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BVerkennes
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Discussion Starter #1
Hi there!

I am super new to the forum but I have a bit of a problem. I have a 5-month old Golden named Sterling. He is of course gorgeous and super smart, but we are having some issues with him biting recently. We did have this problem when he was about 12 weeks, but it had gone away. He now has gotten to the point where he goes crazy and bites my fiance and me. I'm not talking about the occasional nip when we are playing with him. He has full out periods of time where we can't distract him with a toy, tell him down or sit, even leaving the room or giving him a time-out doesn't help him calm down. The second we step back into the room he starts it all over again. Most of the time he can be the sweetest dog on the planet: he'll cuddle and play nice/normally, he does great with his training, or entertains himself with a toy; but then it's like a switch gets flipped and he goes at us for 20 or 30 minutes, multiple times a day. We thought maybe he wasn't getting enough exercise, so we upped his walking and park time more. We now take him on three or four walks a day (15-20 minutes each) and at some point we take him to the dog park for 30-40 minutes on top of the walks (every day). There has been no change. PLEASE HELP!!! We do have a consultation with a trainer to see if there is something we are doing wrong. I love Sterling so much, but the biting has got to go!

Sorry for the long post, I tried to look through a few threads and nothing is really working for us.

Thanks!!
BVerkennes
 

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It's been awhile since I've gone through puppy days... but this is normal. Golden's are very mouthy as puppies.

Have all of his adult teeth come in yet? Im wondering if he's teething. (Sorry, I can't remember when my girls went through teething)
 

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BVerkennes
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Discussion Starter #3
Yes, Sterling is definitely teething! But he doesn't ever try to chew on us. I can tell when his teeth hurt because he brings us a squishy toy to play tug-of-war with or he gets his bone to chew on. We do regular ice cubes for his little gums too. He has lost most of his baby teeth, so his big boy teeth are coming in. I'll be honest it can get a little nerve-wrecking when he gets in his moods. We never know when he will bite us! (I have bruises on my legs and arms from him biting randomly) Also, he is worse about it with my fiance, he'll just randomly run up to him and go at it.

Thank you so much for the reply by the way! It makes me feel a little better to hear it's mostly normal with Goldens! (We are first time Golden Retriever parents so we didn't know what to expect)

BVerkennes
 

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Kristy
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These fits of energy are normal and it's your job to teach him you're not going to put up with unacceptable behavior.

1) Keep the consult with the trainer, who I hope is experienced with large sporting dogs like retrievers.

2) Keep up the exercise, every single day of the week. Sounds like you are doing well, be honest with yourself or mark the calendar about whether or not you are doing this every day. Leash walking is not exercise for a Golden puppy at this age, it is good to get him out and about and work on manners but not for getting his heart rate up which is what he needs. Wrestling and running with another young dog is the best form of aerobic exercise at this age.

3) During your leash walks, at least part of the time should be devoted to obedience practice. He shouldn't be doing whatever the heck he wants. He should be learning things like "wait" and practicing 'down/stays' in public. Take treats everywhere you go, keep them in your pocket at all times and reward good behavior and correct what is unacceptable.

4) Have your puppy drag a cheap leash cut down to maybe 3 feet long at all times when he is free in your home. (Take it off when you aren't supervising) Use this leash to gain control of him, step on the end to keep him from jumping up and to control him when he starts to have these fits of energy.

5) If you're not enrolled in obedience classes with a training club, you need to find a good one and get signed up and plan on making this part of your life for the next year or two. It will keep you honest about training and practicing with him every day. You have to put him on leash once or better, twice a day and practice obedience.

6) Do a search for the term "Nothing In Life is Free" and implement this protocol in your home. There is a search feature at the top of the page on this forum and you can enter the term and others like "teenager phase" "help my puppy is driving me crazy" and see that this is a struggle at this age for many people.

7) If you are remotely interested, find a club that does agility or field work for retrievers HRC or AKC and get involved. You need an obedience foundation but these are things you can enjoy with your puppy to build a partnership and teach him to channel his energy in a way that pleases you. It's SO much fun too :) and you will meet lots of awesome people :)
 

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BVerkennes
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Discussion Starter #5
Thank you so much!! I was so afraid we had done something wrong with his training, but it is SO relieving to know he's not becoming mean and aggressive. Also, thank you for letting me know about the leash walks, I will start working on getting him to the dog park or around more young dogs more today!

Thank you again!!!
 

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I agree with the above advice. Keep him on a leash while he's in your home and around you and put him in a time out when he gets like this. I would make him work for every privilege (sit, down etc before eating, walking out the door, playing etc).

I think you also could do with some more exercise. Many undesirable dog behaviors are the result of boredom. 30 minutes at the dog park might not be enough for your dog. 15-20 minutes walking is not enough to tire a puppy out. The best way is running that gets them panting. Fetch is a good way to burn some energy, and it reinforces training and obedience. I think a dog needs at least an hour of good exercise that gets them panting each day. You may find you need more or less of this depending on your dog. Some goldens are more "fieldy" and have a lot more energy, and need more exercise during the day. Think of him like a border collie--if you don't keep him exercised and mentally entertained, he will create games for himself that you might not like!

Piper is a week shy of her 6 month birthday, and we go to the dog park for at least an hour once a day, sometimes twice a day. If there isn't a toy aggressive dog there, we play fetch, and she will run for balls for a solid 45 minutes, with some breaks etc. Even then, I'm always impressed how after an hour of playing fetch, if a dog comes to the park that she really loves to play with, she will run around with them for another hour--like she has been cooped up inside all day and gotten no exercise.

My typical thing with her is dog park for an hour or more (where she's fetching or playing for an hour, not just running around and sniffing stuff), an hour walk by me (or a hike, or swim, or 2nd trip the dog park), and an hour walk by my dog walker if I'm working, and a couple 20 minute walks in between. I keep our walks energized, and speed walking, so she's at my heel and walking/trotting most of the time.

You can also get a flirt stick (its like a giant cat toy, but for dogs), its another good way to burn some energy. I'd look into other brain games like a kong wobbler and things to keep him stimulated.
 

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During your leash walks, at least part of the time should be devoted to obedience practice. He shouldn't be doing whatever the heck he wants. He should be learning things like "wait" and practicing 'down/stays' in public. Take treats everywhere you go, keep them in your pocket at all times and reward good behavior and correct what is unacceptable.
I second this!! Kaizer's 16 months now, but I still take treats and his favorite toy everywhere we go, just in case. It's one of the best things I've ever done.
 

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My question is how do you react when Sterling's mood suddenly changes and he bites? Do you try to calm him? Tell him it's ok? Try to ignore it? Scold him? How you react matters.


Sterling is turning into a teenager and he is questioning all the rules. At this stage he still knows the commands and the house rules but it is like he suddenly realized that he has an option NOT to behavior appropriately. Like the parents of many teenagers, I often see dog owners try to negotiate with the offender. They repeat commands, try to distract and redirect, try to pacify and convince the dog to revert to their previous nice behavior. Generally none of these owner behaviors have much of an effect on the pup. Ignoring the behavior can be even worse since that gives the dog the idea that you are okay with him munching on your arm.


This stage is the dog asking "Do you mean what you say?" Your best tactic is to keep a short leash on the dog and EVERYTIME his teeth touch you requires a swift and firm reaction. Do not smile and say that's okay. Grab the leash and remove the dog to his kennel. Put on your best acting skills and be angry without looking at the dog or directing your anger at the dog. The dog sees you angry and realizes something is wrong. Fake it if you must but be cold, swift and impersonal while you put him in his crate.


If he catches on and bites and runs then you will need to put a longer leash on. Bad behavior must be dealt consistently and quickly. Bad behavior means you Sterling loses his privilege to be out here with the family. TIME OUT!


Keep a journal and make notes about when and where he is bad. Try to remember what his behavior is just prior to the bite, jump, etc. If you can see it coming then back to the kennel goes Sterling.


While this seems strict and a little harsh dogs want to be a part of the family and being banished to their kennel is a quick and painless way for them to have consequences. Good behavior equals time with me. Bad behavior equals time away from me. I am always surprised by how quick the dogs pick up on this and adjust their behavior.


Good Luck and keep us posted.
 

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BVerkennes
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Discussion Starter #10
Normally when he starts to act out we try to correct him with a "no sir" or "easy". There are some times when he will stop what he is doing and run to grab a toy and bring it back in order to play. When he does that we give him lots and lots of praise. The other times where he doesn't let up, we normally tell him "no sir" or "time-out" and we put him in a time-out. Which for us is our tiny apartment kitchen with a baby gate blocking the way. Every time he starts to get too aggressive with us we say "time-out", and he has started to calm down a little, but like I said when he doesn't after the first "no sir" we put him in a time-out and tell him no bite. He doesn't act out when he's in the kitchen, in fact he lays down and gives up almost (no whining, jumping, or general craziness). I don't like to use his crate as punishment just because we are still trying to get him used to it being his own little happy place. He sleeps in the crate every-night along with times when we aren't home. It's worked great by the way! We just want to separate punishment from his crate so he can still love it! I appreciate all the help so far by the way! We still have our meeting with the trainer tomorrow so that might help as well! I'll keep you posted

Thanks again!!!
 

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Hi there!

I am super new to the forum but I have a bit of a problem. I have a 5-month old Golden named Sterling. He is of course gorgeous and super smart, but we are having some issues with him biting recently. We did have this problem when he was about 12 weeks, but it had gone away. He now has gotten to the point where he goes crazy and bites my fiance and me. I'm not talking about the occasional nip when we are playing with him. He has full out periods of time where we can't distract him with a toy, tell him down or sit, even leaving the room or giving him a time-out doesn't help him calm down. The second we step back into the room he starts it all over again. Most of the time he can be the sweetest dog on the planet: he'll cuddle and play nice/normally, he does great with his training, or entertains himself with a toy; but then it's like a switch gets flipped and he goes at us for 20 or 30 minutes, multiple times a day. We thought maybe he wasn't getting enough exercise, so we upped his walking and park time more. We now take him on three or four walks a day (15-20 minutes each) and at some point we take him to the dog park for 30-40 minutes on top of the walks (every day). There has been no change. PLEASE HELP!!! We do have a consultation with a trainer to see if there is something we are doing wrong. I love Sterling so much, but the biting has got to go!

Sorry for the long post, I tried to look through a few threads and nothing is really working for us.

Thanks!!
BVerkennes
Just realized that this question was from years ago! SORRY!
 
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