Labrador puppy just turned 8 weeks - HELP

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#41
Unfortunately he completely ignores a yelp or a strong NO like it never even happened. What happens usually is I will grab a toy and sit on the floor with him. He will immediately climb up into my lap. Then I hand him the toy to chew and start petting him and saying good boy. After a little while he will stop chewing the toy and either start sniffing and nipping my shirt, pants, or shoes, or he will start nipping at my hands. I yelp and/or tell him NO and then he will either ignore me completely or stop for a second and then get "mad" and do it even harder. He gets this look in his eyes and he stalks my hand for about 5 seconds standing very still and watching it and then he jumps at it. I substitute the toy over and over and over but he will bite it for maybe a minute then go back to the same old routine. Sometimes leaving the room works (minimum of 3-4 times before he mouths me gently), other times it doesn't (as he will still bite my clothes and shoes), but just ignoring him while in the room absolutely doesn't work because he attacks my shoes and pants.

It seems any type of NO command is lost on him as he seems to get more "excited" when I do that. He also gets more excited or mad when I try to release his jaws when he is clamped on my pants. After I do this he will then put his ass in the air and jump snap at my hand.
 

Doberluv

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#42
You have to understand that this is normal puppy behavior. Puppies can play rough and pretend to be "killing" prey. This is the way they're designed to be able to practice and learn how to kill prey for survival. It's an instinct leftover from their wild ancestors. At this stage, it's all play, "make believe" stuff. He's not mad at you.

Another thing to understand is that dogs don't understand the way we live in our houses. They have to be taught as they mature. They don't know what we mean at first when we say "no" or many of the kinds of communications we use. They don't understand English the way we do, there's no logic or figuring something out in their minds. Their learning happens because there is a condition and response, over and over.

They're guessing for a long time. The ONLY thing that makes them stop guessing is repitition and being reinforced for a behavior over and over. If you try one thing for a while, then try something else for a while, then another thing, of course it isn't going to work because the dog hasn't left the guessing stage and gone into the repitition of a behavior because there hasn't been an ample history of reinforcment. He's confused.

If a dog stares at you while you're eating something, he is not working it all out in his mind logically.... he's not thinking, "gee, if I look hungry enough, maybe I'll get some food." He would lie in a bathtub with his legs crossed and give a heavy sigh if that gave him food. Dogs do what works. If it works to keep nipping you, he will keep nipping you. You need to make it so it doesn't work. You can do this without harsh punishments.

Let's say (to take Jean Donaldson's example:) you are living on another plannet with some aliens. They're nice enough to you most of the time. Neither one of you understands the other's language or ways. They go to work and you're left in their home. You watch videos and eat pizza and go to the bathroom in these white porcelin bowls which even flush. It's all great to you. But when they come home, they babble something to you angrily. You have no idea what they mean but you know they are trying to tell you something. When you're finishing up your pizza, they appear to be scolding you but you can't figure out why. When you use the porcelin bowls to go to the bathroom, they babble at you loudly and you still don't know what you've done which is making them act this way. It's absolutely normal for you to eat pizza, go to the bathroom in porcelin bowls and watch videos. It's fun and harmless according to your ways. But little do you know that this is very unacceptable to them. You are guessing what it is that they're trying to tell you, what behavior you're doing that they are babbling and yelling about. You're guessing.

Your puppy is nipping you, but he's also doing other things; he may be vocalizing, wagging his tail, moving his legs, turning his head. Your puppy is guessing which, out of all the behaviors he may be doing is the one you are talking about if he's even thinking that way at all. And these normal puppy behaviors being abnormal to you doesn't even cross your puppy's mind. They're not complex enough to think all that through. Until the puppy has had a long time of consistant, repeated reinforcement, he is still guessing.

Skipping from one tactic to another does not enable him to have a steady supply of reinforcment for a particular behavior. The possibility of communication is lost every time you change tacts.

Remove the reinforcer for his nipping and biting your clothes. The reinforcer is your presence, your clotes, your socializing, your attention, your looking at him, speaking to him, touching him, just being there. As I explained before, remove the payoff for behavior you do not want and be consistant, not for a week or two but for as long as it takes.

If he bites and it hurts, hand him a suitable chew toy as an alternative, get up promptly and leave the area for a few minutes. That's all you have to do. You don't have to scold, yell, say, "no," shove your fingers down his throat. Unwanted behavior will extinguish if the payoff is not there. It won't happen over night, especially with a nipping, rambunctious puppy. It can take months.
 
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#43
While I believe that getting up and leaving the room is what it will really come down to in the end, isn't it good to have a "no" or "stop" command which the puppy/dog will know when it is said to end whatever it is doing? Will saying no, and then leaving the room achieve such a result?
 

Doberluv

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#44
I recommend you read the books, Culture Clash by Jean Donaldson, The Power of Positive Training by Pat Miller, Don't Shoot the Dog, by Karen Pryor. Another good one is The Other End of the Leash by Patricia McConnell. There are some other good ones: Raising a Puppy you can live with....forget the author. I highly recommend you read at least Culture Clash. It would be most helpful and it's very good. These are books written by real scientists and trainers, PhD's......people who really really know dogs.
 

bubbatd

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#45
Ah sweet puppyhood !! Loved it !!! Had a litter that was 8 weeks at Christmas , but I told everyone to pick up after Christmas . Well , we got snowed in , so for another week we had 7 puppers running around and having a ball !! Sure , they could have been kept in their whelping area , but this was part of their learning time . They were in and out with us .... time outs for naps in their pen and fed in the area. All were housebroken by the time they went home . One stayed " home " , my Bushwhacker !
 
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#47
I recommend you read the books, Culture Clash by Jean Donaldson, The Power of Positive Training by Pat Miller, Don't Shoot the Dog, by Karen Pryor. Another good one is The Other End of the Leash by Patricia McConnell. There are some other good ones: Raising a Puppy you can live with....forget the author. I highly recommend you read at least Culture Clash. It would be most helpful and it's very good. These are books written by real scientists and trainers, PhD's......people who really really know dogs.
Yeah I have been reading Raising a Puppy you can live with. I will have to look into the other ones.
 

Doberluv

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#48
Oh good, I'm glad you're reading! Saying no for this particular activity should not be necessary. You never want him to sink his teeth into you so you won't want to have to tell him, "no." He might get so he needs to hear "No" in order to stop. And like I said, for now, speaking to him is giving attention. So, it's best to show him that when he is playing gently and not biting, you'll stick around and play with him. The biting behavior will fade away when it is not reinforced.

Saying "no" while the dog is engaged in a behavior may make him associate "no" with doing the behavior. So "no," if it doesn't stop the behavior can be construed as a command to do the behavior. You always want to pair a command with the act of doing the behavior you want at first until it is learned. (Remember, dogs don't understand English the way we do) They make associations. Something bad, an aversive needs to accompany "no" for them to know what is no. :lol-sign: That's at first until they make the association.

I save "no" for really important things so the dog doesn't get so used to hearing it all the time and tuning me out. If I want my dog not to get some item that he's about to get, I use, "leave it" which means not to get into that thing. I actively teach him that. Somewhere if you do a search here on top of the page, you'll find something I typed (long) on how to teach Leave it by using several objects laid out on the floor.

If my dogs are playing too rough in the house, I tell them "settle." That's something I actively show them what I mean....give them an alternative behavior and distract them away from rough housing.

If they bark too much, I use, "enough." That means that barking is not a no no so I don't want to punish the barking. I want them to bark when someone is coming up the driveway to alert me. So, I can't tell them "no" about that. There's an exercise to teach "enough" too. And that can be applied to other things which are not a no no all the time, like rough housing, but they learn that you want them to stop for now. You've had enough.

"No," I use sometimes for things which are really awful or dangerous and I need them to learn that it's never OK. But it really is best to show the dog what it is he CAN do instead. It helps to balance not doing something with doing something else instead. One behavior (one you like) replaces the one you don't. That gets reinforced and the other fades away. If only the bad thing gets reinforced by the environment or by the dog self rewarding, then that behavior will be repeated. So it's good to show a contrast between the no no and the behavior you do want instead and reinforce that.

When my niece's dog lifted his leg in my house on a chair, I really let him have it. "NO!!!!!!" And I marched him outside quickly, showed him a Cedar tree and told him to "go pee pee." There are a few instances when I will use a strong verbal punishment and that is one of them. He hadn't been taught and it probably wasn't fair and he probably was shocked that I was so stern, but I just wasn't going to mess around and I couldn't have spent the time with him that would be needed to make him into the kind of dog who just wouldn't do that. My dogs, fortunately have never lifted their legs in the house. But I don't like to have to be telling my dogs, "no" all the time or be harsh too much. It's not good.

I know this guy who tells his dog, in a gruff voice, "no" for everything under the sun. He gives no direction, doesn't show the dog anything....just says, "no" about every behavior he doesn't want which the dog has not learned otherwise...has not been taught. The dog is very submissive and rather shut down. I do not ever want to do that to a dog. It's just not necessary to get the desired behavior.

Anyhow, those books would really be beneficial, would help you so much. I love Culture Clash. It's my all time fav. I really wish I had read it a long time ago.
 
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doberkim

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#49
How much activity is this dog getting and how much attention? one of the posts says he is stuck in the kitchen while you are home and you go to check on him every hour - so does he spend the vasty majority of his time in there without someone to interact with? if so, of COURSE he is overstimulated and excessive in his greeting when you come to be with him -

this also sounds like the dog needs a lot more CONSTANT stimulation for periods of time - interactive toys, games, treats, and walks walks walks!
 

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#50
How much activity is this dog getting and how much attention? one of the posts says he is stuck in the kitchen while you are home and you go to check on him every hour - so does he spend the vasty majority of his time in there without someone to interact with? if so, of COURSE he is overstimulated and excessive in his greeting when you come to be with him -

this also sounds like the dog needs a lot more CONSTANT stimulation for periods of time - interactive toys, games, treats, and walks walks walks!
I agree with you on this.
One great way to have fun is playing fetch. Close the doors in your hallway and from the end of the hallway blocking him in throw his favorite toy. If he seems uninterested juggle it around and drag it on the floor. Get him excited about the toy. Then toss it and get really excited and call him back. This is the beginings to retrieval training. Retrieving is great exercise for your dog. A pup of mine at 8 weeks old was already retrieving live pigeons at 80 yards away. Guess what I am trying to say is work at your pups level. Dont expect too much and encourage learning. ABOVE ALL a tired puppy is a good puppy.:)
 
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#51
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.
Whatever you say, like i said, what do i know, I'm just a mean person who wants to hurt my puppies. You do the training your way, and others can do it their way. My pups are now dogs, and they're the happiest they can be.
 

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#52
Sorry I also wanted to add that since he is showing alot of drive for prey which is a great thing for a lab puppy you might want to do somethings to encourage him to stalk a toy instead of your hand.
Tie a strong string or thin rope to a toy (I use bumpers or dried duck or pheasant wings) and drag it around the house letting him chase after it. Once he gets it let him play with it for awhile the give him the drop command and take the toy and have him chase it all over again.
Seems that the play you are engaging in with him is only encouraging him to pay attention to your hands. The string or rope will help remove your hand from the situation.
There are also some fishing type poles for dogs that you can get. They have a toy at the end and you can reel in your puppy. Its also a good exercise to start teaching come or here.
Trying different ways of play I believe will help the situation alot.
 
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#53
I have plenty of chew toys for him in the kitchen, and I try to get him to play with them but all it seems he wants to do is chew on me and ignore the toys. He has a blanket on the bottom of his crate that he loves to pull out onto the floor and drag it around and bite/hump. When I put it back in he goes to pull it back out and I try to distract him and get him to forget it and it sometimes works. I take him outside every hour or so and we run around for about 30 mins and then I take him back to the kitchen. Sometimes I stay in there and try to play with him for 30 mins and other times (when he is just too crazy and biting) I just leave him with his toys. He usually falls asleep evey 60-90 mins during the day.

Sometimes when he actually does play with his toys he has this brontosaurus that he pounces on and growls at and runs around the kitchen with. Most of the time though he won't play with the toys unless I am there holding them. I try to play fetch with him but he doesn't understand. Most of the time he will either watch the ball roll and then turn around and climb back up on my lap (and then try to bite the **** out of me) or he will chase after the toy, go look at it, and then come back without it and climb back up on my lap.

He is very smart, I got him sitting and laying down already and sometimes "leave it" works when he is biting my pants or shoes. I think I might try using a glove so I can at least spend more time with him and not get shredded. Won't help for my pants and shoes but at least that isn't breaking skin.
 

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#54
I would hesitate to get a glove and allow him to chew on your hand.

I would really try the string on the toy. Maybe get a kong and put some treats or peanut butter in it and tie a string around it and have him chase it.
Try some of the other play methods I have given you as well.
I raise lab pups and know that sometimes it seems like a loosing battle. Just one hump to get over. Dont worry you will have plenty more!:D
Dont get discouraged he will learn to behave if you dont give up I promise:D
 
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#55
I didn't mean I would let him bite my hand with the glove on it, I was just going to have it on my hand so it is protected but I would still follow through with the discipline. My hands are pretty beat up right now.

I have a kong ball and I put some peanut butter around the rim and he loved it! He played with that for a little bit but when it was gone he gave up on the toy as usual. I like the string idea, I was doing that outside with a stick and making him chase it but the thing is he loses interest quickly and turns his attention back on me instead of the toys. I wish there was a way I could keep him focused on other things for a longer time.

Tonight, the turn and ignore thing worked and after the second time I did it he was very gently mouthing my hand and would stop himself when he was too hard. When he was too hard he would look up at me and then be gentle. Every once in a while he would be too hard and I would turn around again. This worked well for about 30 mins and he was gentle on my hands but then I took him out to pee and brought him back in and he was in animal mode and I couldn't turn and ignore him anymore as it was pant leg attacking time! So hopefully I can keep up this treatment and get him to understand. How do I go about stopping him from biting my shoes, pants and sweatshirt though? Should I do the same thing?
 

Doberluv

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#56
Good advice from Momof7 and Doberkim....more romping and some mini 5 minute training sessions periodically during the day. Exercising puppy's mind and body will help get some of that pent up energy out and he may slow down with the grabbing your pant legs. Just do what you need to do to prevent him from having fun with your pantlegs or ankles. Sometimes a "time out" or quiet time needs to be implimented if you can't escape him otherwise. LOL. Even just a few minutes helps to send the message that all the fun ends when he does something. You're already seeing a little bit of this removal of the payoff starting to work. Keep up with it. You'll need the practice anyhow with that precise timing for everything. There's more to come. LOL. Puppies are so difficult. It's hard to be patient sometimes. But it will pay off in the long run, so hang in there. You've got a year or two till he's going to be somewhere near civilized.
 

Spiritus

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#57
Whatever you say, like i said, what do i know, I'm just a mean person who wants to hurt my puppies. You do the training your way, and others can do it their way. My pups are now dogs, and they're the happiest they can be.
Oh boy.... please, PLEASE, have an open mind. The more we learn and the more we open ourselves to different options, the more we understand our dogs, and the better owners/trainers we become.

I'll know that it's time for me to get "out" of dogs when I realize I think I know everything. It's a never-ending adventure of learning and growing.... that's one of the reasons why I LOVE my dogs - every one of them is his/her own little adventure, and every one of them teaches me something new....

Note: this post comes from a past believer in alpha rolling and dominance over dogs, instead of leadership and companionship, but my mind was opened, and I learned....
 
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#59
Puppies are so difficult. It's hard to be patient sometimes. But it will pay off in the long run, so hang in there. You've got a year or two till he's going to be somewhere near civilized.
Yeah this is my biggest challenge staying calm and not going apeshit when he attacks my hand and legs. I want to play with him so much and I feel bad when I can't because he is an "animal". He is starting to get the hang of fetch but he still doesn't want to do it all the time. Most times I will throw the ball, he will either chase it full or half way, then come back without it and maul my pants lolol. I got a good run of 3 returns before though so I will keep at it and see how it goes. I do many training sessions a day and he has sit down to a science almost immediately when I say it (unless we are outside where all bets are off). As for laying down, he does it sometimes and other times just looks at me dumb. We haven't been working on it that long so another few days he should have it good. I have been practicing stay a little bit too which he DOES NOT like lol. Do you think I should stick to 1 thing until he gets it good or is it ok to do many things throughout the day?
 

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#60
In my experience its best to stick to one command untill he has it down pat then move on to another command. Puppies attention span is about 2 seconds long.
Question: What lines does your lab puppy carry? Or was he a rescue?
The reason I ask is cause field bred labs can be alot of work and very trying on your patience because the have the energy to hunt all day.:D They arent the kind of puppy for the average owner.
 

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