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Puppy Biting and Drawing Blood

705 Views 2 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  storyist
So we have a 14 week old lab puppy and since day one he’s been a bad biter. I know it’s totally normal for puppies to bite but since we’ve got him we’ve been diligently working to stop the behavior, at least any biting that isn’t gentle for now.

short story: he bites ALOT and almost always draws blood. We’ve tried just about every recommended technique but wanted any other advice before we consult with a professional trainer.

Long story:
We redirect to toys but even with high value toys 1/2 the time he’ll look for a moment and then go back to biting ankles, hands, anything. We gave the yelping method a try and he quickly got excited thinking it was a game so stopped that.
We’ll leave his area until he calms down but as soon as we’re back in his reach he bites and draws a lot of blood. We take him on walks (short enough distances for his age) and we play with him to get the energy out. We make sure he takes naps and gets crate time to chill out but I’m starting to become really frustrated and honestly I’m covered in bite marks and bandaids.
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Ah yes, the notorious Lab Landshark. He looks so innocent in the photo. Unfortunately, pups can be pretty mouthy well up to and beyond the 6 month mark. My favorite method is the "when teeth meet flesh, fun stops" method.

When puppy bites, redirect to a toy and praise for using it. If biting continues, get up and leave. Step over a baby gate, close a door, whatever, just leave the pup for 10 - 15 minutes. Rinse and repeat. If you try a few sessions, and pup will not let up, he probably needs a little time out in his crate and a nap.

This is not an overnight fix. Labs are mouthy dogs and seem to take the longest to lose the play biting. It will take weeks, or months, but the pup's bites will get lighter. He'll stop drawing blood. He'll bite less often. Progress may be slow, but remain consistent and clear. Teeth on flesh = no more fun.
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Right now I have a 4-1/2 month old puppy, and I'm almost afraid to say it for fear of jinxing things, but the scab is almost ready to drop off of the last of the wounds on my arm that was not only bloody but bloody enough to require a bandaid for a while. For this puppy and the last one, my arms have been covered with bruises, holes, and tears for quite a while. Part of that is I'm older and my skin is more fragile than it used to be, but most of it is just mouthy puppies with razor teeth.

My experience with my last 4 puppies has been the yelp method is worse than useless. Yes, it just excites them and revs them up more. Redirection helps, but the truth is a live human being is a lot more fun than an inanimate object. Timeouts are just a nice break before resuming what's fun.

What's worked for me would be anathema to some of the people here, but I see nothing wrong with cupping the puppy's muzzle in one or both hands, giving a little shake, and a uhn uhn. It actually seems to impress them, for a minute anyway, and I don't see how doing that is worse than giving up a puppy because you can't control or tolerate the biting.

So depending on circumstances - if you don't have a toy in your hand, you can't shove it in puppy's mouth when he run up and starts - I use every method that has any effect on my puppy, but that's me.
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