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4 month old puppy lunging at face

Discussion in 'Dog Training and Behaviour' started by CML2020, Aug 2, 2020.


  1. CML2020

    CML2020 PetForums Newbie

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    I have a 4 month old Cocker Spaniel, we are having issues with him lunging at our faces when we are sitting with him or carrying him/holding him, he doesn't usually make contact but thats probably more due to quick reactions on mine and my partners part! I think it's become a bit of a game to him, he lunges we pull our head back to avoid being bitten. On the occasions when he has caught us he doesn't bite hard he just nips but because it's my face it hurts if he catches nose, lips etc.

    I have looked online and although this seems to be normal puppy behaviour that he will (hopefully) grow out of, there are lots of different recommendations as to how to deal with it:

    1) Stand up and stay still - become 'un-fun'
    2) Leave the room for 1 - 2 minutes
    3) Put the puppy in a confined area such as crate or a room on his own
    4) make a yelping sound
    5) say 'ah ah' or 'no' in a firm tone

    I'm so confused as to what method to use and want to be consistent.

    Has anyone else experienced the lunging and have any tips on how to deal with it? Also at what age should he have grow out of it (as in when do I need to worry if he is still doing it)?
     
  2. Ian246

    Ian246 PetForums Senior

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    I’d start by not holding him up by my face. That ought to do the trick.
    Nipping is indeed normal for puppies, but it’s usually, feet, etc. The way to resolve that is to leave the room and show the puppy that nipping equals end of fun. The other ‘methods’ you list really range from ‘not great’ to ‘simply wing work’.
    If you’re holding him up to your face, he’s lunging and you’re reacting, he’s getting what he’s looking for and it’s done. I don’t think that leaving the room at that stage is going to achieve much. So, as I say, the simplest thing is not to allow him to practice the behaviour.
     
    JoanneF, Twiggy, Lurcherlad and 2 others like this.
  3. Linda Weasel

    Linda Weasel PetForums VIP

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    As @Ian246, your face shouldn’t be anywhere near a puppy, because nipping is what they do.

    Keep him on the floor, not the sofa, so that he can’t reach your face, and there should be no reason to pick up a 4 month old puppy anyway. Lure him with titbits to wherever you want him to be.

    If you have to pick him up, to put him into a car, for example, then hold him so that he’s pointed away from your face; preferably with one hand in his collar so that he can’t twist his head and snap. Many pups resent being picked up anyway so it encourages this behaviour.
     
    LittleMow, Twiggy and Lurcherlad like this.
  4. CML2020

    CML2020 PetForums Newbie

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    Thanks for the replies. We don’t have him on the sofa at all, when I say sitting with him I mean sitting or kneeling on the floor when training or grooming etc, it’s not like I put my face right up to his and wonder why he nips! He’s started teething so I do need to get fairly close to check from time to time everything is ok, same with his ears with him being a cocker spaniel.
    As far as carrying him goes, it’s only mainly in and out of the car, up the stairs when he needs a bath etc. Sometimes no matter how many treats I try to use he won’t go where I need him (in from the garden, in his crate at night etc) so short of dragging him by his collar (which I can’t see would help at all!) I do need to carry him, although this is rare this happens.
     
    #4 CML2020, Aug 3, 2020
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2020
  5. Blitz

    Blitz PetForums VIP

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    I certainly would not pick up and carry a pup that age that is being stubborn about coming in from the garden. Make yourself more interesting than the smells. I usually find a sharp sound to get the attention and then pat the ground or wave a toy around will get them to you.
    I am going to disagree with Ian. I have never gone out of the room. I do not like 'time out' for either dogs or children. I turn my back , keep my hands out of the way and totally ignore the pup. Never had one that has carried on nipping.
     
    Lurcherlad likes this.
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