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I need advice please! Puppy biting me nonstop.

Discussion in 'Labrador Puppies' started by Debbie, Jul 16, 2018.

  1. Aisling Labs

    Aisling Labs Registered Users

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2018
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    Location:
    Florida
    Biters make everything with a puppy so much harder. It is temporary but living through it can make one dread the moments when one has to actually spend time with the puppy. We've had our share of them in this multi-Labrador household. In fact I have a ten week old puppy here right now.

    Here's what I have learned over time. Puppies get overtired. Puppies pick up on our anxiety and react to it in several different ways. Puppies chew and bite. Put all of that together and you can sometimes have what I call a "frenzied biter" or a "butt-tucking monster" grabbing at curtains or pulling book out of the bookcase or magazines off of tables.

    Here's what I have also learned over time. Humans don't like putting their puppies in their crates. Humans feel like the puppy is spending too much time in their crate.

    So we don't put the puppy in the crate on a regular schedule; instead if the puppy falls asleep on the floor we let them be there instead of sticking to a schedule that actually helps to avoid the "frenzies" which includes the "frenzied biting". We breathe a sigh of relief that the puppy is actually sleeping and not going crazy and we don't have to watch for them have an accident or chew on our table leg for 30 minutes to an hour or longer if we are really lucky.

    BUT, we also feel like we can't leave the room because if the puppy awakes it will have an accident or chew something it shouldn't - so, many of us sit in that room and grow frustrated because we are falling behind on something that we need to be doing elsewhere and we can begin to feel that the puppy is ruling us instead of the other way around. (OR, we've been at work all day and we feel guilty about putting the puppy back in the crate often enough that we can avoid the puppy being overtired and overwhelmed.)

    Like humans, puppies are individuals but all of them need a lot of sleep and we've all made that crate as comfortable a place as we can for the puppy - we've made it their safe space. We just tend to let our human emotions overwhelm the knowledge that it is a safe space....

    Step back and watch your puppy...there is a pattern to everything, you just have to find it. For example, how long does your puppy typically play before wandering off and finding a place to lie down and nap? IF you can figure that out, you can anticipate the puppy being ready for a short nap and give it a treat and put in the crate instead of letting him take a short cat nap on the floor only to wake up and go into a frenzy which will be followed by an accident and will include biting you or tearing a magazine off the coffee table or grabbing a curtain and tearing a hole in it (all things that various of our adults did as puppies at one time or another). That short nap will likely become a longer one - because if it is like most of our puppies, the puppy gets up at some point if free and wanders to another spot to lie back down and nap a bit longer until suddenly it gets up with renewed energy.

    If the puppy is taking naps on a regular basis, it is NOT cruel to have the puppy take its naps in the crate.

    So the trick is to watch your puppy to see when it naturally lies down to sleep (there is a pattern, you just have to find it) and to anticipate that (set a timer!) and get the puppy in the crate to take that nap. Then when it wakes up, outside it goes whether for a walk if you have no garden or out in the yard to do some butt-tucking running....and then a bit of training and back into that crate with a treat for another nap.

    You don't have an over-tired puppy, the puppy has had fun while out of the crate, and you got either some time to sit for a bit or get some chores done which lessens your frustration which the puppy then "feels" your better mood. It all works together.

    It's not easy...in fact, my ten week old puppy is asleep at my feet at the moment INSTEAD of in his crate. I'm still working on sticking to my own recommendations with the little guy; there is a list of things I should be doing right now instead of writing this post ...!

    I slip up but then I get him right back on that schedule after the next potty break, bit of training and exercise...Maybe tomorrow, we'll follow that schedule perfectly....maybe not. But I'll keep working on it.....
     
  2. Debbie

    Debbie Registered Users

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    Jul 15, 2018
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    Thanks so much for your response. I have found it hard to shower, eat a meal or do much needed laundry out of guilt. I need to change my thought process and start living a little and not worry I’m not being a terrible dog parent. I want to do everything right but know that’s unrealistic too. I talked to my dog trainer last night at obedience class and she also said he’s not in kennel enough. Puppies need lots of sleep, probably more than I think. She told me overtired pups are generally difficult. I forget that with our previous labs, there were 4 people to entertain them. Much harder alone and the kids are grown up and gone. Thanks for giving me a little perspective.
     
  3. Maisie67

    Maisie67 Registered Users

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    This was helpful, at least to know I am not alone! Our 13-week old yellow lab attacks me regularly. I have tried everything. Withdrawing attention, hands folded, walking away, but she follows and bites my calves. Replacing my flesh with toys, but she drops the toy and comes back to bite me. Telling her NO, crating her, Putting her in the guest bathroom, taking her down by the scruff of her neck and saying NO. Holding her mount closed and saying NO BITE. My husband insists the only way to deal with it is to whack her on the nose, as it appears to have worked for him, BUT I firmly believe there is a better way, just as with kids. Just have not found it yet :(. Our 6 year old, who was told this dog would be a good friend, is traumatized and spends all her time when the dog is out of her crate on top of the couch hiding. There is real fear (justified, given the state of my arms and hands), tears and screaming. It's pretty terrible right now and I can't stand the idea that the pup might not stop doing this until she is 6, 7, or 8 months old :(.
     
  4. Maisie67

    Maisie67 Registered Users

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    Mouth, not mount. Holding her MOUTH closed, firmly but not hurtfully.
     
  5. Jade

    Jade Registered Users

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    Aug 7, 2018
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    Location:
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    @Debbie How are things going with your puppy?
    How are you?
     
  6. pippa@labforumHQ

    pippa@labforumHQ Administrator

    Joined:
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    Messages:
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    You are absolutely right Maisie, there is a better way. The problem with using force whether it's pushing or pulling the puppy around, is that this is how puppies play. So it encourages the puppy to continue with rough play and become even rougher.

    If you are successful in frightening the puppy sufficiently to stop it from playing altogether you risk triggering a much worse type of biting - one based on fear aggression. So that is definitely a route you and your husband should avoid at all costs.

    So, the first thing to do is recognise what's going on: That this is a tough time, that rough, biting play, is normal for puppies, that bitting a growling are worse when the puppy is excited, or when humans engage the puppy in physical play (ruffling fur, ears, tummies etc with your hands, pushing, pulling, growling back, and squealing all encourage puppies to bite and growl)

    And that the quickest way to survive this stage is to reinforce calm behaviour, and to avoid over-exciting the puppy. Hang on in there, this phase will pass.
     
  7. Debbie

    Debbie Registered Users

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2018
    Messages:
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    Tomorrow my pup will be 17 weeks old. His biting has improved somewhat. He still bites for attention. Trainer said to walk at him when he bites me in the back of the legs and when he bites me in my chair to get up right away and walk at him until he turns away from me. He is a dominant pup and this seems to have helped us. We have also used this method when he barks at us when we try to eat a meal. He has also been playing by himself a little more, very nice since he wanted to constantly be entertained. I have noticed a sleep pattern now, as others told me I should see, and I try to keep him on somewhat of a schedule. If he can’t sleep due to distractions, I now put him in his kennel to limit the biting I know will come from being overtired. He still gets cranky close to meal times. Sometimes I just feed him a little early to help with this. I still long to be able to cuddle with him, without worrying about getting nipped in the face. He does allow some petting now. 2 more puppy obedience classes left. I highly recommend them, especially if you have a dominant pup. My trainer has helped me immeasurably with tips to try. Looks like he still has all his sharp baby teeth yet. Hopefully he keeps improving with the biting. Not sure what to expect when new teeth start coming in. I can’t remember with previous dogs. ☹️
     

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