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Hey guys.

I have a 6 month old (Callie) and everything's going pretty well. She's absolutely gorgeous and really funny. For the most part, she's perfect. There are these 2 issues we're having though that are getting old.

1 Surfing. She has what seems to be a very high food drive. So bad that she has even jumped up and tried to eat food off of my father-in-law's plate at the dinner table. He howls with delight and she doesn't do it with anyone else so I think that particular issue is more him than the dog. But in general, if you're not looking, she'll go after any food that she can get to. She seems to know it's wrong. If she's got paws up on the counter and you approach her to discipline, she'll get down and run away. We've tried wrapping habarnero pepper in bread (at the suggestion of our trainer) and it didn't do anything. She seemed to like it. I'm more worried that she'll eat something that may hurt her. The other day she ate about 10 shrimp off the counter.

2. Biting. It's pretty bad. I sort of figured that we'd be done with this by now. It's not aggressive. I think she thinks she's playing but it's so bad that when people come over she has to be crated. Toddlers? Forget it. She goes right after them. They're terrified. My 8 year old boy is a sitting duck for the most part (atlthough he pushes her buttons pretty good). One of the things she does is when she is playing with a chew toy, she'll do it right on you and bite you along with it. The biting thing is getting very old. We have had a few solo training sessions and a basic obedience class where she's done well and graduated (barely, lol).

hen she's told "no" for something, she'll sometimes growl and bark but it's more talking than aggressive I think. I'm not sure about that one.

Our trainer has instructed us that when the dog bites, that we should kneel over her, grabbing her by the scruff and dominating her while saying "no bite". We have been doing this for months and while it works for a few minutes, she's right back to it shortly. I've also grabbed her by the snout and said "no bite" which doesn't seem to do much.

Thanks for your help guys.
 

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A few short articles on puppy biting.

http://www.clickersolutions.com/articles/spt/SPT_Puppies.htm

a ton of articles you may find something in here to help.

http://www.clickersolutions.com/articles/index.htm

If you don't use the clicker you can still use these articles by using a word instead of the clicker.

On the subject of counter surfing, every time a pup or dog gets the object from the counter/chair/table/floor it is a reward. If they don't get the object but get attention from you that also may be a reward. Puppies are very smart. :)
The best thing you can do for you and your puppy is to use management skills.
When puppy has access to the counter do not leave anything there for the puppy to get.
When you are there and something is on the counter you need to redirect the pup before the pup gets on the counter and offer something fun to do in place of counter surfing. When you don't have the time to supervise at this level the puppy needs to be contained where it cannot pick up these bad habits.

Training and management takes a lot of time/effort/work in the beginning. Over time as the pup progresses in it's training you can slowly give the pup less supervision. Each pup is an individual so some of these smart little guys can keep you hopping for much of their first year. :)
 

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Counter surfing you can booby trap the counter, tie a string to pot lids and to something she would grab so the noise scares her when she pulls it, or double sided tape on the edge of the counter she might not like the sticky feeling, or even buy SSSCat type things to deter her, and also keep the counter cleared so it's not rewarding to her to get up there.

Please don't scruff and stand over her when she bites, that only frightens her. Shove a toy or chew bone in her mouth in place of your skin, or get up and walk away from her. You could try short time outs, keep a leash on her and when she puts her teeth on skin say NO BITE in a firm tone, then take her to a time out area for a few minutes. Pick one method and use it consistently until you see if it is effective or not, if not then try a different approach for a while. But please don't use the scruff/dominate technique, it rarely works and often backfires.
 

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Tea tree for counter surfing...

Here's a weird thing that seems to be working for the counter surfing.

First, we tried the booby trap and the dog just learned that anything with a string on it should be avoided but still kept jumping up to see what else was there.

Now some background...Barley has some hotspots behind his ears and I've been using tea tree lotion (20% tea tree not the 100% oil drops) to clear up the infection. The vet said it seemed to be working quite well so we didn't put him on antibiotics. After applying the tea tree about twice Barley knew the smell and ran in the other direction when I opened the bottle. It has quite a distinctive smell and fells sort of cold and hot on the skin ( a bit like menthol) so he doesn't like it much. Yesterday, it occurred to me that I now have the perfect dog repellent. All I did was put some on a cotton ball and run it along the edge of the counters. Barley got his nose near the counter and promptly left the kitchen! Counters are now in the evil tea tree conspiracy and are to be avoided.

So I'm not sure if all dogs just hate the tea tree smell or if it's because he associates it with a little discomfort on his skin - he rubs his ears all over the carpet for a minute or so after I put it on and then he's fine -- but it seems to keep him off things way better than bitter apple because it's the smell not the taste that's repelling him.

So it's worked for the counter surfing for a day or so but it's made a huge change in behaviour. I'll let you know if it lasts.

Anyone else used tea tree and had a similar reaction from their dog?

Lynn
 

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Barleyboy....that is a funny solution :D for counter-surfing.

Reddog....welcome to the forum :wavey: Here are a couple of my favorite sites that can help you teach your puppy bite inhibition:

http://www.westieclubamerica.com/behavior/nipsandbites.html

http://www.crickethollowfarm.com/biteinhib.htm

Actually, Callie sounds a lot like Biscuit when he was that age. He's almost 4 yrs old now and although he is a wonderful dog most of the time ;) , he was a terror when he was young. He still can't be trusted if there is food within his reach so is not allowed in the kitchen when we eat but he doesn't counter-surf anymore (99.9% of the time anyway).

For the counter surfing I used the booby-trap method. I tied a long length of string to several tin cans. Then I tied the other end of it to some "bait" which would be anything that he had a habit of stealing....mittens, rags, bananas, small stuffed animals, etc let your imagination be your guide...LOL! I would place this whole contraption on the counter with the cans set back so that he couldn't see them and the bait would be at the edge of the counter. Then we would just sit back and wait for him to take the bait.

It didn't take long for him to stop stealing from the counter. The good thing about this method is that you can comfort her after the "scary thing" chases her along the floor and she won't see it as something negative that you are doing to her.

The other thing that I had to do with him when he was around children was to tether him to me with a leash. I just connected the leash to my belt loop and he followed me where ever I was. He was particularly bad when we were outside playing because he would run and knock the kids over, from behind, and then dance all over their backs while I was running to get to them. The tethering solved that and after several months he was fine. The advantage to the tethering (even while in the house) is that he really bonded to me and we still have a strong bond to this day.

I'm not sure the scruff shakes will work in the long run and may end up making her sort of fearful of you. Good luck...this puppy stage can be very trying.
 

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We have very similar problems as Reddog... Counter surfing just came up this week as he is getting bigger. I am going to try all your suggestions! Thank you.. My main concern is Thunderbolts behavior that consists of barking, snarling and biting that occurs in the morning at least once and then in the evening at least once or twice. He is now, 6 and a half months old. It normally starts if I sit on the couch and then he will come up to me and try to bite (not hard, just mouthy) me. I will tell him no, firmly and loudly and then he starts barking and snarling at me. He sometime will go into a crazy frienzy and run around the room like a maniac. I don't know what to do. I sometimes put him down in a submissive state and hold his mouth, he becomes submissive, only for him to turn and try to bite me once I let go. I am not afraid of him at all, but I am frustrated. I have tried removing him and lead him by the collar into a secluded room and/or sometimes tell him to sit and lay down to snap him out of it. I have also tried ignoring him and turning my back on him but then he will try to either bite my hands or my back. I know I am not consistent because none of them work all the time and it happens every day. What should I do and stick with it?
He continues to be dominate in play with particularly my son, Brian who is 7. If Thunderbolt has a stuffed toy he will push himself on Brian and Brian will try to ignore him but it is usually impossible. If Brian gets up and walks away, Thunder will jump on him or try to bite him. I of course discipline Thunder by telling him no and re-directing him in another way.
I am afraid that he this behavior is going to continue and get worse.
When he is good, he is so good. When he is bad he is so bad.
 

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We've had the same problem with the snarly-puppy-crazies especially in the evening. I tried holding his snout etc. and found that anything aggressive or dominating just made him worse. I felt like I was just challenging him in a way that was creating a more aggressive dog. The only thing that really helped was ignoring him. This required gloves, jeans, shoes and heavy socks so that if he started biting I could just turn my back, fold my arms and stand there and take it. It was surprising how quickly that worked where as the snout-holding just continued the game/fight even longer. We also realized that this behaviour was negative attention seeking (he'd really do it when I was on the phone or busy doing something and not paying attention to him) so when the bad behaviour stopped we substituted some fun (fetch, a belly rub etc.) but as soon as the teeth came out I would turn away and ignore. He got the message pretty quickly; teeth get no attention.

The other thing that really helped, especially with the kids was to put a gentle leader and short leash (4') on the dog and if he started to get nippy the kids could stand on the leash close to the GL and stop the dog from jumping up and and biting while they were trying to ignore him. It also works for the counter surfing; if the dog is hovering while you're cooking, stand on the leash so when he tries to jump up, he can't.

Hope that helps. It has worked for us. They do get the message eventually.
Cheers.
Lynn
 

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Thank you so much for your advise, Lynn... I appreciate it and I am going to try it tonight. It was much of the same again this morning. I do feel like I am encouraging this behavior by challenging him so I think I will stick with the ignoring and suit up with lots of padding!!!
 

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Gilmour is much better, but at almost 9 months he's still a bit mouthy. It's all play mouthy, but mouthy none the less. It only really crops up now when he's in zoomie mode.

I used a trick the breeder taught me, and it worked pretty good with him. When he gets mouthy, I pinch the side lip with my fingers (not too hard, just enough to get his attention) until he settles down and say "No Bite" in a firm but calm voice. It usually breaks him of it for that session at least :)

They really do grow out of it. If I remember with my previous 4 Goldens, it took between 1.5 and 2 years of age to go away completely.

Look at it this way. At least the puppy teeth are gone :)



Hey guys.

I have a 6 month old (Callie) and everything's going pretty well. She's absolutely gorgeous and really funny. For the most part, she's perfect. There are these 2 issues we're having though that are getting old.

1 Surfing. She has what seems to be a very high food drive. So bad that she has even jumped up and tried to eat food off of my father-in-law's plate at the dinner table. He howls with delight and she doesn't do it with anyone else so I think that particular issue is more him than the dog. But in general, if you're not looking, she'll go after any food that she can get to. She seems to know it's wrong. If she's got paws up on the counter and you approach her to discipline, she'll get down and run away. We've tried wrapping habarnero pepper in bread (at the suggestion of our trainer) and it didn't do anything. She seemed to like it. I'm more worried that she'll eat something that may hurt her. The other day she ate about 10 shrimp off the counter.

2. Biting. It's pretty bad. I sort of figured that we'd be done with this by now. It's not aggressive. I think she thinks she's playing but it's so bad that when people come over she has to be crated. Toddlers? Forget it. She goes right after them. They're terrified. My 8 year old boy is a sitting duck for the most part (atlthough he pushes her buttons pretty good). One of the things she does is when she is playing with a chew toy, she'll do it right on you and bite you along with it. The biting thing is getting very old. We have had a few solo training sessions and a basic obedience class where she's done well and graduated (barely, lol).

hen she's told "no" for something, she'll sometimes growl and bark but it's more talking than aggressive I think. I'm not sure about that one.

Our trainer has instructed us that when the dog bites, that we should kneel over her, grabbing her by the scruff and dominating her while saying "no bite". We have been doing this for months and while it works for a few minutes, she's right back to it shortly. I've also grabbed her by the snout and said "no bite" which doesn't seem to do much.

Thanks for your help guys.
 

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Thank you everyone for the advise that you have posted. Tonight I did as Lynn suggested... I layered myself in extra clothes and let him bite me. I kept turning my back to him with my hands folded across my chest. His biting didn't last as long and it may seem funny but I did feel as I had the upper hand on him. I also felt a sense of relief that I wasn't getting as mad or frustrated. There were 5 short epidsodes of this, normally starting when I either told him to get down off the couch or when I was sitting on the couch and he would come up and start biting me. I would then stand up to walk away from him, turn my back (slowly walking away or around to get him to release) and fold my arms. Now the interesting part is 4 out of the 5 times, he was actually trying to hump me. I of course, kept walking & ignoring and eventually he gave up.
I am hoping that with more time and patience he will get better. I expect mouthy just not the aggressive snarling, barking and biting!
Does anyone have any comments on the humping? That why he is getting aggressive too?
 

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Humping is exactly what Barley did when we started ignoring him. The vet says it's not a sexual thing it's a dominance thing. When you don't respond to the biting he gets creative and figures humping might get your attention instead.

Keep in mind with the ignoring method that they will sometimes even harder to get your attention until they figure out that nothing is going to work so be patient and stick with it. I suppose it's like if a kid got attention every time they screamed and then suddenly the screaming didn't work, the first thing the kid would do is scream louder and longer to see if that would work and then maybe knock thing over. Eventually they stop. The fact that he's tried humping instead of biting is a good sign because it means the biting isn't getting him what he wants so he's trying other stuff. Ignore everything and praise him like crazy when he gives you the behaviour you want.

I know what you mean about feeling more in control when ignoring him. When I was holding Barley down and he was bouncing back to bite me I just felt like we were both behaving badly but ignoring him seems like taking the high road.

Keep us posted.
L.
 

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I used the same technique of turning my back and becoming a statue, no matter what Maya did. Interestingly, humping was how she reacted as well. I ignored it, and she figured it out in not too long. I used this method very consistently with her starting when she was 8 weeks old, at first only when the bite hurt, then later any time her teeth touched skin. She is 6 1/2 months and has not mouthed anyone for at least 2 months. It definitely worked well for us. Keep it up!
 

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Thank you Lynn and Maya's Mom for your support and encouragement. I was really hating the way I was feeling and the situation. Getting your feedback/1st hand knowledge has given me the strength & patience to keep going. Things are going so much better!!! I am finally able to relax on the couch more or in a chair without him coming up and biting me. We are not totally there but I see a light at the end of the tunnel.
Thank you again. I was really at my wits end and feeling so helpless.
 
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