puppy biting - help please.....(17 Posts)
I know that it's normal for puppies to bite/chew but it's starting to get me down.
My cocker spaniel is 3 months old and I love her so much, she's doing well with most aspects of her training but I just can't seem to get my head around the biting. I've tried yelping/screaming but although she might look a bit taken aback the first couple of times I do it she is soon back to biting again. I've tried several different ways of saying ow but none work for more than a couple of times, in fact sometimes it seems to fire her up more. I try to ignore her but that is hard to do when she's jumping up and biting my legs. I have three young children too and my eldest seems to bear the brunt along with me and it's very difficult to ask him to stand still with a puppy nipping at him - he's only 9 and quite a sensitive little boy anyway so he takes it very personally even though I explain that the puppy doesn't mean it that way.
As the ignoring etc doesn't seem to work I've tried saying a firm 'no' but again this seems to fire her up more. Just as I think I've found something that works she goes back a step.
Evenings are the worst because she's obviously tired but won't let herself settle she has started jumping from the sofa to the coffee table or onto the back of the sofa which are obviously all things we don't want her to do but when we take her off and say 'down' she gets quite aggressive with biting and snapping as if she doesn't like being told what to do.
As I said, she is lovely most of the time and I'm really enjoying her generally but it's just those couple of hours between 8pm and 10 pm that she's seems to turn into a different dog!
I have been going to puppy training so I will ask there but I wondered if anyone with personal experience could give me advice or tips or just assure me it will get better?
Wow, sorry didn't realise this would be so long but I needed to get it off my chest as it's just caused a row between DH and I about the right or wrong way to deal with her.
I'm worried I'm making her worse she's currently flaked out on the sofa looking like butter wouldn't melt after spending the last 2 hours terrorising us!
She will grow out of it! But needs time to. Have you got a crate for her? Sounds like she's getting overtired in the evenings & might need some encouragement go take a nap & rest her little puppy head! Will give you some downtime too as I know it can feel like a nonstop battle against biting pups!
I have a five month old lab and although he doesn't bite he does get a bit irritable in the evenings if he can't settle. She's probably tired but hasn't got a routine to settle herself. Will she go in a crate for a bit of time out? Or let her have a bed in the room with you?
Thanks all, that's really reassuring. It's our first pup so it's hard to know what's normal.
She does have a crate, which is in the lounge so she would still be near us, I was worried she'd feel like she was being punished and I didn't want her to feel like her crate was a bad place as she goes into it so beautifully at night. Good to know that it's ok to do that.
I will try this evening and see how we get on.
I'd remove her from the vicinity with a firm NO every time she does it. It may also be an idea to try and pre empt when she's about to start her mad few hours if you can and pop her in her crate with a chew or toy for some down time
Used to give our puppy any cardboard boxes, toilet roll insides etc for the evening madness so he had something to concentrate on and destroy safely. Can get messy but did seem to work. Also I removed myself from the vicinity if he started to nip or hang onto my jeans. Seemed to work better than yelping as he thought that was part of play. More difficult with DH or kids, DH objected to having to move from the sofa but in the end he got trained as well and it did work. Good luck, it does get better, bit like having a grizzly baby, you forget once they grow out of that stage. There are other stages of course .....
My lab is 7 months now and the biting stopped completely around 6 months.
Don't be afraid to tell her off either. When my pup does something naughty, as long as I catch him actually in the act, I growl loudly at him and tell him off in a loud stern voice. He will then
hopefully associate that with the deed and not do that again. Dogs learn by reaction. If they get a good reaction, i.e. being allowed to roar round the furniture unchecked, they will learn that that's acceptable. If they jump on the sofas and get shouted at and chucked off, they learn that it's not acceptable behaviour. It's a long process but consistency is vital.
Do you leave the crate open all the time so she can take herself off for a nap? It's not a punishment, please don't look upon a crate like that, thinking has moved on a bit now. It's her place of safety and peace and quiet and she should have access to it at all times.
The Happy Puppy Handbook is brilliant. Loads of good advice, including problem solving.
And give yourself a break if it's your first puppy. It's like having kids. It's a steep learning curve and it's not meant to be easy!
Thanks so much everyone for all the great advice
MsAdorabelle I read that book from cover to cover before I got the puppy so I agree with you completely that it's a great help - just need to get my pup to read it now so she knows what she's supposed to be doing
She has access to her crate all the time but she never chooses to nap in it unless I put her in it.
It's good to know that it's ok to be stern with her if i feel I need to, all the puppy training focuses so much on the positive and rewarding that I felt as if I was doing the wrong thing by being firm.
I'm reluctant to let her chew anything other than her own toys as she's already spent a day at the vets for eating part of a sock! I do give her carrots sometimes but she crunches through them in no time so they don't keep her busy for long.
Thanks again everyone, I really appreciate all the help.
Our pup is 10 months now, and we thought the puppy biting would never end. Precisely like with your's - all the usual methods people mention on threads like this, didn't work - if anything, they made it more fun, the yelping, ignoring, whatever...
She did it til she was well over 6 or 7 months. Then I woke up one day and realised she'd hardly done it at all.
At the height of it, what worked best was putting some treats in a treat bag or very conspicuously on a plate I'd put near me (on the mantelpiece or close by wherever I was) and then she wouldn't nip the minute I moved because she'd be too intent on seeing if she got a treat for NOT nipping...
When puppies get tired they're like hairy toddlers on speed but with sharp teeth ...
We found the best way of dealing with the evening witching hour was to pop him in his crate with a stuffed kong - if he was very wired we'd cover it with an old duvet. It meant he could switch off completely and go to sleep - and we got a break from the biting/zooming/general mayhem
The children and dh had to be trained not to make things worse - that was harder than training the dog!
Just reading my previous post again, I'd better clarify that I just meant tell her off if you actually catch her in the act of doing something specifically naughty. If there's any confusion as to what she's being told off for she might just associate the telling off with you and simply be naughty where you can't see her in future. It probably says that in the book somewhere.
She's been much calmer tonight but we've been to puppy training so that's worn her out
* MsAdorabelle* I understood what you meant but thanks for making sure
I've got a nine month springer.... Full of energy!
She really stopped biting a few months ago, but if DS (9) starts playing with her too excitedly she will try, so I tell him off for playing like that.
When she was younger we would put some Kibble or treats in a plastic bottle with lid off so she would wear herself out mentally trying to get them out. It's noisy so we would let her get on with it in the next room then she would come through for cuddle.
Alternatively if you're concerned about her ingesting anything try a tetra pack with treats.
But I promise it does get better!!
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