10 months and first non-playful bite. What happened??

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10 months and first non-playful bite. What happened??

Post by martinbernstein » Thu Jul 14, 2011 6:52 pm

My 10 month old tam girl is gentle and obedient, but reserved around other humans. She's been with me at the sleep away camp I work at for four weeks and is perfectly fine around our kids big and small. Today she came up behind the ground's keeper Steve and bit him in the bum. It was not playful but not apparently aggressive. She backed away immediately and went into a down without me requesting her to. She know's Steve and has accepted treats from him before. Why did she do this? I don't know whether she's been in heat yet (I've seen no clear signs). I've observed no other behavioral changes what so ever. I hope other Tam owners can shed some light on this.

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Re: 10 months and first non-playful bite. What happened??

Post by Sylvaen » Thu Jul 14, 2011 7:10 pm

hmmmmm that is very strange... can't say I've ever seen or experienced anything quite like that myself.
Can you go over, in more detail, exactly what lead up to the incident?
You were walking with her and came across Steve who was bending over? Did you speak to him or call out to him as you approached?
What was her behavior like just before it happened? Did she bark or growl, were her hackles up, did she stare at him intently before lunging etc...
I'm just wondering if it was more of a fear reaction, or dominance.
To me, from the info you provided already, it might have been fear-based, whereby she saw his butt and smelled that it was him, but couldn't see his face and it confused her so she bit him as a 'test'. It could also be dominance though, seeing a person in a vulnerable position, which provoked that reaction - but I think that would be unlikely and out-of-character.

If it's just a one-off incident I wouldn't be too concerned, but definitely keep an eye on things and carefully observe her behavior in the future. It might be an idea to practice (with friends) having them bend over just to see what happens and to teach her with a firm 'NO' that it is not acceptable to randomly bite people's butts!

It could even have been something innocent, as if she were playing a game - she probably didn't realize it could have serious consequences and figured it might get a good reaction from you / him... they somewhat have the mentality of small children, who sometimes do silly things for attention since they can't properly judge the situation. Sometimes we just read too much into things... then again, it's not really good for her to bite people unpredictably like that so it's better to curb it now. If she went into an immediate down position, without being told, I think she figured out on her own that she did a bad thing, so it might never happen again - it could have just been a one-off reaction to a strange situation.
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Re: 10 months and first non-playful bite. What happened??

Post by TeresaC » Sun Jul 17, 2011 10:56 pm

I agree with Debby. This is very strange behavior from a Tam. I have a GSD mix that loves to bite me on the bum for attention. Yes, it works...not always to my liking. But he is a very mouthy dog and I don't find it out of character for him. The Tamaskans in our house are not mouthy like that.

I would love to know more about the situation.
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Re: 10 months and first non-playful bite. What happened??

Post by martinbernstein » Mon Jul 18, 2011 2:22 pm

Thanks for your input. Steve is the caretaker and boss of all the buildings at camp and Froya knows it. We were in the Lodge Office, the main admin. office at camp. As Steve was leaving the Lodge and about to go out the door she got up, walked up to him and nipped him quite hard on the bum and went into a down. My theory is that she either wanted his attention (he gives her treats sometimes), or that she saw him in a vulnerable position and nipped him to send him the message that "you aren't top dog of the Lodge." Froya is extremely submissive to everyone, not least of all me, and has never seriously challenged my pack leader status, so this theory does not quite make sense. Either way, I am keeping a close eye on her and will correct and redirect her behavior when/if it arrises.

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Re: 10 months and first non-playful bite. What happened??

Post by miffany » Sat Sep 03, 2011 2:55 pm

I've been having similar problems with Zuuk. He has bitten a man at my work who came to deliver a package - Zuuk didn't growl or give any warning, just leapt up and bit the man's outstretched arm and then lay back down again. He has since bitten someone who came to the door to speak to my dad - drawing blood - and has also nipped at the gardener. I really don't know what to do about this behaviour. Having gone from the world's friendliest dog, he can now be quite frightening. He goes mad when anyone comes to the door, snarling and barking and cannot be trusted with new people. He snarls and lunges at other dogs when he is on the lead, though is mostly just playful, while off lead.
He has never so much as growled at me, but he's bitten my boyfriend a few times when he has tried to pull Zuuk away from something. All very strange and upsetting but we adore him nonetheless.

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Re: 10 months and first non-playful bite. What happened??

Post by blufawn » Sat Sep 03, 2011 10:08 pm

This is def a dominance issue Tiffany. You need to show Zuuk who is boss and correct his behaviour correctly and your boyfriend needs to make sure Zuuk knows that he is higher ranking in the pack. Id seek behavioural advice, Ceasar Milan writes about these sorts of behavioural issues, check his website or books.
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Re: 10 months and first non-playful bite. What happened??

Post by MIKA » Sun Sep 04, 2011 5:30 am

I agree. Zuuk is clearly the boss. Before you've read into this topic, a small initial introduction: ONLY still feed from the hand of you both. Begins with small foraging games. Your friend should practice this over and over again with Zuuk. A dog needs much brain work, just so he balanced.
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Re: 10 months and first non-playful bite. What happened??

Post by Blustag » Sun Sep 04, 2011 9:21 am

Hello Miffany. I definately see that something has gone terribly wrong there somehow. You do need to seek proffesional help immed. Zuuk's parents are two of the most balanced and gentle dogs we have. Once a dog has 'tested' you and got away with it very soon things escalate beyond your control if you dont know how to handle it you can be in trouble. Very sad for the dog of course too as this isnt in their normal behaviour.

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Re: 10 months and first non-playful bite. What happened??

Post by miffany » Sun Sep 04, 2011 4:03 pm

You're right, I have booked to see a trainer this week and I will insist that Matt starts spending some time training Zuuk as well to build their relationship. I have done all the training with Zuuk since we had him, including taking him to different classes and to agility as well as spending hours at home teaching him silly tricks, all of which has made us really close and pushed Matt out a bit. Also it is nearly always me that feeds him, though Matt does walk him alot.

You're right as well Jenny that we haven't handled these incidents well. When Zuuk bit the man at my work I was so shocked I pulled Zuuk to me, almost cuddling him, while I kept apologising to the man and asking if he was okay, probably making Zuuk feel he had done well in defending my office space instead making it clear that that kind of behaviour is not acceptable.

I wasn't there when he bit the guy at the door, but I expect Matt reacted in a similar way - just pulling Zuuk away and then just concentrating on the man and his bleeding arm.

I would say in Zuuk's defense that he has been on a variety of different medications recently for a recurring skin problem, including steroids, which may have been having an effect on his mood - though that might just be making excuses for him.

Most of the time he is a seriously sweet, affectionate, friendly and charming dog, which is partly why these incidents have come as such a shock and why we haven't responded to them in the best way.

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Re: 10 months and first non-playful bite. What happened??

Post by AngieH » Sun Sep 04, 2011 4:34 pm

miffany wrote:You're right, I have booked to see a trainer this week and I will insist that Matt starts spending some time training Zuuk as well to build their relationship. I have done all the training with Zuuk since we had him, including taking him to different classes and to agility as well as spending hours at home teaching him silly tricks, all of which has made us really close and pushed Matt out a bit. Also it is nearly always me that feeds him, though Matt does walk him alot.

You're right as well Jenny that we haven't handled these incidents well. When Zuuk bit the man at my work I was so shocked I pulled Zuuk to me, almost cuddling him, while I kept apologising to the man and asking if he was okay, probably making Zuuk feel he had done well in defending my office space instead making it clear that that kind of behaviour is not acceptable.

I wasn't there when he bit the guy at the door, but I expect Matt reacted in a similar way - just pulling Zuuk away and then just concentrating on the man and his bleeding arm.

I would say in Zuuk's defense that he has been on a variety of different medications recently for a recurring skin problem, including steroids, which may have been having an effect on his mood - though that might just be making excuses for him.

Most of the time he is a seriously sweet, affectionate, friendly and charming dog, which is partly why these incidents have come as such a shock and why we haven't responded to them in the best way.
It sounds like you are really in tune with Zuuk and that kind of insight into his moods and emotional state will help alot. It's really awesome of you to take that extra step with a professional trainer to really help him resolve the issues behind his behavior instead of just glossing it over or figuring out a way to live with it and deal with it.

Zuuk is lucky to have you to help him.
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Re: 10 months and first non-playful bite. What happened??

Post by martinbernstein » Sun Sep 04, 2011 11:57 pm

I suppose an update on Froya's situation is in order. She has not bit anyone since the first incident, nor has she shown any signs of aggression towards others, including Steve. However, she went into her first heat a few weeks later and has since become a bit more dominant in the doggie park. She's always been dominant in play with other dogs- never letting them get her on her back or hump and she is always determined to make them submit and show their belly, even if they are twice her size. If they try to do the same to her she'll twist out of it or bare her teeth for a second to show them she doesn't mess around, but she never bites, growls or barks. Until now. She's growled a few times at larger dogs during play the past few weeks and I always correct her with a finger snap and a hand gesture. She immediately puts her ears back submissively when I do, so I know she will eventually understand that I won't allow growling.

All this is to say that Froya is fine with humans, but now needs to learn how to be a polite grown up dog around other dogs. We have a lot of dogs in our neighborhood so this is essential. Does anyone know if it is normal for females to change behavior slightly after their first heat?

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Re: 10 months and first non-playful bite. What happened??

Post by Taz » Mon Sep 05, 2011 1:55 pm

The first dog could simply be trying to get attention. Perhaps for whatever reason, she didn't want him to leave, maybe she wanted to play, maybe she just wanted to see what reaction her action might get, perhaps him leaving mae her feel uneasy/insecure.

The second dog.

My first thought was that he saw the first guy as a threat and gave a warning, again with the bite which drew blood, he reacted again because it worked the first time, in his mind the threat went away because of his actions. Dogs are most likely to repeat behaviours that work, not one's that don't.

I'm glad you're seeking help from a professional, however as a word of caution,just ecause they seem professional doesn't always mean their methods are right/humane. If you aren't comfortable with something they suggest, then don't let them talk you into allowing them to try it/continue it on your dog.

I'd personally stay away from anyone who wants to stick shock collars, prong collars etc on a dog, or wants to string them up or alpha roll them. Contrary to popular myth, these aren't things dog's naturally do to each other.

All I'm going to say on the dominance theory/pack leader (insert disbelieving word of choice) is;

The most recent scientific research points to dog pack structure being far more fluid and changable than previously thought. That refers to dogs interacting with other dogs,not humans.

You are your dog's teacher, provider, friend, protector, but you aren't one of them and they know it. So don't ever think you can be their true pack leader, for if such a thing exists, it will surely be a dog.
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Re: 10 months and first non-playful bite. What happened??

Post by Hawthorne » Mon Sep 26, 2011 6:39 pm

martinbernstein wrote:I suppose an update on Froya's situation is in order. She has not bit anyone since the first incident, nor has she shown any signs of aggression towards others, including Steve. However, she went into her first heat a few weeks later and has since become a bit more dominant in the doggie park. She's always been dominant in play with other dogs- never letting them get her on her back or hump and she is always determined to make them submit and show their belly, even if they are twice her size. If they try to do the same to her she'll twist out of it or bare her teeth for a second to show them she doesn't mess around, but she never bites, growls or barks. Until now. She's growled a few times at larger dogs during play the past few weeks and I always correct her with a finger snap and a hand gesture. She immediately puts her ears back submissively when I do, so I know she will eventually understand that I won't allow growling.

All this is to say that Froya is fine with humans, but now needs to learn how to be a polite grown up dog around other dogs. We have a lot of dogs in our neighborhood so this is essential. Does anyone know if it is normal for females to change behavior slightly after their first heat?
Someone please correct this statement if it is wrong, but I've learned that you should not correct a dog who growls. Growling is a warning. If you don't allow the dog to give a warning then he / she will just bite without warning. I would assume the same for facial gestures including baring teeth.

As far as first heat--Freyja (the "other" Freyja) became more affectionate during her heat cycle. Specifically with my husband. :oops: Freyja has always been a dominant dog. She is the boss of every dog she meets. We haven't had an issue with it because we do introductions properly: walking all dogs together on neutral ground when they first meet. This is how we introduced Darwin into our pack (as he was 5 months old when we adopted him) and it went quite smoothly. But Freyja has never bitten anyone. Neither has Darwin. He still nips like a puppy and we're having a little difficulty breaking him of this but he'll get there (he's now 11 months). He only does this when he's very excited...whines and licks faces, then nips a little. We just don't pet him and ignore him until he's calmed down.
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Re: 10 months and first non-playful bite. What happened??

Post by arianwenarie » Tue Sep 27, 2011 4:36 am

Hawthorne wrote:Someone please correct this statement if it is wrong, but I've learned that you should not correct a dog who growls. Growling is a warning. If you don't allow the dog to give a warning then he / she will just bite without warning. I would assume the same for facial gestures including baring teeth.

As far as first heat--Freyja (the "other" Freyja) became more affectionate during her heat cycle. Specifically with my husband. :oops: Freyja has always been a dominant dog. She is the boss of every dog she meets. We haven't had an issue with it because we do introductions properly: walking all dogs together on neutral ground when they first meet. This is how we introduced Darwin into our pack (as he was 5 months old when we adopted him) and it went quite smoothly. But Freyja has never bitten anyone. Neither has Darwin. He still nips like a puppy and we're having a little difficulty breaking him of this but he'll get there (he's now 11 months). He only does this when he's very excited...whines and licks faces, then nips a little. We just don't pet him and ignore him until he's calmed down.
It definitely depends on the situation as well as how much respect the dog has for you as a pack leader. If the dog is very confident and see him/herself as the pack leader, then the dog may correct the human. Jane, the behavior specialist that I intern with, specializes in aggression cases - all 16 types. Some of the "human aggressive" dogs she's helped rehabilitate had below 40 marks on their pack and prey drive on their Volhard Drive Test (her version is slightly altered to include a few more questions, I believe). Whereas these dogs' defense fight and defense flight drive marks were above 70. Normal pack and prey drive score is 60 or higher - shows that a dog is social and well bonded to the owner(s). Normal defense fight and defense flight drive score is 20 or below; anything 45+ is a dangerous level because the dog is unstable. Defense flight will tell you how much trust the dog has in his/her owner(s) to protect him/her. Defense fight will tell you how confident the dog is...

Almost all of the dogs that were deemed "human aggressive" were confident in their bite and/or ability to ward off any perceivable threats - not surprising, eh? Haha. To teach the dog to give respect, a restructure program is put into play - the dog must work for everything. No play, no affection, no free-time; everything is a job. The crate is a job, food must be worked for and the dog must ask permission (give eye contact) to eat, all walks are on leash only (focused-walk). It's a very strict regimen, but the end result, if done properly (as I've seen it) usually ends up with the dog having more respect for humans. And then more training session on more specific issues go from there - commonly, resource guarding.

Anyway, back on topic... XD

The notion that if you don't allow a dog to give a warning, it will bite without warning...I've rarely seen this happen before during playtimes at the doggy daycare I work at. It doesn't always have to be a verbal warning. In the canine world, a dog does not growl/bare teeth to tell another dog "no". They will snap the air subtly to create a "pop" sound - that's the first form of a correction from a dog. I've seen dogs do that, but despite being within a foot of the dog in some cases, I have yet to actually hear it. lol. If the behavior being corrected by the dog doesn't cease, then a dog may take it to the next level of correction, a corrective bite with just the front teeth - quick snap and it's done and over with. Sometimes, when you see a dog who will charge, loudly growl and try to bite another dog, they're over-exaggerating to get their point across; likely because whatever it is that was bothering them has been for a long time or the dog merely wants to display their strength to the other dogs and people around him/her (usually the latter).

The key to knowing when/if a dog will strike is their body language - don't necessarily rely on a verbal. Most dogs who take it upon themselves to correct do not give verbal warnings. Usual sign is if a dog is panting and then suddenly stops and closes their mouth, then something's bothering them. Look for body stiffness as well. And whenever you see a dog lift one of their front paws, look at the rest of their body language - are they targeting something, stalking something? If it's a dog that usually jumps on people and is thinking about whether to jump or not, they'll have that paw lifted while they're thinking about it. ;) If it's a dog who's body language is stiff and/or accompanied with a deep inward growl and they're lifting their paw, stay away! That dog WILL bite and it won't be a mere level 2 corrective bite with just the front teeth. It will likely be a rapid bite (level 3 - defensive; multiple bites), a bite and drag (level 3 - fear), bite and hold (level 4) or, the worst one - bite hold and shake (level 5 - kill bite; completely confident in their bite).

A dog between the ages of 8-14 months will start to test their boundaries to see where their permanent role fits in their pack. If your dog knows "down" or "lie down", then have your dog do a 15 second down timeout where any rude or unacceptable behavior occurs - right where it happened. If your dog will not perform a down and is really testing your authority when it comes to commands, then I'd suggest letting your dog drag a regular leash 4ft or 6ft, doesn't matter as long as it's not a retractable leash or a long line so that you can step on the leash close to the latch to make your dog stay in the down position. Don't look at him/her, don't talk to him/her and most definitely don't touch him/her (that's why the leash is there - to exert control without touch). Your touch = play and affection. :)

A couple months ago, my dog thought it was OK to drag my mom down a flight of stairs to chase after a rabbit in our yard. She'd start stalking for rabbits right when we got out the door. Luckily, my mom got away with some nasty bruises and no sprains or broken bones. The second Abby was invited through the door, she'd get a down timeout until she relaxed and then another one when we got to the landing halfway down the deck stairs (she'd reaally be stalking at this point and ignoring her handler). At the foot of the deck stairs was the worst for her, usually by that time, she'd have spotted a rabbit and flushed it out from under the deck and taken off...so, this is when yet another down timeout lasted the longest (up to a minute, I think). It took about 2 weeks to get her to stop stalking the rabbits, but I still don't trust her off-leash in my backyard because once she's off-leash, she'll go right back to stalking and flushing out the rabbits under the deck. /sigh My baby girl has likely lost her off-leash yard priviledges completely until I can teach her to shut off her prey drive. lol. Damned near impossible. :roll:

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Re: 10 months and first non-playful bite. What happened??

Post by HiTenshi16 » Sun Nov 06, 2011 3:58 am

I have not been so shocked and embarrassed before tonight. Ulric had his first unprovoked bite. This year my husband and I have been stressed do to work and family and not able to get out of the house much. Whenever we do go out, we take our dogs out if were we are going they are allowed, which is not many places (Ulric is almost always wearing his Halti because he will pull). Ulric this year I have noticed has been very shy around people outside of our home. Inside he seems fine with them, but it is usually my family that ever visits and he loves them. I will take him to my work place when I am off sometimes, mostly to see one of my co-workers, and older woman (Catherine) who loves to greet every dog that visits, she has about 9 little dogs at her home. For some reason, Ulric has been the only dog that is scared of her, she will try to hug on him like I do but he tucks his tail and ears go back. If someone else comes to pet him, I give them permission, but Ulric backs up a little, some he will come up to and sniff, children he seems okay with. So yesterday I decided that after work I was going to try my hardest to get him more socialized with people so he won't be so shy and will be happy when they pet him.
I had a bag of treats (cheesy hotdogs) at my hip, I visited one of my female co-workers, older but about the same height as me, and he sniffed her, was still very shy but accepted her giving him some of the treats. Went over to another female co-worker, slightly taller than I, Ulric accepted her petting but was still a bit nervous. Then went to another female co-worker and male co-worker at the same time. The girl is slightly shorter than I, same age, Ulric did not mind her too much, but was still nervous, enjoyed the treats he took from her. The guy is about the same age as well, taller. Ulric was more nervous with him, though he did take the treats and allowed him to be petted, though would back away just a little with his ears back. Ulric was a bit jumpy while the guy worked some. He walked passed him once, gave him a petting, then again and petted him some more and treat again and said "I'm just going to keep petting you till you like me". After that he turned his back and walked away and then Ulric followed (the next all happened within just a few steps). I thought "Oh he is already warming up to him" but then Ulric nipped at the back of the guy's leg :shock: no warning. He was shocked too, said there was no broken skin, but his pants were ripped. :oops: I felt so bad, I never imagined Ulric to ever do such a thing. I apologized so much, he said it was okay, he still likes him. I just wonder what if it was a total stranger that he had done it too? It scares me because I want people to be able to just come up and love on him.
After that I took off his Halti thinking that was probably making things worse since he does not like wearing it. I went to see Catherine but warned her that Ulric had nipped the guy, she did not seem bothered. He did take treats from her, but did not enjoy her hugging him, just stood there with his ears back. Some kids came up and started petting him and giving him the treats and he seemed okay. After that I came home.

:oops: I feel right now lost and don't know what to do to fix this, I love him and don't want to give up on him or give him up. He is still my boy.
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Re: 10 months and first non-playful bite. What happened??

Post by arianwenarie » Sun Nov 06, 2011 5:39 am

HiTenshi16 wrote:I have not been so shocked and embarrassed before tonight. Ulric had his first unprovoked bite. This year my husband and I have been stressed do to work and family and not able to get out of the house much. Whenever we do go out, we take our dogs out if were we are going they are allowed, which is not many places (Ulric is almost always wearing his Halti because he will pull). Ulric this year I have noticed has been very shy around people outside of our home. Inside he seems fine with them, but it is usually my family that ever visits and he loves them. I will take him to my work place when I am off sometimes, mostly to see one of my co-workers, and older woman (Catherine) who loves to greet every dog that visits, she has about 9 little dogs at her home. For some reason, Ulric has been the only dog that is scared of her, she will try to hug on him like I do but he tucks his tail and ears go back. If someone else comes to pet him, I give them permission, but Ulric backs up a little, some he will come up to and sniff, children he seems okay with. So yesterday I decided that after work I was going to try my hardest to get him more socialized with people so he won't be so shy and will be happy when they pet him.
I had a bag of treats (cheesy hotdogs) at my hip, I visited one of my female co-workers, older but about the same height as me, and he sniffed her, was still very shy but accepted her giving him some of the treats. Went over to another female co-worker, slightly taller than I, Ulric accepted her petting but was still a bit nervous. Then went to another female co-worker and male co-worker at the same time. The girl is slightly shorter than I, same age, Ulric did not mind her too much, but was still nervous, enjoyed the treats he took from her. The guy is about the same age as well, taller. Ulric was more nervous with him, though he did take the treats and allowed him to be petted, though would back away just a little with his ears back. Ulric was a bit jumpy while the guy worked some. He walked passed him once, gave him a petting, then again and petted him some more and treat again and said "I'm just going to keep petting you till you like me". After that he turned his back and walked away and then Ulric followed (the next all happened within just a few steps). I thought "Oh he is already warming up to him" but then Ulric nipped at the back of the guy's leg :shock: no warning. He was shocked too, said there was no broken skin, but his pants were ripped. :oops: I felt so bad, I never imagined Ulric to ever do such a thing. I apologized so much, he said it was okay, he still likes him. I just wonder what if it was a total stranger that he had done it too? It scares me because I want people to be able to just come up and love on him.
After that I took off his Halti thinking that was probably making things worse since he does not like wearing it. I went to see Catherine but warned her that Ulric had nipped the guy, she did not seem bothered. He did take treats from her, but did not enjoy her hugging him, just stood there with his ears back. Some kids came up and started petting him and giving him the treats and he seemed okay. After that I came home.

:oops: I feel right now lost and don't know what to do to fix this, I love him and don't want to give up on him or give him up. He is still my boy.
For people shy dogs, I'd recommend teaching your dog the "touch" command. Place a small piece of soft treat in between your middle finger and ring finger (either hand) in an open palm and tell Ulric to "touch". Once his nose touches your hand, praise "YES!!" and let him take the treat. The point of this is for him to gather up the courage to go and touch the person's hand as if it were no big deal - the treat is, obviously, his reward. Do this randomly throughout the day for the first 3 days or until you think he has a general understanding of the command. After that, alternate between having a treat in the hand you want him to touch and not having a treat in the hand you want him to touch (reward him from your other hand from behind your back).

Get as many house guests to do this in your home as possible so that he associates them in a good way - he's working and he gets paid for it (in food. ;) ). This way, he doesn't have that much time to worry about being nervous. ;) Important: whenever you're practicing with using the touch command as a greeting, it may be better to tell him "go say hello" instead of touch if he's to approach someone else for the touch command. (Not sure if that made sense, it's pretty late over here. lol.)

As for strangers hugging Ulric, I'd advise against that at this point because in the dog world, the only time a dog would "hug" another dog is when they're mounting. Dogs generally see arms locking around them as the other dog/human/creature mounting them and for some dogs, it makes them very uncomfortable because it's a dominant gesture. I know my lab freaks out if I try to hug her...she won't bite me though, but it's very hard for me not to hug her. Haha.

Another thing you can try is to ask people to pet Ulric under the chin as it may appear less threatening to him - especially with people he's particularly nervous around. Practice the "go say hello"/"touch" command with as many people who can remain calm as possible and then slowly work him up to the more excited people...hard to do, I know :P If he's especially nervous about people in general, then ask the person you're practicing with to turn their body sideways, stand up tall and turn their head opposite to you and Ulric so that the overall body language of the person is not threatening (neutral / no challenge stance).

Hope this helps... /slinks away

Rahne

Re: 10 months and first non-playful bite. What happened??

Post by Rahne » Sun Nov 06, 2011 9:13 am

I think this situation was just too much for Ulric. I wouldn't let people hug or approach him for a while, you should take this slowly. Let Ulric take the 1st steps by looking for contact himself. The treats is a good idea but give them to people then, let Ulric take the treat and leave it at that for the moment. Don't let the people also pet or hug him, it seems he is not ready for that yet. He needs to feel comfortable around people first without them touching him.

Also remember that not all dogs like to be 'loved' by everyone, that doesn't make them 'bad' dogs. My dog Snoopy also didn't like strangers coming up to him to pet or hug him so I would just tell people NO if they wanted to do that, only if Snoopy himself was looking for contact by approaching the person I would let them pet him.

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Re: 10 months and first non-playful bite. What happened??

Post by JulieSmith » Sun Nov 06, 2011 9:20 am

I would also suggest that you do the greetings with only a few people even just one at a time till he his more confident, then build it up slowly. If he does not like hugs off others don't let them hug him, if he knows he is not going to be hugged he may relax a bit more. Good luck.

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Re: 10 months and first non-playful bite. What happened??

Post by Nino » Sun Nov 06, 2011 2:15 pm

Sølve is not a "touchy" dog either, I have come to the conclusion that the best (and only) way to go about it is to give her the time that she needs, if people ask me if they can pet her I tell them yes if SHE feels like it, cause she will "shy/go away" from them if she is uncomfortable with them.

Last time I went to visit Hellan he trained her a little that it was okay for him to pet her..
She is pretty random with if he can touch her, about 50/50 of the time she will "shy" from him or let him pet her..
He was sitting in a chair and started out giving her a treat when she came to him, then he gave her one a little closer to him, and more and more over his legs so she had to put her head above his legs, when she was comfortable with that he went a little back and gave her a treat when she let him pet her a little, then more and more and more, and at the end she let him pet her head.
It was very nice to see, Hellan do have a very good touch with dogs and specially mine, he is good at figuring out how they "work". - and it was very funny to train Matsi and Sølve when together :D

- I then helped Matsi figure out that her dog house wasn't scary ;D
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Re: 10 months and first non-playful bite. What happened??

Post by Gaby » Sun Nov 06, 2011 2:54 pm

Don't push things with Ulric too much. ;) You already wrote you saw that he wasn't feeling comfortable and was very shy. I have a dog who was very, very nervous around people. He came from a kennel where he lived in until he was 6 months and came with us. Nobody did anything with him, so he was very scared. The only thing I let strangers do, was giving him treats and ignore him. I did not let people pet him for about two years! And it didn't feel so nice to tell everybody that he couldn't be touched, but I didn't have a choice if I wanted to change this behaviour. Now he is getting more confident around strangers and now he can be stroked and he is sometimes even wagging his tail when somebody shows interest in him. But you can see it was a very long process. And he is still sometimes very anxious and nervous and than we take a step back.

Ulric is showing you that he does not like it in all the ways he can, avoid, be shy, move away and eventually, bite. Don't push him or there can happen more accidents. You have to be assertive and show leadership to your dog and tell other people how to approach him. Or rather, how to ignore him. ;) Let him start to feel comfortable around people first. So I have to say, practice a lot!!! Take him to places with other people, invite people into your home, go on walks with other people and dogs and instruct all that people how to behave. If you invite people, don't let Ulric run around the house freely, but put him away when people are entering. Explain the rules to the people. Do you watch Cesar Millan? "No touch, no talk, no eye-contact" are the best rules to follow. Then you provide treats to the visitors and let Ulric with them. Keep a bit space so he does not feel trapped and have his dogbed somewhere where he feels comfortable, next to you or away from the people. When he shows interest the visitors can throw a treat to him, while they ignore him. This triggers him to come to the visitors more. And when he feels comfortable, you can make it a bit more difficult, with letting him take the treat out of the hand of the visitor, etc. It is a long process that has to be carefully done with babysteps. And if you do not feel comfortable about doing this alone I would strongly recommend a dog behaviour specialist that does not work with corrections but in a positive way. The behaviour Ulric is showing is caused because of fear, so I do not believe corrections are good to solve the problem. Good luck!

Mila for example is dog who is okay with strangers, especially when she is without our other dog. But I have to watch it when my other dog is nearby and if he does not like the strangers, Mila isn't likely to accept them easily. She also has a large preydrive and wants to bite moving things, so she can nip if something "scary" is walking away too, like happened with Ulric. I am working on that. But I can see there is progress, so I hope I can get the nipping completely out of her behaviour. So I do understand it is difficult, but practice a lot and don't give up. ;)

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Re: 10 months and first non-playful bite. What happened??

Post by Gaby » Sun Nov 06, 2011 2:56 pm

@ Miffany, how is Zuuk doing? And how is his skin problem?

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Re: 10 months and first non-playful bite. What happened??

Post by HiTenshi16 » Sun Nov 06, 2011 3:28 pm

Ulric is fine with strangers in our home, will gladly run up (and jump :oops: ) on them happily. I did have everyone that would pet Ulric last night be the ones to give him the treats, and he would take them just fine. I do wonder though if it is a combination with not liking people taller than I (I'm only 5'3, (160 cm)). He did bark once at my brother's really tall friend when he saw him a couple months back. I am going to try to work on his leash pulling and stop using the Halti since I think him wearing that made things a little worse. Will also start teaching him more "tricks" in hopes of building more confidence and have him work with one friend at a time most likely at a non-busy park.

Thank you everyone for the advice, I will try it all and willing to hear more!
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Re: 10 months and first non-playful bite. What happened??

Post by SarahG » Mon Nov 07, 2011 3:39 am

HiTenshi16 wrote:I have not been so shocked and embarrassed before tonight. Ulric had his first unprovoked bite. This year my husband and I have been stressed do to work and family and not able to get out of the house much. Whenever we do go out, we take our dogs out if were we are going they are allowed, which is not many places (Ulric is almost always wearing his Halti because he will pull). Ulric this year I have noticed has been very shy around people outside of our home. Inside he seems fine with them, but it is usually my family that ever visits and he loves them. I will take him to my work place when I am off sometimes, mostly to see one of my co-workers, and older woman (Catherine) who loves to greet every dog that visits, she has about 9 little dogs at her home. For some reason, Ulric has been the only dog that is scared of her, she will try to hug on him like I do but he tucks his tail and ears go back. If someone else comes to pet him, I give them permission, but Ulric backs up a little, some he will come up to and sniff, children he seems okay with. So yesterday I decided that after work I was going to try my hardest to get him more socialized with people so he won't be so shy and will be happy when they pet him.
I had a bag of treats (cheesy hotdogs) at my hip, I visited one of my female co-workers, older but about the same height as me, and he sniffed her, was still very shy but accepted her giving him some of the treats. Went over to another female co-worker, slightly taller than I, Ulric accepted her petting but was still a bit nervous. Then went to another female co-worker and male co-worker at the same time. The girl is slightly shorter than I, same age, Ulric did not mind her too much, but was still nervous, enjoyed the treats he took from her. The guy is about the same age as well, taller. Ulric was more nervous with him, though he did take the treats and allowed him to be petted, though would back away just a little with his ears back. Ulric was a bit jumpy while the guy worked some. He walked passed him once, gave him a petting, then again and petted him some more and treat again and said "I'm just going to keep petting you till you like me". After that he turned his back and walked away and then Ulric followed (the next all happened within just a few steps). I thought "Oh he is already warming up to him" but then Ulric nipped at the back of the guy's leg :shock: no warning. He was shocked too, said there was no broken skin, but his pants were ripped. :oops: I felt so bad, I never imagined Ulric to ever do such a thing. I apologized so much, he said it was okay, he still likes him. I just wonder what if it was a total stranger that he had done it too? It scares me because I want people to be able to just come up and love on him.
After that I took off his Halti thinking that was probably making things worse since he does not like wearing it. I went to see Catherine but warned her that Ulric had nipped the guy, she did not seem bothered. He did take treats from her, but did not enjoy her hugging him, just stood there with his ears back. Some kids came up and started petting him and giving him the treats and he seemed okay. After that I came home.

:oops: I feel right now lost and don't know what to do to fix this, I love him and don't want to give up on him or give him up. He is still my boy.
I am so sorry to hear that this happened! I would do a couple of different things:
1. Don't blame yourself or Ulric. Feelings have a way of getting...well, in the way, ;) with situations like these. It's SO easy to feel embarrassed about the situation and your dog. And it is warranted too! Your dog nipped someone you thought was being friendly and trying to help, but in reality the situation got ugly for Ulric fast because he was severely uncomfortable.

NOW, remember what I said about not blaming yourself...I'm serious about that, but learn from your mistakes.
2. Listen to your dog. You may think that Ulric gave no warning, but he gave TONS. From what you describe in the above message, his backing away was your first clue. Then his ears flattening, his tail tucking. I bet if you pay closer attention you'll notice a lot of his eyes shifting away from the strangers as well as perhaps him sniffing the floor instead of approaching people or a lot of tongue flicking. Not eating treats he normally eats. Perhaps a lot of large yawns when people are looking at him or finally leave his personal space. These are ALL signs that your boy is indeed stressed.
So watch his body language and heed his warnings. If he is uncomfortable, get the strangers out of his personal space bubble (however big it may be for whichever person--it will vary). Why you? You're his mommy? daddy? (sorry I can't tell from your name :)) so if YOU take responsibility to get him out of that uncomfortable situation, he'll start trusting you more in those situations and look to YOU as the person to get rid of the uncomfortable stuff instead of feeling that he has no choice but to take matters into his own paws so to speak.
Now, here's what happened: guy kept petting him regardless of Ulric's CLEAR (to doggies) signs that he didn't want to be touched. Just because your dog allows something doesn't mean they are a.)liking, b.)tolerating the situation. They are learning from each successive learning experience. SO Ulric learned backing away--not helping, ears back--not helping, avoiding--not helping, tail tuck--not helping, slicking passed to avoid contact--not helping, bite--ah! some progress. (the bite happened after the man's back was exposed because he was less threatening that way)

That brings us to
3. Since we know these dogs are smart, let's not give Ulric another chance to feel the need to use his teeth to make people go away.
to do that--keep using the treats, have strangers give them to him and IMMEDIATELY leave his space. DO NOT have them walk into his space to give him treats, or make him take treats out of their hands if he's not ready. You let Ulric do the approaching. They can toss treats to him and leave if he isn't willing to approach. Don't force the issue.
Don't let people touch him if he's not asking for it. If they put out a hand and he goes into it for a pet, he wants it, if not, he doesn't.

One situation can easily escalate if you keep doing the same things and make him feel uncomfortable and need to control in every situation. But if you keep people out of his space and let him do the approaching and give him lots of good experiences (honestly, treats usually work wonders with this type of thing :)) I think you should see progress, especially if he's a generally friendly boy who just needs to sometimes take a step back and understand that people will not push him if he doesn't want it. Or time to warm up. He won't warm up if someone is pushing him. And remember pushing is in the eye of the beholder and Ulric is the beholder, listen to his cues.

Start him off with smaller groups, one person at a time. Let them toss him treats until he seems to want to go closer to them, then let him. And don't let the dog lady hug him, he clearly is nervous of that. Maybe ask her if she'll help you by tossing him treats and ignoring him until he asks for more attention. Even then though, he WON'T be ready right away for a hug. Maybe a hand sniff. And the person who suggested you teach a "touch"--genius. I do that with my shy dog.

The BIGGEST things to look for is a relaxed expression and a desire to want contact. If you don't have those things, he isn't ready to move forward. Let him take his baby steps. You will be grateful you did when you see him start to make strides.

Sorry for the lengthy post, but I love helping dogs who are in a bit of a shy spot. When they come out of their shells it is so worth it. Listen to your dog and be his advocate if he's a little shy. Don't push him in the direction you want, guide him by letting him see it's safe with good experiences, no force and treats! Protect him by not allowing people to do what he isn't ready for and he'll trust you later when you tell him it's okay to say "hi" to someone.

Good luck, and keep us posted of his progress.

Sarah

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Re: 10 months and first non-playful bite. What happened??

Post by wicca1 » Mon Nov 07, 2011 9:47 pm

maybe Ulric was a bit overwhelmed with all the fussing, i'm sure everything willl be ok.

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Re: 10 months and first non-playful bite. What happened??

Post by arianwenarie » Tue Nov 08, 2011 2:57 am

SarahG wrote:I am so sorry to hear that this happened! I would do a couple of different things:
1. Don't blame yourself or Ulric. Feelings have a way of getting...well, in the way, ;) with situations like these. It's SO easy to feel embarrassed about the situation and your dog. And it is warranted too! Your dog nipped someone you thought was being friendly and trying to help, but in reality the situation got ugly for Ulric fast because he was severely uncomfortable.

NOW, remember what I said about not blaming yourself...I'm serious about that, but learn from your mistakes.
2. Listen to your dog. You may think that Ulric gave no warning, but he gave TONS. From what you describe in the above message, his backing away was your first clue. Then his ears flattening, his tail tucking. I bet if you pay closer attention you'll notice a lot of his eyes shifting away from the strangers as well as perhaps him sniffing the floor instead of approaching people or a lot of tongue flicking. Not eating treats he normally eats. Perhaps a lot of large yawns when people are looking at him or finally leave his personal space. These are ALL signs that your boy is indeed stressed.
So watch his body language and heed his warnings. If he is uncomfortable, get the strangers out of his personal space bubble (however big it may be for whichever person--it will vary). Why you? You're his mommy? daddy? (sorry I can't tell from your name :)) so if YOU take responsibility to get him out of that uncomfortable situation, he'll start trusting you more in those situations and look to YOU as the person to get rid of the uncomfortable stuff instead of feeling that he has no choice but to take matters into his own paws so to speak.
Now, here's what happened: guy kept petting him regardless of Ulric's CLEAR (to doggies) signs that he didn't want to be touched. Just because your dog allows something doesn't mean they are a.)liking, b.)tolerating the situation. They are learning from each successive learning experience. SO Ulric learned backing away--not helping, ears back--not helping, avoiding--not helping, tail tuck--not helping, slicking passed to avoid contact--not helping, bite--ah! some progress. (the bite happened after the man's back was exposed because he was less threatening that way)

That brings us to
3. Since we know these dogs are smart, let's not give Ulric another chance to feel the need to use his teeth to make people go away.
to do that--keep using the treats, have strangers give them to him and IMMEDIATELY leave his space. DO NOT have them walk into his space to give him treats, or make him take treats out of their hands if he's not ready. You let Ulric do the approaching. They can toss treats to him and leave if he isn't willing to approach. Don't force the issue.
Don't let people touch him if he's not asking for it. If they put out a hand and he goes into it for a pet, he wants it, if not, he doesn't.

One situation can easily escalate if you keep doing the same things and make him feel uncomfortable and need to control in every situation. But if you keep people out of his space and let him do the approaching and give him lots of good experiences (honestly, treats usually work wonders with this type of thing :)) I think you should see progress, especially if he's a generally friendly boy who just needs to sometimes take a step back and understand that people will not push him if he doesn't want it. Or time to warm up. He won't warm up if someone is pushing him. And remember pushing is in the eye of the beholder and Ulric is the beholder, listen to his cues.

Start him off with smaller groups, one person at a time. Let them toss him treats until he seems to want to go closer to them, then let him. And don't let the dog lady hug him, he clearly is nervous of that. Maybe ask her if she'll help you by tossing him treats and ignoring him until he asks for more attention. Even then though, he WON'T be ready right away for a hug. Maybe a hand sniff. And the person who suggested you teach a "touch"--genius. I do that with my shy dog.

The BIGGEST things to look for is a relaxed expression and a desire to want contact. If you don't have those things, he isn't ready to move forward. Let him take his baby steps. You will be grateful you did when you see him start to make strides.

Sorry for the lengthy post, but I love helping dogs who are in a bit of a shy spot. When they come out of their shells it is so worth it. Listen to your dog and be his advocate if he's a little shy. Don't push him in the direction you want, guide him by letting him see it's safe with good experiences, no force and treats! Protect him by not allowing people to do what he isn't ready for and he'll trust you later when you tell him it's okay to say "hi" to someone.

Good luck, and keep us posted of his progress.

Sarah
Great post! :)

One more thing I'd also suggest is that if you ever see someone who clearly isn't calm enough to listen to your training regimen for Ulric's shyness, please protect him. Put him behind you and stop the overly-excited person from rushing your dog since, in the canine world, that's a rude greeting. ;)

If he doesn't trust you enough to go behind you when he can't cope with a situation, you can also teach him the "behind" command. You can teach him to get into the position from either the right side or left - whichever you or he's more comfortable with. Lure him into the position with a treat (at home, no distracts for 2 weeks); treat in your fist, Ulric on leash for a bit more control if necessary, move your treat hand back simultaneously in a parallel motion backwards along with either your right leg or your left leg - whichever side you choose, the opposite leg does NOT move. Once he goes behind you completely (not off to the side behind you), take a step forward with the leg that went backwards and ask him to sit by bringing your treat hand up to the small of your back. Once he sits in the position behind you, praise the daylights out of him (verbally) and tell him "Good behind!"

The leash can be used to gently guide him, but you really want him to move into the position on his own - the treat is used to lure him into position. The movement of your arm and leg simultaneously will help turn on his prey drive to follow simple movement. :)

Seems like you've gotten lots of advice already, so I'll leave the short essay at this. lol. Please keep us updated on Ulric! :)

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Re: 10 months and first non-playful bite. What happened??

Post by HiTenshi16 » Tue Nov 08, 2011 5:00 am

Thank you everyone for the advice :) I will put it all to use. I even joined on the Victoria's Stilwell's Positively forum for extra advice.
Ulric does trust me, when my friend Catherine would stand next to him he would hide behind me.
I will keep everyone updated, I just wish I had a video camera (or the new iPhone :P ) so I can record his progress.
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Re: 10 months and first non-playful bite. What happened??

Post by arianwenarie » Tue Nov 08, 2011 6:06 am

HiTenshi16 wrote:Thank you everyone for the advice :) I will put it all to use. I even joined on the Victoria's Stilwell's Positively forum for extra advice.
Ulric does trust me, when my friend Catherine would stand next to him he would hide behind me.
I will keep everyone updated, I just wish I had a video camera (or the new iPhone :P ) so I can record his progress.
Awesome. :) The important thing is that if he ever goes behind you to hide from a situation, don't pay any attention to him if you notice him uncomfortable with the situation. Some people will face their dogs when their dog is nervous about a particular situation (i.e. a overly excited person talking to the dog, etc) - the dog only continues to be nervous because their human isn't facing the problem. Dogs generally calm down if their handler is calm and is facing the problem - in their minds, their handler is dealing with the situation and the pressure is taken off of the dog. Makes the dog much more comfortable and the trust meter goes up a notch. ;)

I'm glad to hear that he trusts you so much that he'll hide behind you. My dog is a bit iffy sometimes with certain people and I have taught her the "behind" command, but there are times when she just doesn't trust me to handle the situation. Gotta work on her "touch" command. lol.

As for the video progress...perhaps get a friend to help take videos during scheduled training sessions with Ulric? :D

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Re: 10 months and first non-playful bite. What happened??

Post by SarahG » Wed Nov 09, 2011 3:32 am

HiTenshi16 wrote:Thank you everyone for the advice :) I will put it all to use. I even joined on the Victoria's Stilwell's Positively forum for extra advice.
Ulric does trust me, when my friend Catherine would stand next to him he would hide behind me.
I will keep everyone updated, I just wish I had a video camera (or the new iPhone :P ) so I can record his progress.

Wonderful! Yes, keep us posted on his progress. It sounds like Ulric has a loving owner. ;)

Sarah

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Re: 10 months and first non-playful bite. What happened??

Post by HiTenshi16 » Wed Nov 09, 2011 4:08 am

Thought I would mention this. Went to the dog park tonight, thought he would relax a bit playing with other dogs again, besides he and Rukia needed to wind down a bit. There of course were other people there, he was not bothered by them, pretty much ignored everyone and was just happy playing, tail up and wagging. It was only when someone would come up to him on their own and he would quickly go off to the side away from them and continue on playing like nothing happened. He did go up to one girl, maybe 13 years old, and sniffed her, he patted him on the head and then he went off to play again.
He seems to react more to people who are tall, or I think just taller than me. He was very relaxed tonight and had fun.
Also we are starting Ulric on clicker training, hoping to teach him many things to help stimulate his mind and gain confidence. :D
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Re: 10 months and first non-playful bite. What happened??

Post by HiTenshi16 » Tue May 08, 2012 2:48 pm

It has been hard as no one wants to work with me and Ulric, usually too busy or "I'm afraid he will bite me..." Sunday my dad, who he has never met before, came over to help me out a bit. He is a big guy weight wise, and is a few inches taller than I. At first when he went to pet Ulric, he kind of jumped away, but very soon he was okay with my dad petting him. We only worked with him for maybe about 20 minutes. By the end of it my dad was able to take his lead and walk 15 feet away from me, Ulric was okay, kept looking back at me, but did well. Normally if anyone walks him away from me on the lead he would freak out to get back to me.
I think he did very well. They say dogs are a reflection of their owners, I think that has some truth in it as I am kind of shy myself to people I don't know.
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Re: 10 months and first non-playful bite. What happened??

Post by JulieSmith » Tue May 08, 2012 3:26 pm

HiTenshi16 wrote:It has been hard as no one wants to work with me and Ulric, usually too busy or "I'm afraid he will bite me..." Sunday my dad, who he has never met before, came over to help me out a bit. He is a big guy weight wise, and is a few inches taller than I. At first when he went to pet Ulric, he kind of jumped away, but very soon he was okay with my dad petting him. We only worked with him for maybe about 20 minutes. By the end of it my dad was able to take his lead and walk 15 feet away from me, Ulric was okay, kept looking back at me, but did well. Normally if anyone walks him away from me on the lead he would freak out to get back to me.
I think he did very well. They say dogs are a reflection of their owners, I think that has some truth in it as I am kind of shy myself to people I don't know.
I think this shows how much he picks up from you. You are confidant with your dad so Ulric relaxed, when you are nervous he probably thinks he has to protect you. You probably need to work out how to give confident body signals even when you are not confident.

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Re: 10 months and first non-playful bite. What happened??

Post by susann » Tue May 08, 2012 3:43 pm

Both Nova and Maccon loves peoples... :) even strangers.. especially Nova.. happy happy girl.. Maccons waits a minute before he says "hi"..I wish they were a bit more "shy" .. and a little less friendly towards strangers :( .. and they both jumps up.. I have tried "no".. "ignore" "turn away" .. nothing works.. I never pet them before they sit down.. they are just tooooo happy dogs! :?

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Re: 10 months and first non-playful bite. What happened??

Post by Nino » Tue May 08, 2012 5:53 pm

JulieSmith wrote: I think this shows how much he picks up from you. You are confidant with your dad so Ulric relaxed, when you are nervous he probably thinks he has to protect you. You probably need to work out how to give confident body signals even when you are not confident.
I have to agree here..
>> Nino <<
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