New Member
I simply cannot get Rosco to stop biting. I understand that he's only 11 weeks old and that teething cannot be comfortable. But he's now drawing blood.

These are the steps I have taken or attempted:

  • When he's jumping and biting, I turn my back and cross my arms to ignore him
  • Quickly remove my hand/arm/leg/FACE from his mouth, and immediately put one of his toys into his mouth
  • Bitter apple, etc. I've tried 4 different brands. He just licks at it then bites.
Everytime I try to play with him and/or train him, he only wants to bite me. He seems very distracted by ... well... everything :msnhugegrin:. The "look at me" command only works when I can actually get his attention.

I understand that although he is a Labrador, that training will take some time (especially while teething). However, he has started to draw blood, and I cannot afford another hospital visit (yes, it gets that bad--this morning he bit me in the eye and now I have a patch!).

Any advice you could give would be very much appreciated!!!




Experienced Member
I understand that it must be deeply frustrating and perhaps a little worrying for you. I doubt that he's teething at just eleven weeks. That usually comes a little later.

What is the pup's history? Where does he come from? (Rescue, Private Breeder, etc.) At what age was he lifted from the litter?

Is it generally when he gets over/excited when the "bites" occur? I ask because if that is the case, then you might need to make the play periods a little (or a lot) more sedate, while he learns some self-control.


New Member
With my second puppy, she does not mouth us anymore except on invitation. I found that her mouthing behaviour pretty much ceased as soon as my older dog started to play with her. Does your puppy have puppy play dates? It may help if he has an outlet for mouthing.

The things you are doing are good. You might also want to try yelping when the puppy mouths you. A yelp noise it what dogs do when play has become too rough.

It may sound counterproductive, and many people are against this, but I allow my dogs to mouth on inviation only. I ask them, "Are you vicious?" and then we engage in a mouthing game. I think this is useful because dogs are meant to mouth - it's fun! And I'd hate for them to never have this opportunity. However, it obviously needs to be on my terms. I use the word "cuddly" to mean stop mouthing, and both my dogs stop straight away on this. If they mouthed without inviation (as sometimes puppies do), I would use the "cuddly" word to say that we're stopping this game now.

You might also want to try sin binning. It's important that you choose a place your dog won't mind being associated with 'bad'... I use my shower cubicle. When the dog is mouthing, consistantly take the dog to the sin in and leave for a minute or two (or until pup is quiet). The pup soon learns that the very-rewarding-you is not available when it mouths!

Though a positive punishment method, I have done this before... When the pup puts his mouth on your hand, or anything else, push you hand back into the pup and against its throat. The pup learns that putting his mouth on you is not 'fun' cause he is greeted by pressure and unpleasantness. I would try everything else first... Ultimately, the pup is controlling the pressure/unpleasantness, and normally on several repetitions are needed.


New Member
Yeah there's nothing more frustrating than turning your back and trying to ignore an overly rambunctious puppy (the conventional wisdom) but the pup is still "attacking" you with glee and not giving a hoot that you're ignoring him! He's perfectly happy to keep on biting you or tearing your clothes all on his own with or without your attention! my dog was like that when he was a pup.

I practiced "screaming in pain" until I was able to do it loudly enough and suddenly enough to startle my dog into stopping with the biting when he was a puppy. I did have to practice several times to get my yelp loud enough and sudden enough. Otherwise, anything less would simply egg him on and get him even more excited. Then, with that split second of non-biting I would immediately leave the room. If I just stayed there with my back turned he would instantly resume the play biting within a second. Leaving the room for at least a few minutes (which to a young puppy is like an eternity) was a bigger contrast and let down for him (and thus a more effective negative punishment) than just turning my back and ignoring him.

However I had an older dog that was adopted from a shelter who repeatedly didn't' respond to negative punishment for this play-biting issue (withdrawal of attention or fun), so I had to resort to a positive punishment. I used the rattling can - put some coins in a soda can so it rattles when you shake it. Then, if the dog didn't respond to my yelps of pain and was still carrying on with biting me or trying to rip my clothes, I would suddenly rattle this loudly and that for sure startled him into stopping briefly. then I would leave the room. I only had to do this a total of 3 times and he never mouthed again. However, I would NOT recommend this for a 11-week old puppy as it could very severely traumatize them. I would only do this on an older dog and only for a last resort.

in your case, with your very young puppy, I would try to yelp loudly to clearly signal when he's done the bad thing and to startle him into letting go briefly, and then immediately leave the room for several minutes.


New Member
I would like to add that I never used the throat scratching/finger jamming on Clover, but what I did use for Mac all those years ago because my parents so advocated. I don't remember Clover mouthing us beyond 10 weeks, but she started playing with Mac and 9 weeks and I believe that had a huge impact.


New Member
Thank you for the very thorough responses, and I'll attempt to answer all questions at once!

Rosco was purchased from a no-kill shelter which has a store at the mall. He was getting "too big," so he was on discount for $100. I figured that was decent, considering he had all shots, had been neutered, and had worming & flea treatments. I played with him for a couple of days before I decided to take him home. He was bitey, but not as bad as the Collie-Sheppard mix that I had originally chosen.

He was born 11/21/2007. He's a "Lab-mix" but I'm not sure what the mix is.

We brought him home on a Saturday and started puppy school that Monday night. That Tuesday night, it started raining. We had 3" of rain in 2 days with the grown still frozen. So of course, our basement flooded. So we moved everything to the upstairs portion of the house, which leaves only one place for his crate. Unfortunately, he's in clear view of us no matter where we are (unless we duck into the corner of the kitchen).

His biting DOES occur mostly when he is excited. I let him out of his crate to play and/or train, and he immediately starts jumping and biting. While it's nice that he's happy to see me, it really, really hurts. :dogwacko: Heh, I wonder if that's where "love hurts" came from. :doglaugh:

Our trainer provided us with several suggestions on Monday night.
  • Put his crate in an area where he is alone (which is not possible until the contractors are done tearing out the basement)
  • Try a different type of deterrent spray, possible mixing water and cayenne pepper (WORST case scenario, like if he continues to draw blood)
  • Continue to turn our back and cross our arms when he's jumping and biting
  • Don't play with him while I'm sitting on the floor (bad habit of mine)
The screaming in pain does nothing but get him more worked up, and then he bites more and harder.

The only effective deterrent I have found is the water bottle. He absolutely hates being shot in the face with water. But then again, who wouldn't?

I also have an 11-year-old full blood Labrador that currently wants little to do with him because he jumps on her and bites. She doesn't mind him as long as he's calmly laying next to her. But she's old, and also had diabetes. ON a good note, it seems that he's starting to watch her and imitate some of her mannerisms. HOWEVER, he seems to have taken the position as Alpha Dog and is quite the bully in his training class. :dogsad:


New Member
Did you talk to him or make a fuss when you let him out of your crate? Whenever my dogs see my for the first time in the while (after being crated at night, being let in after we come home) I ignore them until they have settled down. Most of the time they don't get excited at all, these days, they know the routine. Jan Fennel advocates if you are interested in reading her books.

I don't think the fact that he is crated where he sees everyone matters, unless you engage with him frequently. You could put a cover on the crate if you think this would help.

How long have you had your puppy? Your older lab might warm up and play soon enough. :) It took a week here!


New Member
We've had him for 2 weeks this Saturday. Tomorrow he'll be 3-months-old.

I tried putting a blanket over the crate. HA. He tore it to shreds overnight.


New Member
oh dear hope your basement is getting drained out!

Hmmm...all I can say is, yeah keep trying the bitter apple sprays (even though you said it doesn't work and you tried several brands). There are some that are for outdoors like for keeping dogs away from landscaping and those seem to be more pungent. worse comes to worse tobasco sauce works too, I can't imagine a 11 week old pup who likes the taste of hot sauce!!

at least you do have a trainer to work with so since he/she has seen your puppy in person I would just go with whatever your trainer says.