Dog Advice Please

    Can anyone offer me some advice please as I don't have dogs and don't have any good advice? A very good friend who has always had labs has a new lab puppy about 16 weeks old - he bites all the time but not just puppy playing - much more aggressive and he has taken to lunging at her kids (aged 10 and 14) and biting them to the extent the family are starting to get nervous around him. They have had him for 7 weeks and it is getting gradually worse. He doesn't like to play and is quite a loner unless biting. The owner said this was the second litter and there was a biter in the first and vet said this is probably genetic and if so behavioral therapy won't work. It has got so bad she is now thinking of taking him back - would she be entitled to a refund? Thank you very any advice


    Hi, I thought on reading your post initially that this was typical puppy behaviour, but if they are nervous around the pup this will make him worse. Dogs need to learn their place in the pack, in a family with children it's especially important the he learns the he's bottom of the pecking order. He thinks he's leader of the pack and no one is teaching him otherwise. I think he would be better with an experienced lab handler, not necessarily permanently, but certainly to break his bad habits. If that's not possible then definitely dog training classes.

    Bite it back

    Is it a black lab? Apparently they can be a bit temperament.

    Original Poster

    Hi Booky. The adult is brilliant with him and has trained 2 labs before him - dog knows she boss. His nips are breaking the skin to the extent the grandad had to see a doctor. This morning when I saw her he had lunged with such force that she had a bruise starting up on the leg. I have only had little dogs so can't really help advise.

    This is actually typical puppy behaviour. It helps if you think of it as nipping rather than biting. Like most babies they explore the world with their mouth and, as happens with most puppies, they are taken too early from their litter mates who would have taught them the boundaries. It is now down to the new family to teach them the boundaries because as the puppy gets bigger and stronger the nipping gets harder.

    In the litter if the puppy nipped the litter mates they would yelp letting the puppy know it hurts and this is the boundary. As weird as it sounds if the adults and children yelp when the puppy nips it will teach him the same way.

    As the puppy is bigger the kids will also need to be involved in the training as the same approach has to come from everyone. The puppy has learnt that he gets attention when lunging, negative attention is still attention, and this needs to be addressed. If he does this the person he is lunging at needs to go quiet, avoid eye contact, turn away and cross their arms, giving no attention at all and walk away if possible. Once the puppy is calm he may then be stroked, calmly and told he is a good boy. If he lunges again the same avoidance behaviour needs to be applied. Repetition and consistency is the key. Running away and screaming will only excite him more and cause him to jump up, nip etc again, which is why the kids need to be involved in the training as well as they are more likely to do this.

    If he is excitable when they come in from outside ignoring him until he calms down will also help and teach him he is at the bottom of the pack. No alpha dog ever greeted a subordinate until he is ready and certainly not straight away.

    To get him to play in a more positive way, high pitched excited voices and gestures whilst playing with a dog toy, specifically for him, should get him interested with lots of praise when he joins in or even shows an interest and as always, and this can't be stressed enough, puppy classes, especially with a working dog as they need lots of direction and stimulation.

    I know you are not able to exercise him physically to the full potential yet as his bones are still developing but lots of mental stimulation games will help tire him out and stop him from being bored, and finding entertainment elsewhere. Games such as finding scattered food in the garden hidden under flowerpots etc or a Kong as labs are usually more food orientated rather than toy orientated, especially if they are not interesting him.

    I do hope this helps and, whilst I'm not a vet, I have had lots of experience with training dogs & and have never heard of 'biting' as being genetic.

    I have 3 medium sized dogs, all of them started biting as puppies but it was just normal puppy playing, but whenever I thought they were being too rough I acted like they had really hurt me which turned them into a protection mode, and they would then sniff my hand and act as if they were sorry. There was only one instance of them breaking the skin and that was my fault as I gave one of my dogs a chew and stupidly shoved my index finger along the side of it, I learned fairly quickly not to do that again!

    Training should work, all dogs are trainable, but if the family are nervous around him it's only going to make it worse, he needs a strong leader who will show him his behaviour is unacceptable. The whole family need to be involved in the training though, you can't have a dog who only listens to one person as you are creating a potentially dangerous situation whenever that control is gone. You'd be reinforcing a leader-dog-everyone else hierarchy rather than family/friends-dog. Not that the dog at the bottom of the hierarchy is worthless, I'm not saying that, but in terms of structure the dog needs to obey all members of the family, and anyone else who is introduced to them as 'trusted'/friendly- postman, friends, other people in the park etc etc.

    He's still young so you have time but you really need to start stoping this behaviour now. Any respectable dog breeder would help you out, or at worst take him back and rehome him with someone more suitable, all of the good ones I've known would have as they don't want their animals mistreated or causing people injuries.…htm

    Have a read of this article, very useful information that makes sense!

    As above really. Training is key here plus whoever does the training needs to be strong and show no fear!

    yeah return it to the shop as its not fit for purpose

    Lovely to see another example of parents allowing aggressive dogs to be around children.... people need to take some responsibility as a parent in preventing any risk to their own children and others aswell


    Lovely to see another example of parents allowing aggressive dogs to be … Lovely to see another example of parents allowing aggressive dogs to be around children.... people need to take some responsibility as a parent in preventing any risk to their own children and others aswell

    Any dog has the potential to be aggressive, they are pack animals. They need to feel safe and have confidence in the people around them and pups need to learn how to behave. I think having a dog in the family is an important way for children to learn responsibility, to get exercise and to have just plain fun. I've had dogs almost my entire life and would never be without one, yet I would never leave a child unsupervised with any dog.

    personally, i would say that if the own family doesn't feel comfortable with it, they should try to return it to whence it came. if they wont have it back, there's plenty of people on gumtree who will buy it, although they should be honest about the reason they are selling it on of course. there's plenty of loving good natured dogs out there that need a home, why put up with an overly aggressive one? if they wait till it 'grows out of it' it may be harder to sell on, as most people want puppies.

    Edited by: "fuhu78888" 6th Jul 2014

    dogs are like kids.... the more you pander to 'em the worst they are, just look at today's yoof!.... beat it with a stick, eventually it will associate biting with pain ;).... yes, I have kids and had dogs..... you can dump dogs


    Lovely to see another example of parents allowing aggressive dogs to be … Lovely to see another example of parents allowing aggressive dogs to be around children.... people need to take some responsibility as a parent in preventing any risk to their own children and others as well

    It's a much bigger problem with scummy parents letting their thug children out in public to attack other people. Perhaps we should segregate them before worrying about dogs.(_;)

    one word...'discipline'

    dogs are no different to kids, you need to teach them the correct way to behave from an early age, otherwise they end up out of control and then you have a big problem on your hands

    Has it been going to a good reputable puppy training class since it was vaccinated? Proper training and socialisation is key here, they can't just want to return it because they aren't training it properly.
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