Biting + Chew Toy Recommendations
Posted 11 June 2012 - 04:32 PM
I then promptly brought home what is, apparently, the bitiest Collie puppy on the planet. If I wasn't such a skeptic I'd say Karma has had her way with me.
Luckily, he also seems quite biddable and has been responding well to training -- at least I think so. He's now three months old and as I was playing with him this morning I got to wondering if, for a mouthy pup, he's about on track with others of his breed/type. Being that he's my first, it occurs to me that I don't have any other Border Collies to compare him with and may be off base. IOW, I think he's doing well, but want to make sure I'm expecting enough of him with regards to his propensity to bite and wondered if a few of you more experienced BC owners might care to give a little input.
Since day one he's been a mouthy little thing. Most puppies explore with their mouthes, but he takes it to an extreme. If he can fit it in his mouth, he's going to chew it... and sometimes even if he can't fit it in his mouth. Chair legs, table legs, 10'x7' area rugs, people, sticks, logs, dead moles... I guess you could say he's an equal opportunity chewer and biter.
Also since day one I've worked with him to understand 1) how to have a soft mouth and 2) that having any mouth on humans is a no-no. He picked up on the first very quickly (2 days and he had a nice soft mouth) and mostly picked up on the second just as quickly, but tends to be a bit persistent and does still need reminders, which is where I'm unsure if I'm expecting enough of him. I've always told him "No bite!" and he obeys very well. To the point that it's become an effective -- if inadvertent -- drop it command, because when I say "No Bite" he releases whatever he's got in his mouth.
When it comes to people the reason I'm wondering if it's time to up the ante with him on the expectations is that he seems to KNOW he's not supposed to put his mouth on people. When he does, he'll frequently just open his mouth wide, but it next to your hand or leg or whatever and then look at you almost as if he's asking, "Can I bite this time?" At that point I just give him a low "ahhhnt" or a quick "no bite" and he closes his mouth and does something else.
Up until now I've just figured repeated reminders and he'd "grow out of" the testing phase, but I guess I started to second guess a little bit, being that I've never had a Border Collie. He has been testing in the same way, with about the same frequency for a few weeks now. He has always responded to correction well, even right in the beginning so there's no real change in his responses. At three months (just!) is the testing still acceptable in your opinion/experience? If you've had a real mouthy pup like this did they eventually "outgrow" it with consistent correction?
I'm also interested if there are any specific chew toys people with puppies of this nature would recommend, something that might be most satisfying for a dog of his nature. None of the previous dogs we've had have been big chewers outside of their teething stage so we don't really have any household favorites.
Posted 11 June 2012 - 04:52 PM
got his attetion real quick..just a little hit on his rear got him thru that stage.He is now the most loving dog I have ever seen. Don,t hit hard just A
all most a love tap.
Posted 11 June 2012 - 07:58 PM
If he ever put his mouth on me (which was hardly ever), I squealed like I was really bitten. He would immediately release and look very contrite. I didn't reprimand him at all, but I would stop any game we were playing by walking away and calling him to come in the house. My attitude was "Oops, sorry. The fun is over (for now). Too bad."
Whenever he did pick up one of our personal items, I would immediately grab a toy and start playing with him. He would drop the personal item (and I would remove it while he was involved in playing with the toy). My goal was to show him that it was much more fun to play with a toy than to chew on a ________. Of course, you have to invest energy in this approach i.e. YOU have to play with the toy with your dog. You can't just throw the toy at the dog and expect it to amuse himself to the exclusion of personal items.
Posted 11 June 2012 - 08:18 PM
Jovi - I'm sorry if I wasn't clear. His chewing has not been a problem as far as personal items go. When he was a bit younger I would tell him "no bite" and give him one of his own toys and he would take over chewing on that happily. Now at 12 weeks -- and for the past couple weeks, really -- he'll actually seek out his own toys when I remind him of something he's not supposed to chew on, making my job even easier. I say "no bite", he goes and gets something he knows he can have. Right now he seems drawn to a big stuffed bear, a smaller stuffed pig and My Little Ponies... and since both our girls have outgrown the ponies they've become his.
ETA: Interestingly, the yelping never really got much of a reaction from him. He'd just look at me like I was crazy while continuing to gnaw on my hand, foot or whatever body part he'd latched onto. He's quite a dominant personality and very happy go lucky, nothing phases him for long kind of dog. I do wonder how much he completely ignored his litter mates corrections in play and how that worked out for him.
Posted 12 June 2012 - 10:40 AM
Actually, your pup sounds pretty normal (at least to me). He wants to keep busy, but he is also readily redirected and learns the correct behavior. What a good puppy. At 3 months, he is just beginning to test you. But if you remain consistent and don't get frustrated (remember, it can be a long haul), he is on the right path.
I am not surprised that the yelping isn't getting a major reaction since he is only 3 months old. At that age, I would just want him to hesitate for a minute in his play. Then he goes back to playing. If you watch a passle o' puppies, they do the same thing. My dog looks 'contrite' now if he touches me with his mouth while we are playing tug (and he hardly ever does it, and when he does, it is a mistake because he gets so intense), but I don't remember him doing much more than hesitating when he was quite young. That is why I add the second signal - walking away - to get my point across.
When was your pup separated from its littermates and mom? I have heard that pups should stay with their siblings and mom until 8-9 weeks to be fully schooled in doggy social skills.
Based on what you describe, your pup is within the normal range. Don't forget, the behaviors you are asking for are very complex and involve restraint, which has to develop over time. It's not the same as teaching a trick which take what? - 5-10 minutes depending on the complexity.
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