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Very bitey/ nippy and hyper puppy

(27 Posts)
47greenbottleshanging Wed 07-May-14 17:24:55

I am a first time dog owner so I'm not sure what's normal. I have a 13 week old cockapoo.

Several people have commented on how very hyper my puppy is, including the trainer and for example two people who own dogs I know have said they have never seen a puppy/ dog so much like this and so nippy/ bitey.

He snaps at us and others a lot. He will try and bite at me if he doesn't like something I'm doing e.g. putting him in his car carrier soft crate. Sometimes he growls and hisses when this sort of thing is going on. It feels more than playful nipping.

I am firm with him and don't indulge him, I have tried all the usual stuff so far e.g. yelping, withdrawing attention but maybe it is early days (we have had him 5 weeks). I feel I can't have him around children at the moment. At the weekend he nipped at a little girl on her shoulder when she was lying down (maybe I should have been keeping a closer eye to be fair) and at school pick up he just goes crazy jumping up trying to nip any child who is near.

Is this normal? Please don't flame me if it is and I'm clueless! The irony is he looks ever so cute...

Lonecatwithkitten Wed 07-May-14 17:36:48

You have a combination of two very intelligent high energy dogs and yes it is early days. Consistency is the key everyone doing the same thing though is harder for the children. I find asking children to become soldiers hand down by side or crossed across chest dead still when puppy is excitable is the best way as children tend to get flappy hands when pup is excited further exciting the pup.
You need to choose a single method and stick to it all the time. It is early days and this is typical puppy behaviour. If your trainer is surprised by this type of behaviour they are probably not the right trainer. I would look for someone who is the member of the APDT.

noddingoff Wed 07-May-14 17:56:29

- get a trainer now if you haven't already- no such thing as too young - APDT as lonecat says (or APBC)
- do plenty of short practice sessions in between times - they'll get the puppy mentally a bit tired (good) as well as into the habit of obeying you (good) and you can start using commands such as sit, lie down, go to bed as distraction techniques when the pup is getting wound up
- don't take the pup to school pickup yet - too many children, too much excitement and you can't control the behaviour of the other children who probably want to dash over to the puppy and inadvertantly wind it up

ender Wed 07-May-14 17:59:03

It sounds like your trainer isn't very experienced if surprised by a bitey growly puppy. My lab was like a crocodile at that age, jumping and snapping at everyone. I kept younger children away till he was a bit older.

47greenbottleshanging Wed 07-May-14 18:06:38

More later but the trainer is very experienced. She wasn't surprised but she did say he was especially hyper.

47greenbottleshanging Wed 07-May-14 18:24:27

We already do training class and have been working on sit and lie down and leave it from day one. When he is going crazy he doesn't listen at all.

47greenbottleshanging Wed 07-May-14 20:11:35


Beaverfeaver2 Wed 07-May-14 20:33:52

I don't have any advice but my viszla is the same.

He is now 6 months and better.

I will be happy if he carries ok calming down at the same rate as by the time he is 1 he will be totally different.

We still make an effort to train every day and he did the puppy classes.

It doesn't seem to make any difference and anytime I met an experienced dog owner they said not to worry as he will grow out of it and he is.

To the point that today we were out for a walk and came across a very frail 80+ year old woman who wanted to stop and talk.
I was mildly panicked worrying what doggy might do.
But I asked him to sit and stag whilst she spoke to me and he did.

It's the younger guys that say they don't mind the nibbling and jumping that don't help as it reinforces that he can do whatever he wants

daisydotandgertie Wed 07-May-14 20:44:05

What are you feeding? How much in quantity and what does he weigh?

What does he do during the day?

47greenbottleshanging Wed 07-May-14 22:02:45

He is fed on special prescription food as he had a dodgy tummy on his food from the breeder and something else we tried. I am transitioning to a new food very, very slowly.

He is very skinny indeed and always eats super fast. Suspect he is hungry but the problem is if I feed him more his tummy gets overloaded and it all comes out in a bad way...

Booboostoo Thu 08-May-14 10:56:15

It sounds like the puppy needs loads more training and appropriate attention. Some puppies are just more hyper than others, you just have to teach them how to relax.

47greenbottleshanging Thu 08-May-14 14:25:17

I honestly don't know what more I can do. He seems to need constant attention when awake or he gets up to stuff. I work at home but struggle to get stuff done and feel I have to ignore dc after school a fair bit. Not the pup's fault but he seems very full on.

Today I have walked him the amount appropriate for his age. Played games, stroked him, done a bit of training, taken him into the garden a few times etc.

Yet as soon as I am not constantly doing something with him if he is not in the crate he is chewing a cardboard thing he shouldn't be chewing. I tell him no, try handing toys over etc. but he goes back again and again. Obviously I will move it now but if it's not that it will be something else he is up to mischief with.

He has also managed to poop on the floor today even though he had not done that since we have had him. He bites at me not all the time but if it is something he doesn't like. Saying no, ignoring etc. make no difference.

I guess he will grow out of all of this and settle down with training continuing...but in the meantime...ARGH!

Booboostoo Thu 08-May-14 16:29:44

It's difficult to say over a description on the internet, but puppies do need constant attention when they are not sleeping. Unfortunately that is sort of normal.

For biting have you tried this (exactly as outlined):
give him your hand, when he bites make the highest, sharpest, sudden squeeky noise but keep your hand there. Do not move, do not pull back (that makes you a toy). If he bites again squeek again.

For dogs that don't respond to squeeking (a small minority) try a 'tsss' sound of sucking in breath. That seems to work for some reason.

If he bites clothes or other items swap them for chews. You should have many chews (10-15) lying about everywhere and try different kinds of chews there will be something he likes better than toys. If he is chewing trouser legs, don't walk away it makes it a game. If he is chewing other objects take them away and make them disappear.

Also try to go with the flow. OK he can't eat the cardboard thing you want but give him another cardboard thing he can shred, packaging boxes, inner tubes of toilet and kitchen paper, etc.

Toilet training accidents will happen with a puppy so young. Clean up really well, take him out more often and otherwise ignore them.

SistersOfPercy Thu 08-May-14 17:01:15

I agree with replacing things. When mine chewed things he shouldn't I kept a favourite kong and swapped what he wasn't supposed to have for something he could have. He soon learned.
He also loved a cardboard box to destroy, that could keep him good for an hour or more (though the cleanup from this is something to behold).
A loud yelp from us stopped the biting pretty quickly.

You say he's gulping down food? Have you considered something like This to slow him down?

47greenbottleshanging Thu 08-May-14 18:19:46

I've got a similar but slightly less spikey slower feeder bowl and it has definitely helped and I'm now putting a bit of his food in the kong. Think we're getting there with this which is good.

I give him the centre of a toilet roll or kitchen roll sometimes but he eats it rather than just chews. Is that ok? I've ordered a different type of Kong too.

I've tried the swapping for toy thing and it doesn't work - stubborn!

Likewise yelps make no difference with biting for some reason.

Booboo - I take him out at least every hour still so it really can't be that and extra in between if I get a feeling he might need it. But yes maybe it's just he is too young still to control it.

re the tsss sound, I will try that and also the giving my hand thing as I haven't done those. Thank you for these ideas.

mintysmum Thu 08-May-14 22:47:48

The other thing I started doing once I realised how hyper our puppy was, is I really restricted his access to the house. I found that helped a lot. So initially he was allowed in the whole downstairs, hall, sitting room, kitchen, and conservatory but I got stressed being unable to keep an eye on him and what/who he was chewing! So we got a kitchen stair gate and I rearranged my thinking and began to see the kitchen as his daily place with sitting room, hallway etc as only when we invited him in as a treat.

Maybe it sounds odd but it helped. We left him in the kitchen some evenings when we needed a break and gave him a frozen stuffed kong to keep him happy. We didn't have him roaming about, everything was much simpler.

Now he's 10 months it's so much easier, so don't worry even really nippy bitey dogs can get there with the right training

SistersOfPercy Thu 08-May-14 23:09:38

Keep going with the yelps, it didn't seem to do much here either initially but now at six months he's most put out if one of us yelps if he is a bit rough. It really does seem to upset him now where before he'd just look at you and then crack on.

It gets easier, the more you put in the more you get out and they so worth it.

daisydotandgertie Fri 09-May-14 08:45:14

I really don't agree with yelping, especially with a hyper puppy. It winds them up even more, IME.

If a puppy nips, they need an absolutely instant, mid-nip strong correction. I am quite hard with mine - there no tolerance to it in this house. It is a bad, self rewarding habit.

I have a litter of pups here at the moment and if one of them nips their Mum she doesn't yelp, believe me! Yelping is what their litter mates do, and that encourages more of the same game.

Ignoring or walking away is another good way of doing it, but it must be absolutely INSTANT as soon as it starts. It absolutely will not work if it is a few seconds after biting starts, or once you've decided that the teeth aren't as much fun as you thought.

I think it would also be useful for you to teach your dog to entertain itself and even self settle. Puppies don't have an off switch, especially if they are permanently entertained - and I have a strong feeling that yours might be quite over stimulated. Tone down the interaction with him - and stop trying to fill every second of his day. The more you stimulate, the more he will expect and you will rapidly be in a vicious circle that isn't much fun for anyone.

Do you have a playpen you could pop him into for an hour or so at a time? Somewhere his bed will fit and some toys with space to play? I think it might be time to leave him to it somewhere safe.

With regard to hunger, it will also make him very edgy. Was there a cause for his upset tum?

Booboostoo Fri 09-May-14 09:14:52

I think this is one of the difficulties of giving any advice over the internet...there are yelps and there are squeels! Squeeling is a pain sound, yelping is an excited sound, but there is no way of explaining the difference short of showing you. Dogs have very sensitive hearing and can definitely tell the difference. Squeeling is a common way dogs communicate pain to each other and it does work in terms of teaching bite inhibition.

daisy Mum does yelp as do the litter mates as do other dogs when they interact with each other. That doesn't mean that there aren't other ways of teaching bite inhibition, but personally I don't like 'hard', hands on methods, especially when positive, hands-off methods are available. Recommending hard, hands-on methods for others who may not know what they are doing may also get them bitten.

Claybury Fri 09-May-14 09:25:56

Are you using a crate ? I'm not experienced but the only way I coped with this stage was taking ours out a lot. I am fortunate as the nearby park is full of lovely dogs so it is always easy to find another dog to play with off lead Then once home straight in crate as she'd be so tired. Tbh I was the same with toddlers - being home is hard and boring , going to the park and wearing them out much easier !
Otherwise lots of stuff in kitchen for pup to play with, empty yoghurts pots, plastic bottles, wrap a small treat in cardboard for her to find. I started training classes in the park recently after which she comes home and sleeps for 3 hours smile. The mental stimulation of training really wears them out.
Mine gradually stopped nipping at 4 months ish.
Good luck!

PurpleFrog Fri 09-May-14 09:36:08

The biting will get better - especially after he loses his needle-sharp baby teeth. Our lab was horrific at that age. I used to change my clothes 2 minutes before leaving for work and as soon as I returned home. I sacrificed a couple of sweatshirts during the first few months. Our lab didn't respond to yelping/squealing etc and I ended up using a puppy playpen for time-out whenever the biting got out of control. I was also surprised how little free time I had in early months - but it does improve very quickly.

isitsnowingyet Fri 09-May-14 09:48:15

47Greenbottles -haven't read the full thread. But thought I could share how my friend trained her very excitable cocker spaniel puppy. He would get 'giddy' ie going nuts and trying to nip etc with excitement and bite at her two primary-aged children. She would place him out of the room, telling him off (but not shouting IYKWIM) until he had calmed down. In the early days, this happened a lot. It has certainly worked, as he is a lovely dog now, though still with lots of energy.

isitsnowingyet Fri 09-May-14 09:49:02

Oh - he would be on his own, not with her in the room still

Claybury Fri 09-May-14 14:02:28

Just remembered something. When our pup was that age we realised when she got nippy she needed to sleep. Found out by accident one day when we were fed up with the nipping, put her in crate and she fell asleep immediately. Over stimulated?

RiverRocks Fri 09-May-14 14:06:40

47greenbottles my sister got a cockapoo just before Christmas, and had a lot of similar problems.

A lot of it is because at that age, they are still babies and still learning. Toilet training took a while and a couple of setbacks, but he cracked it.

They are still doing puppy training classes with him, but he is getting there. He knows all the main commands (though he doesn't like lying down on the floor if it's cold). Part of the trade-off game is finding what your pup will swap for - it needs to be something which he thinks is better, and food usually works.

It will be hard work for a few months, but eventually you will have a well behaved, intelligent pup who is very, very cute grin

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