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Some urgent advice needed please

(10 Posts)
natellie1970 Thu 08-May-14 20:14:59

We have a 14wo springer who is mostly lovely and sweet until my 11yo dd turns up. Then he turns into a snarling biting monster. She does nothing outwardly to provoke him and I'm seriously concerned that even though we've totally fallen in love with him we're going to have to get rid of him as dd has to come first. What can I do to stop this biting? Will he grow out of it? He starts puppy training next week. Please help me.

tabulahrasa Thu 08-May-14 20:32:59

Puppies tend to be more bitey with children - they're more fun to play with because they do more exciting things, move around fast and make squeaky noises when they try and wrestle with them.

I'd get DD involved with his training, that will give him a more appropriate way to interact with her in general.

And while he's being all stupid and bitey with her, she needs to not make it more fun, no running away or squealing...stand still and ignore him, no talking, no looking at him until she (or you) can distract him with a better (more people friendly) toy.

insanityscatching Thu 08-May-14 20:34:47

Eric had a spell of being snappy with our dd 11 (only child in a houseful of adults) I have never worked out why, maybe because she was the smallest and possibly the most unpredictable but I don't know really.
We went for zero tolerance and so I put him behind the stair gate every time he snapped and we ignored him. I'd also sit with them both and rewarded him constantly when he didn't bother dd and encouraged dd to be calm and treat him as well. Now at four months dd and Eric are the best of friends, he never snaps at or mouths her and they play together all the time. I think Eric knows now that dd has plenty of time and patience for chasing round the garden and throwing him toys.

natellie1970 Thu 08-May-14 20:57:53

Thank you both. Gives me hope that we can stop this. dd has more tiny holes in her than a colander.

47greenbottleshanging Fri 09-May-14 13:58:16

No advice other than to say I've got similar with my puppy and have a thread also about this with some good ideas from others (bitey, nippy puppy title).

Freckletoes Fri 09-May-14 14:19:19

Your DD probably doesn't say no and discipline the pup as much as you do, so it will continue to nip at her as it would with its litter mates. If her response is to squeal or cry out and back off then the pup is getting all the wrong signals from her and will continue to try and assert his dominance. On thing we use to discourage nipping and these juvenile attempts to dominate is to place a hand firmly over the top of the pups muzzle (saying no at the same time). This mimics what older dogs would do to the pup if it were biting them-they put their jaws around the pups muzzle with a warning bark. There is no pain involved for the pup but they understand the message. Constant repeated responses to the negative behaviour is how the pup will learn to stop it. Your daughter must not be afraid to push the pup firmly away and say no if it is coming in for a nip and she should be involved in everything to do with the pup, particularly feeding. Make sure the pup is fed away from you all, do not allow the pup to be around when you are eating at the table, if possible and if it fits with some meals, eat first then feed the pup. This then re-enforces that pup is the lowest member of the pack and that is where he is staying! You must get this under control now as it will be a problem once the dog becomes an adult. However it is easy to solve at this young age so don't give up! If necessary get some advice from someone experienced with dogs or behaviour problems-can the breeder not give you advice? Good Luck!

basildonbond Fri 09-May-14 14:43:23

Erm .. He's not trying to dominate her ....

That's based on out-dated and discredited theories which were based on the way captive wolves (not wild) behaved under stress

Have a look at these:

So you think your dog is dominant

ClarksonsPerm Fri 09-May-14 15:10:21

Please ignore Freckletoes. Her advice is from the dark ages.

moosemama Fri 09-May-14 18:03:43

He is absolutely not trying to dominate her. It's been scientifically proven that domestic dogs do not live in 'packs' or have a dominance hierarchy.

Never respond to anything the pup does with physical punishment or restraint. We don't need to behave like dogs to get them to understand us, they know we aren't dogs.

For a dog that does get excited by the 'squeal when nipped' method, withdrawal of attention usually works. Any tooth contact should immediately stops the game. Your dd should stand stock still, cross her arms and totally ignore him. If you are there and he's persistent, you could reinforce it by quickly popping him behind a dog-gate or something. He should soon cotton on that it's more fun to play nicely and be allowed to continue the game. When he's calm and stops nipping she can give him a suitable toy and tell him he's a good lad for biting on that instead of her.

I also agree it's a good idea to get her involved in his care and training a little, closely supervised of course, as it all helps to build a good bond. If she can come to puppy classes with you and learn how to handle him appropriately that would be great too.

My pup is now 11 months old (and huge) and despite being a typically calm breed, has always been more excitable around my dcs, partly because they play with him a lot and he loves being with them. He wasn't massively nippy as a tiny pup, but like most puppies, he had his moments. Now he's careful to be gentle with all three dcs (12, 10 and 5) and knows he has to control his loopier instincts when he's around them. All three dcs can play tuggy games with him and get him to let go with a quietly spoken 'give' command/cue.

When he was very young I clicker trained him myself first to teach him the basic sit, down and wait and then taught the dcs how to use those learned skills to ensure he played calmly eg he brings them a toy and gives it to them, then he has to sit and wait until they throw it. They also use them when going through doorways and opening the back door to the garden for him. All this helps him to learn impulse control and to realise that he can't just be a bull in a china shop/hooligan around them and the rules are always the same, regardless of who he's interacting with.

It's very early days. Training classes will help, especially if your dd can be involved.

SistersOfPercy Sun 11-May-14 00:05:00

Mine is quite bitey with dh, I personally think it's because dh works long hours and ddog doesn't see him that much so when he does come home he's desperate for his attention, and any attention will do.
He'd bite, dh would shout, yelp etc but it was still attention. When dh began ignoring him totally when he bitey then he began to realise unless he behaved he wasn't getting the attention he craved from dh and he's reasonably good now.

dh needed to make more effort to play with ddog though, groom him, feed him etc. I think ddog just saw him as this odd bloke who appeared for half an hour a night to chastise him.

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