Back to the biting issue
I still manage to not be consistent, which I know is obviously my
problem. But for example, last night we were at the final puppy obedience class, and Cobber was just wired... like someone plugged him in and flipped the On switch. I took him out to run in between activities, and he actually did his final graduation performance (just a Sit and then a Down, but without treats) perfectly. However, because he was so amped up, he kept latching onto my arm and really grinding his teeth into it, up and down the arm and on the fleshy part of the hand. Like I was a giant bully stick or something. "Leave it!" did nothing, offering a high-value treat did nothing, and I was unable to step away or put him anywhere. It was extremely frustrating and painful.
Meanwhile, today I watched some biting inhibition videos that say there should be only soft mouthing and absolutely no actual teeth-on-flesh by age 5 months! Wow, because Cobber's 4.5 months, so I'm feeling kind of up against a deadline there that we're going to fail.
I think I'm going to set up the x-pen in the livingroom again. I have been letting him have free access to the whole living room with a baby gate to close off the rest of the house. But that doesn't give me enough of an easy step-away or put-away avenue when the biting starts; it's usually too far to the baby gate for there to be an instant connection between his biting and my leaving. If his pen is right there, I can plop him in and turn away from him more quickly. *head smack for not thinking of this sooner*
I'd been using his crate (but with treats and an upbeat voice so no punishment) but some people at the puppy class last night said they actually had success using their crate more as punishment - any mouthing/biting, instant crate with a "no biting!" I just don't want to alienate Cobber from the crate because he's currently very comfortable in his.
Anyway, I had thought things were going well -- he didn't even try to bite me, a whole day entirely bite free, on Tuesday!! -- until classtime last night. Then the video I saw today made it seem like I've pretty much failed because he's still very painful with his biting at almost 5 months.
Conflicted info is sometimes very hard to deal with.