Just Labradors banner

1 - 16 of 16 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
170 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hi everyone! I've written before about Ellie's biting being really bad. It seems to be getting a little bit better. I also mentioned that every now and then she gets into a frenzy where she is growling, barking, lunging and biting me. This usually happens when we are in the back yard, so its hard to get away from her. She just keeps coming at me. If I ignore her, she'll bite the crap out of my legs. Yesterday I tried throwing a ball...she just looked at it and came back at me. If I try to hold her down on the ground she just gets more wild. Does anyone have any advice on how to handle her when she does this? I'm worried about her doing this as she gets bigger since it hurts now and she's only around 25 pounds (and 15 weeks old). I've also tried making her sit to calm her down, but she won't listen. When I explained this behavior to the vet a few weeks ago (along with her constant biting behavior), he said we might want to call a behaviorist if it continues, as it sounds like a little more than regular puppy play. I'd like to get a handle on it ourselves, so I'd love to know what other people would do in this situation. Thanks!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,419 Posts
I think it's just puppy behavior, but it sounds like she's getting REAL excited ! She needs to be taught asap that is NOT acceptable behavior. If you turn and run away, she thinks she has won. She will be bossing YOU around forever, if you don't change her behavior. A behaviorist in your community would be the best in my opinion. Just do something soon, before she gets older..... you may be reinforcing this behavior and not realizing it.

Melissa
;)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
Our dog did this EXACT same thing - so totally exactly as you described and we did seek the help of a behaviorist. (we also tried holding her down and she also became more wild when we did that) The behaviorist had us straightened out in no time flat.

We were told to immediately cease any sort of physical altercations with her (even thou we didn't think holding her down was considered physical). She told us that she so strongly wanted attention that she would do anything to receive any type of attention at all - even negative attention. So, this is what we were told to do: IGNORE the behavior, turn and walk away from her, just the exact opposite of what we thought was correct. She told us to put a door between us and the dog.

When she started doing this in the house, my husband and I would hurry and run into an adjacent room and close the door on her and stay in there for about 3-4 minutes and then return as if nothing was wrong and ignore her for a couple more minutes. We did this EVERY time she began acting this way and within a couple days we saw the behavior decrease. I'd say within a couple weeks, she rarely acted that way any more. The behavioralist told us the behavior would pop up every now and then as she would go back to trying a behavior that worked in the past (attention that she got from us when she acted that way). She was right - for about the first 6 months she periodically did it and we always ignored her and put a door between us. She even did it in the car a couple times and we stopped, pulled over and we got out and left her inside and she immediately quit.

She's almost 4 now and hasn't shown this behavior for about 2 years. This method worked great for us but you need to be really consistent - like 100%!

Good luck - hope this helps!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,662 Posts
I too think that a large part of this is puppy behavior and will probably stop once she is done teething. Don't run away because she will think this is part of the game. If she bites you play stops immediately and you isolate her for about two to five minutes, but not in the crate. The crate should never be used for punishment.
Olie
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
170 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Thanks folks! I cannot wait for the teething to be done. As adorable as she is at this little size, she's killing me!

So...lovemydog...its good to know we are not alone!!! Tell me something though...didn't you get bitten while you walked away? Ellie bites HARD! I have two punctures in my calf where she bit through my jeans a couple of weeks ago ??? Yesterday I literally got dizzy going in circles trying to push her away from me while walking towards the door to get inside :p
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
Yes, we DID get bit when we walked away - and HARD, as well. I remember one time she had gotten into a growling, biting frenzy and I was walking down the hall and she bit me in the butt all the way down the hall - several times! That was before we received help from the behaviorist.

We tried everything to discourage it - scruff shake, alfa roll, holding her down - nothing worked - anything physical like that just enraged her and got it going even harder. Honestly, when she told us what to do, we both thought it would never work but we were without options and followed her instructions to the letter. Much to our surprise and amazement it really did work.

Our girl just really couldn't handle anything physical (and by physical, I mean a scruff shake or holding her down or shooing her away) - it just riled her up immediately. BUT, when we ignored the behavior and seperated us from her by that door, she was so shocked it was almost funny. We could see it on her face - she was shocked that we just walked away and didn't come for her or try to chase her. She had the shocked look on her face when we came back into the same room as her and continued to ignore her for just a couple more minutes - she couldn't believe it!!

Actually, when we started this, we were warned by the behaviorist that we would see an escalation of the behavior from her in an attempt to engage us as she was able to do in the past. She was right again - she tried very hard to increase the growling, lunging, biting - anything she could do to engage us and we wouldn't let her - we just calmly walked away from her and left her alone and she didn't like that at all. She was seeking attention and being left along was not what she was looking for.

She also told us not to hollar at her when she did this routine - not to say a word - just quietly leave. After she escalated the behavior she realized it wasn't going to work and she quit.

We started only giving her attention for doing 'good' things and she really bought into that and tried real hard to work for attention. Going to the expert was so worth it - we really learned what WE were doing wrong!

I haven't seen your situation but from what you are describing, it really sounds exactly what we went thru - I think it is beyond puppy play but I am no expert. I am only relating what we went thru but I think it is definitely worth giving it a try - it worked wonders for our girl, turned her right around and we honestly didn't know what we were going to do with her because it was beginning to happen so often. She is now a honey and we couldn't be more pleased!

Good luck!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
170 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
Thank you so much for your reply, I feel a bit relieved to hear that it worked. It really does sound exactly like our situation. Anything physical (or a raised voice) just makes her more insane. Even though I'm sure it hurt, I had to laugh when you said she bit you in the butt down the hall - sorry!

We do either put her outside or leave the room for a few seconds or minutes when she is biting us (just the regular biting, not the frenzy) and it REALLY bothers her. She freaks out and gets the look you mentioned with your dog. Even if I just leave the room in general - not because she is biting, and my husband is still in there (or he leaves and I'm there) she gets upset. So, it is powerful.

I'm going to try exactly what you said next time (I'll just have to endure the bites on the way out). She only tends to get this way with me, and it is about once or twice a week. We'll see if we can get it under control this way, and if not we'll call the behaviorist. Again, thanks so much for sharing your story and advice!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
You are so very welcome! I hope it works for you. Just be sure to have everyone in the family be really consistent with it!

I laugh now, too, when I think of her biting me in the butt - she got in about 3-4 good little bites as I continued my walk down the hallway - but, you know, at the time, it was so frustrating. Actually, it was really rather horrifying!!

And also with us, a raised voice would do it too - she just went wild and raced around and came back growling and biting and barking and lunging - oh, yikes, to think back to that . . . . .

Anyway, good luck to you!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,623 Posts
Any chance you can get her into a puppy kindergarten class? It sounds to me that she needs socialization, the exercise, and stimulation that would come from a class. I just finished one (I was the lg/med breed instructor-- first offering of Puppy K for our kennel club). It was AMAZING the transitions seen in some of the pups. We had one terrier that in all honesty, I'd never have thought would make it.. growling, biting, horrid temperament!!!! We did basic manners, obed, some fun agility tunnels, dog ramp, grooming/vet table work, nails, puppy swapping btw owners, retrieving and lots of play. Very good social opportunity and a good way to wear those puppies out! ;D

Also, if you haven't already, I'd also chat w/ your breeder. Seems to me that they could have helped surpress some of that biting early on w/ intervention. I do bite inhibition usually at about 5 wks. Curbing it then pays dividends for the new owners later as it generally is not a big problem (I have never had an issue w/ any that stayed here, but if I did, I'd put the pup in their crate, shut the door and walk away. Time OUT!). Many times it ends up that the owner is part of the problem... so by all means, take a class or work w/a behavioralist, so YOU get the instruction YOU need to have a livable companion. Puppies are so like kids, only puppies grow up faster so you can't make near the number of mistakes.... My co-instructor (worked w/ the little toys, terriers) had a good comment too, something to the effect of "it's alot easier to maintain a golf course than to make one out of a weed patch". Food for thought! -Anne
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
170 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
Hi Anne, thanks for your reply! Yes, we start class on Thursday and I am SOOO excited for that. I think it will really help. I'm going to give her a few more weeks before calling a behaviorist. We'll see if she gets any better. She'll be finished with all of her shots this week too, so we can start taking her to the beach, parks, etc. where she'll get to play with other dogs. I'll post an update soon - wish me luck ;D
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
638 Posts
sblab --

HANG IN THERE! Misty was (and still can be on occasion) the same way. I have posted and posted and posted here to get advice on this, and what I've come to find out is that there are certain labs who just seem to be wired this way at this age. I am not offering strategies here, only encouragement. Misty is becoming a much better dog. One thing I would suggest...

WORK WORK WORK with your dog on obedience commands. I sense that as I began to require more of Misty (combined with her simply getting older and maturing some -- she's 20 weeks now), she has become a more well-behaved, mannered dog. We have a LONG way to go, but I have started to learn that EVERYTHING is a teachable moment, and a chance to reinforce commands with her. And it really seems to me that when we expect obedience from her, she seems quite happy with this -- like she sort of sees this as her "job," and it seems to have given her a "place" in our family, if this makes any sense.

For instance, each morning, I get her out of her kennel, and require a sit-stay, until I can get her leash attached. I then release her, and we walk out to potty. If she is pulling the leash, I reinforce her walking behavior with a "heel" command and, if needed, a leash correction. I give her the "go potty" command. When she does, LOTS of praise. I then make her sit-stay again, unclip the leash, and tell her "get the paper," which is always laying at the end of our long driveway. She LOVES this. She takes off full speed, gets the paper, and brings it back to me. Then, we stop at the door to go inside. Another sit-stay. I clip the leash back on, give her a "release" command to give me the paper, and then I release her from the sit-stay and we walk inside. If she is pulling -- leash correction. When we get to the kitchen, another sit-stay, while I prepare her food. She stays sitting; when I put her bowl down, I require a solid sit-stay for a good 15 to 30 seconds. (She is so good with this -- she stares SO intently at me during this -- ears at full attention, just WAITING to be released!!) I walk around, getting my OJ or whatever, and then release her. She BOLTS to her food!

Each time we go outside, it's a sit-stay at the door; a sit-stay to clip on the leash, a sit-stay to unclip the leash. While we are walking, I continue to practice. Heels (we are just starting this), sits, sit-stays, recall, "leave-it" when she goes after some object she shouldn't, all done with lots of praise, and treats (dog kibble). I just try to give commands to her at EVERY opportunity.

My long-winded point is, having Misty learning to "behave" in these other areas, and showing her that I have expectations for her behavior, seems to be helping her to behave OVERALL -- the issues such as biting, jumping on us, going crazy, whatever. She seems to be much more willing to follow the rules and behave -- SINCE I've learned that EVERY moment can be a teachable moment, a chance to solidify commands. I'm sure this same thing happens during basic obedience/puppy kindergarten, which is likely why so many folks are advising you to do it. We haven't yet, and plan to, but I think we are doing pretty well on our own -- and it is WORKING!

Hang in there, don't be afraid to set expectations for your dog, make teaching/training/learning fun, incorporate it into everyday events with your pup, and I can say from experience that it WILL get better. I'm confident that you did not end up with some "demon" of a lab that will never be a good pet!! I might have thought so about my pup at one point, too, but alas, she is turning out to be quite a good, affectionate Lab! :)

Steve
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
170 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
Steve, thanks very much for your reply! What you are saying makes sense, and I will certainly work more with obedience. I've heard that all they want to do is please you, and that is in line with what you are saying. I just need to be patient and persistant - which is easier said than done!

Getting the paper has always been a favorite for my parents labs through the years. Right now we have a little old lady that puts our paper on the porch during her morning walks. Maybe I'll have to start throwing it back down the driveway for Ellie when we get to that stage ;)

People like you (and all of the other wonderful responses I received) give me hope. Its always good to hear we are not alone. I know we didn't get a "demon", but I did question that at times ;D I guess I was just shocked when my reality was SO very different than what I had imagined. We'll get there. I am hopeful that one day I'll be giving someone else advise and telling them what a sweet girl Ellie turned out to be (fingers crossed!!!).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
680 Posts
Just to make you feel better, my hands were always bloody the first two or three months we had Stella, my little mix. We got her when she was 6 weeks old from the Humane Society.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
170 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
Sounds familiar! My friend told me I looked like a drug addict a couple of weeks ago :p Nice!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
638 Posts
sblab --

I'm so glad to have given you hope -- and it is NOT hollow hope. Only a couple of months ago, I was in your shoes exactly, bloody hands, posting on this board begging for help and worried that I had gotten a "posessed" dog! I had heard that these dogs are capable of chewing up furniture and all, and thus I expected to lose a few things. However, I guess I pictured a dog laying there quietly, chewing up the couch. I was NOT prepared for the hyper-energy, and the chewing on ME!

But, I promise, it gets better and easier!!

And YES -- I empathise with you when you say that persistence and patience is "easier said than done"!!!

What has really helped is just that I have begun to learn that "training" and "obedience" doesn't have to be so "formal." I don't have to take the dog into the living room and say, "OK, time to train. SIT. Good. STAY. Good. FETCH. Good...." Training and obedience, I'm coming to find out, can occur with every interaction with your dog. Lots of praise, giving treats, and positive attitude, make it fun, but nonetheless, it's still LEARNING! I have found that I can reinforce several lessons, just in going out to potty! I used to wrestle with her to get the leash on, she'd pull my arm off going to the door, I'd get the door open, she'd charge out... Now, like I said, I practice with her, requiring "obedience" with her at each step. It's very laid back, very positive (it's not like I'm scolding and yelling; just simple commands which, more often than not, she's willing and eager to follow!)

Hang in there -- it will be fine!

Steve
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
170 Posts
Discussion Starter #16
Yes, that is what I had expected too...the pup to be chewing on other things...not us!

That is great advice not making the training "formal" all of the time. I'll have to remember to practice all of the time.

Tonight is our first puppy class - YAY!

Thanks again ;D
 
1 - 16 of 16 Posts
Top