Biting - please help me!(24 Posts)
My 13 week old pup's biting is getting horrendous. It was improving with the ignore method but now she seems to have gone crazy. It's not aggressive, is playful but I'm covered in bite marks and the kids are getting scared of her as she's now much bigger/stronger and sharper.
I've tried all the tips from the Perfect Puppy book but you can't exactly ignore her and walk away when she's attached to your leg/foot. She's just ripped a pull in my jeans and she's wrecking the underside of my sofa plus other house items.
She has all different toys to chew but nothing that releases bits of food, is she too young for those? She's on pro plan puppy, can that make her more bitey?
We've started puppy training but she's too 'hyper' when biting to listen/respond.
Have you tried 'yelp and shun' instead of just ignoring?
You really have to yelp like you mean it though for best effects.
And no, not too young for food toys IMHO. Have you tried a Kong that you can stuff with dry food or even fill it with peanut butter. If you put it in the freezer it lasts longer!
Also she sounds a little bit over stimulated. How much rest does she get? When puppies are in that 'crazy' zone, she probably needs a nap. If you're using a crate, put some blankets over it to give her a nice dark cosy space in which to nap.
Other than that, I'm afraid this is normal! What breed is she?
When my weim puppy was biting us (7 years ago now!) we used to yelp/scream very loudly to get his attention and then ignore/shun him.
Apparently this is what litter mates do and its how they learn its unacceptable. It worked for us.
It is totally normal but they need to learn not to bite.
Depending on breed, the "yelping" strategy can make them worse. A JRT for instance isn't likely to be put off by rat-like squeaking, for obvious reasons <grin>
I will also second kong toys and the peanut butter - it's harder to get out so they spend longer with it.
Puppy training classes were also good for us - also helps to socialise the dog.
She does sound over-tired. My GSP pup was a nightmare if we had given him too much attention. Ignoring the puppy more of the time worked well for us as we realised because there were five of us, we kept on taking turns to interact and that was tiring him out, hence the highly-excited behaviour. The second thing that worked for us was having something he could bite instead and we could defend ourselves with!! Now he brings his cuddly or rope over to us when he is excited and he knows he can bite that with excitement whilst we hold the other end. Good luck.
My spaniel thought yelping was brilliant. He basically treated us like a squeaky toy. In the end, what worked for us was immediately putting him in another room when he started to bite to calm down. Just for a minute, just long enough for him to go 'Eh?' and get distracted by something else. He learned very quickly that biting meant losing our company briefly.We didn't shout or punish, and tried to deal with it calmly <as calmly as one can with a small dog hanging from your ear>
I do three strikes then time out when pup does that. If I cannot get him to divert onto a toy he goes in a safe area for a couple of mins to calm down. With toys or a Kong so it's not a punishment. He often does it when he is overtired though. Up until this week (13 weeks) he would go hours with no nap, getting more and more hyper so I crated him when over excited and he's usually be asleep in a couple of minutes.
I think the overtired thing may be the problem. She was asleep in her crate when I got home from school run, she woke to me coming in and I assumed, ooh, she's awake let's get her out for a wee. I should have left her.
Tho saying that, she still goes crackers after a sleep but maybe she needs more. I've tried the yelp thing, absolutely no reaction. I've tried the putting her out routine but she just attacks whatever is in the isolation room and comes back in and bites. I'm wondering if I should borrow a play plan so she can be 'housed' safely but is not her crate?
No experience of proplan puppy, should I stick with it? Pet shop said I should go for the 'simply' range instead, any thoughts?
Thx so much for the replies.
I put up a very similar post a few weeks ago when my pup was sending me over the edge!
His biting breaks down into a few categories, but the crazed ankle biting was the worst. I couldn't get yelp and shun to have any effect (he is a terrier btw).
What has worked is trying to pre empt it, it is worst when he is overstimulted so I look foro signs and put him in his crate. Sometime it is bad when he first starts to play so I put him on a lead when he first greets someone. Mistakes still happen though, he really hurt dd (3) yesterdaybecause we came in from a walk and I let them carry on playing in the garden.
As for getting him off when he starts doing it, well I still dont know how to do that! His attacks are far less frequent now but they are much more violent and I have ended up with bitten hands trying to extract him, he will nearly always drop for food but I don't like doing that, I usually end up picking him up. We are working on the drop command.....
He also play nips to start a game or greet people, this is different to the crazed shake and kill trouser attacks so I treat it differently. A bit of distraction and if it doesnt calm down I separate him for a couple of minutes (i have a play pen as well as the crate).
Goodluck, mine has got loads better. The kids will actually play with him sometimes now!
I'd also teach "get it" and "leave" it using a tuggie. Don't tug too hard until adult teeth are well established though.....
I had never realised before (even though this puppy is my third dog!) how much puppies are like toddlers. So, when they're overtired or stimulated, they bite and go a little crazy, just like toddlers do!
I am a big fan of Kong toys, especially filled with the long Kong stick things that take them ages to chew down. Am also a huge fan of the crate. I've learned when my pup is getting near crazy stage, and so put him in the crate with a toy, a Kong or a bone. And 9/10 he goes straight to sleep!!
Just occurred to me that a more positive possibility is that it's an extinction burst. I.e. he's testing escalating the behaviour before stopping.
I would change pup to Symply dog food - pro plan pup is full of rubbish. Even though it is fearfully expensive. Rubbishy food does not help with behaviour.
Calm is good, over tired is bad. Puppies do take a long time to learn not to bite - and your pup is likely to building up to losing some of her puppy teeth. That may be why she is biting more.
I am very firm indeed with biting pups. A stern 'no' - and I really mean stern will help far more than yelping. Yelping is the most insane advice - puppies know very well we are not dogs, therefore there is little point mimicing them. They need to learn what is desirable and what isn't. So praise the very instant they disengage and a stern no when they bite. I also physically move them - into a different room and shut the door if they have become manic.
It is a very fine line between over stimulated and bored. Your pup is getting a bit older, so I would use a few of the frantic requests to play (which is usually what the biting is about) to an opportunity for some training. Start with sit and wait. Get her to learn a bit of self control with the wait bit. Then teach down, and wait. Introduce some games with her. Teach the leave it command - another lesson in self control. Make sure you keep the excitement levels down - tickle her chest for now, rather than the top of her head.
Use her excitement; it will make her a far better companion in later life.
This is a brilliant thread. We have just got a 24 week jrt who goes mad when he sees us after a break and nips and tries to bite.
We will try the no and calm. I fear sounding like a rat would indeed just excite him further.
Yelping is the most insane advice
Er, no it's not. Yelp and shun is considered extremely effective as it mimics the natural behaviour of all puppies. It won't work on all puppies of course - about 10% will be excited by the yelp and need mores other method but to call it insane is a bit, er, wrong.
I wouldn't yelp either. My dog (even now!) would think that it's a fabulous game. A stern no and turn away. Ignore ignore ignore and the praise praise praise the correct behaviour- not biting!
I stand by it, I'm afraid. I do think yelping is insane advice for the reason I outlined upthread - and a technique which I have never seen to be successful.
I have no doubt it works for some dogs - it must do because so many people try it.
But of the very many pups I have been involved with it has NEVER been successful; and in fact has caused them to become even more bitey and hysterical.
It's only my opinion of course - based on my experience.
Update: I've bought Symply and will slowly be introducing it. Bought her a chunky chew stick, which she is loving and am making sure she isn't just taken out of crate when I get home after sch run/food shop and letting her sleep more.
There's already been an improvement, so fingers crossed! Thx for all the great advice.
Biting dogs are often biting dogs for life. We have one - a collie. She's 9 now and we've tried everything. It's her default reaction to many emotional situations. We've owned six dogs, including other collies, a german shepherd, a mastiff and a rottweiler. The others play-bit (i.e. "ha-ha! I've got you!") when tiny puppies and just grew out of it. This collie bit as a puppy and never grew out of it.
Erm, I seriously hope that isn't the case with my puppy. Surely most puppies bite? She doesn't bite every time you touch her, and none of it seems attached to emotions, just playing/teething.
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