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He's growing fast, I'm getting nervous

ShiroPower
June 6th, 2008, 04:48 PM
Hello, all.

This is my first post, and I have some problems. We've got a 13 week old Lab/ Great Pyrenees cross. We got him at 8 weeks 3 days old. He can be a lovely dog when he wants to be, the rest of the time- I admit it, I don't like him very much. I'm not sure what we're doing wrong. My husband and I had dogs growing up, we read up on dog training and handling and we watch Dog Whisperer and thought we knew what we were doing.

Our biggest problem is that he bites- a LOT. When he's hyper, he bites. When he's playful, he bites. Overtired, he bites. Frustrated, he bites. I know puppy chewing and chasing pant legs and shoe laces, but this is different. He lunges at your hands, face, and neck. We redirect to a toy and he goes for our hands faces. We try to get him of the couch or bring him in after play time, put a leash on him, whatever- and he goes into a temper tantrum of growling and biting like a fiend. I hate days off work because by the end of it I look like I tangled with a feral cat. We did work a bit on bite inhibition but we were making no progress, and no we're desperate to have him not bite us at all, period, because he has no concept that it hurts us doesn't care if it does.

We've tried howling 'ouch' and moving away like he's offended us, a firm "no," redirection, growling at him, stomping, putting him in time-out in the kitchen. We're really consistent with putting him in the kitchen because he gets to the point where he draws blood if you don't have him stop almost instantly, so we pick him up and leave him baby-gated in the kitchen until he settles down a bit. When he gets to violent that we can't go near him to move him, or if he's gotten onto my lap to bite my face, I've pushed him off HARD and swatted his nose to keep him away from me. I've had scratches around my eyes and he's bitten my lips and nose a few times hard enough to make me bleed.

He's only 13 weeks and he's going to get much, much bigger.

The other problem is that 2 days after we picked him up, I found out I was pregnant and due the end of November. I am desperate to fix this now because my emotions and moods are out of control and I'm at the point where I don't even like him. We've called a few different training places but they have no openings for the next month or so.

What do I do?

want4rain
June 6th, 2008, 05:04 PM
super bitey dogs, i dont know but pregnant women i DO!!

take a deep breath, keep your hands and face and so on away from him. maybe if you can stand it, put bitter apple on your hands. that should keep his mouth off of them. i know it doesnt help the BITING but it may give you an edge. someone somewhere must have taught him biting was funny to people. hopefully someone who knows more about this will peek in here.

hang in there!! keep your face away from him. maybe you shoudl just interact through walks for a while?? or let your husband deal with him??

-ashley

Chaser
June 6th, 2008, 06:00 PM
I know there are senior members who will have better advice than me, but my dog was quite bad for this when he was tiny. I found with him that the more I yelped or corrected him the more he would bite. A vet told me to tap him on the nose and say "No bite" - I'm surprised I didn't lose my finger that way.

What I found helped most was ignoring him (I mean not looking at him, talking to him, nothing) then piling on the praise and pets as soon as he was gentle and calm. As soon as he got riled up and snappy I would ignore him again. It didn't take long at all for him to learn he didn't like being completely and utterly ignored. Socialization also helped - as soon as he met dogs that bit him back, he quickly learned it wasn't fun.

Those were the only things that worked for him, but it sounds as though you've worked a lot to correct this and it is still a pretty major problem. I know this is a place you will get lots of great advice and I wish you the best of luck with your pup :goodvibes:

DoubleRR
June 6th, 2008, 10:13 PM
I hope you can find someone local to help--you need hands on help fast. In the meantime, do not allow him to bite--if that means a muzzle the entire time he is with you, so be it. You are rapidly losing any desire to own this dog due to this problem, and this can only end badly for the dog.

Also, get a halti or gentle leader halter to prevent bites, and keep him on leash with it in the house when you are with him--you can correct with a leash much faster and more efficiently than trying to push him away [which, by the way, means "play rougher" to a dog]. Get him tired before trying to teach him--long walk, long fetch play session, what ever works.

This pup needs some training both from other dogs and from an experienced trainer--now. He is treating you like a sibling rather than a leader.

LavenderRott
June 7th, 2008, 04:07 AM
First off, he is still a young puppy and puppies bite. Keep a leash on him so that you can correct such behaviours as getting off the couch.

As for biting - get up and walk away. Don't say a word, don't make a big deal out of it, just get up, walk to the otherside of the room and find something interesting to do that doesn't involve the dog.

Find a puppy kindergarten class with an instructor you like. Sit in and watch a class before you sign up. The instructor should be willing to use different methods for different dogs and shouldn't be cruel. If you see the instructor do something that you think is cruel - it is, regardless of all the knowledge one "must" have to be an instructor.

If you are unable to get past the feelings of "I don't like him very much" or you find that you resent him, please contact a Pyrenese rescue about rehoming him. While many feel that a dog is a committement for life (and they are) a dog that is resented is often relegated to the back yard and isn't allowed to participate in daily family life. Pyrs are not great family dogs but they are great dogs for people who understand them.

ShiroPower
June 7th, 2008, 06:57 PM
While it's true that I don't like him very much, I honestly don't really like anyone very much these days. Everyone sets my teeth on edge, and my emotions are so whacked right now that when I spilled half a glass of juice in the kitchen I stood there sobbing like my best friend had died. It's ridiculous. So whether or not I like him at this point, what I like has very little bearing on the matter until my emotions can at least pretend to make sense.

We took Shiro to my MIL's house today, and they have a giant fenced back yard- and I mean giant- and he's never been there before. They have tons of toys and interesting smells so he spent a few hours tearing around like a wild thing. Once home, we kept him on a leash and corrected him with it whenever he did anything nasty (worst is on the couch- try to get him off the couch and he bites whatever part of you is most accessible) and its already working better, he's calmer and at least hesitates a few seconds before making a leap for the couch, looking at us first to see if we're watching. Right now he's sleeping in his crate.

He plays extensively with other dogs. We have 2 neighbours, one with a 2 yr old golden and another with a 9 month old German Shepherd and he plays with them every day, usually the golden in the morning and the shepherd in the afternoon/ evening so he's getting a lot of socialization with very well behaved dogs, and he plays really well with them both.

We got a dog initially because we've both always had dogs in the home and wanted a family pet, and a strictly indoor dog, that would force us out rain or shine, that we could run around the park with, play fetch with, and so on. We know a dog is a life long commitment and are totally okay with that- we do NOT believe in "outdoor dogs" and agreed that if we did get a dog, this dog was a permanent addition no matter what. But whenever he bites me I just feel this horrible panicky feeling that if we don't fix this RIGHT NOW then we'll be in big trouble pretty soon. I'm feel a lot of pressure to have the 'perfect dog' so that all of my family and friends don't sit there and tsk tsk and tell us "babies and dogs never mix, we told you to get rid of the dog, and see how right we were?"

I hate it when people can say "I told you so" and every time he misbehaves I feel like a complete moron for ever thinking I could do this.

But on the other hand, I can't believe anything I feel these days because I blow everything miles out of proportion. I just don't know any more. If keeping him on a leash and making him run around makes him this much better in such a short period of time, then maybe I'm just making a big deal out of nothing. But I have no idea, no idea at all.

LavenderRott
June 7th, 2008, 07:34 PM
Just remember - this is a dog, not a cup of spilled milk. You can clean up a spill quickasthat but you have to teach a pup and that takes longer. At 13 weeks, this pup is about where your baby will be at 1 year old. The difference is (and it sure is a big one!) your dog doesn't speak human and never, ever will. Repitition and praise is how he is going to learn. And yes, he probably will be the "perfect" dog - when he is a DOG and not a puppy. :D

Anyone who tells you that dogs and kids don't mix is a fool. My son's best friend for the first 8 years of his life was a lovely female rottweiler. He used her as a step stool, sat on her when the couch was full, and she slept on the end of his bed at night. I am sure that many members here have similar stories.

Find a puppy training class. You will learn a ton, you will teach your dog and you will get out of the house. :D

want4rain
June 7th, 2008, 09:55 PM
my last pregnancy was like that, super sensitive about everything and it didnt end (for me) when i delivered. turns out it was a thyroid problem. if you are having other issues like hairloss or itchy skin, itchy, grainy eyes, sleeping problems.... talk to your doctor and insist on a blood panel.

as for feeling sensitive, just cry it out. i think a puppy is too young to really sense pregnancy and too young to tell normal behavior from unusual but my cats really picked up on it. as a matter of fact Hunter started bathing me a few months into it... my son is 2yo now and Hunter still bathes me. :)

anyways, im blathering, keep your chin up, any sort of issues you can work through just fine!!! look at it this way, even if you delivered RIGHT NOW you would still be able to get through your puppies teen/trouble years before the baby is big enough to really torment him... thats a good thing!! post 'teen' dogs cope better with pesty babies pokes in the ears. :) hey and if you mess up, thats ok too. you, your partner, and your dog are a team. what ever little tiny mistakes you make now can be fixed later.... which doesnt mean make intentional mistakes NOW but that if you do, its not worth panicking about. there is a solution.

have you tried the NILIF?? nothing in life is free method. worked great for us!! really taught Mister that we are bosses, he is submissive to us, the kids and th cats. it suits him well. he knows what to do and all that jazz but gets a little upset when we arent consistent.... i didnt realize for awhile there that i would goto the bathroom before leaving the house... he caught on to the key gathering and potty break for mom and would meet me at the kennel before i even had to ask. :) he woudl be sooo proud of himself!!

(hey and keep us posted on your pregnancy!!!)

-ash

Droverdog
June 8th, 2008, 08:25 AM
Congratulations on your pregnancy!:stork-baby:
So you have a puppy that's a little too spunky?
The members here have given you some good advice and you sound like a smart lady. I don't see you having too many problems rearing a puppy you can enjoy for life.
To give you a bit more information, I'm directing you to an article called The Alpha Factor. http://www.canismajor.com/dog/alpha1.html
Take a moment to go through it. I'm sure it will help.
Remember, we're all here for you.:pawprint:

duttypaws
June 8th, 2008, 09:55 AM
first congrats on the pregnancy...

second... breathe.... puppies are puppies...

and third... my parents got our first dog when I was 6 weeks old.... he was my best friend until I was 16 so all those people who tell you they dont mix.... send them here ... we'll sort them out! :laughing:

ShiroPower
June 8th, 2008, 03:58 PM
Drover, the link you sent me was helpful and I realized some of the places I'm screwing up- I back off when he growls so he gets what he wants, and some things I read about but stopped doing soon after we got him home - like I read about restraining the puppy gently so that he doesn't fight (good for vet visits, nail trims, etc). We did that the first few days but stopped almost right away.

Want4Rain, my only sleeping problem is that there aren't enough hours in the day for it, lol! But I'll keep an eye out for the things you mentioned, if there was something I could do for my emotions I'm all for it.

I looked up NILF and I can't believe I've never heard of it! Now I'm making him sit or lay down before I'll throw a toy for him, feed him, pet him, go outside- everything.

I also kinda got mad at him and decided I was sick of him deciding all of my things were his things. Now if he tries to bite me instead of backing off I take a step towards him trying to project the idea of "excuse me, those are MY hands and you may NOT touch them!" I'm just trying to "claim" things- the couch, the cat, the chair legs, whatever. Now if he does something bad (this isn't 100%) instead of lunging for me with teeth bared he looks away from me or lays down, which is a huge improvement!

I think I just really needed a pep talk. My husband is getting frustrated and keeps looking at me to fix it (why, I don't know). All of my family and friends are watching me and basically just waiting for me to fail. And I was expecting this to be easy.

Thanks guys for the reassurance. He starts puppy class in 3 weeks, if all goes well, he's on a leash in the house and learning to behave and I feel like my confidence has gone WAY up and I really can do this.

chico2
June 8th, 2008, 04:09 PM
Shiropower,reading all the posts,I can see you are on an emotional roller-coaster,as we often are beeing pregnant.
However to my relief,it seems you are not going to give up easy on this pup,puppy-school etc..is a great idea,
Even coming here should help you a lot,we have some wonderful knowledgable people.
and please don't listen to anyone saying babies and puppies don't mix,babies and puppies are made for each other:stork-baby:

rainbow
June 8th, 2008, 04:30 PM
Glad to hear that you are seeing some improvement with Shiro .....NILIF is a great way to train. :thumbs up The puppy training classes will also be a great benefit to you both.....perhaps maybe your hubby should attend as well. :goodvibes:

Also, welcome to pets.ca and I can't believe that nobody has asked you to post pics of Shiro :eek: .....so pleeeeze post some as I'm sure he is gorgeous. :lovestruck:

happycats
June 8th, 2008, 06:43 PM
I think if they misbehave, more excercise is very helpful.
get him plenty of excercise so he is very tired, then work on his training.

DoubleRR
June 9th, 2008, 09:37 AM
Great news! Proud of you for perservering! Good job! NILF is the best way to go for any dog--glad you are onto it. As for husbands--they always expect us to fix everything. Heck, I even have to literally fix mechanical breakdowns around here,:) Just be ready for the shock of motherhood--your hubby becomes the oldest child and altho he will not admit it, also becomes jealous of the time you spend on baby. You know that support they are supposed to provide? Yeah, well, most think they are by holding down a job and changing a diaper once a month or so. It would be great if hubby would learn dog training so he could take over that while baby is new.

ShiroPower
June 11th, 2008, 12:54 PM
Just wanted to update- We've been working hard and making progress with Shiro. I will get pictures up soon, but we're headed to my parents house for a week (with the pup) and their dial up frustrates me beyond explanation, so I won't do it then.

We took Shiro to my MIL's house, and one of her friends who has 2 great pyrenees and has 7 year old twins was there as well. We didn't meet her dogs, but she mentioned to me raw feeding, which I am now sort of toying with the idea of trying out. She also kept commenting on how great a dog he is, and how we're obviously working on him a lot- he doesn't jump up, he sits to be petted (mostly, at least!), and he was gentleness itself with her 2 kids. He did the standard puppy-chewing with her and didn't bite at all. It was a good visit and I feel more confident that we must be doing something right.

I told DH that he's coming with me for all of the puppy training classes and he agreed, and we had a talk about consistency to make sure we're giving Shiro the same instructions and commands for everything. I would definitely like him to be more responsible for Shiro so after we have the baby I'm not juggling both.

want4rain
June 11th, 2008, 01:38 PM
YAY!!! :lovestruck: sounds like things are looking MUCH better!! im glad things are working out more smoothly now. :cloud9: i cant WAIT for pictures. sounds like you are also showing him who the boss is and effectively drawing the line places. it all down hill from here until he hits his 'teens' a few months down the road. :laughing: then you go through another rough patch where you wonder if youre going to survive, after that things shape up beautifully.

keep us updated on the pup and the bun in the oven!!! :cloud9: i love babies!!

-ashley

chico2
June 11th, 2008, 03:51 PM
Shiro,your last post sounds so much more positive,than your first one,I am sure it will all work,you are doing all the right things.
Your baby will grow up with a pup and she/he will be much better people because of it.

rainbow
June 12th, 2008, 03:03 AM
Your posts are sounding more encouraging all the time. :thumbs up Glad to hear that Shiro is steadily improving and that hubby is on board with the training. :highfive:

Have a good visit with your parents and hope to see pics of Shiro when you get back. :goodvibes: