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Update

Thanks SEP87. You were right with the outside time out - he was quite happy to just turn around and go play in the garden, so didn't quite work! And I live in a small open plan house, so I don't have any room that would work and I leave him in is crate when I'm out, so didn't want to use that.

I spoke to the trainer in puppy class and she came for a 1 to 1 session on Friday. She helped me teach 'leave' and 'off' and the rest of the day was very quiet. Today - only 2 bites that stopped very quickly.

Also, I'm starting to know Cooper a bit better and understand his body language, i.e. noticing when he is tired and is about to start misbehaving. A lot of it is attention seeking and I'm trying my best to not reward it and be consistent with the training!

I guess I need to hang in there and keep working hard!
 

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Some relief to read that Lab puppies (mine is a dalmation/lab cross, although all black so more lab I think!) are hard biters/jumpers/dressing gown shredders etc. My 6 and 10 year olds cant even walk past her without being 'attacked'...I can deal with the home wrecking (expected that) but not the biting/growling etc. I was on the verge of rehoming her and we've only had her 5 weeks. So much advice on how to deal with it but so far nothing works...just grateful to read its normal and will get better (she says pouring a large glass of wine!!)
 

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Has anyone got any tips on reducing the amount of biting? I know my pup is only playing, but he doesn't know when to stop. And when we shout/tell him no, he thinks we are playing so continues to do it. We have been putting him in his room (which is closed off with a baby gate), but I feel guilty so end up letting him back out so really just going around in circles. Any feedback/help is appreciated.

(tried the usual things, kongs, chews etc, nothing really seems to keep him as occupied as my clothes/hand!)
 

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And when we shout/tell him no, he thinks we are playing so continues to do it.
The biting is down puppy play. Lets face it, they cant play cards or other games, their paws don't work like that. Shouting only adds to excitement, so is only likely to make things worse if anything. The secret is to keep the excitement to a low level. I've had all sorts, the completely calm pup born adult to the highly excitable who died as a 14 year old puppy!

With me, when a puppy starts to get over the top when I'm playing with it the game stops and we go into "Calm mode" I also make a point of giving a little crate time in the middle of the afternoon and mid evening. Puppies are like children and can go a bit silly when over tired, so an hour crate time gives them a chance to calm down and sleep.

But with the biting you never really see much difference until it suddenly dawns on you that your hands are no longer sore! The improvement sort of creeps up on you when you are not looking. My Amy was probably my biggest alligator, grew into the sweetest and kindest dog imaginable. She still likes me to get involved when Chloe and her are playing "Bitey face." She takes hold of me wrist and Chloe holds a finger, both so gentle that you don't feel a thing.

Regards, John
 

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Hi John,

Thanks for the reply. Do you suggest anything to keep the excitement levels low, also from your own experience, when would you say the biting tends to stop on its own accord? Alby is 19 weeks old today so still only very young, he is a very good little, or should I say big, puppy! The biting is the only thing that we're having a few difficulties with.

Thankyou :)

Thanks
 

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At 19 weeks I would expect things to improve quite soon. But as I said, it's a very gradual improvement so you don't really notice it at first. (It may already BE improving) Give him things to do. Heelwork training both on and off lead. Sit stays can even be done indoors on a wet day. Formal recalls, in fact any obedience training. The object is to give him things to think about. Below is my Chloe learning "heelwork" in the garden at about that age.

Regards, John

 

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I want to cut my dog's claws.

Hello friends. I read a lot about our Labradors here. I want to cut my dog's claws. How to do it right?
 

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Firstly a little about the clippers. Labradors are not exactly a small dog so don’t go bothering about small clippers, and be prepared to pay a bit for them. Cheap clippers blunt quickly, lose their edge so tend to pinch the quick rather than cut nicely. I prefer the scissor type rather than the guillotine type and to me there are only two makes worth buying. Either Millers Forge or Mars. Both are made from good quality steel and will hold a nice sharp edge for years. I would also get a styptic pencil, the kind men use to stop bleeding when they cut themselves shaving. (Everyone, however careful, has at some time nicked the quick and believe me, they really bleed!)

Spend a little time preparing your dog, getting him/her use to having his paws held without struggling. I start by just touching the paws, and if and when thats accepted without a struggle I move on to holding the paw. Many dogs don’t like having their paws held, so don’t rush it, build confidence. The next stage is to hold a toe rather than the whole paw. Remember there is no rush so don’t move from one stage to the next until the previous stage is really sorted. The last stage is to hold the toe in one hand while holding the clippers in the other, and gently touching the clippers on the dog’s toe. Once you have progressed that far it’s time to start claw cutting!

While holding the toe, look at the claw. It’s like an inverted U with the quick running down the middle. Think about that for a moment. If you place the cutting edges of the clippers either side of the U the pressure will squeeze the sides of the claw onto the quick, pinching it. This is going to be very painful and will put the dog off having his claws clipped!! Always place the cutting edges on the top and bottom of the claw so it does not crush the sides in onto the quick.

So, the day has arrived! Get everything ready before you even think about starting. Then. Dont rush, but also don’t faf around. Take a toe and clip it! As quick as that. Dont try to take much off at this stage, just tip it. At this stage again it’s about building up confidence. One toe is enough for the first time. Probably later in the day do a second toe. Remember, it matters not if it takes two weeks, a toe a day to begin with. It’s not a race. It’s about not frightening him, and about him accepting that it’s going to happen.

I said initially to only tip the claws. Some dogs have semi transparent claws, where the quick is easy to see as a pink area just back from the end. As the claw grows so the quick tends to grow with it, so you cant cut back maybe as far as you would like. But by cutting back little bit at a time the action of the dog walking causes the quick to recede further up the claw, allowing you to cut it back a little further each time. Some dogs have black claws, which make it much harder, because you cannot see the quick. With these it’s a matter of being careful, trimming back just a little at a time until you can see where the quick is.

Trimming claws is not difficult providing you follow the desensitising procedure at the top of this post, and easily something any dog owner can do.
 

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OK, I don't use a claw grinder. I'm a little old fashioned. (But then, that's allowed because I AM old!! :) )

When people started grinding instead of clipping it was always with an ordinary rechargeable Dremel. But I guess any of the ones on the list will do the job. Rather it's about HOW you use it. I apologise for my poor artwork, but I was an engineer rather than an artist, more about turning things with a spanner of hitting it with a hammer. But I think it self explanatory. Always grind with the rotation of the grinder rotating DOWN on the claw, never up. Try to grind at the angle shown. If you think about that your dog will be walking on the corner of the claw rather than on the flat end, so the action of walking will easily wear the point off and so retracting the quick.

Start as in my first post with touching the paw, holding the paw, holding the toe. Then progressing to touching the handle of the grinder on the toes, then touching the handle with the grinder switched on. It will vibrate so it could worry the dog to start with so be careful!! Progress to lightly grinding the tip of one claw and gradually work up from there.

John :)
 

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I have found that with many newbies to Labs, their biggest concern is how much and how hard their puppies bite.

Now I reckon Labrador puppies are probably one of the worse offenders for acting like Crocodiles...Not only do they mouth everything but they bite hands, feet, clothes, faces, infact anything they can lay their teeth into.....and this is ALL perfectly normal. 😉 They bite hard enough to break skin, they also growl, pounce, attack and do numerous other "undesirable" things which you NEVER see the Andrex puppy doing :lol: .

So please if you have a concern about your pups biting, have a read up about Bite Inhibition.....There is a lot about it if you google and there is a lot about it here too. It is VERY important that your pup learns to control it's mouth....but it is also VERY important that the pup isn't stopped from biting too young.

I think along with other advise breeders give out, they really should give out information about just how much Lab pups DO bite, especially to people with children. As I'm sure many a person has thought they have bought a viscious pup that is going to eat their children alive.

Finally....as you are reading this anyway and you may not have already got your Lab pup .....

In short....If you don't want a pup that chews everything.....hangs onto your trouser legs...bites your ankles, hands, arms (leaving broken skin and scratches)....growls, pounces, lunges at your face when excited.....plays faarrr TOOO rough for most children under 10 to play with......then you really should rethink getting a Labrador Puppy...as that is just what they are like. 😉
 

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Hi,

we are having the exact same issues with my almost 4 month old lab puppy, we are expecting a baby end of October and im worried about the constant biting as you described above feet hands and ankles, he doesn't tend to bite my fiance much but he loves to bite me is he picking up on my hormones do you think or the fact im carrying a baby?

He will often hang on to my clothes, lunge at me and he has broken the skin a couple of times which has been so painful i end up crying, he just has such a strong grip for a young pup,i really dont want to re-home him i just want the help without having to pay 50 pounds an hour for a trainer as you can understand with the current lockdown situation its difficult we were anticipating to sign him up for classes but then this all happened.

Can you possibly please share a link or any videos of the advice you have given above for biting, we love him to bits and hes doing great with all other aspects of his training its just biting us thats causing the stress issues. I really couldn't imagine life without him now so we just really need a measure of being able to cope with the biting better, im not expecting a miracle as i know this is a trait for Labs to bite like this as pups.

The reason we wanted a lab puppy also as we thought they are great around children & families when they are older which i hear from many people they are, any ideas when the biting of humans calms down? He has many toys Kongs that he can play with too, weve tried many things by distraction with these toys when he bites but he finds biting us more fun. Ive even tried shrieking like a puppy and turning away or leaving the room ( but this is difficult to do if he has got my hand in a jaw lock dragging it towards him or hanging on to my clothes) but this also doesn't phase him.

Any advice is really appreciated :)
 

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This was a little piece I wrote a while back.

I think it’s important that you understand whats happening. What you describe is so normal for Labrador puppies! Part of the problem is that they are so much a social breed, they love everybody and want to be with them. They want to play, and they want to involve their “human” in their game. And of course dogs cant play cards or computer games. Puppies are pre-programmed at birth to play “War Games.” This is equipping them for their future in the wild, catching their food and defending themselves and their pack. Puppies, and many other creatures in the wild will practise and hone their skills on each other. I’m so lucky in that I have a private wood that I can walk in and often in spring I’ve stood and watched Fox cubs playing these war games. They have no intention of hurting each other, just have a lovely game.

But then onto domestic dogs, and thats where things all go wrong. We take our puppy out of the nest and away from his siblings at around 8 weeks old, just about the time when the pups are beginning to get active, starting to think about things other than eating and sleeping. So his natural actions now would be to play his war games, but he has no siblings to play those games with! So effectively you are the surrogate sibling! In the wild this is where he would start to learn bite inhibition. As a baby he would have no idea that biting hurts! How could he? So he nips his sibling a bit hard, brother says, “Oye! Pack it in! If you are going to play rough I’m off!” In other words he walks off and leaves his brother. Brother soon works out that biting too hard hurts and finishes the game. Particularly if it’s him that gets bitten too hard! So the pups start to learn to control their biting.

Why do they single out one particular person? Because they think that person is nice, so they want to play, and play in the only way they know. So really, much as you dont want it, it's really a compliment! Your puppy feels happy and confident with you.

This is where the theory of “Time out” came from. It’s us trying to replicate what would happen with puppies naturally in the wild. “That hurt! I’m not playing anymore!” So you stand up, turn your back on the pup, get your hands up high so there is nothing for the pup to take hold of. But you have probably noticed that things are worse in the evening. Just like children, they can lose a certain amount of self control when they get tired. All day you are busy so they spend a large part of the time sleeping, but in the evening, when you want to sit quiet, resting from the day they want to play. And as they get tired so the play gets rougher. I have always made a point of popping my pups into their crate at about 7pm for an hour, so they get use to having an hours sleep in the evening, and I get a chance to recharge my batteries. Interestingly this has built a habit which has continued for all of my dogs lives. Every evening they put themselves to bed and we all have a rest.

I know puppies are hard work, and the alligators can make your hands really sore, but believe me, it does get better. Yes my dogs still love to involve me in their games, but it’s now lovely. Amy takes hold of my wrist so gently and leads me to where she wants to go, or Chloe will take hold of one finger to involve me in her war games, but oh so gently. Somehow you never notice things getting better because it is a slow change in pressure. But one day you realise your hands are no longer sore and you cant remember the last time you told him to pack it in. Given time they become the most wonderful of creatures.
 

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This is great advice and very comforting I must say it’s been tough and a bit of a learning curve for us both, I had no idea that the puppy targeting me was because he feels more comfortable around me which is quite sweet when you put it like that.
I spend all day with him Monday to Friday feed him and play as well as train so I guess he is used to me more than my partner because I do the majority of care for him

A 7pm nap is a great idea, Rocco (that’s his name) has a play pen with his crate in weve only just got the pen and he’s having to get used to that for when I think it’s time for a nap or independent play so he cries at first when he goes in there, as you say also because he can get more excitable as you when he is tired from play time. I find when he is hungry he can get irritable too just like us humans :D I like him to be in his play pen whilst I’m cooking our dinner because I don’t want him to get hurt whilst my attention is diverted on the cooking and handling hot pots and pans.
So another question roughly how long do pups need to sleep in a day and by sleeping so much during the day does this effect the time they sleep in the night?

You are 100% right in that he seems to come alive in the evening and what we call go on a mad one, we try to take him on a small walk in the evening but he hasn’t got used to toileting on the walk yet, so it’s being curious and sniffing around then stopping and not wanting to move. Which we let him happily do but just wondering when he will think hmm I’m going to wee here to mark my territory?

Thanks again for your detailed reply I’m learning a lot each day and as hard as is it can be very rewarding. I like to think that he is preparing me for when the baby arrives in October and that I’m going to be a great dog mum and mum to my first baby :)
 

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So another question roughly how long do pups need to sleep in a day and by sleeping so much during the day does this effect the time they sleep in the night?
A lot of parallels can be drawn between human children and puppies. As babies humans seem to do little but eat and sleep. But as they grow so the period of sleep gets less and activity increases. Puppies are the same, when first born there is little other than sleeping and eating. But of course puppies grow up faster than children. By the time we buy a puppy at around 8 weeks old, it's probably sleeping no more than half the day time hours, plus night time. But you get so much of what you do if you can understand me. If you are in the habit of trying to amuse your pup then your pup will try to stay awake to enjoy the interaction. My approach is for my pups to be around with me during the morning while I'm doing the housework, (I'm retired so around all the time) then I'll likely put pup in her crate for an hour in the early afternoon. But there are so much differences between a summer pup and a winter pup, and in many ways a summer pup is harder. The obvious difference is that by this time of year it's quite light by 4am. Also in the afternoon I want to be outside rather than sitting around in a chair. In nice weather, rather than putting my pup in her crate for an hour she will probably come outside with me. I'll take a good book with me and both her and me will chill in the sun.

But try to make time for training. We are only looking for less than 10 minutes a time. I tend towards probably 5 minutes in the morning and another 5 minute session in the afternoon. Make the training useful training. It's never too young to start. Sit stays usually start the day the pup arrives, if only to take photos!! Recalls help no end in a pup learning it's name. And of course heelwork. All play training at this age. Pups love training, because it's interacting with their human. But it also tires them mentally!

but just wondering when he will think hmm I’m going to wee here to mark my territory?

He may, or may not ever. And believe me, it's a lot easier if he does not. Although I only have bitches these days originally I used to have dogs. Mine almost only toilet in the garden, never on the pavement outside. But I do carry bags, because my dogs work, and when you are in the fields all day sometimes you really need to go, so that means that any grassland is OK by them including the park. A suggestion for you, teach a command for toileting. Every time you see him weeing or pooing use the command, and lots of praise when it happens. I use "Be Quick" as my command. It's often useful if you can get your dog to defecate or urinate an command, particularly if you ever take him away on holiday.
 
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