Depressed about puppy biting/nipping...what worked for you?

(32 Posts)
ArmchairActivist Mon 13-Jun-16 10:06:24

Apologies in advance for the rather wimpish nature of this post. (It may be another good one for people unsure of how much hard work puppies can be though smile)

Our puppy is a 17 week old terrier who for the majority of the day is a loveable bundle of fur.

However, between the hours of 7pm and 9pm (and often another hour either side - depending on how much fun he's having tormenting us) he turns into a little crocodile. This is a newish development (maybe the last two weeks) and I'm sad to see this morning he now seems bitey from 7-8am too - hence my desperate post.

I've obsessively researched how to tackle this on the internet, but there seems to be some conflicting advice, even amongst the positive rewarders (which I most definitely am).

I just feel so beaten by it and this morning I must confess I shed a couple of silent tears as yet again he'd latched onto my pyjama bottoms with that famous terrier tenacity and my efforts of 'off' fell on deaf, furry ears.

I'm gathering quite an impressive collection of clothes with holes in them now, but it's the skin scrapings that worry (scare) me the most. He's only a little thing - it sounds ridiculous to be scared of him, but scared I am (when he's in this mood) and I'll bet he can smell the fear too!

Nothing beats personal experience so please can wise Doghouse visitors tell me what worked for you to stop their puppy biting, or what you know to work. I've read Ian Dunbar but when he latches on, it's hard to ignore and leave the room with him attached to your legs!

I'm yelping and distracting with a you too. The toy works intermittently. (I've read that given how much terriers love squeaky toys, the yelp though may not be much of a deterrent.)

Yours in desperation - Armchair

ArmchairActivist Mon 13-Jun-16 10:08:26

*Distracting with a toy, not you

LBOCS2 Mon 13-Jun-16 10:31:40

We yelped, we replaced fingers with toys... And ultimately, we waited it out as it was a phase and it did pass. Sorry!

ArmchairActivist Mon 13-Jun-16 10:32:51

Thanks LBO - that's actually very encouraging to hear!

Do you remember roughly what age your puppy was when the bitey phase passed?

Millyonthefloss Mon 13-Jun-16 10:35:51

Time. It's a stage.

LBOCS2 Mon 13-Jun-16 10:36:05

Probably between 6-8 months? He's 1.4 now and I can't remember him doing it for ages and ages, it's not been a problem for a while.

The other thing I'd recommend is an antler chew - they last for ages and are great for teething pups to gnaw on.

ArmchairActivist Mon 13-Jun-16 10:44:38

Great thanks - I'm going onto the internet this millisecond to look at antler chews. Anything to help!

ArmchairActivist Mon 13-Jun-16 10:46:19

Thanks Milly - also encouraging! It feels at the moment like I'll never be as to get across the kitchen again without being ambushed by a furry piranha. (Since his new 'hobby' started, it's felt like a very long two weeks...)

insan1tyscartching Mon 13-Jun-16 10:46:42

Eric got a "time out" because the yelping hyped him up and he was a tenacious little beast and turning your back on him just changed the area he nipped. Plus we have dd and ds with autism and it was important for them to see there were consequences to him nipping.
We had stair gates in the kitchen so he was plonked behind the stair gates and ignored for a couple of minutes. He absolutely hated being separated from us, he has always been happiest when we are within touching distance, so it worked really quickly. It stopped within a couple of weeks. He knew exactly why he was behind the gate because it was the only thing he ever got a time out for, he hasn't nipped again since then.

ArmchairActivist Mon 13-Jun-16 10:46:50

*able to. Blooming iPhone.

ArmchairActivist Mon 13-Jun-16 10:51:14

Thanks Insan. That also sounds very encouraging, and sounds like it would work with ours as he also dislikes being separated.

The only issue is the biting occurs inside his gated area already (the kitchen). We could put him outside in the garden as a timeout area - do you think that would work?

(A problem there is be might start doing his random barking that's he's just started doing in the garden. He really is having some kind of terrible twos.)

Alternatively, would a timeout in his crate work? I keep reading that the crate should never be used as punishment, so I'm not sure if that would be perceived as 'punishment'?

Joydgreen88 Mon 13-Jun-16 10:55:50

Dec I girly don't use the crate as a time out, especially if he likes being in there. It will create a wealth of issues down the line if he starts associating it with punishment or being put in to stop something.

I had a very nippy working cocker, and what worked best for us was very loud and sudden AH when she started nipping, loud enough to stun her a bit, and then lots of praise and cuddles when she played with her toys. Also putting her in the kitchen with the door closed, and she soon came back in and played nicely. It's consistency with the training, make sure you correct every time he does something and he will pick it up pretty quickly, even if it does seem like it will take forever! Hang in there, it does get better!

Joydgreen88 Mon 13-Jun-16 10:56:46

Definitely* auto correct!

LilCamper Mon 13-Jun-16 10:58:17

Have a look in the files section on the Facebook group 'Dog Training Advice and Support'. There is one called 'Puppy Biting and Play'.

Unfortunately the yelp method for some dogs just turns you into a big squeaky toy and makes them more excited.

ArmchairActivist Mon 13-Jun-16 11:11:27

Joy thanks a lot, that all sounds really helpful - and Lil I will check that FB page out.

Yes, I think with terriers especially the yelp just makes them think 'Ha HA - winning!'

insan1tyscartching Mon 13-Jun-16 11:16:56

Oh well we didn't have a crate and the kitchen was gated off so that I could cook without him being under my feet rather than to keep Eric confined tbh so perhaps that was why it worked so quickly for us.
Could you leave the kitchen so he gets deprived of your attention when he's nipped? It was the removal of our attention that worked for Eric I think as he'd sit behind the gate looking really sorry for himself.

ArmchairActivist Mon 13-Jun-16 11:49:53

Insan1ty yes, we don't actually use (or I should say, shut) a crate either, as he's pretty good at not having accidents at night. (Should count my blessings for that at least!)

So he sleeps in his crate and hangs out in there, but it's never shut.

We try to leave the kitchen when he's bitey, the problem is just the logistics of leaving when he's latched on! He's also very good at darting between our legs towards the gap in the gate that appears when we try to leave.

I can see why terriers were good at darting quickly into badger burrows now! (Reminding me of the 'what dogs were bred for' thread...)

brassywind Mon 13-Jun-16 11:59:14

He's just started the nippy yob phase. It will pass, but is a right pain while they are going through it. Our lab cross was a nippy little grot bag grom about 15 weeks. He got through it and we encouraged him to chew fire wood as a distraction, when he was 5 months old he started basic obedience training which really helped. It will pass but you're likely to get very nibbled for a few months yet

Wolfiefan Mon 13-Jun-16 12:03:58

My mum has a Border Terrier. As a pup she was a nippy nightmare. We removed ourselves and gave her a toy. Every time.
Now when she is overexcited she will go and get a toy and being it with her!
grin

Wyldfyre Mon 13-Jun-16 12:23:30

The biting stage is pretty important though - it's when they learn bite inhibition.
This doesn't mean they won't bite, but more they they don't bite down hard enough to cause damage - when they feel skin, they ease off.
I'm currently sporting a fantastic bruise on my hand where my four year old boy caught me (by accident, going for a treat) but because he has good inhibition he didn't even break the skin

ArmchairActivist Mon 13-Jun-16 12:25:46

Thanks Brassie and Wolfie that's reassuring. Thank goodness for Mumsnet. I'm now wondering if wellies might even help?

My strategy yesterday was to wear closer fitting trousers, so the flapping cloth didn't attract him. His counter strategy was more directed nipping (clever bugger), and my legs were just dangerously closer to his teeth!

Does anyone know why the nipping might be so much worse in the morning and evenings? (Fingers crossed it stays that way, and doesn't become 24/7!)

You can almost set the clock by when the nipping starts. I just don't understand what it could be that makes him have set periods of calm, and set periods of being a nightmare. Unless he's actually a gremlin truly believes he might be

LilCamper Mon 13-Jun-16 12:40:49

Over tiredness, like a toddler that just won't give in.

Hoppinggreen Mon 13-Jun-16 14:42:09

Nothing worked for us but he stopped doing it gradually from about 5 months onwards.

MsAdorabelleDearheartVonLipwig Mon 13-Jun-16 14:50:30

Yep, he's tired. If you know roughly what time it's likely to start, put him to bed in his crate first. In the morning get him up a little later. Hopefully he will get out of the habit.

You could always try what I accidentally did. I was holding a heavy metal baking tray when Monty suddenly made a grab for my slipper. He made me jump and I nearly lost my balance and I dropped the big heavy tray I was holding. It crashed to the floor with an almighty bang and he scarpered off into his crate like he'd been shot. I didn't mean to do it but it did frighten him away from my slippers. grin

DogsMightFly Mon 13-Jun-16 15:03:36

We did a high-pitched yelp every time and replaced our hands with a soft toy or chew toy. Whenever she accepted the toy in place of our hands to chew on, we gave her loads of praise.

It does pass though, especially when they've finished teething.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now