Golden Retriever Dog Forums banner

A little advise please.

2256 Views 14 Replies 14 Participants Last post by  Bob-N-Tash
Molly our almost 12 week old retriever is causing us some concern. My husband and I are a little worried about her biting. I've read a lot of posts on this forum but her behaviour seems a bit different. I've also read Ian Dunbar's book and tried to put his advise into action but when Molly gets tired or over stimulated (which happens easily) she escalates quickly from play to uncontrolled biting, barking, jumping craziness.
We pick her up and give her a short time out. We let her out again when she calms down but if she starts up again its another time out. Eventually, she gets it but it doesn't seem to stick. The next day its the same behaviour. Also, she loves the neighbourhood children and will pull and tug at the leash if she hears their voices. Unfortunately, she's really nippy and I don't want the kids to get hurt. Already one of the little ones calls her the 'bitey' dog.:( I hold her in sitting position and instruct the children to wait until she's calm. Often I have to take her back inside because she won't calm down. She loves people but both my husband and myself find ourselves avoiding non-dog people because it such an unpleasant experience. (that being said she's not being socially deprived as she has easily met 100 people) We take her to puppy play time and she does get worked up. The trainer is not concerned although she has had to pick Molly up a couple of times to calm her down even though she is the youngest puppy there. The trainer tells us that Molly is, 'no shrinking violet.' Great, but we don't want this behaviour to continue to escalate, we want her to be able to meet people without biting them. We have tried and continue to use the loud 'OUCH' which at times seems to get her going even more. We always have chew toy to stuff in her mouth. What else can we do? Any and all advise, suggestions , whatever would be greatly appreciated. We love our Molly and want other people to love her too! We don't want her to be the 'bitey' dog!:no:
See less See more
1 - 15 of 15 Posts
It sure sounds like you are doing everything just right. Don't be discouraged it does take time. If you want to accelerate the process you could "pretrain" some adults and children to come to your home and have the turn their backs and do the "statue" pose when Molly jumps and nips" Have them give treats when Molly sits and takes attention.

Anyway that is what the tell me...My boys are still a handfull around small children but have not been socialized properly around them. The nipping will slow down when the adult teeth come in. Good luck to you.
I know that you take her to puppy playtime, but exactly how much exercise is she actually getting each day? Is she getting any off leash time to really run, chase a ball, stretch her legs, and get a chance to tire herself out? As others have said, the nipping is totally normal for a golden pup. My 14-month-old still nips occasionally, but not nearly as much as he did when he was younger. She just needs some redirection. When she starts getting nippy with you or with anyone else, tell her NO in a firm voice and then give her a toy to chew on instead. She just needs to have her nipping redirected to appropriate objects. For the leash pulling, I would recommend a head collar, such as Gentle Leader. They work wonders and allow you to have much more control of the dog. Just continue with the training classes and make sure that she is getting plenty of exercise. A tired puppy is a good puppy. It will eventually get better. You just have to be really consistent with her.
Golden puppies are very mouthy. It helped me to remember that there is a difference between mouthing and biting. Rookie was never a 'biter,' but he explored everything with his mouth and he definitely nipped when he was playing. He just had to learn that he can't play with humans the same way he plays with other puppies. It took quite a bit of time for him to learn that. And those sharp puppy teeth hurt.

What worked for me was to stop all play as soon as teeth touched skin. If his teeth touched my skin, I would yell "ep, ep!" ('ouch' never worked with him), immediately cross my arms across my chest, turn my back on him and stop interacting with him.

Just remember that overexcited play is not the same thing as aggression. Just hang in there and be consistent. It's a stage that takes a while to get through, but they do get through it.
This does take time. I remember Buddy was terrible with this behavior. I tried the "yelping" technique and worked for us. Everytime he would bite me i would YELP really loud and he would stop. He never did it to anyone else though, so I cant relate to that. I certainly did go through his wild phase and I thought it would never end, but it did.

Hang in there!
It is great that you are working on finding a solution to this issue so quickly. Time will certainly help and it is easy to say that this is typical puppy behavior because to a point it is. However, you have to begin to say no that is not acceptable.

How is exercising Molly going ? Perhaps, you can get her to play with others after a walk or when she is tired. They tend to behave better when their energy is drained. With our puppy is who is now 9 months old, we found there is a morning and evening Riley. Morning Riley is sweet, calm and perfect. Evening Riley is a pain, mouth, barky and tests boundaries and patience. We would plan certain activities around whether he was a sweetheart or a pain. By the way, morning Riley is slowly becoming morning and afternoon Riley....LOL.

Keeping the saying, a tired puppy is a tame puppy in the back of your mind and it will help tremendously for you and Molly.

Best of luck !
I know how you feel... we thought Mojo would NEVER stop mouthing/nipping. I would cry about it... thinking he was always going to be the bitey dog.

He's a little over 6 months old now and hasn't mouthed/bite/nipped or ANYTHING in over a month! He has all his adult teeth in. We did the 5-minute timeout thing too, and that helped until he started teething. But we just kept with it and it actually went away.
Thanks for all the encouragement and advise. This is a great place for us new 'parents'. Molly gets lots of exercise. I work from home and I am with her all day - she goes where I go. We are outside or in the safe park next door several times a day for at least half an hour at a time. Plus she gets a long walk/play time with my husband before he leaves for work and when he gets home in the evening.
I am going to take all the advise and encouragement to heart and keep on going with our precious puppy. Its good to know we are on the right track. You guys are great!

On another note, last night there was a movie being filmed in the park behind our house and Molly, along with my husband, got a tour of the set. I guess it pays to have a really cute golden retriever in one's arms! lol
This may have not been mentioned, but after all of the puppies I have started/kept for myself I find there to be one really great way to deter the biting. If a pup is using a little too much pressure when playing with me I gently grab his lower jaw. I don't use any pressure, just annoy them by keeping my hand there. Most don't like this and decide that is not the best way to play with me. Also distract him when this happens with a game of fetch, hopefully she will associate this new game with gaining your attention. Also praise them when they give kisses instead of biting... they will learn that this behavior is more appropriate. I acutally had one pup that got a little extreme with the kisses, but better that then mouthing...
Just keep in mind that 12 weeks is still just a tiny baby and she has alot to learn. Be consistent and she will get better over time.
She is still a baby, and they are a VERY mouthy breed. Keep being consistent with her--it does seem like you are doing all of the right things. You seldom see an older golden with that behaviour--they do outgrow it if you help them to understand what you want from them. Good luck!
I know this thread is a little old, so the problem may be resolving. One thing I wanted to add just in case it's helpful is that the loud yelps, ouches, etc. didn't work for Maya. They excited her more. What we found worked was to say in a calm, normal voice "game over," then stop play, turn our backs to her and cross our arms becoming statues or else (as she was older and more trustworthy) leave the room and close the door behind us. Leaving the room was especially effective, but we couldn't do it until she was completely housetrained. Good luck!
We handled Our Penny's excitement similar to Maya's advice. Everything seemed to ramp Penny up even more.

When we wanted to stop playing she would turn to grabbing our ankles with her paws to trip us, body slamming the back of our knees to put us on the ground (works really good :uhoh:) and grabbing out pants legs. She was so 'awful' that I call her I.D. tag a 'return address label'. I figured if anyone stole her, after 24 hours they'd want to bring her back! :)

She needed a time out in her crate to get settled again. Of course, she would ramp up almost immediately once she was let out again.

We taught her "That's Enough" and she learned that meant to end the behavior. It takes time, patience, maturity but evenutally if you stay consistent she will turn out to be a lovely Golden.
You are expecting a lot if you think that at 12 weeks old she will 'get it'. It takes time... sounds like you are doing everything right... you just have to be patient. Lots of good advice here.

Tasha was an ankle nipper... one day I realized that she was just trying to hang on so she could keep up with me as I zoomed around the house. I started dragging a leash from my belt... and almost immediatly she started grabbing the leash instead of my ankles.
1 - 15 of 15 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.