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Puppies and Nipping

(118 Posts)
SarahJinx Sat 24-Sep-16 21:36:16

Evening ladies

Our Chocolate Lab Leah is 13 week. We've not had the best start with her, I was hospitalised for a week just after getting her so all of our early plans went out the window. Anyway, she's been a nipper since day one which we expected. The kids have reacted pretty badly though so for now we're keeping her separate from them in order to build their confidence with her and to try to avoid getting her over excited. However, her nipping is constant now, when petting her or if she's following me, or jumping up and nipping at the kids. Its getting worse not better and I am getting to the end of my tether because it bloody hurts and its so stressful. Can anyone offer any advice? We're going to start training in the next few weeks.

Wolfiefan Sat 24-Sep-16 21:39:17

Give her a toy. Every time.

SarahJinx Sat 24-Sep-16 21:44:07

Do you mean everytime she nips? Its constant. If I'm stroking her she's craning her head to get at me - sometimes she just sort of sucks/gnaws. If I walk her she nips at my ankles. She has loads if toys and I generally ensure she has one if I'm petting her. The second she sees the kids she's at then and jumps with her mouth open ready now too

When our dog was a puppy we were told to let out a loud high pitched yelp or loud 'ow!' when she nipped particularly hard and make our hand (or whatever she'd bitten) go limp. That's the sort of feedback they would get from siblings and need/understand.
When they let go, ignore them for about 15 seconds and then start playing again.
If it happens a few times in a row, stop playing completely.

Whatever you do, don't yank your hand away as it encourages them to play/chase.

The basic idea is to teach them that gently mouthing is okay, but anything more isn't and play time will stop.

Wonderflonium Sat 24-Sep-16 22:01:57

I used this method with my nippy golden. She's got a lovely soft mouth now.

Wonderflonium Sat 24-Sep-16 22:02:08


FATEdestiny Sat 24-Sep-16 22:07:03

Have you had a puppy before Sarah? There's a difference between biting and mouthing. There's nothing unusual about a pup using its mouth to feel, this may mean coming at your hand/arm/foot etc with mouth open and putting it in her mouth.

There's a thing pups learn called bite inhibition. It means that while he might put your hand (or whatever) into his mouth, it is not to bite. Pups learn bite inhibition with their litter brothers and sisters who will squeal when the bite is hard. The mother also had a role, she will scold bites.

Therefore pups not allowed to socialised with their litter and/or separated early May not have developed bite inhibition.

Mycraneisfixed Sat 24-Sep-16 22:07:58

She's teething and it goes on for a few months. Make sure she has hard(ish) toys to bite on so she doesn't start on the furniture.
And take her to puppy training classes!

FATEdestiny Sat 24-Sep-16 22:16:27

Also think about why human babies put stuff in their mouth

- teething. Dogs chew as they cut teeth just like babies
- discovery. As mentioned above
- comfort. Babies such dummies for comfort, dogs chew toys.

As someone mentions above. Give a you. Every time. All the time. Redirect the chewing to something he is allowed to chew and bite.

There is another issue here regarding teaching your children how to be with the dog. Training needs to involve everyone. My 23 month old dd can get our 7 month old pup to "get down", "go back" and the dog will follow her sit hand gesture. Separating the children away is not going to help. They need to be learning with the dog.

Pippin8 Sat 24-Sep-16 22:31:27

I agree about redirecting with a toy. It is relentless, repetitive & time consuming, but it works when done consistently every time.

Between 4-6 months my (very large) puppy was a nightmare. I cried, it hurt. I even thought of rehoming her. You just have to pesevere.

Separating her from the children is a bad idea. How old are they?

SarahJinx Sat 24-Sep-16 22:35:01

Thanks all fate god I am SO aware that we aren't helping her like this but the kids were getting so frightened having her around that I felt I had no choice (in addition, I have an open wound on my foot following the hospitalisation I mentioned so I admit, I've had to go for what has seemed 'easiest' for now). What has happened is that the kids are getting to where you mention and know that she nips because her teeth hurt not to hurt them, so that IS working for them. I thought that once I'm more mobile I will gradually reintegrate her and hope that once her teething is over it will get easier - dreadfully naive probably. She is our first puppy and we got her at 8 weeks from great and very supportive breeders, I expected the nipping but I hoped that it would subside. I am doing the ow thing and pushing her down/ignoring by the way and I taught her sit and lay down in about an hour do I know she can learn. I'll have look at the link, I just want to be sure we are doing the best we can. Thank you genuinely.

SarahJinx Sat 24-Sep-16 22:37:32

Pippin, kids are 5 and 2. 5 year old naturally quite anxious but bonding with her really fast now we've slowed it down. I'm where you were I think sad

DramaInPyjamas Sat 24-Sep-16 22:53:45

We are at 8 months now and the nipping and mouthing has almost ceased. She gets a bit nippy in the mornings when she first wakes and again when she's overexcited/overtired.

It's hell though, isn't it? Our hands and feet were shredded in the first few months.
Treats when kissing (licking hands instead of nipping) and ignoring and distraction during the bitey moments worked for us.

SarahJinx Sat 24-Sep-16 23:01:03

Eight months! Shit the bed. It is hell, she's a lovely little girl but its making me not want to be near her because its so stressful. Persevere we will, seems thee is no silver bullet.

FATEdestiny Sat 24-Sep-16 23:36:07

Our nearly 8 month old cocker spaniel has never been bitey but she is very, very mouthy. she still is, no sign in it abating. I wouldn't be suprised if she's still doing it at 12 months, fully settled down by 18 months.

It's not much of a problem for us because we understand the behaviour. But visitors, especially my 12yos girly friends, get freaked out when the dog is "going for" their hands. She isn't at all.

Chewing (which often comes with a mouthy dog) isn't as bad for us as it could be either. We have a tidfker so already have safety gates everywhere. Being able to stop the dog accessing the shoes by keeping a safety gate across the hall way stops her chewing them up.

We've all learnt that if the dog chews up your stuff or is because you left it on the floor so your fault, not the dog's. She is better at being told to leave something if we are present. But I figure that if no-one is around to see and our dog finds a toy/sunglasses/socks or whatever to chew, then whoever left it on the floor needs reminding that puppies chew.

I'm expecting our pup to have settled and stop the chewy mouthing by next summer, 12-18 months old. Until then she's just a child, she's still learning.

FATEdestiny Sat 24-Sep-16 23:37:24

tidfker?! Toddler is what i meant.

missyB1 Sat 24-Sep-16 23:45:40

I'm struggling with this problem with our 11 week old puppy. She's a nipper too! It's really hard work and it's been getting me down. I offer her a toy and if she carries on I walk away and ignore her. This doesn't always work as she will follow me and try to get my feet. This morning I had to shut her in her playpen just so we could eat our breakfast without being chewed to death! It's freaking me out a bit as I'm scared she will become an adult dog that bites sad

callycat1 Sat 24-Sep-16 23:46:24

No advice but I love chocolate labs, do you have a photo? grin

phillipp Sun 25-Sep-16 07:07:50

Our cocker was like this. She is now 5 months and while she still does try and get you hand in her mouth she never bites down.

We just ignored her. If she was sat with us and started she went down and we ignored her for a short while. If we were playing and she did it, play stopped.

We taught both kids (12 and 5) that if she started nipping when they played with her they should stand up, walk away and not look at her.

She was more nippy when tired so we always made sure she had different textures toys about. A rope, a soft teething ring, an antler etc. We also stuffed a kong with peanut butter and froze it. She loved that.

It did take a while,

We did try the yelping at first, but she thought that was fun.

SarahJinx Sun 25-Sep-16 08:33:56

Here she is, she's a total stunner even if she does nip us all to death l!

SarahJinx Sun 25-Sep-16 08:40:29

Phillipp there are times when yelping makes her go loco, run around like a loon yapping at everything in sight. I know she's just learning and she's a lovely girl, it hair makes it very hard to be around her and unpleasant. I'm going to ease her back in to family life, even just for a few minutes at a time I think, wth her being separate we aren't doing well with toilet training either although she does go on paper so that's something

phillipp Sun 25-Sep-16 08:44:15

I didn't use paper. We crate trained. Not sure how you wean them off paper.

Not sure if this will help, but we took her out after every nap, play , meal and at least every 3/4 of an hour to and hour. And stayed out till she did something. They gave her lots of praise. She caught on very quickly.

She is beautiful grin

Wonderflonium Sun 25-Sep-16 09:47:21

If your pup is mouthing because of teething pain, you can give her ice cubes to chew. We also had a wet tea towel in the freezer which we rolled into a tube for her to chew on. That went down SO WELL when she was teething.

SarahJinx Sun 25-Sep-16 09:54:20

Ah thanks for all the tips. As I said earlier, we had a weird start with her because of hospital, she's done the paper thing herself, she's a clever girl. We have a long house and she's at the other end currently so it's not been conducive to getting her tt, we've focussed on getting her and the kids settled.

callycat1 Sun 25-Sep-16 10:04:35

She is just so gorgeous!

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