Biting Puppies: Help For New Puppy Parents

Discussion in 'Labrador Puppies' started by pippa@labforumHQ, Aug 12, 2018.

  1. pippa@labforumHQ

    pippa@labforumHQ Administrator

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    Hi LeeAnn, when a puppy is very excitable, its best to reduce the physical petting for a while. What kinds of ways are you interacting with the puppy? It's a good idea to communicate with your puppy by teaching him how to earn treats from you. Make a list of things that you'd like to teach your puppy to do. They could be simple things like keeping all his paws on the floor, or looking at your face, or sitting. Choose a marker word (like 'YES) to tell your puppy you like those things, and use that word when he does them, then immediately after using the word drop a treat on the floor for the puppy. Once you have taught your puppy to earn treats by changing his behavior, you can start to teach him to accept petting and being handled, without biting.
     
  2. SianMJ

    SianMJ Registered Users

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    Hello LeeAnn, you will see from earlier posts on this thread that I was struggling with biting big time at one point when my Gwenni was 4-6 months . I understand how difficult and upsetting it can be. It looks mean too I know! My pups level of biting was like nothing I’d experienced with any of my others dogs. It does pass honestly, take all of Pippa’s advice and be consistent as a family. Your pup is having fun , you and your family are not I know. But my Gwenni at 14 months is such a sweetie with us, cuddly, loves her training and walkies and is such a good girl. She’s still young and excitable but nothing like she was and certainly not a mean dog despite a really difficult biting phase. Don’t think you can avoid a biting phase but it does pass with patience and consistency, and a few new clothes! I did manage to target certain trigger times and clicker train her to give me appropriate behaviours over time. It will improve over time. All the best !
     
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  3. LeeAnnB

    LeeAnnB Registered Users

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    Thank you for the support. Our interactions consist of taking him outside to explore the yard or chase a ball, training with a calm down exercise (I think it was from a video on your site, where you reward them when they exhibit calm behaviors), and petting when he’s calm. When we do the training or reward him for being calm we have been giving him the treat in our hand, should we drop it on the floor for now? He sometimes takes it calmly sometimes doesn’t. When he does nip we try redirecting with a toy. I will work on the list, I like that. Right now we have mainly been focusing on being calm and reinforcing when he is calm. Would you suggest him having a “calm space”? We don’t have a crate but could gate off an area for him to be in. Part of my thought behind that is needing to get something done and I can’t because I’m focused on him or not getting nipped. SianMJ- Thank you so much! That support and reassurance means the world. I’ve spent so much time crying and wondering if we made a mistake. Hearing this is part of the process and it passed helps. Just knowing we’re not alone helps.
     
  4. LeeAnnB

    LeeAnnB Registered Users

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    Any other suggestions for interactions we should or could be having with him? He won’t walk at all. He likes running around the yard or exploring. We’ve been doing that throughout the day to release some energy. Maybe we’re doing that too much or for too long.
     
  5. Finley

    Finley Registered Users

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  6. Finley

    Finley Registered Users

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    Finley’s training seemed to be going so well but has taken a down turn. He’s now 10 weeks old and has started to jump up and bite hands more. This does tend to be when he is excited. I’ve used the clicker to reinforce calm behaviour and reward with a treat but as soon as I put my hand down he chews my hand and then sits and expects another treat. If he doesn’t get it he starts to jump up. Am I right to put him in his crate to calm down. I don’t want him to see the crate as a punishment. Please help. I’m having puppy blues.
     
  7. pippa@labforumHQ

    pippa@labforumHQ Administrator

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    Hi there, its okay to crate a puppy that's getting very overexcited if you think he needs to nap or chill for a bit. But you can teach your puppy to let you touch him without nipping.

    Start by clicking for eye contact a few times, then as you click extend your hand towards the puppy just a tiny bit. Just reach out and pull back again. Don't get close to his face or mouth. Make sure you click AS you extend your hand.

    Remember to follow every click with a treat. Once he ignores your hand movement, you can start to get closer to him each time you reach out. Eventually you'll be able to touch him lightly while he focuses on your face and waits for his treat. Keep practicing then gradually start to delay the click so he has to ignore your hand first, THEN gets his click and treat. This is one of the exercises in our puppy parenting course and it works really well. You can build on it to make a collar grab, or attach a leash.
     
  8. Finley

    Finley Registered Users

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    Thank you. This is beginning to work. While I’m doing the calm training and lowering my hand it works well. His eye contact has improved. Sometimes, at the end of the 10 minute session, he is calmer but other times he starts to demand more attention and jump up excitedly. At this point I place him in his crate and he is usually asleep within minutes. I think he gets over tired and won’t give in to and then gets giddy.
     
  9. RowenaC

    RowenaC Registered Users

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    Hi all, my black lab pup is 15 weeks now and I’m feeling so overwhelmed with the biting. I’m so glad I found the advice and the forum it’s great to know it’s not just my pup and that it’s pretty normal. Sometimes he’s lovely and enjoy affection, other time he seems hell bent on biting me or the kids. He has lots of long lasting treats, we try and play some games, do snuffling etc every hour he’s awake. I’m feeling overwhelmed and like I must be doing wrong. I know several other have posted very similar so I’m hoping it’s just a matter of time but don’t know how much longer we can carry on like this. He’s growing daily and it bloody hurts when he bites. Any reassurance or more advice gratefully received. Thanks
     
  10. RowenaC

    RowenaC Registered Users

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    Hi SianMJ I’d love to hear more about how you coped with this. Seriously don’t think I can do this for another couple of months. My pup has bitten my arm hard tonight.
     
  11. RowenaC

    RowenaC Registered Users

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    Hi LeeAnnB just wondering how you are getting on? My pup is 15 weeks and sounds very similar to yours (and quite a lot of others) but it’s so hard to feel ok about it all. Really feels like I’m doing something wrong and I’m the worst dog owner ever! Have you found anything in particular that’s helped?
     
  12. SianMJ

    SianMJ Registered Users

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    Hello Rowena, it’s tough and emotional I get that. I felt like a failure sometimes and never had this level of biting with any of my dogs before. I think it was a bit of a surprise too and expected her to be a gentle Labrador. I think my girl was definitely OTT with many things and had a little nervous edge to her. I stuck with it because I knew deep down it would change. She has improved soooo much is soooooo much calmer and a sweetie. I also stuck with it as I tried to think about how it was from her perspective trying to learn how to be with us as an only dog. I also focused on the things I couldn’t fault her on which were sooo many, different dogs give us different challenges I think and biting was one of the things I struggled with most, whereas toilet training, any training session, learning to be alone, walking in the lead were and are still great. You’ll get lots of advice, I did, good and bad. I also felt a little bit of pressure to get it sorted. The advice on here helped so much and so did being part of the forum as you are certainly not alone. It’s hard when it’s a daily , painful behaviour that takes time to change with some dogs more than others I think, but change it will. I put up a list of things which helped and things which I needed to do less of and work on, it kept me focused. Stick with it, work on it, talk about it, you will get there ! Hope that helps in some way.
     
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  13. Larah261219

    Larah261219 Registered Users

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    Hello,
    Looking for some help\advice! My 4 month old black lab bitch is extremely relaxed in the house. She’s pretty good when meeting people gets very excited but is definitely growing out of jumping up and being slightly mouthy towards them. She walks lovely on the lead (after constant training!) . Her recall to both name and whistle is good, however she can get ‘over excited’ and come zooming at us growling, low to ground and jump up trying to nip. She can sometimes do this on lead but very rarely (mostly at beach actually). Anyone had this problem and sorted it, would be reassuring to know! Or any advice?
    Thank you
     
  14. RowenaC

    RowenaC Registered Users

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    Thank you that’s great. Yeah I’m trying to keep a diary so know when and why it’s happening. He is good at lots of things too so just need to focus on that. X
     
  15. forest

    forest Registered Users

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    Just wanted to leave this here in case it helps anyone. Our 12-week-old black lab puppy has always been a land shark. He was drawing blood, clamping down on skin and shaking his head back and forth (as if playing with a toy), scaring children, making people cry. We were at our wit's end... we tried everything, leaving the room, time-outs, firmly saying no, gently holding his muzzle shut for a second (recommended by dog trainer), giving him more toys, redirecting his attention, etc...

    Finally, we got him to decrease a lot of his biting (of people). How? By giving him:
    -More frequent physical & mental exercise. As soon as the biting starts, we take him on a walk.
    -Socialization with other dogs.
    -Forced naps.

    I've basically come to the conclusion that if he starts biting people it's because he's bored or tired. So when he gets bitey we go on a walk on a different route (all the new things to sniff tire him out intellectually), go to the park so he can find another dog to play with, or I bring him to a quiet place (usually his crate) to take a 1-or-2 hour nap.

    He used to bite people all day long and now only nips during his witching hour when it's nearing his bedtime. Once you can redirect that built-up energy (or irritability from being too tired) my experience has been that they become a lot more relaxed and well-behaved.
     
  16. Julesuk

    Julesuk Registered Users

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    Our 17 week old puppy is still a bit bitey. She will automatically mouth when we put collar on, go to stroke/examine her face and when drying. Her teeth are starting to fall out now but should we be upping the training to stop her at this point? She is a bit grabby in training too, snatches the treats etc.
     
  17. Conlonl

    Conlonl Registered Users

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    Hi all
    New to the forum and lab ownership, and want to share my experience thus far and perhaps get some reassurance and advice.
    I have a 14 week chocolate lab and have had him for 6 weeks now. Starting with the positives, he's fantastic at night he knows his bed, sleeps through and due to the time I get up he rarely has accidents now. He learnt to sit for a bit of chicken relatively early and now I can even get him to give both his paws, In my view, he's a pretty smart boy at least when he knows he's going to get something. He has and still is suffering from Giardia, which I'm starting to get on top of, but it does limit the type of treats I can give him, so at the moment he is rewarded with boiled chicken (hes fine about it)
    Now heres the kicker, he's a biter! At 10 11 weeks it wasn't so bad as his was quite small and altho teeth were sharp hit didn't tend to bite down too hard. Now is a different story, this boy packs a punch, and when he bites down now sometimes (not all) its like hes trying to skin me for meat. I've tried all the usual from day one, redirecting him to a toy, getting up walking away, putting him away, I understand this is him trying to engage me and I'm more exciting than his toys but I want to make sure this is normal. He can be sitting on my lap one minute chilled and sleeping, then he'll look at me and lunge for my chin. He also taken to making some weird noises now too which I think is when hes frustrated or overtired, he gets plenty of attention and play so he does get tired ... but a lot of the time he refuses to accept that, so when he's put in his time out / bed area, he goes mental, humps the bed, tugs it and moves it and tears everything out of it. Fortunately I have no kids and a high pain threshold, so I'm not at my wits end and I love the daft bugger to pieces but I want to make sure hes not going to be an aggressive dog as he gets older (I can't see it) but I want to be sure, and any other tips I might be missing, when he hits me and my clothes, I stop, I try and be boring, but its like he knows the killer points, he'll go for my ankles and thighs the most painful parts of my body ... grrrr. Tried yelping, tried saying no, have dropped these now as I've read they can engage your puppy. I guess I'm just mostly concerned at the lunging now, and the fact the bites aren't nips anymore...this site put my mind at rest as Google basically told me my dog might have neurological issues
    .
    Separate note, did anyone else find their puppy hated walking? He does a couple of metres and then sits? I have to entice him round with some chicken now! I do make him work for it tho, ie making him sit at roads etc but I want him to enjoy walking which at the minute I'm not sure he does.
    .
    Any help, suggestions or even reassurance would be appreciated
    Thansk
    Luke
     
  18. KimC

    KimC Registered Users

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    HELP!! I adopted a lab mix on June 1, she will be 6 months old tomorrow June 29. She's super smart we've been working on commands and positive reinforcement, she's doing great with the exception of the biting. It starts off playful then gets extremely aggressive. I expected typical puppy behavior however I did not expect the biting to be so aggressive. She's bruised and broken skin on my daughter (she's 20) 3 times so far. I have tried everything, even hired a personal trainer absolutely nothing is working. If I try and walk her she's jumping up to bite me and her leash, I offer toys she only wants to bite me! Any advice is greatly appreciated, if it's doesn't start to subside I have considered re-homing her which I really don't want to do.
     
  19. Jaime K

    Jaime K Registered Users

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    Thank you this article is super helpful and has kept me going for another day. So, I hear in this article that this seemingly aggressive biting behavior my puppy displays is normal. Although he’s 18 weeks old now and still going strong with the biting which is a bit concerning to me. I’m trying hard to keep calm/keep him calm. It does help. I can manage it fine at home because I have the option of his crate. But, I need some advice for when we’re out on walks.
    We’ll be walking along, everything going great, and all of the sudden he will attack me. He runs and jumps at me, biting my legs and arms while growling. I don’t know how to make him stop. Nothing distracts him. If I try to hold him it makes him more aggressive. Maybe walks are too exciting and we shouldn’t go? He needs exercise somehow though! I’m just so tired of getting ripped to shreds when we go out :(
     
  20. Bertie_lab

    Bertie_lab Registered Users

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    I’m so pleased I’m not alone with this! We’ve got a 9 week old puppy who is great with potty training and sleeps well but he has an active 30 mins- hour between naps where he is so bitey! I understand it’s normal and was prepared for the hard work but he’s not interested in many distraction tactics and oddly for a lab isn’t interested in treats ( we use a portion of his food rations do he’s not too full for them) he just ignores them and would rather be biting us all over. I’m not too concerned and know it’s a matter of time but I’m more bothered that his awake times are spent trying to get him away from me and towards toys as opposed to bonding time and I have no idea how we’re going to start simple training when he’s not into treats but gets over excited and bites when he’s praised. I have tried time out which he howls through ( never cries when left alone at night) and then gets tired and sleeps again and therefore his entire awake phase is being spent being stressed in time out which doesn’t seem fair for him or favourable to us ( nor do I want his crate to be associated with punishment) I think all the useful tips are already on here and it’s nice to know we’re not alone :)
     

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