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    1. #1
      Bubby82102's Avatar
      Join Date
      Apr 2015
      Mosinee, WI
      Thanked: 9

      Bitter Apple Spray on Hands to Slow Biting?

      Hey all! So, we are trying everything we have read in here about preventing biting. So far it hasn't been working, but we are remaining consistant. My 16 year old son tried something different this evening. Baron started biting him, and he sprayed the bitter apple spray on his hands. Baron stopped biting him pretty much immediately and switched to licking. So my question is...is this ok to do? I don't know.

      Any help would be great. Tomorrow we have our first puppy kindergarten class, just orientation without Baron.

      Thanks and hope everyone is doing well.


      P.S. We also sprayed some on my son David's clothes and shoes, as Baron frequently attacks his pants and shirt..Does this to me too. lol

    2. #2
      Senior Dog
      Labradorks's Avatar
      Join Date
      Jun 2014
      Thanked: 1998
      The dog is still very young and he's still learning. He is not going to just stop one day. It takes weeks, most likely months. He is learning to be a dog living with humans. If he were in a natural setting with other dogs, it wouldn't be a big deal. You are teaching him not only not to bite, but how to live as a house pet. There will be easier things that take even longer and all of those things will take years to do consistently and with distractions. This biting thing will be over in a couple months and there will be something else which will probably take even longer to train out of him. It's a part of raising a puppy to be a well behaved adult, which you can expect around the age of three.

      As consistent as you and your family are being, there's a pretty big chance that everyone is doing things a little different, and dogs pick up on those differences. I know how hard it is for kids to not get a pup riled or want to play with hands (it happens with the best of them). Because of the small, and maybe some large, nuances between you and the three or four other members of your family, the pup may take a little longer to learn, also. It happens with adult couples as well.

      For comparison's sake, a friend got her pup the same time as you and he is the same age. I have seen him every weekend (three times) since she got him. He is in puppy class, otherwise, she is in a similar situation (a spouse and two teenagers -- she's also never had a puppy). Her pup is still biting and going after clothes, though he is getting better in that he does it and then you correct him and he stops. Instead of waiting for him to go back at it, we do something to redirect him, like rolling a ball. A lot of people will just stand there and wait for the puppy to do it again so they can keep correcting him. That's like having a stand-off with a two year old child.

    3. The Following User Says Thank You to Labradorks For This Useful Post:

      Tanya (04-13-2015)

    4. #3
      Senior Dog
      sparky's Avatar
      Join Date
      May 2014
      SW Ohio
      Thanked: 1611
      Yep, he's a puppy and I know Mocha was 5 months old before he completely stopped the play biting. It does take time and patience. The bitter apple spray did not work for Mocha. I think he actually liked it! If you get it on your hands remember it tastes BAD!
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      Mocha:Born 7/13/14 Gottcha 9/13/14 Latte: Born 7/15/16 Gottcha 9/9/16
      Labs- "Hearts of gold, heads of stone, cast iron stomachs"

    5. #4
      Ivy's Avatar
      Join Date
      Feb 2015
      United States
      Thanked: 2
      My puppy took forever to stop biting! It was so embarrassing when guests came over. She learned not to do it with my kids, and then their friends would come over and she would forget everything she learned. My kids had holes in most of their clothes and she ripped my niece's shirt and made her cry. I never thought it was going to end. Then one day, I realized it had been quite awhile since she bit someone. My oldest is only 9, so I can't say everyone was perfectly consistent and she still got over it. She was maybe 6 months by the time it stopped completely, and about 8 months before she stopped jumping on visitors. Now she is so well behaved, I never thought we would get to this point! I just wanted to tell you that it will pass!

    6. #5
      Real Retriever
      KenZ71's Avatar
      Join Date
      May 2014
      Northeast USA
      Thanked: 136
      A stand off with a 2 year old, thats funny!

      Yes, bitter apple on everything. Although if he still licks might need another deterrent. I seem to remember somethin called Phooey. Ask your vet and or reputable pet supply store for referrals.
      -- Ken, owned by:

      Max - Black Lab mix gotcha 4/23/2012 Born 12/2011
      Scarlett - Yellow Lab gotcha 4/19/2013 Born 2008? 2007?
      Lizzy - Terrier mix gotcha 6/29/2014 Born 2006?
      Zeus - Papillon mix gotcha 1/30/2015 Born 3/26/2014

      Avatar: Ziggy, my kitty who crossed the bridge a few years ago.
      He slept in the sink for years, silly boy.
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    7. #6
      House Broken
      amandalmw's Avatar
      Join Date
      Feb 2015
      Thanked: 21
      Stig bit so much we called him a baby shark. We tried yelping when he bit us (like litter mates do), and it deterred him for a while. We mostly did positive reinforcement. Whenever he started biting something he wasn't supposed to (usually our hands), we would give him one if his toys to play with. I think he stopped around 5-6 months. Now he mouths us occasionally, usually for attention. When he does I try to ignore him and keep my hand limp. Most of the time it stops him immediately.

    8. #7
      House Broken
      rochie427's Avatar
      Join Date
      Oct 2014
      staten island new york
      Thanked: 45
      I tried the bitter apple spray on my hands once and then I forgot I put it on my hands and touched my mouth. The taste was awful and I don't know how many glasses of water I drank before the taste went away!!!

    9. #8
      House Broken
      Sam I Am's Avatar
      Join Date
      May 2014
      Souther than the deep south
      Thanked: 87
      I got desperate and did that with our husky. She quickly learned to like it, so that didn't work. Actually, nothing worked with her except time. One day she just stopped (around 6 months). My labs have always been deterred with a strong Ah-Ah, though for some I had to repeat it a LOT more than with others.

    10. #9
      Senior Dog
      TuMicks's Avatar
      Join Date
      Mar 2015
      United States
      Thanked: 967
      So for chewing... I've always used DEET (the active ingredient in Deep Woods Off.) If you've ever had the misfortune of getting it in your mouth, phew-ick-nasty! I never had any success with Bitter Apple and thought it was a waste of $$$.

      But your problem isn't chewing. It's biting.

      I may be the outlier on this site. But I think that the rule should be "You Own What You Condone." I think that your use of chemicals (Bitter Apple or DEET) is not teaching your dog to refrain from biting. What does mommy dog do when pups start biting her ear or otherwise being little butts. She communicates effectively Do NOT Do THAT.

      So, I've always grabbed the little snout and held it and said "NO!" Of course, puppies don't do much one-time-learning, so the next time... I grab the snout and squeeze a little bit, until there is a little whine, while saying "NO!" The point is that you have to communicate "Your teeth hurt and I'm not someone you can bite."

      You did not tell us how old your pup is. But if they are small, and this snout-grab thing is not working, (usually this is when I'm on the floor with them) I next grab them by the scruff and get front feet off the ground, get my eyes close to theirs and say a loud "NO!" with a little shake.

      My opinion is that it's best to not wait this out. It is confusing to the puppy. And frankly, I don't want to wait 5-6 months while their adult teeth are coming in before they finally get bored with biting me. I think it's kinder to the pup, to all in the household to stop it ASAP.

    11. #10
      Best Friend Retriever
      Sue's Avatar
      Join Date
      May 2014
      New England
      Thanked: 515
      Once again. Do NOT use DEET as a deterrent.
      See this post:
      Growling when disturbed - Page 2


      To the OP: If he's licking it off, he must like it. A lot of dogs do (like it). Just a warning if you use it for other things, it may not prevent chewing.
      Hidden Content
      ​Decisions, decisions, decisions

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      “It came to me that every time I lose a dog they take a piece of my heart with them. And every new dog who comes into my life gifts me with a piece of their heart. If I live long enough, all the components of my heart will be dog, and I will become as generous and loving as they are.”

      Cheryl Zuccaro

    12. The Following 5 Users Say Thank You to Sue For This Useful Post:

      AlexS (04-14-2015), charliebbarkin (04-14-2015), Labradorks (04-14-2015), sipsi (04-15-2015), Tanya (04-14-2015)

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