Ok, we have a new puppy, she is 7 weeks old but we have had her one week. I work part time, so for a few days, she has had to stay in cage for several hours. I don't think this is causing her to bite, but I have read that boredom will make Labs chew, so I still suspect it.
We have toys out the wazoo for her.. and she loves her bird toy best of all, but she can still grab us suddenly in her teeth and she can bring blood! We don't want to yell, hit, or otherwise scare her, but we have tried the firm "no" thing and offered her other toys, but she gets all excited (she just thinks it is fun) about biting and won't go to the toys again so I have to put her back into her cage, which she hates, until she settles back down. (update, we now have a small room that she likes much better and we use that now)
I think we must not be doing this right (but perhaps we are..).. so please.. any advice? She goes back to the breeder (and her siblings) for a visit this weekend!
She is biting hard because she didn't get the benefit of learning bite inhibition from her brothers and sisters in the extra two weeks that they normally stay with the litter. Not sure about advice to stop it, but that would be a good guess as to why it is happening.
I'm not an expert but have found with other dogs that using my hand and fingers in the same manner that another dog would their mouth, ie, pushing them away, pinning them down gently, has stopped the biting. Not explaining it very well but she needs to learn acceptable dog behaviour and having left her siblings and mum early she's missed out so you need to educate her by emulating that behaviour.
maybe this article might help: http://siriuspup.com/pop_biting.html
in my experience, the best thing for teaching no bite have been time outs. i know that pinching, grabbing, fingers down throat, etc., in order to punish, correct, startle the pup works for some people and their dogs, but i've seen some dogs start to develope hand shy behavior or simply get better at evading the physcial contact meant for correction.
yelping doesn't always work (depends on the dog). it may make the pup more excited. shouting in a mean voice may have the same effect. also, a lot of rough and tumble physical interaction is easily seen by dogs as playing, so they get more revved up and eager to "play." give your pup appropriate chew toys. if he insists that people are the best chew toys, place him in a secure area (ie crate) to calm down and try redirecting him again. dogs, especially puppies and young dogs really hate being isolated from their pack, so although a time out seems weak on the surface, it can be a powerful training tool. whichever method you choose, be consistent with it. good luck.
"Properly trained, a man can be dog's best friend." ~ Corey Ford
Hi Cynthia, I've had my lab pup Bailey since she was 7 weeks old and she was exactly the same! it really worried me to begin with because i didn't understand why she was biting, whether it was aggression or just play. She would bite people when they came round and sometimes really clamp down, and has drawn blood on a few occasions. It all got me quite upset because i just kept thinking 'what am i doing wrong' and i was worried about taking her out in case she nipped someone and they would think i was doing something wrong.
So i read up as much as i could and looked at lots of articles and stuff on the internet, and from what i can gather it's very normal for a puppy to put stuff in their mouth (especially Labradors!!) as they test and explore everything this way and are just playing. But as some puppies have much stronger jaws than others and are more strong willed (like Bailey) their nips are harder than others and just need to be taught what's right and wrong. So even though she was only playing with us it still really hurt, and when we were telling her 'no' and telling her off, it seemed to excite her more and she would try even harder to get us because she thought it was a game!
We tried loads of different things, like turning and ignoring her, which was suggested a lot, but when you've got a puppy clamped onto your foot it's very hard to think about anything other than getting the little scamp off you!! We also tried pushing her away and the pinning thing but none of them worked with Bailey they just wound her up more!
We found what has worked best for Bailey and us, is always have loads of toys around to try and direct her onto thouse, but if she starts nipping and getting too much we put her in the kitchen, not as a punishment, but as cool down time and 9 times out of 10 she would come back out after 30 seconds and be fine again - if she was still hyped up we'd put her back for about a minute and we've never had to do it more than twice! Also when we put her in there other than saying, 'no' or 'ouch' when she first bites we wouldn't talk to her and would stay quiet while we put her in there.
I've also read that having a cage/crate for your puppy is really good as it acts like a den for them, we've got one for Bailey and she loves it as it's her own safe place to go and she knows that no one bothers here there, but we don't ever put her in it for cool down time as we don't want her to associate something she's done wrong with being in it. So maybe when your puppy needs to calm down see if you can find somewhere else to put them rather than in their crate.
We found the times when she was biting most was when we would be playing with her and she would get over excited and just nip at anything in front of her, so we try not to get her to the point where she starts going mental and we would always make sure we had plenty of toys around to direct her onto those - we just used the kitchen as a last resort kind of thing - oh we also stopped playing tug of war with her which i think made a big difference!!
Also I work fulltime, I leave Bailey about 8:15 in the morning, then come home again for an hour at lunch and then get back at just after 5 in the evening. I always have a peep through the window to see what she's doing when I get back and 9 times out of 10 she's fast asleep! She has plenty of stuff to keep her entertained, but puppies need a lot of sleep so chances are when you're not there that's what she'll be doing.
I really wouldn't worry too much as she's still really young, she just needs to learn what she can have in that little mouth and what she can't. Something else we do is we'll let Bailey have our fingers and hand in her mouth so she can mouth them, but as soon as she starts to grip we'll say 'ouch' and take it away, I've read that this helps them to learn what is acceptable as well, especially as labs are good carriers and do have very gentle mouths, they just need training. Also while we were trying to stop her biting we tried not to put our hands or fingers near her face.
Sorry I've written an essay, I'm no expert and this is the first time I've owned a dog of my own, but i just wanted to tell you what we've expereinced as when i was looking up stuff to help Bailey i wanted all the info i could find, so i hope this helps. Also so many people told me not to worry and that she'd grow out of it, and even though she's only 14 weeks now she's 10 times better than she was. She was nipping 2/3 times a day, now she might only do it once in every 4/5 days and we can calm her down so much faster, so I'm really pleased.
I hope you find something that works for you both.
Thanks for all the advice. So far, the only thing that has worked has been a sort of "time out" but I regret this because I am not sure I am doing the right thing... it separates her from us a lot because she can only play a few minutes before she goes all chewbaca on us! I don't mind it if I know it is the thing to do, but if I am giving her anxiety by constantly putting her away I want to stop my pattern. We will be able to sign up for puppy training at pet smart in a few weeks, does anyone have experience with PetSmart and pet training? Good or bad??
Thanks so much,
what games are you playing with her? Is it rough housing, fetch games, tug, what?
Games such as "get the ball" and "tug of war" with her rope also include diversion tactics. She loves her bird, and a pink bear. She will play with them until she suddenly decides there must be a great bone underneath all that skin on my arm and then no toy will look as good. I can briefly put a toy in her mouth as she nips at me, but then she gets too excited and I have to pick her up and take her to her "room". She was raised in an outside area that had a fan blowing so I keep a fan blowing in that room too and it calms her a lot. She won't cry there, she will just settle down and many times go to sleep.
How old is the dog now?
Joel Silverman<br />www.companionsforlife.net
Tug of War will often excite a puppy alot. One of your issues is that you picked up this puppy too young (which was said upthread but you may have missed) They should be in the litter with sibs until 8 weeks old. Interaction with littermates and mom helps them to learn bite inhibition. So, she is now learning that lesson with you instead.Originally Posted by cushing1961
She needs to get the message that biting you is undesirable behavior and the best way to do that is to deprive her of what she wants most (your attention and interaction). Luke from Georgia's advice is solid - follow it!