my puppy is about 13-14 weeks old.
he is a joy, and i love him more than anything.
the one constant issue i'm having with him is his BITING habits.
he likes to bite me and my girlfriend all the time. i know he thinks it's play, but we are very stern with him about it because we don't want any problems down the line. (plus those little teeth HURT!)
my issue is- even though i have been consistent and constant about him not biting me (stuffing a toy in his mouth or closing his muzzle with my hands for a few seconds) - he does not seem to be learning the right thing.
he even gets aggressive and growls sometimes when we are keeping him away from our hands/arms/feet/etc. and then i really have to lay down the law and force him to lay down on his back and calm down.
can you guys offer any suggestions? i feel like i've tried everything i've read...
This is one of the most discussed topics on this sub-forum, in my experience. Do a search on my username, as I posted several times since January asking about this and got numerous responses (others have also initiated threads on this topic recently). Basically, in my experience -- both with my pup and based on the info I gleaned from this board -- this is NORMAL behavior for many lab pups. I referred to my puppy as "Misty the Terrorist" for the first few months of her life. She was the most mouthy creature I had ever seen, or could ever imagine. Now, she's 22 weeks old, and she is MUCH better. So, there is hope!
I think the key is, be CONSISTENT -- don't allow him to bite, if that means removing yourself from the puppy, and isolating him for awhile, do it. Just be consistent, and have faith that if you wait out this stage of his life, it will get better. Misty is still very mouthy, but now, it is more often licking than biting. When she DOES bite (she still loves to have a hand in her mouth), she is very gentle -- she seems to have learned good "bite inhibition" and has a very soft mouth.
Just hang in there, be consistent with your training/discipline, and do some searches on this board. There is a WEALTH of information, from people who have been through precisely what you have.
By the way, the growls are, in all likelihood -- puppy play. Don't worry about that, from an "aggressiveness" standpoint.
Let me offer you a solution that worked well for my Puff and me when she was a pup.
First, recognize that all normal puppies are chewers. They must chew -- it's not an issue of training them not to do it. They need to do it to accomplish the exchange of puppy teeth for adult teeth. Some Lab pups can be trained to NOT chew certain body parts or objects -- but many cannot.
Some people freeze wet knotted wash cloths for puppies to chew on to relieve the sore or itching teeth & gums. Many report some help from that. This is what we used:
I always kept some Hartz Mountain (brand) chew sticks with me. These are made of tiny pieces of compressed rawhide held together by a flavored medium, each one about the size of a cigarillo. They come maybe 300 to a package at WalMart.
Since the rawhide is in very small pieces, even when they're swallowed, they won't create intestinal blockages.
There are many manufacturers of similar products but most are made in third world countries without our animal health food standards and as no-name brands. (Heard of wheat gluten from China?) My guiding principle to give to Puff was that it MUST have
-- a company name and full address,
-- a toll free number, and
-- a guarantee of customer satisfaction
to justify buying it (and preferably be made in the US, UK, or Canada). If it doesn't have all three (or 4) of those, don't get it. Many people have reported their pups got stomach upsets from chewing similar sticks.
I suspect that's often because the chew sticks came from questionable sources and unhealthy chemicals were used in their processing. (But, just as not every Lab pup's digestive system will be comfortable with any one particular food formula, a few upsets surely occured because of differences there, too?)
Whenever Puff attacked my ankles or hands, computer wires, table legs, or stairs, etc. , I'd whip out a chew stick from my pocket to distract her and substitute one of those. Their flavor was much more attractive to Puff than my skin -- or the other gnaw things.
It worked every time.
I'd often find myself thankfully muttering about the chew sticks words similar to the American Express card slogan -- "Don't go anywhere without it."
I've since learned there are some people who do not like Hartz Mountain products or their typical ingredients. But on this, it was a matter of either-or survival and using the HM chew sticks was certainly the least bad choice for us. Now that I know more about food and quality companies, if I'd seen similar chew sticks made by mfrs like Diamond, Eukanuba, Nutro, or Nestle-Purina -- maybe some of those would have been even better. (While all those companies do make treats, the chewsticks are far lower in kcals.)
Puff never had a stomach upset on the HM product so it worked out very well for us.
Puff [YF, AKC field line (from competing HT/FT breeder) 62 lbs, dob: 8-'01]
Like Steve said...you can do a search under my user name too. I've posted about this as our little one was/is bad with the biting. She also did the barking/growling/lunging thing too. She is now 17 weeks old and it is a bit better. Her teeth aren't as sharp now either She has lost several teeth in the last week, so her big girl teeth are on the way ;D. I've heard its like night and day once the adult teeth come in, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed! We've found that she is super sweet and much less bitey when she is tired out, so exercise is good. Just make sure not to do too much. A lot of people go by the 5 minutes per month of age rule.
our 13 week old lab puppy is having the same problem- she has no other "issues"- she's very sweet-natured, she is almost completely housebroken- she is crate-trained and happily sleeps through the night. She has almost constant companionship during the day- she is not lonely by any means.
But she has this playful biting problem- and won't respond to stern "no bite" command and gently holding muzzle- she sees it as a challenge to assert herself and continue.And she sees everyone as fair game. It's confounding because she readily learns and obeys all other instructions and modes of behavior thus far.
Too funny. It's amazing that we all share the exact same experiences.
I just want Bailey to be a nice puppy too!
Especially in the morning when I would LOVE some extra sleep but can't get it because he's biting my hand while we lay in bed.
(i keep him in a crate all night but after his morning potty there's no more quiet time)
Yea totally normal... what I have always done is say "no biting" and walk away from the dog for a little bit. You don't want to be too harsh or they will be confused, since the biting is really normal while they are teething.