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Old 11-10-2019, 08:19 PM
dontbesojumpy is offline
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Dog training hand puppet for playing/roughhousing?


(No idea what forum this belongs in)

Having just got a needle-fanged little fur tornado (mini schnauzer), I'm trying to come up with a way to train her on the rules of roughhousing.

We have a cat that has his fangs and most teeth removed. The pup torments the cat by biting him on the tail, arms, neck and head full force. The cat will rough around with her for a while but cannot apply any reciprocal pain. I'm afraid this puppy is going to grow into a little shit since she gets to go full fang without any consequences. The cat bellows in pain and will have to run someplace high enough the pup can't reach.

I'm strict not to let her nip or bite my hands, in spite of her insistence. I'm more ok rough housing with her with a thick leather and rubber work glove, but I still don't love the idea of her biting a hand-shaped object.

So my idea is a hand puppet, preferably dog-shaped, with maybe metal rivets (or something) as surrogate teeth.

Does such a thing exist? If not, could it be crafted? Maybe out of a stuffed animal or a set of those rubber oven mitt things.

I'm not talking about putting in carpet tacks or anything like that, just something that can substitute for "being bitten back" so we can enforce the limits of how rough play-time should be.
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Old 11-10-2019, 08:37 PM
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Just my 2 cents, but you don't want to "bite back," as this could lead to further aggression. When you roughhouse, you want to sound like you're "hurt" (a "squeal" is a good tactic) when pup bites too hard, followed by a firm (and loud) "NO." There are other things to do in tandem, which other Dopers will be along to mention.
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Old 11-10-2019, 08:54 PM
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I had good results with a hand biter by stopping play immediately and a firm.'no bite"
If you are consistent it will sink it that teeth causes fun to stop.
I've never liked the play fight game with dogs vs human hands. Better they play fight solo with a stuffed toy.
The cat needs to be protected by you. Stop all puppy/cat interaction. IMHO.
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Old 11-10-2019, 11:21 PM
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You need a tug toy: https://doglab.com/dog-tug-toy/

Don't try to hurt your dog.
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Old 11-11-2019, 12:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by burpo the wonder mutt View Post
Just my 2 cents, but you don't want to "bite back," as this could lead to further aggression. When you roughhouse, you want to sound like you're "hurt" (a "squeal" is a good tactic) when pup bites too hard, followed by a firm (and loud) "NO." There are other things to do in tandem, which other Dopers will be along to mention.
That's what I did with our dogs. They mouth or bite too hard and I give out a sharp high pitched OW. They always jumped back and look as though I'd just stabbed them in the heart.
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Old 11-11-2019, 06:40 AM
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[Moderating]

Since the only arts connection here is "can I make a puppet", but the real question seems to be "should I", I think this is a better fit for IMHO. Moving.
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Old 11-11-2019, 07:31 AM
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Yep, as above, if puppy-human contact gets painful then puppy goes in time-out to calm a bit. Being with you is a good thing, and so misbehavior (too much bite) means that you squeal or yipe and then go away. You can also distract the puppy with a toy, but tug of war shouldn't really happen until the puppy can learn an 'Okay, enough, stop now' command.

And I would not leave the cat with the puppy unsupervised, and even then make sure there are plenty of escape routes. You can do leashed interactions so that if things get too rough you can intervene and change the game up with appropriate toys.
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Old 11-11-2019, 07:31 AM
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I also did the "Ow" thing. And I stopped playing for a while.
I read that is basically what happens when puppies do their play fighting.
Oh, and no dog teeth on human skin.
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Old 11-11-2019, 08:34 AM
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Echoing everyone else's voices around 'don't bite/hurt the puppy'. Pain is no way to train a dog.

Best thing is always to pull away/say OW/whimper and finally withdraw play if they don't get the message. Ending play and giving them time out is always the worst punishment.

Finally, find them another dog to play with - the other dog will teach them doggy manners. Either find a friend who has a dog they can meet up with regularly, or invest in a dog walker a few times a week.
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Old 11-11-2019, 09:33 AM
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^ This. Socialization is everything!
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Old 11-11-2019, 12:36 PM
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When I first got my dog he would get too aggressive in playing. I would take the toy away, let him calm down and after a minute or so start playing again. After a while he would realize he’s too aggressive and gave himself time out. Now it’s rare.
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Old 11-11-2019, 05:04 PM
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So it sounds like my idea is a bad one (thanks for letting me know).

We have two other dogs, but they are very big and much older. Sal's a red-tick coon hound and he's the biggest, and oldest (if not by years then by ailments. We are taking him for diabetes screening today). The pup torments him the most, barks at him when he comes in the room, runs over where he's laying and disrupts him until he leaves the room.

I have made clear this behavior is not acceptable, and I will not tolerate her antagonizing him in the final years of his life.

Our other dog, Doug, was my doberman before we got together. He's around 12 or 13 but still seems spry, he just like her all that much. He will kind of sorta play with her, but the size discrepancy seems like too much for him to overcome (she's so, so tiny).

That leaves the cat, who actively engages her, but she clearly bites too hard and causes him pain, and none of his vocalizing that pain causes her to back off. So to that end, I'm a little worried she's *so* aggressive that 'noises of pain' won't be enough.

The pros:

She's learning what "no" and "stop" means. She's already learning when I get on her for nipping at my hands, she has to stop (and does).

The cons:

She is by far the most aggressive puppy I've ever dealt with. I'm out of my element on that front. Doug was playful and territorial when he was little, but not like this...

She doesn't take being physically restrained very well when she's ultra wound up (we read online to hold her/lay her on her back when it is time to calm down).

She doesn't take being put in her crate well, either. She screams in the most agonizing tones possible, to the point it sounds like she's in life-or-death trauma. ugh.

I liked the idea of her burning energy playing with the cat, and had previous to this post thought that he can get away any time he wants and can easily get higher up than she can, so he has all the escape routes in the world, but now I'm not sure I should allow them to go at it full tilt.

As for socialization, the BILs who live nearby just got a french bulldog puppy, but she's not going to be ready to play for a few weeks.

Thanks for any input. We are good dog parents and raised two really great dogs, but Greta is a little shit-tornado and is going to require some wrangling.
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Old 11-11-2019, 05:27 PM
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Sounds like you're on it. Puppies take time to be good citizens. Good luck.
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Old 11-11-2019, 05:40 PM
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Check out your big pet stores if there are any in your area. A Petco near us had a weekly puppy play session, where you could bring your puppy once vaccinated up to six months to play with other puppies, and they loved it. And they taught each other what happened if you play too rough. (End of play.) They got both sides of it.

It was a fun time for all, I mean fun to watch, too. There was a trainer there who refereed any serious fights and answered puppy questions. It was great.

My dog loved it so much that for the rest of his life he would head for the elevatrs whenever we went there, as the basement was where the puppy play took place.

And he stopped biting, really quick.
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Old 11-11-2019, 05:49 PM
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I know and agree that physical discipline shouldn't be used, but my nephew's dog (still a puppy, so probably teething) would always bite my hand playfully. He was constantly being yelled at by my nephew, sister and ex brother-in-law (yeah, poor dog), so yelling ow or anything else would be completely ignored. Also, I couldn't pull my hand away because he a pit bull mix. A couple of times I took his paw and slowly bit down until he yelped. After that whenever he'd start biting, I'd grab his paw and he's let my hand go. Tit for tat!

Last edited by lingyi; 11-11-2019 at 05:50 PM.
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Old 11-11-2019, 05:57 PM
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I like playing rough with my dogs and I do lots of hand play with them where they use their mouths. I've used regular puppets, as well as things like oven mitts, blankets, work gloves, etc. It's a great way to bond with your dog as they can play in a very natural way. With my dogs, they quickly learned that they could only use their mouth with the puppets or whatever. I did not have any issues with them biting my bare hands when we're not playing. They learn that they can bite my hands when I have something on it. They really enjoy it and I haven't had any issues, but YMMV.

Last edited by filmore; 11-11-2019 at 05:57 PM.
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Old 11-11-2019, 08:40 PM
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We just checked and Petco has half hour play days Sat and Sunday. We will be trying that out this weekend.
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Old 11-12-2019, 12:09 AM
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My friend's dog (like a lot of dogs) has stuffed dog toys to play with. One day while walking the dog, she (the dog) saw a puppy for the first time, she grabbed the puppy thinking it was a toy, killing it. Since then, when I play with dogs, I don't allow them to play with stuffed toys, especially toss and retrieve, and try to take the toy away.

For those who use hand puppets to play with your dogs, what would happen if someone was wearing a oven mitt or had a cast or bandage on their hand? Hey! Playtime! *CHOMP*!

Last edited by lingyi; 11-12-2019 at 12:12 AM.
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Old 11-12-2019, 01:09 AM
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BTW, I've been bitten on the hand twice by the same dog. I won't go into details since the dog belonged to someone high up, but while walking him I fought him for a chicken hone and later a baby bird. The first time I pulled my hand out of his mouth and got a couple of long slashes on my hand from the pullout. The second time I had part of the bird in my hand and stopped struggling with him. I still got bit, but not as bad as the first time. Thankfully, neither time required stitches.

Both times he didn't really bite down hard or long, just quick snaps to get the "food" that was halfway in his mouth and halfway in my hand away from me.
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Old 11-12-2019, 10:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lingyi View Post
For those who use hand puppets to play with your dogs, what would happen if someone was wearing a oven mitt or had a cast or bandage on their hand? Hey! Playtime! *CHOMP*!
I guess there's that potential, but likely the dog wouldn't react that way because it's not in the playtime context. Like, I've never had my dogs think the oven mitts in the kitchen were for playing when I'm getting something out of the oven. I'm sure if I played with them in the kitchen with the mitts on they would think that meant playtime, but they don't automatically think "all oven mitts are for playing". Even if they did think the kitchen oven mitts were for playing, they wouldn't just leap and latch on. They would likely have a look on their face that conveyed "playtime?" when they saw me wearing them and they would wait for me to engage.

But all dogs are different. If there were signs of problems early on, I would have stopped playing that way and done something differently. In my case, playing with a hand covering really helped since the puppies quickly realized it was much more fun to play with the puppet than a bare hand. I would say they lost interest in the bare hand more than I trained them not to bite a bare hand. If I was petting them and they started to use their mouth, I took that as a signal that they wanted to play and I'd get something they could chew on. I think most dogs grow out of that biting phase anyway on their own. My adult dogs don't try to bite my hands when I'm petting them or anything.
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Old 11-12-2019, 04:19 PM
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Muzzles work well for most dogs too. We had some nipping issues training a dog and we'd do the "yelp" and pull away looking hurt thing, but if it wasn't good enough then we'd follow up by muzzling him and ignoring him while he was pathetically trying to get the muzzle off or headbutting us trying to get it off. Once he calmed down and was behaving well we'd go to him, praise him "good calm" and take the muzzle off and give him some positive attention.

He's a German Shepherd, so very trainable, and he learned quick. YMMV of course.

Enjoy,
Steven
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