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My furry baby has a bite worse than his bark

Discussion in 'Puppy Forum' started by VizMum, Mar 28, 2018.

  1. VizMum

    VizMum Member Registered

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    Hi All

    My husband and I are now proud parents of a 10 week old Vizsla....but his constant biting of us is a pain, literally.

    He is the first dog we’ve had as a couple but have both had dogs in the past with no trouble with biting whatsoever apart from a bit of light nipping.

    Our furry baby is turning into a hell hound. I know it is what puppies do, we’ve obviously just touched luckily in the past, but I’m at my wits end and we’ve only had him for two weeks.

    The only time you can cuddle him is when he is sleepy. Otherwise when we’re playing he will bite whatever part of us he can get his mouth around. It’s not just nipping but blood has also been drawn. He also latches on and goes to shake your hand, arm, etc, like a rag doll. I’m not exaggerating when I say my arms and legs look like I’ve been tortured.

    We’ve tried yelping (high and low tones), redirecting with toys and also time outs by removing ourselves from the room then returning 5-10 seconds later. Nothing seems to work because as soon as we return he starts up again.

    He also digs at our crotches and sometimes tries to hump my arm - but bites at the same time. If it didn’t hurt so much it’d be funny!

    Once he has had his final jab he can go out and we can take part in puppy classes as hopefully he’ll use more energy up.

    I know it’s just a case of perseverance, but at the moment because of his biting I am not bonding with him and feel a failure....If I am honest have had a few cries over it and then feel such a wuss!

    When he is sleepy it is lovely, you can give him cuddles and he looks up at you with those big eyes and you can’t believe it’s the same dog!

    For those who have been through this at what point is there light at the end of the tunnel?!
     
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  2. Mayblossom

    Mayblossom Well-Known Member Registered

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    Oh bless you, don’t feel a failure ....I remember when we had our Springer puppy, first pup for 12 years and I was on the G&T every lunchtime because I felt I couldn’t cope, hubby used to come home lunchtimes to find me in tears.....we laugh at it now all those years ago! Things will get easier when he’s had his jabs and can use his energy on his walks, you’ll get some good advice on here regarding his biting, can’t offer any myself as never had that problem but it must be very frustrating for you. Do you have a crate for him for his time out ?
     
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  3. Sezzy

    Sezzy Well-Known Member Registered

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    Someone with experience and advice will be along soon, but I can share my own memories.
    Misty was terrible as a puppy with biting. The first couple of weeks me and my OH were both wondering what we’d let ourselves in for! We both had cuts all over, and my clothes were all torn. I remember being at the doctor and she kept looking at my hands and arms and I think she was thinking I was self harming!! Also when we went to puppy classes we’d look at other people and see there were no visible signs of cuts and scratches. It even got to the stage where we called in a trainer as we were so out of our depths. She reassured us that it was puppy behaviour, and she taught us how to distract Misty’s biting on to other things. I really can’t remember when it stopped, maybe when she got her adult teeth? But it did stop, and it couldn’t have lasted that long. Looking at her fast asleep on my lap now with a face like butter wouldn’t melt, it’s hard to imagine that she used to be a little terror!
    You will get there, and it will be worth it in the end ;)
     
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  4. VizMum

    VizMum Member Registered

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    Thanks, both. I can feel a few Baileys coming on....

    I don’t put him in his downstairs crate when it’s time out as I think he may see that as punishment and then not like going in it when he actually has to.

    We’ve got the dining room gated off and that’s his area (we’ve taken the table out so it’s empty other than his crate). Time out consists of us clambering over the gate with our backs to him. He usually then sits and is calm, until we go back over the gate
     
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  5. JudyN

    JudyN Well-Known Member Registered

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    Yes, I've been there so I know how it feels - I had to tell my doctor I hadn't actually been self-harming when I went for a blood pressure check up! And I shed more than a few tears at times. There's a good chance that there will be a first glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel fairly soon, but it can take a long time before you're finally through it - along the way you have to deal with teething, and when that's over you get adolescence!!

    But you can do this :)

    What are you feeding him on? It's a long shot, but some commercial foods can be the equivalent of blue Smarties.

    I found that yelping didn't work for me - it just got J more worked up. The calmer I was, the better.

    When doing timeouts, I have a feeling that stair gates work better than closing doors - a closing door might be a bit of a big change for him, whereas a stair gates simply means he can't access you, even if he can see you. I'm not sure I can explain it properly as it is just a gut feeling, but if you're closing the door at the moment, it could be worth a try (even an old fireguard or something like that might work).

    Have you dedicated yourself to a whole evening of doing nothing but leaving the room, waiting 5-10 seconds, coming back in, being bitten, leaving the room, coming back in, being bitten, leaving the room.... ? This is what I found worked for us - eventually, I saw him hesitate before going for my ankles. Admittedly, he couldn't help himself and he then went for them anyway, but it was a start, that very first glimmer of hope.

    An excellent skill to teach is impulse control because at the start, even if he knows he shouldn't bite, he hasn't got the self-control to help himself. There's an excellent video on YouTube called 'It's Yer Choice'. Of course, he's still a baby and there will be a limit to what he can manage, but you can certainly make a start.

    You can also distract him (hopefully ;)) with shredding games - fill a cardboard box with smaller boxes containing treats, or treats wrapped in bits of paper, and let him hunt for the treats and rip the box to shreds. It's messy, buy better than chewed limbs!
     
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  6. Mayblossom

    Mayblossom Well-Known Member Registered

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    Definitely try the Baileys :D:D
     
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  7. JoanneF

    JoanneF Well-Known Member Registered

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    Oh dear, poor you! It is of course typical puppy behaviour and you are doing the right things - but tbh I would pick ONE thing and consistently stick to that. I favour walking out as your other techniques (although they can work) in some dogs raise the excitement levels and make it a great game. And the whole family has to be consistent - as soon as teeth touch skin, turn and walk out for 10 seconds. He needs to understand that teeth on skin = end of fun. Do however be prepared for something called extinction burst where the behaviour escalates before it gets better. This is because he thinks he needs to try even harder to get your attention because what he has been doing up to now has stopped having the desired effect. This is good (honestly!) because it shows he is getting the message.

    You can actually take him out before his second vaccinations, in your arms or a carrier or sling. The risk to puppies is from unvaccinated dogs and the faeces of rats. It is good to take them out and gain experience of the world from a safe place, and perfectly safe if he is off the ground.

    That said, don't get caught up in the theory that he has to meet every cooing stranger. Quality is better than quantity. Letting all and sundry (people and dogs) near a puppy can be overwhelming and frightening - the opposite of what you want. Control the socialisation by being selective, especially with other dogs and kids. Look for calm role model dogs, and children who can be trusted not to get over excited. Socialisation is not about plunging your puppy into every new experience, but rather allowing him to see, hear and get used to people and situations calmly and from a safe position.
     
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  8. JudyN

    JudyN Well-Known Member Registered

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    Sorry Vizmum, I crossposted with you... and Sezzy... and Mayblossom! So I'm not the only one suspected of self-harming:D
     
  9. VizMum

    VizMum Member Registered

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    He’s in a raw diet, although when we’re training we’re treating with bagged bits, perhaps they are what’s making him extra lively.

    A few times I have timed-out and gone into another room where he cannot see me rather than just climbing over the gate. Perhaps I’ll do that from now on, I’m willing to try anything to be honest!

    Hubby has taken him outdoors a few times, carrying him, and he seemed to be ok apart from a few whinges here & there. He has been in the car a couple of times, bit of a whine but then he settled down & goes to sleep. We even took him to the vets to get him familiarised with them.

    Do you think we should stop tug games? Would that be too aggressive for him? That said, he goes into shark mode when playing fetch too!
     
  10. JoanneF

    JoanneF Well-Known Member Registered

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    No. Play is good, and will provide an appropriate outet for his energy. But he should also learn that it is on your terms - at this stage his impulse control will be poor because his baby brain just doesn't have the capacity to deal with it but you can certainly start training a "now we play; but now we stop play and settle down". The resource Judyn mentioned will help.
     
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  11. VizMum

    VizMum Member Registered

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    I’ll definitely try the cardboard box game & just watched IYC on YouTube...hopefully tomorrow me & pup can have a more positive day :)

    Thanks everyone, your responses are much appreciated
     
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  12. JudyN

    JudyN Well-Known Member Registered

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    @Violet Turner why on earth are you posting an article about dog aggression? This isn't aggression in the slightest, it is PUPPY BITING which is completely normal and not related to aggression at all!
     
  13. Violet Turner

    Violet Turner Well-Known Member Registered

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    Okay but if she sees aggression with the dog then she can understand i will delete the above post sorry :( i didn't mean too
     
  14. Violet Turner

    Violet Turner Well-Known Member Registered

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    Please your not the only one! You can get through this, it should just be a phase. you have great people that have already posted with enough help :)
     
  15. JoanneF

    JoanneF Well-Known Member Registered

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    @JudyN just beat me to it. @VizMum please ignore that totally inappropriate piece of advice. Your puppy is not being aggressive and the advice you have been given earlier is far more appropriate than the result of a poor Google search.
     
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  16. Violet Turner

    Violet Turner Well-Known Member Registered

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    I'm sorry for the above i didn't mean to!!! please stop having a go at me about a mistake. I'm sorry OP for my mistake :( I DIDNT GOOGLE IT @JoanneF !!
     
  17. JoanneF

    JoanneF Well-Known Member Registered

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    @Violet Turner maybe instead of posting poor advice then deleting it, maybe think about what you are saying before you actually post it, and if something is not within your area of expertise, don't feel the need to say something just for the sake of it. And this is not me having a go, as you put it; it's about stopping someone from possibly following incorrect and inappropriate advice and risking making their dog's behaviour far worse.
     
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2018
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  18. Lisa dunne

    Lisa dunne Member Registered

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    Hi Vizmum

    I can’t offer you any advice sorry but I just wanted to let you know that you are not alone. I have a little 10 week old Tasmanian devil too I laugh but like you I want to cry. The biting at times is manageable. I do time out in her crate for 10 seconds. I count this to her, say “calm” and then let her out. It sometimes works on 1st attempt. And then there is the Tasmanian devil times when she gets a crazy half hour and doesn’t know how to control herself. It is these times that I am clueless. I carry her to her crate but she is almost ripping my hand to pieces as soon as she out she is biting again.
     
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  19. VizMum

    VizMum Member Registered

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    You have my every sympathy, Lisa. We’ve bought him all these lovely toys but he prefers to chew our limbs!

    He has now also discovered the skirting board, radiator and curtains - the latter were tucked up behind the radiator but he managed to jump and grab hold of them yesterday so they’ll need to be taken down.

    We’ll be laughing about this soon.....it might be the manic laughter of a lunatic, but all the same....!

    He is sleeping at the moment, so once he wakes and has a constitutional I’m going to try the It’s Yer Choice game
     
  20. doggie1

    doggie1 Well-Known Member Registered

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    I don't have much experience of puppies biting, we usually adopt older dogs, but, I can relate to your feeling a failure and being close to tears. The dog I recently adopted didn't bark on walks for the first 3 days we had him, nor did he vomit, defecate, urinate in the house or pull on the lead. I feel a failure with him because it feels like we did something to cause all of this, now he is on a training programme that seems to be slowly working but is taking time. At least with a puppy you know his background and can work with him. Try not to despair, the fact that you posted here shows that you care and want to help the dog - and yourself.
     

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