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4.5 month old toothiness/bitey question

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Hi all! I've read through some old posts about people's experiences with puppies and bitey-ness - but I'm not quite certain on something, and that is this: at what point is it concerning if a puppy still brings out his teeth?

Example: on a 40ish minute walk today, Kevin kind of fell apart in the middle of it; he started going at the leash and my shoes/laces, and getting his mouth/teeth on my calves a bit. When this happens, I do my best to stay calm; I usually try to get down on his level and do some quick sit/down/look-at-me's to break him out of the "I'm going to eat your legs" mode. It's a little embarrassing when this happens in public (I imagine passersby thinking I should get my puppy under control, but what're you gonna do other than the best you can?).

My questions: is it ok that he's still doing this at 4.5 months? Am I handling it correctly? At home, when his teeth lightly/accidentally get on us during playtime for example - when grabbing at a toy, say - then we'll make the "yelp" sound. If he becomes rambunctious and goes at us with his mouth, which is usually aimed at our calves, then we will pop him into the puppy-proofed kitchen for a few minutes and let him out when he's quiet again, lather rinse repeat until he gets the picture (side note, we live in Sweden, where crate training isn't legal, so a crate isn't an option for us - but we have our puppy proofed room, hallelujah!).

Kevin is 18 weeks; he is very much still a puppy. But I just want to make sure this isn't a behavior that is lingering longer than it should, or that we are in some way accidentally permitting it. Thoughts and ideas much appreciated, thank you kindly in advance!

Edit: a quick edit to add that I did mention this a little in my "hello we're new!" post, but I wanted to get a little more detailed here. Hope that's ok!



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Hi, not an expert by any stretch of the imagination and have enough trouble with my 8.5 month old..BUT.. 40 minutes may be a little too much for your guy to handle at that age. I think he may be telling you this through his behaviour. I may be wrong but being in Sweden I imagine it is pretty cold too and this may also be bothering him.

Apart from that it sounds as though you are doing all the right things at home. I am sure other members will be able to offer more considered advice.

Best of luck,


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This is a matter that needs to be addressed at any age. I would not allow even a baby puppy to mouth and bite, so you are right to be wanting to train your dog out of this. Best thing to do is the moment he becomes mouthy on a walk, the walk is over.  I would suggest that you figure out at what point in the walk he tends to start this (is it after 20 minutes? 15? etc) and plan your walk so that you are actually very near to home, or at home, at that point in the walk.

Then, if he starts the behavior, you pick him up (if this is reasonable for you to do) and immediately carry him back to the house, no more walk. This tells him that the behavior results in the fun ending. You need, of course to be 100 consistent with this, as with all training. It is entirely possible that the walk is simply too long for him.

I am sorry you cannot use a crate, as that is the most effective thing. Are X-pens also illegal? If not, you might want to use that instead of a whole room, because the confinement in a smaller space is a large part of why crate training is effective. It essentially tells the dog that it is time to chill out and be quiet, maybe take a nap. I would also suggest you leave him longer than just until he is quiet. Try leaving him until he really settles down, and if he shows any signs of taking a nap, leave him alone to do that. If you find you are letting him out, putting him back, letting him out again over the course of only a few minutes, you are not leaving him in long enough. Can he see you from the kitchen? If so, make it so that he cannot. The Time Out place needs to be quiet, and away from everyone else.

Best of luck!

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Our pup is nearly nine months and we are not ‘nip’ free but compared to what he was like months ago we have made huge strides. I would say we were almost on top of it a month ago but all the untrained humans who visited during the holidays added to the fact that the ice is so so bad right now we can’t properly exercise our pup, we’re having some challenges. 

Most issues with us arise when: 

- we finish a play session on the long training line and he wants to carry on so gets overly excited, pulling on the line. We get him into training recall, gradually working our way back to the house from the play field. 

- he gets over excited in play and nips and nibbles to get attention. He gets taken to his crate as noted above and he’s normally ‘good as gold’ when he comes out. 

His issue of ambushing us to instigate chase was resolved with a ‘stand’ command - just to stop him in his tracks. We then either send him to his mat or ‘go get a toy’ - depending on whether we think he needs rest or play. Ambushes are now rare but one has to remember to praise when he finally gets the messages and just approaches politely with a toy from the get go haha!

Of course one has to train the commands to make these things worse. It takes a huge amount of patience and a lot of set backs but you’ll get there :)

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Our boy used to suddenly start misbehaving on walks when he was younger and I put it down to tiredness. I remember him going for our legs/feet and snatching at the lead. He was quite a small puppy so I would pick him up and carry him home and he would seem happy to be in my arms. I didn't really know how to stop it once it started so I worked on trying to prevent it from starting.

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Thank you everyone for these super insightful answers! It's not really too cold here; it hasn't been much cooler than the mid-30s this winter, so certainly not as chilly as some of our midwestern US and Canadian counterparts. But we appreciate the reality check that these walks are just too long for him - we have had successful 40 minute walks without a breakdown - or where the breakdown comes like half a block from home. I suppose it's worth saying that we are out for 40 minutes, we're not walking the whole time; this includes time for greeting people, greeting dogs, and occasionally sitting on a bench or stopping for training sessions. However...  we totally acknowledge that this still means tons of stimulation, so we've definitely decided we're going to cut our walks down to 20 minutes and aim for prevention rather than treatment! I'll report back on how it goes :)

Kev can't see us from his kitchen timeout space, but he can hear us. I was super shocked to learn that crate training is illegal here - and for about 4 minutes thought oh my gosh, how do people even have dogs if they don't crate train!? But of course there are other solutions, and we quickly realized that we would be able to have a puppy proofed room. I don't reckon pens are illegal, and that does seem like a fine option as well.

My husband is able to pick up Kev and pop him in the kitchen or carry him on a walk if he's being a pain; I have to strap on a leash and do some tugging because an old back injury prevents me from being able to pick him up now that he's 25 pounds. I try to do it with as much finesse and speed as possible but he acts like a kid and just goes totally limp ("I don't wanna go in the kitchen and you can't make me!"), so it is often hubs taking him into the kitchen rather than me since he can do it so swiftly (ah, to have a healthy back).

Anyway, thank you to everyone for these ideas - we feel like we're semi on the right track and we're really glad to have a concrete adjustment we can make in an effort to stop this behavior on walks. Go team!

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