We have a 4 month old labrador st bernard puppy we've had him for about a month now. And he is just such a biter! (not nips) whenever he gets at us he's drawn blood. We have now taken him to doggy daycare weekly in hope that he learns bite inhibition. With us we've tried yelp method which just riles him up even more. The time outs aren't working because as soon as we enter after a while he'll just start up again. Our trainer told us to get him tired. The problem is, he gets really "vicious"/"excited" then he goes after our pants. He won't let go and starts growling, lunging, showing teeth at us. He's torn at our clothes and bit us with small puncture wounds already. When we see that he's about to go after our legs we say no bite! and try to move away but he won't listen and will just get at us.
When he gets all riled up we try to calm him down but its just no use because he's constantly going at us and lunging at us.
when we go out say to the mall or petstore and vet he'll just get so excited and start jumping and get bitey with other people just ends up hard to control. How do we deal with overexcitement?
In the mornings we take him out for a walk around our condominium area for about 30 mins, and at night. During the day I work with him in short bout of playtime and training sessions in the condo if he won't go at us. Basically its us taking him for a walk just worried that he'll lunge and bite us. Usually the walks just end up with me dragging him home with with clamped down on my pants or legs.
I would really like your opinion on this because asides from this issue he is a really good puppy. I'm just at a loss already.
So I want to know to deal with this issue? Many people have said this is a "dominant" issue. And that I should be the "pack leader" *rollseyes* but they do not give specifics. We've done methods such as he must sit whenever we go somewhere and needs our permission to get out, have meals and etc. Which he's doing good at.
Vets and some friends have told me to hit him on the head or snout. Which I do NOT want to do!
Okay, this is something you need to get control of as soon as possible. Just yelping or moving away or scolding will not work, nor will "just" getting him tired. He needs to learn that there are things we can bite/chew, and things we cannot. First, I do hope you have plenty of ropes and chew toys around. Keep one with you at all times. Invest in some Kong toys, too. When the pup starts to get excited or seeming like he is about to nip, pick up a toy and place that in his mouth. Be consistent. Tell everyone in the family to do this. Work on obedience training. Simple "Sit" Down" and "stay" commands are vital! And then always, if he's getting exited, stop and run him through a set of commands.
He is a Labrador mix - they are retrievers. He *needs* to have something in his mouth to be happy much of the time! When you start a walk, give him a toy or even just a stick to carry. That will keep the mouth busy and the brain concentrating on doing something. I used to do this with a boss's poodle puppy, because if I didn't present her with a stick, she'd pick up someone's discarded cigarette butt or the like. It became part of our routine, and walks were much better for everyone.
Get him a chew/tug rope with multiple knots, he will be a big pup, so you need one that will hold up.
And do consider obedience classes, this will help you, and help him.
One of my favorite "tricks" for a teething pup is soaking a washcloth in chicken broth, twisting into a rope shape and freezing it like that. The "rope" will then be tastier than you, and the cold will soothe his gums, too.
Karen gave you a lot of good ideas.
The daycare should help with this.
And I agree, get him into obedience classes. Group classes, not a one on one trainer. He needs to be in with the 'distractions' of other humans and other dogs. Most places charge the class fee 'per dog,' so the entire family can attend at no extra cost. Everyone age 8 and up should attend all the classes, then each of you do all the homework and practices during the week. A dog doesn't learn much in one hour; the humans learn how to read their dog's behavior, and how to train. By taking class together, all of you learn the same hand signals and voice commands, to provide consistency. By doing the homework and practices all week, the dog learns to follow the lead of each of you.
Being part Lab, keep in mind: Labs tend to mature slowly, they have 'puppy brain' a lot longer than many other breeds - often up to age 2 years. Another reason the doggie daycare and other doggie social times will be a great thing for him.
Oh, and when you prepare the frozen cloth, you can even put in a few pieces of kibble, spaced out, or some small treats, as well.
Let us know how things progress!
Obedience class, pronto. And not the ones at petco or petsmart. A legit trainer who is experienced with your breed and issues is a must. This NEEDS to get under control. The more you let him push you around the more of a nightmare he will become as he gets older. Please take it from me... I see this in the clinic a lot. Owners can't get control of their puppies... then the dogs come back for their adult visit and they are so used to getting their way at home it's almost a nightmare to handle them... they're borderline aggressive, we have to muzzle them, takes 3 people just to restrain the dog because it has never been taught boundaries...
Obedience class, ASAP.
Daycare is not an appropriate avenue for teaching behaviors... it will only teach him how to interact with other dogs, not how to interact with you. Though, it WILL help wear him out so he is easier to work with at home.