn't quit jumping, and he responded to that very well.

    He pretty much knew "sit" when we brought him home, but now we just put up 1 finger in front of him, and it's an immediate "sit". No delay. He also knows that when we have a leash in our hands, he automatically sits. We're still working on "stay", "come" and "heel". He's very intelligent!!!
    I received his records from his previous vet on Tuesday, and stuck to them, was a post-it-note, that said, "Have fun with him, but PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE teach him some manners.
    I think considering that he had been kind of shuffled around because of his previous owners situation :'(, that he is doing amazingly well. He knows that when we say it's time to go "nite nite", he runs right into his crate and lays down. No whining or crying.
    If I can get these 2 things under control, he will be close to perfect....knock on wood.

    He is extremely lovable and fun and easygoing.
     
  15. Morganfan608

    Morganfan608 New Member

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    Once upon a time, my dairy farmer uncle, had a mouthy farm dog. They tried everything to get him to stop. I thought my uncle had inhaled too much cow shit, or had finally began to smoke dehydrated pies, when he enlisted the idea that we should start shoving our hand, finger, elbow or wrist (whatever small body part the dog tried to mouth) farther into his mouth when he tried to mouth us. We were never allowed to play tug-of-war, pretend boxing or anything else to get dogs excited. Like Max, my uncle's 2 y.o. dog came w/the mouthy issue and poor manners. That's how he/we solved it and 'Trouble' became the best family/farm dog ever.

    Max's former owner allowed tug-of-war w/pretty much everything and he really liked it....I wouldn't want him playing tug-of-war w/my hand, so my uncle's theory might concern me. Seeing his reaction to the waterbottle ;D, well, hopefully that, w/'NO' will work.
     
  16. alljackedup

    alljackedup New Member

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    Yeah Cathy, I don't want my hand in his mouth either. Is freakin STRONG!!!

    I forgot to tell you that he has taught himself (on his own, I might add) to go hit the big jingle bell horses that I hang on the door knobs for Christmas, when he needs to go out and pottie. Now I guess they will be a year round fixture. :p

    I tried grabbing his tongue last night when he licked me, and it worked for awhile. But those little tongues are quick, and hard to catch. :p
     
  17. Tbitt

    Tbitt Most beloved member of MW

    Scary thing is - this WILL work.

    Have you ever noticed that if you force something into their mouth they most certainly DON'T want it anymore.

    I did this with an adult dog............it works!

    But it sounds like the waterbottle might be your "best tool"! ;)
     
  18. alljackedup

    alljackedup New Member

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    We really have never had a dog that was this lovable. I hate to even raise my vocie to him, cause he just wrinkles up his forehead, and cocks his head to the side, and makes the tiniest little wimper. It's soooo cute! But.... then reality sets in and he tries to play bite again, and I'm snapped back into reality ;) I realize that just like my kiddos, discipline is a form of love. Keeps them safe.
     
  19. Shell

    Shell New Member

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    Tbitt, I've been doing the same thing with our kitten when he starts to bite. Makes him think twice.

    I was also told the same thing years ago with dogs. Hopefully it's the first reaction I can think of if a dog ever tries to my hand. They can't bite down if their gagging.