Biting Puppies: Help For New Puppy Parents

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

  1. Christina2807

    Christina2807 Registered Users

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    Try using cooked chicken or cheese, these are higher value rewards and might make him more interested in them as they are not just his normal food
     
  2. Bertie_lab

    Bertie_lab Registered Users

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    I’d heard about using chicken so might give it a go and see if we can get him interested in something other than nipping us and pulling all the plants up :)
     
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  3. M&A

    M&A Registered Users

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    Hi Luke - we are having a very similar time! 14 week old fox red, extremely loveable, soft, playful etc until he gets in that mood and then very bitey! He's not too bad at going for hands, fingers, ankles etc any more in general, but will still randomly go for arms and hands if they are near him when he feels like it! Also gets stubborn when starting out for a walk - fine after 5 minutes of trying to get his own way/wait for a treat, but can be quite hard going before this. Has now taken to jumping on the sofa and refusing to get off, even biting my wife yesterday when she went to get him off. She put him outside to cool down but was very upset about it. We love him and most of the time he's a joy - demanding, into everything etc - but lovely. But the biting IS getting to us a bit.
    As you said, any advice or help would be great!!
     
  4. Tamara Schnell

    Tamara Schnell Registered Users

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    Hello!
    My 8 week old puppy is biting (obviously normal) but did something that scared me recently. We were outside for a very long time and it was time to come in. I told him to come which is something I’m trying to train him to do it but he would not. He was digging a hole and I went to go pick him up to bring him in and he bit me in the arm and growled when I was picking him up. I know I must’ve done something wrong and maybe I should not have picked him up during play when he wasn’t done yet. What would be your suggestion that I do if this happens next time.
     
  5. Swagato Chakraborty

    Swagato Chakraborty Registered Users

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    Thanks for such an informative article. This is my first time in the forum.

    We brought home our first pet just over a week back - a yellow male American Lab currently 10 weeks. We are struggling a bit with the Biting part . Specially with my 7 years old son.

    Generally seems to be a pretty nice puppy . Likes his crate , pretty calm to noise, vacuum cleaners, strangers - even licked his vet on the first trip.
    Also does not object to handling collar, paws or even tummy when he is lying on his back and trying to chew on the leash ( we need to get that fixed, getting a harness instead of the flat collar ) . Also he likes grabbing his favorite chew toy and walk to my lap when he is getting close to bed time.

    But he likes to play rough tug games or high speed chase and fetch . We stopped the chase part in the backyard because he is too young to sprint like that, but was continuing with the tug games . I guess we should cut that too .

    Here are some of the issues we are struggling with. Any help will be greatly appreciated.

    1. Eating junk - he loves hanging out in the backyard and keep eating / chewing stuff he shouldn't be eating - including mud, dried grass and weed or even rocks. On a few occasions I had to force open his mouth and take out rocks or even cat droppings . This is usually the main point of conflict and he eventually gets pretty mad and starts biting if I am trying to lift him away from the spot , I can't control him with the leash without hurting him. My new plan is to limit access to the backyard except for a bit of walking away from the edges where all the fun stuff is. Also to pick the battle carefully until he masters "Drop it" .

    2. House breaking - he generally likes the crate and does not make a fuss ( at least for more than a minute when he does) . But we have been giving him choice to hang out in the playpen or crate during his daytime naps. In most cases after he is pretty sleepy and there is a bit of activity and people around he would walk back to the crate . So we didn't really insist him being in the crate -- and this is creating trouble for housebreaking as he has a lot less reservation about going potty in the playpen without drawing a lot of our attention to let him out. We have a pee-pad rug underneath and can get rid of the smell easily with an enzyme cleaner, but I think it is interfering with his habit . Also he has strange schedule with potty time. He can eat a full meal and a drink a lot of water then hang out for half hour and then take an one and half hour nap before eliminating . This is driving me crazy because when I take him out to the designated area he just hangs out there, eats grass or chews on his leash . In some cases if I have concluded he is not going to go and bring him back to his play pen he has eliminated right there. If he is sleeping in the crate it is a lot more predictable. But the ones before the sleep is very hard to manage.

    3. Biting- We know all puppies bite . But sometime he seems to be biting out of anger ( when I am trying to lift him up to remove from an area or need to bring him indoor after hanging out in the potty patch for 20 minutes) . I am learning to keep my calm and putting him in his play pen. I don't want to use the crate because clearly he is upset and I don't want to break his comfort in the crate. Also whenever he sees my son ( specially in PJ , he goes at his ankle or sometime even thighs) . So we were wondering if we should be aware of any behavioral issues at this stage.

    Any advice on some of these will be very helpful.
     
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  6. EddiesMum

    EddiesMum Registered Users

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    Our lab puppy is now 20 weeks old and I want you to know that it does gradually get better, and they do start to bite less on their own as their baby teeth fall out. My puppy was a very intense little biter, to the point where I have a few scars on my calves and arms that will be with me for a while. But it really has become much, much better over the past month and he's much easier to distract with a toys, some training or treats.
     
    solmc83 and Swagato Chakraborty like this.
  7. Kovarr

    Kovarr Registered Users

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    I'm glad to see I'm not the only one here who has adopted a Labrashark. I do have a question though that I haven't seen here yet.

    I have a 15 wk old Labrador Mix (terrier was given as the other breed. He was a rescue, so all that's really known is that the mother was a lab. He is a sweet dog, but extremely bitey. You can't touch him for anything without him clamping onto your hands, arms, feet, etc. Getting "excited" really isn't a part of it - the only time you can touch him without getting bitten is right after he's woken up in the morning. My poor thighs (his favourite spot to hit when I'm sitting) and arms have me looking like I'm in abusive relationship, to the point I've stopped wearing shorts out of the house.

    I'm 46, and live with my senior parents (father is 80, mother is 75). My pup, Oliver, bites them a little, but NOWHERE NEAR as much as he does me. I'm the one who walks him, bathes him, etc.. is there a reason he bites me and not them?
     
  8. Julian

    Julian Registered Users

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    Get a chew toy like a kong or a tug rope and redirect,don’t yell ,when the puppy starts to bite you say short one word response like “no” or “bad” then replace with chew toy and give praise ,it’s very common ,puppies are like children and are teething ,shouldn’t last long ,another thing is go to the pet store and get some bitter apple spray ,it’s harmless to the puppy doesn’t stain,spray it periodically on table legs or anything that you don’t want chewed up because they will find it ,my 1st lab actually ate a cactus plant ,I couldn’t even touch the plant without getting pricked ,never understood how he did it lol
     
  9. Swagato Chakraborty

    Swagato Chakraborty Registered Users

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    Great to know that. I didn’t log onto the forum for a while. Our puppy is now about 20 weeks. Biting is surely a lot better though not gone yet. Working on teaching him how to be calm And gentle in general - specially with other smaller puppies , he is a bit rowdy and his size does not make it easy.

    Also the biggest struggle now is - how to stop him for eating anything and everything he finds on the walks. Response to Leave it is getting better , but once he spots something ( usually unedible) he will lunge for it and if he gets it in his mouth it is impossible to get it out without wrestling it out from his mouth . Sometimes in this stage he gets upset and starts biting and jumping. Any tip will be great.
     
  10. Joy

    Joy Registered Users

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    Two thoughts about this:
    Firstly I would stop wrestling things from your puppy's mouth (obviously unless it is something immediately dangerous). Instead sound really pleased when your puppy picks up something and say 'Oh wow, what have you found? Clever boy/girl - show me.' Offer a really high value treat and when the pup has dropped the item to take the treat, then give the item back. By doing this your puppy will come to trust you and be happy to hand anything over - and then when it is something he really can't have back then you can give a toy instead. Most items your puppy will pick up on walks won't be dangerous - my dog is a great collector of plastic bottles, bits of rope and odd shoes from the beach, and she will hand me anything, even dead birds, because most times she will get it handed back.

    Secondly, if you spot something you really don't want your puppy to pick up, it's better to ask for a behaviour that the pup actually does instead of saying 'leave it' (which is asking the pup not to do something).
    For example train a sit/stay and gradually add lots of distractions, so that if you're out and you see some broken glass you can say 'sit' and your dog will remain in a sit until you can put him on lead or pick up the glass. This sort of sustained sit with distractions does take a while to train but is really worth doing and is definitely achievable. This Kikopup video describes it in detail - if you find the beginning of the video too basic, fast forward to about 4m30sec


    Happy training!
     
  11. Swagato Chakraborty

    Swagato Chakraborty Registered Users

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    Thanks a lot for the suggestion. I will try that. I see our usually good and cozy relationship gets weaker around this time and he has started to avoid me when he has picked up something. He usually picks up mulch or flower - I read a lot of stuff are toxic for dogs - so I just wanted to make sure he does not accidentally ingest something dangerous. I will try what you said and post the outcome.

    The other challenge I am seeing is he always does great on training. Like he will hold his stay even when I am throwing food or even ball around him. It feels like he clearly understand which distractions ( food / toys etc ) are controlled by me and ignores them on my instructions as that is the game. So even if he is doing well in training setting with added distraction it does not translate to much ( I wouldn’t say at all) in real world. I make sure I reward him every time he shows any restrain on real distraction.
     
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  12. Joy

    Joy Registered Users

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    Keep persevering and eventually it will transfer to 'real-life' situations too, it just takes a while.
     
  13. Debbie31

    Debbie31 Registered Users

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    Reading everyone’s posts makes me feel so much better, our 11 week old is driving us crazy, when he’s good he’s fabulous, loving, cute and responding to simple commands such as sit, paw and lie down also He lets us know when he needs go out. Then the teeth come out, biting, pulling clothes, biting hands growling.... to the point where we have started to question ourselves, but reading everyone else’s experiences makes me feel a whole lot better! Thanks. Today we are going to practice the leaving the room when he starts... fingers crossed.
     
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  14. PDog

    PDog Registered Users

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    So good to read this.
    Our 9 week old is so bitey, not really to me but to husband and 3 children. The kids are scared of her now and don’t really want anything to do with her because they go near her and she just jumps and bites every time. It’s breaking my heart.
    My family have had labradors all my life, 3 of which we had from pups when I lived there and I’ve never known biting Like this and had never heard of zoomies until now!
    I feel lost to be honest.
    For me, she will sit and calm down and be stroked. But everyone else just has to leave the room.
    I suppose I expected this sweet golden lab like we had when I was growing up, but she is nothing like that :( except for when it is just me and her and she is pretty chilled and sweet.
     
  15. BlueMoon

    BlueMoon Registered Users

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    I am so glad to have found this forum! We just adopted a lab and we are overwhelmed. She is ten weeks today. We have had her for two weeks. I have questioned my decision....when I see people in the park walking these genial older labs I am like how did you get there???

    She has some great behaviors - she will sleep through the night in her crate next to my daughter's bed. I am working from home so we have a routine in which after her outdoor time, she will sleep in the baby-gated living room quietly and I work in the dining room. Puppy naps are the best!!

    She has a real wild time around dinner. Jumping, biting, wild. Not running around so I am not sure if this qualifies as the zoomies. We have tried all of the things we have seen on the internet: not reacting, or saying no bite, and we have mostly tried giving her a good chew toy to distract her. But she will just push it aside and lunge at us. we have started putting her in her crate during this time. she will whimper a bit then settle down. i don't want to use the crate as punishment but she is so wild and my daughter is starting to want nothing to do with her.

    I have so much to learn as this is our first dog. We have two cats and that is another thread ...them and her.

    I have some basic questions if anyone could pipe in -- when people say they put peanut butter in a kong -- do you just put a few scoops in there and just give it to them? do you freeze?

    it looks like frozen bananas and frozen carrots are good?

    I take her out to exercise her and maybe I am doing too much? I have her about 45 minutes for potty and then play.

    She is so bitey. that is my number one thing I want to limit. I understand she is a puppy but it seems like nothing is working.

    I feel like I am behind in training. For potty training she generally goes when we are outside but she does not ask to go out. I am just starting with sit. I put some treats in my pocket to take her for a walk and to try and train her but she could smell them and kept jumping up at my pocket....

    I pray we end up in a better place. Right now TBH I am demoralized. She is so cute and she has this quizzical look she will give me and i will see this little baby face.
     
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  16. Susan L

    Susan L Registered Users

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    A brilliant article - thank you Pippa.

    Its heart-warming to read that one is not alone! Jessie is 10 weeks today - I loved the reference to a Labrashark. My hands and arms are broken. I had to have a blood test this week and the nurse was shocked at the state of my arms. She reminded me to get a tetanus jab. I've popped a short training lead on her collar so that I can at least pull her off me when she's latched on. I will certainly try the advice. I'll do anything!
     
  17. FizzyLemon

    FizzyLemon Registered Users

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    I have a 13 week red fox lab. She has a biting problem too, but it seems different to standard mouthyness. She will stare at me if I approach her bed or try to pet her, sometimes whale eye and then will bite as a way to say " hey, get off" . She barks,bites to get my attention. She bites if she doesn't get a treat after barking at me. ( I have never treated for barking) .
    I tried teaching the " touch my hand with your nose" game today. She barked in my face before attempting to bite my hand. I think she just doesn't like me. Sees me as a threat. How do you know when it is more than standard "puppy biting problem"?
     
  18. LouiseAndAlfie

    LouiseAndAlfie Registered Users

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    Hi,

    We have a 12 week old black lab who is going through a very bitey stage. He clamps on to shoes/feet and legs/trousers and it can be very hard to get him off because once he is in that mind-set he's not listening. We're following all of Pippa's preventative advice trying to avoid him being over excited, redirecting, proactively rewarding calm behaviour and we're seeing some improvement - though obviously we're not managing to prevent it all of the time. Something that was working really well when he was smaller was lifting him into his crate for a chill out/nap but now that he's bigger lifting him in becomes part of the game and it's impossible to avoid the bites. We are training him to go to his crate on demand but in these circumstances he's not able to listen to commands. The only way I can think of to get him into his crate without physically moving him would be to throw in some treats but I'm worried this will reward the biting behaviour. Does anyone have any thoughts on that or any ideas for alternative ways to get him into his crate?

    Many thanks,

    Louise
     
  19. solmc83

    solmc83 Registered Users

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    Following this with interest as I have a 14 week old lab going through the same! Lovely to read I’m not alone as was starting to worry. Have been feeling a bit anxious recently so that’s not helping things
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 17, 2021
  20. Deboragh

    Deboragh Registered Users

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    Our Hailey was a terrible biter as a puppy ( she's now a gentle 3 year old) and I found your advice really helpful when she was going through this stage. We're getting a second dog in a few weeks and I'll probably be revisiting your words of wisdom!
     

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