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HELP my puppy is driving me crazy with biting, and growling(14 Posts)
I have a puppy, I bought him at 8 weeks old he is now 13 weeks old. He is a Shih Tzu x Bichon Frise.
He seems to have a lot of aggression, well I think so but many people believe it is playing.
He will bite my feet when I am walking, that’s what started it. He will growl while he’s doing it.
Now he will sit on me and bite my arms, hands, jump at my face and bite my face, the face is really unexpected and he’s has made me bleed a little.
He won’t leave me alone, mainly on a evening he has all this energy, goes mental biting, growling. He does it to my children which are 2,4,7,14. Mainly he will do it to the smaller children.
I have a tough day with my kids, on a evening I just want to have some down time but he goes off on one, starts digging the settee, digging the carpet, growling, and goes crazy biting me. My skin is burning from the bites, very painful.
I’ve been firm and pointed my finger at him telling him no, I’ve put him down on the floor and told him off not to do this. He then cries and wants to come and sit back on me, so I pick him up and he starts it again.
He is getting worse and worse, probably feel the bites more now as he’s getting his teeth through.
He’s driving me mad, he also poos everywhere, has his moments where he will go outside, but then will poo all over my carpet, rarely uses puppy pads but he will sometimes. He pees on my carpet too, I take him out quite a lot and he will go outside to the toilet but he seems to be going backwards.
Does anyone have any experience with this breed? The biting? Growling? Is this normal puppy behaviour? Will he grow off of it?
Please any advice is greatly appreciated
That does all sound completely normal, it's pretty typical for puppies to be absolute horrors! Even the jumping and biting at your face thing, one of mine used to do that and he's now a very well adjusted and extremely gentle adult.
Are you on FB? If so I'd highly recommend joining the group Dog Training Advice and Support which is run by professional trainers/behaviourists. There's a collection of articles/guides in the 'Files' section called "Congratulations on Your New Puppy" which covers pretty much everything you need to know to deal with the biting and toilet training. They're also issues which are frequently asked about within the group so it's worth searching through to have a read through the posts and responses.
Are you taking him to puppy classes? A good puppy class can really help with general manners as well as giving you the tools to train him effectively at home. The aforementioned FB group has a list of force-free and qualified trainers who run puppy classes, well worth seeing if there are any with spaces in your area if you're not already signed up to one. You can also look for trainers via organisations such as the APBC, APDT, IMDT, PPG and CAPBT.
Evening puppy zoomies are also very common. It can really help if you try and pre-empt it with a short training session or brain game of some type (this book is brilliant for ideas) and then getting the pup settled down with something like a filled Kong or appropriate chew to focus on instead of running riot.
I would get rid of the puppy pads. If you think about it what is the difference between toileting on them and toileting in the house. Yes some people use them with success but this isn't happening here. You need to go straight back to basics by taking him out after each play, meal, sleep, and frequently in between. Are you staying out with him because until they are trained you need to be out so you can praise them when they go. Say a code word when they toilet outside so they start associating that with peeing and pooing and then you can use that to help tell them he needs to go. You also need to be cleaning up all the accidents inside with enzyme cleaners to fully remove any smell otherwise it encourages them to go there again.
The key to toilet training is to minimise the accidents inside over those that are outside and praise him so he knows that is what you want. It can take weeks so you need to continue to watch him all the time until he gets it.
For the biting. Puppies bite (mouth) to make sense of the world and yes their teeth bloody hurt. This is frequently more common in the evenings when they are over stimulated like an over tired toddler and their behaviour gets worse. As PP mentioned look up puppy zoomies. He will be worse with the children because they are typically noisey and exciting. Feet are exciting as it's at their level.
Totally normal behaviour. However, you do need to be managing it. You can try and distract the mouthing with toys so he chews on them instead. You can do the turn around and ignore. However, for me the only thing that worked was a quick timeout so when it started he would be seperated from me for a minute which meant when he started biting me play stopped and it became boring time. Also he didn't like being away from me so this was a double whammy for him. The advantage as well with a timeout was that when it occurred due to over stimulation it would calm him down and force him to have a snooze which is what he needed.
Are you going to puppy classes? If not I would look some up so you can get some training. Or the other thing is to find a 1-1 trainer who can come round and tell you all these things and work with you on how to manage the puppy zoomies/mouthing and toileting.
It's perfectly normal but you need to give him something to do instead. The word "no" has no meaning to a dog - they don't understand English and have no idea what "no" means.
Posted too soon!
Every single time he bites you need to put him on the floor, cross your arms and avoid eye contact with him. Some people find yelping helps but for others it just winds them up even more. Then redirect him to a chew that he is allowed to bite - he's teething so you need loads of chews for him to occupy himself with.
As for toilet training - ditch the puppy pads and go back to absolute basics. Take him outside every 20 minutes when awake, as well after drinks, meals, play and naps. You need to be really consistent here. Praise praise praise when he gets it right and ignore any accidents - just calmly pick him up and place him outside. He will show signs of needing to go - you just need to recognise them and take him outside every single time. We trained ours to go to a phrase which helped hugely too.
It is bloody hard but all puppies go through it and he'll come out of the other side soon. Do you do any training with him? Has he got any commands yet?
Definitely ditch the puppy pads
Does the behaviour improve when he’s exhausted? I know you’re at the annoying stage of not being able to do long walks, but how much exercise has he generally had when he’s like this?
He's 13 weeks old - he doesn't need big walks but does need loads of sleep!
A lot of the behaviour you describe sounds like a really overtired pup.
A crate or puppy playpen could help you enormously- somewhere for him to go when he gets in a biting frenzy.
He also can't tell the difference in carpet and puppy pads - how could he? Get rid of the pads, restrict him to hard floor areas unless you are actively supervising him, and continue to take him him out very frequently while he is awake.
Never use puppy pads. We did last summer and it meant that it took our puppy twice as long to learn to use the garden as a toilet. Never again would I use them and my puppy is a quick learner. Very smart. We just took our pup out whenever she looked like she was about to toilet and said "do your business" when she went and a massive "good girl" after she finished. She is perfect now and it only took 2 months after we got rid of the pads.
When my pup wants to play the nipping game we all distract her with toys. So if she gets all excited and tries to nip me I say "no" firmly and move her off my lap. I then get a toy and distract her with that instead. Regardless of how tired I am.
You need to be firm and dont bother pointing your finger unless you want the pup to nip it. That's just asking for trouble.
Brain stimulating games are brilliant for pups and teaching lots of tricks really helps too. My son has taught our pup to do basic commands but also to roll over, play dead and to hold hands to name a few. My son is 15 and watched lots of YouTube videos on how to train puppies.
My pup is 1 now and is such a loving and friendly dog (most of the time) considering she wasnt treated very well before we got her shes dounf brilliantly.
Good luck op.
All sounds totally normal. Poor DS got the brunt of DDogs mouthing when a small puppy. It's because he thought he was someone to play with rather than an owner.
Remember to reward dog for good behaviour so loads of praise for peeing outside and snuggles and treats when ddog does sit or lie nicely.
Completely normal behaviour for a puppy of that age. You're going to have quite a few more weeks of this too.
What are you doing with him wrt toilet training. Are you taking him out every 20-30 minutes on lead, using a command word when he toilets outside with you, watching him like a hawk indoors to notice signs of when he needs to toilet so that you can get him outside before he does? If so, carry on, if not then you need to go back to basics and start doing that.
What sort of training are you doing with him? Sometimes a little 5 minute training session will distract them out of their bad behaviour for a short period. Other than that replacing your foot/hand/face with a chew toy every time he goes to bite is the way to go. Mouthing and biting is completely normal, it's up to you to redirect it it to an appropriate object for him to chew. He doesn't yet know what that is.
Personally, I'm not a fan of dogs on furniture, and certainly not puppies. Perhaps you need to get off the sofa yourself, get down on his level and play with him, rather than allowing him to dig around on your sofa. So again, distraction to an appropriate activity, and lots of praise with it, so that he learns what is good.
Puppies are bloody hard work. I think it sounds like your expectations for his behaviour may be a little out of kilter for the reality. The Zak George book and his YouTube videos are really good for ideas for training and what to expect with young puppies.
It all sounds like normal puppy behaviour but it will not go away by itself. It will take regular and consistent training and input from you.
Puppies (and dogs) are crepuscular so, while evening is down time for you, it is not his naturally quiet time (afternoon is). You will need to train and condition him to understand that evenings are for settling down as nothing happens.
As gently as possible, it does sound a bit like this might be your first pup and you are unsure of what is normal or how to handle it for the best. Perhaps finding a good, local puppy class would help you? The decent ones will help you work through all the normal puppy problems as well as help you train sits, stays, loose lead training etc.
Puppies are hard work (pp have said) and this is not the hardest part. They go through phases and, for many, the adolescent phase is harder than this one. Having someone local to help you train etc could be a support for you both...
I did the yelping with my puppy when he was nippy and it worked well. He looked quite shocked when I did it.
That all sounds very normal. Yelping didn’t work for our terrier - it just made him more excited. The thing that worked best was to carry a tug toy when he was feeling bitey, and redirect him to that.