My 2 year old Lab rescue bites other dogs when they (other dogs) get in his face. My dog warns the other dogs by snarling and showing his teeth, but if the other dog continues, my dog will snap (and has actually bitten 2 other dogs).
My dog is perfectly fine with a person petting his face, you can put your hand in his mouth and he does nothing. He is also fine with my other dog.
How can I stop the biting behavior besides keeping him away from other dogs?
This is a pretty serious one, since as an owner you are responsible for your own and your dog's safety as well as the safety of all other dogs and humans he encounters.
Have you looked into hiring a professional trainer (positive training only, of course) who can come to your home, assess the situation and set up a behavior modification program for you and your dog? Check out Association of Pet Dog Trainers - Dog Training Resources for trainers in your area - it's a great resource - and you can also google "positive dog training"
Of course dog trainers are like any other profession and there is a wide range of competency so you'll have to be prepared with some questions as to how they might interpret your dog's signals, what they might do and how they might handle situations you are likely to encounter. Also, different people have different understandings of the word "positive"! A trainer will show you how to manage for safety, setting your dog up for success - this might mean crossing the street when you see another dog approaching or teaching your dog the "lets go" command (Paul Owens' "Dog Whisperer" DVD has a great demonstration of this that you can check out on your own) to avoid another dog. You can work on counter-conditioning your dog, changing the way they feel about the approach of a strange dog. This must be done within the bounds of the first one, safety and management, so that your dog can remain under his stress threshold and slowly, gradually learn to feel good about the approach of other dogs rather than being pushed to snap. And finally, a trainer can help you work out a substitue behavior that you'd like to teach your dog - rather than getting tense, growling, and lunging you can teach your dog to focus on you as another dog passes, to sit and wait, etc. There are a lot of positive behaviors that you can work on and a trainer can help determine what is right and reasonable for you and your dog.
There are a couple great books out there - I love Patricia McConnell's inexpensive pamphlet, "Feisty Fido", Grisha Stewart's "Behavior Adjustment Training for Fear, Frustration and Aggression in Dogs", and Leslie McDevitt's "Control Unleashed". There's also Jean Donaldson's "Fight!: A Practical Guide to the Treatment of Dog-dog Aggression" - I really enjoy her books but some people find her style to be a bit caustic (she certainly likes dogs more than people)!
All that being said, management is your best tool at this moment and until you have a chance to work with a professional to put some of these techniques into place, the best thing you can do to help your dog is, indeed, to keep him a comfortable 6-9 feet (minimum) apart from other dogs on your walks and in daily encounters - this will help reduce his tension and will keep everybody safe.
calgal423,There are different techniques that you can use to train your old Lab to stop biting other dogs. You can use these techniques on your old Lab. Here are five effective ways to stop old Lab from biting other dogs.
Communication is a key element in learning for dogs just as it is with humans. When it comes time to train your dog to stop biting other dogs, communicate to your dog in its own language. Dogs understand more tone of voice rather than the meaning of the words you say. When the dog bites other dogs during play, instead of using a shout or angry voice, try yelping. The yelping is understood as a painful response and will encourage your dog to refrain from biting other dogs.
When you communicate to your dog using the yelp, a high-pitched “ouch” will do the trick. When you use this technique, be sure to back on the dog to stop biting other dogs. Tone and body language are important to a dog. The dog will eventually come around to you and when he does, reprimand him in a firm tone with a command such as “bad dog” or “no bite” and he will quickly get the idea.
Another way to stop your dog from biting other dogs is to divert his attention from biting other dogs to something that he can chew on, like a toy. By replacing other dogs flesh with a chew toy each time the dog turns to inappropriate biting, he will get the idea that other dogs’ limbs are not meant for biting. Remember to quickly provide the chew toy if your dog resorts to biting other dogs during play again to reinforce the habit.
A sneaky yet effective way of training your dog to stop biting other dogs is positive reinforcement. Positive reinforcement is a training technique that rewards good behavior with something positive. An example of positive reinforcement with a biting dog is to give him wonderful praise during play when he does not bite other dogs. The praise could be a pat on the head, a belly rub, a treat, or extra attention. Positive reinforcement is a great way to show your dog the type of behavior that you prefer.
4.Tap the Nose
If your dog begins to bite or nip other dogs, quickly tell him to sit. Once he is seated, take your index finger, hold it in front of his nose, and then tap him on the nose as you say “bad dog” in a stern voice. Just remember, the tap itself is not the punishment, so it should not be particularly strong. It is just meant as a startling element to encourage him to stop the bad behavior with other dogs. Don’t scream; just use a stern tone, which he will understand. Eventually, your dog will come to understand the raising of an index finger as an indication to stop a bad behavior with other dogs.
5.Avoid Biting and Nipping Games
A good way to stop a dog from biting other dogs is to avoid biting behavior or nipping behavior in the first place. If you don’t encourage these types of behaviors from the get-go, the dog will not be prone to biting or nipping other dogs at inopportune times. For example, chasing other dogs, while it may be exciting and provide plenty of exercise, will likely encourage your dog that other dogs are prey. This is where his nipping or biting instincts will kick in.
Do not let your biting dog to play dangerous games with other dogs. It will encourage him to think that other dogs are his enemies and may promote biting other dogs as well. He won’t mean any harm with the biting, but he will want to win, so he will likely nip at other dogs. Replace dangerous games with non dangerous games like play with a Frisbee kind.
Last edited by warunasanjaya3030; 09-05-2012 at 04:02 AM.