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aka Ali, Oscar's mom
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Hi everyone,

I've been lurking on this forum since before we brought our puppy Oscar home (at 8 weeks old; he is now 13 weeks)-- everyone always has such great advice SO I'm hoping there is some out there for us! Most of the time he is such a GREAT puppy; super energetic and friendly, he knows many commands (sit, lie down, shake a paw, go to your crate/bed, etc), and seems SO smart and happy!

Now Oscar frequently has overexcited-puppy-syndrome to the MAX... i.e., mouthing, nipping, biting, barking, snarling, thrashing, zooming around... I know these are all really normal (not aggressive, but over-excited) puppy behaviors, and the best thing to do is to say OUCH!! when he bites, and then to get up and IGNORE him to deprive him of your attention (which is what he wants)... or let him burn off some energy with his toys instead of your arm/pants!

However, this ignoring/redirecting seems to work just fine for my boyfriend, but not at ALL for me (who in Oscar's mind seems to be more playmate than anything else) -- he has got it in for me BAD. He is now BITING and SNARLING on/at me frequently throughout the day, especially when I am sitting on the couch or my desk when he obviously thinks I should be playing with HIM instead... he will line me up in his sights and LEAP at me, snarling and biting my arms and legs and BARK BARK GROWL GROWL THRASH BARK BARK. I was initially able to redirect him to another toy or get up and ignore him by going to another room, but it is now almost impossible to ignore him because he will JUMP, SNARL, & BITE me, hanging off my pants and shirt and shredding my hands, arms, and legs. :(

I realize this is a pattern of escalation, which hopefully indicates he is just trying harder to get my attention (perhaps a good thing, indicating my ignoring was working?), but I am getting SHREDDED in the process and he is BITING HARDER and harder, and as it stands now, I cannot get away from him without ending up backed into a corner by a barking, snarling, jumping, biting 20lb puppy!! If my boyfriend comes over to that side of the room... BOOM we have a quiet, sitting puppy -- but unfortunately it is sometimes just Oscar and I home alone SO I am quickly becoming a large, mobile chew toy! :doh:

SO-- my question is more about my physical response: should I (a) layer up with clothes and just sit/stand there until he gets the picture? (how long will that take?), (b) remove myself to another room (if I can extract his jaws from my clothes/skin) until he ... is quiet? The problem there is he definitely gets quiet soon but he is right back at the biting/snarling very quickly, or (c) try to get him into another room (bathroom?) for a time-out (very hard to do without dragging him, which I really don't want to do!). (And should my boyfriend come over and quiet him down, or is this something Oscar and I need to work out by ourselves?)

He does get LOTS of exercise and play time with us (at least one of us is able to be home all day), and tons of chew toys/nylabones/kongs for him to chomp instead. I think I know what to do in principle (REDIRECT, IGNORE, PRAISE GOOD BEHAVIOR) but the actual implementation is SO difficult that I quickly become so overwhelmed... that I feel like he is just getting SO egged on when he sinks in that first/fiftieth bite!

Sorry this is SO long!!! He is just getting big so fast that I am concerned that he will hurt himself or someone else when he gets bigger if this keeps up. He has NEVER showed any of this crazitude to anyone else (visitors, people on the street, people or puppies in our puppy class), but I am concerned he will think this is the way to get people to play with you if I don't convince him otherwise soon...?! THANK YOU for any advice! :crossfing

- Alison
 

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Alison,

I am by far an expert but I will tell you what works for us.

We first try to redirect Luck with a toy. (It has never worked but we still try). Then we try to ignore him (never works). We are working on telling him no bite everytime (which is starting to work). When he still bites and thinks my clothes are tug of war we get up and move away. This works 50% of the time. The other half, he then attacks our feet. That is when I call him very happily and fun to come to another room. Which is where I lock him for a "time out". I wait until he is calmed down (takes a few minutes) and he is quiet (no whining) and then let him out. This typically solves the problem.

I have also started with Luck carrying treats in my pockets. When he goes bonkers. I ask him to sit/lay/touch (something to get him off the I want to bite you mode) and then I will treat him. This has been working like a charm!
 

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aka Ali, Oscar's mom
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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for your very nice advice!! I am always (guiltily) glad to hear that Oscar is not the only one... ;)

I just wanted to update (mostly for my own sake, since it is making me so happy!) that he is EVER SO SLIGHTLY getting better with the attacking ME: Yesterday and today (for the first time ever), Oscar actually stopped and sat down when I warned "OUCH!" or "AH-AH!" when he was jumping up and snarl-biting (as he does when he is really playing rough). I was SO surprised!!!
... I mean of course he went right back to do doing it, but then he would stop again when I said AH-AH... well I was pretty darn delighted. BABY STEPS!! :D

Of course we are now working on his ON-LEASH CRAZIES... our puppy class this week was "loose leash walking"... hahaha about which my boyfriend and I are constantly rolling our eyes about when we are outside with Oscar... we're like, "um, this guy?! walk on a loose leash?! it will never happen"... But based on what I have read, all our hard work will eventually pan out in the end (I hope)! For the meantime, we're just going to have to go on looking like crazy people, sometimes stopping every 2 seconds with a thrashing puppy on the other end of the leash. Oscar REALLY whips himself into a frenzy in the hallway of our building, for some reason... so we are soon going to be known as the nutty people with the nuttier dog -- because we are always just standing there like statues when he goes nuts trying to bite-bark-jump-&-eat-the-leash... sigh! ;)

Thanks again!
 

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By "ignore" a puppy, it generally means give the puppy 5-10 mins (or longer if YOU need longer) in his crate or confined area so that he cannot get to you. It's like giving him a chance to simmer down.

When he's out, you can use a tether station so that as you're interacting with him (keeping a bone or toy in hand to direct his teeth to the correct thing) if he decides to say "screw the toy" and come after you, you can step back to beyond the tether and escape his shark face.

Management, patience and consistency. Hang in there. It DOES get better... with management, patience and consistency!
 

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aka Ali, Oscar's mom
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Discussion Starter #5
Stephanie,

OH I just watched your video of Quiz's obedience trial... WOW I am so impressed & inspired! This is my first puppy so I don't know much about that kind of thing, but you and your dog look awesome. (If I may ask, how did you first get involved with it?)

YES I have tried to implement the "time-out" ignore when Oscar gets too crazy, but I am I at all justified to not put him in his crate every time he acts up, as this should not be a "punishment"? The only other sufficient room we have is the bathroom... although honestly usually what happens is *I* end up sequestered in the bathroom because I have just broken myself free from his "shark face" (great phrase!)... with a whining puppy sad on the other side of the door (because he would very much like to come in and continue his play-chomping!). (Actually, this is a bit sad, but CUTE... I can just see under the bottom of the door if I peek through, and if I ask him to "lie down" or "sit" from the other side of the door, he will do it even if he can't see me! smart guy.)

Is this sufficient for depriving him of my attention (I usually only stay in there until he calms down, which is FAST once you are out of sight!) to get the point across that "biting me=no more play time," or should he "always" get a crate time-out for longer (5-10min) when he plays too rough?

(The "stand like a statue" idea, when he acts up on the leash, is more something that I have read around GRF, plus our puppy class leader... I guess the idea being that he wants to play crazy tug with your leash/arm, and you are denying him the attention he is whining for...? Then you give lots of praise/treats for sitting/standing calmly and dropping the leash, and walking calmly? I'm okay with these ideas in theory, but again, in practice... he is quite a little shark-on-a-leash... We haven't gotten to "drop it" yet in our puppy class, but maybe once we learn that, I can apply that to the leash as well...)

Thanks again for all the advice guys :)
 

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This is a late reply to this stream -- oops, just as I started to type this my wife called me because Piper (now 6.5 mos.) had stolen something off her nightstand and it took two of us to get her to give it up! That's about the story of things the last few weeks, following a "rest period" (for us!) where she was more compliant.

We have tried many different techniques to get her to stop jumping/mouthing, and the one that seems to work the best is when I "growl" in a very firm way. A couple of times, when we were walking her and she got really obstreperous, I barked at her really loud. It startled her, and she was great the rest of the way. I think this may work better for men than for women because of the lower voice, but you might give it a shot.

The other thing that works, especially when we have guests or family visiting, is to get out the crate that we used when she was a puppy. There is barely enough room in there for her to lie down, but after a minute or two she settles and we let her out. I think we have another month or so with this before she is too big to put in it, but sometimes I just get it out and open the door and she gets the message.

We know she's going to be a great dog but are really looking forward to her to getting past adolescence, just as we did with our four kids!

-- David
 

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Stephanie,

OH I just watched your video of Quiz's obedience trial... WOW I am so impressed & inspired! This is my first puppy so I don't know much about that kind of thing, but you and your dog look awesome. (If I may ask, how did you first get involved with it?)

YES I have tried to implement the "time-out" ignore when Oscar gets too crazy, but I am I at all justified to not put him in his crate every time he acts up, as this should not be a "punishment"? The only other sufficient room we have is the bathroom... although honestly usually what happens is *I* end up sequestered in the bathroom because I have just broken myself free from his "shark face" (great phrase!)... with a whining puppy sad on the other side of the door (because he would very much like to come in and continue his play-chomping!). (Actually, this is a bit sad, but CUTE... I can just see under the bottom of the door if I peek through, and if I ask him to "lie down" or "sit" from the other side of the door, he will do it even if he can't see me! smart guy.)

Is this sufficient for depriving him of my attention (I usually only stay in there until he calms down, which is FAST once you are out of sight!) to get the point across that "biting me=no more play time," or should he "always" get a crate time-out for longer (5-10min) when he plays too rough?

(The "stand like a statue" idea, when he acts up on the leash, is more something that I have read around GRF, plus our puppy class leader... I guess the idea being that he wants to play crazy tug with your leash/arm, and you are denying him the attention he is whining for...? Then you give lots of praise/treats for sitting/standing calmly and dropping the leash, and walking calmly? I'm okay with these ideas in theory, but again, in practice... he is quite a little shark-on-a-leash... We haven't gotten to "drop it" yet in our puppy class, but maybe once we learn that, I can apply that to the leash as well...)

Thanks again for all the advice guys :)

Hi there

I just had to throw in here that he is tooooo adorable!! And his name is Oscar?! How adorable!
 

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aka Ali, Oscar's mom
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Discussion Starter #8
We have tried many different techniques to get her to stop jumping/mouthing, and the one that seems to work the best is when I "growl" in a very firm way. A couple of times, when we were walking her and she got really obstreperous, I barked at her really loud. It startled her, and she was great the rest of the way. I think this may work better for men than for women because of the lower voice, but you might give it a shot.
Haha Oscar is pretty undeterred by my AH-AHs and such, but maybe I should try a deeper voice, because he usually listens to my boyfriend! I tried it once before and he just looks at me with a cocked head...

The at-home barking/biting crazies are actually diminishing; he has been pretty good the last several weeks! But now it is becoming a barking/biting/jumping OUTSIDE problem: I think it is when he just does not want to go back inside the apartment, because he gets really whipped into a frenzy in the hallway outside our door. He growls and barks and jumps up on our legs the INSTANT we get off of the elevator -- like he thinks that is what he is supposed to do whenever we get to the hallway?? We say NO and stop walking but he just continues. It almost seems... angry?? but he is so nice once we get INTO the apartment, that I think he is just really worked up??

And just today he started doing it outside the building too, I think he really wanted to stay outside and play -- which is fine but he is SO rude about it!! Plus my pants and legs are suffering...

I guess more time is needed for training. My strategy now (in the hallway) is to just repeatedly have him sit/lie down/shake paw, walk 2 feet, have him sit again, etc. until we can make it to our doorway... but if I hesitate for a second or ask for a "stay" (which he CAN do INSIDE), he MAULS me, growling and barking. It's like he is testing his boundaries or is REALLY impatient or HATES the hallway??? I don't know what's going on in his little doggie mind!!

Sorry for the long reply, but every day with him brings some new puzzle/challenge... :) we will get through it I know, I just don't want him to think he can "get away with" that rude stuff (especially if it means "aggression" somewhere down the road... though I know that is really not possible to judge from crazy puppy behavior).

I just had to throw in here that he is tooooo adorable!! And his name is Oscar?! How adorable!
THANKS :D Here are some other pix... yes he is a cutie!! Most of the time he is pretty rambunctious but very sweet ;)

Making a funny face, sitting on his bed.


Oh Oscar, "NO BITES" on my pants please! ;)

 

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I had the same issue. My husband would get Dakota to stop exciting biting in a matter of seconds, but not me. I had to learn my own way of handling it. I did use the treats as a way of changing her thought process. That seemed to work most of the and the other part, she just grew out of. I thought it would never stop. I would have scratches on my arms from the teeth.

Also, I think it is a teething thing, because that is when I noticed the change in the behavior, meaning when she lost all of her baby teeth and got her adult teeth. We do use "no bite" and "don't bite". I never crated her when she did that for fear that she would not like her crate because of using for what I considered punishment. Oscar will grow out of it. I think I noticed the change about 4-1/2 to 5 months and at 6-1/2 she doesn't do it at all.

The only biting I haven't stopped it when she is coming towards you with a toy, then I don't think Dakota realizes her teeth hit you with a toy in her mouth.
 

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Since he sees you as a playmate, or plaything (lol), you need to try and change the way he thinks about you.

Start working on obedience commands just you and him so he begins to see you as an authority figure. You might look up Nothing in Life is Free and begin using those methods, they are good tools to get the dog to think of humans as the leader.

Good luck, he's a pistol!
 

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aka Ali, Oscar's mom
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Discussion Starter #12
Also, I think it is a teething thing, because that is when I noticed the change in the behavior, meaning when she lost all of her baby teeth and got her adult teeth. We do use "no bite" and "don't bite". I never crated her when she did that for fear that she would not like her crate because of using for what I considered punishment. Oscar will grow out of it. I think I noticed the change about 4-1/2 to 5 months and at 6-1/2 she doesn't do it at all.

The only biting I haven't stopped it when she is coming towards you with a toy, then I don't think Dakota realizes her teeth hit you with a toy in her mouth.
Oh that is good to hear... he is 3 & 1/2 months now and we still have a while to go I am sure! I mean he has gotten better... there were MANY times in the first ~month that I RAN down the hallway to get away from his bite-bite-biting... but now if you remind him to be gentle, he pretty much always "unclamps" from your skin and wiggles around because he is just SO excited to be playing... and then I stick a toy in that mouth which needs to be chewing something at every moment! :)

Usually our "playing" consists of him mugging me while he has the toy in his mouth and trying to get me to play tug (which we don't do, because it is really hard to "win" with him and I don't want to encourage him to not "drop" things since he is still learning that...), and we play sporadic fetch whenever I can actually get him to drop it... He loves to retrieve but not so much on the giving it back to me!!

But-- usually he wants to be sitting on TOP of me while he chews on his toy (or at least in my lap)... it seems like it could be some kind of dominance thing, but it also seems to be because he really wants to snuggle...? He would MUCH rather prefer to be next to/near/on top of you while he is chewing something...

Since he sees you as a playmate, or plaything (lol), you need to try and change the way he thinks about you.

Start working on obedience commands just you and him so he begins to see you as an authority figure. You might look up Nothing in Life is Free and begin using those methods, they are good tools to get the dog to think of humans as the leader.

Good luck, he's a pistol!
He IS a pistol! :) YEAH "Plaything" is probably more accurate... although actually going for my clothes/hands biting is not his FIRST thought anymore (which is good! hands aren't toys! yay!), but it seems to be more of a tactic which he knows gets our attention when he is either being rude (trying to get us to take him back outside?) or irritated if we stop playing with him.

I do try to do NILIF with him whenever we play or he gets a treat, food, etc... he always has to "lie down" while dinner is organized and he now can do "leave it" and wait for me to let him start eating. And we always ask for sit/lie down/shake a paw in the middle of playing when he is getting worked up, or before I throw the toy for him to retrieve, or even outside when he gets TOO CRAZY EXCITED... I think the focus of a "trick" helps him break that crazy energy (although usually he just goes right back to it). We are also working on sit every time he sees a person or dog outside, to settle him down... if he is not wearing his harness, he will CHOKE himself trying to go say HELLO STRANGER I LOVE YOU!! :p: :p: We see a lot of people every time we go outside, even to potty... so learning this is a must... IMO it is great for socialization, but not so ideal for practicing loose-leash walking "without distractions" (HA)!

Thanks for all the advice! I love this forum! :)
 

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I have the same situation here with Bailey, she's 4 1/2 months and on all our walks she has like 2-3 times phases where she attacks me and I usually get a new hole in my shirt...or a scratch on my arm.
I tried the no bite, the redirecting to commands and the statue, she usually stops it after 2-3 jumps but I would rather have her not doing it at all. I hope really she will grow out of it.
She used to mouth a lot more at home 1-2 month ago but now she's really doing a lot better, but when I want to cuddle with her she still wants to nip all the time.

Oscar sounds a lot like Bailey and I also try to make her sit when someone walks by and she usually does fine. She's doing also a lot better when people pass by she's not pulling as much, just if I stop and start talking to a person she gets very excited.
 

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Our puppy Charlie does this too!!! We use the "No Bite" saying, this works 50% of the time. The other 50% I try to distract him with a chew toy. I do agree that it is prob a teething thing. Charlie is still pretty little so I can see that we have a ways to go before he will outgrow it :D
 

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aka Ali, Oscar's mom
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Discussion Starter #15
I have the same situation here with Bailey, she's 4 1/2 months and on all our walks she has like 2-3 times phases where she attacks me and I usually get a new hole in my shirt...or a scratch on my arm.
I tried the no bite, the redirecting to commands and the statue, she usually stops it after 2-3 jumps but I would rather have her not doing it at all. I hope really she will grow out of it.
She used to mouth a lot more at home 1-2 month ago but now she's really doing a lot better, but when I want to cuddle with her she still wants to nip all the time.

Oscar sounds a lot like Bailey and I also try to make her sit when someone walks by and she usually does fine. She's doing also a lot better when people pass by she's not pulling as much, just if I stop and start talking to a person she gets very excited.
YUP sounds just like Oscar :) Except for the "stops it after 2-3 jumps" part... he usually just JUMPS JUMPS JUMPS and then latches onto my coat sleeve or hem and growls... and then we have an awkward staggering around in front of the building (which is right on a relatively busy street corner) whilst I try to unlatch him without losing my cool... or looking like a crazy person. If I do get him to sit or lie down, he is pretty good if I can distract him... it's just that not much seems to deter him once he is already latched on to me (even waving the treats around saying "drop it! let go!")... but he is learning, I hope!

Often times when he is just WAY to wound up, I end up walking him back into the building holding the middle of the leash away from my body (although one time I almost lost my PANTS because he was jumping and biting them! oh my!! :doh: :p: )

I think a big part is that obviously at those times, he is also saying PLAY WITH ME I HAVE SO MUCH ENERGY, which means a vigorous play session is needed as well. Unfortunately we have no off-leash area near to us, and walks are so difficult because he gets the crazies... but fortunately he is still small enough to play fetch and run around indoors.

I am so impressed that Bailey can actually sit when someone walks by! :) that would be awesome. Oscar can sometimes do it, but more often than not he is just straining at the end of the leash.

Our puppy Charlie does this too!!! We use the "No Bite" saying, this works 50% of the time. The other 50% I try to distract him with a chew toy. I do agree that it is prob a teething thing. Charlie is still pretty little so I can see that we have a ways to go before he will outgrow it :D
CHARLIE IS SOO CUTE!!! such a cute face! I looked but I didn't see any new pictures of him though... but what a fluffster :)

Yes it sounds like we all have a ways to go... but it is all worth it! :)
 

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Oh that is good to hear... he is 3 & 1/2 months now and we still have a while to go I am sure! I mean he has gotten better... there were MANY times in the first ~month that I RAN down the hallway to get away from his bite-bite-biting... but now if you remind him to be gentle, he pretty much always "unclamps" from your skin and wiggles around because he is just SO excited to be playing... and then I stick a toy in that mouth which needs to be chewing something at every moment! :)

Usually our "playing" consists of him mugging me while he has the toy in his mouth and trying to get me to play tug (which we don't do, because it is really hard to "win" with him and I don't want to encourage him to not "drop" things since he is still learning that...), and we play sporadic fetch whenever I can actually get him to drop it... He loves to retrieve but not so much on the giving it back to me!!

But-- usually he wants to be sitting on TOP of me while he chews on his toy (or at least in my lap)... it seems like it could be some kind of dominance thing, but it also seems to be because he really wants to snuggle...? He would MUCH rather prefer to be next to/near/on top of you while he is chewing something...
For the fetching part, we taught "drop it" by trading the toy for a treat. Dakota is not 100% yet, but she will give up the toy now to play fetch.

Also, she loves to chew on bones, toy on my lap. I think she just wants to be around people. She will stay in whatever area she can see us at.
 

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Hi, Our 11 week old puppy is named "Oscar" too and does pretty much the same kinda barking, nipping, gnarling etc. When he is hyper active, we try basic obedience commands like sit, lay down, take it/leave it and that calms him down for a minute or two. When he tugs on the leash, we play statue and look away which calms him down.

Allison,
Curious how your Oscar is doing now? Please give us hope! :)

~ Kesava
 

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This has been most reassuring. Cooper at 11 weeks, thinks my hands and forearms are the best chew toys ever. And his teeth are razor sharp. HE does respond to a sharp no, but sometimes its too late and there is blood dripping down my arm. I try to substitute a chew toy for my flesh, but sometimes he misses and another blood letting ensues. He is getting better,and I am getting a little quicker. He can be sneaky though. It is hard to get angry because he is so darn cute. We are beginning leash training today. My hope is if I can walk him for 30-45 mins, two times a day, he will be too tired to chew me up. One can only hope.
 

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Rivers is 15 weeks old, and is also quite the biter. He has really improved in the last 2 weeks, though, so take heart! I know it will get better and better--thanks to the forum! One thing I did was teach him "Leave it." Now if he sees something he shouldn't have, like shoes, trash, hands, whatever... we say "leave it!" 50% of the time it works. ;)

One quick note: We walked him a lot, too, until I read that it is not good for his joints!! Ack! I didn't even think about that!! (And I'm constantly researching. Not sure how I missed it. :() Now we just walk him 15 minutes on a leash, then he gets some good playtime in our yard multiple times a day.

Good luck!
 

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I'll add my $0.02 for whatever it's worth. First, he is energetic it seems, and he needs an outlet for that energy. More walks, more playtime, more training time, anything to tire his body and his brain. Second, devote more time to the obedience training. It needs to be part of the daily routine and structured. It's more than just learning specific commands, it's about bonding, attention, patience and how to take cues. All of these are fundamental for correcting unwanted behaviors and establishing good behaviors. Don't hold out hope that it's a teething thing or he'll grow out of it, because very soon you'll have a 50 lb puppy on your hands. I know those words are very non-specific, but there are a host of things we've done in class that have helped with Chili's day to day behaviors. On a very basic level, his ability to recognize YES and AH AH means I can communicate when he's done something good vs. bad. If the bad behavior persists, what follows is boring and uninteresting (and we all know how goldens hate that). Note, that boring and uninteresting is not the same as punishment. Soon enough he'll figure out that behavior will not lead to anything FUN.

One more note, the voice makes a difference, and men can have an easier time issuing a correction because of their lower pitched voices. On the flip side, they get really excited when they hear a high pitched voice which is a boon when you're training. He will find you interesting, exciting and FUN, and that's motivation for him.

Good luck!
 
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