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post #1 of 28 (permalink) Old 09-10-2003, 07:28 PM Thread Starter
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need advice

I'm taking care of this 3 1/2 month old lab female puppy. I go to the ladys home and let her out and play with her for a few hours a week. My problem is this puppy must be very dominent- she's really very develish and I've never had a puppy like her- very glad she's not mine.
One problem I have with her is she likes to bite, and she really can bite hard. Now I tried the old screech "owww" routine- worked great with my dogs when they were puppies- but it does not work with her- she jumped up at me and bites more.Then I smacked her snoot after she really grabbed my hand hard with her teeth- well that didn't worked ether- she bit me back harder!
Now I don't want to be mean to her- so I try to just take her outside when things get heated, or get her to play fetch which she'll do for awhile. But what shall I do next time she gets carried away with biting me? I also say NO in a firm voice- that really dosen't work. I know she understands the word, she knows she's being bad and seems to relish being a bad girl.I know she's very intelligent too, but that aim to please isn't there. I also know the couple that own her are having a rough time- you should see how they have everything put high up so she can't destroy. I don't remember having to puppy proof my house at all, my dogs didn't want to be bad, they wanted to please and you only had to tell them once and they would get the message.
So I really need some ideas on how to teach this dog- first off -not to bite- she has tons of toys and chew things too. Any ideas?
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post #2 of 28 (permalink) Old 09-10-2003, 07:44 PM
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I'm not a doggie person as I don't have any, but maybe try spraying a bitter product designed to curb biting on your hands? Or a time-out situation? She bites, she goes into a small room for 5 mins alone? Not sure ... I'm sure someone with more experience will reply soon!

Stephanie

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post #3 of 28 (permalink) Old 09-11-2003, 01:05 AM
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Yikes Linda- I don't know what I'd do, especially since she's not with you all the time and who knows how her owners are training her
Jade's idea is pretty good- I've heard of people doing that and the dog really not liking it at all. Same with the time out, especially if she's being crate trained?
My dogs are like yours, they are eager to please and got the "No Bite!" message pretty quick.
Have you tried to alpha roll her and stare her down and growl?
She's still pretty young and may respond to being treated the way her mother or littermates would treat her for playing too rough.
I'd probably bring it up with the owners and ask them if she does it to them too, and how they are handling it- (they might not be trying to stop that behavior). Maybe having a friendly conversation about it, and how it can potentially turn into an aggression problem might make them aware and willing to deal with it. If they don't know what to do, you could give them some ways to correct her, and then you could all correct her in the same way so it's consistant and she learns it's wrong to bite- period.
If they have puppy-proofed their house to that extent it sounds like they may be teaching her to rule the roost! That could really turn into some serious behavior problems.
I'd feel the same way you do - glad she isn't mine- but I bet if she were, she'd be getting the right training and corrections from you and wouldn't be so dominant and aggressive.

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post #4 of 28 (permalink) Old 09-11-2003, 02:42 AM
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I can't add too much else, maybe try a cardboard tube like out of a roll of wrapping paper or even from a roll of paper towels (the bigger the better) and bonk her on the head with it. It sounds crude, but it's worked magic on Ira's parents dogs... doesn't hurt them at all, but makes a scarey noise. Maybe the squirtbottle trick would work too if she doesn't like water. I like Deja's idea of the alpha roll, maybe do that and hold her on her back for a minute. If she's anything like my house destroyer, when put in a room alone she'll immediately tear up anything within reach or not care and fall asleep I can totally relate on the tearing the house up part... Scrappy has been an absolute monster about that, but she's a good eager to please dog as long as you're home. VERY frustrating!


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post #5 of 28 (permalink) Old 09-11-2003, 06:23 AM Thread Starter
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Ok, I'll try the paper tube bonk on head along with a good growl and stare back. I think if I just did the growl thing alone -I can see her jumping at my face and trying to bite.
The people who own her are in their 70's- but are dog lovers and not feeble at all. I know I heard her talk of going to a trainer for obedience when she just got her. I also know she got this puppy at 9 weeks old from another family who bought her and than sold her. Sounds interesting , like she's a holy terror- and she is.The owner told me in the beginning "she's bad"- but than said she thinks she'll grow out of it. Personnaly I think the bigger she gets the more problem she'll be if something is not done.
Whenever you scold her for doing something bad she gets even wilder and tries to create more havoc. I've never seen anything like it.
If I lived with her I would try leaving her isolated in her cage and walking out of the room. The problem is I'm being payed to play with her so doing that may not be a good idea- but I'm starting to think may 5 minutes in cage might be enough.
If the paper roll dosent work I'll get a spray bottle.
Maybe I should call and tell the owner and make sure it's all right first.
Thanks for the help!
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post #6 of 28 (permalink) Old 09-11-2003, 11:15 AM
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Hmm... This rings a bell. Melissa watched someone dog once, kinda behaved like that. The thing bit and snapped and wouldn't get it when they told it no and scruffed it. Oh well. Nothing she could've done...

Its just upsetting when you hear about stuff like that, ya know? Because you just can only hope that the dog doesn't get worse, and that it'll eventually kick the biting spree thing. Mostly ya don't want to find out it hurt someone and had to be put to sleep, but its almost just as bad to hear that they got rid of it because "it was a bad dog." No, genius, ya just never trained it.

I wish you luck Linda! Thanks for trying with the girl! Keep it up!

-Mallory


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post #7 of 28 (permalink) Old 09-11-2003, 03:47 PM Thread Starter
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OK- get this, I called the owner to talk about her lab and I asked what she did when Ebby was biting or being naughty. She said she shakes this tin can with stuff in it(which I saw), and she runs away when she hears it. Or I can grab her lower jaw(when she bites)- which I might prefer doing- just give it a sqeeze too, I already did that once and she didn't like that one bit.
Her daughter has 2 labs, and some friend she knows has labs and they told her ALL LABS are like this!!!!!
Please someone tell me that's not true because I have baby labs awaiting for me to pick one out.
I don't want a lab if that are like that, I just can't believe it. I think this particular puppy is just very dominent- don't you think??
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post #8 of 28 (permalink) Old 09-11-2003, 04:01 PM
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ooh a shake can! Yeah that works really well too. They pick up on it really quick and then whatever they do wrong you can just hold it in your hand and they know they did something to upset you. The loud noise immeadiately distracts them from whatever "bad habit" they were involved in, therefore stopping the bad behavior and you don't get chewed on.

The squeezing/grabbing I do too, when a pup gets outta control. Pressing on down on their tongue is not what they call cool so they let go. However, sometimes, the dog just figures its playing to, and will again bite or nip. So make sure to associate a loud NO! or NOT NICE! with the lower jaw grab.

And I don't think that woman is AT ALL right about all labs being the same. Every dog is different, and depending on how they were raised and who trained them, the dog/puppy will have its own individual personality...

Something to keep in mind though, don't love the puppy that runs up and into your lap first. At the age the pup is, its still trying to win a good spot in the pecking order, therefore it will do ALL that it can to be the first to get to you, biting, knocking down, and beating all the other pups just to the first there. If you picked THAT dog, it'd most likely be one of the most obnoxious and you'd have to make sure that you never let the dog challenge your authority or ALPHA position.

However, you don't wanna pick the dog that is shaking all by itself in the corner when the rest of the pups went to greet you. This dog might have some major personality problems later on in life, and be shy and a possible fear-biter.

My advice is look for the third/fourth one to hop in your lap but still carrys on the puppy fun!

-Mallory
(not an expert!)


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post #9 of 28 (permalink) Old 09-11-2003, 04:55 PM
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Linda...... as being owned by a Lab..... I speak from the heart. Labs are NOT like that. This is just a worst case scenerio. Anyone who's met my lab will tell ya he's a lover. Jade can tell ya.

I have seen the can thing work for some dogs try that. Also, you may want to try a small squirt with a water bottle. That can be a deterant too. I would not recommend putting your hand near the dogs mouth if it is a biter.


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post #10 of 28 (permalink) Old 09-11-2003, 05:22 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you !!! Oh gosh did I need that assurance that not all lab pups are that awful. I didn't think so, but I never had one.
If you read my thread on "I'm getting a pup" you'll know I don't pick the one that runs up and are all over me. I really do think that's probably the most dominent one- and once in my life I did pick a dominent puppy , but she wasn't anywhere near as bad as the one I'm taking care of now.
Beside turning them up-side down holding them and asking the breeder what their opinion is of that puppies dominence what else can I do to make sure I get a submissive pup?
I will probably look at 2 white color baby male labs that were born last week- when they are 6 weeks old- right now they're only 1 week old and I'm not allowed to see them yet. if they don't measure up I will try and pick out of the second litter due in a couple weeks from different parents.
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post #11 of 28 (permalink) Old 09-11-2003, 05:53 PM
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Linda- as far as I know Lab pups are very similar in temperment to Goldens (I could be wrong here, but this pup doesn't sound *typical* at all) - and a huge tip-off is that this is the second home this pup has been in. I'd bet my last dime that the previous family had young children and recognized that Ebby's temperment could easily turn into an aggression problem and they didn't want to risk a serious bite to a tender hand during the period of time it would take to train her- and put a big *if* on the end- *if* they could afford to invest the time and money for a professional to guide them through the process of training a dog with potential aggression problems.
I've used the *shaker* method (soda can half filled with pennies and taped shut at the top) but never on biting. The key to the shaker is to anticipate the behavior and give the dog a startle when you recognize she's going to perform the undesirable action.
Perfect examples: Jumping up on the counter or getting into the kitchen or bathroom trash cans.
You can set the dog up in these situations to startle it. They *do* associate the unpleasant sound with the unwanted behavior- and you can use this method with the dog thinking it's the counter or the garbage causing the sound- it then becoming a self-correction, meaning the correction isn't coming from *you* and there is nothing for the dog to challenge.
The other *shaker* method is to use a firm "NO" or "AHHHH" when you shake the can - the dog will associate the command with you and the sound from that scary garbage or counter.
I don't think I'd want to set this dog up to bite- and have to anticipate it- then startle her - it could easily backfire and make the problem worse. That's just *my* oppinion...
Grabbing and squeezing her lower jaw works. It sends a very clear message directly associated with the behavior.
If these people are shaking that can whenever this dog is doing something "wrong" and they say she runs away.... yikes- that worries me for a lot of reasons.
This dog is getting confused and not getting clear messages of what is expected of her and what is absolutely not allowed. She runs away to avoid the scary noise but never associates it with what behavior they are trying to correct.
*whew* I'm sorry I get so long winded when I talk about this stuff.
I agree with you that this puppy is dominant and it isn't being handled properly. I also don't think it is typical Lab Puppy behavior at all. If her daughter's 2 labs acted like this... it makes me think that they teach their dogs to act dominant. Not on purpose, just because the way they do things creates a dominant dog. I believe genetics are important but environment is 150%.

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post #12 of 28 (permalink) Old 09-11-2003, 06:10 PM Thread Starter
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I think your right, because scaring the dog away just isn't enough for me ether. I want that dog to know that it's not allowed to do this unacceptiple behavior.. period.
Fortunately I go home and only deal with her a short time. I'll just do what the lady tells me so her house won't be wrecked. It's her dog, and her problem really.
I will let this pup know I'm dominent over her. She has made me bleed , and I just won't tolerate it.
I hope this lady gets a really good trainer- she said she's signed up for some class very soon.
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post #13 of 28 (permalink) Old 09-11-2003, 06:28 PM
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Oh Linda, sheesh, you are in a tough spot. I agree with you and I'd do the exact same thing. I wouldn't tolerate the biting either- she's made you bleed!
I hope they get a good trainer too, I'd hate to think about 6 months down the road when it's a little kid ringing the bell selling candy for school or .... *shudder* countless other horrid senarious that ran through my head.

Good Luck and hang in there- it sounds like you are doing everything in your power to set things right with this situation.

btw- I love the new picture in your sig!

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post #14 of 28 (permalink) Old 09-12-2003, 08:48 AM
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Like many have said, all Labs arent like this. I have known many gentle Labs. This pup sounds like my boxer Max!! Max has some dominance issues that we are working on with him right now. When we tell him "NO" to something wether its biting or jumping up or whatever, he barks back like he is talking back and getting the last word! He is such a booger sometimes, But with training he will learn. Right now what I have been doing is scruffing him. I just grab the fat on his neck and tell him a loud NO and he usually gets the point, sometimes he gets a little devilish hisself and tries to bite or bark back, and when that happens I usually just roll him on his back and stay on top of him (I think its the alpha roll) and he responds to that very well, or else I stick him in his cage for some alone time. I always just try to remember that he is a puppy, and that he will learn. I love him to death, but he is alot more work than Harlie was. But he is still a great pup and very loving. When he sleeps with us at nite, he always lays his head on my legs or stomach. So I know he is trying, he just needs an extra push sometimes.

And like you said. Just be glad it isnt your pup. When you get yours you will notice that he or she will respond to you alot better, because they will view you as thier master/mommy instead of just someone coming over to play.

Like Mal said earlier, I watched my friends 9 week old Dobie pup, and she was just a terror, biting my dogs, biting me, always trying to eat my shoes, just tons of things she got into, and no matter what I did to that pup wether it was scruffing her or putting her in her cage, she just could care less what I did. One morning I had to scruff her like 6 times in a half hour. I felt like I was being so mean to her, but she needed to learn that the shoes werent toys. I would see her chewing on my shoe, so I would go over to her, scruff her and say NO, then put my shoe where it belonged, then two seconds later I would see her with it again, scruff her, put it away on and on and on...so finally I just had to put her in her cage. She wouldnt listen for anything. Alot of people tell me just to put my shoes somewhere else where the dog cant get them, but I feel that my pets, and any animal that stays at my house, will learn what is ok to play with and what isnt, even if its right there on the floor. Max and Harlie know not to play with shoes. They learned. So I just think that pup needed some major training by a professional and her master.


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post #15 of 28 (permalink) Old 09-12-2003, 02:09 PM
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My mom's Weimaraner loves to grab people's hands as they walk by her. I just grab her by the jaw, squeeze a little and firmly say NO! It took at least 6 times before she learned to stop doing it (to me anyway!)


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