biting and chewing
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Thread: biting and chewing

  1. #1
    kenyacat is offline Member
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    Defaultbiting and chewing

    Our 8 week old, well almost 9 week old puppy, does as all puppies do. He bites at your fingers and chews on everything.

    We have been trying to use what a local do trainer said (who we will begin classes with in January - already paid). She said use "Ugh, Ugh" and put a chew toy in his mouth. Didn't seem to work all this week, so we decided to switch to the "No Bite" and put a chew toy in his mouth.

    1. One problem is that I know you are not to push the puppy or be rough, but just trying to get the puppy off your sweater and grabing the chew toy, you end up prying his mouth open and pushing him away and away and away until you get the chew toy. I sit on the floor with him a lot.

    2. We are also teaching him "Down" because he jumps. Not the down as in lay down, but just get down. Should we be using "No Jump" or focusing on "Sit". He will jump on you if you are standing or sitting.

    3. Okay, here is a confusing one for me and puppy. You are standing and he jumps up on your leg and bites your clothes around your knees. Do I use "No Bite" or "Down"?

    Not sure at this age what I should be focusing on. Classes do not start until January and I do not want to let some bad behavior go that long, so I want to begin now.

    A lot of books I have read talk about using a lead while correcting. I do not want him on a leash all day in the house. This happens during play time on the floor.

    Any suggestions on how to begin with a puppy at a young age?

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  3. #2
    kenyacat is offline Member
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    DefaultRe: biting and chewing

    Seems as if the more I try the "No Bite" the more he bites as we are working on it. Not sure what I am doing wrong.

  4. #3
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    DefaultRe: biting and chewing

    OK, We'll deal with the jumping first, since that is simpler (Not necessarily easier). You shouldn't use "Down" as a command, you should use "Off" when he jumps on you. Down will eventually mean something else.
    If he's only jumping on you and not biting, the best think is to fold your arms and turn your back on him. Don't say anything and don't look at him. Once he settles down, give lots of praise. If he is biting your legs, this would still be the best option if you can endure the pain... Essentially, even correcting him is a good reaction for him, since you are looking at him and touching him. If it is to painful, walk into him first so you surprise him and dislodge him, and then immediately fold arms and turn away. I have to stress that walking into him is just nudging him, there's no force involved.

    With the biting, it's more difficult. Some things work well for some dogs and not for others. The first thing you have to remember is that biting is natural for puppies. It's how they play, how they communicate and how they explore the world. Essentially, you can't eliminate biting from a dog, you just need to teach them when it is appropriate.

    Ok, to prevent biting, the following is important:
    • Don't play rough with your puppy and stop playing if your puppy gets too excited. Also, no tug of war or biting games.
    • Practice being able to open your puppies mouth to inspect his teeth. This is very useful later in his life in any case.
    • You need to be calm at all times, especially during mad hours (Puppies go mad at dusk and dawn - this is natural).
    • Give your puppy lots of toys that he is allowed to chew on. Cow hooves are perfect.


    And when the puppy does bite, these are the most common ways of dealing with it:
    • Play Dead: This is the easiest if you can endure the pain. Just let your hand go limp and ignore the puppy. Then when he lets go, slowly remove your hand without making eye contact. If there's no resistance in your hand, he can't bite hard and he'll do less damage. When he starts realizing that he gets no reaction from you, he'll start chewing on more rewarding items.
    • Be Dominant: Calmly grasp around the top of the puppy's muzzle and say "No" in a low pitched calm voice. No need to shout. You should only need to hold him lightly. This is both dominant behaviour (Enforcing the fact that you are in charge) and also happens to be the way his mom would have dealt with it.
    • Show pain then praise: A high pitched victim like squeak will usually surprise the pup enough to let go. After he lets go, you can praise him. This happens when puppies play together and one of them gets to rough. This one is hard for men (Our squeak isn't high pitched enough) If this doesn't work, you're not doing it right and one of the other methods might be better.
    • Show you have teeth too: Make biting an unpleasant experience. If he bites you, push his cheek inwards so that he bites his own cheek or grab his lower jaw with your thumb on his tongue and other fingers under his jaw. Exert gentle pressure until he pulls away.
      If the puppy bites your ankle, just walk away and lift your foot into his face when you take off (I'm not talking about kicking your puppy, more of a nudge to dislodge him and show him that it is unpleasant). This seems cruel, but you usually only have to do this 2 or 3 times before they make the connection (Don't worry puppy heads are made of rubber and are empty in any case )


    All of this assumes that there's no aggression and it's just the puppy playing. If there's any aggression, you can easily make it worse and should rather speak to a behaviouralist. I wouldn't worry about it in a puppy as younger than 6 months old - I just mention it for anybody else that might find this thread at a later stage.

    I've been meaning to post this on my blog, and looking at the essay I wrote, that might have been the better option...

    You can look at these articles on my blog about training. I think they'll be useful to you:
    http://www.labradortraining.riaancor...-reinforcement
    http://www.labradortraining.riaancor...should-i-start
    http://www.labradortraining.riaancor...uctive-chewing
    http://www.labradortraining.riaancor...d-disobedience
    [size=12pt]Discover whether you're making these common Labrador Training mistakes-Just Click here and tell me your biggest question[/size]

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  6. #4
    imported_BigBrownDog is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: biting and chewing

    Quote Originally Posted by riaancornelius

    Ok, to prevent biting, the following is important:
    • Don't play rough with your puppy and stop playing if your puppy gets too excited. Also, no tug of war or biting games.
    • Practice being able to open your puppies mouth to inspect his teeth. This is very useful later in his life in any case.
    • You need to be calm at all times, especially during mad hours (Puppies go mad at dusk and dawn - this is natural).
    • Give your puppy lots of toys that he is allowed to chew on. Cow hooves are perfect.

    Agree with the above except for the cow hooves. They can be questionable unless you know the origin. I would prefer a Nylabone or a stuffed frozen Kong.


    And when the puppy does bite, these are the most common ways of dealing with it:
    • Play Dead: This is the easiest if you can endure the pain. Just let your hand go limp and ignore the puppy. Then when he lets go, slowly remove your hand without making eye contact. If there's no resistance in your hand, he can't bite hard and he'll do less damage. When he starts realizing that he gets no reaction from you, he'll start chewing on more rewarding items.

    Really? You have been successful with this? Puppies are happy to chew on inanimate objects as well as animate ones. I would not let my pup use me as a chew object


    • Be Dominant: Calmly grasp around the top of the puppy's muzzle and say "No" in a low pitched calm voice. No need to shout. You should only need to hold him lightly. This is both dominant behaviour (Enforcing the fact that you are in charge) and also happens to be the way his mom would have dealt with it.
    • Show pain then praise: A high pitched victim like squeak will usually surprise the pup enough to let go. After he lets go, you can praise him. This happens when puppies play together and one of them gets to rough. This one is hard for men (Our squeak isn't high pitched enough) If this doesn't work, you're not doing it right and one of the other methods might be better.
    • Show you have teeth too: Make biting an unpleasant experience. If he bites you, push his cheek inwards so that he bites his own cheek or grab his lower jaw with your thumb on his tongue and other fingers under his jaw. Exert gentle pressure until he pulls away.

    • Basically agree - but choice number 3 should be last resort with a puppy who is resisting all other methods.


      If the puppy bites your ankle, just walk away and lift your foot into his face when you take off. This seems cruel, but you usually only have to do this 2 or 3 times before they make the connection (Don't worry puppy heads are made of rubber and are empty in any case )
    Puppy heads are hardly made of rubber! What you are describing here, "lift your foot into his face" sounds an awful lot like you are telling this new puppy owner to kick him. Please clarify this if I am misreading your direction here. Kenyacat - don't kick your puppy - ever!


    All of this assumes that there's no aggression and it's just the puppy playing. If there's any aggression, you can easily make it worse and should rather speak to a behaviouralist. I know this isn't the case here, but I'd rather mention it for anybody else that might find this thread.
    Seriously - - - aggression in a 9 week old puppy? BWAHAHAHAHA! So silly!
    Sharon

  7. #5
    sarah's Avatar
    sarah is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: biting and chewing

    as RiaanCornelius said, every puppy will respond to different techniques. With our puppy the squeal worked the best. Can you squeal high pitched?? I sure can and I did!

    Milly would bite my arm "Sarah Squeals Loud""... Milly backs off very confused. She sits down. I waited a few seconds while she was calm... and then hand her a toy to bite. Lots of praise when she plays with toy. If it got too unbearable I would leave the room. So Milly learnt two things... number 1. Playing with mum stopped when I squealed after she did the bitey thing..... that wasn't fun! number 2. if Mum/Dad left the room after the squealy episode and I didn't stop biting.... the very thing that caused the over excited biting... playing with them was GONE! that wasn't fun either!

    If you can't leave the room without your puppy following, maybe crating your puppy and leaving it alone for a few minutes may work for you.

    When Milly jumped or was on something she wasn't she was told 'OFF' in a VERY stern voice. Your puppy will be reacting to your pitch levels in your voice so the more clearer you make these the easier this will be for you. If you are happy and wish to praise your puppy.... high pitched happy voice. If you are getting torn to pieces by puppy teeth .... high pitched hurt squeal. If you are not happy with puppies actions .... a stern, low voice OFF.

    Re-directing your puppy to an area that is theirs helps also. For example.. Milly has a 'blankie' (we started with an old towel on the floor) if she was on furniture, jumping on me etc etc. She was told sternly OFF!! and PUT on her blankie say "Blankie". Tell puppy to sit. Praise very hard!!! Lots of pats and a small treat.

    Having an area of the room that is the puppies means that eventually you will be able to redirect your puppy there, praise, sit and stay. Then the puppy can chew messy treats, have time out etc on it's bed or rug area. When children come over and the puppy needs time out. The puppy will have learnt that the blankie is their area. Children can be instructed to leave puppy alone if it goes to that area as it probably needs a time out.

    Be very CONSISTENT. USE treats.... even just small pieces of your puppies kibble rations for the day. LOTS of happy praise, dance around if you have to!!! Puppies LOVE the word 'yay' because it ends on a high note. USE it when the puppy has been good. If you ignore and gently correct the bad things without lots of fuss and reward the GREAT things with lots of happy fuss I can guarantee you that your puppy will repeat the GOOD things because it loves the attention and fuss.

    Good LUCK!

    I also just want to add that your puppy is NOT being aggressive .. puppies learn with their mouths. Labs are very mouthy dogs. Gentle corrections with minimal fuss is the answer! (Same goes with toilet accidents) and I also do NOT condone putting your foot in your puppies face. This is terrible advice in my opinion and can cause your dog to be fearful of feet/shoes etc and I would please hope you ignore this piece of advice that was said in an earlier post!! If you want any more assistance with training questions, you can always feel free to PM me if you want. Cheers, Sarah
    Sarah & Milly - Sydney Australia






  8. #6
    kenyacat is offline Member
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    DefaultRe: biting and chewing

    Thanks everyone. I will switch my "Down" to "Off". He is doing real well with sit, even though we did it by accident. Started to ask him to sit when taking him outside - was easier to put on his leash if he wasn't bouncing around.

    Thanks for the biting suggestions. I will work on them more and maybe get a blanket for the living room as a place for him to go lay down. I hate to put him in his crate, which I have done for 10 minutes at a time the last couple days. But I do not want him to fear or think his crate is a bad place.

    I don't think it is aggressive behavior either. He just gets so excited he gets a bit carried away.

  9. #7
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    DefaultRe: biting and chewing

    About the crate, Just give him a treat every time you put him in his crate, and try to not leave him in there for too long. Also, never let him out if he whines. If he does start whining, wait for him to stop before letting him out (Even if you have to stand there and wait for him to stop for a few seconds). I did it this way, and now I just tell my two 7 month old puppies "In your crate" and they literally run to get there so they can sit down and wait for their treat (which they only get about a third of the time now).


    Quote Originally Posted by BigBrownDog
    Quote Originally Posted by riaancornelius

    Ok, to prevent biting, the following is important:
    • Don't play rough with your puppy and stop playing if your puppy gets too excited. Also, no tug of war or biting games.
    • Practice being able to open your puppies mouth to inspect his teeth. This is very useful later in his life in any case.
    • You need to be calm at all times, especially during mad hours (Puppies go mad at dusk and dawn - this is natural).
    • Give your puppy lots of toys that he is allowed to chew on. Cow hooves are perfect.

    Agree with the above except for the cow hooves. They can be questionable unless you know the origin. I would prefer a Nylabone or a stuffed frozen Kong.
    Ok, should have been clearer - I get all my pet supplies either from my vet or from a pet supply store operated by my vet, so didn't even think of mentioning that. Also, my puppies just doesn't like the nylabone or kongs (With the kong they'll lick it for a while, but that's it)


    And when the puppy does bite, these are the most common ways of dealing with it:
    • Play Dead: This is the easiest if you can endure the pain. Just let your hand go limp and ignore the puppy. Then when he lets go, slowly remove your hand without making eye contact. If there's no resistance in your hand, he can't bite hard and he'll do less damage. When he starts realizing that he gets no reaction from you, he'll start chewing on more rewarding items.

    Really? You have been successful with this? Puppies are happy to chew on inanimate objects as well as animate ones. I would not let my pup use me as a chew object
    Yes, I have. This was the only thing that would work for one of my puppies.


    • Be Dominant: Calmly grasp around the top of the puppy's muzzle and say "No" in a low pitched calm voice. No need to shout. You should only need to hold him lightly. This is both dominant behaviour (Enforcing the fact that you are in charge) and also happens to be the way his mom would have dealt with it.
    • Show pain then praise: A high pitched victim like squeak will usually surprise the pup enough to let go. After he lets go, you can praise him. This happens when puppies play together and one of them gets to rough. This one is hard for men (Our squeak isn't high pitched enough) If this doesn't work, you're not doing it right and one of the other methods might be better.
    • Show you have teeth too: Make biting an unpleasant experience. If he bites you, push his cheek inwards so that he bites his own cheek or grab his lower jaw with your thumb on his tongue and other fingers under his jaw. Exert gentle pressure until he pulls away.

    • Basically agree - but choice number 3 should be last resort with a puppy who is resisting all other methods.
    • I would try it in the order I listed it. Except maybe for putting the squeak at the top, but like I said, I just can't get it high enough, so was basically useless in my case.

      If the puppy bites your ankle, just walk away and lift your foot into his face when you take off. This seems cruel, but you usually only have to do this 2 or 3 times before they make the connection (Don't worry puppy heads are made of rubber and are empty in any case )
      Puppy heads are hardly made of rubber! What you are describing here, "lift your foot into his face" sounds an awful lot like you are telling this new puppy owner to kick him. Please clarify this if I am misreading your direction here. Kenyacat - don't kick your puppy - ever!
      I was talking more about a nudge than a kick - Obviously you should never kick your puppy. This comes straight from a behaviouralist with several degrees in animal behaviour, 30 years experience with retrievers and a really good reputation. The bit about rubber heads is called humour (I thought the smiley was a big enough clue...)

      All of this assumes that there's no aggression and it's just the puppy playing. If there's any aggression, you can easily make it worse and should rather speak to a behaviouralist. I know this isn't the case here, but I'd rather mention it for anybody else that might find this thread.
      Seriously - - - aggression in a 9 week old puppy? BWAHAHAHAHA! So silly!
      Yes, seriously. It wouldn't be the first time. Also, that would be why I specifically said: "I know this isn't the case here, but I'd rather mention it for anybody else that might find this thread."
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  10. #8
    kenyacat is offline Member
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    DefaultRe: biting and chewing

    Tried the squeak. Just seems to make him more excited, so I must not be doing it right. Plus my daughter makes a mouse squeak, which I am sure is not right.

    Play dead. Nope, can't take the pain. He just seems goes to town on your foot.

    Be Doninant. Need more clarification here. When you say hold him by the top of the muzzle, do you mean wrap your fingers all the way around his muzzle so his mouth is closed?

    Also my husband will growl at him when he bites to get him to stop. I told him to stop that until I checked it out. Will growling work, or is that a no no?

  11. #9
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    sarah is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: biting and chewing

    we didn't 'squeak' at Milly ... we squealed the word "ooowwww" or "oouuucchh" quite loud. I'm not sure if I conveyed that properly in my first post sorry.

    Quote Originally Posted by kenyacat
    Be Doninant. Need more clarification here. When you say hold him by the top of the muzzle, do you mean wrap your fingers all the way around his muzzle so his mouth is closed?
    Yes, it means that and some people gently shake the muzzle too. But in my opinion, if you have a bitey puppy on your hands... good luck getting your hand around its muzzle without teeth sinking into your flesh and the puppy thinking it's a game. (it was far too hard with Milly... so we did the squeal)

    another thing that is worthwhile trying if you feel this is out of control is leave the leash on your puppy during play time. Before you play tie the leash to the leg of a chair or your couch or somewhere so it's secure. During play, when the biting starts squeal, stand up.. turn away from the puppy and don't look at it but OUT OF REACH of the end of it's leash. When the puppy settles... play resumes.

    Cheers
    Sarah
    Sarah & Milly - Sydney Australia






  12. #10
    kenyacat is offline Member
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    DefaultRe: biting and chewing

    Thanks we will try the squeal again. It is hard to wrap your hand around his muzzle when he gets like this. He turns in to a wiggling ball of teeth.

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