We picked up a golden lab at 7 weeks old. Purebred, Gorgeous little guy. He's 3 months now and he has Serious aggression issues. All four of us family members have scaB's and scrapes on our arms from him. He gets two 15-20 minute walks a day. He gets real aggressive when he's getting tired. He'll start panting and keep lunging and biting and snapping. His ears go back, we can give him a Kong stuffed with goods and he still bites after. When he gets hyped up we usually hold him down on his side until you notice he calms down then you can let him go and he starts biting at other things. If you go to stop him he snaps at you. Suggestions please?
I'm far from an expert, but most here are going to suggest you go to training classes or hire a trainer for him.
One thing the MSPCA taught in the class we took, was with the biting, to smear peanut butter on your hand, and teach him to lick, not bite. I don't think the holding him down action is helping.
My pup, will jump on and bite my son, but not in an agressive way at all. He thinks it's playtime with his "brother". He's now 6 months and has calmed down significantly as far as the biting and niping goes. Plus the razor puppy teeth are gone which helps. I had scabs and cuts on my arms and legs from bites and scratches for most of his first 4 months.
That peanut butter on the hand I'll try. When we hold him down for a couple minutes 85-90% of the time he'll go full asleep somewhere after that. It's just bad to where you can see him getting mad, this isn't playing. Grabbing his bed growling hard and ripping it back and fourth. He's been doing the humping thing too when he gets like that
I'm no expert either, but I can almost guarantee you it isn't aggression. This is how puppies play. Read through the puppy training section. Almost everyone has this problem.
I have four main suggestions:
1. Choose one method for dealing with this behaviour, and stick with it. Holding him down isn't a good idea. Instead, try holding his snout shut for a second while saying a firm "No Bite." You will have to do this 100 times a day, likely for many more months. But, if you're consistent, it will get better.
2. When the biting starts, or when you can see it coming, don't put yourself in a position to get bitten. I often see people getting into a fight with their pup over biting. Instead, try a game of fetch or go for a short walk. Anything to get the pup doing something else. Don't get into a battle of wills.
3. If you have a friend or family member with a friendly, fully vaccinated dog, have it come over to play. It will not only burn off a lot of your pup's energy, but I often find other dogs are good at giving puppies proper instructions. My mom's dog bit my pup once, not too hard but hard enough to cause a yelp and a little blood. He's never bit her since.
4. Training classes! I started at 12 weeks old and it was by far the best thing I ever did with my puppy.
This us NOT aggression, this is normal puppy behavior. It is up to you to teach him it is unacceptable but holding him down is ineffective and won't do more than piss him off. If you see he is tired put him in his crate for a nap, worked every time for Maxx. As mentioned above picking one method to correct and having everyone in the family stick to it, EVERY time, usually does the trick. It takes time, patience and consistency but it can be done. A training class is a great idea along with some off leash play, mental training and play dates with dogs that are fully vetted. Two 15-20 minute walks are not enough exercise for a puppy.
Maxx & Emma Jean
Ozzy - 10/16/02 - 06/28/11 - Always in my heart.
Sometimes the hardest part isn't letting go - but learning to start over.
I highly and hugely appreciate your comments. I'll get everyone on the same page and will do the snout thing and we'll stop the holding him down. How much time a day would you suggest for walks? Im justbworried about the hip issue in the future.
We have scars! It is completely normal and he won't grow up to be a mean dog. They're like little baby sharks for the first 4-5 months. Even at 7 months our puppy will still get mouthy when she's really excited.
I would try to get an hour of exercise every day for your puppy at that age. Puppies are angels when they're worn out
This is completely normal puppy behavior. I agree make sure he is getting off leash play. We go to the parke and throw the ball to olive or go to my parents and she plays with their labradoodle. This wears her out leash walking does not tire out a puppy they need lots of time off leash playing.
Wanted to reiterate that holding down a puppy or dog is not a good method for managing behavior. Studies have shown that it actually INCREASES aggression. It's part of very outdated thought on training dogs based on dominance theory that has unfortunately gained a lot of popular acceptance due to the amount of TV exposure one famous dog trainer gets. It's not current science on dog behavior and was disproved more than a decade ago.
Sharon, Blaise and Diesel.
lots of great advice. I want to re-iterate that the exercise at that age needs to be OFF LEASH. lots of playing in the yard and play dates and such if you can. Leash walks should remain short.
Also do lots of training and mental stimulation.
and absolutely, puppy classes ASAP.
Charlie (foster) and Rocky