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Jane Lefler
Jane Lefler, Animal Behaviorist
Category: Dog Training
Satisfied Customers: 18943
Experience:  Dog breeder/Trainer and Behaviorist 18+ years
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My wife and I have a pitbull/boston? Maybe? He just turned

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Hello, my wife and I have a pitbull/boston? Maybe? He just turned one, and he has a problem that was tolerable, but is now getting very frustrating. Right off the bat, very very hyper. Which we read is from lack of exercise, we do our best to give it to him but it seems he just has boundless energy and we can't seem to bring it down. But that still isn't what is frustrating, while he is bouncing off the walls he jumps on and bites my wife, mostly her hands at a rate of, on average 3 bites per second haha. But its not like a "I hate you" bite. He is being playful but I would say about 65% of the time my wife can't walk through the house without these consistent bite/jump combos. Weird thing is he never does this to me, if he is jumping on my wife and I get up and walk toward them he for the most part stops, sometimes he keeps jumping, but still very hyper. We are now at the point where we have a muzzle on him at times just around the house. We are doing our best to be patient, and figure out a way to change this behavior but we are getting to the end of our rope. He is a very sweet and happy dog, and we would be really devastated if we have to get rid of him in the future when we start having kids and such. Please help!!!
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Dog Training
Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 9 months ago.

Hi jaCustomer,

My name is ***** ***** I’ve been involved professionally with dogs in the health and behavioral fields for over 18 years. It will be my pleasure to work with you today.

Generally speaking a dog will do this for a couple of reasons. One is they don't really see that person as their boss but more as an equal. As an equal they can mouth them. As you pointed it out, it could also be him soliciting play time. They do tend to jump and playfully nip when playing. Now there are things you can do to help with the situation and I'm going to suggest obedience training, the NILF program, increased exercise and if you can, some structured play time with another dog. I also have some tricks for jumping and mouthing that you can use as well. This is just the start of my answer. I'll continue with it in another post so you know that I am working on your answer.

Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 9 months ago.

The first step is for him to start seeing her as the boss as well as you. This is going to mean she has to do training with him on obedience. Even if he knows commands, she needs to practice those commands with him several times a day so he starts to see her as his boss as well as you. She also needs to lower her voice when giving commands and reprimanding him for jumping and biting. Women often raise the tone of their voice when situations like this occur but she needs to lower the tone and make her voice more growl like. It will help.

The following site is helpful in helping owners train their dog. Be sure and click on the link to the page on obedience at the bottom. and links on subsequent pages leading to detailed instructions.

http://www.schutzhund-training.com/training_theory.html

Training works best if you train at least 30 minutes a day (two 15 minute sessions). I would start making your dog work via the Nothing in life is free program (NILF). It is outlined below.

http://www.pets.ca/articles/article-dog_nilf.htm

http://www.humanesociety.org/animals/dogs/tips/training_nothing_in_life_is_free.html

Start working at home on this and after he is a little more under control then she might consider a group class. A group class will serve to teach him obedience while there are distractions. It will also offer you the opportunity of finding him a playmate. Playmates should be introduced away from both homes and if they get along then allowed to play one one house or the other. The playmate should be female and of similar size and age to be a good fit for him. This will allow him to rough house with another dog and get out a lot of energy.

Long walks are great for exercise but they have to be fast paced or they are not giving him exercise. You can stop halfway and let him sniff and eliminate. Some people even ride a bike to walk their dogs. Some owners use treadmills to give their dogs exercise. If he likes balls you can get an automatic ball thrower to keep him occupied and moving. You can find a lot of models online.

Now training will also help with the jumping as she can then command him to sit or lay down rather than bouncing along with her nipping. Of course, she should call hiim when she gets where she is going so he can come and lay down there and get his reward. Rewards should be high value treats like hot dog slivers.

Still more to come.

Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 9 months ago.

But in the meantime, until your dog is obedience trained, there is a method I've used for over 15 years and is very effective and not cruel for a dog that jumps on people. It cures even the most stubborn large dog. However, everyone in the family will have to be consistent until he learns it is not acceptable.

What you will be doing is putting one knee up to waist level any time you see the dog start to jump up. Put it up before the dog is close to you, so he sees it. YOU DO NOT KNEE THE DOG. Instead you put your knee up long before he reaches you and he jumps onto your knee generally hitting himself in the chest as a result. Since your knee is up and you aren't moving when it happens, he does not interpret it as something you are doing. At the same time you need to say in a low toned firm voice, NO JUMP. He'll learn that when he jumps, he ends up hitting his chest and will associate NO JUMP with that feeling and learn to not jump on people. He may still dance around on his hind legs, but they do usually learn not to touch the person. Again, I want to stress that the knee should not be used to hit the dog, but instead let the dog run into the knee.

Your dog may try and come at you from the side which is likely what he is doing, but just shift position until he learns that he can't jump. You should also start teaching him that he will not get petted or get treats or affection or even talked to unless he is calm and he works for them by sitting or laying down. They also make no jump harnesses that might help as well. See one here:

http://www.petsmart.com/dog/harnesses/top-paw-sporn-no-jump-dog-harness-zid36-19395/cat-36-catid-100082

Now for mouthing, it can be a little more tricky as he is older. I'd be inclined to wear some leather gloves for this part since he is an older dog. There is a method for stubborn biters but it should be used as a last resort. You can stop mouthing and biting hard by going the opposite direction. Instead of taking her hand out of his mouth, put it further in the mouth. DO NOT do this meanly (not that she would). Do not do it quickly or shove it in too far, just move it further in enough that it makes him uncomfortable so that he pulls his mouth away from her hand. He will learn that putting his mouth on her hand results in the hand going further in and possibly triggering a gag reflex which he will not find pleasant. I'v found that this methods works on the most stubborn puppies and young adults.

I think I've given you a few different things to work on. It is going to take pretty much all of them to bring him under control but it will be worth it. Definitely get the training started so he will be trained before babies come as there is extra training he'll need then to ensure the babies are safe around him.

I hope this information is helpful to you. If you would like any additional information or have more questions please don’t hesitate to press the reply to expert or continue conversation button so I can address any issues you still have . If you do find this helpful, please take this opportunity to rate my answer positively so I am compensated for my time.

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