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  1. #1
    Puppy (New Member)

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    Default Puppy biting or actual biting

    Hi! This is my first post so hopefully it is in the right place. A couple of weeks ago I took home my first great pyr. My whole life I have had golden retrievers. The couple that gave him to me actually told me that the was a golden, but i later found out otherwise, so to say that I am unprepared for a pyr is an understatement. He is about 10 weeks old now.

    The problem is that whenever I go to pet or play with him, he tries to bite me. I have tried many methods, such as the "shh and poke" method, putting toys in his mouth, and leaving when he bites, but none of these have fixed it. It is not just occasional, it is every time I try to play! I cannot tell if its just him teething or he is actually trying to hurt me, and I am nervous that he will not outgrow the habit. Will he outgrow this and how long does it take? Has anyone had similar experience or could give me some advice? I just was to do what is best for him and myself, and really don't want to give him up.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Old Dawg (Senior Member) SebastiansMom's Avatar

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    Welcome to the forum!

    Did you get Remy from a breeder, or was the couple who gave him to you rehoming him? Do you know how old he was when he was taken from his mom and siblings? How did you find out that he wasn’t a golden retriever?

    If it makes you feel any better, I was completely unprepared for Sebastian. I thought he was a Saint Bernard when I made the decision to adopt him. Even after finding out that he was a Pyr mix, I had no idea what I was getting myself into.

    My guess is that if you are unsure whether or not your puppy is just playing, he probably is. True aggressive behavior is far different from play behavior.

    As far as how to teach him how to interact with you without tearing you to shreds, here is a method that a lot of new puppy parents have found to be very helpful. I copied it from a different thread.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jewel View Post
    Here is a thread using another option to redirect puppy shark teeth on skin:

    The "peanut butter method" from TexasKat


    The peanut butter method works pretty well. In addition, the whole family can participate. Here's the basic process:

    Look for opportunities (if your puppy nips) while you are at home to teach him or her that it is not acceptable behavior. It's important enough have a few training sessions to create the opportunity for him to learn acceptable behavior just like if you were teaching your pup any other skill -- like "sit" or "stay".

    Some people have used the technique of pressing the dog's outer lips against their teeth to teach their dog not to nip -- this may work when the puppy is 'in the act", but we trained ours using peanut butter (but you could use something else that's smeary and yummy) to modify the behavior to something more acceptable rather than try extinguish it altogether.

    It works best with very young pups rather than older ones, so your mileage may vary, but here goes:

    In any situation where the pup is prone to nip, have a jar of peanut butter handy. This works best if you're sitting on the floor with the pup. Smear a little bit on your fingers on one hand (to start) -- just enough for the flavor, not a big glob. Present your unpeanut-buttered hand first. If your pup nips at your fingers (they often bite at fingers first) remove the hand, correct him with "No Bites" or some other verbal correction and present the peanut buttered one. Most pups will lick at peanut butter, but if he continues to bite your fingers on the PB hand, remove it from his reach and tell him "No Bites". Give it a few seconds and repeat. Once he begins to lick your fingers instead of biting, reinforce his behavior and give it a name for him to remember ("Kisses" or something like that). Praise him like he's just won the Nobel Peace prize.

    After a few sessions where he's correctly responded to peanut-buttered fingers, smear a bit on your cheek (Yeah, I know... messy). If he responds with licking ("Kisses") praise him -- lots and lots of praise. If he bites at your ears (a favorite target of my pup's), push him back with "No bites" and start with the fingers again.


    Lastly, if your pup learns this behavior well, you can even use it when your dog is greeting other people (use the command 'kisses'). It refocuses their attention and gives them an acceptable response in a sometimes confusing (for the pup) situation. You won't even need get their kissy targets all smeary with peanut butter.
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  3. #3
    Puppy (New Member)

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    I got him from a couple who you could say was "rehoming" him. They told me he was a purebred golden retriever, so I assumed he was an english cream golden. I got him when he was 8 weeks, but it is possible that he was taken from the mother prior to that. I do know that he was still with his siblings at that time. The vet told me that she knew he was a pyr because of his double dew claws and facial features (she has 2 of her own). I am having a DNA test done on him but those results will take two months and he is definitely part, if not all, great pyrenees. He sometimes growls at me, but when he bites its when I am trying pet him, and he is not growling then if that makes sense.

    Quote Originally Posted by SebastiansMom View Post
    Welcome to the forum!

    Did you get Remy from a breeder, or was the couple who gave him to you rehoming him? Do you know how old he was when he was taken from his mom and siblings? How did you find out that he wasn’t a golden retriever?

    If it makes you feel any better, I was completely unprepared for Sebastian. I thought he was a Saint Bernard when I made the decision to adopt him. Even after finding out that he was a Pyr mix, I had no idea what I was getting myself into.

    My guess is that if you are unsure whether or not your puppy is just playing, he probably is. True aggressive behavior is far different from play behavior.

    As far as how to teach him how to interact with you without tearing you to shreds, here is a method that a lot of new puppy parents have found to be very helpful. I copied it from a different thread.

  4. #4
    Old Dawg (Senior Member) Jewel's Avatar

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    My guess is if he's really being aggressive, you'd be bleeding with severe open gashes long before now. Those puppy teeth go through our skin even when the pup isn't meaning to injure.

    I would agree with your vet that a pyr pup does not look like a golden, even a English cream golden. There retriever head and the pyr head are not alike. The dog on the right of my avatar pic was a 1/2 pyr and 1/2 retriever/aussie. He was cream white all over, the kind of cream white that the English goldens have. He was also smaller framed than a pyr. A lot of people asked me if he was a white golden.

    During the puppy teething period, it's just a lot redirecting, offering a toy to chew, and trying the peanut butter method. There is no magic cure. My current pup is now a year old. Back in the beginning of the year when he was a tiny pup, I would wear 3 layers of clothing to shield my arms from his teeth. They eventually grow out of the chewing stage. But you must establish rules and boundaries with calm confidence and iron consistency.

    I can tell you for certain not to attempt to use the Cesar Milan style of "shhh and pok" anymore. I am one of the few here that actually enjoy watching his shows so I'm not knocking him just because don't like him. The reality is his methods are what works for HIM, not anyone else because everyone else lacks his attitude and his intuition.

  5. #5
    Old Dawg (Senior Member) Jewel's Avatar

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    Post pictures of your puppy! pleeeeeze

  6. #6
    Old Dawg (Senior Member) snow0160's Avatar

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    My previous dog was a rescue and the husband thought she was a golden retriever but then the wife said she was a pyr golden mix. I don’t think she was a golden at all but if your pup has dew claws it is most likely a Pyrenees. My current giant puppy Kit will growl play when she goes nuts. It might look like aggression if you didn’t know her. She is just having too much of a good time. When a dog is aggressive, you can tell from their total body language. Usually they will snap. Their hair behind their neck tends to rise almost cat like and their lips curl while they growl. Aggression is hard to miss but your puppy sounds like he is very playful and perhaps on the dominant side.

  7. #7
    Puppy (New Member)

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    still trying to find out how to use this site! ill do that as soon as i can, thanks for all of your help!
    Quote Originally Posted by Jewel View Post
    Post pictures of your puppy! pleeeeeze

  8. #8
    Old Dawg (Senior Member) SebastiansMom's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jewel View Post
    Post pictures of your puppy! pleeeeeze
    Oooooooh! Yes, please! I am a sucker for adorable pictures of puppies!

    I have vivid memories of Sebastian being a tyrannical furry land shark as a puppy and adolescent. My arms and legs looked like I had taken up the totally made-up sport of competitive cat bathing. It was bad. I don’t know exactly when he grew out of it, but he did. He’s five now, and it has been years since he has intentionally put his teeth on my skin. People who meet adult Sebastian have a really hard time believing that pre-adult Sebastian was such a handful (putting it mildly).

    I can’t put all of the blame for that time period on Sebastian. I did not have a great understanding of his LGD side at the time, and kept inadvertently reinforcing the behaviors I least wanted for him to continue. Every time I tried using a physical correction on him, he took it as an invitation to come back even harder - whether he was jumping, nuisance barking, biting, giving “special hugs”, or worse (yep, there was worse).

    It’s for that reason (and several others) that I get a pit in my stomach every time I think about the fact that someone out there is trying to pass off Pyr puppies as English Cream Golden Retrievers. Both Pyrs and Goldens are fantastic in their own ways, but they are very very very different. I’m happy that your handsome guy found someone who is committed to making things work. I really really hope that the same can be said for the rest of the pups in his litter. It is encouraging that they were at least kept together until they were eight weeks old.

    I also agree with what Snow said about body language. Often when we think that a dog acted out “without any warning”, they were trying to tell you what they were about to do - only in ways that the average person doesn’t know to look for. It can be a flick of the tongue, an out-of-context behavior, or as minor as a change in the shape of the eye. Once you know what to look for, a small gesture can speak volumes.

    When I was working on some of my non-Pyr’s behavioral issues, I was introduced to an app called DogDecoder, which was very helpful. It was not expensive, but really taught me a lot.

    Being used to Goldens, you may find this pup to be quite a challenge. It’s wonderful that your vet has Pyr experience, so hopefully, she will be able to answer some of your questions. We are here to answer other questions you might have, as well!
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  9. #9
    Young Dawg (Member) Baileyandkids's Avatar

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    I'm new to the forum too and don't have all the experience some of the other members have but I do have a Bailey lol!!! He's 5.5months now and we are finally working on the same team. It took a long time for us to bond as his first introduction to life away from his litter wasn't great. He bit me constantly. Every time I touched him. He growled constantly when he was excited and I was having a really hard time understanding his body language. He growled at my 13yr old once because he thought it would be fun to chase her around our cabin! I'm sure he thought it was hilarious. Actually looking back it was hysterical! Things were flying all over the place. (I should mention my 13yr old is 5'10 hardly a small child Ha!) I cried many nights thinking I had rescued some aggressive dog that was gonna eat my kids when in fact I had rescued the most adorable giant puppy who just needed to be shown how to play. He has almost completely quit puppy biting and when he growls it's hilarious because he's about to go in full on puppy play. You can literally see the change before it begins. You just need to know what to look for. My whole adult life I've only ever raised labs and I kept expecting him to act like a Lab because that's all I knew. Believe me he is no lab! He is my favorite dog and I couldn't imagine life without him! It just takes time on both parts to earn trust and respect for one another.

  10. #10
    Old Dawg (Senior Member) rx4bills's Avatar

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    We are on our 4th golden retriever, had a female german shepherd, our Kali is now 1 yr old (Pyr/GSD mix) and I can tell you form goldens to Kali was leaps and bounds, and a bunch of prayers. Kali as a puppy (adopted at 9 wks) had the sharpest teeth I have ever experienced, and she was a either crazy brave, or maybe just crazy, but she loved to play and bark. Pretty intense play, with the shark teeth nibbling. Our Goldens poor ears had pin like scab marks all over. Kali didn't intend to bite, but puppies mouth, a lot. Until they learn to modulate the intensity of the mouthing the injuries just keep adding up. The peanut butter thing helped. Puppy socials at our local humane society were very good too. Puppies learn appropriate behavior (sometimes) better from other puppies than from owners. The best was when I started seeing the puppy teeth falling out. Love those relatively dull adult teeth!
    Hang in there! It gets better.

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