• Hello!
    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..

    Thanks!!


  • First welcome to the forum..... would love to know who his Sire & Dam are (registered names) as many of us are related by our Basenjis. In regards to your issues, puppies bite that is how they play with their littermates... when they play too ruff then the others "scream" loud and ALL play stops...period!.... And adult dogs in the home will do the same to a mouthy puppy. AND IT WILL NOT stop overnight, it is a process especially when they start teething. Note that his teeth are sharp, needle teeth we call them... these are his baby teeth... so they hurt a lot more. You have to be consistent each and every day. I do not and never have believed in "rolling" a puppy and/or holding them down... at some point if you keep doing that it will become a "war" of wills and trust me, at some point you will lose. It is dangerous to do this... Puppies sleep in "sections", they sleep, wake, play, sleep... when they sleep it is a deep sleep for a short time, sounds to me like he is getting enough sleep. As far as accidents, they will happen and yes if they wake up at night, they need to go out... I would wake pups up every 3 to 4hrs and take to out to pee.... they are half asleep and they typically will go back to sleep almost immediately. If peeing in his sleep, need to have him checked for a UTI by your Vet. I have had pups with a UTI as babies.... it happens... It is good that you are working his mind, that is perfect! But do not expect the pup to be housetrained in a few weeks.. can take up to 6 months and that would be after he grows his adult teeth... Be careful with trainers that they know and understand Basenjis including puppy school... that is important. Many here may tell you different things about the biting... I do not believe is force, such as forcing their mouth open or sticking you finger in his mouth... this will condition him to NOT let anyone look in his mouth which is important to brush his teeth or have a Vet exam. I have been in the breed for over 30+ years and never did that with puppies....


  • First of all, puppies bite. In the beginning (at the stage you are now) it's due to play and/or tasting the world. He will lose his puppy teeth when he's around 4-6 months old, and at this point he will start biting (and chewing) due to his gums itching and hurting. Most puppies are done with biting when they get their new teeth if they've had consistent training.

    Cujo moments are, as you've guessed, usually in connection to the puppy getting overly tired or over-stimulated. Or just over-excited because they're happy, or because they just pooped or peed. Just like human children, they get hyper and make a lot of noise, do things they're not allowed to do, and generally make us crazy. If you see it coming, you can usually distract them and calm them down with nosework, like sniffing mats, or calm treat toys.

    Now, some puppies bite more than others. I've had an extreme biter, and if you screamed, said "no!" or pushed her away, it triggered her to bite harder. Much harder. I see you mention timeouts. That's a good idea, but if you move the puppy to a timeout zone, it's slow, you have to give it attention by picking him up, and your puppy might not even make the connection. The simplest way is to actively ignore. You need to teach the puppy that biting = boring, and it's a simpler way of doing timeout.

    If you are playing with the puppy on the floor and he bites, immediately stand up, turn away from him, cross your arms over your chest (to discourage jumping) and look up at the ceiling. Never angry, just calm and demonstrative until he stops and relaxes (or goes away). If he's biting on the lap, put him down, stand up and do the same thing. If you're walking across the floor, stop and do the same. Biting = boring.

    The difficult bit is to be consistent. Everyone in the household has to do this, and if you react to his biting, he wins. Getting a reaction is play to him. So put on old clothes so that you don't worry about them being ruined, put on shoes or boots so he can't hurt your feet when biting, and wear jeans or pants that protect your legs from pain as well.

    This is not needed for every single puppy, but my parents had an extreme biter. Took 10 months to get her to stop biting. The reason was that my mother and sister refused to wear "protective" clothes, so they often reacted or kept walking if they crossed the floor and she "attacked." Sometimes because she hurt them, sometimes because they were worried about ruining their pretty clothes, and sometimes because they were in a hurry. My father and I dressed for the biting as soon as we got home, and always took the time, even if we had to stand still for 10 minutes. She completely stopped biting the two of us when she was around 5 months old.

    So to sum it up: he will bite you to some extent until he gets his adult teeth between at 4 and 6 months. You will be able to reduce his biting before then if you train him, but there's a good chance you won't see any results for a couple of weeks, and even then he will still forget himself sometimes. If you keep changing methods because you don't see results after a few days, you won't get anywhere. It's not just about training, though. He's a baby, and he needs to gain the mental capacity to make the connection between his behavior and your response.

    I've had 6 puppies in 20+ years of being a dog owner, and I've cried in regret every single time. I've felt upset, exhausted and scared that I'm not able to handle it. That I don't want my life to be like this. I have a 13 week old puppy right now, and I cried last week! But it's temporary. I made a choice, adopted a puppy, and I have to be strong enough to make sure I'm her forever home. It will be okay, it will get a little easier every week, and I just have to hang in there. I can do it, and so can you. Don't think that someone else can do it better than you, because that's not true. You CAN do this, I promise. If you've already managed to teach him 3 simple tricks, then you have the skills. All you need now is patience, and as long as you remember that puppyhood is temporary, it's a lot easier to handle the frustrating parts.


  • @tanza Thank you very much for your warm welcome and kind reply.
    This is my basenji info:
    Sire: EW’22 Bahaticca’s Jungle Edition
    Dam: CH SLO HR Wakanda Legend Amazing Grace
    DOB 26.12.2021

    The rolling part happened only once and it wasn't planned, but he jumped at me for no reason and I kind of did it automatically (self-defense reaction I guess). I felt sorry immediately, but on the other hand, he didn't mind much, because he just kept going with his thing 😁

    The housetraining is actually going well, we had a few accidents in the first week, because we missed a few signs, but otherwise he is already almost peeing on cue. The crate pee accident happened only, because we put him in there in a very excited biting state and I believe the pee was stress (or on purpose?) induced, because he was whining and protesting so much.


  • @wildberry Thank you so much for your reply and comforting words.

    I do understand that puppies bite but my concern was that we are doing something wrong, since the biting got worse in the last two days despite all the biting inhibition exercises. We were even thinking that he is resenting something but I guess he doesn't have the mental capability to do that yet and we just have to continue all of the exercises over and over again.

    We have tried with treat toys (the kibble dispensing ball) but he loses interest in them in this excessive biting state but I guess it's too late to offer that when he's far gone. Probably best to give him that right after pooping. He usually gets his breakfast with a simple sniff and search exercise, maybe we should try that with more than one meal.

    As you've described your situation, we obviously got ourselves an extreme biter, because he's also triggered by "no", "ouch" and pushing away or any sudden movement.
    We did make a stash of old clothes even before we got him because we expected some biting, but this situation is way beyond everything we imagined.

    And thanks again for your kind words, means a lot. It's really frustrating having this feeling of doing everything wrong and possibly hurting your puppy mentally in physically because you have no idea what you're doing.
    And good luck with your puppy!!


  • @yodabasenji - The fact that he jumped on you is what would happen in the litter... that is what they do... seems that he is dominate? You need to work with that and again, all play stops until he settles down... No play like tug of war.... period... I have never in 30+ years had a pup that didn't respect the "yelp" when biting...and turning away from then do you know how the litter was raised? That said, your boy is related to my C-Me (GCH DC Klassic-Tanza Color Me Tri, SC CA).... All that said, I had adults in the home along with their littermates, they do much better raising pups than us humans can. Don't give up... take it one day at a time...


  • Sounds like this pup may not have had enough time with parents and litter mates to have learned inhibited biting. I'm somewhat at odds with tanza on this because I find some pups/dogs interpret "yelping" the same way they would "squeaky toy" and find it reinforcing. If it works for you, great. If it doesn't, you need to find another approach. Ignoring is good if you are consistent and if he doesn't enjoy attacking your ankles or whatever he can reach. If/when he quits the biting you can acknowledge him, but I would avoid whatever play you were doing that set him off in the first place. If you are observant you will likely find certain things that influence his bad behaviour.

    IMO it is important not to allow him to continue biting and to stop it once it starts. That's an issue when you play with a pup. Most learn there is a line they shouldn't cross, and you can usually manage them by ceasing play when it becomes too rough. They learn that the fun is over when they bite hard. Unfortunately once the biting becomes serious you really do need to prevent it. When things get serious and the pup (or dog) gets too rough and won't stop I have always simply restrained him until he relaxes, and then released him. Of course he will struggle and try to bite, but don't release him until he has quit. He's small, he's a pup, be gentle but be firm. Biting is not acceptable, and that means you don't let it go when you are playing. When you are having this problem, best to cease any play that leads to grabbing at you or your clothing. He can bite his toys, he cannot bite you. Perhaps a friend or neighbour has an adult dog or a pup he can play with? Another dog will sort out the manners and give him lots of exercise in the process.


  • @yodabasenji said in biting..again:

    Hello!
    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..

    Thanks!!

    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!


  • @yodabasenji - You are getting different opinions... what I outlined is what I do with my pups and encourage new owners to do... I do not agree to some of the ideas posted to you and never have done that with the pups that I raised. But as they say, it works till it doesn't.


  • @yodabasenji
    Oh, I see! The fact that it got worse all of a sudden has a very simple explanation.

    When puppies get taken away from their mom, their littermates, the breeder and their home, it's a big adjustment. Even confident puppies have a lot of new things to deal with. Learn to know their home, the outside area, the new sounds and smells where they now live, the family, possibly other pets, and in many cases some visitors. It's a lot!

    Many puppies (not all) will have a noticeable change of behavior after 1-2 weeks in their new home. Some get more intense in their biting/chewing, some become less interested in their owners, some get more unruly and test out new things in the house, like hanging from curtains. That's a GOOD thing, believe it or not. It means he has become comfortable with his new living situation, and is nothing to worry about.


  • @tanza Oh great, we're cousins! 🤗

    He was raised with 3 adult basenjis (1 male, 2 female), 8 pups that were 3 weeks older and his 5 littermates, so he was surrounded by a lot of dogs.
    He is not supposed to be dominant, the breeder said that he was the quiet one in the litter, that is why she chose him for us.

    Well, he most definitely is not responding to any yelps, screams or any sound while biting us, seems almost deaf at that time or probably just ignoring, I really don't know.

    And concerning your other post - yes, there are obviously different approaches to this problem, I'll probably just make a combination of all the suggestions and try to find the best way. Thanks again!


  • @eeeefarm
    I was afraid you were going to say that, if we knew the importance of staying with his litter longer, we would have insisted in taking him few weeks later, but it is what it is now.

    How do I acknowledge him after he stops biting? Do I offer treat when he settles or is it enough to start playing with him again? I am just concerned that he might connect treats with biting, meaning that he'll think that biting gets him treats.

    I do understand that he can bite while playing if he gets over excited, but for instance, yesterday he was completely calm and went (by himself, she didn't force him of whatever) to my sister's lap for a cuddle and brought with him a chewing toy. And there he was chewing on the toy and my sister was petting him and everything seemed nice and calm for 5 mins and then suddenly he just turned and started biting. She did stand up then and started ignoring him and he backed off.
    I am really not sure I know how to properly restrain a dog. As I already mentioned, If i put fingers under his collar, he goes mad and bites my hand even worse and if I pull by the leash, I have a feeling he's choking, because he pulls back so vigorously and then starts coughing.

    I am arranging playdates with other pups, one is 10 month old female king poodle, 6 month old female whippet and 2 year old male greyhound. He tried biting them all, but got a lesson very soon. The poodle hit him with her paw when he bit her hard, so that he started whining, the greyhound and the whippet bit him back, until he started playing nice, so I guess this is all good? He is best friend with the poodle now.
    My other concern is that he wants to greet ALL the dogs, even the huge ones and he even gets all cocky and cheeky while doing that. My neighbour has two adult dobermans, and he was afraid of them at first, but now he just walks up to them like "what's up". They are very well behaved dogs otherwise and their owner is very cautious when they are interacting, but I still don't know if this is a good behaviour for my dog.

    Thank you for your help!


  • @scagnetti
    Thank you for your suggestions!
    We are trying to build value in ourselves by hand feeding him from day 1. He doesn't have a food bowl, everything comes from our hand and that is the only time he's really not biting. And during feeding, we usually try to make things fun by teaching him tricks. What else can we do?

    We are crate training him, but he goes to crate only when he's tired (he does this on his own on occasion), because otherwise he cries and jumps and he can't calm down. And as I've already mentioned, he peed in his crate during one of these episodes, so we're afraid to do it again, but we'll start working on that more.

    We need to start doing are the handling drills. We thought that if he comes to us for a cuddle, that it should be enough, but I guess we need to reward him more every time he's calm.

    Thanks!


  • @wildberry
    OK, as long as it's normal, we'll try to survive it.
    We've all started wearing shoes at home and ignoring him during these episodes, so fingers crossed!


  • @yodabasenji said in biting..again:

    I do understand that he can bite while playing if he gets over excited, but for instance, yesterday he was completely calm and went (by himself, she didn't force him of whatever) to my sister's lap for a cuddle and brought with him a chewing toy. And there he was chewing on the toy and my sister was petting him and everything seemed nice and calm for 5 mins and then suddenly he just turned and started biting.

    Has anyone ever mentioned that Basenjis have cat-like traits? 😉

    Seriously, I think he isn't really clear on what the "rules" are. It is more difficult when multiple people are involved, because it is hard to be consistent and that can be confusing to a pup. You are correct when you mention that rewarding with food treats when he settles could be misinterpreted. You have to be careful not to be sending mixed signals, and there is even a training method called "chaining", where one action leads to the next and the reward comes after the second action. If biting becomes associated with getting treats, you have inadvertently reinforced the behaviour.

    I am wondering how old you and your sister are? And whether you have any previous experience training dogs?

    RE: restraint. I tend to use a "bear hug" with a small dog or pup, just put your arms around them, no tighter than necessary to maintain control. Be careful of where your face is if the pup should bite and try to control his head. If he does manage to bite your hand, do not let go! It sends the wrong message. Let him go as soon as he quits struggling. That is reward enough. You might verbally praise him for settling down, but I would skip the food reward, and if he starts up with the biting again, you repeat the restraint. He will figure it out.

    It will be necessary to restrain your pup when at the vet, so it's good for him to get used to it. Also, there should be no places on his body that you cannot touch or handle. This is important for basic grooming and imperative if he is ever injured and you need to help him.

    Exposure to other dogs should help with his manners, and as he is quite young at this point he will likely have "puppy immunity". Adults may put a pup in his place but they seldom get rough enough to injure him. That said, the owner of the other dog needs to monitor in case things get out of hand.

    Good trainers are observant and learn to spot signs of trouble before it occurs. If you see him getting restless or showing signs of boredom or aggression, try to redirect his attention to something else. If play consistently leads to biting issues, then that type of play should be off the table for now.

    He will likely grow out of the nippy stage fairly soon, and things will get better as you get to know each other and build trust.

    Edited to add, if you haven't investigated clicker training, you might want to do that. It works well for teaching new behaviours, and is excellent to train your pup to go into his crate on command, to go to a place (such as a mat) when asked, and many more useful things. Lots of info on line. Karen Pryor is a good resource.


  • @yodabasenji said in biting..again:

    He is not supposed to be dominant, the breeder said that he was the quiet one in the litter

    He might not have been dominant among his canine family, but now he is in his human home and he is the only pup. That makes him the boss. Which is why he is acting out and biting more than expected. He thinks he is teaching you how to behave, instead of the other way around.

    There are small gestures that you can make to correct this delusion. One of the easiest lessons comes at feeding time. Eat first, it doesn't matter what, in front of your pup. Then set their food down for them. You want your dog to see that you are eating while they wait. It is the way "alpha" dogs behave in the wild. The boss eats and then lets the other dogs eat.

    Establish your territory and your pup will begin to understand their rank in the family.


  • @eeeefarm
    We are a first time dog owner, so we have zero experience. I am 36 and my sister is 45 years old, so we kind of consider us to be responsible adults able to have a dog 😁
    The process of getting a puppy really took us more than 10 years, because we wanted to make sure, we will have the time, space, money to take care of him.
    We did a lot of reading about different dogs so that we could choose the right one for us. I wanted a corgi for more than 20 years, but she wanted a basenji and after spending some time with a corgi, I too decided that maybe a basenji is a better choice for us, but I was really afraid from the start if we'll manage his personality. And things do seem a lot easier in therory, especially in YouTube videos!!!
    I am a neurologist (with PhD in neuroscience) and my job is to overanalyze behaviours and now I'm doing that to my dog. Whenever I consider something not 'normal', I go and read the internet about it and watch hundreds of videos and get frustrated by so many different options and information. But the whole frustration stems from the fact that we have no experience in raising a dog and we probably complicate a lot more than needed.

    I did try chaining method by luring him away with treat while biting and then get him into a sit or heel position and then reward him, but I didn't do it often enough I guess. Patience is not my or my sister's best quality, that I have to admit and we really need to work on that.
    And he can't know the rules, because we probably don't know how to set them, that's why we can't wait for puppy school to start.

    We are using the clicker training, but instead of clicker we use 'YES', because we knew from the start we'll keep loosing the clicker.

    And also, I've never owned a cat either, so I don't know what to expect with that type of behaviour too 😁

    Thanks again for all the help!


  • @elbrant
    Will try with this feeding method too, thank you!!


  • O.K. I think I am getting a clearer picture of the situation. You have been overthinking things and you are likely confusing your pup. You need to "pick a lane" and stick to it. Mixing up many training methods isn't a great idea. And IMO overuse of food is a mistake. A reward that is too readily available loses its value. elbrant has the right of it. Your pup needs to understand the order of things. Might be useful to consider "nothing in life is free" and establish that all good things come from you, and you set the rules and timing, for example, play is initiated by you, not him. Food or toys come from you at your discretion, not because he demands it. He has to work for things. Always ask for something before you reward, even the smallest thing that indicates you are running the show.

    The thing about using a clicker is that the sound is consistent, and it is easier to be more precise. A marker word will work, but IMO it is easier and more understandable if you use a clicker. Understand that the clicker is for training new behaviour, and its use ends for that particular behaviour once it is on cue, so you don't need to constantly carry it around, just bring it out for training sessions that involve new learning.

    Without observing, my take is that you may be overdoing the food rewards and setting up the expectation that you are basically a food dispenser. I would suggest that you have regular meal times and separate feeding from rewarding. Also, that you put the treats somewhere handy but not instantly available. Once the treat is paired with a clicker or your marker word, it doesn't have to instantly follow the behaviour and you can go get it when needed. I am not a fan of luring, although some have good success with it. I prefer to let the dog figure out what is required and "capture" the behaviour.

    Once a behaviour is understood and on cue, change to intermittent rewards. Otherwise you end up with a dog that will only comply when food is available.

    Oh, and about cats......they will often want to cuddle, purr away, then change their mind when they have had enough and offer to bite or scratch. Never trust a cat that seems to want a belly rub!


  • I want to further clarify what I wrote above. Restraint would not be my first choice in the situation. I would use it only when ceasing play/ignoring is not working and the pup insists on continuing to bite. At this point it is time to insist that the biting stop.

    Another thought on the subject. You might want to use a specific word for when playtime or other activity ends. For sheepdog people it is "that'll do", which means the dog should cease herding activities. It's important to be clear about what you want and what you don't want, so "no" should be part of the vocabulary and it always means "don't do that". In regards to rough play and biting, once whatever method you have employed works and he quits it, I would ask for another behaviour, e.g. sit or kennel or down, and then reward that, either with praise or a treat, so that your reward is associated with something clearly not the biting behaviour you are trying to suppress.

    The most important thing, to me, is to earn the dog's respect and become a "leader" rather than a "sibling". It's your house, you are the boss, your rules apply, and all good things come from you, so it is in the dog's best interest to please you.

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