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Training Tips

Nipping and biting

October 9, 2020, 12:01 PM
Q: My 8.5 week puppy is doing a lot biting and he is chasing my daughter and nipping at her feet. How can we change this behavior?
A: Both of you need to take part in the reprimand and corrective steps, here is some info that should help: Biting is a common problem, and it has little if anything to do with teething. The first step is to help teach your puppy what acts you object, then there has to be a consequence that is rememberable. You might try adding a period of shunning. After a LOUD (needs to slightly frighten her) "NO" then you pretend that she doesn't exist, the only eye contact is a menacing stare and a few words that carry the same tone. She needs to feel that you don't like her anymore (just for a little while). Start with maybe 10 minutes and adjust accordingly. If you try a timeout it also needs to be rememberable, often putting her in her crate is not effective since many puppies like their crate. You can use another room or even a leash to restrain her where she can see you but she cannot interact with you. Most trainers say that you should not use your hands for reprimand since that involves the object of her action. I have had quite a few puppies in my lifetime and still the most effective reprimand is a quick, firm but not harmful thump on the nose and shunning. Diverting the play to another action, like throwing a toy can work for some puppies but that is only after a firm reprimand. I think some puppies have a problem with this approach because it all seems like play. As with any training attempt your response needs to be immediate, consistent and result in some, at least temporary sacrifice for your puppy.