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    1. #1
      Puppy
      SunnySideUp's Avatar
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      Biting and Humping

      Hey all!

      I've read the posts on puppy biting, but I just want to run our current situation by all of you for any recommendations.

      Lucy is a 4-month old chocolate lab who has had a major issue with biting, to the point of breaking skin and making myself and my family members bleed.

      We tried a few of the recommended deterrents, but none of them worked. Ideally we could have attempted them consistently for longer than we tried (about a week, constantly throughout each day for each method), but when she's tearing your skin, consistently "yelping" and letting your hand go limp wasn't sufficing when you're in pain.

      We ended up using a vacuum. We would place the vacuum in the area we were with her, and when she started to bite we would touch the vacuum and say "No Bites!" This worked about 90% of the time. If she got rough with her bites and a touch wouldn't work, we would quickly power on and then power off the vacuum and say "No Bites!" and that would do the trick. She become a lovable, cuddly, playing puppy while the vacuum method was working.

      Unfortunately, she seems to have grown immune to the vacuum trick, and we have resorted to Time Outs. These work, but only after we have been torn to shreds and are able to get her secluded.

      The problem now arises because I work during the day, but I am fortunate enough to have my mother at home to puppy-sit during that time. If my mom wasn't there, she would need to be crated during the day, and let out during my breaks and lunches, so I considered myself fortunate that my mom could help. My mom has health issues and is not capable of taking her for walks or really wearing out Lucy's energy during the day. She's more of a companion and supervisor until I get home to really exercise her.

      The biting has now escalated to even rougher biting combined with Lucy gripping her paws around our legs and starting to attempt to hump us. My mom is not fast enough to lift her into her crate, time out her, etc. We are looking for any recommendations on how we can get through this troublesome and painful period.

      Your help is VERY appreciated!

    2. #2
      Puppy
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      Two Barking Dogs's Avatar
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      I used a spray bottle, or if a glass of water was handy I would take a quick sip and spit a little water in his face, then follow up with a "tsssssst" sound, admonish him with a NO. After about 6 or 7 times with the water, I would just make the sound, or shake the bottle of water at him. It didn't take long for him to catch on.

    3. #3
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      Having raised 3 puppies in the last five years, and dealt with the misery that is a mouthy Lab puppy, the most effective thing I've found is the lip curl. When she bites, you curl her lip over an upper canine and give a stern "no bite". It doesn't take too long for them to figure it out. As for humping, I grab them by the scruff and pull them off their front feet, and tell them "no hump". They figure it out pretty quick. No mind you, I am in no way rough, or abusive when I do these things. It's just a matter of letting them know their behavior is not acceptable. The key is to be fair and consistent.

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    5. #4
      Senior Dog
      Labradorks's Avatar
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      I don't personally agree with the lip on tooth tactic as it can very easily go awry, especially with kids or someone like your mom who has physical issues. Certain dogs will just come back harder, especially when done incorrectly or due to bad timing, which is common. Lifting or grabbing a dog by the scruff is also not something that everyone has the capacity for, whether physically or due to bad timing, and can also scare a dog, cause them not to trust you or, again, cause them to come back harder, much like opposition reflex. Some dogs when scared become defensive which can lead to other issues. You have issues of over-stimulation as well, as dogs humping or biting as you explained often happens when the dog is past the point of control. In my mind, for a dog like that in that frame of mind, punishment makes as much sense as spanking a toddler for having a melt down. If you're going to do the lip curl or grab a dog by the scruff as Barry explained, your timing has to be excellent and your dog has to have the proper temperament. You don't say "no, no, stop it, no" while pushing the dog or telling the dog you are counting to three, you react as soon as the dog starts so that the dog can experience "for every action there is a reaction"...like if you touch something hot you get burned and there is no emotion, no threat, no fun before the burn; X=Y.

      Often the biting and humping are being done at this level and this age because the puppy has learned that it gets a party started! Again, X=Y. Bite = attention. Humping = pushing (Labs like this). Biting = squealing and running. Some puppies will even take being yelled at over nothing. My MO for puppies is redirection. Instead of showing them what I don't want I show them what I do want. If a puppy bites I don't scream or push or do anything remotely interesting, I just shove a toy in his mouth. Once the toy is in there, I get the party started. Eventually the puppy stops biting because he outgrows it and because he learns it gets him nowhere, and instead when he wants to interact, he brings me a toy.

      I've never been humped by my own dogs, but I have fostered many humping Labs and Goldens who learned to do this for attention and as a redirection behavior of their own when they are overstimulated. My tactic here is to redirect, again, and ask the dog to sit and then give it a treat or a toy. A dog cannot hump if he is sitting or chasing a ball or laying down, etc. In these cases, since they were normally two year old dogs doing this, management was the cornerstone of successfully breaking this habit and that meant trying hard to not allow the dog to get to this level of over-stimulation. But, at least when he did, over time his go-to behavior was re-shaped.

      If the dog has over-stimulation issues, then teaching him a crating or a mat behavior BEFORE the dog becomes over-stimulated might help. In these cases you don't allow the dog to get to his or her "bad place" and often giving the dog something like a stuffed Kong or a big meaty bone in a quiet place (crate, on his bed, etc.) can help. I mean, I don't know your dog's temperament, so I can't say that this is the best tactic. It's always best to work with a trainer, which is one reason obedience classes are a great idea, so that you have that access. Your puppy's behavior is not abnormal, but there are different temperaments within each breed and different capabilities within each handler and different things work for different dogs/handlers/dog-handler combos. You'll get a different answer from everyone you ask on this board and though my tactics work for me and I've never been made to bleed or had a stitch of clothing ripped in four puppies and dozens of fosters, someone who uses different tactics will say the same!

      You have to make sure that the dog is getting the right amount of exercise and training, too. Nothing is going to work, at least not as well as it should, if your puppy is not getting his needs met in these other areas. Where did you get the pup? Did you get the pup from a trusted breeder who matched the pairing's offspring to your experience, lifestyle and preferences? Were you looking for a higher-drive, super energetic pup? Have you discussed the puppy's behavior with the breeder? This behavior may have a lot to do with your pup's temperament and something you need to find help to work with until your puppy reaches adulthood. There are some Labs out there that need more exercise and even a less hot diet than others in order to be calm pets. Some dogs are just more difficult than others often due to breeding. Are you taking the pup to an obedience class? What are you doing for mental stimulation? How often are you training? Does your pup get plenty of interactive food toys? What about exercise? Is your pup getting off-leash exercise regularly? Socialization with other trusted, vaccinated, safe dogs with supervision? How are you establishing leadership (not to be confused with dominance) with your puppy with training and manners training?

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    7. #5
      Senior Dog
      Tanya's Avatar
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      I agree with Labradorks. I also fear making weird associations (vaccum?) could lead to bigger issues. Though I have used lip curls at times (you sorta gotta read the dog/situation on what may or may not work)

      On top of the above I'd look at the routine you have with the dog. Puppies need structure and a sufficient amount of physical exercise, mental exercise and rest. Is there a consistancy on when the puppy gets that way? Is it particularly bad at specific times? note them to see if there is a way to predict them (then you can plan what to do BEFORE the puppy gets that way). What are you doing for exercise and when? Have you been able to get puppy play dates? How much are you working their brain? And like some mentioned in your other post he may be needing some forced naps.

      I HIGHLY HIGHLY HIGHLY recommend puppy classes ASAP.

    8. #6
      Puppy
      SunnySideUp's Avatar
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      Hi guys!

      Thank you so much for all of your valuable advice! I will be taking it all to heart and figuring out the best plan of action that works for our scenario.

      I've also started looking for puppy classes, and little Lucy will be signed up in the very near future. I've also arranged a few puppy playdates for her.

      Aside from the biting, she is awesome and so smart. I know once we get this solved, in a year we'll be looking back and laughing (at our scars lol).

      Thanks again!

    9. #7
      Senior Dog
      Tanya's Avatar
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      there is also this thread
      Puppy biting!

      it's a SUPER common issue, most puppies go thru it to some degree. Labs are VERY mouthy

    10. #8
      Real Retriever
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      What worked well for Sophie was lots of exercise and always having something appropriate to put in her mouth when she got bitey. I think in most cases I'd also walk away, showing her that mommy will not play with her if it hurts! Usually it was as simple as me stepping to the other side of a baby gate.
      Sophie: Born July 28, 2014
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    11. #9
      House Broken
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      Brian is 6 months old now and for some reason he just stopped the biting. When he did bite I would just yell ouch! I don't know if that's what stopped his nipping but he has stopped it. I feel your pain, those little teeth hurt! lol.
      The only thing Brian humps are the blankets on my sofa lolol.

    12. #10
      Senior Dog
      Tanya's Avatar
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      oh one thought on toys - rotate them. don't leave all the toys out all hte time, they sorta get "boring" for many dogs. If you have 2-4 out at a time and then put them out of site every few days and pull out other ones.

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