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Hi, I've never til this year had a dog, but my young son loves dogs, and we decided to get a dog after many years of thought and research, despite my inexperience, for his sake. He can't take full responsibility - one must be realistic - and I'm the one not earning, so this is my responsibility.

So now I have a gorgeous GR puppy, now 9 months old - we got her at 8 weeks old - lovely-natured usually but mouthy when I do something she doesn't like. For example, I took her out front today to wait for her to be collected - Thursday is day-care day for her - and then tried to bring her indoors and she started pulling at the leash with her teeth. Her idea of playing "tug", I think, and she wanted to stay out front. When I approached her to grab her harness, she started biting my arms. She never breaks the skin.

If she acts mouthy when we're out and about, or gets over-excited or just stubborn and grabs the leash, I try to hold still and ignore it, or I try distraction with a stick or a toy, but I can't let go of the leash because she'd be in danger from cars. If she carries on, I either pick her up or sit down on the ground with her on my lap. Either way, she calms right down. *But approaching her and grabbing her is a good way to get bitten, and I would like to learn some assertive tactics to help her to calm down fast. I feel miserable & inadequate because I see experienced dog-handlers take charge and stop that behaviour instantly, with a word and a gesture, but there is something I've missed despite going to weekly puppy-classes and trying to see how people do it.*

Any advice? Btw she hasn't yet been spayed - we're delaying that until she's fully-grown.
 

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Hi, welcome to the forum.

I moved your thread into the "Behavioral problems and Issues" section so it would get more views by members and they can give you tips or advice to help your work through this with your girl.

Hope you'll share pictures of her with us.
 

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If you search on "jumping and biting" or "jumpy bitey", you'll find lots of posts.

You might try teaching Gotcha. Say Gotcha, give her a treat from your left hand, and grab the collar from the right hand. Eventually, she'll learn that Gotcha means your going to grab the collar and hopefully she'll be less mouthy about it. Or, she'll learn to move her head to towards the treat hand, giving you room to grab the collar. Or she'll learn both, which is even better! I taught my dog this, and I can tell by watching him that he gets it and he's so relieved I'm giving him notice about reaching near his head. And he's a dog that loves to be touched, anywhere, anytime.

I know you probably can't and don't want to drop the leash, but I discovered when my dog was acting like this that it had something to do with being engaged with me, and I couldn't end the interaction as long as I was holding the leash. So a couple of times I got brave and dropped the leash. He did not run off, but he did settle down.
 

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... For example, I took her out front today to wait for her to be collected - Thursday is day-care day for her - and then tried to bring her indoors and she started pulling at the leash with her teeth.....

Your girl sounds perfectly normal. Think about what the scenario was here: she probably hadn't had any exercise yet and when you went out front to wait, she knew she would be going somewhere fun and was excited and wound up, just like an energetic child, bouncing off the walls. Then, you tried to take her back in the house and she thought the fun was over, didn't want to go back inside. It helps to understand a bit of what is going on to think about how to handle it.

Are you still going to obedience classes? Do you practice lessons every day? Even just a 5 minute session counts if you are serious and demand that she listen to you.

How much exercise off leash does she get every day? Is there a space you can play with her off leash or do you have to take her somewhere else?

These issues are all connected: 1) Aerobic exercise to get her 'zoomies' out, just like a child needs recess every day at school so that he can sit still and learn in the classroom. 2) Short practice sessions EVERY day to remind her of what she has learned (even when you think they know it, they still need TONS of repetition to keep it) You can just pop the leash on and get a little bag of treats and spend 5 or 10 minutes and let her know that this is business. If you make sure she is hungry, hasn't just eaten recently, you should have her full attention and it will go better. Also, use meal times to practice obeying a command before she is rewarded with her meal, use this to remember to practice and to really strengthen a command that is important to you that she be reliable about such as going to her "place" on a bed or mat when you tell her to.

Also, try to remember that when you get in a situation where she is acting up and being rambunctious that it can help to distract her and give her a task. This means you should always have a baggie full of treats in your pocket so that when you are walking you can give her a command and then reward her for obeying. Set yourself up for success: when you know that you are going to be in a situation that normally has her being wild, bring a proper toy along to play with (ex: when waiting for doggy daycare pickup, have a good stuffed tug toy tucked under your arm and go out to wait. Give her a command, like 'sit' or 'wait' and then when she obeys, release her, tell her she's good and use the toy play to reward. Use it to pop in her mouth in stead of the leash.

A big sporting dog like a Golden Retriever needs regular aerobic exercise that gets them panting and tired 5 or 6 days a week. That is 20 or 30 minutes pretty much every day. If they don't receive it, they will make you crazy looking for an outlet for all their energy. Get a long lead, 30 feet or so, clip to collar and go to a place like a school yard or church yard or ball fields and play fetch (teach a formal retrieve also for a good form of exercise than just playing ball) you can also schedule play dates with another nice young dog - the wrestling they do is very good form of exercise. You can also have your dog like in a down/stay and go hide a favorite toy in the house, then release her to go find it. You can help her at first and it becomes a very good game to tire her out on a rainy day.

Hang in there, she will start to mature and be more settled eventually but it's a process that takes a year or two. Keep working with her and don't give up :)
 

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Thank-you for helpful ideas and reassurance! I'll be thinking about some of those ideas and will try them out especially "Gotcha!" which I haven't tried. Nolefan, you're correct, she hadn't yet been for a run, that day, and she loves daycare.

We go most Sundays to a good puppy-training class. I'd have gone mad without it! But we had a break, the last couple of Sundays. I should be more systematic about reviewing what they teach. Life just gets too full, sometimes! I'm checking out triggers and playing with alternative responses. Today - "find it" worked as a good distraction - repeatedly taking a bit of kibble, throw it down and say "find it!" until she forgot about whatever trigger had set her off.

- wbte -
 

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I finally taught Maddie to get her leash as she was so bad about grabbing it in obedience classes. Then reinforced "leave it" after. Long, long war with her initially when she would have her fill of training classes. :)
 
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