15 week old yellow lab - aggressive biting that won't stop

Discussion in 'Labrador Puppies' started by Meredith Tracy, Jul 7, 2019.

  1. Meredith Tracy

    Meredith Tracy Registered Users

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    Hello! First post here and we're in desperate need of help. We got a yellow lab when she was 8 weeks old and she is now approaching 15 weeks. And, the constant biting is getting out of control. My youngest daughter, 7, ended up in urgent care 2 weeks ago because of a gash on her foot. Fast forward the next two weeks and the behavior is getting even worse. Everyone in our house is terrified of her because when she is not sleeping, she is awake and biting/attacking. This is unprovoked attacks - you could be walking through the kitchen and she just runs up and bites your arm or leg - I have tried the usual suggestions, ignoring, redirecting with toys, trying "sit" and other training methods to distract her, leaving the room, etc. The problem is that when this happens, she is almost in a rage - she is so far gone at this point and will just continue to bite you even if you try to ignore her and get away. We are all walking on eggshells and don't know what to do.

    I have another vet appointment this week as well as a meeting with a trainer - but I find it hard to believe this is normal puppy behavior. Any suggestions? Or, could something else be going on? I'm not sure how much more I can take of the attacks. We take her on at least 3 walks a day, play with her by throwing balls, etc. (tug of war obviously was not working), we're calm around her, etc. What is going on? Please help!!!
     
  2. pippa@labforumHQ

    pippa@labforumHQ Administrator

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    Hi there, and welcome to the forum. It's good that you have arranged a meeting with your vet. At this stage, if you want to seek professional advice I'd recommend a behaviorist rather than a trainer, and a careful check to make sure that the person you hire is up to date with modern methods of behavioral modification.

    To reassure you, reports of aggression in puppies this age are almost always not aggression, but over excitable puppy play. Trying to train skills like 'sit' to an overexcited puppy is probably not going to help you because your puppy will be too excited to sit, and will end up being labelled as 'naughty' as well as 'bitey'. :)

    What you can do in the meantime is start to reinforce the behaviors that you want. Not formal obedience type commands. Just simple normal calm behaviors. You need to reward your puppy for things like standing still, walking quietly, looking at you, approaching you without growling etc. You can do this by wearing a treat bag around your waist and a clicker on your wrist. Click when the puppy is doing anything other than the behavior you don't want. And place a treat on the ground for the puppy to eat. You could use all of your puppy's daily food allowance to do this. If you focus on the behavior you want, rather than on what is going wrong, you'll find things improve more quickly.

    Can you also tell us a bit more about how you are managing your puppy.? Does the puppy have a crate? Are there baby gates that can separate your puppy from your children if necessary?

    Have a think about some of the following: How were the children playing with the puppy before the biting got worse? Eg physical play, getting the puppy excited? What kind of attention does the puppy get when she is behaving more appropriately? Etc

    And take a look at this thread for much more information and tips for managing a puppy during the biting phase

    Coping With Biting Puppies
     
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  3. TEE

    TEE Registered Users

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    the bitting will stop if you remain consistent. Perhaps it will take a few more weeks...
     
  4. Jo Laurens

    Jo Laurens Registered Users

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    If you can take a video of this behaviour and upload to YouTube, post the link here and we can take a look at it and let you know if it is aggression or unmanageable play...
     
  5. Emma W.

    Emma W. Registered Users

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    Hi there - I am by no means an expert but just wanted to say that my pup sounded exactly like yours at that age. He would attack any sort of feet, hands, pant legs, etc. We brought him home at 2 months and he had absolutely no bite inhibition. I don’t have children but if I did, I’m sure one of them would have gotten nipped badly. Our pup drew blood and I even have a few marks on my feet and hands. Our pup is approaching 9 months now and is a really sweet boy. He never bites anymore unless it’s an accident in a game of tug and even then it’s pretty gentle. The biting was the hardest part of having a puppy for me and the only thing that seemed to work was keeping the pup on a houseline (with a harness) attached to a heavy piece of furniture and turning our backs anytime he went for us. He couldn’t chase us and bite us from behind because he was on a leash. I was surprised at how quickly he picked up that biting meant getting ignored and puppies hate that. The baby gates helped but picking him up to put him over the gate almost always resulted in a squirmy, bitey pup so the houseline was our best bet. Of course you would want to ensure the pup is exercised and stimulated before doing this but it did wonders for us. I hope that helps.
     
  6. jbg

    jbg Registered Users

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    I have another vet appointment this week as well as a meeting with a trainer - but I find it hard to believe this is normal puppy behavior. Any suggestions? Or, could something else be going on? I'm not sure how much more I can take of the attacks. We take her on at least 3 walks a day, play with her by throwing balls, etc. (tug of war obviously was not working), we're calm around her, etc. What is going on? Please help!!![/QUOTE]


    You said "we are all walking on egg shells" This may be re enforcing the behaviour. I would bet at this point, most of the family doesn't even "like" this puppy much. I know that sounds like a terrible thing to say and I think when you feel that way it makes you feel so guilty. You all need to go for the small "wins". If you are looking for a "good day" it is too large of a win, but if you can look for small moments, like Pippa said, catch the puppy when it is being good and reward. You also said you go for 3 walks a day. Maybe try 2 walks and a really active play. Do you have a dog park or a friend with a dog that likes to play. It is amazing when a couple of puppies/dogs play hard even for 15 mins how much more calm they are. Our puppy has three really active times of the day and if I do not let her play during those times, the mis behaviour comes out. One of the hardest times is right around dinner time and it is when she wants to be her most "wild". This is when we go for her walk. It is not a time to rev her up more but a training time with just she and I . it can be a real bummer because of the time of day it is and I have even had a dinner go bad because I have to go out for a walk but it really seems to calm her for the rest of the evening. I am no expert but have had 4 labs and have found that at their young ages they are really just looking for you to spend time with them. You say youngest child. I am assuming you have more than one and I totally understand how hard it is to have kids and this new "baby". If you put the time in now....it will last a life time. Hugs to you all.
     

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