- Behavior Problems
- Get Help Here
February 16th, 2012
By Eric Letendre
Did you know:
Some may argue this fact, but my research shows that puppy biting is the numero uno behavior problem.
1. Physical Exercise - The only good puppy is a tired puppy. Most puppies have energy spurts that can drive you nuts. The best way to physically exercise a pup is to let them play with other puppies. If you have a dog daycare in your town, I highly recommend checking it out.
2. Mental Exercise - A great way to tire out a puppy is to do some mental activities. Simple obedience commands, tricks, toys and scent games can tire your pup out.
3. Keep a leash on the puppy - I was working with a nice couple once that adopted what seemed like a snapping turtle. This puppy was all mouth, chomping anything within a foot of his mouth. We used a leash to control the biting. We would attach the leash to the door so the pup was in the room but could not bite. A chew toy was provided and we would control the attention we gave to the pup.
4. Tug Games - Tug has gotten a bad rap over the past few years but it is a great game to play. When your pup starts to bite, substitute your hands with a tug toy.
5. Understand Unintentional Reinforcement - Ever notice how you get more and more frustrated when your pup starts biting you? You push him away, maybe you give a slight slap on the nose or do a scruff shake. Notice how he keeps coming back for more. This is unintentional reinforcement. You are making the behavior stronger by doing this. Puppies love rough play and this only encourages the biting.
6. Never slap or hit your puppy - This will only make your him fearful and may lead to an adult dog that is hand shy, a dog that gets nervous when a hand comes close to their face. Some dogs get so fearful they actually bite the hand.
7. No Rough Play - I once taught a puppy class and watched as a guy spent the entire class pushing his hand in his pup’s face. He would tease him with his hands and kept pushing his head from side to side. His puppy was like a shark when you got near him. Guess what the guy asked me at the end of the class? “How do I stop puppy biting?”
8. Teach Gentle Mouth - Ever give your pup a treat and he chomps down on your hand? Well, if you release the treat, your dog will continue to do the same thing every time you offer a treat. Every time you offer a treat, make sure your puppy takes the treat with a gentle mouth. When your his mouth comes close to your hand, loudly yell, “OUCH” and pull the treat away. Wait a second and offer it again. Repeat the process if you have to and only let him take the treat when he is gentle.
9. Be Patient - You have to understand that this behavior is normal, natural canine behavior. If you get frustrated or angry, it is better to give your puppy a time out than to lose your temper. A few minutes in the crate is better than losing your temper and taking it out on him.
10. Get Professional Help - Finding a puppy obedience class or online course like The Dog Training Inner Circle can help you.
So there you have it.
Every puppy is a little different and what does work with one may not work with another. You will probably have to use a few different techniques to overcome this problem.