Author Topic: Biting on walks  (Read 253 times)

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Offline Tululabelle

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Biting on walks
« on: July 15, 2022, 01:24:31 PM »
Hi everyone,

Weíve had our beautiful working cocker Ralfie for 9 weeks now. Heís 18 weeks old. Iíve found the whole experience extremely difficult to be honest and feel quite silly for not being able to manage things better. He really is such a lovely boy and learns so fast but managing his energy has been a very steep learning curve. My partner hasnít had dogs before and has been working away for most of the time weíve had him so most of the training has fallen to me and even when my partner is home heís found it very stressful.

I know this is relatively normal for the breed but Ralfie does not stop. Since about the second week weíve been enforcing naps because he will not settle unless itís in a covered crate. Iím having a hard time being ok with this because I didnít get a dog to have him shut in a crate for hours away from his family. I canít even imagine a time in the future where weíll be able to sit with him on the sofa and cuddle. The puppy biting was very bad, although it seems to have mostly abated at home because of the naps/a better schedule but walks are a different storyÖ

At random points when walking on lead he will start growling, jumping and biting me very, very hard. I can tell heís about to start up because he sort of turns into me so I canít walk forward. In these moments nothing will get him to calm down. Itís not possible to stand still because it hurts and is hard enough to bruise me and draw blood. Itís not possible to redirect with food or toys. I actually find it really frightening and itís making me nervous around him, which Iím sure heíll be picking up on. Iíve googled this and lots of people seem to have experienced similar but itís not something I just want to allow to keep happening or hope he grows out on.

Does anyone have any advice? And can anyone just more generally reassure me that at some point Iíll be able to have him out of the crate more without him turning into the devilís spawn after 45 minutes?
Right now I cannot see the light at the end of the tunnel and itís starting to really affect my well-being and even my relationship. Thank you so much in advance, this seems like a lovely community.

Offline ejp

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Re: Biting on walks
« Reply #1 on: July 16, 2022, 01:57:07 PM »
Hello, and welcome to you and Ralfie.   :luv:  I am not the best person to help, but there are a few on here who have recently had pups with similar issues.  Cockers can be very hard work as pups, so please don't feel defeated.  When they get past that, and they do, they are the most wonderful dogs.  Have a read at the posts immediately below yours on the puppy board, particularly from Poppy123, Similar issues there.  Also Lobo De Mar, that's a bit of an eye opener  :003: you may find some useful tips in there.  Meantime, hold tight, a more puppy experienced person will be along soon.

Offline sophie.ivy

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Re: Biting on walks
« Reply #2 on: July 18, 2022, 08:36:05 AM »
Welcome to you and Ralfie :luv:

I really related to your comment 'I canít even imagine a time in the future where weíll be able to sit with him on the sofa and cuddle' as that's exactly how I felt with my working cocker pup when she was Ralfie's age! I wouldn't have believed it was possible, but at around 20wks after an evening walk, she climbed on my lap and fell asleep. I was shocked. From then on, we would let her free roam in the evening (downstairs only to save the cat's sanity) and she would tear around the place like a little tasmanian devil, chew everything in sight, and then yawn, big sigh, and pass out for a few hours on our laps. We still used a playpen and crate set up during the day for naps until she was about 7/8 months. She's 11 months now and free roams during the day, but I keep her crate door open and she often chooses it for her big sleeps when she's really tired.

Please don't feel bad about crating him. Some puppies just struggle more than others with settling in a home environment and find it too overwhelming/stimulating. Pups need around 18hrs of sleep a day to grow and develop healthily so you're being kind to your boy giving him a safe space to switch off.

I haven't experienced the biting issue on walks as luckily, my girl isn't very mouthy (tell that to the remote...!) I do wonder if it might be getting overstimulated and not knowing what to do with that excess energy? These pups do some strange things when they're wound up - my girl used to spin in circles yelping! Thankfully, she grew out of that! I'm sure there will be some good advice/suggestions from other cocker owners who have experienced similar.

Offline clare.olivia

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Re: Biting on walks
« Reply #3 on: July 18, 2022, 09:18:46 AM »
Echoing everything above.
I was so jealous of friend's dogs who were cuddly from the get-go. They kept talking about how wonderful puppy cuddles were and I couldn't help but be confused and miserable. 3 days into bringing my pup home he became a monster. I was crying every day. Distractions didn't help. Crate training was the only thing that really helped me in the beginning as it was my only saviour  :005: I did forced naps throughout the day and it was the only way to get him to break and calm down (for me I found that he was overstimulated/overtired and giving him more exercise was the opposite of what he needed - keep the walks short but often and enforce naps if what I did).

At around 5 months the majority of his puppy teeth had gone and bit by bit he was far more manageable. The biting went down, I stopped crating him and slowly introduced free roaming. Now he is the cuddliest, loveliest, attention seeking sock monster ever. Honestly,  I could never imagine how cuddly his is now when he was a puppy. He's still pretty confident and does his own thing a lot but he equally loves a massage, cuddle and sleeping on my feet while I work.

It was definitely a combination of teething and puppy-play in the beginning which really sorted itself out in time. He still play mouths (not bite) but when I think back to my scarred hands and endless tears in the first 6 months, its nothing! One habit he developed while particularly bitey was nipping at the lead and hand when I try to leave the park. Every couple of months he throws a tantrum but standing still, making him wait, and ignoring him seems to put an easy end to it these days.

Don't worry, you will come out the other end. It does goes away. I know it feels like every day is a journey in the beginning but my god, is it worth it in the end!

Offline vixen

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Re: Biting on walks
« Reply #4 on: July 18, 2022, 09:37:13 AM »
How long are you walking him for?
At his age he should only be walking for about 20 minutes at a time.
Perhaps he is being walked for too long and over stimulated which then results in the biting.
My little one is only 3 months now and I am being quite strict about his walking (especially in the present heat).  I walk him on his own and walk my one year old separately as they have different exercise requirements and each needs separate time with me.  His walk is more to do with experiences and socialization.
Only walking for a short time is quite restrictive when you want a long walk.  When i do take the dogs together for a long walk, I go with someone else and carry the little one for most of the walk (which is getting harder as he already weighs 6 kgs and that weight seems to increase the longer I carry him   :005:)  Having someone else with me means we can share the ĎburdenĒ  ;)
I agree with the other posters, he sounds a very Ďnormalí cocker spaniel but they all differ.  My one year old Maisie was a horrid puppy, very bitey, feisty and if you told  her Ďnoí would answer  back >:D. She was very challenging but she in now one and started to improve at about 9 months and now can be very loving especially now as she is just in her first season. .  She is still feisty but that is just her personality.  My little boy on the other hand is the prefect pup, calm chilled but responsive. Heíll settle himself anywhere  :luv:   I feel I earnt him somehow having coped with Maisie  :005: :005:
Max (GSP)  always in my heart

Offline Tululabelle

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Re: Biting on walks
« Reply #5 on: July 19, 2022, 10:26:12 PM »
I honestly canít thank you all enough for your lovely, supportive posts full of encouragement and advice. Itís really heartening to hear that things change over time and a lot of the things weíre struggling with are just normal cocker puppy stuff!  Weíre having a better week this week - heís still a bitey shark but now weíre trying to be curious about the behaviour and experiment with ways to deal with it, rather than constantly dreading it happening. Itís been really helpful to read back over other posts from those who have also struggled. Iíve particularly enjoyed Lobo Do Marís tales of Salty the Cockerdile  :005: What a wonderful community you have here.  :luv:

Offline Tululabelle

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Re: Biting on walks
« Reply #6 on: July 28, 2022, 12:11:26 PM »
To all the lovely people who replied telling me to hang on in thereÖ turns out I didnít have to hang in there very long! We went away for a few days and Ralfie went back to stay with the breeder. I think being in the presence of other dogs has taught him how to settle because now as soon as we come back from a walk he hops up on the sofa, snuggles into me and passes out asleep  :005: :luv: Heís also really calmed down with the nipping and is just so much better on walks generally. I guess there are just some things that itís much easier for another dog to teach than a human!

Offline sophie.ivy

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Re: Biting on walks
« Reply #7 on: July 28, 2022, 01:56:25 PM »
That's wonderful to hear! Good boy, Ralfie! And great that he could stay with his breeder for a few days and learn from the pack :luv:

Onwards and upwards from here (and a little bit sideways during adolescence...!)

Offline bizzylizzy

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Re: Biting on walks
« Reply #8 on: July 28, 2022, 02:04:56 PM »


Onwards and upwards from here (and a little bit sideways during adolescence...!)

 :lol2: :lol2:
 
Well done Ralfie!!!  :luv:

Offline ejp

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Re: Biting on walks
« Reply #9 on: July 28, 2022, 08:17:18 PM »
Excellent, and you are correct, they learn from other dogs so much quicker than people.  Anyway, glad he has calmed a little and you are enjoying nice cuddles.