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Hey all,

I have a 5 month old standard poodle puppy, she is beautiful and has been really good for many weeks now. We’ve made good progress with her training and are attending weekly sessions but we are struggling with her biting. We tend to find she will be absolutely fine and then she gets a wild look in her eye and all she wants to do is bite me hard. It punctures the skin and can bleed sometimes too. When I walk her she’ll run at me, jump and bite my arm hard too. I do what I’ve been advised and completely ignore her but the minute I walk again she’ll just start again. She did this when she was young stopped for a good month but has just started doing it again, the issue is she’s quite big now so it hurts! She’s also not listening to me as much as she used to, she used to sit, down, stay on command now she will try to avoid doing it.
We take her on two walks a day for 20 minutes each, play with her, train her, give her attention so I feel it isn’t an exercise problem. Does anyone have any advice, is this normal behaviour at her age?
 

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This isn't something I've experienced but Noodle is only 6 months old so who knows what could happen in adolescence! Do you make any noise when she bites you (e.g. a squeal or shout) so that she knows that's why you're ignoring her, and do it every single time she bites? If you do and she still bites, I would probably bring it up with her trainer and maybe see if you can arrange a 1-1 session for her, because it must be horrible for you to get bitten all the time with no warning.

For her training, I think that's normal at this age - I would just keep going using high-value treats (something she really loves like chicken or cheese) and keep the sessions nice and short :)
 

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I shove a stuffed animal or a tennis ball in Galen's mouth when he gets that wild look in his eye. It helps tremendously with leash chewing and nipping at my sleeve. He can't nip when his mouth is full of something else. Plus the neighbors think its adorable to see the little black dog trotting along with his matching red leash, collar, and ball.
 

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You’ve described my 5 month old mini poodle’s behaviour. I hope her ´ ankle biting’ is age related and resolves as she matures. All tips and advise are welcome. Perhaps more exercise may help. I enjoy a tired puppy 🐶
 

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Puppies, like small children , sometimes dont know whrn to quit or have the self control to quit. I did the ignore thing, or left the room, and if that didnt work, settled her down for a snuggle or a nap in her crate. After a nap - she was back to being my nice puppy again.Tired is good, but overtired can be bitey. I also worked on self conteol with play - if i saw that gleam in the eye, switching to asking for a sit or a down for a second or two before continujng play. If she wouldnt or couldnt sit, i knew it was time to stop playing, as she was way too wound up.
 

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What I have found worked for me with dogs has been the dramatic yelp. Dogs correct each other by yelping if one plays too rough, so they can learn the same way that any teeth on a person hurts. Whether it is accidental during tug, or on purpose, and if it is a hard bite, or the teeth hardly touch me, I always dramatically yell and act like it hurt a lot.
 

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And now I am going to say the dramatic yelp ABSOLUTELY DID NOT work for any of our three current dogs. It made Lily distinctly more wild and more bitey. This is probably teething related/adolescent insanity stuff. I did not give Javelin a chance to get to the point where he was full on whale eyed and bitey. He got time outs. I have taught all my dogs it is okay to gently mouth and to accept having my hands in their mouths as long as the mouths were soft (helps when giving pills).

OP if your pup enjoys her walks but then gets too charged up just take her home asap if she bites you. Use returning like a time out and just put her on a quick sit or down and do some work on basic manners and obedience to get a reset then start the walk again. Repeat as many times as needed. When my crazy girl got crazy on walks we turned around and went home, rest and tried again. There were many months where we went no further than the far side of the next door neighbor's house (over and over). I am sure the whole neighborhood thought I was a crack pot, but we have very civilized walks for everyone now and have had that for years. But if anyone acts up we still go home right away.
 

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I think, for dogs, that walks on leash are better mental stimulation than physical. Rather like walking around a museum is for people. Like taking a small child to a museum, I think taking a puppy on a leashed walk can overstimulate them and trigger their worst behavior. That's not to say you shouldn't take your puppy on walks or take your child to museums; the education is a very good thing. However, sometimes the little one just isn't in the right mood to walk around quietly being good. They need to go play ball in the park or take a nap instead.

As for the dramatic yelp, my dogs can tell when I'm lying. Rolling around yowling like a soccer player trying to get the ref to call a penalty gets me nowhere. However, I do have a reflex to squawk and push something away if it hurts or startles me. All of my dogs have triggered this reflex at some point. They know I mean business when it happens.
 

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Really good advice here.

Phony yelping sent Peggy through the roof with excitement. I had better luck ALWAYS having a toy within reach to stick in her mouth. If she spit it out, I tried a different one, wiggling it and making it more interesting than me.

I also spent lots of time with her in her indoor exercise pen. That way I could calmly and efficiently remove myself if she needed a moment to settle.

As for exercise, walks are mentally taxing, which is good. You want to provide that mental stimulation. But do make sure your puppy has freedom to do some daily outdoor zoomies, too.

Also important is short supervised sessions of puppy playtime. Is your puppy getting that? Bite inhibition is learned very young, but it should be regularly practised, especially through adolescence, which you're now close to entering. Puppies are very good at reminding each other to be polite, especially with humans nearby to enforce regular 5-second timeouts.

I strongly recommend Ian Dunbar for all stages of puppy raising:


Also available online for free:



He discusses biting in-depth, but I believe it's important to address it in the context of his greater methodology. Cherry picking techniques can be counter-productive.
 

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Bobby took quite a long time to stop the crazy biting behavior but thank goodness he’s pretty much past that. He was a terrible biter as a pup and young dog and I was very concerned. He has grown up so much though. So what I offer you is encouragement and the hope that it really does get better but with that being said, keep teaching appropriate mouth behavior. It will probably ebb and flow for awhile but know it will get better with consistent training.

The squealing yelling thing never worked for us either. Like others have said, giving appropriate things to bite and mouth is what worked for us. We had toys to shove in his mouth everywhere! I also encouraged him to carry stuff on his walks. That helped quite a bit. Also, upping the training on walks helped us. Bobby couldn’t sit and do his jumping bites at the same time. Turning around and standing like a tree and saying nothing was also a good strategy, especially when he would totally lose himself racing around the yard and doing his flying leaps at us. Increase in biting behavior was definitely our signal that he needed burn off energy or that he was overtired. Ah, yes, the memories of the evening witching
hour....😉😳

Hang in there! You will get through this. I read a really good book on gun dogs and retrievers awhile back ago, can’t remember the title but it really encouraged me because there was a whole section on mouthiness because it is a common issue with some of these dogs and this book definitely included standard poodles. It didn’t make the problem go away for us but it was SO encouraging to read that prolonged mouthiness is normal behavior for some dogs and that it may take a bit longer and more work on our part for that behavior to get better.
 
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