New Puppy Parent, lots of biting and running away

Discussion in 'Labrador Puppies' started by Megan H, May 7, 2019.

  1. Megan H

    Megan H Registered Users

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    I have the happy puppy book and read it before getting my puppy but I am not rereading it but I am so exhausted I was hoping I could get some help from my fellow lab parents.

    My puppy bites me ALOT. I try to yell NO and sometimes she listens but other time she is very persistent. I know it is because I tend to play some ruff games and tug a war with her. Any tips on some non aggressive games I can play?? I have been trying to use her puppy food as motivation for some light training but that doesn't seem to motivate her. Any recommendation on treats instead of her regular food??

    When we first got her she would follow me around in the yard. Now she will go out about half way and sit then run right to all the things I am trying to keep her away from.

    Any tips are greatly appreciated, I am just exhausted.
     
  2. Jo Laurens

    Jo Laurens Registered Users

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    It sounds like there are many things you are not doing 'right', here - which can lead to problems in the future. Are you attending a good and force-free training class, which will teach you how dogs learn and how to train them?

    Please do not yell 'no' at your puppy when she bites you. Please search on this forum for other, more appropriate ways to deal with this. It is one of the most commonly asked questions here and folks who answer posts can't repeat everything, each time... this is one you need to use the search facility for.

    If she is not interested in working for her food, then you have a food motivation problem which you need to urgently address before you can begin training proper. The way to address this is to train her with ALL her meals and if she isn't interested, she doesn't get the food - it goes back in the bag until the next meal time, when again she has an opportunity to earn it through training.

    If you try to deal with this by just using tastier food, you will only end up with a dog which fills up on treats and doesn't want her regular food - so you are constantly switching to find something she 'likes'. That's a recipe for creating a fussy eater which lacks food motivation and your dog simply won't be very trainable unless she is motivated by food....

    Did you really expect your dog to continue to follow you everywhere and not to go and investigate the world and all the reinforcers in it? You really need to learn about how dogs learn...

    For starters, your dog should be on a puppy house line and unable to reach things you don't want her to reach in the yard, because she is attached to you. The alternative is barricading off all the things you don't want her to reach - which is a lot harder.
     
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  3. Anthony Abrao

    Anthony Abrao Registered Users

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    Captain, my 6 month old chocolate, loves sticks. He has had this infatuation since the day we brought him home 4 months ago. What we learned was that when we would take them away from him,he would go find another. If we walked the yard and tried to pick them up while he was around, he saw it as a game. Both of these remedies reinforced to Captain that if he wanted the sticks he had to be very energetic about getting them before we took them away. It became a race to collect the sticks and take them away from him, and the unwanted behavior got really bad. We began to take toys, training treats, or other items to "trade" him for the sticks. Captain quickly stopped running away and playing keep away. He willingly recalled and would surrender the stick for whatever we had to trade. Taking toys, training treats, or other items your dog finds interesting may help eliminate the seeking out of unwanted items.

    I was fortunate that Captain has always been food motivated. However, i did use his food as training treats from the very first day we brought him home. Three feedings a day, a total amount of three cups of food. I would give him a full cup in the AM, and half a cup at his other feedings (noon, 5 pm). That left a full cup of food that i would use as training. At every feding i would have his scoop of food, have him sit a few feet away (reward for sitting), tell him wait until i stood up, and then tell him "okay" and he would get his food as a reward for the wait. This is commonly called food manners, and there are other ways to do it. I think there is a video of it in my post titled Captain's Log in the training section. I am confident that the use of his kibble as training rewards at different levels has influenced his continued food motivation.

    Biting. Oh, biting. Puppies use their mouths to do so much exploring, and they use it to show their appreciation and excitement as well. That didnt occur to me until i read it somewhere in this forum, and it seems to be something many of us overlook when we get a puppy. It seems common sense, but sometimes sense isnt common. Like i said, it wasnt for me. Every time Captain would get too rough with biting, we would distract him with a toy and usually turn it into a game of fetch or tug of war. Sometimes we would distract him with training. He would get bitey, so we would give him a command, and when he performed properly we would reward him. The physical activity as well as mental activity really made a great impact on his biting, and we found that these approaches worked on other bad behaviors as he has continued to grow. Also, we wantd him to understand "be nice", so it was a command that we began working, too. When he would get bitey, too energetic during indoor fetch, or otherwise unruly, we would ay "be nice" and when he would calm down we would reward him.

    I hope this helps. There are many people on this forum who are certified and accomplished with behavior and training. Sometimes the answers may seem a bit discouraging, difficult, or non-helpful, but a majority of behavior and training questions have likely been answered elsewhere and searching can be much quicker than waiting for a reply. I try to spend 10-15 minutes searching the forums for my question before i post the question. My post numbers are low because of this, but it doesnt mean i dont use this forum A LOT.
     
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  4. Megan H

    Megan H Registered Users

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    Thank you for your input!! I think in the beginning of the week I was REALLY overwhelmed. I have adjusted my behavior a lot. I am able to handle the biting better with a totally different approach. I always have a toy in my hand when we are playing so that I can distract her. When she gets too worked up I have been calmly putting her in the crate. I think I am going to try using the bathroom and a kong for this instead of the crate going forward and see how that works.

    This weekend and next week I am going to take her out to different places. Shes explored every piece of mulch in our backyard and tried to trim every tree and bush. She was at my side for the first day now she is comfortable and is exploring. I am just so worried that she is going to get lost or eat something to hurt her. I shouldn't worry about losing her since our backyard is very secure and we are always out there with her. But I am a first time mommy.

    I don't want to over feed her so I measure out her meals and leave a little kibble for when she potties and goes into the crate. I have been doing some training with the kibble but the kibble doesn't seem to motivate her that much. Any suggestions on treats? I had a dog YEARS ago and he always had stomach problems so I worry about giving her anything but the kibble.

    thanks you again you have NO IDEA how much this has helped me. I read so many books before I got her and when we finally brought her home it was like I totally forgot everything.
     
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  5. Ruth Buckley

    Ruth Buckley Registered Users

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    I think you need to measure out her daily food and use most of it (maybe all of it) for training.
    I use things like dried sprats and cooked chicken for portable training treats.
    His 'proper food' is raw so he finds it super motivating. I rarely give it to him all in one go, even now. I prefer to reinforce a few drops or recalls or stays giving it to him piece by piece or even from a spoon if minced. Messy but worth it!
     
  6. WillowA

    WillowA Registered Users

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    My rescue Springer was not motivated by food at all and it was very difficult to train her in fact we never let her off the lead as she just ran off.
    At home she would do anything for a doggy treat.
    With Willow my 8 month old Lab I make everything a game she is a quick learner and loves her treats so is easy to train.
    Glad you are getting there with your pup.
    I put sardines mixed with dry food in a Kong and freeze i also use it for training you need high value treats.
    Cheese, sausage any meat you get left over from meals.
    My lab is not allowed in the garden on her own as she eats things she shouldn't so she closely watched.
     
  7. Anthony Abrao

    Anthony Abrao Registered Users

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    How old is your puppy? There are considerations that should be made about taking her out and about before getting all of her shots. I was literally counting the days until Captain and i were going to be able to see the world. It was an incredible change.

    Dogs vary about being food motivated. There are some training you can do that may help. Keeping some of the kibble for training rewards is definitely a great idea. One training i did was food manners. I would have him sit about 3 feet away from his bowl, reward the sit, tell him to wait, pour the food into his bowl, and then when i would stand up and be clear of his path to the bowl, tell him okay. The food is the reward. 4 months later and he does all of this by himself when he sees us coming with his food scoop. Still though, it may not help with making her food motivated. If it doesnt, there are an abundance of training treats that can be found in the aisles at pet stores, and youcan even make your own like WillowA and Ruth Buckley mentioned.
     
  8. Ryakki

    Ryakki Registered Users

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    Playing fetch can be great for help training with sit, stay, drop, leave it and a variant of recall like clapping your hands, just dont use your recall words.
    labs learn the fetch game so fast it can be used for training very early.
     

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