Retreat biting.

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Retreat biting.

Post: #259003 prison break fan
Sat Apr 21, 2012 10:50 am

HI everyone, I am looking for help! has anyone had experience with retreat biting? My little dog is a delight at home, and off the lead is friendly with all other dogs, but on the lead is a nightmare when we meet another dog. She pulls toward the dog and then turns round and tries to bit me! with some success! I do understand what she is doing, trying to protect me from the danger, as she would her pack in the wild, but it doesn't seem to be a problem I can solve. I have taken her to obedience classes and agility classes where ther is no sign of a problem. I stay relaxed when we meet anotheer dog, so it is not tension down the lead, but I don't want to be wearing my wellies all summer! Any advice would be very welcome. She is eight years old and we rescued her from a really horrible life three years ago. Hoping to hear from someone!.

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Re: Retreat biting.

Post: #259005 trinder
Sat Apr 21, 2012 11:09 am

The most successful method is to teach a displacement activity . At home using food or whatever she is most attentive /obsessive about teach her to pay absolute attention to you thus ignoring the other dog. this http://drsophiayin.com/philosophy/dominance/ is probably one of the best ways to explain it. good luck
On the issue of animals for research "The question is not, 'Can they reason?' nor, 'Can they talk?' but rather, 'Can they suffer?'" Jeremy Bentham

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Re: Retreat biting.

Post: #259006 demi
Sat Apr 21, 2012 2:58 pm

thats a good website trinder :iconbiggrin:

whatever you do, avoid 'dominance training' at all costs. its a very out dated training method.
all it does is makes you dog fear you which can lead to aggression towards you and others.
reward based training is the way to go! with lots of positive reinforcement. :iconbiggrin:
Ceaser Milan has been sued for creating aggressive dogs from his methods. its dangerous, dont do it!
a dog is a predator and is fully capable for killing you if it wants to.
you should work positively with your dog, making it into fun and games instead of fear.

i also have problems with my dog on the lead.
where we live there is stray street dogs everywhere and when we're out on walks they come out from under cars or side streets barking furiously defending their territory which we are walking through. my dog has actually been attacked before by a stray dog whilst waking on lead! if we are somewhere off road like up a track on the outskirts of the town and shes off lead she never returns the aggression to the other dogs, she just puts her head down and walks away. but in the center, where we live, i cant let her off lead and when the dogs bark at her she feels trapped and starts barking and growling back and jumping to get away because she's having to defend herself. shes not trying to defend me, shes defending herself because she feels threatened and trapped on the lead. iv got a halti head coller as she is a st bernard and i wouldnt be able to control her without it. it works really well, iv got a hold of her head and i just walk as quickly as possible to get her past the offending stray dog. once we're past shes fine and she walks on a loose lead the whole time as long as shes not getting provoked. if i see other dogs i try to avoid them. if i cant go another way i cross the street to give them a wide berth so its not so 1 one 1 confrontational. iv tried distracting her with various methods but she is so wound up she doesnt pay any attention to me. shes fine otherwise, she'll behave brilliantly in the garden and on the street in the absence of the street dogs. this is the only problem iv got with her and the way i adress it is just to try to avoid the situation as much as possible.
probably no help to you, but thats how i handle it. :lol:
it doesnt stop her doing it but by walking very briskly past the offender we get out of the situation before it gets too out of control.
Tim Minchin - The Good Book
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kr1I3mBojc0

'If you just close your eyes and block your ears, to the acumulated knowlage of the last 2000 years,
then morally guess what your off the hook, and thank Christ you only have to read one book'

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Re: Retreat biting.

Post: #259020 trinder
Sat Apr 21, 2012 10:40 pm

Thank you Demi. The most salient point here is to remind ourselves that the dog is not defending us . It is threatened because it cannot escape.

It is actually a very polite dog that does not encroach in another dog's personal space. You putting her on a lead means that she is in conflict . She is actually being very obedient because she is obeying the lead and going against her natural polite nature. Unfortunately when you continue to walk nonchalantly towards the other dog, there comes a point at which she is so "at odds" that she displays her anxiety.

Watching the video clip closely shows how to "step in" before the grey mist comes down.

Little by little her sense of "being threatened " will diminish as long as you stop her far enough away from the other dog and allow her to gain confidence by staging how close the other dog ever gets.
Day 1- you must try to understand when your dog gets "beyond reason"
Some dogs will scream and rant if they see another dog within a hundred yards others will bristle a bit if there is one the other side of the road, some don't get anxious until 10 feet away. You must read this and only do your "listen and focus on me"- when she is able to, not when she is already in the "mist down" stage.
On the issue of animals for research "The question is not, 'Can they reason?' nor, 'Can they talk?' but rather, 'Can they suffer?'" Jeremy Bentham

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Re: Retreat biting.

Post: #259025 the.fee.fairy
Sun Apr 22, 2012 3:56 am

This might be an obvious question, but do you talk to your dog a lot when it's on the lead?

I talk to my dog all the time, like she's a child 'look at that, ooh what a pretty shop, look at the children'. I use her name a lot so that she knows I'm addressing her. This tends to take her focus off of anything i don't want her to look at and back to me.

I read something a while ago about your feelings and how the dog picks them up, so although you might feel relaxed around other dogs, you might still have some underlying tension about your dog's behaviour. I find that saying (in my head) 'I am the strong one, i'll look after you' seems to work quite well. It means that you are reassuring yourself that you are the leader, you are the protector, and it takes the tension away from your dog as they know that you're looking after them.

Maybe a little pat on the head, or a stroke down the back whenever you see another dog might work - it reminds your dog that you're there, and you're looking out for them. It reassures them that you're not in danger and you don't need protecting.

The reason your dog tries to bite you could be because it's showing possessiveness to the other dog, it's showing that you are a member of it's pack, and that the other dog is not welcome in the pack. When your dog bites, don't do anything other than a sharp 'no'. If you stroke your dog or try to calm it, it sees this as good behaviour and thinks it should carry on because it makes you happy.

In a pack situation, if a beta dog challenges the alpha, the alpha will put them onto their back and apply a small amount of pressure to their chest. This is dominance training, but not to the extent of most. It uses natural dog behaviour to train the dog. I train my dog in the UK using this. If he barks at me or shows his teeth, he goes onto his back and i straddle him and press lightly onto his chest (not enough to stop breathing!!). I do this until he stops growling and then wait for him to lick me. Licking in this case is submissive. A beta dog will lick the alpha dog to apologise and communicate that the beta understands that the alpha is in charge.

Although that might be a bit difficult to do in a walking situation, you could try getting your dog to sit and then put a leg either side of it's bottom, while pressing slightly into it's flanks - simulation mounting the dog. This also shows that you are the alpha.

Have a look at your dog's behaviour before he tries to bite you - are his ears back, or forward, is the hair on his back up? Ears back is submissive and asking you for protection. Ears forward indicates interest, or aggression, If the tail is wagging then it's likely to be interest and it may feel that it wants to investigate the other dog, but it doesn't want you getting close until it's checked the stranger out, therefore the biting (sounds like herding behaviour) is to get you to back off a bit until he knows that the stranger is safe. Sheepdogs herd by biting the ankles of sheep to get them to move, so by biting your ankles, he's trying to get you to move out of the way of the stranger.

You don't say what breed your dog is - is it a herding breed? When it goes for your ankles, is it showing aggression - like it's angry with you? Teeth baring, growling etc, or is it just focussed on your ankles and making you move?

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Re: Retreat biting.

Post: #259033 demi
Sun Apr 22, 2012 6:56 am

im sorry fee, but this is wrong. :shock:

the method you are using, like what ceaser milan does, is a dangerous and out dated technique.
you shouldnt do anything that makes your dog growl at you.
when you use 'dominance' to control the dog all its doing is making the dog fear you. dogs growl when they're not happy about something. its a signal to you that they dont like what your doing so you should stop. its a warning before a bite. if you ignore the warning growl then dogs can then go onto bite you. by punishing him from the growl all it does is make him stop growling and therefore not giving you any warning that he doesnt like what yoiur doing before he bites you. the dog can then go on to bite you, or a child or someone else without giving any warning before hand. please do not try this training technique, all it does is make dangerous dogs.

also, i think its very important to recognise that domestic dogs are not wolves. dogs and wolves have evolved from common ancestors but the domestic dog has changed drastically from its wild cousins to live along side humans. do you know that a dog can read your body language better than our chimpanzee cousins? or any other animal for that matter.
dogs do not need to be dominated, they do not need a pack leader, they are not trying to dominate the world! :lol:

also what you've said about patting the dog while you are walking past another dog. if you pat the dog while its displaying unwanted behaviour, what your doing is rewarding that behaviour and thus reinforcing it. if you can get the dog's attention, as trinder said, ahead of time before he gets near the other dog, stand aside to give lots of room between the dogs and get your dog to sit and focus on you with its back to the other dog until the dog passes and then reward the behaviour with lots of treats/toys/pats whatever your dogs likes. you can take some chopped chicken or cheese or something really tasty that your dog likes to keep his focus on you and then give him it as the reward for watching you instead of barking.

i can do this with my dog as long as the other dog is ignoring her, but when an other dog is chasing after us and trying to bite her its impossible to distract her and the best i can do is move as quickly as possible away from the other dog, wither that is straight past it or turning round and going the other way. the faster i move with her the less stressed she gets, all she wants is to get away. and when shes off lead and able to get away by herself, when she meets another dog and its not being friendly towards her she just puts her head down and walks away and the situation never escalates into anything. on lead she feels trapped and insecure which is why she barks and jumps to get away.
Tim Minchin - The Good Book
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kr1I3mBojc0

'If you just close your eyes and block your ears, to the acumulated knowlage of the last 2000 years,
then morally guess what your off the hook, and thank Christ you only have to read one book'

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Re: Retreat biting.

Post: #259044 The Riff-Raff Element
Sun Apr 22, 2012 9:21 am

I think I rather side with FF on this one. Dogs most certainly are pack animals and establishing pack order is key in maintaining discipline. It does not have to be violent or cruel - certainly the method described by FF doesn't come close - and I agree that violent methods create potentially dangerous animals. But by the same token a dog in a domestic situation that doesn't appreciate it is below the resident humans is also potentially dangerous, particularly where children are concerned. Growling at "pack leaders" should not be tolerated.

I've seen a similar technique to that FF describes applied to horses during breaking. The only way a human can hope to control a horse is for the horse to believe the human to be dominant. Again, this doesn't have to be cruel, but it does have to be firm.

As to dealing with retreat biting, sometimes putting yourself between the strange dog and your dog is enough to demonstrate that you are in charge and everyone should just back off. Not without risk, though :shock:

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Re: Retreat biting.

Post: #259052 demi
Sun Apr 22, 2012 1:13 pm

i strongly disagree.

dominance training is dangerous.
there is no need to mount your dog, stand in its bed, eat from its bowl, take food away from it while its eating or anything else to assert dominance over the dog.
you should be rewarding good behaviour and ignoring or distracting from bad behaviour. you should make training into a game so the dog wants to work for you and there is no need to resort to asserting your dominance over the dog and making the dog fearful of you.

im not saying to just let your dog do what ever it wants. if your dog is doing something which you dont want it to, for example, for play biting when you are playing with him all you have to do is never play with the dog when its chewing on your arm. as soon as it starts to mouth you you should end the game and walk away. the dog will soon get the message that the fun stops when he mouths you so he will end up not mouthing you as he want to have fun and play. this is 'negative punishment' and there is absolutely no need to pin the dog down or sit on top of him to make him submit to your dominance.
Tim Minchin - The Good Book
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kr1I3mBojc0

'If you just close your eyes and block your ears, to the acumulated knowlage of the last 2000 years,
then morally guess what your off the hook, and thank Christ you only have to read one book'

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Re: Retreat biting.

Post: #259054 prison break fan
Sun Apr 22, 2012 1:55 pm

Thankyou all for your replies, I feel better already! FF she is a cross breed, a terrier of sorts, about the size of a border terrier. So could have all sorts of breed tendancies. If I can get the owner of the other dog to stand still for a few minutes and chat, Poppy soon calms down and accepts the other dog, but not all owners are willing to do this when they see her straining at the lead to get to them! Once she knows the other dog and recognises it, she is fine, but we live in a small village and her reputation has spread.
I have watched the Ceasar Milan programmes but feel the same about him as I do the dog trainer I have taken Poppy to. She is nothing like Ceasar, being very tiny and blonde, but totally in charge of the dog, so therefore doesn't get to see my problem! Anyway having heard from you all I feel more hopeful that I can solve this as it is the only problem she has. Thankyou all once more! pbf.

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Re: Retreat biting.

Post: #259059 the.fee.fairy
Sun Apr 22, 2012 3:29 pm

I think it's up to the individual owner who knows their dog as to how they train it.

My dog in the UK is strong willed and an original breed (Manchester Terrier...or Terror as he's affectionately known). He doesn't often try to move 'up' the pack, but sometimes has a little go. He has to know his place. As soon as he knows his place, he goes running off to get a toy to play with. I certainly don't use violence with him, or even shout at him as it's not necessary. Shouting is just a game to him - who can bark the loudest and he will always win that game!

My dog here (a chihuahua cross) doesn't know how to be dominant, she doesn't have any ideas above her station. She has never tried to bite or acted in an aggressive way to me. She will protect her treats and sometimes her toys, so I take them away regularly and she does get told off if she growls at someone else. This is a good thing to teach her. At the weekend we were visiting a friend and they had a small child. Nucks had her toy adn the child went over to her. She started growling, so she was told 'no' and the toy taken away. She has to learn that she does not growl at a human, regardless of size. This is for her own protection. I don't want her biting someone because they get too close to her food, or too close to her toy. I don't want to have to put her to sleep because she was being overly protective of something.

On the flip-side, I had a Siberian Husky once (might have been a malamoute...he was a rescue) and this dog would fight any kind of aggression with equal if not double aggression. But...he was scared of being left, or being ignored and not part of the pack, so any aggressive behaviour led to the whole family withdrawing from him. After a while, he'd come back, tail between his legs apologising to each person in turn. He learnt pretty quickly that if he growled at someone, or snapped, no-one would talk to him and he was outed from the pack. We never knew anything about his history, but I think he was hit and possible had someone hurt his paws. It took me a good four weeks to get him to trust me enough to touch his paws. Sadly, he had a brain tumour and had to be put to sleep. He was a great dog, and i still miss him.

So it's individual dogs and individual ownership in my book. If you feel that your dog is trying to dominate you, you dominate him back! They have to know that they don't bite the hand that feeds, nor do they 'swear' at the hand that feeds them. I would never ever stop a dog eating, or force it to give up it's food. It has to do it willingly. If i sit next to any of my dogs while they're eating, they'll move aside so that we can 'share' dinner. That's good behaviour. If they growl, they get a sharp 'no', but i would never take their food away.

i would never hit a dog, it's just bad manners. if i hit my dog, I can't complain if it snaps at me - we're both being violent to each other! I do believe that dogs are dogs, and they are animals more importantly, they are pack animals and should know where they stand with the rest of the pack. They are not capable of complex thinking like we are. They do know right from wrong, and they have to learn good behaviour and bad behaviour like a child. However, as humans, we need to understand a bit about how they think and what makes them tick and use certain behaviours. Then we have to decide what's acceptable FOR US, or what's not and teach that to them.

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Re: Retreat biting.

Post: #259060 the.fee.fairy
Sun Apr 22, 2012 3:34 pm

prison break fan wrote:Thankyou all for your replies, I feel better already! FF she is a cross breed, a terrier of sorts, about the size of a border terrier. So could have all sorts of breed tendancies. If I can get the owner of the other dog to stand still for a few minutes and chat, Poppy soon calms down and accepts the other dog, but not all owners are willing to do this when they see her straining at the lead to get to them! Once she knows the other dog and recognises it, she is fine, but we live in a small village and her reputation has spread.
I have watched the Ceasar Milan programmes but feel the same about him as I do the dog trainer I have taken Poppy to. She is nothing like Ceasar, being very tiny and blonde, but totally in charge of the dog, so therefore doesn't get to see my problem! Anyway having heard from you all I feel more hopeful that I can solve this as it is the only problem she has. Thankyou all once more! pbf.


If it helps much with the dog trainer thing...we had a Great Dane when i was younger. He was huge and the biggest softie in the world. We took him to a dog trainer who shouted a lot when he was a puppy (we rescued him at 4 months old). She thought that because he was a big dog, she needed to be aggressive towards him. One day, she leant down to his face and shouted at him because he laid down instead of sitting perfectly. He waited for her to finish and then jumped up, paws on shoulders and looked her in the eye as if to say 'Oi...I'm bigger than you...stop it'. She told us he was 'untrainable'...it was rubbish...he was lazy and didn't see the point of sitting for ages when he could lay down and have a little sleep... He wasn't made to be a show dog, he was a lazy dog!

Some trainers are trained with certain types of dogs, or can't understand all types of dogs and therefore can't see a problem with their methods.

If Poppy's straining at the lead, try sitting her down as soon as she starts to strain. That might relax her a bit and remind her who the biggest is (you...i presume...!).

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Re: Retreat biting.

Post: #259073 The Riff-Raff Element
Sun Apr 22, 2012 5:33 pm

demi wrote:you should be rewarding good behaviour and ignoring or distracting from bad behaviour.


And this, I think, is the fundamental difference. While I am very happy to reward good behaviour, I would never ignore bad behaviour. Dogs need limits and ignoring bad behaviour just teaches that it is acceptable. Not rewarded, perhaps, but not forbidden.

Our hound is not a member of our family - she is our dog. I'm very fond of her, I play with her, I would never be violent towards her and I have never teased her with food. But she follows us through doors, she never goes upstairs and she eats after we do. Dominance is not about fear; it is about respect, trust and knowing exactly where you stand in the pecking order.

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Re: Retreat biting.

Post: #259080 demi
Sun Apr 22, 2012 6:23 pm

The Riff-Raff Element wrote:
demi wrote:you should be rewarding good behaviour and ignoring or distracting from bad behaviour.


And this, I think, is the fundamental difference. While I am very happy to reward good behaviour, I would never ignore bad behaviour. Dogs need limits and ignoring bad behaviour just teaches that it is acceptable. Not rewarded, perhaps, but not forbidden.

Our hound is not a member of our family - she is our dog. I'm very fond of her, I play with her, I would never be violent towards her and I have never teased her with food. But she follows us through doors, she never goes upstairs and she eats after we do. Dominance is not about fear; it is about respect, trust and knowing exactly where you stand in the pecking order.


what i ment by this was you different things depending on the situation.
for an example of ignoring an undesired behaviour, if my dog tries to jump on me i turn around and ignore her so she thinks im no fun and stops jumping. she then sits down and i reward her by giving her attention and making a fuss over her while shes got all 4 paws on the ground.

if i try to 'sshhhhttt' her like ceasor milan and jabb her in her neck with my fingers or give her a kick in her side she just takes that as a cue to play rough and she'll end up jumping and mouthing at me and ripping my jeans, as shes done in the past.
if i just try to push her away and say NO! to her she does the same, she thinks its a game, and its a game which can easily escalate into something dangerous. she is a strong willed st bernard, much more powerful than me and when she plays rough it hurts. the best way to control her in this situation is to not engage with her and not encourage her and wind her up. i stay calm and simply turn my back on her and she gets the message right away that i dont want to 'play' and she sits nicley leaning on my legs waiting to get patted.
if i was to assert my 'dominance' over her and force her to the ground and pin her down by her neck theres every chance she could overpower me and snarl, snap and if i still didnt let go, bite me. thats not something i want to happen as she is completely capable of mauling me if she felt threatened enough to have to defend herself in this way.
Tim Minchin - The Good Book
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kr1I3mBojc0

'If you just close your eyes and block your ears, to the acumulated knowlage of the last 2000 years,
then morally guess what your off the hook, and thank Christ you only have to read one book'

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Re: Retreat biting.

Post: #259089 trinder
Sun Apr 22, 2012 8:31 pm

A very well respected dog trainer says this
http://leecharleskelleysblog.blogspot.c ... -roll.html
On the issue of animals for research "The question is not, 'Can they reason?' nor, 'Can they talk?' but rather, 'Can they suffer?'" Jeremy Bentham

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Re: Retreat biting.

Post: #259090 trinder
Sun Apr 22, 2012 8:48 pm

This is is very confusing either you think :-
the fee fairy said

Maybe a little pat on the head, or a stroke down the back whenever you see another dog might work - it reminds your dog that you're there, and you're looking out for them. It reassures them that you're not in danger and you don't need protecting.

No dog would ever comfort another dog by stroking it. So either you think he thinks you are another dog or your dog knows you are a human / not a dog and therefore not a pack member?
I am a bit confused by what you think he /she thinks ?
On the issue of animals for research "The question is not, 'Can they reason?' nor, 'Can they talk?' but rather, 'Can they suffer?'" Jeremy Bentham


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