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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I recently picked up a golden puppy at 4 weeks old. The owner did not want him so I reluctantly took him so young. He tends to want to bite and if I tell him no and flick his nose he growls and gets a tad aggressive. Is this normal behavior and how do I curb this? I had a golden for 13 years but do not remember him being like this.
 

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First 4 weeks is way to young in his development to leave mom and litter mates. He has missed all the learning involved in the next 4 weeks. DON'T FLICK HIM IN THE NOSE. I doubt you'd like that. His nose is very sensitive. You are going to have a puppy that bites and doesn't know anything because of his age. Engage him when he tries biting. Give him a toy and say no bite. He is way to young to know anything but exploring with his mouth. That is his world right now.
 

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Nancy
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Ok, no nose flicking. But is his behavior a reflection of how his temperament will be?
The behavior is a reflection of his age. 4 week old puppies are babies and are learning about the world around them. He's only be on this earth 30 some days.

Just like human babies, they investigate everything with their mouths. Now that you have become his mother and littermates you must gently teach him what is expected. Keep a collection of toys available to distract and redirect when he gets nippy. Nose flicking is a definately no-no.
 

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I agree with previous posts! He is very young, and in an important learning stage in his life. Normally during this time a puppy learns from his siblings, his mother and other dogs (if there are more around). You have now taken on that job, and you should do research on how to approach it in the best way.
I don't know much about this, but I suspect he has different needs and ways to approach the world than what a pup at 8 weeks does.

Good luck with him, I'm sure it will be alright, puppies have been raised by humans before :)
 

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Nipping and growling is completely normal in a puppy...particularly a breed like a retriever that is bred to use their mouths.

It is your job to teach him what it is ok to bite (toys, bones, food, etc.) and what it is not ok to bite (people and furniture).

I know my golden is VERY vocal when he plays. And if he finds another dog who is willing to indulge him, his play can be very, ummm.....rambunctious. To someone not used to the breed, they might think he is being aggressive. In reality, he is the polar opposite of aggressive. But when he's playing, he does bark, chase, wrestle and make faces that look like cujo (commonly known here on the forum as "bitey face"). All this behavior is perfectly normal and acceptable...in the right time and place. And as long as your pup learns to take cues from other dogs and people. Rocket will immediately stop if he gets a signal from another dog that they don't appreciate his rough play and he'll then leave that dog alone. This is something he learned from his mom and littermates, whom he was with until he was 7.5 or 8 weeks old.

You'll have to teach your pup these things. But goldens can be sensitive, and rough corrections can backfire. I'd suggest doing some internet research on "positive reinforcement" training methods. Also, socialization with people, situations, and other dogs will be key for your pup once he has had a couple rounds of vaccinations.

Good Luck!
 

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Esquire Golden Retrievers
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Oh my gosh. At four weeks the ONLY thing you should be doing with that puppy is loving him, feeding him, and trying to give him some stimulation and socialization (somehow). Disciplining a four-week old puppy is like disciplining a three-month old baby. It does no good and is tantamount to child abuse. Your puppy is the youngest of infants. He should not be with you, now. He has been in the world for a month or less, he has been able to see for only a week or two, and he's still only partially aware.

If a three-month old infant was screaming and crying, would you wonder if that's an indication of what his temperament would be? Would you flick it on the nose to get it to stop? No. You wouldn't. Same with the puppy. He's a baby. Treat him like one, please.

Can you imagine flicking a baby on the nose every time it cried? What would that do to that baby? :( I think you need to take a step back and really think about what this tiny creature in your home really is, and what sort of expectations you should have for him at this point. And think about your own behavior, and what impact that might have on this infant you are caring for. A four-week old puppy is not a dog. And it's not a four-month old puppy, either. It's an infant. You should not be trying to impose any discipline on this infant. You should be helping it develop, helping it explore its immediate world, and trying your best to be mama dog and its littermates.

He's not aggressive, but what you're doing could make him aggressive. A little patience and common sense is called for, here.
 
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Not much more to add, everything that has been already said is diddo for me...

I just would like to say however that it's absolutely rehensible that the previous owner would separate a pup this young from the mother and litter. 8 wks at the earliest. I'm presuming the other puppies are thrown out by this irresponsible person as well? Absolutely tragic.

I really wish you the best of luck and I know you have good intentions by willing to take a pup this young to save it, but please be VERY patient and sympathetic. It's a little baby that simply cannot be "trained" or "taught" in the sense that you are looking for at this age. If you cannot handle this, please take it to a local ASPCA or put an ad in the paper and screen the next buyer.

Whatever you do, do NOT act maliciously towards it in such ways as flicking it's nose. That's the quickest way to make that pup aggressive!!! Hell, I'm guilty of smacking a dog gently on the snout with much older and larger dogs if they bite me or similar, but this tiny baby just needs love and a toy to put in it's mouth.

To answer your question, biting and growling at this age is perfectly normal. That's how dogs interact with their litter mates and mother to understand how to communicate and treat each other, not to mention just to play. It's an animal, not like a trained special needs dog at this point.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thank you everyone for the advice. Danaruns, umm yeah, I'll raise my kids differently from how I raise my dog but thanks for your input. Tried some new strategies today with good results. He's a very healthy 5 week old who will undoubtably be blessed with a loving home.
 
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