Saturday, March 27, 2004

Oh yeah, here's the deal on biting - from "Good Dog U" and "Petsburgh."

There are four kinds of biting: play biting, dominance biting, and two others. Play biting is when your dog is mouthing you, then starts biting down harder and harder. Now in the dog pack, once a dog bites too hard the bitten dog yips and moves away. So if this happens, you yip and move away. It sounds really stupid, but it works!

The other kind of biting that Mojo does didn't have a name, but it's when he grabs hold of our clothes and tugs. What you're supposed to do in this case is tell him no, pry open his mouth with your hands, then substitute a toy instead. When he's gnawing on the toy, tell him "good dog." The 'no' should be a loud, sharp, startling exclamation. "Hey" works with Mojo pretty well.

Substituting and praising shows him what actions are going to be praised, and what actions won't be praised. It's that simple. Right.

It really works, though.

With Mojo you can use 'drop' instead of the exclamation, and he'll usually let go. We might be able to do that when we get into a tug-of-war, which every book says you shouldn't do. The reasons are complicated, but the gist is that you'll eventually give up and drop the rope, which gives the dog the idea that he just won a dominance game with you...and it'll make him more aggressive in the future. But by tugging for a while, then telling him to drop it when you get tired, well, that may make it less of a dominance struggle and more of a play thing?

I think this dog is taking over our lives. Oh nooo! Even when we were out, in the back of our minds was Mojo...

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