Ill go ahead and apologize for the huge wall of text in advance, I would also like to ask that before you respond you read all of the information because this is a very complicated, and what seems like a very specific strange problem. I actually havent seen anything online describing these specific issues together. Anyway though, my beautiful lab, Tanner, that I bought last summer is by far one of the most intelligent dogs I've ever been around. There's no doubt that he's beautiful and intelligent, but my family and I are having the absolute hardest time we've ever had with a dog. My family has always had labs, Tanner is not our first. While all dogs are different, there is still common behavior patterns between breeds and he is unlike any other lab I've been around. Tanner is 15 months old now and the problems im about to describe have been going on for months now. He continuously bites us when we bring him in, he cant sit still at all, it doesnt matter what he has. No toy or treat can keep him still. We buy him chew toys or some kind of treat on a daily basis just so we can bring him in, the toys or treats seem to curve his need to bite but the problem is that he still has that need to bite despite having something in his mouth. For example, every day I'll be sitting on the couch watching T.V. or on my laptop and he is just going in circles below me while I pet him, he'll have a bully stick or a cheese roll or some kind of treat in his mouth and yet he STILL puts his mouth right up to my hand and follows it around. Its extremelly frustrating because its almost like he's obsessed with biting me, his mouth just follows my hand while im petting him, putting his teeth right up against his hand. He'll occasionally "accidently" bite my hand while he has his chew toy because of how close his mouth is to my hand. When I move my hand around he follows it around, he is absolutely obsessed with my hand. Sometimes I'll be sitting there and he jumps up on the couch and gets his mouth right against my hand and just grind his muzzle and front teeth against it. He is a very affectionate dog which leads me to believe that this obsessive biting is some kind of act of affection to him. He also will just randomly start jumping up on me and start biting my arm, which of course my natural reaction is to push him off, which against a huge lab doesnt do much. This leads to even more aggressive biting and eventually leads to barking and growling. My family and I have tried everything, we've bought multiple DVD's on different training methods, we've read multiple articles and gotten lots of different opinions, and none apply specifically to our problem which is why im posting this. We've tried putting bitter apple on everyone arm and that doesnt phase him at all, we've tried just a gentle swat on the nose for discouragement, we've tried keeping him on a leash inside the house to assert some kind of control, we've tried various different training methods incase maybe this was a dominance issue, we've tried spray bottles, we've tried turning around and not showing any attention, we've tried the fake cry or the walking into another room, and many firm no's. He listens any other time, he listens when he's learning new treats or when we tell him no to something else, other than the obsessive biting he's an amazing dog, knows many tricks and will go into submissive possitions, but it just seems like the biting is an un fixable problem. We are at our wit's end with this because every day we dread bringing the dog in, which is not how it should be, we are all dog lovers. He is excercised THOROUGHLY, walks to the lake, fetch and various other games every day. We just cant put our finger on what this problem is, thank you in advance for your responses and I appreciate you taking the time to read this problem and respond accordingly. Thank you.
are there no trainers or training classes near you? I would recommend signing up for training classes.
sounds like a training issue. based on my understanding of your post. lack of boundaries and lack of training "settle". he's always "on". Dogs need to exercise not only their body but their brain - part of that is training/boundaries/learning to settle.
Charlie (foster) and Rocky
Did you get him from a reputable breeder? Was he with the litter until he was 8 weeks old or was he released too early? That time with littermates helps teach a puppy bite inhibition. I am dealing right now with a one year old Golden/Hound cross foster dog who has this exact problem - he has absolutely no idea that his teeth hurt. He gets very riled up and grabs a toy from my hand but grabs hand along with the toy and has zero reaction when I cry out. He greets me in the morning when he is let out of his crate by mouthing my hands and arms. I am working on this with him by consistently reacting negatively to him using his mouth this way - but - it is so much easier to address this while a small puppy.
A trainer will be able to observe your dog and counsel you.
Sharon, Blaise and Diesel.
It's very hard for us to address your concerns when we can't see the interaction between you and dog so I wonder if you might consider bringing in a professional to observe you. Any Tom, Dick or Harry can put up a shingle calling themself a dog trainer so I suggest one of the following to find a trainer, assuming you are either in the U.S. or Canada. Not a guarantee but at least there is some kind of code of ethics and learning that these people must meet.
Canadian Association of Professional Pet Dog Trainers
Association of Pet Dog Trainers - Dog Training Resources
I do see three questions I would ask you:
Why must your hand be on his chew toy?
Why do you pet him while you are sitting down if he is mouthing you?
What is your idea of "thoroughly" exercised? Distance, time, speed, terrain, activity? Your idea might be quite different from someone else's.
ETA: Can you use paragraphs please? It's hard to read a solid block of type like that, for me anyway, I'm sure for some others too. Please.
Last edited by Dog Paddle; 05-09-2013 at 11:14 AM.
I live in a pretty small town so there aren't any trainers within an hour range, he was purchased from a reputable breeder also. We bought him at 3 months so he was over 8 weeks old. You could be right about the excercise though, so if you have any suggestions on things to really wear him out I would love to know. We keep him in inside while we're at work, but it's a huge backyard so he has alot of room.
My hand isn't on his toy per se, it's just ill be petting him while he's next to me chewing and he puts him mouth right next to my hand, he like rubs against my hand. I walk him at least 2-3 miles every other day or so to the lake and I walk him around the neighborhood daily.
Last edited by cmac0629; 05-09-2013 at 11:52 AM.
for exercise he neesd off leash running. walks are great but not an exercise that tire a dog.
read up on nothing in life is free (NILF) and implement it. do two training sessions daily and make every interaction with the dog a training moment. It sounds like he hasn<t had many boundaries - so that is step one, implement boundaries.
Charlie (foster) and Rocky
I agree with the hire a trainer. Classes are great because your trainer can tell you what your body signals are saying to your dog--you may not even be aware of the signals you are sending. And they keep his mind busy. Learning is tiring.
Take him out to that big back yard and spend an good amount of time throwing a ball or frisbee. Anything that he will run after. Is he treat motivated? If so, buy a dog puzzle and fill it with treats and see how long it takes him to figure it out.
Teddy circles like that also when he is very excited to see someone. Not so much once they have been in the house for a while. If he has been alone for a while, that would explain the excited circling. I would say, don't let him circle. Even if you have to leash him. Make him sit before you pet him. If he breaks the sit, no pets. He sits again, more petting. He needs to know what will get him what he craves--which is your hands on him. Teeth touching you? No petting. Get up, turn your back if you have to. No teeth=lots of petting. It will take a while since he has been doing this for 15 months.
Last edited by Jefferson'n'Ted; 05-09-2013 at 10:54 PM.
“If I know every single phone call you’ve made, I’m able to determine every single person you’ve talked to; I can get a pattern about your life that is very, very intrusive. And the real question here, is what do they do with this information that they collect – that does not have anything to do with al-Qaeda? And we’re gonna trust the president and the vice president that they’re doing the right thing? Don’t count me in on that.”
Joe Biden, 2006
One thing I picked up on is you said "when you bring him in". Is he living outside in a kennel or fenced yard and you occasionally bring him in and he acts this way?
What you describe to me sounds like puppy play, which older dogs will do if they were not taught not to do it when they were puppies. If he has very limited interactions with the family every day or whenever you decide to bring him in this would likely make the problem worse. It could be attention seeking behavior because the dog is lonely or it could be him trying to drain energy through play.
Hard to advise not knowing much about how the dog lives and how much exercise he gets.
Deep Run Traveling "Takoda" (12/05/12)
Deep Run Easygoing Ezekial "Zeke" (04/13/17)
Sounds like he has you trained to take care of all his wants and needs! I'd get into a GOOD obed class w/ a no-nonsense trainer. Dogs need to know that once in the house, they settle down. That's nonsense if he is commanding your attention as much as it sounds. Bring him in, put him in a crate if he is acting like a terd. He can gain privileges as he learns some basic manners.
WindyCanyon Girls, August 2014