@yodabasenji said in biting..again:
My sister and I wanted a dog for most of our life and that wish came true 2 weeks ago, we got a 9 week old basenji puppy named Yoda. We knew that basenjis can be a problem for a first time dog owner, but we did a lot of reading and researching, did an online puppy training class before getting him, but theory and practice rarely add up. We did talk to our breeder before getting the pup and she said that she sees no problem in us getting a basenji, because they are very kind and sweet dogs and can also be appropriate for a first time owners.
The first week was very hard, but I guess it's the same with all the puppies, because there is a lot of new things for all of us. The second week seemed easier at the beginning, but than these crazy biting episodes started happening.
The biting was a problem from the start, but at the beginning it was more of a nibble and it did not seem all that problematic. We still wanted to apply "no biting at all" rule and whenever he started to bite, we tried giving him a chewing toy, a bully or we tried luring him away with a treat and doing a simple trick like "sit" or "paw" or "twirl". It worked for a while and we did see less biting of furniture but now the biting has focused on us. Whenever he started biting us we did a timeout - we all went out of the room and closed the door for 30s-1min, which was usually enough time for him to calm down. We than continued with playing or whatever we were doing at that moment and if he started biting again, we did the timeout again. That also worked for short time, he even sat and waited for us to come back a few times, but even that method has failed for the last two days.
I don't know what is wrong, but now he has these demon dog Cujo moments, where out the blue, he starts biting us very hard, not in a playful way, but in a kill a person way. He bites so hard that I literally screamed a few times, because he was hanging from my foot and wouldn't let go (it's really hard to stay calm at these moments, because they are very sudden and painful).
I read here on this forum that biting is unacceptable and that a restraint should be used, but I tried pulling him away with a house line, putting my fingers under his collar, pushing him away and rolling him on his back, but all of those things made him even crazier and the biting frenzy worse. We were conditioning the collar for a week now (that is holding it while he was eating his meals calmly), but it's not helping. And also, I am not sure how much physical restraint can we use, because twice he started coughing when I pulled him away and I really think that was not supposed to happen. We also tried putting him in a crate once, but he went totally nuts, started jumping, biting, whining and we tried to ignore that in hope he'll calm down, but from all that stress (I guess?) he actually peed in the crate (and he never pees in his crate!).
We figured out, that one of the reasons for this behaviour is when he is super tired but obviously doesn't know how to calm himself down and crating him at these moments usually works, because he falls asleep very quickly. But today he got into this psycho mode right after a afternoon nap, so he was supposed to be well rested then? And also the peeing accident happened after another episode of sleep (he went potty in between).
My concern is that he is not sleeping well. During the day his naps last for and hour but during that time he wakes up a few times but usually falls back to sleep in a minute or less. After a nap he can be awake for 1-2 hours, sometimes even more. At night he sleeps a bit better, but wakes up twice to potty, so all in all he gets like 15 hours or less of not very good quality sleep. Could that be the reason?
I really doubt that it's boredom or lack of physical or mental stimulation causing this, because since he wakes up, we are constantly doing things together, teaching simple tricks (sit, paw, touch, heel, name, even some recall), going for a walk for at least 45min-1h, arranging play dates with other pups, so I really don't know what more can we do. Maybe we are doing too much and it's frustrating him?
He is now 11 weeks old and will start puppy school next week. We also had a dog trainer over 2 days ago but she didn't seem all that concerned and didn't offer much solutions to this problem.
At this moment we are actually thinking that we are not capable of handling this dog and that's why I need your help. And don't get me started with the leash puling..
I'm inclined to quote myself on another post I made recently about the same topic:
@scagnetti said in Puppy teething/biting:
A lot of people put themselves in a position to get bit (i.e. touch the puppy when it doesn't want to be handled, keep hands in the puppy's face, etc.). The best thing, I've found, is to minimize the chance of getting bit by not putting yourself in a position to get bit.
In addition to respecting the puppy's space I would recommend doing handling drills (touch the puppy, give high value reward, repeat 100 times).
Another useful thing is to exercise the dog adequately. If you go for a 45 minute walk once a day and you're still getting bit then you need to increase the amount of walks and/or the amount of time on the walk.
Something else to consider would be not making a big deal of getting bit when it does happen (i.e. scream, get mad, squeal, etc.).
Last thing would be not to play with the puppy after he bites you. Puppies bite for many reasons; one of them is because they want to play, but if you play with them after they bite, you're teaching them that biting is an appropriate way to tell you that they want to play. A lot of people inadvertently teach their puppy to bite them.
Oh and when he starts biting when he's on your lap, calmly put him down and/or away in his crate. It sounds to me like you became a giant chew toy.
Best of luck, hope everything works out!
I think some of the information in that post will be useful to you.
Also, I would recommend managing your puppy in the house instead of giving him free-reign. This won't stop problems in and of itself, but it will prevent many behavioral issues from starting or progressing to an unmanageable level.
Another thing I think you all might benefit from is proper crate training and practicing being alone.
In addition to all of these things, I would build value in myself by training engagement. A dog that likes you is less likely to bite you, or at the very least, less likely to escalate things to such a heightened degree that you guys end up having a major fight.
You've only had this puppy for a couple of weeks; that's not a lot of time to build a relationship. Just respect his space, do the handling drills, exhaust him with sufficient exercise, build value in yourself, manage him in the house, crate train him, and you should make some progress.
(And I wouldn't be too worried about your sleep concerns.)
Best of luck!