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Old 07-01-2007, 04:46 PM   #1
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Default How to: Stop puppy biting / nipping

Since this question comes up a lot I wanted to have a thread with info for puppy owners to help them get through the puppy biting / nipping stage. Please, if I missed something or if you have a different point of view you want to share, do please contribute more ideas.

A lot of things are fun about adopting a young puppy, but the nipping and biting stage is not one of them! Puppy teeth are sharp as needles, and you don't want puppy to grow into an adult dog who thinks that biting human skin is acceptable.

First, it helps to recognize that the nipping most likely has nothing to do with aggression. It is probably playful biting or a result of teething pain. Second, be aware that puppies need to chew on something, so it is a good idea to have several hard and soft chew toys ready.This stage seems to start at about 10 weeks and hopefully ends when the teething stage is completed at about 5 months.

There are different philosophies on how to deal with puppy nipping. One is that a dog should be trained never to have his/her teeth touch the skin. The disadvantage of teaching the puppy not to bite at all is that while your pup may not bite you, he may well try to bite someone else (like a small child who does not resist the nipping as effectively as an adult can).

The other philospophy is that the puppy should be trained in "bite inhibition", which means you are training your puppy to learn where the limits of force are that he/she can use on human skin. The advantage of this method is that your adult dog will have a "soft mouth" and be less likely to harm someone in the unlikely event that he/she does "bite".

What you can do to teach your puppy not to hurt you is:

If the nipping hurts, squeal or yelp like a small puppy, pull your hand away, and ignore puppy for a few minutes.
This is more or less what a littermate would do when the nipping hurts and teaches puppy where the limits are.

If you want to teach your pup not to bite but instead to chew on a toy, have one ready the next time the nipping starts, and withdraw your hand, substitute the toy, and praise doggy for chewing on the toy. This redirection technique works when you see puppy going after the electrical cords or furniture. You may want to keep the chew toys in the freezer to help against the teething pain. Keep in mind that if you give you puppy old shoes or socks, it may be hard for him/her to tell the difference between "old shoes that are ok to chew and old shoes that are not ok to chew".

If these methods don't work, another technique that helps is to gently hold puppy's snout closed and say "No bite". You may want to turn facing away from puppy with your arms folded or even leave the room to help puppy understand that there is NO reward for nipping and biting. Speaking of which, puppies do love to play and sometimes get overexcited. If you notice that playing gets your puppy riled up enough to play-bite, stop before it reaches that point and help your puppy learn to stay calm.

Like any dog training, the keys to success are patience and consistency. It can and will take weeks so hang in there and don't get frustrated by setbacks.
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Old 07-02-2007, 04:10 PM   #2
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Unhappy Biting Puppy!

Hi,

Your info below if really useful, however, our puppy (a 12 week old black lab) seems to properly bite if he's frustrated or doesn't get his own way.

For example, I bent down to pick up a frisby as he could not pick it up and he launched himself at my arm quite visciously....so much so that he drew blood and left me with 5 teeth marks which bruised almost instantly. Another example is when my husband and I were lying on the sofa and were not Hitch was trying to jump upas he wasn't being allowed he launched him self at my nose...although this time, no blood or bruises. Or if he jumps up at something and you try and push him away he just bites harder and harder each time. Also my husband was fussing him gently and for no reason Hitch then jumped and bit his arm.

For the first example he doesn't seem possesivee over his toys as we take things off him on occassions so that he knows that they are ours and not his which is I think it may having been just because he was frustrated that he couldn't pick it up.

We have never abused him in anyway and have tried allsorts to try and stop his general mouthing which appears to have eased off but we are just concerned that he now appears to be biting.

We also do things like pretend to eat out of his bowl, don't allow him on the sofa and we go through a doorway first to show him that we are the alpha figures in the familly.

I don't think this is normal for a puppy but it has also made me think, is it something that we are doing but after racking my brains, I can't think of anything that might make him like this.

Any thoughts or suggestions would be greatfully received.

Thanks!!!!!

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Old 07-02-2007, 04:21 PM   #3
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haglm from what you are saying it does not sound normal, but it is always difficult to know for sure over the internet.
There is such a thing as aggressive puppies and the first post above is definitely not meant to address that kind of biting, just the "normal" biting.
Aside from making sure that the puppy has enough exercise and that it is clear to him that you rank higher than he does (which it sounds like you are doing ) you might need a professional behaviorist to visit your home and observe your puppy first hand.
Good luck!
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Old 07-07-2007, 09:57 AM   #4
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I am having the same puppy problem Biting,
I found if I hold it still from behind the neck so it cant reach me and holding the body ,untill it calms its self, it stops, then I let it go ( im lucky its so small).
IS That okay to do??

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Old 07-07-2007, 12:27 PM   #5
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Honestly I think with a lot of dogs they might take it as you playing with them. Since yours is so small it might actually be frightening (she weighs only 1 lb, right?). I would try something that does not involve physical force, but that is just my opinion.
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Old 07-07-2007, 07:44 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skunkstripe View Post
Honestly I think with a lot of dogs they might take it as you playing with them. Since yours is so small it might actually be frightening (she weighs only 1 lb, right?). I would try something that does not involve physical force, but that is just my opinion.
I dont think im scaring it and it knows im not playing because she stopped. Im just letting it know Im stronger ??? I yelp first too. Ill try your methods if she does it again.
Thank you

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Old 07-07-2007, 07:56 PM   #7
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Redirect, redirect and then when you are getting frustrated, calm down and redirect some more. Find a toy the puppy likes, chewing, nipping etc is one of the ways they communicate and explore their new world. In order to stop them from chewing on inappropriate objects, including you, redirect that behavior to something that is appropriate to chew on. Don't make a big deal out of the inappropriate object, then it becomes like a game, just replace it with something they can chew, then make a big deal out of it. It works, it just takes time and patience.

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Old 07-17-2007, 06:53 AM   #8
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Could it be anything to do with the person you brought this pup off? like they miss treated the pup and made it like it or handled thing's in the wrong way is this possible or did you breed him
goodluck

cheers emma
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Old 07-17-2007, 09:07 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skunkstripe View Post
The other philospophy is that the puppy should be trained in "bite inhibition", which means you are training your puppy to learn where the limits of force are that he/she can use on human skin. The advantage of this method is that your adult dog will have a "soft mouth" and be less likely to harm someone in the unlikely event that he/she does "bite".
Thanks for the great info! I have to say I'm a believer in "bite inhibition" training...my dog was very mouthy/nippy as a puppy (that's why he was surrendered to the shelter by his first family) and redirection to chew toys has helped reduce it, but with doing the puppy yelp & walking away when he bit too hard he developed a "soft mouth" - so now even if someone gets him really excited (say, by rough-housing with him a little too much ) if he does use his mouth, he doesn't even dent the skin.

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Old 07-18-2007, 05:04 PM   #10
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Could we make this an FAQ? SS is right, this topic does come up regularly.

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