Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Labrador Retriever – Training your puppy to stop biting and nipping

You have brought your new Labrador Retriever puppy home and all is well, except for the occasional biting from your pup. Sure the biting hardly ever causes serious harm or injury, but by ignoring this problem and believing your Labrador will grow out of it, you are risking the chance that a serious injury could occur as your Lab puppy reaches adulthood. If your Labrador puppy does have a habit of biting, nipping, or “mouthing” you or your loved ones, try some or all of the following to help correct its behavior.

1. Teach your Labrador Retriever puppy that biting hurts. When he does bite, let out a sharp “no” or “ouch” while maintaining eye contact with him. It will teach him that his play is to rough, and you will not continue to play until he is gentler.

2. Close Your Mouth – gently hold your Labrador Retriever’s mouth shut while stating “no”.

3. Time Out – while maintaining eye contact with your pup, state “no”, or “ouch”, and then get up and move away, stopping interaction with your Labrador. You can also place him in his crate, if you do use one for training. By walking away, or placing him in his crate, you teach him that he will lose his playmate if he continues to nip and bite.

4. Rough Housing – Do you let your Labrador puppy grab your hands in its mouth while playing? Then when he bites your hand to hard, you scold him and state “no”. You’re encouraging him one minute and scolding him the next. What your doing is completely confusing your poor little Labrador puppy.

5. Teach your Lab pup the “off” command.

Helpful Tips:

Make sure your Labrador puppy gets plenty of play time and exercise daily. These are great distractions and may help reduce your puppies biting.

Be consistent with whatever methods you use to help break the nipping and biting habit. Make sure family members are consistent also.

Have plenty of chew toys for your Labrador puppy.

Always reinforce your Labs good behavior. Whenever he plays nicely or licks you without biting and nipping, shower him with love and praise.

Watch the tone of your voice with the “no” and “ouch” commands. They should always be sharp and to the point.

A Word of Caution:

If you have small young children, never leave your Labrador Retriever puppy alone with them until he has learned biting and nipping are unacceptable.

Games like tug-of-war and rough housing encourage your Labrador puppy to bite. Waiting until he is fully trained in the “off” command until introducing these games.

If for some reason your Lab puppy becomes more aggressive when he bites, or your training methods don’t seem to be working, seek help from your veterinarian or professional trainer.

Apply one or more of the above training procedures, be consistent with your training, and shower your Labrador Retriever puppy with praise for doing good, and you’ll be on your way to nipping your Labradors biting habit in the bud.

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Anonymous,  February 03, 2011 12:55 AM  

thnx a loads...will try this

PattyC June 28, 2011 10:37 PM  

Will try this as well, and have been for about 2 weeks now, not much improvement. How long does it usually take for them to "get it" Mine is 12 weeks old.

Fay June 30, 2011 7:55 PM  

So are longer than others Patty, it's hard to tell. Be persistent and have patience and love.

CasaTrevino July 05, 2011 7:34 PM  

We just bought our puppy and her biting is really out of control. We have other dogs and have gone through the biting stage but Lucy takes the cake. She has attempted biting and chewing on our headboard to the fireplace. Yes.. a fireplace made of stone. We need help. She is 10 weeks old. I am trying to crate train her and all she does is yelp and cry for hours on end. I work from home and its becoming wuite disturbing. She continues to cry even with breaks every hour or so.

Sheila said,  August 02, 2011 9:24 PM  

Oh, boy does this sound familiar....I think my 10 week old female Lab puppy is possessed..never had a Lab puppy and really not sure what to do next. We have done all the things suggested, no stopping. She acts like a lunatic for about 30 minutes and then is the most loving gentle girl. Our arms and legs look like we have been in combat...she is attending puppy school and is the star of the class. stops biting when told by the trainer..I don't get it. Soon I will need a blood transfusion....and I love her...lol

Claire,  August 23, 2011 12:51 PM  

Our little girl is 15 weeks. She definitely nips and bites lots and you just have to be patient and consistent. She has improved but it doesn't happen overnight. It is something they naturally do with their littermates and other pups so consistency is key. I always say "no!" and get up and walk away any time she is nipping. Or even having a toy in front of her while I am petting her so I can replace my hands with that if she gets playful and mouthy. As for the crate training she used to cry and cry and whine and bark when we put her in there, and I got so upset thinking she would never like her crate. We gated off an area with her crate inside it and would let her play with her toys, eat in there etc. and then sometimes she would just wander into her crate by herself and lay down when she was tired. Then we started putting her favorite treat into the crate and making her wait before she could go get it, so the crate seemed like a reward. Now we hold up a treat and she jumps into her crate to wait for it and LOVES her kennel. try as much as you can to see what works but just don't give up! Be patient and calm so she won't get more upset and associate the crate with negative vibes.

Fay August 24, 2011 11:35 AM  

Hi Claire, thanks for the great advice, it's appreciated. Hopefully it will be able to help the many other Labrador Retriever owners who are having the same problem.

Thanks again!!


jenny lee,  September 03, 2011 12:13 PM  

Thanks a lot for a great advice!
I was really worried about my dog bexause he bites so hard. He is 8weeks old.
Our family was getting tired of teaching and educating him because when we say no! and gently hold his mouth, he really gets mad and tries to attack us and he is trying to take our hand off from his mouth. . . And we are worried that his chin might be injured if we hold it strongly. When he runs away, he starts bitjng our arm, back and even face. What should we do?

Anonymous,  September 17, 2011 10:52 PM  

Oh my - Sheila, your lab and mine must be related. Possessed is the perfect description. Luna (not really short for Lunatic, but it does suit my black lab puppy - 5 months old) acts like Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde - 99% of the time she too is sweet as she can be and then she will turn on a dime for a brief period of time - running around like she is possessed and if I am in close proximity she will want to bite on me. I have to say Luna has improved as she has gotten a little older, but she still has those moments daily. At times she reaches for my hand or arm with her mouth and doesn't just try to "chew" she bites with a low growl as if she wants to inflict some pain...and again, within a few minutes she is back to her sweet self. Nothing I have tried actually stops her from doing it again. My trainer is also able to stop her in her tracks. I think I just don't sound stern enough no matter how hard I try. She is now 40 lbs, and I am 105 lbs, so I am a little concerned that she may continue having her Mr. Hyde moments when she is almost my size. If anyone has any other suggestions I am all ears.

Anonymous,  October 22, 2011 2:56 PM  

i have been doing that and it is starting to work we just started doing it the other day ... he is soo smart thanx :) i (L) <3 my puppy :)

Anonymous,  October 23, 2011 7:09 AM  

My puppy Milo is 12 weeks old. With most things he is brilliant, he sleeps all night in the crate with no crying. Knows to do his business in the garden, he hasn't destroyed any furniture YET and he knows all of his basic commands. Our only problem is he biting. My boyfriend and I are covered in cuts and bruises where he has attacked our hands, arms, legs, ears. He doesn't even have any worries about going for the face. He hurts really bad and has brought me to tears. We have tried replacing with a toy, he gets bored after 10 seconds and returns to the hand. We have left the room, he follows attached to your trouser leg, we have pulled him by his scruff and held his head on the floor gently and said NO, he wriggles out, we have even tried squirting his face with water which he now laps up. The loud screech he seems to think is hilarious and just comes back even more determined to pounce. We love him so much already as he is awesome 95% of the time. We are just concerned that should he do this to a child it would be game over and we would have to put him to sleep. Please help!!!

Anonymous,  January 25, 2012 1:04 PM  

If he is that bad at bitting you need to pop him and tell him no at the same time that need to stop asap i just got a 6week old female and she was doing that and i pop her and toled her no a few time and now she has stoped doing it i have a one year old son and they play just fine now but you have to make him know its wrong and pop him dont tap him you have to put a big NO!!!! in there as well hope it helps you out.

Toni,  February 14, 2012 5:06 PM  

would like to thank everyone for their advice, i no i WILL be trying this as we have a 8wk old bitch named bella, havent even had her 2 days and she has nipped my 6year old daughter tonight and now my daughter is petrified of her, we put bella in crate as soon as she done it after a massive 'NO' and explained to daughter that she is just a pup and thats what pups do, but the daughter came back with i want her to go as i dont want her to do it again and hurt me more... Good Luck everyone x

Kim,  February 15, 2012 5:54 PM  

Not complaining too much....have a 13 week old male lab. Absolutely adorable,lovable and very affectionate...house trained,sitting and laying down on command....but also keeps nipping my 8yr old daughter who isnt frightened of him and gives him a stern NO when he does it. He also trys his luck with myself, but doesnt actually bite or nip me,he sort of pretends too....but doesnt make contact. Have given him plenty of No's. We have had him for a month. Started trying to bite my slippers but again kept saying no....and seems to have got the message now, but my partner is having the biggest challenge, he bites quite nasty when playing with him....and even saying "no" he just does not give in and keeps going back for more!Will keep persisting with him, but know how all the lab pup owners feel, can get very frustrating sometimes. our pups name is Storm....and just love him to bits, with his miner faults at the mo, wouldnt be without him

Anonymous,  March 03, 2012 10:57 AM  

All this sounds so familiar I'm so glad its not just us in this situation! I hav a 4 mth yellow lab, charlie, who we absolutely Love to bits BUT he will not stop biting the whole family! I hav an 8 yr old who was very wary of dogs thats why we decided to get a lab lol, he wont go near charlie unless he's kitted out in hard shoes + a thick coat (this is inside the hse) + my 2 yr old who is covered in cuts + v forgiving just wants to play + pet him but cant understand why he's always hurting her. Weve been consistant with our commands + hav tried all the above suggestions but with no joy. So now he spends most of the day in kitchen with safety gate on + Im worried he will become unsocialized with the family!

Anonymous,  March 14, 2012 11:36 PM  

A good slap on the nose or pinching the nose while saying no works all the time. A dog needs to know his owner. A command is not a option. It must be followed. Im not saying to beat your dog. Just smack it hard enough foe it to respond. If they dont respond do it harder. If that dobt work pinch the nose or ears. I have raised many dogs and always used this method along with positive reinforcement. Spanking your dog will not make them not love u either. It teaches respect the master

Anonymous,  March 27, 2012 10:02 PM  

thank you so much.

Alicia Vazquez April 17, 2012 7:16 PM  

Thanks so much I will try. We have a 6 month old lab. We love and enjoy her, but the biting is getting frustrating because we can't even pet her. My 8 year old loves her but I am getting worried that she will bite her harder. She does seem to bite her more than my husband and me. He plays rough with her sometimes I will ask him to stop.

Anonymous,  April 21, 2012 9:17 AM  

Yep, we've been experiencing the same thing with our 11-week old.

We've tried all of the above, when we hold her muzzle shut it seems like it just fires her up more. Ignoring DOES NOT work, she just continues to gnaw on our ankles, etc.

...and forget the "let your hand, arm, whatever go limp - she didn't remotely loosen her grip!

So last night I was so frustrated that I tried the dog training standby from my youth, the rolled up newspaper. Before everyone gasps in horror, I have no intention of beating the dog - I simply tapped her on the nose and said "no"

It is still helping today just showing it to her and saying 'no'. She is not afraid or cowering from it, but it definitely got her attention.

She does like her nylabone, but that doesn't distract her too well when she's bent on chewing us

Fay April 22, 2012 8:33 PM  

Gasp in horror :)

Thanks for your comment anonymous (4/21/12). Your not the first to use this method and won't be the last.

Anonymous,  July 01, 2012 9:23 PM  

Our lab puppy is 12 wks old, named Valentine. She is also a biter. We have tried many suggestions, but nothing seems to help. My son tries to play with her, but she comes at him with her mouth wide open to bite him. We have told her NO loudly, and put her in time-out. Anyone have any other suggestions?

Anonymous,  July 16, 2012 10:43 PM  

Just wanted to say thanks to everyone for the comments, it's really helped me, i was badly bitten by our dog last year and ended up in the hospital and had to put him down, finally ready for a pup we got a 6 week old black lab, now a week later what i felt was excessive biting seems mild. After reading everything here I'm very optimistic about our pup. Thanks again!

Anonymous,  July 17, 2012 8:25 AM  

It is so comforting to know that others are having the same issues. I thought we had the odd Lab that bit since they are supposed to be such great family dogs. Piper is 12 weeks old is definitely a biter. She has improved over the past few weeks. I spent a few days one week barracaded on the couch crying as my arms and legs could not take one more battle wound. We have started keeping her leash on in the house and we give her a tug when she goes to bite. It helps. She still cannot let a pant leg or pair of socks walk by without attacking. Thank goodness it's summer!

Anonymous,  July 18, 2012 12:58 AM  

My family lost our twelve year old lab in January. We got a 8 week lab mix three weeks ago and the biting is frustrating. It is amazing how crazy lab puppies are, but with consistent training they will eventually turn into a loyal blessing you can't imagine life without. It seems some labs show love by chewing on you, They are smart with consistent training the nipping will go away. Enjoy.

Anonymous,  July 24, 2012 9:24 AM  

Have tried it for weeks with absolutely no improvement (possibly worse). I am not sure that it will ever work. The lab puppy seems to be bull headed and gets in moods where he tries to destroy everything you have told him not to bite. Very frustrating and discouraging. I have never had a dog like this in my entire life.

Anonymous,  August 04, 2012 7:35 AM  

We have a 12 week old black lab with razor sharp teeth and the odd loose wire upstairs. Lovely boy, but the mouth is a worry. We have three young kids and bought a lab for the family-friendly temrement, but haven't seen much of it yet. Pants, socks, shoes, feet, hands, sleeves, everything, all the time. He has plenty of human company and has started puppy school with a positive reinforcement focus, which feels like only half the answer to me. I don't mind being firm, but it takes an awful lot to shift his attention. The newspaper is looking good, but it'll have to be rolled up, because he shreds a normal newspaper if it catches his attention :) he is diablo dog at the moment.

Anonymous,  August 14, 2012 5:26 AM  

i have bought a labrador puppy and he is 2.5 months old. he always wants to bite n chew.. he just sits newhere near the furniture n bites the corner part.. even when we touch him, he keeps on biting our fingers. what shall we do? is this the normal behaviour?

Anonymous,  September 11, 2012 8:45 AM  

Glad we found this thread... I grew up with labs and golden retrievers but I think I forgot how insane they are as puppies as we have a 14-week-old lab now! Yowch!...but I know they pretty much all bite, to a greater or lesser extent. They will, with consistency eventually stop and be great but it can take quite a while. one thing to watch out for is if they're growling or biting aggressively though rather than 'just playing'- you might want to seek help on that behaviour...

I just have to try hard not to wish time away for her to grow up cos she's so darn cute! The other advice I have is exhaust them as much as you can, takes a bit of the sting out of them... Good luck and thanks to everyone else reminding me here we're certainly not alone!

Anonymous,  September 18, 2012 3:47 PM  

im have a 17 week black lab he is pretty good most of the time like the rest of them he is very clever and was toilet trained within the first few weeks of us getting him and he also knows the sit comand and a few others but when he goes hyper my god he runs laps around the house up and down on and off the sofas and jumps up to bite me and my 11 year old daughter and no matter what i do it just makes him worse ive smacked his nose and shouted no and he just pulls his top lip back and goes for me again no matter what i do he will not stop until he decides to and then as quickly as it started after a few mins its over and he is crashed out on the floor snoring his head off without a care in the world. It scares me because he has bitten my daughter a couple of times when she has been on the floor with him and he has also run out infront of her in the garden jumping up bitting at her but staying infront of her so she cant get in the house where i am. He is so lovely in every other way but i am getting scared that we will have to get rid of him if this carries on as im scared he is going to really hurt someone.Please help me we all love him so much and it would break my heart to give him up.

Percy December 31, 2012 5:39 AM  

I have a female lab of 3 months and she is biting us like any thing…When I take her to bed she sleeps and aint bite. When we take her out for poopoo, she aint do, but as she reaches home, she does it. But she understands me well and I love her so much. When I call her name, she lad on me like a rocket but she bites alot…..
Can any one tell me its a natural behaviour or she is becomin the worst bitch in the world…..BUt I still love her and want to make her obedient….

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