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Old 18.09.2015, 12:31
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My dog bit me!

We have a little pug, who is really well behaved, but the only issue we have ever had with him, is if someone is leaving the apartment then he goes crazy running up to them and barking. Yesterday, as I was leaving for work he did the usual, but actually bit my leg. I'm not sure if this was unintentional, as he has never bitten anyone in his life. You may all be saying that it has to do with separation anxiety, but here's the thing: He only does this when someone leaves, but there is someone else left in the apartment. If my wife and I leave together, then he doesn't even bat an eye, which makes me wonder that this is not separation anxiety. Whatever the cause, I can't have him biting anyone, especially since we have just had a baby. (If anyone is wondering, his behavior hasn't changed since the new arrival)
Any advice, tips etc. (I have started taking him for long walks in the morning and evening now, as this is something that has changed since the baby, as we just don't have as much time anymore)
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Old 18.09.2015, 12:39
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Re: My dog bit me!

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Any advice, tips etc. (I have started taking him for long walks in the morning and evening now, as this is something that has changed since the baby, as we just don't have as much time anymore)
Is it normally just you that takes him for walks? Maybe he thinks if just you are going to the door it means "walk time" and gets excited?
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Old 18.09.2015, 13:10
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Re: My dog bit me!

First thing - you cannot allow the excited behavior when leaving.

I would guess - but cannot do more than guess, obviously, as I was not there - that contact was unintentional, either a sheer accidental contact or due to his being well over the inhibition threshold while 'crazy running'. Especially if you have allowed the 'crazy running' behavior for some time now.

Having up until now allowed your dog to keep practicing the behavior when you leave, you do have to understand that you have contributed to the situation. In essence, you have inadvertently taught him that this behavior is OK.

That said, now is the time to stop the behavior, to teach him a better way to behave when you leave.

I always find that it is easier, and far more effective, to teach my dog what I want him to do, a postive action, than to teach him that I don't want him to do something. Towards that end, teach him a 'leaving' behavior that is acceptable to you.

I use 'go to your bed'.

Before you leave, even before you start the 'leaving routine' (putting on shoes, coats, looking for keys, etc - your dog knows exactly what these mean, which adds to his excitement), you ask for calm behavior.

I find that the best way to do this is to train a reliable 'go to your bed', sending the dog to his bed to sit while you are getting ready to leave. This means that the excitement isn't building up the same way that it will when he is allowed to do 'crazy running'.

If you don't already have this command mastered, start with very short instances, at random intervals many times throughout the day. On your command your dog should stop whatever he is doing, go to his bed and sit until you release him.

You can reward him for responding correctly, then release him. Once you have him reliably going to his bed on command, then switch to variable rewarding, which helps to ingrain the behavior.

I vary the length of time spent on the bed, gradually building from seconds to minutes, as well as type of reward and the frequency that the reward is given. So sometimes the dogs gets a kibble reward, sometimes praise, sometimes a cuddle, sometimes a toy, sometimes a really great reward like a chew stick or a filled kong.

And then once the response is rock solid, I start giving the command just before my 'leaving routine'. At first I do it just while putting on shoes. Then while putting on shoes and getting my coat. Then while putting on shoes, getting my coat, and looking for the keys - you get the picture - finally I work up to adding in opening the door, stepping out the door, closing the door.

In the final instance, when the dog is reliably staying calmly on his bed during my leaving routine I release the dog after I have stepped outside, as I am closing the door.

This takes several thousand iterations, but it becomes part of the usual day, an activity for your dog.

The idea is that you do not allow your dog to become over excited in the first place. It's far easier to prevent the excitement than to bring a dog down once over the threshold.

If you cannot do all this at once, a short term management option is to install a baby gate at the entryway. Practice 'go to your bed' as above, but keep all that you need when leaving in the entryway. That way, if you have not quite mastered the full leaving routine you can close the baby gate while you are putting on your coat, etc.

---

That said, if you have any concerns about behavior you should be working with a trainer or behaviorist who can observe you 1-1, in your house. Advice over t'internet can only be guesswork at best as we cannot see what actually is happening. A good trainer or behaviorist is a good investment.

Do you have a trainer to work with?

All the best.
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Old 18.09.2015, 13:20
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Re: My dog bit me!

Thanks all for your feedback. Yes, I take full responsibility as I think we never really followed through on this part of his training as it seemed like this just wouldn't change. I do think the bite was accidental as he was in a 'zone'! I think it's good getting him in his bed early, as I think we try this too late, after he has already started acting up. Thanks again all!
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Old 18.09.2015, 13:21
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Re: My dog bit me!

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Is it normally just you that takes him for walks? Maybe he thinks if just you are going to the door it means "walk time" and gets excited?
Alas, no. He does it with anyone and several people take him for walks. On top of that, I think that walks are one thing he does not get too excited about!
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Old 18.09.2015, 13:25
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Re: My dog bit me!

Nick, it the very short term a way to 'break' the behavior while you are working on training something else is to use a filled kong or other treat that takes a long time to finish.

Before you start your leaving routine, ask for a sit (it's important that the dog understands that you are directing the activity, and 'Sit!' is an easy option) then give the kong or treat.

While your dog is happily chomping away, you gather your things and leave. No further comment, no good-byes, just casually walk out the door.

Obviously, though, this needs to be a treat that can safely be eaten unsupervised.
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Old 18.09.2015, 13:45
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Re: My dog bit me!

The parents of my SO also had this problem before. They talked to a vet for tips on how to train the dog. Aside from the spreading treats and other tips given above, you can also consider putting a bark collar. It sprays air with a sound to shush the pup. It worked and now the pup is okay and sometimes just cries silently if someone's going away.
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Old 18.09.2015, 14:12
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Re: My dog bit me!

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<go to bed routine>
OP - with a little adaptation, this advice will also help you with your new child!

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Old 18.09.2015, 14:17
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Re: My dog bit me!

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OP - with a little adaptation, this advice will also help you with your new child!
We have this one down!
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Old 18.09.2015, 14:19
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Re: My dog bit me!

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sometimes just cries silently if someone's going away.
Aaaawww, that is so sad! I think I will try positive reinforcement first, but thanks for your suggestion
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Old 18.09.2015, 16:00
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Re: My dog bit me!

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It worked and now the pup is okay and sometimes just cries silently if someone's going away.
Jesuisuntouriste, as those who have read my posts will already know I am opposed to using techniques that employ force, pain, fear, discomfort, all of which are aversive stimulants, as a training method.

Aside from the very strong ethical arguments against the use of such devises (and I believe these are primary), the chance of unintended consequences of using aversives as a motivator, that is, the dog making a different association than the one you intend, should rule out their use. And a dog must never left alone with an aversive!

Additionally, the use of aversives when a dog is in an excited, emotional, aggressive, or 'over the threshold' state is downright dangerous. One risks escalating the behavior as the dog reacts in self defense. Especially in the case of aggression!

Sometimes those who are not fully conversant in canine behavior see a dog who has stopped it's behavior in response to an aversive and think that the objective has been accomplished. Often, though, it is quite the opposite - the dogs does not want to experience the aversive, but does not know how to avoid it and so does nothing. But the dog remains in the same emotional state that caused the behavior - he has not learned, he simply cannot cope, he is shut down.

That your SO's parent's dog 'cries silently' while wearing the collar is actually quite worrying to me. That is a dog who is in a state of fear/confusion/discomfort. It is not fair to leave a dog in that state.

No, it is better to get to the root of the problem, to change the emotional state of the dog. And then to teach a dog an acceptable behavior to replace of the unacceptable one.

In the post above that is what the owner is doing. Before the dog reaches the emotion threshold, the dog is given a kong. A kong is a good thing. Then the owner leaves the house. Repeat a few hundred times and the dog associates owner leaving with the kong. Hey presto, the dogs understands that his owner leaving means something good is going to happen.

Similarly teaching 'go to your bed'. This is an action that replaces the crazy running caused by overexcitement (or anxiety - both are possible). Rewards come from performing this action. Rewards, that is things that are intrinsically desirable, change the assoociation in the dog's mind. And the dog has learned ant acceptable behavior.

I like 'go to your bed' because I can use it in any situation where I need control. Unexpected visitors, dogs begging, or in the Belltie's case, the trauma of a bird flying overhead. ( )

But it does take longer to train, hence the short cut of a super powerful good thing (the kong) that will occupy the dog while the owner is leaving, changing the association of leaving at the same time.


There are far, far better ways to train a dog than the use of aversives. As Nick says, positive reinforcement techniques are the way to go.



/sermon
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Old 18.09.2015, 17:18
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Re: My dog bit me!

Well, they don't put the bark collar on the dog anymore because the problem is gone. They only did it for a week or two I believe.
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Old 18.09.2015, 17:45
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Re: My dog bit me!

What you also have to think about is, if the title of your thread was "My dog just bit my child"

What would you do then ?
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Old 18.09.2015, 18:02
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Re: My dog bit me!

meloncollie's advise is brilliant, as usual, and I would like to add one suggestion: you said the dog behaves this way when somebody else stays in the flat. Use that somebody to treat the dog when you're leaving, should be easier.
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Old 18.09.2015, 18:16
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Re: My dog bit me!

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What you also have to think about is, if the title of your thread was "My dog just bit my child"

What would you do then ?
Hence the reason I'm looking for a solution and am willing to rectify this now.
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Old 18.09.2015, 18:28
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Re: My dog bit me!

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Hence the reason I'm looking for a solution and am willing to rectify this now.
My neighbour's dog bites. They've tried everything. Their children get bitten too and they can't have friends around to play any more.
The dog bit their daughter last earlier this week.

We don't need to cross the road when the dog is out for a walk as the owners will do that themselves.

Personally, I think they really need to decide between their dog and their kids.
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Old 18.09.2015, 18:39
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Re: My dog bit me!

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Hence the reason I'm looking for a solution and am willing to rectify this now.

My younger daughter got bitten by a dog when she was 6 or 7 years old, not badly but enough to make her dislike dogs, still today, this was over 15 years ago.

Dogs are fantastic animals maybe, but they need to learn to live with us and not the other way around and if there's a risk of the dog bitting a child, then it's the dog who will carry the can every time

No idea what you can do about it, MC can advise but she is also a dog lover so whilst it will be excellent advice it will be biased towards the dog which may or may not be the advice you need.
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Old 18.09.2015, 19:13
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Re: My dog bit me!

If anyone bites me, I bite back. Simples.
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Old 18.09.2015, 19:32
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Re: My dog bit me!

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If anyone bites me, I bite back. Simples.
Fancy a Pizza?
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Old 18.09.2015, 19:35
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Re: My dog bit me!

Fancy a vocal warm up?




Modern times.
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