Labradors Forums banner

1 - 13 of 13 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
17 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hi everyone

I've posted a couple of times on here already as a new puppy owner ( he's 11 weeks old tomorrow). I feel very stressed, pup keeps launching himself onto me and biting. My arms look dreadful. We've always had older dogs ( rescues) so of course this is new. We have a dog trainer who advocates rewards for good choices and distracting pup. But I feel like we can't just keep using treats all if the time. We do crate him but the longest he is in his crate when not overnight is probably an hour -an hour and a half.
I think I just feel overwhelmed, tired, stressed and question whether we made the right choice. All I can envisage right now is things getting worse as he hurtles towards being a juvenile.

Sorry to sound so miserable but it's not enjoyable at the minute.
Has/does anyone else felt/feel like this or is it just me?

Thanks for listening x
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
20,704 Posts
Has/does anyone else felt/feel like this or is it just me?
Oh believe me, I think most people, at some time in the first few weeks, feel they have made the biggest mistake of their life. So no, it's not just you. They are certainly not the easy pup some books make them out to be. Part of the problem is that his adult teeth and starting to grow. The adult teeth start to appear at around 12 weeks, usually the incisors first, followed by the molars, with the canines last. Usually the incisors and molars will be changed by around 16 weeks and by then things start to improve. The canines are usually changed by about 6 months, but sometimes the milk canines will hang on for another month or two after that.

Contra to popular thinking, the adult teeth do NOT push the puppy teeth out. What happens is at a point in the pup's development the roots of the milk teeth start to atrophy until there is literally nothing holding them in. The problem is that sometimes the pup does not get his timing quite right and the adult tooth meets the milk tooth just before the root has completely gone, so some pups get a very easy time through toothing, but some get rather more discomfort. The canines dont get that problem because as the head grows so the shape changes. The muzzle extends and this allows more room for the teeth. (There are more adult teeth than puppy teeth) You will find that the adult canines dont actually grow directly where the puppy canines are, then grow beside them so even if the root is a bit slow atrophying the adult canine wont be pressing on it. You will just see two canines on each side instead on one. But dont let that worry you, it will drop out when ready. :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,191 Posts
You are definitely not alone in the thinking or experience. We are currently on our 6th lab who is now 15 weeks old and yes they are incredibly hard work at times. We have had a mixture of pups and rescues. 20 years since a pup, and a shock to the system. Fatigue plays a big part in your feeling like you do too. Take some comfort that this does not go on forever. Thistle our pup is improving already and we have just pockets of biting. As John said there's a lot going off at this age and they are babies. Each day is progress. Be consistent and fair and you will reap the rewards soon. They need to bite as puppies, your job is to guide where is appropriate. Don't give in, trust me it really does get easier :giggle:
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
20,704 Posts
I cant remember if I posted this to you in the past, so forgive me if you have already seen it.

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.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
17 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Thank you for your replies & support. He's getting to the point where he doesn't want to go in his crate. We have tried the getting up and turning our back on him but he still tries to bite. I look like I've been self harming at the minute. We wanted to enjoy our time with him but at the moment I don't want to spend time with him because of this. I know of this is his fault, but I also wonder how other people cope with their pups.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,191 Posts
Thank you for your replies & support. He's getting to the point where he doesn't want to go in his crate. We have tried the getting up and turning our back on him but he still tries to bite. I look like I've been self harming at the minute. We wanted to enjoy our time with him but at the moment I don't want to spend time with him because of this. I know of this is his fault, but I also wonder how other people cope with their pups.
I redirect the biting episodes onto her toys, nylabones, frozen tied tea towel, old empty marrow bones which I've refilled with soaked kibble. Will your dog use a kong? I say no firmly as redirect her. My current pup is a few weeks older than yours so less bitey than a few weeks back. I also play games with her to work her brain, tennis balls on top of kibble treat in a baking cupcake tin, snuffle mat etc. Daily we train her manners, along with other commands. She only goes in her crate at night to sleep. In the day she prefers to sleep on the floor, or other dogs' bed. If it's time out as she's hyper we ignore and if that doesn't work she's gently held to calm then released. She's also been learning to calm herself. I know it's really tough at this age but I do promise you it will pass. Be firm and consistent. It saddens me you feel you don't want to spend these special times together. In a few weeks you'll look back and this stage will be lessened in your recollection. Hopefully others may give some practical ideas too
 
  • Like
Reactions: AuntieBiz

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,191 Posts
I redirect the biting episodes onto her toys, nylabones, frozen tied tea towel, old empty marrow bones which I've refilled with soaked kibble. Will your dog use a kong? I say no firmly as redirect her. My current pup is a few weeks older than yours so less bitey than a few weeks back. I also play games with her to work her brain, tennis balls on top of kibble treat in a baking cupcake tin, snuffle mat etc. Daily we train her manners, along with other commands. She only goes in her crate at night to sleep. In the day she prefers to sleep on the floor, or other dogs' bed. If it's time out as she's hyper we ignore and if that doesn't work she's gently held to calm then released. She's also been learning to calm herself. I know it's really tough at this age but I do promise you it will pass. Be firm and consistent. It saddens me you feel you don't want to spend these special times together. In a few weeks you'll look back and this stage will be lessened in your recollection. Hopefully others may give some practical ideas too
Looking back at your first post, there's nothing wrong with giving treats to reward good behaviour. Treats can be kibble from his food. As he learns you can lessen the treats too. I mix a variety of treats and higher value ones for harder effort. What you are asking of him needs to be rewarded sufficiently. Ask me to do something I prefer not to for a lettuce leaf has little attraction, but offer me a cake or chocolate and I'm very willing 😉
 
  • Like
Reactions: AuntieBiz

·
Registered
Joined
·
17 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
I redirect the biting episodes onto her toys, nylabones, frozen tied tea towel, old empty marrow bones which I've refilled with soaked kibble. Will your dog use a kong? I say no firmly as redirect her. My current pup is a few weeks older than yours so less bitey than a few weeks back. I also play games with her to work her brain, tennis balls on top of kibble treat in a baking cupcake tin, snuffle mat etc. Daily we train her manners, along with other commands. She only goes in her crate at night to sleep. In the day she prefers to sleep on the floor, or other dogs' bed. If it's time out as she's hyper we ignore and if that doesn't work she's gently held to calm then released. She's also been learning to calm herself. I know it's really tough at this age but I do promise you it will pass. Be firm and consistent. It saddens me you feel you don't want to spend these special times together. In a few weeks you'll look back and this stage will be lessened in your recollection. Hopefully others may give some practical ideas too
Awwwww thank you. I think you are so right regarding fatigue. I have a 90 year old Mum who isn't well at the moment ( I'm not trying to make excuses) & this is very stressful.

We use half his kibble as treats and he loves his Kong. We are redirecting his biting onto toys and we have frozen some items of clothing so that he gets to cool his gums. I'm going to order a snuffle mat too. He has a Lickimat which he loves and we give him that before bed so that he feels calmer. Last night he was absolutely shattered. My hubby has been training him to sit, paw, down, wait and did a bit of lead training with thin yesterday. We play aeroplane which basically means he doesn't get a treat if he lunges for a treat, he has to learn to wait. He's such a bright little chap and he is beautiful. And when I see him carrying a toy around waggling his bum it melts my heart. But then when he chases the cats it breaks my heart. And all of this is me not him! It must be horrible & painful to be teething so it's understandable he is behaving like this.

I really really appreciate your kindness and support. I feel like the worst dog parent ever and your words are very re-assuring!!
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
17 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
Looking back at your first post, there's nothing wrong with giving treats to reward good behaviour. Treats can be kibble from his food. As he learns you can lessen the treats too. I mix a variety of treats and higher value ones for harder effort. What you are asking of him needs to be rewarded sufficiently. Ask me to do something I prefer not to for a lettuce leaf has little attraction, but offer me a cake or chocolate and I'm very willing 😉
Yes, I definitely wouldn't do anything for a lettuce leaf either! 🤣🤣
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,191 Posts
Awwwww thank you. I think you are so right regarding fatigue. I have a 90 year old Mum who isn't well at the moment ( I'm not trying to make excuses) & this is very stressful.

We use half his kibble as treats and he loves his Kong. We are redirecting his biting onto toys and we have frozen some items of clothing so that he gets to cool his gums. I'm going to order a snuffle mat too. He has a Lickimat which he loves and we give him that before bed so that he feels calmer. Last night he was absolutely shattered. My hubby has been training him to sit, paw, down, wait and did a bit of lead training with thin yesterday. We play aeroplane which basically means he doesn't get a treat if he lunges for a treat, he has to learn to wait. He's such a bright little chap and he is beautiful. And when I see him carrying a toy around waggling his bum it melts my heart. But then when he chases the cats it breaks my heart. And all of this is me not him! It must be horrible & painful to be teething so it's understandable he is behaving like this.

I really really appreciate your kindness and support. I feel like the worst dog parent ever and your words are very re-assuring!!
He's a labrador puppy 😂 he is a beauty too!
I am confident that everyone, if totally honest, goes through thre despair phase. Dig in, be kind to yourself too and enjoy him. I know, at times when I feel overwhelmed, that this doesn't go on forever. The training is working his brain while he learns, and is tiring. Don't overdo him though. He still needs lots of sleep and overtired pups really do get very bitey.
If you look back to him first arriving, appreciate how far you have all come. You're not a bad parent, you're clearly doing just fine 😊
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
17 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
I cant remember if I posted this to you in the past, so forgive me if you have already seen it.

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.
He's a labrador puppy 😂 he is a beauty too!
I am confident that everyone, if totally honest, goes through thre despair phase. Dig in, be kind to yourself too and enjoy him. I know, at times when I feel overwhelmed, that this doesn't go on forever. The training is working his brain while he learns, and is tiring. Don't overdo him though. He still needs lots of sleep and overtired pups really do get very bitey.
If you look back to him first arriving, appreciate how far you have all come. You're not a bad parent, you're clearly doing just fine 😊
Thank you so much, I really appreciate your kindness xx
 

Attachments

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
8,833 Posts
As everyone has said, it’s normal! I showed my lad from four months and my hands were constantly drenched in blood from over zealous nibbling. Then a judge took pity on me and guided me towards online tutorials for restraint training. Not quite the same situation as you but we’ve been there. It’s never too young to introduce brain games which you could use to help him focus. One thing about a snuffle mat....if you have a lawn, just scatter a handful of kibble far and wide and let him hunt for it. Snuffle mat didn’t work well for me, nor did lickimats...both required an eagle egged amount of supervision or they’d get eaten too!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
17 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
Thank you, much appreciated. We've been throwing kibble onto the garden and he enjoys finding it, so that's good. We're trying to have other brain games for him to play indoors if needs be. Understand what you mean about the Lickimats, when he'd finished with it yesterday he was carrying it around like a toy and I reckon would have started chewing it given half the chance. I've used a slow down feeder today which we used to use with our other Labs (who were fully grown) and that was really useful in terms of prompting him to think about how to get to his kibble as opposed to just hoovering it up from a bowl. I've packed a Kong full of wet kibble and frozen it so we are going to try that later.
He had his lunch and then took himself off into his crate, which is brilliant.
 
1 - 13 of 13 Posts
Top