Labrador puppy just turned 8 weeks - HELP

Doberluv

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#21
Killerz, he hasn't made the association yet....that biting equals end of playtime. You don't even have to leave the room. Walk away and fold your arms, stare at the ceiling....LOL. Let him know that you won't interact with him the second his teeth hurt your skin. A crying out in pain just before you ignore him works with some dogs. Some think you're playing. Then that's no good. Reaching out with your hands, as in touching him can look like more play...not always as punishment. If you are very consistant, over time, he'll learn. Puppies don't learn how to be adults over night. These things take time. Their desire to chew, gnaw, bite is very strong. Its what they do.

I prefer to not use aversives like pain, fear, discomfort because with my puppies, I like to teach them bite inhibition, not that putting their mouth on me is altogher a bad thing. If my puppies mouth on my hand very gently, I'll continue to pat them or play softly. If their teeth come even close to causing me the slightest discomfort, I abruptly end the attention or playtime. The reason for this is that it works out with dogs.... so that in the future if a dog does bite, he learns to regulate the strength of his bite and he's less apt to bite hard. Later, I make it so the dog doesn't mouth my hand unless I invite him to. Then it must be a gentle game...ever so gentle. Then it stops when I say, "enough."
 

Doberluv

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#22
Sigh. We just have different ways of doing things sometimes. Its all good. I appreciate your passion.
I have not ever had a puppy forever changed or dramatically different because of it. Actually never had one be different in any way other then they learned not to bite my fingers
It's not about passion or emotion. My dogs have not been forever changed or dramatically different either. And they learned to stop biting my fingers too. And I didn't need aversives to teach them. I didn't have to cause them to gag. That is not a pleasant feeling and I think it has the potential to erode a little bit of trust a dog has in his owner. Some dogs are more sensative and can perceive their owners hands as a threat when they do something like that. Since there are ways to teach a dog things without physical force which are very effective, which do not have the possibility of causing defensiveness, and as a byproduct, aggression or fear, that is what (and why) I advise people who are asking. A good leader (in the wild as well as not in the wild) uses psychological manipulation in a positive way rather than physical aversives. A leader controls resources. That is my reasoning, not passion.
 
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#23
I know this is probably going to sound strange--but 12 years ago when I got my parent's lab as an 8 week old pup--he of course was the typical mouthy lab pup---I didn't know much then but did some of the things mentioned on this thread--I also am not a fan of anything aversive and have learned a lot since then--but one thing I tried a time or two that seemed to help is I coated my hands with bitter apple spray--on this particular pup it worked really well--he would go to grab my hand and then get this funny look on face. I know it aversive because of the bad taste--but it did help keep his mouth off of me.. Now a few years later I tried this on my ACD--didn't work much at all. Just remember if you try this to wash your hands right after you put the pup away--bitterapple is the nastiest tasting stuff imaginable!!!LOL
 

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It's not about passion or emotion. My dogs have not been forever changed or dramatically different either. And they learned to stop biting my fingers too. And I didn't need aversives to teach them. I didn't have to cause them to gag. That is not a pleasant feeling and I think it has the potential to erode a little bit of trust a dog has in his owner. Some dogs are more sensative and can perceive their owners hands as a threat when they do something like that. Since there are ways to teach a dog things without physical force which are very effective, which do not have the possibility of causing defensiveness, and as a byproduct, aggression or fear, that is what (and why) I advise people who are asking. A good leader (in the wild as well as not in the wild) uses psychological manipulation in a positive way rather than physical aversives. A leader controls resources. That is my reasoning, not passion.
Maybe its possible to offer advise without pointing out other types of training as wrong or unpleasurable. Variety is the spice of life after all. Not everyone does things your way and I can accept the fact not everyone does things my way. Let the poster choose which way works best for them.
I also wanted to refer you here.
http://www.chazhound.com/forums/showthread.php?t=30198
 
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#25
Well today I sat on the floor with him and played and he started off snaping and biting as usual. I yelped ouch and STORMED out of the room. Waiting 2 mins and came back. This went on for about 25-30 mins and by the end he would go to bite my hand, stop himself and either lick it or rub it with his nose. He did test the waters a little bit with some nips and he put my entire hand in his mouth but didn't bite down and then looked at me so I said good boy. I think he is starting to figure out that biting me = alone time for him.

As for not having to leave the room, if I just put my back to him and ignore him, he is a fiend on my shoes and pant legs (well not my shoes any more since I doused them in bitter spray). Should I just let him pull the crap out of my pant leg and not respond or should I completely leave the room like I have been?
 

Doberluv

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#26
Maybe its possible to offer advise without pointing out other types of training as wrong or unpleasurable.
Even if it's my opinion that something is wrong or unpleasurable? If other types of training are opposite from what I think is the best way, (also not just my opinion but standard practice among many behaviorists and scientists) then pointing them out as being opposite enables people to see what's going on in both instances.

If I think something is dangerous, say.....letting a dog eat chocolate, I won't just be saying what things I think are safe for eating. I will say that it's been found that chocolate is toxic to dogs. If I've found in my education and experience that a lot of aversives may be "toxic" to dogs, I feel it my duty to explain my conclusions or my opinion about the negative effects of aversives as well as discussing the many virtures of not using aversives.

As far as the forum goes, direct attacks or insults, flaming, baiting of other members is not allowed. However, stating one's opinion about various training methods is allowed and part of what makes a forum.

I feel, from my perspective that it is important to spread the word that there are ways of training dogs, that they're used all the time all over the place, which do not include the use of aversives or harsh punishment. While I don't see what you're doing as abusive, I know there is a way to stop puppy biting without pushing my fingers into the throat of an 8 week old puppy to inhibit biting by causing a gag reflex. My opinion is that it is unnecessary and unpleasant. I have a right to state my opinion, as far as I know. So do you. So does everyone.
 

Doberluv

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#27
Killerz, it sounds like it's starting to pay off. Keep up the good work. I suppose I would at that point...when he's going for the shoes keep on doing what you're doing....leave the area or put the puppy calmly (non-punishingly) into his crate for a few minutes of alone time. Just to show him that the social time ends everytime he bites at you. Try again in just a couple minutes. 5 minutes for a pup is an eternity. Try, before he has a chance to go for your pants or shoes, handing him a really neat chew toy. In other words, show him an alternative and praise him or chewing that. You might even put a very, very thin little spreading of peanut butter on the toy. Do you have a little puppy Kong toy? You can put yogart in it and freeze it overnight. That makes a great chew toy for teething....cold, tasty....keeps 'em busy. Don't forget....be consistant, just like you're doing. He'll repeat what works for him and stop doing what doesn't work for him.
 

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#28
Puppies at this age need repetition, repetition, and more repetition. I too do not recommend gagging a baby. At 8 weeks dogs are infants, REALLY infants, like newborn babies. Their attention span is about 3.5 seconds, more or less. They will not remember something you teach them 5 seconds ago, let alone 5 minutes.

Labs can be mouthy puppies. They are gun dogs designed to carry carcasses of animals in their mouths. Often times they are not happy unless they do have something in their mouths, even as adults. To teach a baby not to bite, I recommend sitting on the floor with him and playing with him. When he bites at the hands, YELP sharply like a puppy, pull your hands close to you - in effect, remove the toy, which in this case is your hands. You can replace your hands with something appropriate, like a soft toy. If he bites at your clothing, a quick AH-AH is usually enough to interrupt the behavior long enough to give him a toy. The SECOND the toy goes into the mouth, tell him he's a good dog. Wiggle the toy around, encourage him to mouth it more. If he goes for the hands again, repeat. Again, and again, and again, and again. By about 14 weeks of age, with consistancy, the pup should know that hands/clothing is not for chewing, and toys are.
 

Herschel

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#29
Your puppy is biting you because he wants to play and he thinks biting is a game. Anything that you do to give him attention is a reinforcement.

Yelping--what happens when a 5 year old boy chases a 5 year old girl and grabs her hair? She screams and he laughs. It's all part of the game.

Pulling scruff--He's being rough with you, you're being rough with him. Now everyone is playing the game!

Pulling the collar--Same as pulling the scruff, but some dogs react VERY adversely to this.

Substituting toy: The dog bites, you give him a toy. It's like giving that 5 year old boy a cookie for pulling the girl's hair.

Your punishments seem ineffective, as well.

Locking him in his crate: If you ever want to crate train your dog (it's a great tool to have, even with older dogs), using the crate as punishment will never get you there.

2 minute isolation: It's almost like hide and seek. The dog bites, you disappear, then you come back for more playing (biting).

----------------------------------------------------------------

Some dogs are nippier than others. Ours was VERY nippy and didn't really stop until 5 months. We used "Ow!" very successfully, but our friends enjoyed getting him riled up so that slowed our teaching down.

I would suggest that you make your isolation longer. Maybe 10 minutes or so. 2 minutes obviously isn't doing the trick.

This is natural behavior for a puppy--and you need to help him grow out of it. It's nerve wracking--I even nipped my puppy's paw back once because I was so sick of being attacked. Haha. He was so surprised. (I don't recommend that as a teaching aid, though)
 

Spiritus

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#30
"Yelping--what happens when a 5 year old boy chases a 5 year old girl and grabs her hair? She screams and he laughs. It's all part of the game."

Dogs are not children. Yes, in the case of children, the yelping encourages the game. In dogs, they yelp at each other when the bites get too hard, and play stops.


"Pulling scruff--He's being rough with you, you're being rough with him. Now everyone is playing the game!"

I agree.


"Pulling the collar--Same as pulling the scruff, but some dogs react VERY adversely to this."

Again, I agree.


"Substituting toy: The dog bites, you give him a toy. It's like giving that 5 year old boy a cookie for pulling the girl's hair."

Um, no. How do dogs learn what is appropriate to chew on if we don't show them? No, my skin is NOT to be chewed on, but this toy IS to be chewed on. Not only do dogs need to be taught what is not acceptable, they need to be shown what IS acceptable. If we want to equate this to children, a toddler grabs a crystal knick/knack off a table. Adult takes the crystal, and gives them something that IS okay to play with.


"Your punishments seem ineffective, as well."

I don't see an 8 week old's behavior of nipping deserving of actual "punishment". I believe that "punishment" should not be brought in until the dog KNOWS the desired/correct behavior. In the case of an 8 week old puppy biting, the dog does not KNOW that the behavior is not desired or incorrect. All they know is that everything goes into the mouth. Actually taking the time to TEACH the dog that no, not everything goes into the mouth, will, in my opinion, make a better dog. Punishment brought in at 8 weeks will only teach the puppy that something unpleasant is associated with it's person. Do we really want to teach them that? We want our experiences with our dogs to be positive at this stage of the game. Punishment, if you must use it, comes later....
 

showpug

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#31
Your puppy is just that, a PUPPY!!! I think we expect too much from puppies too soon. Personally, I don't think puppies should leave their breeders until 10 weeks, but that is a whole other thread. Puppies grow out of nipping, plain and simple. It's a time thing. Honestly, do you ever see adult dogs acting like puppies in this way? I sure don't. I agree that it is a good opportunity to guide your pup towards a positive behavior, but the truth is, he will grow out of this mischief, it's just part of puppyhood. I think it's easy to lose patience with our puppies, but that is the main thing you need. Pretty soon he'll be all grown up and you will miss this time. Cut the little bugger some slack and enjoy him :)
 
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#32
LOL, i think it is funny that some of you think that sticking your fingers in thier mouth hurts them. Its just a way to stop what they are doing. I have raised all my dogs from puppyhood and did that with all of them. I have 2 friends that are veterinarians, and the vet that i go to has told me it is perfectly fine to do that. No harm doing. Just dont stick them all the way down, now that's harmful... but just doing it to make them stop chewing on you is not. Works wonders for me, and others I know, they just get up and want to play with you some other way thats all.
 

Spiritus

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#33
I'm not saying it hurts, I am just saying it's unpleasant, and why would anyone want to do something unpleasant to an infant? I just don't understand. Your way might work, but other ways work just as well, without being unpleasant. I want my puppy's experiences to be pleasant as a baby.
 
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#34
Thats totally fine, hehe, people think differently. Its just like someone saying "I yell at my kid until he listens, or I punish him..." People have different opinions, although I would never hit my kids or pups, that's just wrong. But putting your fingers in their mouth is not harmful or bad at all, the more unpleasant situation would be having them chew on you until your hand bled. And to me, my pups are the happiest pups in the world, I've kept everything as pleasant as can be thank you... It's also like saying, no i would never pull my dog to the ground and hold him at bay by his neck!!! In many cases, i've had to do that with friends dogs when they are not trained. It doesnt hurt them, it just shows who is the dominant one in the picture. That's nature for them.... But what do I know... I'm mean and make my pups lives "unpleasant."
 

Herschel

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#35
Dogs are not children. Yes, in the case of children, the yelping encourages the game. In dogs, they yelp at each other when the bites get too hard, and play stops.
Exactly. The play stops. If you yelp and create a commotion, for some dogs that is reinforcing the behavior because it creates a response. The original poster already noted that "yelping" or saying "ouch" isn't working for him.

Um, no. How do dogs learn what is appropriate to chew on if we don't show them? No, my skin is NOT to be chewed on, but this toy IS to be chewed on. Not only do dogs need to be taught what is not acceptable, they need to be shown what IS acceptable. If we want to equate this to children, a toddler grabs a crystal knick/knack off a table. Adult takes the crystal, and gives them something that IS okay to play with.
If a child grabs a glass vase off of a table and is about to smash it, giving a child a GI Joe while he is holding the glass doesn't seem very smart. He's still going to smash the vase. It makes more sense to me to first remove the glass vase from the child, then offer the GI Joe after the vase isn't an issue.

I don't see an 8 week old's behavior of nipping deserving of actual "punishment". I believe that "punishment" should not be brought in until the dog KNOWS the desired/correct behavior. In the case of an 8 week old puppy biting, the dog does not KNOW that the behavior is not desired or incorrect. All they know is that everything goes into the mouth. Actually taking the time to TEACH the dog that no, not everything goes into the mouth, will, in my opinion, make a better dog. Punishment brought in at 8 weeks will only teach the puppy that something unpleasant is associated with it's person. Do we really want to teach them that? We want our experiences with our dogs to be positive at this stage of the game. Punishment, if you must use it, comes later....
Perhaps I should have specified negative punishment to make myself more clear. (The removal of something appealing) When puppies are with their littermates, they learn not to bite because they are no longer played with if they nip. All I've said is that the dog should be left alone for more than 2 minutes to make it clear that it isn't a fun game for the person. I'm not entirely sure why a dog would think that a person is unpleasant if they leave the room--could you please elaborate?
 

Doberluv

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#36
Herschel, when I mentioned putting a pup in a crate when he absolutely can't settle down and the ignoring isn't working, the dog is chasing the owner around, biting his ankles, I was not talking about using the crate as punishment. That would indeed be a mistake. (technically, this would be negative reinforcment....the socializing, the good thing ends) I never put my pups in a crate in anger or with any kind of sterness and don't advise it for anyone. Crates should not be associated with a rotten time or fear. If a pup hates his crate, that would need to be handled differently. Sometimes puppies get like little toddlers when they're overly stimulated...sort of what I call "punch drunk." They can't settle down. Their little nervous systems aren't quite in sync yet.

I sometimes would use the crate so the pup could get away from it all, have some walls around him away from all the comotion. I would put the pup in with a pleasant sing songy voice, "OK...time to go to bed" type thing. The pup would have toys in there and he was able to collect himself.

My puppies got so they voluntarily used their crates whenever they got to a point where they needed something to help them settle down. I left the doors open. They loved their crates. My Chi's still do. My Doberman is too big for a crate but he too use to go right in when he needed help to calm down.

As far as the quotes by Spiritus, I don't see where you two are disagreeing all that much. Yes, it's standard practice to remove your hands which are being bitten and replace with a toy that the pup is allowed to chew on. And I agree with you that with some dogs, maybe pups who aren't too sensative, yelping can be seen as play, as you joining in and so that becomes a reinforcer. And they can get more hyped up than they already are. But with some dogs, it startles them, they recognize it as the owner having pain from their biting and they do stop. So, it is always sort of an experiment. Yelping like I'm in pain has worked with my Dobe for taking treats from my hand too roughly and it's also worked with my son's dog, Toke. They would back off and try again, more gently the next try. So, again....it's something which isn't always the same.

When you hear or learn something such as "don't use a crate for punishment," or "ignore any bad behavior" (that is not always the cure if the reinforcement has nothing to do with your attention) it's always good, IMO to not learn things by rote but to use judgement and imagination with each situation or dog. Sometimes something which seems so standard still needs to be fine tuned or sometimes adusted a little bit for the individual dog or situation.


LOL, i think it is funny that some of you think that sticking your fingers in thier mouth hurts them.
It may or may not hurt them, but it is intrusive. With a sensative pup, it can be perceived as a threat, an attack. It is not natural for a puppy to have a human's fingers deep into their mouth, gagging them. It can be confusing to a puppy and cause bewilderment and distrust. If a pup is continually put on the defensive, it can develop aggression problems. There are tough pups and there are very sensative pups and everything inbetween. It's not a great idea to use aversives such as this on a dog, especially a tiny baby. It is not necessary.

It's not only some of us who think this way, but pretty much the whole community of behaviorists and trainers who utilize the science of learning behavior with their dogs. There's a lot of research out there and the reasons for not using aversives a lot and especially with a young pup are well documented. It is shown that positive reinforcement, using motivation and reward rather than harsh aversives is more effective in teaching a dog, as well as maintaining the dog's psychological well being. So, again...it's not just some of our opinions. It is the opinion of a vast number of educated animal behaviorists and scientists who deal with canine behavior.

There is no logical reason to use harshness of any kind on an 8 week old puppy, especially when there are viable alternatives for teaching.

BTW.....this has been said before, but I'll say it again: Vets know medicine. They do not all know about behavior.
 
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Spiritus

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#37
Herschel, I don't really see us as disagreeing either - sorry if it seemed that way.

About the quote you wrote about my crystal example, I did say "Adult takes the crystal, and gives them something that IS okay to play with." Same thing you said :)

All I've said is that the dog should be left alone for more than 2 minutes to make it clear that it isn't a fun game for the person. I'm not entirely sure why a dog would think that a person is unpleasant if they leave the room--could you please elaborate?
I didn't say that this was unpleasant, at least I didn't mean to refer to this. I was referring to fingers in the mouth. But, about this, I can see MORE than 2 minutes working if the dog is really hyped up and needs time to settle, but otherwise, even 2 minutes seems long to me for an 8 week old puppy. Dog's don't have the same sense of time that we do. All they know is that they are alone. 2 minutes, 10 minutes, 2 hours - all they know by the end of that timeframe is that you have returned. I can go outside for five minutes, and when I return, still get the same "MOM'S HOME" response from my dogs as if I was gone five hours. They just don't get "time". Dog's live in the moment. One moment you are there and playing, the next moment your are not, the next moment you are back and they are THRILLED. Those moments can be minutes or hours, the response will still be the same.

With the short puppy attention span that comes with the age of 8 weeks, IMO, leaving the room for 10 seconds, then returning, then leaving again if they are still too hyped up would be more effective than putting a longer time frame in there. The repetition done in very short incriments would be more effective than putting longer time in there, because the more time you are gone, the more THRILLED they will be that you returned. If you are leaving the area to teach the dog that it's behavior is what is causing you to leave, then returning in very short incriments would be the only way for the pup to associate that your leaving is directly related to their actions. 2 minutes or 10 minutes, is IMO, too long for the pup to remember what was happening 2-10 minutes ago, and to associate that their behavior way back in time (to the dog) was what made you leave in the first place. If you left and returned in 10-20 second intervals, and left and returned, and left and returned, all in short incriments, I think that this would be way more effective than adding the time in there.

Because of their short attention spans, it is very easy to interrupt behavior and redirect that behavior. I've found that this is most effective to teach a dog that they must stop the behavior. And as I said in my first post in this thread, repetition is the key. You must be willing to outlast your puppy. Repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat. Also, small successes should be noticed. Let's, for example, use the leaving the room method. Leave for 10 seconds, return, if "bad" behavior resumes immediately, leave for 10 seconds, return, repeat, until the one time you do return the room, the puppy, instead of jumping all over you chooses to sit and look at you for a moment to see if you are just going to leave again, PRAISE the puppy. Yes, the praising the puppy might get the behavior going again, and if it does, leave for 10 seconds, return, leave, return, leave return. Again, when the pup sits and looks at you to see if you are going to leave again, praise. Play gets rough, repeat. It may seem to be taking forever for us, and for some dogs, it might take seemingly forever, but they WILL get it.

But then, after a nap, puppy gets all hyper and biting-playful again, go back to the leave for 10 seconds, return, leave, return. You will likely notice that the puppy "get's it" a bit sooner than it did the first time. They don't have the memory that we have, or even the memory that their older counterparts have. It's because at this age they are like a 2 year old child in a toy store - what's that, oh, I LIKE that, oh but look at that, and that, and THAT... all over the place. It's because really and truly their little brains are just going and going and going.
 

Doberluv

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#38
I agree with you Spiritus. More than 2 minutes is an eternity to a puppy. And the more times you get to reinforce something, the better.

If I ever put my pup in the crate for quiet time when he was particularily crazed, ("Okey dokey, it's nap time")it was to prevent me from killing him, or prevent me from taking up a drinking habit, not to be teaching him anything. That was done at other times.
 

Spiritus

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#39
If I ever put my pup in the crate for quiet time when he was particularily crazed, ("Okey dokey, it's nap time")it was to prevent me from killing him, or prevent me from taking up a drinking habit, not to be teaching him anything.
Oh, I have soooo been there, done that! LOL. Sometimes it would be crate the puppy THEN have a drink! :D :eek:
 

Doberluv

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Sometimes it would be crate the puppy THEN have a drink!
LOL. Yes, especially when it's a Doberman puppy. It was a cake walk with the Chihuahuas and even the dog before them, my Lab....even my GSDs before my Lab. LOL. I took this Dobe on longer and harder off leash hikes than is ever advisable for their bones and joints. If I didn't, he'd literally be bouncing off the walls like a crack addict. This was at about 3 or 4 months of age. (I forget already...must have blocked that out of my mind) After a few more months, he finally wasn't such a spazz.
 
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