My New Puppy Is Biting Me So HARD And Is Infatuated With My Hands!
(San Antonio, TX, USA)
Aussie, Heeler, mutt?? I don't know. Cute?? YES
I recently adopted a puppy, Dakota, from a shelter at 8 weeks old. I've now had her for 2 1/2 weeks and she's a gem and I love her. Because she is a shelter pup, I am going on assumptions of her breed, but I see a major Aussie look to her (??).
NOW for the issue and background: I'm doing crate training and she seems to have taken to that very well. She's doing wonderfully with potty training and most commands. When we go to the door, I say "door" and she sits and waits patiently for the door to open. When I tell her to sit or come, she complies MOST of the time. When we are outside, "come" isn't as interesting as crawling under my deck or chewing dry leaves, but she's improving. Leash training has been better than I expected, but I know she's an unfocused puppy.
The problem we're facing is that she is aggressively biting my hands and arms. My hands have been swollen for more than a week now, and I am covered in scabs. I joke that I'm going to start convincing friends and coworkers that I'm not in an abusive relationship! My pup goes from playing to "I MUST EAT MY MOM'S HANDS RIGHT NOW!" or "I HAVE ONE MISSION, AND IT IS TO LITERALLY ATTACK THE HAND THAT FEEDS ME!" I've yet to find something that will help Dakota calm down. I've tried several ideas I found online: giving her a chew toy, whimpering like a hurt pup and turning my back, crating her during her "beast mode" to simmer her down, praising her sweet behavior, using the commands we've worked on, flat out stomping out like a 2 year old (she tends to cock her head at my bizarre behavior on that one), and at some point I end up looking at the clock and thinking she needs to be crated because she's overly tired. If any of these approaches were working, I wouldn't be writing this post (with puffy swollen hands). DOES ANYONE HAVE AN IDEA, OR 12???
We are starting puppy obedience classes at 4 months, but I don't want to deal with this until then. I'd like to nip this behavior now so that my girl and I are enjoying all of our time together. Of the things I've tried, the "overly tired puppy needs sleep" is my most effective device, but I feel like I'm forcing her to sleep too much. Telling her "NO" seems to rile her up. When she's in the mode, she will rear back and growl and bark at me (generally when I'm on the couch and I tell her "off" so as not to let her on).
Please help! I want to have a tight bond and teamwork when in and out of the house with her. I can't imagine ever going to a dog park, out for a long walk or run, or "pet-friendly" patio bar like this. One more thing... she was the only pup from her litter that was turned in. I have NO idea what her story is other than being turned in solo. Was she able to play aggressively and learn her boundaries with siblings? I don't know. Was mom around to scold the "beast" out of her? No clue. Total mystery as to what the first 8 weeks of her life were. With bruised hands and ego...HELP!!!!