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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Lost our 11 yr old male Golden last spring and got an 8 wk old female two and half months ago. Puppy born by Cesarian; mother almost died and was unavailable to pups for several weeks. Was nursed by another female Golden then placed back with mother after several weeks. Breeder had to concentrate on ministering to sick mom with little time to socialize 7 pup litter (2 females and 5 males). At 8 weeks males were huge and the 2 females were quite small. Although bonded to us our pup is very stubborn and extremely independent. She won't bite if we take her food and move it or take away a toy. But, if we try to put on a leash to take her outside, she'll try to bite us. If we put her in her crate she tries to bite us even though we feed her in there. She doesn't draw blood as often and bites a little more softly recently. it's almost as if she has a "mean streak" we've never seen in a Golden before and we've known several. We know biting in puppies is common but this feels "over the top." Any thoughts re: what to do and how to help her?
 

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The best way to handle puppy biting is to physically put a toy in her mouth and encourage her to play with it. Tell her "no bite" give her the toy, and praise her when she takes it instead of your skin.

You can also teach her to "kiss". Put peanut butter on your hand, let her lick it, say "kiss", practice that for a while, the idea being that when she starts to put teeth on skin you say "kiss" and she should stop biting and lick. Of course you end up with a kisser/licker, but if the biting is bad this might be a more acceptable alternative.
 

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Our soon to be 6 month old girl still mouths us occasionally - more so the kids. Now that those sharp pointy baby teeth are gone - it's not painful at all and just wet. She doesn't clamp down.
We redirected with toys, said loud "No's", and occasionally held her moth shut while saying a loud, "NO!"
When really mouthy - we gave her ice cubes and chew toys. That seemed to help the best.
 

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Are you grabbing her collar to put on the leash and put her in the create? She might be reacting to you putting your hands near her head or eyes. Try teaching her Gotcha. You say Gotcha, hold a treat to the left, and grab the collar from the right.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Our puppy is now a year old next week. Biting us is no longer a major concern as she does "play biting" and quits immediately when told "no biting" but she continues to need to have something to chew on almost 100% of the time. She chews through the toughest toys and eats whatever she can find if given half a chance. Is this normal? Any thoughts on whether or not she'll out grow this behavior. (We aren't starving her and she's a perfect weight.)
 

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Our puppy is now a year old next week. Biting us is no longer a major concern as she does "play biting" and quits immediately when told "no biting" but she continues to need to have something to chew on almost 100% of the time. She chews through the toughest toys and eats whatever she can find if given half a chance. Is this normal? Any thoughts on whether or not she'll out grow this behavior. (We aren't starving her and she's a perfect weight.)
The chewing through toys is completely normal - toys are never "chew proof" no matter how often the company says it is :) However for the vacuum mouth, you can teach her to "leave it". I'm sure you can find some excellent videos on youtube of it, Susan Garrett's "It's Yer Choice" is a good one. Keep working on it daily, with various things (high-value treats, low-value treats, plastic, food containers, etc. anything she consistently goes after)
 

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It does feel over the top. I wouldn't read into the circumstances of her birth too much. Elsa was small compared to her brother, (the only two left), and everything else was normal with the mum. Elsa has an independent streak, and smart. I felt like she was 'mean' too, but in many ways these pups are trying to teach you and chew because they are puppies. What Elsa 'taught' me was she doesn't use her voice. Even at 6 months, she rarely barks, she never was a whiner, and only recently thought to scratch at the door after we got pee bells. Her mouthing is very much her way of talking. Elsa quickly decided she doesn't like her head petting. I learned to stay away from that and even now her preferred affection with me is to run between my legs and get legged hugged while I scratch the base of her tail. She has learned to appreciate a quick kiss on the top of her head. She still pulls away from people who want to pet her head, but she won't bite them anymore, she just does a little dance backwards and wags.

My advice, teach good bite inhibitions. I let Elsa teeth on me, but whimpered and turned my head away if she hurt me. I held bully sticks when she was on the couch with me. I taught her fetch super early so we could enjoy time together. I saved tugging until she was like 4 months old. And the best training tool of all for me, was quick timeouts, (2-5 min) in her crate when I could tell she was beyond control. We were careful not to wrestle with her, or get her wound up.
I won't lie. I cried a lot. It made bonding really tough for me, and it's really only happening now at 6 months old. There was no hugs or cuddles for so long. I do not miss her being a puppy for a second, and I love every mature move she makes.
The positives are, she is fine being left alone or crated. She is adventurous, loves climbing, and swimming. She doesn't bark at people or vehicles, but occasionally for a cat streaking through our yard. She has superior bite inhibition, she isn't destructive with it. She still has her first stuffie that we got her on her Gotcha day. As for her weight, she is a lanky 58 plus lbs. So she will be about 70 lbs. full grown.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks so much for the helpful comments. It's reassuring to know there are similar personalities to our dog out there. It's sounds like Elsa Cholla must be her sister! I had never heard such a perfect description of our Austen until now. It certainly gives me hope that things will continue to improve. She really has improved so much since we got her but she is still a challenge. We do work on the "leave it" command; much of the time it works, as long as I can see the object before she does. She is super fast though and then I find myself digging things out of her mouth. She clearly has a mind of her own but as she matures I'm hoping that will be less an issue. We set good boundaries with her and she's a fast learner (when she wants to be.)As I am typing she just ate a label off my husband's filing cabinet!
 
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