Puppy Forum and Dog Forums banner

1 - 20 of 50 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
17 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
This seems to have been covered ad nauseum, but my situation seems a little different and have not come across a consensus.
I have had my lab a month now, he is 12 weeks. For the most part, he is an intelligent, well meaning dog. Very independent dog that likes to play too. The problem is his biting. I have read all the articles on bite inhibition, and he does not bite hard anymore. Occasionally though he will just flip a switch and go nutty. Growling, barking, snapping I would expect from a puppy when he wants to play. And that all seems playful when he does it. The problem is you cannot just "walk away" or "turn your back" and stop him from biting, jumping, lundging, etc.

NO!! only seems to fire him up. Touch just accelerates things. Stand still and you are dead in the water because now he has an easy target to bite. I was told and read online many places to lay him on his side until he calms down. That is good if you want a 12 week lab puppy showing you his teeth and looking crazed! If he has something in his mouth you dont want him to have, expect to see a snarl and teeth. Want him to move outside and he doesnt want to go? Put your hands on his sides and try to guide him outside and prepare to get snapped at. The only thing that seems to work is crating him in a time out for 5-10 minutes. But good luck getting him in there without a biting/snapping frenzy.

We are starting puppy kindergarten this coming Monday. He is well socialized and is not afraid, well, of anything! He seems to listen to me more than my wife. She is willing to discipline in any way we need to, but nothing seems to work. He gets plenty of "pack walks" in the morning and evening. We do short training sessions throughout the day, clicker and treats and he does well. Teaching him tricks and obedience is not an issue. I dont think giving him treats when he is in that frame of mind is right...seems like it would just reinforce that behavior.

A bit of background info , because I think it may be related to my problem. He got into some algae water and has had loose stool for a week. Has been on an antibiotic and there has been no loss of appetite or ability/want to drink water. So other than the loose stool, he is doing fine there. I wonder if he just really feels worse than he lets on and that is why he is so foul sometimes, or is this a case of lab puppy syndrome? What do you do when he goes psycho and yelping and walking away just fuels his fire??
Thanks
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,525 Posts
This is what I would do.

Puppy Throwing a Tantrum

Tantrums

Should your pup struggle violently, or especially if he has a tantrum, you must not let go. Otherwise, your puppy will learn that if he struggles or throws a tantrum, he needn't calm down and be handled because the owner gives in. Bad news! With one hand on your pup's collar and the palm of your other hand against the puppy's chest, gently but firmly hold the pup's back against your abdomen. Hold the puppy so that his four legs point away from you and sufficiently low down against your abdomen so that he cannot turn his head and bite your face. Hold the pup until he calms down, which he will eventually do. Continue massaging the pup's ear with the fingers of one hand and his chest with the fingertips of your other hand. As soon as the puppy calms down and stops struggling, praise the pup, and after a few seconds of calm let him go. Then repeat the procedure.
I was told and read online many places to lay him on his side until he calms down. That is good if you want a 12 week lab puppy showing you his teeth and looking crazed!
Better he show his teeth and look crazed when he's 12 weeks old than when he's 2 years old and weighs 80 lbs...

Where did you get your dog? Did they do temperament testing?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
17 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Wow. Thanks for the quick reply.

He will yield(it may take 5 minutes) and as soon as you think he is calm-submissive and let him up, he is right back at it snapping and biting.

Part of me thinks he is just wanting to play and just cannot control himself. I just do not understand the rebound right after he gives up he just comes right back!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,525 Posts
Notice at the end of the quote it says "repeat the procedure". And are you holding him to your body? I have done this with all four of my puppies when they were small. If you have the patience and perseverance you can outlast your puppy. If you don't, you may have a bad situation on your hands as he grows up. :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
17 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
He was purchased from a breeder in Tennessee. She said he was definately a follower, would be rambuncious but nothing out of the ordinary for a puppy.
As I have told her numerous occasions, he does not seem to be quite the follower I was lead to believe.

The thing with constantly holding them down is that it damages the relationship with the dog...or so I have read. I have not been holding them to me. I have been holding him on the ground. I will try holding him to me the next time.

Repeat, repeat, repeat...maybe he is not really as calm-submissive as I think he is when I let him up. I try and slowly release him and see if he will stay put. Sometimes he does and sometimes he does not. If not, then back down he goes. Really worried about damaging the relationship/trust
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,525 Posts
Well, it didn't damage the relationship between me and my dogs (now 2, 3 and 7 years old). They got a massage and praise for settling down. And I had to make sure I remained calm. Which is hard to do, I know.

Maybe someone else has some other suggestions, but a 12 week old puppy simply shouldn't be acting like that and getting his way, IMO. It's bound to set a dangerous precedent.

Do you use a crate? Maybe a time out in his crate would help. You can try ignoring him. Ouch.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
17 Posts
Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
Well, it didn't damage the relationship between me and my dogs (now 2, 3 and 7 years old). They got a massage and praise for settling down. And I had to make sure I remained calm. Which is hard to do, I know.

Maybe someone else has some other suggestions, but a 12 week old puppy simply shouldn't be acting like that and getting his way, IMO. It's bound to set a dangerous precedent.

Do you use a crate? Maybe a time out in his crate would help. You can try ignoring him. Ouch.
He definately doesnt get away with it. We are pretty stern with him, it just gets really old sometimes. We can be playing/training/you name it and he just goes off the deep end wanting to bite and rough house. It is really no fun to have to keep putting your puppy in his kennel 4-5 times a day for being a little butthead.
Like I said, any of the above methods only fuel his fire. He does not take NO for an answer. Time outs in the crate are the only things that work reliably. A few more months of these outbursts and he will be too big to control.

I was hoping there was something else we could do. I am willing to look in the mirror at the things I am doing to correct the situation. Thanks for the tips. Will try them and see how they do
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,184 Posts
I wouldn't use the crate for a timeout - don't want him to have a negative association with it. I would use a real boring room. Keep him on a leash if he starts up with the biting, lead him to the other room, close the door and leave him there for a couple of minutes. Then bring him back and if he does it again, repeat the process until he stops. He will stop after awhile.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,713 Posts
"calm-submissive" - Did you learn that from a certain TV program?

Calm is okay, but submissive? Do you really want a submissive companion? Why?

I honestly haven't known many 12 week old puppies, or dogs for that matter, who would remain in a submissive down after the hooman's body pressure keeping them there was released. That's a very vulnerable position for a dog to be in and when you are forcing the issue to get there you are in no way helping to build a trusting relationship. You are not teaching your dog anything except that your hands can be forceful and unpredictable. It seems to make sense then how your puppy is reacting to your hands in other situations where you are trying to restrain and manipulate him, no? There's also the issue of you taking things from him with those hands.

The article FourIsCompany recommended is a good one, as is the Training Textbook on the same website. In addition to those handling exercises: Need to get your puppy to move somewhere? Snap a leash on him or practice recall without a leash and reward, reward, reward him with a favorite tidbit for coming with you. Need to get something out of puppy's mouth? Begin teaching him to trade things, starting with a lower value item he has in exchange for something way better. Every now and then you should also give him what he had back in addition to a reward for the trade. Once he's reliably giving things up, put the behavior on cue.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
296 Posts
I am glad to hear you will be starting puppy kindergarten, because that's exactly what this pup needs.
mental and physical stimulation.

you may feel you are giving adequate amounts of both at this time, but his behavior clearly says otherwise. Take him into an enclosed yard and let him get his yaya's out, or long walks. Once you are in puppy class, practice the commands several times a day so that you can flex his brain muscles.

he's under stimulated and frustrated... he's probably a 2 on temperment scale as well which means he's really best suited for a more advanced pet owner.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
17 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
Yup...calm-submissive...got that from the DW. I dont mean submissive as in peeing on the floor, tail tucked between his legs frightened or cowardly...but just in a different state of mind than he is in when acting up. Sorry for using a catch phrase.

As for his puppy temperment, he probably is a 2 on a scale. Not quite sure what you mean by a more advanced dog handler.

He goes on several long walks a day, he trains throughout the day, he has a large backyard to get his ya-ya's out. 90% of the time when we are not walking, playing, training, chilling, he is asleep or playing with his own toys. It is the 10% where he DOES NOT RESPOND that is the issue.

I have had dogs before, some that have been trained in agility. I know what it means to exercise mentally and physically a dog like this. I have never had an issue with one snarling back at me at the age of 12 weeks and not respond.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,525 Posts
He definately doesnt get away with it. [...] He does not take NO for an answer.
What I mean by getting his way (not getting away with it) is that he bites and you back off. It works. He's learning that he can make you back off and leave him alone by biting and throwing a fit. That's why I would address it instead of ignoring it or putting him in a time out. I ignore mild behaviors and let them extinguish, but more serious behaviors, I address. I consider this more serious, and it could develop into something even more serious if not dealt with.

Of course you're going to get varying advice on a forum. :) And none of us knows the whole story or can see him in action, so it might be best for you to consult a behaviorist that can observe him. I can only say what I have done and what I would do.

By the way, I do want a submissive dog. In other words, I want my dogs to submit (or defer to me) when there's a disagreement. I don't want peeing-on-the-floor submission. I just want to make the rules and have them followed.

Whatever you decide to do, I wish you good luck.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
17 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
4iscompany,
Thanks for the advice.
Of course, no one on this site except me can really tell what is going on.
Things tend to get lost in translation when written rather than spoken.

Personally, I dont think there is anything wrong with the idea of a calm-submissive state of mind for a dog. Getting the syntax right on a message board is something else I guess. Getting a 12 week old puppy in that state of mind can be next to impossible.

Already difference of opinion with others and between themselves...crate him...dont crate him.

The kindergarten class is a step in the right direction for further socialization.( It is held at the club where I have trained other dogs with agility)
In poor dogs defense, he has been a lot better, and the frequency has been fewer. I really thought we had it licked though and thought he was past it...just frustrating, but definately hanging in there.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,615 Posts
The exercise that fouriscompany recommended is a good one for this sort of problem, and yes there is a big difference between forcing a submissive down and cradling/restricting your pup to achieve calm. One:you are not looming over the puppy, two: you are able (when the "calm" SECOND occurs.lol) to rub the pups belly in soothing movements to reinforce the calm.
He struggles, you hold firmly (not squeezing too hard, but enough he cannot escape or bite you)..he "settles" (which is a good cue word if you want to use it) and he gets soothing words and belly rubs and then released. It has to be done now when he is small. This is also a technique used for calming humans and other animals (like Temple Grandin's "squeeze box") if done correctly and at the right pressure level the dogs neurological and endocrine system starts sending calming hormones into the brain to calm it, done incorrectly, like in the down and hold (simulating an attack and causing the dog to feel vulnerable)it can trigger the dogs fight or flight instead, sending stimulating cortisol and adrenaline into the system.

I do want to mention something else...is it possible he is OVERstimulated? Sometimes too much play, training and exercise can BUILD a hyper dog. It's a matter of balance, so you may want to think about adjusting his exercise schedule a bit to see if it makes a difference. I've seen many an active dog owner try in vain to "tire out" a pup by running it too much..and have it not work because of the extreme adrenaline high the dog is getting/adapting to.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,525 Posts
Things tend to get lost in translation when written rather than spoken.
That's so true! LOL

Already difference of opinion with others and between themselves...crate him...dont crate him.
Just to be clear, I don't suggest crating him for punishment, I just thought maybe a time out would help. I personally only use the crate for potty training. My dogs don't even have crates. :)

I'm sure your puppy is adorable. But how would we know for sure without pictures??? I'd love to see a post in the pictures forum from you. :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
17 Posts
Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
Are you sitting legs crossed or on your knees with the puppyin the tantrum hold?

Like I said, I will try that instead. You never know unless you ask. Crate is not punishment for him, just a 5 minute timeout. He comes out happy and ready to play.

I dont know that we are overworking but maybe...I will give you my schedule and you tell me.

Walk 5:30 AM -6:15AM This includes 5-10 minutes of allowing him to sniff in areas I designate as "fun areas"...areas where there is grass, sticks, grasshoppers to chase. Basically let him have a little excitement and be a search and rescue dog!

6:30-7:15 He usually likes to chill outside in the yard. I typically will read my Bible around 7:30 or so out there with him. Most of the time we do a 5 minute clicker session (sit, down, come)

Kennel from 8-10 (some days 12) Lunch, potty breaks, let him run around outside, etc. Sometimes will do more sit, down, come

Kennel again, sometimes for a couple hours(2PM) sometimes till 4. Depends on how much he is sleeping.

Dinner, outside getting his rah-rah on, etc.
Walk from 6:45-7:30PM See above for walk details. May or may not work him more training wise at this point of the day. Depends on how tired he is. Some nights he puts himself to sleep at 8 and some nights he is totally restless. That is usually when psychodog comes out to play...usually. My wife is convinced he is like a toddler throwing a temper tantrum and just needs to go beddy-bye.

Like I said, I will definately try the tantrum hold and see if that helps. I know he will fight it at first, but with some dedication we will get it.
I will post some pics if I can figure out how to...give me a day.
Thanks again for the advice
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,525 Posts
Are you sitting legs crossed or on your knees with the puppyin the tantrum hold?
I just sit in a chair. The pup kind of "sits" between my legs. :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,851 Posts
The puppy you are describing sounds just like my Golden as a pup. I suspected he was part hyena, and he took a long time to show any of that renowned retriever-devotion to his humans. It sounds like you picked a winner!

A lot of what you are seeing is high prey drive and high play drive. Yeah, they can be as wild as the wind when they are little. There is an element of dominance play in his behavior, but that doesn't necessarily equate to a dominant nature. My guy did all the same stuff, and he's matured into a gentle, goofy, and loyal adult. Well...he tries to be gentle, but he doesn't really know his own strength. There are more similarities than there are differences between Labs and Goldens, so I know what you are dealing with. Retrievers are bred to operate as part of a close knit team, but they are also expected to creatively solve problems. The independent and devoted parts of their natures eventually come together with bonding, trust, and training.

Don't be so quick to lean hard on a very young pup. You'll come to value that spirit, if you play your cards right. The pup's natural toughness and determination can be exasperating, but when you teach him to focus on a task, those qualities make him unstoppable. Practice being patient now, 'cause the real fun doesn't even begin until he's 5-6 months of age.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
17 Posts
Discussion Starter #19
Muppet,
How did you corral that energy and drive as a puppy?
Not more than 10 minutes ago, my wife was getting dressed and he wanted to bite her clothes. Since that is an unwanted behavior, we addressed it by saying uh-uh and no...to which he responded with his snarling and biting. I tried the tantrum hold, and that worked, but he went right back at it with the lip curling, etc. I just cannot be doing this every 10 minutes, right?
I am sorry, but this is NOT normal for a lab puppy. I have once to be able to roll around on the floor with this puppy and just enjoy it. Puppies are supposed to be loveable right?? Something is wrong when you cannot even take the puppy by the collar and lead him away from something without a bite.

Maybe the other poster was right about being with someone else...its just not for me.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,713 Posts
"Since that is an unwanted behavior, we addressed it by saying uh-uh and no...to which he responded with his snarling and biting."

Saying uh-uh and no did not tell your puppy what TO, so he tried something else. Unfortunately for you, what he tried was also an undesirable behavior in your opinion. Keep saying uh-uh and no and he might try other undesirable behaviors such as peeing on your shoes, going into another room and eating a houseplant, digging up the carpet, etc. ;) Why not have him go to his crate to enjoy a stuffed Kong, or keep him in the room and offer him something even better to play with than your wife's clothing? Yes, you are going to have to do this stuff (prevention, redirection) again and again with your puppy until he learns what behaviors work for you (and therefore work for him).
 
1 - 20 of 50 Posts
Top