Harley Nips and Jumps. HELP! - Golden Retrievers : Golden Retriever Dog Forums
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-08-2013, 11:45 AM Thread Starter
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Exclamation Harley Nips and Jumps. HELP!

Harley is a 13 week old pup. I love him, he's amazing, but he has some work to be done.
He has always had a problem with nipping. If you are walking and he wants your attention or he is trying to dominate you, he will just grab your leg or your sock and pull. I have more bruises on my body than I ever had in my entire life! I know he needs constant attention and exercise, and we do give him that, but he always seems to go back to this.
We have yet to find a positive way to stop this. Nothing seems to work.
He also has a problem with jumping up on the couch with his front paws and no matter how many times I tell him to get down or set him down, he is right back up. SO STUBBORN.
I would love some sort of guidance on this, because I feel as though we're getting nowhere with it.

Thank you!
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-08-2013, 12:00 PM
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" If you are walking and he wants your attention or he is trying to dominate you, he will just grab your leg or your sock and pull."

Harley is just trying to get you to play. What do you want him to do when you are walking?

I want my puppies to be attentive and want to walk along my left side. I would encourage my pup to be focusing up at me and rewarding right along my left seam of my pants as I walk along. If he is focusing/walking along eating rewards for good behavior he can't be pulling on my clothes.

You want to encourage alternative behaviors and reward for them. So every time your pup is doing things you don't like think about it and figure out what you want them to do instead of that and reward for the good behaviors. By lots of rewards for the good behavior you will set in good habits and the behaviors you don't like will slowly stop. But it takes lots of consistency on your part.

"He also has a problem with jumping up on the couch with his front paws and no matter how many times I tell him to get down or set him down, he is right back up. SO STUBBORN."

He really isn't stubborn. He again wants to be with you and involved. He doesn't really understand what you do want him to do. It is easier to teach what you do want vs what you don't want. Again, figure out what you want him to do in place of putting his paws on the couch and ask for that behavior and reward for it.

Believe it or not but scientifically it takes about 500 repetitions of a good behavior with rewards before they really really know it.

Patience, consistency and having a plan of what you do want Harley to do depending on the occasion will help him become the dog of your dreams.

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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-08-2013, 12:01 PM
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First let me say that Harley is NOT trying to dominate you. He is a Golden puppy and some of them, like my Tayla and many more on this form, have had the same issues. For the first 8 months we had her I can't begin to tell you the number of times I came home from a walk bleeding and in tears. I had more bruises on me than some abuse victims. She was terrible. My husband threatened to give her away several times. What worked with us may not work with others, but you must always use positive training with these dogs. Anything else ramps them up even further. Make sure you have a reliable sit and down first. Then make sure you are never without really yummy treats. When the jumping and biting start issue a firm No Bite followed by a sit command (or down) and enforce it giving treats for compliance. At home I used an compressed air can when the biting got really bad with my husband. After a couple shots (not at the dog or near the dog) of compressed air she learned that biting was bad. I tried not to let her see me do it or see the can so she was startled and wondering where that sound came from. It broke the cycle and just shy of her year birthday she stopped biting. Look for posts on here about biting and jumping and landsharks and see what others have done. It was the worst 8 months I've ever spent with a dog, but it does get better and in 99.99% of the cases it is not agressive behavior or dominance. Just a bratty puppy that is inappropriate with their mouths. I also found that training impulse control worked well. Good luck

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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-08-2013, 12:18 PM
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Oh gosh!!! I went through this too! It wasn't a dominating thing at all, it was play! However I can tell you that every single pair of pants I own now has a hole on the bum, all on the right cheek! Brew grew out of it, it took some time, but once he realized it wasn't really fun to stop and sit after every nip, he gave up doing it, either that or he just forgot.
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-09-2013, 10:02 AM Thread Starter
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I'm so glad that we aren't the only ones going through this. There is hope!
Thank you all for the great feedback.
It looks like I have just as much work to do as Harley does. Consistency is key!
I'll be putting a bag of treats in my pocket as soon as I get home tonight.
When I mentioned him jumping on the couch, it is usually when we have snacks on the couch and he wants to get at them. "Down" seems to be working a little more every day, so I think he's starting to understand.
Jen, I also do not own a pair of pajamas that aren't ripped down the leg ahah.
Thanks again!
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-09-2013, 10:28 AM
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I totally agree using the compressed air can, (the one i use is called pet corrector) because it gives them a fright and they stop whatever it is they are doing. I would follow it up with 'no' or whatever command was relevant at the time.

in regards to the sofa, i found myself sitting on the floor for much of the time, which doesn't actually solve the problem but for me it was easier in the short run.
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-09-2013, 10:41 AM
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"I'll be putting a bag of treats in my pocket as soon as I get home tonight"

Puppies need lots and lots of rewards for good behavior. You can use some of his kibble as that reward so that you are not over feeding him for all this training. Measure out his feedings and put some of it in that baggie and use it for all those every day occurences (training house manners). That way you know that he isn't getting to much food.

There are three great videos on youtube on teaching puppies to ignore food unless you say they can have it. You can practice these separately and when he knows them you can have him do them when you are snacking on the couch.

It's Yer Choice Impulse control games

Solving Counter Surfing (this one is great as it doesn't have to have a verbal cue the pups learn that they are just not to take things unless you give permission (it works well because you don't have to be there.

Leave it

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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-09-2013, 11:03 AM
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Sigh of relief - thank goodness I'm not alone! Our 10-week-old Gretzky has the same issues (and we have the same scrapes, bruises and torn clothing!!). We know consistency and I feel reassured to know that this is normal behavior. Thanks all for sharing your stories.


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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-09-2013, 05:20 PM
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Harley is just a baby, he isn't trying to dominate you or being stubborn. He's trying to play and puppies play with their mouths. We've all had scratches, brusies and torn clothing. It will pass.

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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-09-2013, 05:38 PM
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Murphy was a holy terror as a young pup. Finally the trainer said buy a bottle of bitter apple at petco. When I sat down to relax I sprayed my hand with it and he'd sniff and back off. I did make sure once he got a good taste of it once or twice. He's almost nine months now and I just have to lift up the bottle. It saved my right arm which was covered with scratches and bites with those razor teeth. It gets better!

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