Help! My Puppy is biting my 3 kids! - Golden Retrievers : Golden Retriever Dog Forums
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post #1 of 57 (permalink) Old 05-09-2012, 12:35 AM Thread Starter
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Help! My Puppy is biting my 3 kids!

I have a beautiful 10 week old puppy, Penny. Penny is recovering from an immune disease called "Puppy Strangles", which she got shortly after we got her home from the breeder. So unfortunately she is still on prednisone. Despite that she is still a wonderful puppy in both demeanor and sweetness. However her biting is getting out of control. She is already about 18 pounds, and she is biting my 6 year old son worst of all. The poor kid has horrible bite marks on his inner thighs, his arms, and his backs of his legs. She also goes after my 3 year old and my 11 month old but not as often, and she doesn't bite them as hard...probably because my 6 year old reacts more when she does bite.

We have tried a thin vinyl cord, and everytime she bites, I tug on it and say "drop it!", and reward her once she does, and replace it with a toy. I constantly am shoving bones and toys in her mouth to distract her. I have my son "freeze like a statue" when she starts to bite him so that she will lose interest but so far nothing seems to work. I have even tried to hold her mouth shut and shout "No bite!", and put my thub and finger in her lower mouth as I've read on here to do, but it only seems to rile her up more. She's getting so big everyday and I'm starting to fear for my little ones. Her razor sharp teeth are very strong! My kids are having to hide on the couch (which won't work much longer once she's able to jump up there) and I'm having to constantly put my 11 month old in her highchair or hold her just to keep her safe.

Does anyone have any suggestions other than what I've tried?
I'm desperate here and before i go out and spend $700 on a private dog trainer i'm hoping I can get some answers here first.

Thanks!
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post #2 of 57 (permalink) Old 05-09-2012, 02:59 AM
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Hi--I don't have a lot of answers for you but wanted to reassure you that tomorrow youll get lots of responses. It sounds like normal puppy biting but obviously for everyone's sake and safety it has to end soon.

My guess is that the reaction she's getting when she bites is only exciting her more and causing her to bite more. My understanding is when puppies are upset with a littermate who 's playing too rough, they turn their backs and/or leave. you might ask your kids to not get too excited, say "ouch" loudly and then calmly walk away. it doesn't work with all puppies but has worked with my last two.

Also, watch the puppy carefully for a while. You will lean to see when she's getting excited and ready to start playing rough. If you can distract her before she starts, it's easier then correcting after the fact.

Good luck! This too shall pass. And you'll get more responses tomorrow.

Oh--and your pup is a doll!

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post #3 of 57 (permalink) Old 05-09-2012, 03:50 AM
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Hi,

Penny needs structured training. You don't have to spend 700 on a puppy trainer, but a puppy class is a must. What she's doing is asserting dominance over your children--she considers them as siblings and in a litter, puppies establish rank amongst themselves through dominance and submission. Young children also have high voices which sound like their own puppy siblings.

If she's resisting your "no bites" and getting riled up more, she's trying to assert dominance over you too. She seems to have a strong character, so you've got to get her under control before she gets too big. Penny can sense your children's fear and will only grow more confident because of it, so it's up to you, the adult, to be the uncontested Alpha here.

At ten weeks, she's still small enough for you to grab her by the scruff when she bites, give a firm shake, then put her on her side. Say "NO" in a deep voice as you do this--you can even growl, it's how momma corrects-- and hold her on the floor, one hand on her neck, the other on her body. She will squirm and struggle. What's important is that you do not let her up until she totally relaxes--this is a sign of submission.

I'm not for rewarding a biting dog who lets go. My concern is that she may be associating biting people with a reward. Biting is serious, so for me it's absolutely forbidden and no treats in sight if I have to correct her, just kind but strong discipline.

Not all puppy classes are equal. I would call and explain your problem before enrolling her. Your 6 year-old, athough pretty young, can be taught how to put her through her paces but until the kids are old enought to really show Penny they're not her siblings and are to be respected, you need to protect them.

If it's any comfort, Jazz was like Penny at 10 weeks. He bled all three of my kids and I nearly shipped his hindquarters back to the breeder. But learning about dog behavior (2 great books IMO are by the monks of New Skeet: How to be your Dog's Best Friend and The Art of Raising a Puppy) and getting structured training changed everything.

At nearly 7, he's the dog of my life and a true marshmallow. Has never even shown his teeth since puppyhood. Actually, he did: when Skye arrived as a puppy last year, to her only, and only until he got used to her. He was educating her, and it was between them.

All the best to you and Penny. You can do it.

Tess
Autumn Jazz du Domaine des Rives de l'Erdre ("Jazz", my guardian angel): 9/21/05

Get Back to the Country of Jeppo Farm ("Skye", my little pipsqueak): 3/25/11

Last edited by JazzSkye; 05-09-2012 at 06:24 AM.
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post #4 of 57 (permalink) Old 05-09-2012, 07:44 AM
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Kasey was terrible with my 3yr old! When Kasey started to bite my daughter I would tell her no bite put a toy in her mouth and take my daughter into another room where Kasey could not follow. My daughter spent alot of time hiding on the couch too! Kasey was 4 or 5 months old before my daughter could actually play with her. When they do play Kasey has a toy in her mouth and if she drops it play time is over! Now they are best friends always together! It is really funny if my 14yr old daughter wants to play with Kasey she will give her a toy but she drops it right away so she tells the 3yr to give it to her and she will hold on to it!
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post #5 of 57 (permalink) Old 05-09-2012, 07:50 AM
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consistency and patience it is just a phase it will pass..each time one of mine kept nipping i would say "no bite" and hand her one of her toys..10 weeks old i think is the big nipping stage! I remember bringing my puppies home at 8 weeks and saying wow they are so good they dont even nip! that all changed at 10 weeks. My dogs are now 5 months, 9 months and 1.5 years and every once a while they get too excited and nip nip nip we just turn away or say no bite and they calm down. Hang in there!! also i did not do puppy classes.
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post #6 of 57 (permalink) Old 05-09-2012, 08:02 AM
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Thank you for this useful post. We are bring home our golden girl in 2.5 weeks and I was wondering what to do about this. THank you.
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post #7 of 57 (permalink) Old 05-09-2012, 08:26 AM
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I so disagree with the asserting dominanace part of the one post I have to comment.

What she IS doing is being a normal 10 week old puppy, playing with the humans the same way she'd play with her litter mates. Thinking it's a dominance thing can really screw up in how you handle a situation. Don't misunderstand her behavior. I suggest you get some books about golden retrievers and doggy communication. You are going to have to live with the biting thing while you try to teach her not to do it. Good luck with that - it was a very long road for us. Max did outgrow that stage like they all do.

The cord is a very horrible way to deal with something the pup won't understand. Oh, so you don't want me to play with you? is the only possible message she will get that you are going for - more likely to not understand and more likely to become uncomfortable around leashes and feel unsafe when she's on one and you're holding the other end. I'd stop that like, yesterday. Shoving - again - not the best way - trading, absolutely. The statue thing I've heard of working sometimes as the yelping thing but it takes a long time for either to work. Just takes a lot of patience and determination. Whatever you do, don't punish her for this typical behavior - you most likely are not sending her the message you think you are.
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post #8 of 57 (permalink) Old 05-09-2012, 08:29 AM
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Welcome to the forum, it's a great resource.

1). First thing this morning start searching for puppy class, as suggested. Try dog training clubs and if you can't find one, start calling local breed clubs for their suggestions. People want to help if you tell them what you need.

2). Normal puppy behavior, but your kids do need to be protected. Absolutely no unsupervised contact. Baby gates and an X pen are good for management.

3). Do you have any friends with young dogs? Puppy playdates are a great thing for rough housing, start asking neighbors, your kids' friends' parents, at church etc. it can be a huge help especially if the puppy has to be crated a bit more because you can't supervise constantly.

4). Consider tethering the puppy to your waist so you don't have to crate while youre doing chores etc.

5). It's going to be a huge committment of time and effort on your part, but you will get thru this phase. Hang in there! You're not the only one who has struggled with this.


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post #9 of 57 (permalink) Old 05-09-2012, 10:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by momtoMax View Post
I so disagree with the asserting dominanace part of the one post I have to comment.

What she IS doing is being a normal 10 week old puppy, playing with the humans the same way she'd play with her litter mates. Thinking it's a dominance thing can really screw up in how you handle a situation. Don't misunderstand her behavior. I suggest you get some books about golden retrievers and doggy communication. You are going to have to live with the biting thing while you try to teach her not to do it. Good luck with that - it was a very long road for us. Max did outgrow that stage like they all do.

The cord is a very horrible way to deal with something the pup won't understand. Oh, so you don't want me to play with you? is the only possible message she will get that you are going for - more likely to not understand and more likely to become uncomfortable around leashes and feel unsafe when she's on one and you're holding the other end. I'd stop that like, yesterday. Shoving - again - not the best way - trading, absolutely. The statue thing I've heard of working sometimes as the yelping thing but it takes a long time for either to work. Just takes a lot of patience and determination. Whatever you do, don't punish her for this typical behavior - you most likely are not sending her the message you think you are.
You don't need a $700. trainer, this is normal behavior that puppy will outgrow. Some puppies are worse than others, my Hank wasn't a particularly "mouthy" puppy (compared to our others) but our family still had the scratches and torn clothing to prove our new puppy status!

Our granddaughter was 4 y.o. when we got Hank, we made a rule of no floor playing/wrestling with puppy. Puppies like to play rough and kids quickly learn they are no match for those puppy teeth.

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post #10 of 57 (permalink) Old 05-09-2012, 10:08 AM
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I do not think that this is anything but normal puppy biting. I would advise you strongly NOT to follow the previous poster's advice regarding rolling the puppy on its side, this is not a sound training procedure. Your puppy is playing and this will only scare her and will have no positive benefits.
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