my new puppy keeps biting...help!

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my new puppy keeps biting...help!

Postby Logan's best friends » Thu Oct 14, 2004 3:16 pm

HELP!!!! We have a new puppy, yellow lab who will not stop biting. He's only 10 wks and we're hoping he'll out grow it, but are not banking on that. We've tried folding lips so he chews himself., pinning him to show we're in control, yelled no, yipped and he still does it. Epsecially when we're working with retrieving. The more we praise the more excited and nippy he gets. Help. I'm sure he's too young for an e-collar so....any advise? When can you start using e-collars? :help:
We only clean up his crap, because one day he'll fetch our dinner!
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Postby 98ramtough » Thu Oct 14, 2004 3:31 pm

Logans best friend --- I moved your post to the dog forum, it will get more views here.

As for the puppy. They sell a product called bitter apple spray at petsmart/petco that works well. You spray it on your hands or whatever else the puppy is biting and it taste horrible. It only lasts for a minute or so, so when the puppy gets nippy, spray your hand and when they bite ya it tastes bad. We had good luck with this and I have known others that also have had good luck.

Puppies are mouthy, labs love to explore with thier mouth. Be patient, it gets better. Make that little guy retrieve a paint roller or nerfball or birdwing instead of your hand......
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Postby mallardhunter » Thu Oct 14, 2004 3:33 pm

Yea, most dog grow out of it. That spray stuff does that work for people too? :laughing:
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Postby 98ramtough » Thu Oct 14, 2004 3:34 pm

That spray stuff almost caused me to quit chewing copenhagen! I had that crap all over my hands, then went to put a big chew in. Lets just say it doesn't taste like the sweet apple skoal!

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Postby mallardhunter » Thu Oct 14, 2004 3:36 pm

:laughing: I was going to use it on one of my friends.
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Postby Logan's best friends » Thu Oct 14, 2004 8:58 pm

At what age do they out grow it? How do you get them to stop biting legs and stuff. Nobody can ly on the floor without him attacking..lol. He will run up to my 6 yr odl and bite him in the back of the leg. He'll also pounce around and growl then attack. Of course he's playing but he's being very nippy. What age do you start the shock collars? Not for biting of course, but for training. He will be going to a trainer at 6-7 mos, but do you start before than on your own?
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Re: my new puppy keeps biting...help!

Postby SteveInTN » Thu Oct 14, 2004 10:29 pm

Logan's best friends wrote:He's only 10 wks
pinning him to show we're in control,
yelled no,
Epsecially when we're working with retrieving.
The more we praise the more excited and nippy he gets.
Help. I'm sure he's too young for an e-collar so....any advise?
When can you start using e-collars? :help:


Have you all ever had a working dog before? A lab? First off, the dog is just 10 WEEKS old. You've had him what, 2-3 weeks? He will grow out of it and you can speed this up BUT y'all need to come to grips with what you have.

#1 - He is only 10 weeks old and it sounds like you are close to giving up on him. That may not be the case but you sound as if you are at your wits end. I understand that this can be a pain when the dog is around kids, and can even be irritating for an adult. So if the kids are getting pissed, keep the dog away from them. Definitely keep them out of the floor when he is around. If they get down on his level they think he is a littermate and the do what dogs do. As for adults, y'all should be able to deal with it. Take the advice of the others on the spray. Grab his snout and say NO in a FIRM manner. Use any trick you can find but do not scream at the PUPPY.

#2 - Pinning the dog down is a way of showing the dog who is dominant. You don't need to do that for puppy biting. Use your head here.

#3 - Don't yell at the dog. Use a firm voice. At this rate you all are going to end up with a dog that pisses himself when you get angry.

#4 - The dog is 10 weeks old, you should not be 'working' on retrieving. You should be playing with the puppy and introducing him to OBEDIENCE commands. The retrieving should be PURELY for fun. Rattle a bumper around on the ground, when he gets excited toss it a few feet away. Coax him into bringing it back to you. If he doesn't, get in a confined space where he can't get away. He'll learn that retrieving is a game, it is fun, and the fun will continue if he brings it back. If this is a time when the dog is biting, grab his snout, say NO in a firm voice, put the bumper (or whatever you're playing with) away, then put him in his kennel.

#5 - If the dog is overly spastic, don't get so excited around him. You can praise in a calm manner.

#6 - The dog is 10 weeks old..... You cannot even begin to think about an e-collar until the dog is around 6 months old.


The bottom line is that you have to realize what you have, because it sure sounds like this is your first time around. You have a dog that you want to end up being a HUNTING/WORKING retriever. With every word in your description you are talking about stuff that you are doing to this puppy that is going to do nothing but break his spirit and make him a meek dog. You want a HUNTING dog to have self-confidence and pride, you also want to develop a rapport with the dog, you want him to WANT to please you. If you start off this early dominating this dog in such an overt manner, you are going to lose all that. You also have a LAB, they can be quite energetic.

The best thing y’all can do is find a retriever training video that focuses SOLEY on puppies. Don’t get an advanced retriever training video because you don’t need it. Between now and six months of age you should do nothing but work on obedience so that the dog learns how to learn, you should let him have fun doing retrieves (because he was born to do it), you should introduce him to the water (NOT COLD WATER), and you should give him lots of love and become his best friend. Even if he goes to a pro at six months, you need to do all of this before hand. Buy a video, or a book, and learn how to handle a lab puppy.

Just my opinion…
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Postby phillipstd » Thu Oct 14, 2004 11:15 pm

I think the best thing to do about the nipping, and I've found it works every time real well, put your thumb in his mouth and push is tounge down and back, like holdin him like a fish, just excatly like a fish, and say no quietly and sternly, dog's don't like your finger down their throat, try it and I almost garantee he'll stop. besides that read what steve said, he's right on the money.
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Postby Logan's best friends » Fri Oct 15, 2004 12:09 am

Thanks Steve for the advice but everything we've tried on Logan has came from the advice of a trainer. We also read the water dog book and it says to start puppy kindergarten at 7-12 wks. All the training is play games. but this is the time he gets overly excited. We are aware he is a lab and we are not at our wits end. We were just looking foir some advice from someone who has delt with this before on a personal level not a strict training level. He's very bright. He's already house broken he goes to the back door when he needs out he already knows sit and we're almost at stay. We knew what we were in for. My husband grew up with labs they too were hunting labs. He just doesn't remember the puppy stages of biting. He doesn't even chew everything in our house up, just us. everybody talked about him well labs chewing everything up but no one ever said he'd chew us up. As for the boys I will not make my children get off the floor they were here first and we've been told several times that the dog needs to adjust not the children. We've also been told not to use his kennel as punishment. Is this not something to worry about? We don't want him to think everytime he goes in there he's done something wrong. We know that the e-collar is a thing later on but we didn't know if it was a thing you start before or after they've been to a trainer. We've never been to keen on them. thanks for the advice..we'll get some spray and hey if nothing else we'll all attract deer. hunting seasons is this weekend! What about squirting with water? will this not be a good thing to do either.?
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Postby 98ramtough » Fri Oct 15, 2004 8:46 am

Logan's Best Friend,

I think everyone goes through the nippy puppy stage. As far as your pup chewing things up, wait until he starts teething, he will chew on stuff. It is all part of having a LAB puppy. The most important thing is to just have TONS of patience and spend lots and lots of time with your pup. Make sure your kids teach and treat him exactly how you do. Puppys are fun, teach your kids how to have fun with him. I know it sounds funny, but keep working on obedience, and one day it will just all fall in place. You will be sitting there with your husband and the dog will be asleep under the coffee table and you will remember back when the dog was 10 weeks old, how much of a PITA he was. It gets better, they are just like little kids, you just have to have lots and lots of patience.....

One more question. Do you have lots of chewey toys around? When the pup really starts teathing these can help alot. Get a kong or something, and whenever the pup tries to chew on you, give him the kong and pet him..

Steve gives great advise, never yell at the dog. Try your best to keep your temper, it will truely make the dog a better hunter/companion if you always keep your temper.

Best of luck, let us know how the spray works....

Oh yeah, as far as just spraying water at them, I never liked this for labs. My lab loves to have the hose sprayed at her, she goes nuts... She will jump off docks and dive for things, she absolutely loves getting her entire head wet. Some labs don't, but its cool to have a dog go under water for you. JMO.

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Postby SteveInTN » Fri Oct 15, 2004 8:52 am

Logan's Best Friend

Get advice from a couple of different trainers. Just like anonymous advice from the internet, you often don't know the background of who is giving the advice. I had someone corner me in a Petsmart one time trying to get me to attend their training class. They told me “they don't teach NO, only positive stuff”. To me that was a bunch of 'you know what'. Dogs are just like kids and they have to be told when they are doing wrong. Was the pro-trainer a retriever trainer? If so, they probably don’t have the ‘house’ issues to deal with. If it was not a retriever trainer, then they aren’t looking at it from the perspective of what this dog has to do later on.

Several of the other guys have given advice on specific things to do to counteract the biting. Try them all, and remember to have plenty of patience.

As for the kids "being there first", I can see where you are coming from. I'm a Dad with four kids. I have two dogs that are inside the majority of the time, one is my lab and the other is a lap dog. I won't say what kind because I don't want to catch any crap from these guys! Rest assured it is the only lap dog of its kind that will fetch a duck! :toofunny: Anyway, with this background you can see I have plenty of experience with the interaction between the kids & dogs. To say that the dog is the one that needs to adjust is not true. Kids need to learn how to act around dogs. If the kids were pulling the dogs tail, would the dog be the one that needed to learn to adjust? I think not, the kids need to learn what they should and shouldn't do around a dog. Getting in the floor with them is a classic example. It isn't just during this biting phase that it will be an issue. When that lab gets to be 70-100 lbs it will be for different reasons. Just last night my 12 year old daughter was laying in the floor and letting my lab 'rough house' with her. He got a bit rough and scratched her up a bit on the arm. She came crying to me and I told her that if you get in the floor with them, and initiate the play, that is what you can expect. Don't come crying to me because I've told you over and over. If she was just laying in the floor and the dog was bugging her, that is a different story. Then, he should be warned by her saying NO. At this point your puppy does not understand NO. So the advice to stay out of the floor wasn't intended to be a cure for the biting, instead it is a short term adjustment so that this isn't such an acute problem, and advice for the long term so that they kids & dog don’t get into situations where they are going to have problems.

You'll learn as the dog gets older that part of your responsibility is to put the dog into situations where it can suceed, so that it can progress. This is no different.

Kenneling the dog doesn’t need to be punishment. What I was saying is that if he doesn’t behave then he can be ‘put up’ or ‘put out’, basically take a liberty away. Don’t be mean to him in the process, just put him up. The key with the kennel is to keep it as his ‘safe’ place. If he gets sent to his ‘safe’ place because he isn’t behaving, that is fine. Since he is so young, when he gets overly excited to the point that he is annoying, it is better to put him in his kennel than to let the annoyance continue or to punish him in a more overt manner.

DO NOT squirt with water! You have what you want to be a WATER dog, do not make it dislike water. Very important.
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Postby SteveInTN » Fri Oct 15, 2004 9:11 am

One other thing...

Water Dog does say that Kindergarten is from 7-16 weeks. It also says that during that period everything should be fun and games. You play games with the dog and teach him things in the process. You START making it clear to the puppy who is in charge, but that really comes later. Right now you need to start teaching it HOW to learn, you need to make sure it has a positive Kindergarten experience, you need to get it used to different environments, and you need to give it some social skills.

Stick with it, patience is the key. If you invest time in the dog now you will have one that will be the envy of all your friends, for its hunting skills and social skills.
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Postby WIUPgamer » Fri Oct 15, 2004 10:57 am

When my lab was at that stage I just got a good pair of leather gloves and played with her, just like I was her littermate. I let her bite to her hearts content. When she got rowdy we played until she got tired and calmed down. Then we'd work on the 'boring' obedience stuff, in moderation. I figured she was still a little kid and little kids like to play. When they want to play, you can't teach them a thing. So I didn't even worry about the biting until she was a little older. I just started playing rough with her like that less and less often. When we did play, I also began to scold her for biting too hard more often. Once this time, twice the next, and so on. She eventually grew out of it as she matured and learned that she had to be gentler with humans.

We also kept her in a travel kennel when we were away and at night. We kept it by bed at night, right where I intended for her to sleep when she grew up. Now she knows what to do when I tell her ‘kennel’ and ‘nighty-night’. As everyone else mentioned, time and patience is the key. If I found myself getting frustrated, she wasn’t cooperating, or she was getting tired of it, I would just walk away. Even if she was in the middle of not fetching, I’d just walk away and go in the house or something. I never let her see me go back later and get the bumper.

When she was 5-6 months old, I taught her to stop rough housing when a person said ow! or cried. This came in handy when a friend’s kids were over. If the dog was too much for the kid they’d start to whine, and Drew would back off immediately. Then the kid would get this funny, “Hey , what just happened here?” look on their face. “I cry, the big nasty monster sits down and quits bugging me. Finally some respect from something bigger than me.” It works to this day, I reinforce/test the behavior about once every 3-4months. She never fails to stop playing right away.

The way I trained her to do this was get her playing, then after a bit of rough housing I would make a whining/crying sound and then firmly say ‘No!’. If she didn’t stop, I’d repeat the command until she did. Then I’d do something different with her for awhile - go for a walk, or fetch, or something. Then some time later I’d get her playing and do it all over again. I don’t think I did it more then twice in one day, and I’d even skip a day sometimes. I still wanted her to play, but I wanted her to stop if I was hurt. After a couple of weeks I had my wife try it. When my wife cried the dog stopped. After another week or so of sporadic tests/reinforcements, we tried her on a real kid. We pre-arranged a visit for a test with a friend who had small children. Drew was her normal friendly self. When she pranced her ‘happy to see you’ dance too close to one of the kids the kid started to whine. Drew stopped and walked away from the kid right away. She passed with flying colors. One side note, my dog now associates a whine/cry with the ‘No’ command. It’s an unfortunate side effect I never thought of before hand. If we say ‘Aww man' around her she cowers and walks off cause she thinks she did something wrong. On the up side, I find I don’t say ‘Aww man’ as much anymore.
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Postby Logan's best friends » Fri Oct 15, 2004 1:43 pm

Thanks guys for the advice. I guess when I say yell I don't exactly yell. i have a very soft voice and when I am firm I to me thats yelling. WE are probably expecting too much from him. The trainers we've talked to are conway kennels they have produced many good dogs. but like you say they orobably don't deal with the household stuff. the last thing we want to do is hurt his pride and we should probably just chill out. my 9 yr old has hardly any interaction with him and when he's rambuncious he goes to the other room. and hth dog leaves him alone. As for my 6yr old he is all over him no matter what. If he gets up to walk away he bites him the back of the leg and also will jump at him when he's on the couch out of the dogs way. I t is annoying but we know it's all part of having a LAB. We will use the advice. thanks.
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Works every time

Postby vitaminE » Thu Oct 21, 2004 2:20 pm

When the pup feels like a bite, pinch his lips (jowles) in under his teeth with your thumb and forefinger and let him chomp on himself for a while.
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Postby zx2dxz » Fri Nov 05, 2004 9:23 pm

wow hes 10 weeks out he'll grow out of it all hes doing it exploring his surroundings, leave the poor dog alone. Training should start at 5 months this is the time that labs are done teething making it not uncomfortable to bite dummies and birds etc etc. start to work in small poping noises cap guns then .410 then 20 and so on. remember when training GUN SHOT MUST EQUAL BIRD 100% OF THE TIME. Also puppies must succeed 100% of the time.

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