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Biting

This is a discussion on Biting within the Horse Training forums, part of the Training Horses category

     
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        08-01-2007, 10:41 AM
      #21
    Foal
    Biting!

    I work with horses that have this problem- many many horses. Young horses tend to do this as a test to see if they are boss -i carry a short whip sometimes velcro it to my side so I have it but its not easy to see. I set them up and if the horse even looks like its going to bite- it gets whacked and as many times as I can get in in three seconds or less depending on the horse. I also yell and raise H**L at the same time - instead of pecking at the horse- get it over with and move on .
    Young gelding and stallions do play nipping and if you play around with thier face and nose or slap and tap you are just playing with them making it worse-- with mares - they don't tend to play - they bite - so I don't waste time pecking around either. WIth the horse that bites and will bite when you back it turned - he's learned that he can -- a very dangerous horse- you need to go in and pretend all is well and turn your back but be prepared and have someone else there -dont do it alone- then you want to turn and attack that horse like your going to kill it for three seconds and I mean let it ripl--- if you do this three times (if he tries it after the first time that is) I've not see a horse do it again. My friend did another effective thing by mistake- her horse bit her on the back of her head-he laid her open too- she was filling the water at the time and she turned the hose into the horses face full force she was SO mad and kept it on him for three or more seconds- he never even thought about biting her again .... they have to know its OFF LIMITS to bite people . Also get thier teeth floated- young horses are losing thier caps and at times they will bite and chew because they are uncomfortable and grumpy. Not an excuse to bite either - but it helps if its not there making matters worse.
         
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        08-01-2007, 12:56 PM
      #22
    Yearling
    That is interesting about the low man horse, because my gelding is also the low man...it must really be related somehow...they can't dominate other horses, so they try with humans :)

    I think all of these suggestions have been good depending on the situation, but like hsharp and frog, my boy is also too quick to get any quick correction.

    I am interested to try dallas' suggestion - it seems like it might do the trick based on my horse's personality...I only wonder if it would get rid of the ear pinning as well?

    Thinking back, I tried some of the suggested corrections with my stallion through his nippy phase, and he very much thought it was a game - making it worse. He has grown out of it all together now (age 5), I began driving him backwards rather than pecking at him, and that seemed more effective. (would not work for my gelding though, because he is not a problem in halter, when I would be able to drive him back).

    Frog, my gelding is really good off property (even loose he is not aggressive) - is it the same for you? It really is like he is trying to be dominant on "his turf" and around "his food". I really don't worry about myself or the girl who rides him, but other visitors to the property who do not understand.
         
        08-01-2007, 07:18 PM
      #23
    Weanling
    She's perfect off the property AK, which is probably the sustaining reason why I persevere with her crankiness at home. People even comment on how well behaved she is at shows.

    She even went on holidays at a friends house while I was on honeymoon, and they told me that she was fine while she was there, so it must definitely be a home territory type problem for her.
         
        08-02-2007, 08:05 AM
      #24
    Weanling
    Oh that is very strange that you mention the home turf territorial point!

    I've just realised that when Tenny was away at a friends (who helped me back him-as I am full time uni student with limited time and 3-7 horses in at a time, rescues!) She did not mention him bitting at all for a week.....i then came up to sit on him for the first time and he was trying to nip me and her and everybody else while I was there! He then went back to being an angel when I was gone, Almost like he only shows off around me! If I have some people over to view a horse at home Tenny will buck, kick, rear and squeal in his paddock....i say he's showing off and people laugh about it but it never realy dawned on me that it was associated to me until you guys said that. He is the same with me at shows....sometimes fab and I can't fault him and other times awful. He is the same at home or where ever I and him go together.

    He has had his teeth done and he has alot of pain with his teeth erupting and caps coming off- he has large sists under his jaw that people have always commented on (vets/dentists etc) They usually rub them and say "oh poor boy, are your teeth hurting" when he tries to bite/nip. His jaw used to get very warm but it seems to have settled now, and the dentist said he has no sharp edges just a couple of caps to come off and a wolf tooth that may need removing (if it interferes with his riding). He also has a big peice of semi soft timber that he naws on like a giant hamster. Hehe

    Also sorry to drag on but when he is is regular, decent amounts of work, the biting.nipping gets less and the lovely boy I have comes through...a very calm, quiet boy! Unfortuantely due to his young age. He shot up so quickly and was so gangly and poor that he became very prone to tendon problems in his hocks, so he has to take it easy until everything has caught up with his height. He is turning 4 this time...but was very poor when I rescued him as a 7month old (he had never been let of of a tiny lean to shed, so his legs were very weak and feet hugely over grown!). He is also a hanoverian so they too are very slow to mature- so im hoping time is the answer.

    Elz x
         
        08-02-2007, 08:31 AM
      #25
    Foal
    Where the biting can come from

    Hi again all! I saw where some said thier horse was NOT biting away from home- that's because they don't know for sure if they can- So is it possible that you are ignoring the beginning stage of the bite after you correct?

    Horses that have been boarded or are boarded at larger stables where they have hired help feeding or perhaps you are overlooking this also... when you go to feed you are you ignoring the ear pinning ugly face ? If you are that is part of it.. what happens (put yourself in your horses eyes for a minute) you are the horse...so here comes the person feeding(you or whoever) you dump in the grain and leave--but in the meantime did you notice if your horse is making "faces" at you? If you put the grain in while the horse is weaving pinning crowding and jamming his head in the bucket- WITH the ears back--- you are rewarding and backing down at the same time... if the horse is waiting by the door or bucket (in or outside) and you know he's not going to "do" anything but is making faces- the horse is either threatening you (and you rewarded) or being a "herd leading" and if you walk away after you put the grain in and he's jamming food in his face with a snotty attitude -he drove you away. YOU know you had to leave but HE thinks he ran you off because you LEFT while he was making faces... food aggression starts the biting also- so if your horse is anything but ears up and waiting til you say OK- to eat his grain - you are actually making the problem for then and later. In the horses eyes he ran you off or you left /submission/ -- I do problem training - I've had some that attack the door before you start to go in because they had "feed doors" when they fed so the persons feeding just walked down the isle and handed out the grain from a cart or whatever. If that horse -any horse-is pinning his ears at the time the food is dropped in - in his mind he 1-forced you to feed 2 ran you off- and if theycome back up the other side and that horse made the face with people walking up and down- he's running all of them off too. ALot of horses on the "low end" will do it to thier owners or people because they finally found something they could run off ! They wont try it with the other horses because the OTHER horses notice and would kick the crap out of him- but the TWO legged horse leaves and he gets his food- he drove you off..

    When you feed- stand by the door with the bucket and keep a whip handy- or a walmart bag- or a soda can with pebbles -it depends on your horse and situation- I found that outside a walmart bag or soda can works pretty good on babies -you put the bag on the end of the lungwhip body -not whip lash end-- you walk out wtih the grain and sort of trail the whip or carry it so its not so obvious-- if the horse comes run his butt off when he gets with in a ten foot circle and watch out for the kick that might be flung your way too! Put the grain in the pan and guard it with your life- stand by it and run that horse off untl he's standing on the outside of the "circle" with his ears UP - asking to come in - then- YOU push the pan with the grain toward the horse until he pins his ears- when he does you attack - he will throw a fit- let him- wait it out and do it all over again until he stays where he is with his ears up when you can bend down and carry the pan to him with his ears up you pet the horse but keep an eye on him for any more pinning or trying to drive you off- if he does- drive HIM Off-- after a week TOPS- you will find that horse is much more lovable and will not do the biting either.... sorry for ths being so long-- I can tell you about how to do the stall problem too- you have to do it differently so the horse doesnt hit the wall and get hurt.
         
        08-02-2007, 09:28 AM
      #26
    Foal
    OPPS one more thing

    In or out of the stall -- you must rebuild after you break down - so if you chased your horse off and he comes in to eat with the right face and attitude- you have to pet them and tell them they are ok- but watch them very carefully- during the fw minutes you are doing this - they will "flip" back and forth -just for a second between uncertain and nasty again -- while you are standing there - if they lift thier head up for even a second with a face-i slight snot face-you bump them and give a sharp AHHH- if they don't back off immediatly- you have to run them off again- it has to be drilled in that you are no longer at the bottom anymore- and you took over- they don't give up easy so they will do this for up to a week- expect it.. I had one that would actually dive and hit the round pen if you were coming out to even feed hay- and he would spin and kick like crazy at you - the bag and cans worked great -he was on his way to slaughter for this habit because he was thier "baby" but he was too dangerous -which he was because they allowed this. Alot of horses are sent to auction for something that could be corrected so easily.
         
        08-02-2007, 01:27 PM
      #27
    Yearling
    My gelding (Dusty) was more aggressive when he was younger, and a natural horsmanship trainer actually worked with me about using a bag whip for general behavior purposes (probably why he is so great to handle in halter and saddle now), BUT why I didn't think to transfer this over to feed time, I don't know. I do occasionally get big and run him off when he is pinning during feeding time, but I have often ignored it - bad me. Funny thing is that I have been very aware of the dominance struggle he tries to have with humans because he can't dominate other horses - yet, I missed an obvious thing :)

    I will definitely start carrying a bag whip - I don't think he will put up much struggle really because he is experienced with how to move off, turn and face ears forward with the bag.

    Dusty is eight and has been going places since he was three, so if he hasn't begun being nasty off property, it doesn't seem like he will.

    Now that I am thinking of it, my stallion, who is penned next to my aggressive toward humans gelding, has begun (this summer) pinning his ears at feeding also. His pins are not flat back like Dusty's, and there appears to be no aggression behind it (in his eyes or other body language), but it caught my attention because he is usually so sweet all the time. I think I will start the bag on him also to nip that right away. Could he have observed Dusty?

    My stallion has also started pinning a bit during riding, but he has begun some intense training for reining, and the dynamics of our riding relationship have changed a lot (like I don't tolerate any of his lazy crap as I had before). I think he is unhappy at times with the workload in his new training program, but I think he will work through it. He also does it sometimes when I correct him from the ground for bad behavior. He doesn't look aggressive just unhappy. I keep riding or correcting as I was, and don't let the pinning bother me, but any hints or insight into this would be welcome, as I would like this to be a phase that passes rather than a new habit.

    Sorry if I have stolen the thread with all my questions - what a great topic though! I hope my questions/situations apply to more than just me. Frog, it sounds like we share much of the same predicament. Hsharp, it sounds like your guy makes some association with you, whereas Dusty's attitude is more associated with home vs. away from home. I do agree with you that Dusty does much better when he is being worked on a regular basis.
         
        08-02-2007, 08:48 PM
      #28
    Weanling
    Unfortunately I have tried the 'if you put your ears back at me you don't get fed' trick also the 'I'll only feed you if you're nice'

    Faith will actually wicker at me at feed time, all cute and such. I make her back off away from the bin and will only let her in if she is wearing her happy face, then I let her eat. Such has been the case since she developed this problem after she was weaned. Either I'm not doing it right or it's just not the right method for her.

    One other little trinket of info is if she threaten to bite me and I tell her off, I will offer her my hand as a reconciliation and she will always start licking it, then everything is OK and I can have cuddles and she's my little pony again until next time. Any thoughts or is this normal?
         
        08-03-2007, 01:33 PM
      #29
    Yearling
    I accidentally hit the new "alert" button. I didn't think anything rude in this thread.

    Me and curiosity :)

    Sorry horse forum
         
        08-16-2007, 09:43 AM
      #30
    Foal
    One method I've heard of and I hope to try out as well on my new guy, who is more of a playful nipper than an aggressive biter, but nevertheless - is to use a rope halter and long cotton lead (preferably 12' or 14'), your basic natural horsemanship gear. Then, go into the arena or round pen or wherever you normally do work with your horse. Begin walking and leading your horse as your normally would, but don't get too far away from him - actually try to set him up to attempt a bite. Keep a close eye on him to catch him when he's about to try, and just as he makes the attempt, turn quickly and bop him under the jaw FIRMLY (softly will only make it worse - it's kind of like nagging at them and they resent it a lot more than if you give them one good, harsh correction - he needs to know that this behaviour is WRONG and potentially dangerous, and that there is ZERO tolerance for it). He'll probably reel back a bit or put his head up in the air with surprise, which means he's paying attention, and right after the bop under his jaw/chin you want to jerk roughly on the lead and walk towards him with an assertive posture - the idea is to drive him back. Make his feet move backwards and make it uncomfortable for him if he resists you. Once he has backed off at least 5 or so steps, stop and give him a moment to digest what has just happened. He should drop his head a bit, lick and chew, etc. That is an indicator that he has learned something. Then, relax your body posture again, smile and just walk on like nothing happened. If he tries again, repeat the same thing, but this time back him up a few extra steps and do it a bit more aggressively. He'll begin to understand that biting is associated with discomfort and you driving him back, essentially forcing him out of the herd, and he will be eager to reconcile and become part of the herd again. I have heard a lot of people have had success with this method and it usually only takes a few corrections before it cures the habit.
         

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