Labrador puppy behavior normal?

Discussion in 'Labrador behaviour' started by Heather9090, Jun 20, 2019.

  1. Heather9090

    Heather9090 Registered Users

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    So I posted on a different thread about what kind of Lab do I have, but I have a concern far more now, as I am a new Lab owner. We got our lab at 14 weeks old 5 days ago. Yes, still new but I am trying to stay on top of everything. I am expirenced with dogs, but I've never owned a big pup, and our new Lab Scooby will be. My fiance is only used to big dogs and he does great with Scoob. I am home all the time with kids and our new pup so I am able to do everything with him. I want need help and reassurance on behaviors, advice and things to look for.
    I want Scooby to be a calm and happy adult. I do provide much excersize; he also does not like water.
    Between the time previous owner got him from 8 weeks until 5 days ago he was in a crate most of the time, got a claw mark on his ear from a cat, and their house was chaos as we could tell when we went to go get Scooby. So giving that, he's a great pup and learning fast. He's not food aggressive or toy aggressive, although he struggles to give back the toy.
    I want to know if, what I am about to explain below, is normal behavior.
    Scooby will give playful gestures to our cat Q but low growls repetitively while jumping all over and nipping at him.
    He started yesterday overly biting my 9 year old (yes I always supervise and never leave Scooby anywhere alone or my kids). When Scooby would do this before my son could stay calm and assertive and say no and he'd listen (or down). But now he starts and doesn't stop no matter how you act or what you do. He's done it to me now too and out of nowhere, just from standing outside having him go potty. He started sniffing my shoe then biting it, I said no bite in the tone he is familiar as a leave it. He proceeded with the biting and biting harder, then my upper leg. If I grab him by his collar gently and calmly he still wants to bite the hay out of me and even growls.
    Today he was looking out if the window and there's to people across the street working on a house, he started growling. I said nothing but closed the curtain for distraction.
    Is he showing signs of aggression or is this all normal puppy play and learning. How can I positively resolve this.
    Will any of this behavior progress as he grows? He is apart of our family. We are still growing to know him, as he is us. He's a big puppy and can be intimidating.
    Please any help will really be appreciated.

    Today and everyday... We took a walk, played in the yard, played in the house, gave him down time. He gets worked up out of the blue.
     
  2. Tess Howell

    Tess Howell Registered Users

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    Hi Heather,
    I have the same problem with Winston,my now 6 month old male lab.
    He did get better with the word no,but it doesn’t work now.
    It’s quite difficult to manage especially in public,for example today he started jumping,growling and biting me on the seafront.He was on a lead at the time and I turned my back on him,but he bit me .Not badly,but enough to cause me anxiety.
    Someone recommended the pet air canister but I’m not sure this is a good idea?
    I can’t seem to recognise what the trigger is either!
    He’s going to be a big Dog soon and my puppy trainer said he will grow out of it ,which is reassuring.
    I am sticking to training and ignoring him by turning my back on him,but it’s hard .
    Let me know how it goes
    Tess x
     
  3. Heather9090

    Heather9090 Registered Users

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    Ours starts training in two weeks. Yes, something similar happened to me as you explain. When I turned he bit my upper thigh. I wasn't showing interest in his play at all but he still was getting worked up OR remaining at the high level of exuberance. It does come out of nowhere, ethe excitement silently builds maybe?
    I will keep you updated if I find out anything more, and please do for us! Lol It's reassuring that we aren't alone though, as I see a lot of it as over excitement.. good chance anyways
     
  4. Heather9090

    Heather9090 Registered Users

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    When did you get Winston?
     
  5. Michael A Brooks

    Michael A Brooks Registered Users

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    Hi @Heather9090

    1. You've got one week left to do some socialisation. If he spent all of his time in a crate, then you must attend to socialisation immediately.
    2. Don't turn your back on the dog. It's not working. Use time out instead. Two or three minutes in a boring room. If it happens on a walk, then tie him to a tree. Go back. If he is calm, then reward him. If he still is trying to bite you, turn and walk away. Alternatively, carry a tug toy with you. It is to be used only to redirect his bite from you to the tug toy. Have one for the boy as well. Don't leave it for the dog to play with.let the dog win the game of tug quite a few times, each time you use it. If the dog bite you, the game of tug stops immediately.
     
  6. Heather9090

    Heather9090 Registered Users

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    Thank you for response. Is this normal behavior or too far from normal puppy behavior? I do give him time outs and as soon as he comes out, he's calm and good again. He listens so well most of the time until he's hyped up out of nowhere. I wish I knew what happened during the month they they had him.
    How was your lab at 3 and 4 months?
     
  7. Michael A Brooks

    Michael A Brooks Registered Users

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    @Heather9090 Labradors are a very mouthy breed. So what you describe is not atypical for a Lab. I have had nightmares and dreamboats. They are all different.
     
  8. Heather9090

    Heather9090 Registered Users

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    He's usually very sweet and obeys so well. When I put him in time out he cries and then sits, and then will attempt to paw a couple times. I'll have him sit while I open the door and then allow him back in with a soothing voice. He acts normal again.
    Thanks for the reply. Gave a good conversation for my fiance and I just now as I have concern and he feels it's something normal and he will grow out of.
     
  9. Tess Howell

    Tess Howell Registered Users

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    We got Winston in February this year at 8 weeks and he’s just turned 6 months now.
    He’s attending his second round of puppy training with positive reinforcement,however the trainer did say to use the can of air and keep it on me so I’ve bought a small can .
    He’s an amazing Dog and we think it’s over excitement .Winston is more placid when he’s exercised and tired.He was brilliant on the prom today,off lead and in the sea swimming.
    Got a bit nippy later on but nothing serious.
    Keep you posted x
     
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  10. Jo Laurens

    Jo Laurens Registered Users

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    This is normal puppy behaviour - he is inviting play from the cat. The cat probably doesn't appreciate it though, so it's best to remove the pup when he does this - you want to have a 2.5m puppy house line or tagline attached to his collar so you can grab this when you need to, not to correct or punish, just to distract him onto a toy or remove him from the area with the cat.

    So I think you are getting different types of growling going on. In the above paragraph, I THINK almost everything you are describing is perfectly normal and you need to be able to remove the pup from your child when he becomes overexcited in this way. It's not fair for a 9yo to have to deal with it... So again, you want to have that tag line on the pup and be able to gently and happily (not in a punitive or scary way) just remove him. You might want to have a crate or a pen or at least a stairgated room where you can then put the pup until he has calmed down a bit. A stuffed Kong will help a lot with the calming down.

    Your pup is just trying to play with you, as he would play with another dog - and he doesn't realise it hurts you, because dog skin is much thicker than human skin and doesn't get hurt so easily. The best way to deal with it, is to provide an alternative thing for the dog to bite - like a tug toy for example - so he can bite that to his heart's content OR to remove the dog from the people concerned and give him a Kong with food in it, to help calm him down and bring him out of this mood. (Chewing and licking are naturally calming for dogs.) Almost all dogs will grow out of this behaviour if you can just avoid them practising it and can provide suitable things (toys instead of human skin!) for them to apply it to!

    This sounds like you are saying it in a stern tone of voice. Really don't do that. Either it will be completely ineffective (as it is) or it will actually be damaging for the relationship between you. You are experiencing him as disobeying you and continuing to bite when you've told him not to. That causes you to feel negatively towards him. That makes it more likely that you will escalate your punishment further (raising your voice, repeating it, tapping on the nose etc etc) - which will make things worse.

    Really, you want to create a co-operative relationship with your dog - where they WANT TO DO what you WANT THEM TO DO. So if you want him to stop biting, grab a toy and direct the biting onto that. You are not getting bitten and the dog is happy to do this. It's a win win for both of you.

    It's hard to know what this growl means, but it could either be a play-growl - or it could be the beginning of a dog showing reactivity to being man-handled. Again, you don't want to use physical force - including grabbing collars or dogs - you want the dog to WANT to do what you would like them to do. If you use physical force, the dog can learn to come back at you with a heck of a lot more of it - and they have way more teeth than you do, and you're not going to come out well - plus of course you are establishing an adversarial relationship between you and the dog and not a co-operative one.

    Do not grab the dog's collar. Have some food treats in your pocket. If you want to move the dog, put the food on the dog's nose and lure the dog where you'd like them to go and feed the treat. It can just be the dog's regular kibble around the house...

    This is the beginnings of spookiness towards strangers and people outside the house and a sign that he may well grow up to guard the house and potentially to be reactive towards strangers entering the house - not wanting to alarm you but just giving a heads-up. At 14 weeks, he is just leaving the socialisation period but may well still be influence-able and within it (since when exactly it wears off is an individual thing) but especially given his deprived earlier life, I would be making sure he is daily getting out into the world, meeting people and having a positive and enjoyable experience with them. It's not about 'taking a walk', it's about going somewhere new and weird and different, and especially meeting and interacting with people in a positive way. Anyone you have over to the house, should interact with him in a positive way and ensure he is comfortable and happy....

    Unfortunately if he spent 8-14 weeks shut in a crate, he is going to have missed out on a lot of important socialisation....
     
  11. Heather9090

    Heather9090 Registered Users

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    I will say that maybe I made him sound more like a Cujo than I should have. It's our 6th day now. He is great with new people, loves them. I've been doing the ow method and leaving and it seems to work for the most part unless he's too hyped. I did the toy and treat adversion and that does work. We have been walking everyday. He did get play with human kids with previous owner BUT I believe too much choas and not enough quiet time, not much structure I should say. He really is a good boy. I think you are right about how I dealt with the biting that time was not correct. I am going to keep gentle even if it hurts and still and do the ow and adversions as much as possible. I think he's doing better day by day, I really do.
    I have to say, thank you so much for you help. Since he's 3 months I do feel that we can reverse anything that could have been neglected like socialization with other dogs.
     
  12. Ruth Buckley

    Ruth Buckley Registered Users

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    Socialisation is about more than other dogs, it's about different people, animals, noises etc etc. The socialisation window closes at about 16 weeks so you may not be able to reverse the damage done by excessive crating if you don't act now.
     
  13. Jo Laurens

    Jo Laurens Registered Users

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    Yes, as Ruth says, you have the odds stacked against you - and you also won't see the results of inadequate socialisation immediately (usually). They will start to crop up towards the end of his first year of life. By which point it is too late to remedy easily by providing socialisation - because he is outside the socialisation period. Hence the emphasis on - right now.

    I would be a bit concerned about a 14 week old puppy watching something outside the window and growling. That is not a good indicator for the future and suggests some emergency remedial work needs to occur. Sometimes there are dogs which are fine with new people outside the house, but don't like strangers coming into the house. (Although often there is still anxiety about the new people away from the house, it's just that the owners aren't noticing it because it is less obvious.)
     
  14. Heather9090

    Heather9090 Registered Users

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    Thank you all.
    So yesterday he bit down on me and used all his jaw strength. He was never taught bite inhibition from his previous people.
    He did the growling again out of the window but it was at machines now as they are working on the road. Just closed window curtains.
    He has met several dogs now young and adult and has played with both. He is absolutely great with them and very hyper, but you can tell he's shaping up well with the play.
    I truly hope it's not too late for him and I don't want to raise a dangerous boy if I have kids and one day when he's older he snaps, that's my issue.
    He sure doesn't seem dangerous and just all puppy, and a pretty well mannered pup that just never got taught to not bite hard, so it makes it harder on me to teach that bite inhibition.
     
  15. Jo Laurens

    Jo Laurens Registered Users

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    I wouldn't be worried about play-biting. Bite inhibition is actually a bit controversial. All I can say is that if a lack of bite inhibition resulted in a dangerous adult dog, I think something like 50% of dogs I see at class, would be 'dangerous'!! In reality, I don't believe there is any correlation between how hard a dog bites in play and how hard the dog bites in self-defence or when scared. So whilst it might hurt you for him to bite that hard, it falls more into the category of inappropriate play and biting than of a serious behaviour problem.

    Again, the growling at machines out the window, is more concerning because it tells you that 'stuff out there' worries him....
     
  16. Harry's Mum

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    I've been following this thread with great interest. We have a 16 week old pup, Harry, who's settled in beautifully and has no issues, so far.
    However, my son and his family have our pup's littermate, Loki. We look after him during working hours Monday to Friday. Loki is a lovely boy, but he's a bit of a nightmare on walks since he's incredibly worried by strangers and other dogs - growls and barks dementedly at them and at anyone who visits their house, except for us.
    My husband and I have walked the dogs separately since they were able to go out properly and previously took them both out and about for socialisation and had lots of visitors in our house, with no problems. Although Loki has always been more jumpy and bitey he has settled down.
    They've engaged a trainer (had one session so far) and he has recommended that Loki should be exercised in places where he won't see other people, dogs or encounter any loud noises. Is there anything else we can do? Any thoughts or suggestions gratefully received.
     
  17. Michael A Brooks

    Michael A Brooks Registered Users

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    is this the long term plan? What does the trainer have in mind as a remedial plan?
     
  18. Harry's Mum

    Harry's Mum Registered Users

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    I hope not as we'd eventually like to be able to take both dogs out and about with us during the day. We have access to country parks and beaches a short drive away - so it would be a shame if we can't take Loki.
    Initially, his advice is to get Loki to relax and enjoy time outside and hopefully, he will have more ideas and a plan of action when they see him tomorrow.
     
  19. Athena

    Athena Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    So sorry I'm sure it hurt a lot but like Jo said, I wouldn't worry too much about play biting: while you don't want it, it shouldn't be your biggest worry. I've been *bitten* by a dog whilst trying to break up a fight single-handed. I needed reconstructive surgery to repair tendon and nerve and close the jagged skin. I have no doubt that a large dog like a lab could have broken the bones in my wrist. This is not the same kind of bite, correct?

    My lab mix Johnny appeared to nip - I prefer this verb and yes it hurt a lot - out of the blue but as I got to know him I saw he nipped at certain times. If he didn't want me to go upstairs, he nipped me when I got up from the sofa. He nipped when over-excited or disappointed (?), i.e. if we went to the field he expected me to throw balls for him. Immediately. Getting on a schedule and maturity helped tremendously.

    He also had a distinctive bark that preceded the nipping so in time I was able to de-escalate him. Reward calm behavior when you can.
     
  20. Heather9090

    Heather9090 Registered Users

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    I wanted to give everyone an update!

    A Scooby is a little over 5 months now and he is absolutely amazing. With some structure, love, and play he has learned what we like and don't and has merged to be apart of our family beautifully! I can't believe I was so worried when I look back on that now.
    So for everyone coming here because they are concerned about their labs behavior, it's most likely normal and they will grow out of it, just be patient and give him/her time because they deserve that! He's still a puppy, but he's starting to become a bit more mature. I really couldn't be happier and he's a happy guy!
     
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