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Thread: How to stop "Biting and Locking" behavior?

  1. #1
    Baxter Tiberius
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    Default How to stop "Biting and Locking" behavior?

    Even while playing, Baxter will sometimes bite down and lock onto something with his teeth. Then begin growling. Then begin tugging. Sometimes shaking his head/neck violently. I have never seen such a powerful jaw on any dog, let alone a 9 week old puppy.

    I was taught many years ago to stick your fingers on each side of the mouth and press inwards at the corner. For every dog I've done this with (even large dogs) this works, and they open up, releasing. Not with Baxter. His grip is fierce and solid. He simply doesn't let go.

    1) How do you get them to release? the only thing I have seen is to pick him up (gently) by the nape of his neck. For some reason that causes him to go submissive (?) and he tends to release. Its like he's "seeing red" too ... and it takes him a couple seconds to "chill out"

    2) How can you stop this behavior? I am somewhat at a loss. Once he has the grip, the playful growling begins. Then his bulldog instincts take over. Sometimes he gets aggressive about it. If I didn't know his personality I would be afraid by the growling and the body language/face. Its serious. He will do this on a pillow, or my shorts, or my T shirt while im wearing them.

    At first it was cute but I know this behavior will be a serious problem when he's 60 lbs.

    I want to train him to stop doing this and only do it on his toys as much as possible. But I can't get him to "release" once he's bitten down.

    How do you do it?

    PS: I know this is where it stems from - "By the 15th century, in addition to catching horses, cattle, and boars in legitimate (if dangerous) farming use, bulldogs were also used in the barbaric “sport” called bull-baiting, in which trained dogs would latch onto a tethered bull’s nose and not let go until the dog had pulled the bull to the ground or the bull had killed the dog. Over the course of 350 years, until bull-baiting was banned in 1835, bulldogs were bred for aggression, and an 80-pound dog could easily bring down a bull weighing close to a ton by corkscrewing its own body around its neck, tossing the bull over its own center of gravity."
    Last edited by Baxter Tiberius; 08-18-2013 at 11:04 PM.

  2. #2
    Dog Park Attendant Noyes27's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to stop "Biting and Locking" behavior?

    Not sure if this is necessarily a good suggestion, but it always worked for us, we pry macks mouth open by his lower jaw (really just pullig with our fingers) bc he has a defined underbite. Always did it while saying drop it, and then reward fter and now he drops most of the time when we tell him to.

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    Chumley's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to stop "Biting and Locking" behavior?

    Chumley does the exact same thing. He doesn't seem to have an aggressive bone in his body...small kids play with him while he sleeps, lie on top of him, pull his ears, etc. and he just lets them...but when he's outside and playing with his whiffle ball bat or jolly ball he locks down and won't let go..and like you mentioned if I didn't know his personality I would be very worried about the growling and fierce look in his eyes.The scary thing is i know he would never intentionally snap at me or anyone, but when he's like this and you play with him by trying to take the bat or ball it can be dangerous. A few times hes come very close to biting me in his attempt to get a better grip. He weighs 65 lbs and his lock on the bat is so strong I can pick him up with it. This possession aggression has me very concerned also. I'd be interested in any advice on this also!

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    Default Re: How to stop "Biting and Locking" behavior?

    We are working on the same thing with Harlea. When she wants to hold on to something she does. We gently put our fingers in her mouth to open it up while repeating drop it over and over again until she fully releases and then give her a treat. It is an on going battle that we will eventually win. At first she wouldn't budge but as we kept repeating she has slowly started to release. However, our biggest problem we are trying to fix is when she latches on to my wifes and daughters PJ and won't let them go. Bullies have very strong jaws for as short as they are and sometimes you will feel like you need a crowbar to get them to open up.
    Bulldogs are like potato chips. You just can't stop with one.

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    Default Re: How to stop "Biting and Locking" behavior?

    Quote Originally Posted by Marine91 View Post
    We are working on the same thing with Harlea. When she wants to hold on to something she does. We gently put our fingers in her mouth to open it up while repeating drop it over and over again until she fully releases and then give her a treat. It is an on going battle that we will eventually win. At first she wouldn't budge but as we kept repeating she has slowly started to release. However, our biggest problem we are trying to fix is when she latches on to my wifes and daughters PJ and won't let them go. Bullies have very strong jaws for as short as they are and sometimes you will feel like you need a crowbar to get them to open up.
    I agree Todd... we just slowly pry the mouth open while saying "drop it" and sometimes you will say it SEVERAL times till they get the hint. I do give treats if they respond quickly enough, which we are still working on with Winston. They DO like to lock down, so we have ropes so they can tug on them. My dogs play w/each other, but you could play w/your pup. It seems that if I play tug of war w/Winston, I don't have the battles for things that he shouldn't be chomping down on.

    "What we once enjoyed and deeply loved, we can never lose, for all that we love deeply becomes a part of us." Helen Keller
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    Default Re: How to stop "Biting and Locking" behavior?

    I know this sounds weird. But I noticed if I pinch Daisys ear she will open up.

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    Default Re: How to stop "Biting and Locking" behavior?

    When Brutus does this i notice it is with something he knows he should not have, like a sock from the laundry. I do not play tug of war with him because I feel it is confusing for him. He gets his tug of war fix in by playing with the other dogs.If we are playing with a toy he has to drop it and sit before I will throw it for him. Otherwise we have a lungeing (sp?) biting bulldog. All of your issues with baxter sound very normal. It is really just a battle of wits with these dogs and YOU MUST WIN NO MATTER WHAT OR YOU WILL FOREVER BE RULED! Usually after a battle over a sock I am exhausted, sweaty, hoarse from yelling drop it, and my back is breaking but I walk away with the sock. Good luck they really are worth all the trouble.

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    Default Re: How to stop "Biting and Locking" behavior?

    Sounds like we all have the same bullies! Bogey loves to play fetch- he will bring us a toy and we throw it. That usually progresses to him trying to ''give'' us the ball, but we must get it from his locked jowls first! Mission impossible with most of his toys- the jaw is locked shut and no amount of prying gets it. It is his way of getting us to play tug-o- war, which I never did with him as a pup. So, we have found that completely ignoring him when he has this idea in his head that he will get us to play tug, usually results in him dropping the ball and sulking away that play time is over. Works like a charm. Tug games are only with other dogs, and if he starts getting too overworked and growling, gametime is over. If he has stolen an object he's not supposed to have, like a shoe, he will put his head over it to protect it, but lets me take it from him with nary a snarl. He gets a good treat for being submissive. They really are made out of the same mold!
    "We never really own a dog as much as they own us!"

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    Default Re: How to stop "Biting and Locking" behavior?

    Please be careful when dealing with this problem!! Don't use your fingers!!! I ended up with 15 stitches on my ring finger, which could have been ripped off from trying to deal with this by hand!! My dog didn't mean to bite me it was completely an ACCIDENT and I love him to pieces!! Just know no matter how careful you, are accidents can happen when you are playing or correcting with your hands. Their jaws are so very powerful chances are the accident wont be small...always respect what you are dealing with!!!! 😎


    Heather, Bandit and the Kozmo Monster
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    Rescue Volunteer Rural mystic's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to stop "Biting and Locking" behavior?

    Quote Originally Posted by HeatherTaylor View Post
    Please be careful when dealing with this problem!! Don't use your fingers!!! I ended up with 15 stitches on my ring finger, which could have been ripped off from trying to deal with this by hand!! My dog didn't mean to bite me it was completely an ACCIDENT and I love him to pieces!! Just know no matter how careful you, are accidents can happen when you are playing or correcting with your hands. Their jaws are so very powerful chances are the accident wont be small...always respect what you are dealing with!!!! 


    Heather, Bandit and the Kozmo Monster
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    No doubt the bulldogs grip is powerful and must be respected or someone could be hurt. Ace loves tug of war and fetch and with fetch [its usually either the jolly ball or chuckit ball] he wants me to throw it and always brings it back but he wants me to take it from him. Up to now I have been playing in risky business because I will in the case of the smaller chuckit ball try and manipulate it out of his mouth and he will readjust his grip by relaxing and then quickly re grabbing the ball and one could easily be bitten, it wouldn't be intentional to get me but just the ball but could easily be hurt. Obviously I need to work on the "drop it" command in order for this to be safer and more fun for the both of us and actually with tug of war, from some of the video's I've watched on youtube, tug of war is an excellent method to work on the drop it command which could then translate into a very useful command in many situations as we are all aware of by now with these bulldogs

  11. #11
    Baxter Tiberius
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    Default Re: How to stop "Biting and Locking" behavior?

    I think this is completely acceptable and normal behavior for our dogs, as long as the object is acceptable.

    So any tugging or gripping while playing - is fine (to me).

    I do think dogs are smart enough to know the difference.
    They already know not to bite our skin, so they realize the texture difference and respect it.

    When its clothes, or someones shoe as they're walking, or a shirt while they're wearing it - this is where the tugging / biting problem comes in.
    Im thankful that dogs do eventually develop negative "association" when they do wrong, so it should just be a matter of training.
    I hadn't thought of giving him a treat when he lets go. Thanks for the suggestion.

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    Default Re: How to stop "Biting and Locking" behavior?

    Sheldon does this and we have broken him mainly by refusing to play when he does this I know he is playing but others wouldn't and I totally trust him he sounds very fierce but he would never bite me intentionally even trying to get a better grip if he doesn't drop it right away and starts the tug of war thing with the growling and barking I simply slacken my grip on the toy and turn my attention away from him he drops it almost immediately and once he has dropped it I tell him what a good boy he is and we continue playing. I can pull him around the house with his rope and he hardly growls. I am working with the kids on this as well. During one of his growling and barking fits with a toy I leaned down and kissed his nose LOL...my MIL thinks I'm crazy she is scared to death of him when he does this.

    R.I.P. Duece Man 9-13-14 Gone but not forgotten, always in our hearts! Till we meet again over the Bridge, Mommy misses you.

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