Small biting problem

Discussion in 'Dog Training' started by Thorgcorg, Sep 19, 2016.

  1. Thorgcorg

    Thorgcorg New Member

    So I have a male Pembroke Corgi at 2 months, quickly approaching 3 months, appropriately named Thor. He's generally an active puppy, and had his fair bouts of running at full speed around the hallways. He doesn't bark too much, only when he's especially riled up, but the main problem is his biting. (And his potty-training, but I'll be trying many different methods that will hopefully work soon.) Since he's still small, his teeth are fortunately not sharp enough to break skin, and the worst he's given me is a bruise.

    When we first got him, his biting was horrid - He did not know when to bite soft in play, and would lunge at everybody's heels when walking, or just about anything that has movement and is at his eye-level, and would bite full-force. Then we did the timeout technique, and it worked for a time. He stopped lunging at everything and at most would just accidentally walk in front of people instead of biting heels, and his biting with people would lessen a lot. Whenever he bit, it was clearly in play and he didn't bite too hard. The exception was when you annoyed him way too much, such as touch his paws (to clean them), and when you pulled away he would bite down in anger, I presume.

    The main problem was that he targeted mainly strangers and guests, especially those with socks on. He lunges at their feet, and the person pulls away. I know that pulling away only causes the puppy to want to bite harder due to their instincts, but no matter how I always tell them to not pull away, they still do. It's frustrating, but I guess it's their 'instinct' too when something with pointy teeth aims at them. I do put him in timeouts consistently during these moments, but it doesn't seem to work as he goes right back at it as soon as he's out and sees moving feet.

    I have tried the 'yelping' or a loud 'ouch' method, but they do not have any effect whatsoever. Thor does not let go but neither does he bite harder, he simply ignores it completely. I've tried replacing his biting with a toy or treat, he bites it for at most about 5 seconds before deliberately going for tasty human flesh once more. I've done a whistle to get his attention everytime he did a bite (a regular whistle, not a dog-whistle) and it worked for a while, but eventually he started ignoring that, too. Also tried a bitter spray, but he either ignored or actually liked it and would start licking, before returning to biting. All of these I tried consistently. However, right now I'm trying a new method, and I need to know if it is correct. Whenever he bites, I would blow (very lightly) on his face, to distract and/or annoy him. At first he would stop biting in turn for sending me a stink eye and a huff, then would try again. I repeated the blow, and he jumped off from me with a angry-sounding huff and at times a growl if he was really into the biting, but it worked and he would back off and play with his toys instead. However, the thought of this method and the way he reacted in an annoyed manner made me feel that this probably was a bad way to deter him from biting.

    However, if this behaviour is just him not getting enough exercise, then it should be fine. He currently cannot go outside (As he has not had all his vaccines), but will be able to in a month.

    Did not mean to make this so wordy, but I needed to specify the ways he's been trained. I'd like to ask for some advice on this whole biting situation, so that he may stop targeting stranger's feet. Thank you!
  2. Michael Romanos

    Michael Romanos Active Member Staff Member Moderator

    Well I find it strange that a Corgi almost three months of age 'cannot go outside''. Of course he can go outside in your property - or is it not properly fenced. Then this is a problem that should have been addressed before you brought home a dog.

    In NZ a puppy usually has his/her final vaccination by the time he/she is say 10-11 weeks of age. The minimum age for dog shows is three months and all puppies must have gone through their full vaccination programme to attend a show. In any case so long as one is careful such as keeping him/her away from other dog's faeces and dogs you do not know, then the risk factor is ok to give a puppy a little walk around the streets and in parks. However exercising has different levels with different stages of puppyhood.

    Biting and young puppies are intertwined. Some Corgi puppies are 'hard at it' while most are less intent. It has a great deal to do with teething and exploring and finding the boundaries. Boredom is another factor. But teeth development is number one and this is a frustrating time for puppies. So I wouldn't panic just say 'no' or the equivalent or ouch if the biting is too hard and lengthy. Offer the puppy what he can bite into and things should evolve into a more decorous situation. Get some real strong toys - the Kong brand has some great toys including a ball like object with two handles. Strong ropey tug toys are good too - just don't wreck teeth in your pulling.

    My current puppy was right into destroying socks and underwear so we never left these items where he had access. And he has been ok with them now for about two months. He does nudge us often which we find endearing but another Corgi instead of nudging might nip - its just a matter of learning boundaries.
  3. Thorgcorg

    Thorgcorg New Member

    I live in a HDB Flat, or an apartment as some people have it in other countries. It's hard to get a landed property in my country, and more than half the population have to live in apartments. I have done my research and I acknowledge that Corgis need a lot of exercise which I am able to provide through daily walks and even runs that I am planning to do in the future. However, I do not have the luxury of a fenced yard for him due to my living area. Note that my flat is not that small, and I've seen neighbours owning larger dogs in smaller flats that are clearly against the law (German Shepards, for one.) I've gotten approval from both the Housing Development Board (HDB) as well as the Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority (AVA)'s permission to keep a corgi in a flat.

    I'm not too sure about the situation as the vet informed me that Thor's previous owner had given his first vaccine way too early (6 weeks, I believe.) He should have been able to go out last week, but the vet said that because of the early vaccine, it would be safer to give Thor a fourth one when he was 16 weeks old. As for a short walk around the neighbourhood, I'm not sure either. My neighbourhood has quite some dogs, and a lot of owners do not have the courtesy to pick up after their dogs. I've seen a number of dog faeces on the walkway, even. I'm afraid of Thor contracting diseases, especially after the vet said that it's better not to bring Thor out, even for short walks. Rest assured that a few fully-vaccinated dogs will be coming over soon for Thor to socialise with, however!

    As I've mentioned before, the entire strong "no" or "ouch" solution has no effect at all. The only vocal-solution exception that I've seen is when Thor is in my room with only me and nobody else, in a quiet environment. If he begins to bite something he isn't supposed to, say the knob of a drawer, I simply say his name in a low, warning-like tone, and he stops immediately and either rests his head on his paws or returns to his toys. Outside of the bedroom/other people in the room, however, and he never listens.

    Offering things to bite also does not work. He will bite for about 5 seconds, and afterwards you can see how his focus goes from the toy to the human hand or leg nearby, and no matter how hard or enticing you make the toy seem, he switches and purposefully dodges the toy to bite the human (Who is not even moving or wiggling fingers or toes in any way!) He has numerous toys including KONG toys as well as toys specially designed or tug-of-war. They do not work!

    Thank you for your advice however, I will think about bringing Thor for a short walk around maybe, if it isn't too risky.
  4. Michael Romanos

    Michael Romanos Active Member Staff Member Moderator

    In NZ the vaccination programme for puppies starts quite early and indeed five-six weeks is fine. But we do live in a country with the healthiest level for dogs. For instance we do not have rabies and we do not have heartworms, we do not have a tick problem (nor are our ticks of any great consequence) and we do not have a flea problem - Fletcher at 12 months of age has yet to have any flea or tick preventative medication.

    I take my Corgis for toilet walks (outside of my large property) from the first day that they arrive in my house otherwise puppies under 6 months of age need little organised exercising and from 6 to 9 months an increasing amount of organised exercising until at 10 months onwards the full daily quota with Corgis a party to the one hour a day rule with extra exercising once a week. So it is like I live in an apartment and do not have littering arrangements inside the apartment.

    I socialised and allowed Fletcher his freedom ASAP and a couple of days after he arrived by air from the breeder at 10.5 weeks of age, he was off leash at the world's best all-purpose park available for dogs even though he had not had his booster vaccination. I just made sure he wasn't around any faeces or around any questionable dogs.

    You have to get more firmer with the biting otherwise he will wreck your furniture etc and clothes and scare away visitors. It is all to do with the puppy stage of life - while some puppies learn quicker that others, some do not want to learn or please their owners all the time or even some of the time but be their obstinate best. He needs to have a large crate ( suitable for medium size dogs) that you can place him in when he refrains from conforming and where he cannot do any damage.
    He may be very playful - some Corgis are - and therefore needs extra attention for interacting. It may help also if you increase his mealtimes to several a day and make sure he is getting a variety of food and certainly not just dry kibble.
  5. fromperpig

    fromperpig Member

    Biting: Watch the video. (Mouthy mutt: Claiming an object from a possessive dog)

    When Thor's biting, STOP! End all movement! Movement only heightens Thor's excitement; he feeds off your energy. You want the exact opposite when training because a dog can learn nothing when he's excited and playing. So, stop! Look at him; you don't need to say anything, just stare and be firm. When Thor stops and turns (or, looks) away, that's the end of the lesson. Praise him, immediately. Reward his good response (his calmness, not the no biting!). Repeat, when he starts to bite, again.

    Dogs learn through repetition and at the lowest levels of excitement, possible. The secret is controlling Thor's excitement, not yours.

    When you watch dog training shows, people attach human response to dogs in their attempt at instruction. It doesn't work. Yet, they repeat it again, anyhow! This is why I say, the Dog Whisperer is not about training dogs. It's about training inept people. Inept people don't repeat. Inept people are not consistent. Inept people have no patience. Inept people want results, yesterday. This is precisely why Cesar is rolling in $$$$...Ineptitude. He overcomes the owner's emotions, lack of patience and inability to repeat. Controlling the dog's the easy part! :)

    If your guests don't stop, they will continue to get bit...That's not the dog's fault...That's not the guest's fault...That's on you. The good news is, no matter how little you understand about dog training, if you're consistent and repeat, your puppy is so smart, he'll eventually stop biting, anyway. Resourceful people require no "research". They observe, they are patient and, eventually, the figure it out.

    Do you golf? My bet is, no. There is something called the "pre-shot routine".

    It's a means of creating muscle memory to generate consistent and predictable results. Tiger Wood's pre-shot routine takes the same amount of time, every time, within tenths of a second. Teaching a dog to pee outside is about developing a "pre-pee" routine and learning when to "reward" the proper behavior. Thor is watching you at all times. He takes "cues" from your movement. You train him to pee by being precise in your movement. The greater your consistency and precision, the more predictable the results.

    By the way, if you respond to this comment, I will not be happy. :)

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