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How To Stop Puppy Biting (Puppy Manners)

How To Stop Puppy BitingHow to Stop Puppy Biting- Reader Question

The following came in from a reader of our site:

Hi Ty,

I have a 3.5 month old Chow Chow puppy and she is extremely bossy.  She bites when she gets very excited and doesn’t stop.  I’ve tried holding her mouth shut and telling her no in a stern tone but it makes it worse and so I have to take her outside where she throws a fit and starts to tear up her toys.  I let her back in and then she starts all over again after a few minutes.  Her biting is the worst when she is tired.  She is also a bully.  She likes to jump on you or on the cabinets and my attempts to get her back on the ground makes her angry and she lashes out.  She also has to be the first one out the door, occasionally she will let me walk out the door first but usually its only when she is confused and doesn’t know what I’m doing.  I’ve put her on the leash and tried training with her to get her to learn that she can’t just run out, but when she doesn’t get her way, she gets disinterested and stops paying attention.  I’ve tried to slightly jerk her leash to get her to pay attention and refocus and correct her but it has no affect. This situation has gotten me extremely frustrated and I would like to teach her that she is not in charge and that I am the alpha.

I hope to hear back from you soon.  Thanks so much.

Sincerely,

Maria

How to Stop Puppy Biting- Tips

Thanks for the question.  This is definitely an issue you need to watch out for.  It’s important not to have a young puppy grow up believing it’s okay to be in charge.  Here are a few tips for how to stop puppy biting:

  • Puppy biting is normal but it’s not okay.  Her puppy biting and temper tantrums are indicative of a pup that is very dominant for this age.  Working on obedience, like you’ve been doing, is a good idea.  I wouldn’t work on treat obedience, though.  I’d work on obedience with the leash using commands, correction, and physical praise as motivation.  Treat obedience will help her develop a relationship with cookies but we want her to develop a relationship with you.
  • Keep her on a leash at all time, not just for training.  When it comes to how to stop puppy biting, or any bad puppy behavior for that matter, it is important that we can communicate with the puppy at any given moment.  By keeping her on a leash you are in a position to train at all times.  This is important as she is liable to ‘act out’ at any moment and you need to be ready.
  • Corrections should be ‘firm but fair’.  You make note of using gentle corrections and this can be tantamount to ‘nagging’ the puppy.  I always tell my clients that corrections should be dog-specific.  What that means is that some dogs need more gentle corrections, other dogs need firmer corrections.  Your pup needs a firmer correction as the lighter corrections cause her to challenge you.  She’s a bit young but, in a month or two, you may want to get her a training collar so that your corrections are more meaningful.
  • Experiment with the correction type.  When it comes to how to stop puppy biting, jumping on the cabinets, temper tantrums, etc. you may have more success with a spray bottle than with a leash correction.  I’ve had many clients whose puppies were better served with a quick spray vs. a leash correction.

How to Stop Puppy Biting- Conclusion

Above all, when it comes to how to stop puppy biting it’s important to be patient.  I always push for fast results so I don’t recommend that you ‘take it easy’ but you’ve got to allow for a bit of time for your dog to grow and understand.

Chow Chows can be very dominant dogs.  I think you are doing a lot of good things right now and you have the right mindset for solving this problem.  The key, though, will be tweaking just a few things and being consistent with that.  Good luck.

Stop Puppy Biting

This dog training question comes in from a reader of our site:

I have recently became an owner of a new little boxer puppy Nova (11 weeks old)  I have had her since 8 weeks.  I have had a boxer in the past but this new little girl is totally different.  She is doing really good with the commands: sit, down, and no.  My biggest issue that I need to know how to correct is biting people.  She will listen to the ouch and no command and stop most of the time.  The other time is when she get really wild and seems to have a burst of energy and she will bite anything and everything.  We have tried to do the ouch/no and replace with toy or ouch/no walk away and ouch/no water spray.  It seems nothing phases her when shes in this mind set.  What can we do to help teach her to be gently.

My response:

The first thing you need to differentiate is the difference between a command and something you are saying.  I find that most people with young pups are simply saying ‘no’ or ‘ouch’ and that is it.  The problem is that dogs aren’t verbal learners.  They don’t learn by being told, they learn by being shown.

I’ve known plenty of pups that will respond when someone says ‘ouch’ when they are new.  They aren’t responding to a command, though, they are simply responding to the tone of voice.  The problem when you go down this path is that as the puppies realize that there is no reinforcement behind this command, there is simply a stern tone, they stop caring.  An owner who started out with a stern ‘ouch’ is now shouting at the dog in vain attempts to get the dog to listen.

It sounds like you’ve tried the spray bottle.  Have you been consistent with the spray bottle or just tried it a few times?

What I recommend to my clients is that puppies of this age are on a leash at all times.  When the puppy nips you correct with the leash and then redirect towards a toy.  Simple redirection typically doesn’t work.  Simple correction by itself doesn’t typically work.  You need a correction that is meaningful followed by a redirection that is meaningful.

If the puppy is continuing with his or her behavior then you need to adjust your correction or stay committed to it until you see the desired results.

Best of luck.

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