HELP with bite inhibition

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HELP with bite inhibition

This is a discussion on HELP with bite inhibition within the Puppy Help forums, part of the Dog Training and Behavior category; I know this has probably been addressed in many topics but....my new puppy is an extremely aggressive biter. He's doing well with crate training overall, ...

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Old 09-02-2015, 04:44 PM
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HELP with bite inhibition

I know this has probably been addressed in many topics but....my new puppy is an extremely aggressive biter. He's doing well with crate training overall, he sleeps through the night and he's nailed the sit command. Biting is another story.

He's a 9-week old lab and has been with us for a week. I know a week isn't long and bite inhibition takes time, but I want to make sure that I'm doing the right things with him because he gets very, very rowdy and has already broke skin and ripped holes in clothing several times. Sometimes were able to divert his attention with toys, but sometimes he just wants to attack us. He chases us and then jumps and grabs pant legs, shirts, legs, arms, whatever he can grab, latches on and pulls. When he's really got us he also growls at us. If it's not our body, it's our furniture, carpet, tile floor- whatever. Regardless, I want to make sure whatever I'm doing is going to pay off in the long run. It's very frustrating to have a puppy who you can barely play with because he's just too rough.

Yelping like a dog does not work AT ALL with him, he doesn't even flinch and just continues ripping your skin to shreds. I've tried the crate time-outs and he just comes out even crazier. Then, if I put him for a longer time out, like a 5 minutes or so- he just ends up falling asleep and then I feel like the message isn't received. Someone told me to fill a can with coins and shake it when he's getting out of hand, but I don't know if that would have any negative effects down the road. We don't have a gated off spot for him so I don't have the ability of leaving the room when he's being like this due to my open floor plan. I'm open to any and all suggestions. Yesterday I thought he was improving but today his biting is out of control.
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Old 09-02-2015, 04:52 PM
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Welcome to life with a little landshark, er, lab puppy!

I definitely would not go with pennies in a can. For one thing, you're right, any technique that scares him enough to stop is going to cause problems down the line. For another, labs tend to have hard temperaments (why they're recommended for newbie owners), so you may find yourself having to continually up the punishment ante, and that ends with shock collars and other nastiness.

Yelping doesn't always work. Timeouts, as you've seen, do, if you do them long enough. Going to sleep is good in this situation. Overtired puppies (and babies) get out of control, so if he's going to sleep when you time out, he just needed a nap. He's too young to really learn anything, anyway, at this age it's just about forming relationships and patterns.
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Old 09-02-2015, 05:26 PM
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Ooh labs are notorious for being biters (which is kind of funny because they do develop such a soft mouth as adults...). My new BC puppy is the same way, a yelp gets her amped up. I redirect once to a toy, and if she doesn't take the hint, I remove myself from her area.

I agree with amaryllis, an over-tired puppy is very naughty. If he's going to sleep that's fine, it means he needed it. Could you tether him to something using a harness and leash? This gives you the opportunity to get some distance to show him biting stops the fun.

Don't use anything that will scare him. You don't want your puppy to associate you with scary, mean things. He doesn't know his biting is bad, he doesn't have hands, so that mouth is how he explores the world. Now is the best time to bond, and love that little shark because you're going to turn around and he'll be a full-on dog and you'll miss that little fuzz-ball.
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Old 09-02-2015, 05:42 PM
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Thank you everyone, I'm trying to be patient so that I can enjoy him! I'll continue with my crate time outs, my only concern is that I've heard to never use the crate as "punishment". Right now he likes the crate, or at least tolerates it. So I don't want to set him back there. I'm also afraid that if I tether him to something in my house, he'll just chew the leash or table/chair/whatever he's connected to.
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Old 09-02-2015, 09:09 PM
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I have a lab so I can sympathize with the mouthing issues.

First and for most. DON'T do the crate time outs. There is a very good reason behind the advice to not use the crate as punishment, but more over, it's not effective because it requires a huge leap of reasoning for the pup to associate being put in the crate with him biting you. I've ranted about this in the past, it's a bad idea.

For the same reason I don't think the tethering idea is good. For a punishment to be effective it needs to be clearly a punishment and accurately delivered. For example if he bites you and you immediately slap him across the muzzle while saying "no", the dog definitely recognizes that as a punishment and it's easy for him to associate with the bite. If you compare that to tying him up or locking him in a crate, you're trying to punish him but you're doing so with an action that is, at other times, not a punishment, so he probably doesn't realize that its a punishment. Even if he does recognize it as aversive, so many things happened between the bite and actually tying him up or locking him in his cage that it's almost impossible that he makes the association.

The penny can thing is probably not doing anything, I don't know about your particular dog but mine doesn't care at all about noises like that.
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Old 09-03-2015, 08:14 AM
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Originally Posted by NewPuppy15 View Post
Thank you everyone, I'm trying to be patient so that I can enjoy him! I'll continue with my crate time outs, my only concern is that I've heard to never use the crate as "punishment". Right now he likes the crate, or at least tolerates it. So I don't want to set him back there. I'm also afraid that if I tether him to something in my house, he'll just chew the leash or table/chair/whatever he's connected to.
You won't be setting him back by using his crate as a time out. It's good that he likes it. The point you're want to get across is that biting you is not acceptable, they best way to get that across is to redirect him. My pup was an aggressive foot biter when he was around 8-10 weeks old. We ended up with a 3 step process, 1st bite - redirect, 2nd bite - redirect, 3rd bite - no more access to me for a minute or 2. I would put my feet up on the couch, because he was small and couldn't get up there. But really anything that gets you out of his reach is good, put him in his crate or go to a different room. After his little time out (literally 1-2 mins) we would play again. It's going to take time but eventually he'll get it.

I can put my foot right in Tucker's face now and he gives it a sniff or uses it as a pillow. Trust me, it gets better!


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Originally Posted by Esand View Post
I have a lab so I can sympathize with the mouthing issues.

For the same reason I don't think the tethering idea is good. For a punishment to be effective it needs to be clearly a punishment and accurately delivered. For example if he bites you and you immediately slap him across the muzzle while saying "no", the dog definitely recognizes that as a punishment and it's easy for him to associate with the bite. If you compare that to tying him up or locking him in a crate, you're trying to punish him but you're doing so with an action that is, at other times, not a punishment, so he probably doesn't realize that its a punishment. Even if he does recognize it as aversive, so many things happened between the bite and actually tying him up or locking him in his cage that it's almost impossible that he makes the association.
Please do not hit your dog! While it might work for a select few pups, it's a very easy way to create an aggressive dog.
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Old 09-03-2015, 08:20 AM
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My puppy is BC/Lab mix and was THE WORST biter! At 6 months, he's 80% better, but still not 100%. I still have to stop for a moment when he gets bitey. When he was younger, I found that the more verbal I got with him, the more excited he became. ALWAYS carry a toy when interacting, so that you can redirect his biting in a positive way. I used "no bite" when he did bite and if he wouldn't stop after three corrections, I'd simply make him sit or lie down for a few seconds before letting him up again. Sometimes, he'd get so rough, that I'd leave him with a rope or chew and hop up on the couch and have "me" time for a half hour or so until he was settled again. Now that he is much more savvy on his obedience, as soon as he gets too rough, I make him sit for a minute and then we resume. He's gotten a LOT better.
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Old 09-03-2015, 03:32 PM
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I know this has probably been addressed in many topics but....my new puppy is an extremely aggressive biter. He's doing well with crate training overall, he sleeps through the night and he's nailed the sit command. Biting is another story.

He's a 9-week old lab and has been with us for a week. I know a week isn't long and bite inhibition takes time, but I want to make sure that I'm doing the right things with him because he gets very, very rowdy and has already broke skin and ripped holes in clothing several times. Sometimes were able to divert his attention with toys, but sometimes he just wants to attack us. He chases us and then jumps and grabs pant legs, shirts, legs, arms, whatever he can grab, latches on and pulls. When he's really got us he also growls at us. If it's not our body, it's our furniture, carpet, tile floor- whatever. Regardless, I want to make sure whatever I'm doing is going to pay off in the long run. It's very frustrating to have a puppy who you can barely play with because he's just too rough.

Yelping like a dog does not work AT ALL with him, he doesn't even flinch and just continues ripping your skin to shreds. I've tried the crate time-outs and he just comes out even crazier. Then, if I put him for a longer time out, like a 5 minutes or so- he just ends up falling asleep and then I feel like the message isn't received. Someone told me to fill a can with coins and shake it when he's getting out of hand, but I don't know if that would have any negative effects down the road. We don't have a gated off spot for him so I don't have the ability of leaving the room when he's being like this due to my open floor plan. I'm open to any and all suggestions. Yesterday I thought he was improving but today his biting is out of control.

Another thought. Do you have him enrolled in any puppy socialization classes? Or playing with any dogs at all? (A friend's dog that you know is up to date on vaccinations is a safe play mate) I would do both. Puppy classes are especially helpful because the trainers there can actually see your pup in action and give you more pointed advice. Just be on the look out to make sure they use positive reinforcement. Additionally having him play and learn tires him out some. Burning off some of his excess energy will help him be a calmer puppy when playing with you... I find a playmate is the best way to burn off energy also a good play mate will help teach your pup what an appropriate amount of bite pressure is. When my pup had too much energy and no one to play with I would have him chase a ball the length of the hallway. Tired puppies are fantastic puppies. lol
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Old 09-05-2015, 03:51 PM
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Thank you everyone this has been very helpful!
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Old 09-05-2015, 03:52 PM
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It's great to hear that they get better! I'm worried that I'm going to have an evil land shark forever!
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