Doodle jumps and bites to play, I need help.

Hi all, I appreciate your patience, I realize both of these are covered a lot separately, but I couldn't find a thread that covered both. I'll try to keep this as short as possible. But it's tough.

Bernie jumps up on me when he wants to play, this includes nipping and biting, his whole mouth around my forearm when he can. It can really hurt, even though I know he's not trying to hurt me.

So far what's NOT working is moving my hands and arms from his reach, once those aren't accessible he grabs at my pants, my legs, my crotch (SCARY), my shirt, anything else.

I've been trying to use the 'kneeing method' with the jumping but he bites my knees! Or he'll try to grab on. I've spent what felt like an eternity kneeing him, knocking him down, just to have him come after me with more fervor.

I've also tried walking away and ignoring, but he'll do everything mentioned above, but from behind. He's nipped me in the butt, and it hurts!!!

When I really can't take it anymore I pin him. Like dogs do. With one hand firmly around his neck so he knows I'm not there to play. I've even growled. But within 30 seconds of when I get off him he's back at it.

Eventually he tires out, or I sit on the couch or at the table I work at and he realizes then that I'm not going to play.

I know leaving the room is another option but I work from home, and I can't afford to hide from my dog several times a day.

Bernie gets a 3 mile walk/jog and a couple play times from me during the day, and a good play session when my husband gets home from work, he's also good at entertaining himself with his toys, so he's far from neglected in the activity aspect.

Even if no one has any new ideas it feels good to talk about it! We love Bernie and he's an awesome dog, beyond well-behaved in so many areas, but he's proven to be insanely adaptable and persistent in regards to a few select behaviors.

He takes nothing personally and he has no conscience!

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  • Sign him up for class and remind him who's the mom...sounds like he's acting like a goofy little guy starting into adolescence. Be firm, consistent, but fun. This too shall pass, but a good class/trainer will make it a lot less "painless." :-)
  • An added tidbit for anyone who's still following this, Bernie has actually taken to trying to hump me since we've returned from our trip as well! He's NEVER done this to me. He's tried to get away with it with my husband and with a couple friends who are over a lot, but never me. My husband always joked that it was because I'm the pack leader. It definitely seems like things changed when we went out of town. Could it be just the break in consistency?
    • How long have you been back?  Sometimes Peri seems to have "forgotten" things if we are out of town for a while. 


      You and your husband should both get back on track and start training again.  I would have him stop playing with Bernie that way.  My husband did the same thing in the beginning and I noticed her getting mouthy.  We stopped that immediately and she was much better.

    • We've only been back 3 days. I'll have to get tough about the play sessions again. It's amazing that something that happens for 10 minutes a day can shape their entire behavior! But I totally see it happening. We're going to the dog park today so he can roughhouse with his canine counterparts and we're signing up for some training workshops. My husband is definitely game for making the dog park more routine. If Bernie did "forget" some manners while we were gone we have to nip it in the bud!
  • I haven't had this problem with my pups and I'm not sure whether it's their temprament or the way I play with them when they are pups. My son's always tell me that I don't "rough" my dogs up enough when I play and they're right. My only suggestion would be to really tone down the play times with you. Bernie sounds like he is treating you like a littermate and you don't really want that. I don't ever play tug with my dogs, I don't roll around on the floor with them and I definitely don't use my hands to rough them up. I play fetch, find it, and high five games with them. I take them out to fetch a tennis ball. That is how I play with my pups and maybe that helps to keep them from treating me like another pup??
    • You're right Julie. And I don't play with Bernie that way, but my husband does. As soon as he gets home from work it's like he's a 12 year old boy with his first puppy again! We talked about all the issues playing like that can create, but I think he was hoping he could "train" Bernie to know that it's okay when he initiates it during set play times and not anytime else. Obviously that was a stretch, and didn't seem to work.
  • Hi Amy,

      It sounds like everyone has great advice especially with the advanced training. Along with that I would encourage another dog for a play date. To me it seems like he wants to rough house and wrestle and my 2 super active doodles do that with each other instead of me. They take out their excess energy on one another instead of you. When we only had 1 doodle, we had to make regular dates to let her romp and be crazy with other dogs. Now since we got the second doodle, it has a built in romping factor. Best of luck, Eva

    • Yes! You're totally right. We were away, with Bernie, right before we left him for the second part of our trip - and he was at the dog park every day, with us and then with his doggie sitters. I'm sure being home with me in the old grind seems quite boring in comparison! Good thinking!
    • It certainly might help.  I Married and moved in with my hubby when Rosco was approx 7 months (and thus he had another doodle to play with at that point all the time).  It helped, I think.  But it didn't really stop until we were a certain point in training.  Now one case doesn't prove anything, but I think the training was the deciding factor for us. 


      After that point where I noticed he no longer had bitten me for a loong time I even tried to test him by getting him all riled up.  And he'd go and find himself a bone to chew on when that happened...but NO teeth on me!

    • Now that's impressive!
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