How to Stop
It is never a
good idea to let Puppy play with your hands or feet –
no matter how cute it seems. This teaches Puppy it is OK to bite
skin. Even though tiny puppies playing tug-of-war with your big
finger is cute, it is teaching a very bad habit! Never let a puppy
do something once that you do not want him to repeat. It is far
easier to prevent bad habits from developing that it is to retrain an
older puppy or adult dog. Here are two techniques to teach puppy
not bite. Technique #1 is less physical and I recommend it first.
It may take a few days or so for puppy to catch on. Technique #2
involves physically stopping puppy. Some puppies (or dogs) may
actually perceive this as a challenge to try again so I do not
recommend it is as much.
– yelp and walk away:
very social creatures and refusing to engage in play can
be an effective training technique. As soon as puppy starts to bite
or nip, give a loud, yelping OUCH!!! Glare at the pup, get up and
move away. After a minute or so, get a toy and return to puppy.
Encourage the puppy to play with the toy. If he goes for you with a
nip, repeat yelping and walking away.
– shake can:
If puppy does
not respond to a verbal command only, try a shake can.
Get an empty and clean soda can and place about 10 pennies in it.
Tape the mouth shut. When your pup starts to nip, give the verbal
command and at the same time give the can a good shake or drop it
next to puppy (not on him please). This will help reinforce the
verbal command. As soon as he stops, praise and give him a good toy
– shake down:
If Techniques 1
and 2 fail, then try this. I am not as fond of it
as it involves physically grabbing the pup for reinforcing the "No
Bite!". Start with a loud yelping OUCH; at the same time as you
grasp the loose skin on puppy's neck. Give a firm scruff but not a
shake and firmly say "NO BITE!" Do not pull puppy up and away, just
scruff him. Release puppy and get him involved with a good toy.
After a while, stop the scruff and just use the verbal.
encourage biting and should be avoided when working
on "No Bite": tug-of-war (my dogs are not allowed to play this with
humans until they are well aware of the "pack hierarchy" and will
release the toy when told to.); chase and tackle games; and other
games where you actively encourage the puppy to bite a person.
Dangling treats and encouraging a puppy to jump for then can
encourage snapping for food as well as injure growing joints. If you
play tug-of-war make certain YOU start the game and YOU stop it. If
puppy brings you a toy and encourages you to play, reverse the rules
(see NILIF below).
Life is Free:
It is also a
good idea to get your puppy used to working for things –
even play time. Before you feed puppy, have him sit and then feed.
Do the same before leashing up for a walk. If the puppy brings a toy
and asks you to play, turn tables and do a bit of training then
play. Puppy learns that if he listens and obeys and does something,
there will be a reward. This also helps establish humans as higher
in the pack order.
Should your dog
continue to bite and not respond or if the biting is
accompanied with aggression, growling or anything you do not like,
contact a behaviorist. Also, have your dog examined by a vet. There
could be an underlying factor for the biting. A dog that is sore or
not feeling well may bite. It is his way of saying something is not
right. Also, a poorly socialized or scared dog is more prone to
bite, as is a startled one. Teach your children NEVER EVER touch a
dog, even one they know, without the owner's permission. Teach them
never to handle a stray or loose animal, even if they know it.
Children should contact a grown-up instead. Teach children not to
tease or hurt dogs. Even the most tolerant dog can be pushed past
his limit and retaliate. Even if the children are plainly at fault,
it will be the dog that suffers. Prevention is the key.
West Wind Dog Training