6mo old puppy still biting kids/us

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6mo old puppy still biting kids/us

This is a discussion on 6mo old puppy still biting kids/us within the Puppy Help forums, part of the Dog Training and Behavior category; I wrote a thread about this when we first got our puppy Topher (at 3 months old) because he was very mouthy and always nipping ...

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Old 04-17-2014, 12:30 PM
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6mo old puppy still biting kids/us

I wrote a thread about this when we first got our puppy Topher (at 3 months old) because he was very mouthy and always nipping at our kids (7, 4, and 1). The kids will just be walking through a room, down the hallway, etc. and he will come out of nowhere to bite them. We met with the shelter's behaviorist and she went over some things with us and gave us suggestions. He is now 6 months old and it has now become strong bites that pierce the skin on my kids. He is a large puppy and he body slams them and bites anything, arms, legs, etc.

This past week, Topher has now started going after me. Yesterday, I bent over to pick up a pencil that was on the ground next to him, and on my way to standing back up he jumped up on his back legs and snapped at my face and something came in contact with my eye and irritated it, I'm assuming it was his nose. I was totally caught off guard by it. Today there was a similar incident where I was picking the kids toys off the floor and he jumped up and snapped in my face as I was standing back up. I don't know that he's being aggressive, maybe just bratty?

We've been going to weekly obedience classes and Topher is such a great student, and picking up commands fast, but the biting is getting worse. When he's biting the kids, I'm able to stop him by commanding him to "come," but that doesn't change the fact that he's biting us in the first place. I assumed the nipping would get better as he got older, but the older he gets the stronger his biting has become and now it's more frequent. Now that he's been snapping at me, I'm more worried. I was told over and over that Topher saw my kids as littermates and that's why he was trying to "play" with them. But what's the excuse for snapping at my face?!

Any ideas?
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Old 04-17-2014, 01:02 PM
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Try this and see if it works better than what you have tried.
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Old 04-17-2014, 02:39 PM
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What training have you been doing for this? How much exercise does he get? What is a day in his life like?
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Old 04-21-2014, 02:33 PM
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We've been having trouble with our 3 month old newf. We tried spray bottle of water to the face, shaker can, yelping, and restraining. Those methods worked at first, but she eventually didn't care. The ONLY thing working right now is if she bites, she gets one warning "Ouch, no bite!" If she does it again, we walk into another room and close the door. We wait 15 seconds and come out, happy to see her. We sometimes have to repeat this 4 times in a row, but it's helping. Also, make sure EVERYONE leaves the room so he can't just go to someone else. And make sure all the toys are gone too so he doesn't just distract himself with a toy. I hope this helps.
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Old 04-21-2014, 02:41 PM
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Not aggressive at all, just being a little brat. It's an ongoing process. Puppies also seem to have a thing for licking/mouthing/unintentionally biting faces because it is

a) A way to show submission and playfulness (the licking of course, not the teeth that get in the way!)
b) A behaviour to get mum to regurgitate food.

The 'withdrawal' method is definitely the best way to go in my experience... if he starts in with the biting, withdraw your attention! Even in dog-puppy interactions you can see this at play, where the older dog will 'stonewall' a nipping puppy. The message it gets across to the puppy is clear: Nobody wants to play with a choppy dog!
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Old 04-23-2014, 08:32 PM
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Thanks for the responses everyone! Lately I've been very firm and separating him immediately from us and putting him in his crate, but the problem is never-ending. Just before I was leaving for obedience class tonight, I walked down the hallway with my 1 year old 10 feet behind me and by the time I got to my room I heard a horrible sounding "I'm in pain!" cry coming from her and I ran back into the hallway to find Topher dragging her down the hallway by her collar and she had a bite mark on her face. The last time I saw him was a few mins. earlier when he was asleep on his bed. He has separation anxiety issues, so he must have gotten up and followed us since I left the room. The kids aren't running around or acting crazy when he goes after them.. they're simply just walking around the house paying no attention to him when the biting occurs.

No one has required stitches from his bites, but I'm getting worried that eventually that could happen. I spoke with my trainer for a long time tonight after class about the problem. She thinks part of it is because he has hearding dog in him and that he's not being aggressive, but he's just a dopey puppy who doesn't get bite inhibition. She said that the kids either need to be separated at all times from him or he needs to be attached to me at all times. I try my best to do that now. I also try to tire him out as best as possible and do tons of fetch with him in the backyard, but I haven't noticed that having any effect on his biting behavior. I'm just so frustrated right now and fell ill-equipped to deal with this.

My daughter's face this evening:
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Old 04-23-2014, 09:45 PM
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This is water under the bridge now, but having a puppy with small children under 3 is generally a bad idea. Especially if they are a herding type. But that being said, I would REALLY try to keep him baby gated away from the kids. He sees them as a playmate. "Look mom! They're my size!"

If this doesn't settle in the next few weeks to months, I would seriously consider rehoming before he gets into any serious biting. That mark on your daughter's face is DANGEROUSLY close to her eye and could have been very very serious, requiring extensive surgery that would have caused her to have eye issues for life. If that happens any shelter is going to give him the needle since no family will likely adopt a dog that has bitten a child. Get on training this NOW so this isn't your only choice.
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Old 04-23-2014, 09:55 PM
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We've had foster dogs and tons of dogs we've pet-sit in and out of our house the past few years with no problems with our small kids, but this is our first time with a puppy.. I truly underestimated the biting/nipping issue. I never heard not to have puppies in homes with toddlers. Of course, now that I'm going through this, I totally get that advice!

We are trying so hard and have been training non-stop, so that's why it's frustrating this is continuing. The kids are almost always separate from him. I have gates up to separate them and they don't really have any interest in him anyway because he's not fun for them since he's too large and rough. The kids are only in the same space as the dog when I am with them, apparently, that isn't good enough though because he still bites them. It's not an option for us to rehome him. He came from the SPCA and our contract states that we need to return him if we decide we don't want him and we're not allowed to find him a new home. Everyone who meets him loves him, ugh.. I do think being in a home with kids 10+ would have been such a better choice though.

Last edited by mbu1012; 04-23-2014 at 09:57 PM.
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Old 04-23-2014, 10:00 PM
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Definitely up the management and keep him separated from your kids. The more he practices biting them, the more ingrained the behavior will become. Use baby gates, get an ex-pen, etc so he doesn't always have to be in his crate.

Also, you can definitely over exercise a puppy to where they lose all self control and just go bratty-wild. I would be careful about finding a good balance between physical exercise, mental exercise, and settling/resting time.

As for the actual training, what methods exactly have you been using? Aside from those methods, are you also making sure you reward him when you notice him being good (ie mouth *not* on somebody)?
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Old 04-23-2014, 10:36 PM
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When we first got him, I was practicing "positive interrupter" and every time he nipped at them, I would cluck and he'd come running to me and he'd get a treat. I continued doing that for a long time, but the biting never decreased, and the intensity of his bites just increased. The latest technique that I was told to try is to get firm with him at the scruff of his neck, tell him "no!" and then place him in his crate. A puppy time-out, I guess. That's what I'm doing now. I'm not noticing any difference, but I'm not sure how fast I'm supposed to see results, so maybe things will improve with time?

I get what you're saying about the behavior becoming more ingrained if he continues having access to bite. That makes sense but this seems like such a crappy situation then having to always have everyone separated. This is not how expected things to go. Also, an example of when he bites the kids now.. I'll be sitting on the couch, he'll be on his dog bed in the living room next to the couch, a kid gets up off the couch and walks across the room, and he jumps up and bites them. It happens very fast. Other than when we're all in a room together, he's not alone with them. But it sounds like that's not OK either? And he shouldn't be in the room with all of us?
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