Hi, I am new to this forum. I have an 18 week old labradoodle puppy called Loops. My husband and I have been struggling with him lately. I keep asking myself whether this is a developmental phase or whether I am doing something wrong?
In the last 3 weeks he has changed from a sweet little character who was very eager to please into a more aloof, less affectionate pup. He used to come when called without fail and there was nothing he liked more than to practice his commands and be rewarded with treats. Now his recall is much less reliable...sometimes he doesn't even look up. He generally seems less interested in us.
His biting/mouthing issues also seem to have got much worse recently. A few weeks ago, he would only bite in play and when over excited and when I handled him and put my hands near his face, he would deliberately close his mouth...now he nips at my hands when I adjust his lead, brush him or do anything he doesn't want me to do. He bites my feet and tears at my clothes. Occasionally, he makes a growly sort of noise at the same time. Firmly saying 'NO!' does nothing. I have tried yelping and it seems to actually excite him and make him bite more. Time out works well but only in that instance...it doesn't seem to teach him not to do it again.
I am hoping part of the problem is teething. We do give him chews and bones to help with this.
I had a puppy trainer over for a private session last week and feel quite dissatisfied with her advice. She suggested I change his food (we were supplementing pro plan with ziwi peak as treats and she thinks the high protein content in ziwi peak can make dogs hyper) and that I try walking him less as she thought I might be overstimulating him. On average I take him for 2-3 x 20 minute walks per day which I think is about right for a puppy of his size? We live opposite an off leash dog park so sometimes we go for an off leash wander/game of fetch there instead of one of the walks.
I am also getting fed up with the whole 'you never know what you are going to get' excuse. Loops is a multi generational Australian labradoodle from a very well respected breeder and apparently bred for his good temperament.
Has anyone had similar experiences with puppies seeming to regress at this age? Did things improve? How did you steer your dog back to good behaviour?
I would really appreciate any advice....we are expecting a baby in late feb so I desperately need to get the biting under control by then!