FAQ: 6, 9, or 12 month old dog jumping up and biting

Discussion in 'Labrador behaviour' started by pippa@labforumHQ, Jan 16, 2020.

  1. pippa@labforumHQ

    pippa@labforumHQ Administrator

    Joined:
    May 10, 2011
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    Older puppies and young dogs jumping up and biting at arms and clothing is a very common problem. And often occurs out on walks.

    This behavior can really spoil the time you spend with your dog and causes a lot of worry and upset.

    And as it tends to appear as the puppy is maturing, the biggest concern that most people have is that their dog is becoming aggressive or dominant towards them.

    Is my dog dominant?

    The good news is, this behavior is nothing to do with dominance. This is how young adolescent dogs play together, and your dog is attempting to engage you in rough-housing games.

    Here’s an article explaining how we know that your dog is not trying to dominate you: Alpha Dog

    Why is my dog jumping at me and biting me?

    There are lots of contributory factors to this kind of behavior, it tends to happen most in the last few months of a dog’s first year.

    It can be made worse by

    • over-excitement
    • lack of exercise
    • boredom
    • inappropriate games

    Will my dog grow out of it?

    That's a question with a bit of a yes and no answer.

    To some extent this is likely to improve as the dog matures and becomes less exuberant. But how much of that improvement is due to the fact that most people take some steps to cure it, we don't know.

    I would not recommend a wait and see policy. I would definitely take some action :)

    How can the jumping and biting be improved?

    It can be improved by reinforcing calm behavior, and by access to free running in a safe area,

    It is also likely to improve if you have regular training sessions with your dog, where your dog learns to work with you in order to earn food. And by controlled games such as fetch and tug.

    Practical steps you can take

    1. Stop Rough-housing: Stop all rough/physical play with your dog. By anyone. You need the whole family involved. All jumping nipping and other attention seeking behavior must be ignored.
    2. Increase exercise: Make sure your dog gets the opportunity to run off leash in a safe area, or on a long line if that isn’t possible, each day. Older dogs can go jogging too.
    3. Play tug: Play tug with your dog for short periods of time. You need to control when the game starts and when it stops.
    4. Play fetch: Play fetch your dog - you can give a dog masses of exercise sprinting up and down to collect dummies or toys this way.
    5. Train every day: Dedicate a quarter of your dog’s daily food ration for training. Set it aside and aim to use it up in training sessions, or as rewards for great behavior indoors (such as lying quietly while you watch TV, or keeping all four paws on the ground while you stroke him)

    Here’s a link to playing games - some of these can be played indoors if the weather is bad.

    Threads on this topic:
    https://thelabradorforum.com/threads/jumping-and-biting-on-walks.28047/
    https://thelabradorforum.com/threads/really-struggling-with-adolescent-labrador-behaviour.28035/
     

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