Snappy/Bite-y Behavior in 6 month old - Golden Retrievers : Golden Retriever Dog Forums
 
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-15-2019, 11:34 AM Thread Starter
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Snappy/Bite-y Behavior in 6 month old

Hey guys,

Writing with a quick question about Cyrus -- Cyrus is now 6 months old and over the last month or so, he sometimes gets in these moods where he's really bite-y/mouthy. He grew out of his teething/nippy phase, then was fine for a while and now seems like it's back up again but with his adult teeth...

To clarify, he doesn't really bite or snap, but it's almost more that he opens his mouth a bit and moves his head around to see where your hand is. When he does get the hand, he doesn't really bite down, but just seems "mouthy" if that makes sense. It happens mostly when he's like tired or fussy I think. He also seems to do it first thing in the morning. We have a routine where I let him out of the crate, do some cuddles to say hi, then he runs to our bedroom and jumps in bed to say hi to my SO. He wiggles around and gives lots of kisses, but then when we go in to "tickle" him almost, he opens his mouth and gets bitey.

Also, when we're sitting on the couch at night (kind of around his bedtime), he just gets mouthy and bitey at what seems like random times. I know he may be nearing teenage phase (is that what's causing this)? It doesn't seem like straight zoomies because when he zooms, it's usually after a bath and he's running up and down the halls like a maniac lol

We've always taught that good things come from our hands (treats, food, etc.) and he frequently gives kisses. It just seems like sometimes he becomes a little demon and wants to get mouthy.

Usually when this happens, we get up, step away, and say NO loudly. He stops the behavior immediately, I think because we're physically moved away from him.

I just want to know if this is normal around this age, or if we should take him to a behavioral specialist? FYI -- he has completed Puppy Kindergarten and is now in Basic Manners (almost done). We plan on continuing with his training and hopefully going for CGC eventually.

Also, for those who remember our food issues from last week, I'm happy to report that we're gradually transitioning him over to Purina Pro Plan and he's doing great. Thanks for all your advice
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-15-2019, 01:40 PM
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I've heard this type of mouthing called "maw-ing" in the past. It is definitely normal especially for puppies. Goldens LOVE to have something in their mouths, and I've met goldens who will literally just gently hold your hand or fingers in their mouths.

My trainer encourages absolutely NO mouthing behavior at all...so that dogs know that they can absolutely not bite/nip or anything. When any of her dogs mouth her hands whether playing or looking for a treat she gives them a firm tap on the nose and a firm "NO" and then redirects them with a command they can easily do like "sit" or "down" before moving on. She explains that after saying "NO or "WRONG" to allow them to be successful so they get praise right away for performing a desired behavior.

Hope this helps!!
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-15-2019, 01:59 PM
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I sympathize. Woody is 11 months old and still occasionally takes my hand in his mouth, or gently puts his mouth on my wrist. It seems to be an attention-getting behavior and admittedly I haven’t done enough to break the habit. He never does it with my husband, but sometimes does it with friends. He’s mouthier than our previous Goldens and always has a chew toy or ball (or 2!) in his mouth. I guess I need to work a little harder on breaking this habit now that he’s almost a year old.


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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-15-2019, 02:14 PM
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Duster (age 3) still does this in "rougher" play with humans - for example, if we wrestle with him or tickle him, he will prance or roll around and put his mouth on a hand or arm, very gently. He never bites down and usually doesn't even make contact. If he does, it's very soft. I figure he's a retriever and they explore the world through their mouths, so it's normal play behaviour. I take the gentle nature of any contact as a sign that all the bite inhibition training worked. He doesn't initiate this kind of play - it's always in response to the way we interact with him. We don't think twice about it - it's just something he does.



Honestly, I wouldn't worry about it at all and I wouldn't punish it unless you feel the contact between mouth and skin is too hard.

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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-15-2019, 02:37 PM
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Your puppy doesn't need a behaviorist. He does need more training though. Depending on whether you have children in your life (even if it's neighbors or guests) or if you ever plan to, it is not ideal to have a Golden who puts his teeth on human skin, even if it's just to play. It is just too risky if the child is remotely hurt or scared - you don't ever want to hear "your dog bit my child" and not know for sure what happened. Even if skin isn't broken, if you have a mark on delicate skin, your dog looks like the bad guy. I don't allow this kind of behavior with my dogs.

I wouldn't come down hard on him and yell but I would gently discourage the mouthing. Remove his teeth and stop the game when he gets over excited. Teach him to "kiss kiss" using a smear of butter on the back of your knuckles and if he needs to have something in his mouth (they are retrievers after all) be sure you have plenty of nice large cushy stuffed toys handy in your home so that you can give him something appropriate to mouth.

Puppy zoomies are 100% normal, especially after bathtime etc. but be sure that you are getting him aerobic exercise every day of the week for a good 30 minutes so that he has an outlet for his energy. This will allow him to have better self control with the mouthing. Things like retrieving, chasing a soccer ball, swimming or a puppy playdate with a nice young dog his size are ideal for leaving him panting and tired. He really needs the outlet. And definitely keep up with the obedience classes.


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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-15-2019, 03:13 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by nolefan View Post
Your puppy doesn't need a behaviorist. He does need more training though. Depending on whether you have children in your life (even if it's neighbors or guests) or if you ever plan to, it is not ideal to have a Golden who puts his teeth on human skin, even if it's just to play. It is just too risky if the child is remotely hurt or scared - you don't ever want to hear "your dog bit my child" and not know for sure what happened. Even if skin isn't broken, if you have a mark on delicate skin, your dog looks like the bad guy. I don't allow this kind of behavior with my dogs.

I wouldn't come down hard on him and yell but I would gently discourage the mouthing. Remove his teeth and stop the game when he gets over excited. Teach him to "kiss kiss" using a smear of butter on the back of your knuckles and if he needs to have something in his mouth (they are retrievers after all) be sure you have plenty of nice large cushy stuffed toys handy in your home so that you can give him something appropriate to mouth.

Puppy zoomies are 100% normal, especially after bathtime etc. but be sure that you are getting him aerobic exercise every day of the week for a good 30 minutes so that he has an outlet for his energy. This will allow him to have better self control with the mouthing. Things like retrieving, chasing a soccer ball, swimming or a puppy playdate with a nice young dog his size are ideal for leaving him panting and tired. He really needs the outlet. And definitely keep up with the obedience classes.
Super helpful advice. We plan to have kids and I would never want to be in a situation where he mouths on my children or someone else's. Great points. Thanks again!

As an aside, since you mentioned the large cushy stuffed toys, do you have any specifically that you recommend? I've done so much searching -- Cyrus was such a gentle chewer as a puppy and has now turned into some kind of toy surgeon. He's chewed through all the Kong stuffies and even his GoDog dragons with the supposed Chew Guard. He loves stuffed animals SO MUCH (more than tennis balls or any other toy I think) but I'm running out of options since they never seem to last more than 30 mins.
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-15-2019, 03:14 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Emmdenn View Post
I've heard this type of mouthing called "maw-ing" in the past. It is definitely normal especially for puppies. Goldens LOVE to have something in their mouths, and I've met goldens who will literally just gently hold your hand or fingers in their mouths.

My trainer encourages absolutely NO mouthing behavior at all...so that dogs know that they can absolutely not bite/nip or anything. When any of her dogs mouth her hands whether playing or looking for a treat she gives them a firm tap on the nose and a firm "NO" and then redirects them with a command they can easily do like "sit" or "down" before moving on. She explains that after saying "NO or "WRONG" to allow them to be successful so they get praise right away for performing a desired behavior.

Hope this helps!!
Very true -- thanks for the comments and for letting me know it's somewhat normal we'll definitely have to keep working on bite inhibition/mouthing. That technique sounds helpful. I'll give it a try. Thanks again!
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-15-2019, 03:14 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by jdavisryan View Post
I sympathize. Woody is 11 months old and still occasionally takes my hand in his mouth, or gently puts his mouth on my wrist. It seems to be an attention-getting behavior and admittedly I haven’t done enough to break the habit. He never does it with my husband, but sometimes does it with friends. He’s mouthier than our previous Goldens and always has a chew toy or ball (or 2!) in his mouth. I guess I need to work a little harder on breaking this habit now that he’s almost a year old.
Yes, so true! It almost seems like they're trying to get our attention. Thanks for your help
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-15-2019, 03:16 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by ceegee View Post
Duster (age 3) still does this in "rougher" play with humans - for example, if we wrestle with him or tickle him, he will prance or roll around and put his mouth on a hand or arm, very gently. He never bites down and usually doesn't even make contact. If he does, it's very soft. I figure he's a retriever and they explore the world through their mouths, so it's normal play behaviour. I take the gentle nature of any contact as a sign that all the bite inhibition training worked. He doesn't initiate this kind of play - it's always in response to the way we interact with him. We don't think twice about it - it's just something he does.



Honestly, I wouldn't worry about it at all and I wouldn't punish it unless you feel the contact between mouth and skin is too hard.
This actually sounds a lot like Cyrus...it's almost when we do "rougher" play with him like wrestling or tickling that he gets into this mouth-y mode. Thanks again!!
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-15-2019, 04:42 PM
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Don't leave stuffed animals with him unsupervised, pick them up if he lays down to start chewing them. Trade them out for something he's allowed to chew. I give my dogs raw beef shanks from the butcher to chew. They can be sliced into 2 inch cross sections and I put them in the freezer. The dogs love them and when they start to chip, I throw them in the trash. We also do bully sticks for chewing a few times a week - they aren't cheap and you have to buy the 'low odor' variety. You can do a search of the forum for threads on good chew options. Frozen kongs or a stuffed "pickle Pocket" toy are also good. Varying the items he gets can help it from becoming boring. https://www.amazon.com/Starmark-Trea...s%2C134&sr=1-1

There isn't a stuffed animal on this earth that will stand up to a Golden Retriever, do not just let him lay down and chew on stuffed animals. My favorite brand is "Fluff and Tough" which is available thru amazon and better pet stores. We received our first one as a gift from the owner of Ellie's sire, Fisher. It was the Koi Fish and they are very durable. https://www.amazon.com/s?k=fluff+and...b_sb_ss_i_1_15

Here is another favorite for playing tug: https://www.amazon.com/Outward-Hound...NRX3NDM3HMXX69

Another favorite at our house - size small: https://www.amazon.com/West-Paw-Inte...s%2C137&sr=1-5

Also a favorite: https://www.amazon.com/Treat-Dispens...%2C134&sr=1-16

Since your puppy is so 'oral' I strongly encourage you to take advantage of his retrieving instincts and teach him a formal retrieve - it's the best thing you can spend time on after obedience work. If he loves to retrieve and will return to heel, you can exercise him anyplace and anytime. Start from the basics with this DVD, Jackie Mertens is a legend in Golden Retrievers and she shows you how to start from day 1 https://www.gundogsupply.com/soberetrdvdw.html


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