I've read a lot of stuff on Nipping and Chewing for puppies. My 8 week old seems to get in this hyper mode for 20 minutes where he grabs pants, tugs on rugs, chairs, sofas, nips at finger and toes. I always give a stern no, and give him his chew toy, then praise him for chewing on that instead, but he shows no interest in the toy, and goes right back to going for fingers and pants. I read to give him a little slap on the nose with my fingers yelling "NO BITING" and that seems to work, but will he become afraid? I'm sure it's not really hurting him, but just letting him know who's boss. Anyone have experience with this? And is this normal for all lab pups, or does mine just seem extra relentless!
NO DAVID MY LAB PUP DONE THE SAME THINGS AND NOW THAT HE IS 16 WEEKS OLD HE STILL DOES THOSE SAME THINGS EVEN THOUGH HE HAS CALMED DOWN SOME. JUST CONTINUE APPLYING THE STERN NO BITE REMARKS. I DON'T THINK A LITTLE POP ON THE NOSE HURTS, BUT I DO TAKE MY THE PALM OF MY HAND AND PUT IT IN HIS MOUTH TOWARD THE BACK OF HIS JAW AND WITH MY OTHER HAND PRESS THE BACK OF HIS HEAD INTO THE HAND THAT IS IN HIS MOUTH. HE REALLY DON'T LIKE THAT, SO NOW WHEN I GO TO PUT MY HAND IN HIS MOUTH HE THINKS TWICE ABOUT BITTING, BUT HE IS VERY PERSITENT ON TRYING ME.
Personally I would not hit the puppy. The only way he knows how to play right now is to bite. You have to teach him that you are not a puppy and that it hurts when he bites you.
We use "no bite" and replace our toes, fingers, hands, arms, legs, etc with something Token is allowed to chew on. It is a very slow process and takes lots of consistency and time. If redirection does not work then pup goes in a time out until he is calm.
Token (rescue baby and salmon fisher extraordinaire)
I would NOT hit the puppy (tap or slap or whatever you want to call it). In general - it will make him hand shy and probably is not the the best way to correct behavior. I would withdraw attention (stand still and ignore him) and if he does not settle on his own move him to the crate for a bit of a time out. You should always have appropriate safe chew objects to redirect him to.
Puppies that have been in the litter with their siblings to 8 weeks at least have less of a mouthy issue - they learn about bite inhibition by interacting with their siblings. If you got your puppy earlier than 8 weeks this could be part of the problem.
He'll grow out of this - but you really have to be consistent.
Sharon, Blaise and Diesel.
What you are doing by forcing your hand in your puppies mouth and pushing his head forward is pretty harsh to say the least. Preferable to fold the lip over a tooth and press down just to the point that the puppy is uncomfortable. What you are doing could result in injury to the puppy.
Sharon, Blaise and Diesel.
Yeah, I guess sometimes it can get a bit frustrating. I think we got him at 7 weeks. He's on his 9th week right now. Hitting him on the nose hasn't seemed to make him hand shy, what he'll do is keep nipping, and barking in frustration, and when he makes contact I hit his nose and finally he'll give out a bark, mumble a little and back down. It usually all starts when I take him away from something that he is enjoying. Like pulling the suede off the dining room chairs, or biting the sofas etc. I'll yell no, he'll continue to do it, I'll redirect him to his chew toy, he bites it for one second and go back to the chair/sofa etc. so now I have been holding him by the skin of his neck and he seems to get the idea. But then it becomes a power struggle where he'll go after my fingers and hands. I guess I can give him a timeout, but I don't want to associate his crate as being a negative place, as of now he really is comfortable in it, he doesn't whine and doesn't mind us leaving for short periods of time. I'd hate for him to see his crate in a negative way, and bark and whine in it all the time. So to recap.
My puppy will be pulling curtains, biting chairs, tables, sofas etc, when I go to pull him away, he gets pissed at me, and I feel I need to show him who's boss. My breeder says it's very important to be assertive about being the alpha in the household, and I just feel that by saying NO, he just doesn't seem to listen, and the chew toy is only a temporary distraction, he knows what he really wants.
When our pup was doing this - very typical - here's what we found to be most helpful:
- Total "ignore" when they nip you. By "ignore," I don't mean "go ahead and let them bite you." I mean: instantly take your hand away, fold your arms, become stiff as a statue, look at the ceiling, turn your back. Make a big show of "I'm ignoring you!" The pup may continue to nip for a moment, but then it will back off, become confused, and look up at you quietly. At THAT moment, "turn yourself back on" and smile, pet, praise, "good puppy!" Repeat, repeat, repeat as needed. He will get the idea, although keep in mind he's still very young, so you have to repeat lessons a lot, have a lot of patience. I told my kids to "act like a statue." The yelling, popping on the nose, pulling your hand away, etc. only further heightens his frenzy. He doesn't know what "NO" means at this age, so imagine yourself instead yelling "GO!" It's all the same to him, in a loud voice. Body language is easier to him. When you pull your hand or press it into his mouth, it's like another pup playing. To withdraw all attention in a firm way is unmistakable.
- We gated our pup out of the living room because of all the nipping, pulling on the pillows, sofa, curtains, etc. At this young age, I would keep him only in places that have the fewest objects to pull and bite - the kitchen, hallways, etc. We've taken away all our throw pillows for a while; put shoes away, don't leave sweaters or stuffed animals on the floor, etc. When he gets older with more self control, you can expand his world. But for now, you're looking at a lot of correction if you give him this kind of access to no-nos. Easier on him and you if you limit as much access to trouble as possible, and slowly add it back as he gets more self-control. We're just now letting our pup into living room and loose in main areas of house when we're home, and she's almost 6 mos.
If your puppy is getting into the stuff you describe above, he is not adequately supervised. He should never be unsupervised except when he is securely in his crate.
Think about it - if you said NO to an infant child, would he get it? It's a matter of consistently redirecting the puppy to something else besides what he is destroying, using a word or sound to correct, rewarding for appropriate behavior and being a benevolent leader. He will eventually learn to associate your words, tone and body language to his actions and behavior.
There is a whole lot more to training a puppy and dog than being "alpha". It is wholly not necessary to dominate a puppy. He already knows who is boss - it's the one who controls the food.
Sharon, Blaise and Diesel.