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oodlypoodly I agree with Mufar that you should look at your pup's life holistically. Good crate training is a remedy for many behavior issues. Often when very experienced people reply in what may seem ways that don't address your most immedicate question or concern the solution of your top of the list question is embedded in the reply that is posted.
 

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I haven't read all of the replies - but just want to offer my support. Those teeth are sharp!
Elmer is just over 4 months old now and the biting is getting better, but isn't totally resolved yet. I found that yelping only served to wind him up and make him come back for more, so I've been removing myself whenever it happens. Sometimes it's just standing up, other times I've hopped into the x-pen... whatever I can do to quickly end the game and ignore him for a few moments. It's slow going, but he seems to get the message. At this point, any intention biting is a sure sign that he's overtired and needs to be put away for a nap. And he's only broken my skin on misjudgments during play.

As for your vet - I wouldn't read too much into it yet. Definitely keep handling feet as much as possible, maybe visit the vet for treats occasionally to build up some positive experiences.
Elmer was in for his last vaccine a couple of weeks ago and he started yelping before the needle came anywhere near him. I was at his head feeding a steady stream of high value treats, but a few changes in the vet approach and Elmer very well may have nipped someone. I've decided that I'm just going to keep bringing him in every couple of weeks to feed treats in the lobby and use their scale. Perhaps scheduling some regular groomer visits could help get your little one more accustomed to being handled by non-family members?
 

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I do think biting with intent, without a warning growl, is something to be taken seriously, especially since you say the behaviour shocked your vet.

I have a family member whose small, adorable puppy went from occasionally “feisty” to a serious bite risk. They were even fired by their dogsitter, which makes travel extremely hard. She ignored all my offers to help find her a local trainer and has now resorted to a shock collar, which (as you can well imagine) is making the problem exponentially worse.

That’s not to say you should panic. But get help while your pup is still malleable and believes the world is a fundamentally good, fun place. This will make it much easier to address the underlying fear that triggered the bite.
 

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He usually tends to bite me while playing with a toy, after he’s just woken up, seemingly for attention, or when he attacks my pant legs while walking. He does occasionally have non-painful biting, and even when he does bite painfully I don’t think he has ill intention as it’s not with a growl or anything - I’m just worried about him continuing this behaviour with adult teeth.
This sounds like completely typical land shark poodle puppy behavior, and yes, it hurts. I had summer puppies and had to give up loose fitting sundresses, etc, and carry toys and chews to trade out for my hands and fingers. I walked into the vet clinic to pick up something without my boys and the vet walking by took a look at my scratched arms and asked "poodle puppy?". "Two". I said. She laughed knowingly. At over 4y old, My Neo still grabs a toy and stuffs his mouth with it when he gets excited so he won't put his mouth on us.
If this is all it is, this is something that almost always stops as they finish teething and start maturing.

But: he seems to hate the vet. The first time I took him for his second vaccines he yelped when she touched his paws and she informed me I should play with his paws so he gets comfortable to people touching them… I actually did know this already and whenever I (or another person in my family) touches his paws he’s fine. He also really didn’t like the vaccines and yelped during those too. When we went the second time he immediately became anxious upon seeing the vet and actually bit the vet when she was checking him. I volunteered to hold him for the rest of the session and he was fine, but the vet was understandably quite shocked. He hasn’t shown this behaviour to anyone else,
Is there any chance that she may have squeezed or pinched his paw just enough to cause him to yelp? Then the pain of the vaccine shortly after also causing him to yelp in the same visit?

Then back to the same place, the same vet, already anxious and he responded by biting the person he associated the pain with?

I think Starvt has a good idea with the trigger stacking as to what might be happening. If he was doing this with others, that could be a different story, but he hasn't. The happy visits should help desensitize, and doing the same with groomer before it becomes a practiced response is also a good idea.

I'm absolutely not an expert, but I see the response as a last resort action in his puppy brain. He wasn't intending to hurt, but to stop whatever might be coming next.

He does need your help to get him past this and there are good suggestions above.
 

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I think biting the vet is different from normal puppy land shark. The puppy got pushed over his fear threshold and reacted with a chomp. What I'm not sure about is whether this puppy's threshold is normal, and the vet simply missed the signals, or if this puppy has bigger issues. I would solicit your groomer's opinion about how this puppy behaved. Groomers work with a lot of animals and definitely know the normal range of behavior. I would also solicit the advice of a good trainer.
 

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I agree, they are two separate things. It may not be relevant but I also wonder if it was a full mouth hard clamp, front teeth nip, or a reactive snap that happened to catch the vet.
 
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Hi, I would actually be uneasy if a vet told me to muzzle a puppy for biting him/her when they caused the puppy pain. A good vet will be patient and spend time reassuring the puppy until the puppy relaxes and is happy with the vet again before letting you leave.
I personally do NOT like muzzling a puppy as it does not take care of the root cause and will actually cause the puppy to become more aggressive as it feels trapped and unable to protect itself. Training to control its mouth and proper socialization will help the puppy to overcome the tendency to bite when scared. My Baylee is 4 months old now and he is very sensitive and yelps like he's dying when the vet gave him his first shot. The vet held him close and talked soothingly to him and rubbed the ouchy spot until he calmrd down and licked her face and hands and then she handed him back to me. The next time we went, Baylee yelped but immediately started licking and snuggled up to the vet like ,"That hurt but I know you like me still"
I took my German Shepherd to a vet once. We had just moved and it was a new vet. Now my Shepherd was a gentle giant and loved everybody. That vet came up to her and put a muzzle on her before he would give her her vaccines. Poor Tessa got so scared she almost peed on the table. She had never been handled like that. I never took her to that vet again. A muzzle is as terrifying to an already uneasy dog as if you were gagged and handcuffed by a stranger. I am rather shocked a vet would tell you to muzzle a poor puppy. It will only make the puppy more fearful of going to the vet. Baylee is also very mouthy and bites but it is not aggressive. I tap him gently but firmly on the top of the muzzle and growl at him (which is what a moma dog would do) and give him a chew toy. As soon as he bites the toy, I praise him. He still nips occasionally but then as soon as I say no he runs and grabs his toy to chew on instead. Please train instead of muzzling!!!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #28 ·
Hi, I would actually be uneasy if a vet told me to muzzle a puppy for biting him/her when they caused the puppy pain. A good vet will be patient and spend time reassuring the puppy until the puppy relaxes and is happy with the vet again before letting you leave.
I personally do NOT like muzzling a puppy as it does not take care of the root cause and will actually cause the puppy to become more aggressive as it feels trapped and unable to protect itself. Training to control its mouth and proper socialization will help the puppy to overcome the tendency to bite when scared. My Baylee is 4 months old now and he is very sensitive and yelps like he's dying when the vet gave him his first shot. The vet held him close and talked soothingly to him and rubbed the ouchy spot until he calmrd down and licked her face and hands and then she handed him back to me. The next time we went, Baylee yelped but immediately started licking and snuggled up to the vet like ,"That hurt but I know you like me still"
I took my German Shepherd to a vet once. We had just moved and it was a new vet. Now my Shepherd was a gentle giant and loved everybody. That vet came up to her and put a muzzle on her before he would give her her vaccines. Poor Tessa got so scared she almost peed on the table. She had never been handled like that. I never took her to that vet again. A muzzle is as terrifying to an already uneasy dog as if you were gagged and handcuffed by a stranger. I am rather shocked a vet would tell you to muzzle a poor puppy. It will only make the puppy more fearful of going to the vet. Baylee is also very mouthy and bites but it is not aggressive. I tap him gently but firmly on the top of the muzzle and growl at him (which is what a moma dog would do) and give him a chew toy. As soon as he bites the toy, I praise him. He still nips occasionally but then as soon as I say no he runs and grabs his toy to chew on instead. Please train instead of muzzling!!!!
Thank you for this!!! I haven’t yet decided to go in the muzzle direction since Alfie is super friendly with everyone else except that vet, like when we go on walks he goes up to everyone (and all dogs too) to get pets. I was actually quite proud of his level of socialization prior to these incidents. I have since decided I’d be changing vets, since there was absolutely no contact or coaxing from the vet, or treats, which is somewhat appalling given the anxiety demonstrated the first time.

While I agree with others that proper muzzle training could go a long way, I definitely want to see him with others touching him (with treats or pets) prior to heading in that direction.
 

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Discussion Starter · #30 ·
This sounds like completely typical land shark poodle puppy behavior, and yes, it hurts. I had summer puppies and had to give up loose fitting sundresses, etc,
I’ve always lived in leggings and skinny jeans :cry: He goes after everything.

To your other questions, I also agree that he likely associated the pain and anxiety with being up on the table with the vet. I had planned to take him to a groomer’s this weekend (and to ensure he has a good introduction to the groomer and then see how he is with that), but he was bitten by a lab (long story, he was being overly friendly :cry:) so I’ll be waiting until his face fully heals. I definitely want to make sure the groomer is friendly with him and becomes someone he likes prior to getting into the work, just to see if there’s a difference in behaviour. I also wanted to note he was bitten by the lab after the vet trip, so it’s not learned behaviour or anything like that.
 

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I'm sorry to hear that he got hurt. Sounds like a bit of an overenthusiastic correction :(.

If the groomer agrees, I'd bring him to the salon anyway, just to be in and around the environment. Maybe the groomer could offer him a treat and tell him what a handsome boy he is :). Happy visits like these are time well spent.
 
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