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Help.... snapping, biting and nipping!

Discussion in 'Puppy Forum' started by Wooliewoo, Aug 17, 2018.

  1. Wooliewoo

    Wooliewoo Member Registered

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    The naughty Flint has arrived.......after 5 days!

    Ok, positives first.... he comes when we call him, he sits and lies down when give the command, he’s asking and going to the toilet outside, with only the odd little accident. He slept in his crate, woke at 2 for a wee, then went back in his crate and slept till 6 with no crying. He’s actually super clever and adorable.....

    The negative..... when he gets excited he goes from licks to jumps, snaps and bites! More so with me than my other half and my 13 year old son. ..... I’m trying these things which I’ve read, but they don’t seem to be working. Not in any particular order..

    Ignoring him and walking away (he continues to snack at my ankles)
    Replacing me with a toy (which works for a brief time)
    Using ‘down’ then rewarding when he goes down (but then he gets back up and does it again)
    Yelping like a dog

    I’ve given him a filled Kong for the first time today to take his mind off me and to calm him down, which has worked eventually.

    I’m on annual leave at present to be with him all day, I have 1 more week, wondering if it’s because he’s with me all the time he’s being like this? I know he’s full of energy and I take him out in the garden and play with him regularly along with fun time in the house. He still has another 3 weeks before he can go out on walks! To be be honest I’m feeling a little disappointed as I feel I’m failing at this bit and quite disheartened that I can’t play with him without it turning into a biting frenzy!

    Any advice?
     
  2. JoanneF

    JoanneF Well-Known Member Registered

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    Perfectly normal!

    This is just an extension of the boisterous play he had with his littermates but he needs to learn this is not how to play with humans. As you have read, some people find a sharp 'ouch' or a toy work but the risk is that it can just ramp up the excitement. My preferred method is to teach him that teeth on skin equals end of fun. So as soon as he makes contact, walk out of the room for a few moments. Timing is key, so he makes that immediate association. As long as the whole family is consistent - do it immediately and do it every time - he will learn.

    Don't fall into the trap of doing one thing, finding it doesn't work, then trying another - it's better to use one thing and be persistent with it, that makes the message clearer.

    You could also use a house line to draw him away, which keeps your hands both out of reach and also keeps hands for only good things.
     
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  3. JudyN

    JudyN Well-Known Member Registered

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    Relax - he's COMPLETELY normal and at first, dealing with the biting frenzies is like trying to herd cats or line up a boxful of frogs. It's also normal for your limbs to look like those of a persistent self-harmer.

    You have to be VERY consistent (along with everyone else in the household, and guests), and it will take time to get through this phase. And just when you think you'll getting there, he'll start teething and using you as a chew toy.

    Yelping didn't work for me, and asking for a down is likely to increase his frustration - it's like holding the lid down on a rapidly boiling saucepan. What worked for me (eventually;)) is timeouts - the fun stops when his teeth touch flesh. As you've found, if you walk away he'll just attach himself to your ankle, so it's good to have something like a stairgate you can pop him behind. Or you can leave the room and shut the stairgate behind you. My gut feeling is that it's best to use a stairgate rather than shut a door as having a shut door between you and him might freak him out a little which will make it harder for him to learn the cause & effect of what happened. You might find it helps to put a light house lead with no loop on his collar/harness so you can lead him out of the room. Or even attach the house lead to a door handle and move out of reach.

    You only have to leave him in timeout for 5-10 seconds. Anything longer and he might forget what he'd done and go and find something else to chew. The short time also means that you can get a lot more repetitions, i.e. learning opportunities, in. He can be in and out of timeout loads of times in just a few minutes! It is very tiring but eventually, you'll notice him hesitate for a moment before biting and you'll know that he's getting there. He might still bite, because it's too tempting, but at least he's making the connection.

    I'd also teach impulse control - see the video 'It's Yer Choice' on YouTube. Because just as knowing we shouldn't have that last bit of cake doesn't mean we can resist it, knowing that there will be consequences for biting doesn't mean that he can resist the urge - impulse control will help him with that.
     
  4. JudyN

    JudyN Well-Known Member Registered

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  5. Wooliewoo

    Wooliewoo Member Registered

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    Thank you so much, I’ll try him with the time-out behind the safety gate and see how we get on.
    I’ve ordered a flirt pole rope play thingy, is that what you mean @JoanneF?
    And good to know it’s normal, I think??!
     
  6. JoanneF

    JoanneF Well-Known Member Registered

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    No - although flirt poles are great! A house line (is that what you meant?) is a light lead, like Judy mentioned too, often with no handle to prevent snagging.

    Another thing to mention is 'extinction burst'. This is when a behaviour that used to get attention no longer works for the dog so he tries it all the harder. This is good, because it means that what you are doing is starting to work!
     
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  7. Wooliewoo

    Wooliewoo Member Registered

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    Phew.....Well that’s good to know! He appears to be quite clever so he’s probably realised what I’m trying to do....

    A positive (well at the moment anyway, I’ll not hold my breath quite yet)... took him out for a wee, and because we are rewarding outside wees, he started to get all excited again when he received his reward. Once I walked back in the house he started wanting to ‘play’ with me, in other words bite and nip.. so.... I immediately walked out of the room and closed the safety gate, I stood on the other side for 5 seconds, then came back in, he did the same again, so I repeated, then a third time, after the third time he walked away and picked up a chew toy!! Result!
     
  8. Michele83

    Michele83 Member Registered

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    I don't think it's because you spend the most time with him, because in my house I'm the only one there so I spend ALL the time with mine and she went through the same biting phase. It didn't last long. The walking away worked best for me, but if you had been watching me you'd think I was an utter lunatic. I was literally up, down, up, down like a yo-yo, I could sit down and then get up and walk out 30 times in a couple of minutes of play! But it worked. It's harder when there are other people in the house I think, because everyone has to be consistent and that's difficult to enforce. But if it makes you feel better, mine now never bites my skin and she's only 4 months still.

    I totally get the being disappointed thing. I'm still going through it over and over again! The puppy blues are real!
     
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  9. Yveren1

    Yveren1 New Member Registered

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    I completely understand the difficulty you are having and I turned to the forum for some great advice. We now seem to have turned a corner at last. I have been in tears feeling like a failure but i found the support of the forum such a help. I feel like my worries clouded some of the enjoyment in the early days.
     
  10. Wooliewoo

    Wooliewoo Member Registered

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    Thank you.... yeah that’s been me this morning, up and down, up and down, but it certainly works, I had the best play time with him this morning, applying the time out! Everyone else was still in bed so it gave me a good opportunity to try it out. Then when the others got up, I showed them and they’re doing it too. So hopefully we’re on the right track! So I’m feeling a little more positive today :D
     
  11. Wooliewoo

    Wooliewoo Member Registered

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    They certainly are amazing on here, so pleased I found this forum!

    I’m pleased things seem to have turned a corner for you now. I know I’m still in early days, we’ve only had him 6 days, but yes, I feel the same, my worries are spoiling my enjoyment and I’m constantly on hot bricks! Think this is harder than bringing up my 2 children! :eek:
     
  12. JudyN

    JudyN Well-Known Member Registered

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    Yup, one advantage of babies is that when you put them down they stay put. Another is that they wear nappies.

    The first few months are a real roller coaster ride, but they will pass so do try to enjoy them. Never compare your pup with others (unless they're worse that yours;)). Some pups seem to have read the book on how they're meant to behave before they arrived. Others have just ripped it up and gone their own way...
     
  13. Caro Perry

    Caro Perry Well-Known Member Registered

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    Far harder - I didn't worry half as much about my children! New puppy blues really is a thing. Despite having dogs before and desperately wanting this little wretch I have now I had a good couple of weeks of regretting my loss of freedom and the endless hard work of keeping a young puppy from harming himself, me or the house!
     
  14. Michele83

    Michele83 Member Registered

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    Couldn't agree more. Loss of freedom is the thing that really makes me depressed. But I keep having to remind myself it's only temporary and at the end I'll have a lovely companion that will enrich my life, instead of limiting it, as she is currently doing! It's hard to remember that in the bad moments sometimes!

    Don't be afraid to cry it all out!!
     
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  15. pongo111

    pongo111 Member Registered

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    Hello,
    Thanks for posting.
    I have a 4 month old and she is quite a challenge. Definitely limiting to me at the moment but as the others says, this should improve. I've been getting up at 6.30 every day since we got her - holidays and weekends of course included as she doesn't know that Saturday is lay in day :) Getting quite tired tbh :(
    You're doing great!
    Milk cartons keep my little one entertained for ages :) I did buy the kong etc and proper toys but give her a milk carton and she loves it :)
     
  16. Wooliewoo

    Wooliewoo Member Registered

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    Thanks @pongo111 ..... it’s blooming hard work and exhausting isn’t it! At the moment I’m getting up at 3 to let him out, then up again at 6, which is normal for me on a work day although I’ve been on annual leave this week and again next. At what point to you know they can hang on all night?

    To be honest I’m looking forward to going to work for a break! :rolleyes:,... although I’m sure I’ll miss the cuddles! I’m finding it’s mentally and physically exhausting being on the ball 17 hrs a day, up and down, following him around watching for ‘signs’, is he simply exploring or looking for a new spot to christen:cool: :eek:, cleaning up wee and poo, keeping him entertained, being teacher! I’m simply trying to rest when he sleeps rather than doing the dishes, cleaning etc. 2 other capable people in my household but neither of them have the patience to do what I’m doing, they’re happy to reap the rewards! :(.... But I shall keep on plodding :p
     
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  17. Michele83

    Michele83 Member Registered

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    I really really know exactly what you're going through! It's totally exhausting. You have to be on it the WHOLE time. Even in the moments when they're asleep, you're either too knackered to do anything or you have to use that time to do essential chores etc. I'm on my own so I really understand.

    I only have my own experience to go by and of course each dog is different. But for me, one night I went downstairs in the middle of the night to let her out for a wee, and she looked at me like 'what are you doing, I was asleep' and didn't seem fussed about coming out of her crate. That was the day I stopped getting up in the night to take her out and she didn't whine. It's difficult because you don't want them to wee themselves, but also you don't want them to get into a habit of "whining at night = a human appears" because they might continue to do this even when the need to wee lessens. I think perhaps at some point you might have to ignore one of her cries and see what happens. She's still so young, and you wouldn't believe how fast they can change. One day you'll be like 'oh thank god the days of XXX are over' and then you'll remember that was only last week!

    A lot of people will say that it can be damaging to make a young puppy hold their pee, and I don't doubt this is true for a lot of puppies, but again, all dogs are different.

    RE the toilet training - in my opinion this is the biggest part that makes life so stressful for the owner because of the constant demands on your attention and vigilance. They hold the threat of pee and poo over your head the whole time. Once mine was toilet trained life became a lot more relaxed! Hang in there!
     
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  18. Wooliewoo

    Wooliewoo Member Registered

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    @Michele83 thanks for this it’s great getting other people’s advise and experiences :) I’m happy getting up with him at the moment, was just curious as to how I’ll know when he doesn’t need me too. Bless him he is just over 9 weeks so he’s doing really well.

    And OMG, I bought him a flirt pole, it arrived yesterday, I used it this morning in the garden as he has a good hour energy frenzie when he first gets up, he totally loves it!! It was a great distraction away from the plants!

    I’m also using ‘time out’ with him when he gets excited and snacks or nips with his teeth, this seems to be working well, he’s much gentler and if he escalates he usually understands the time out after 2/3 times! Yay :D:D
     
  19. Biker John

    Biker John Well-Known Member Registered

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    With Folly when she was a pup I started off getting up at 3, then changed it to 4, then 5 then my normal get up time of 7. That way she just adjusted without getting stressed or having to hold it to long. It worked for us thats all I can say.
     
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  20. leashedForLife

    leashedForLife Well-Known Member Registered

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    .

    When I housetrain a pup, or even an adult dog,I set my alarm record 3-am every night until the pup is about 15 to 16-WO, by which age, they can generally “hold it” for 6 to 7 hours (we start with a 4-hr gap, from 11-pm last potty trip / bedtime for me, crate for pup or dog, until 3-AM).

    The dog or pup is crated right beside my bed, with the chate serving as my nightstand - the leash, my lamp, the bag of non refrigerated tidbits, my current book, all go on the “roof” of the shipping crate.
    This way if they get anxious, are suddenly hit with diarrhea, or there’s an emergency, I am right there - i’m a light sleeper, so any whines or even sudden panting wake me quickly.
    So I don’t gradually alter rising time - I try my usual rising time when I think s/ he is ready, & if the pup needs to go out B4 then, we go back to the 3-AM alarm, no worries, they all get it eventually. :)

    For adult dogs / dogs over 6-MO, I find most can make it thru the night CRATED after 3 to 5 nights of 3-AM potty trips, but that does not mean the owner can leave them at large overnight! - that they are capable of waiting & holding their urine when confined, does not mean they “want” to wait. //. If left to roam, they are all too likely to wake & wee, & U won’t be there to interrupt them.
    It takes a solid month, IME, of being crated nightly, B4 most intact adult dogs can be *maybe* at large overnight, & not pee B4 the owner gets out of bed. I specify intact b/c IME intact Ms are the most-likely to casually pee indoors, even when the need to void is not urgent.
    Neutered Ms get the hold-yer-water habit quicker, again IME.

    Adult Ms who are neutered as adults & have a prior history of leg.lifting indoors may never be entirely trustworthy overnight, outside of a shipping crate. It’s just too easy to pee, rather than wait.

    - terry

    .
     

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