Moose bit my son pretty hard :(

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Moose bit my son pretty hard :(

Postby fgump » Tue Jan 13, 2015 9:07 am

This morning, Moose, our newly adopted 5-month old, bit my son on the back of his calf. Moose has been a little mouthy at times, and nips at shoes/feet sometimes when we are walking around him, but this was a big bite that made my 8-year old scream. We have to stop his biting now. He has not yet been neutered.

Our former Britt, Holly, never bit once (though she was over a year old when we adopted her).

Any and all advice appreciated.

Thanks-
Bill
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Re: Moose bit my son pretty hard :(

Postby Barb Wright » Wed Jan 14, 2015 11:33 am

When you say "really hard" do you mean Moose bit hard enough to break the skin? Once we know whether this happened we can better suggest what to do.
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Re: Moose bit my son pretty hard :(

Postby fgump » Wed Jan 14, 2015 2:57 pm

Visibly strong bite, but not broken skin. Left red marks that persisted through the day, and my son is not entirely comfortable around Moose. It was not a "mean" bite, but Moose does not stop nipping/biting with a "NO" consistently. We do not swat him, but I do redirect his mouth/snout away from the victim (usually me or my wife). When he bites and doesn't listen, he gets to spend time in his crate, away from us.

So, not a damaging bite (dangerous), but we've got to stop the behavior.
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Re: Moose bit my son pretty hard :(

Postby Barb Wright » Thu Jan 15, 2015 1:05 pm

Okay, no broken skin is a good thing in a not-so-good context. Moose is exercising bite inhibition (the good thing) and so you're not looking at aggression/defense, but rather poorly executed attempts to get you (or anybody) to play. Dog play, and this particular type of playing (biting and mouthing) is one of the things we humans find unacceptable even when the bites are "controlled" (as in bite inhibition). He wants you to play HIS WAY and so it boils down to a training issue. You are doing the right thing when you put him in a time out for mouthing/biting, and hopefully you are 100% consistent....he bites, he goes in for a time out. Ignoring, crating, re-directing his attention, always with a "no biting!!" command instantly after the offense.

It is hard to not get angry, I know, but anger (noticeable emotion) and/or loud voices often just exacerbate the issue, excite the dog more, and so staying calm is really important. There are some other things to do and one method that seems to work with some dogs is putting your fist into their mouth the moment they initiate the biting....they do not like this, and since the mouth is the offending body part they seem to get the message a bit better than any other way. Another method is immediately holding their mouth closed, firmly, accompanied with the no bite command and holding it until they are uncomfortable. As with other training methods, many repetitions are necessary, weeks, months sometimes until the dog matures and has been taught to redirect their attempts at interaction.

Stubborn-ness, which is really their inbred ability to totally focus on intent, is a desirable trait in a working/hunting breed. The genetic demand is inherent and difficult to overcome, especially in very young and immature dogs. Redirection of their inherited imperatives is where training-training-training come into the picture in the forming of a dog that will fit into a human world. He sounds pretty normal for a young Britt, he'll get the picture eventually, especially if you can figure out all the fun things he likes to do (other than dog play) and try to do those when he gets pushy. Put on your patience hat(s) and keep consistently to your methods of redirecting him when he tries to get you to "do it his way".
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