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Hi all! My little boy Cooper has been with us for just over a week now, and he is wonderful! He is a great little pup! He sleeps through the night, is doing well with potty training, has already learned to sit and give me his paw, and is just a sweetie! I do, however, want to know if anyone could give me some suggestions on stopping him from biting. When he wakes us up in the morning to go outside he comes back in and immediately wants to play--his way of doing this is biting us. He has plenty of toys and seems to enjoy them all, they just don't hold his attention for long and he comes back and begins to playfully bite (my cut up hands are proof, haha!) He does the same thing once I get home (and really just throughout the rest of the night). I know he is only playing, but how can I get him to bite his chew toys instead of us? Am I asking too much of a 9 week old puppy? I have tried the Kong stuff toys also, but he doesn't seem too fond of them and they don't hold his attention either. I have done a search through the board but I haven't found many threads about it (perhaps it's user error :))
Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated! Thanks all!
Also, I should add that when he does bite I give him a sharp no, put him down or walk away from him, and stop giving him attention. We have also tried yelping like a puppy, but he just looks at us as though we are crazy!
 

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Hi there - Penny was a terrible biter - my hands too were a mess. Nothing seemed to stop her. I also tried the yelping, a firm no: and in desperation, resorted to a dash of tabasco on my hands as a deterrent - Penny just licked it off and looked for more! I tried gloves - they just added to the fun. Solution - a baby sister - yep, once Tuppence (a Corgi) came along all the hand biting stopped and the play biting with another puppy began. Sorry I can't suggest anything that can help you right now.
 

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Hi there,

I think you are on the right track! What I did when Sebastian was teething, was to stop all attention when he would bite. I also yelped like a hurt puppy, and as crazy as it sounds, that worked too. It just takes time and consistency. Also, your puppy is only 9 weeks old! He will figure it out. Another thing I did for teething was to take a wet wash-cloth and freeze it. Chewing on that really helped relieve his sore gums. Hope that helps!
 

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I have tried with all three pups to grab their muzzles and say, NO BITE and then turn and walk away, ignoring anything that might be thought to be attention. So far so good. But the other thing that stopped him was Cobi, age 9, biting him back....that did it...no more biting. Now if I could only stop the constant licking....drives me nuts.
 

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We had this problem with Cole and we got him to stop by saying Do nice and as silly as it sounds, it worked! If he started to mouth or bite we said those words and he immediately stopped biting and licked!
So now when we say do nice, even if he is not biting, we get kisses!
 

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Our Gracie is stubborn (surprise!) and we had to adapt a non-traditional approach (but actually very similar to yours RosCole). After no bite, yelping, walking away, and holding her lower muzzle didn't work, hubby became creative and started to tell her to Be Respectful with his hand in her mouth. The he would take his hand out and say Kisses Only. It worked like a charm. Now either phrase works and we get lots of kisses!

Oh, and getting through teething makes a HUGE difference also!
 

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All dogs use thier mouths when playing, whether with another dog or human! Teaching him to have a soft mouth is very beneficial for him. Letting him mouth you is okay, as long as it is soft, I wouldn't use NO because you will probably use it for a lot of other things and he may think that playing with you is bad. Saying OUCH then ignoring him when he bites too hard is a good way to let him know that he was too rough.You should always start the play session though, if he trys to start it, just ignore him.
Teaching a soft mouth to every dog may save someone someday. Something may push all the Wrong buttons in a dog and trigger it to bite. And having a soft mouth, the dog will not do as much damage.
My dogs love stuffed squeaky toys,and they love to tug with me. One of mine knows that she can only play with me and other dogs with a toy in her mouth because she does not have a soft mouth, because we never taught her to be gentle.
 

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Our Molly is almost 5 months old and is starting to grow out of it. But in her training class, the trainer said to get one of those small spray bottles of Listerine and spray it in their mouth whenever they bite. She said they hate the taste so will associate that with biting at your hand or whatever. I havent tried it but it is a suggestion!
 

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Hi! Just got a new pup; her name is Pepper, and she's 13 weeks old. We are having a similar problem with her (biting/aggressive play/barking), and this post seems to summarize a lot of helpful details.

Here's our dilemma: we have two elderly parents living with us, plus my husband, Allen, my daughter, Lauryn, who's 11, and myself. Allen and I handle the dog fine, although the biting is unnerving at times. The parents and my daughter are terrified of her, and have begun to avoid her. This is NOT the harmonious situation we had hoped for, but if there is light at the end of the tunnel, I think we can deal with it.

Anyway, I'd like to summarize what I think this post is saying we can expect:
1. Pepper will bite less as she teethes
2. Pepper definitely wants to be an Alpha dog, but that can be trained out so that she respects all members of the household
3. Pepper needs to be trained to have a soft mouth, but will always be playful
4. Ignoring/enforcing a time out when getting too rough is advisable
5. A Petsmart-type training class is recommended

Our additional concerns:
A. Please note that we use bitter apple spray in the mouth when biting; however, it only seems to gear her up more - she can become even more aggressive at times, although other times all she needs to see is the bottle to calm down.
B. One action that seems to work is to "take her down" like an older dog would - I pin her down by throat and chest - GENTLY - no more pressure than when I hug her or hold her, but she's not going ANYWHERE, and tell her "no bite". She submits, makes eye contact, and calms down most of the time.
C. It does seem that most of her aggressive moments occur when she is in need - potty, food, play. Even this morning, as we walked to the back door to go outside, her aggression cooled - but it felt like I was being trained, not the other way around. So, is this a time for "time out" to stop the aggression, or would she perceive time out as bad leadership by denying her needs?
D. I should also note that after 2 weeks with us, she's pretty well potty trained, and tries not to have accidents in the home.
E. Final note - I work from home, so she is with me all day. She's being crate trained for sleep and away time, and sleeps through the night about half the time.

Any comments from senior members or moderator would be appreciated!
 

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Hi! Just got a new pup; her name is Pepper, and she's 13 weeks old. We are having some issues with her (biting/aggressive play/barking), and many posts seem to summarize a lot of helpful details.

Here's our dilemma: we have two elderly parents living with us, plus my husband, Allen, my daughter, Lauryn, who's 11, and myself. Allen and I handle the dog fine, although the biting/aggression is unnerving at times. The parents and my daughter are terrified of her, and have begun to avoid her. This is NOT the harmonious situation we had hoped for, but if there is light at the end of the tunnel, I think we can deal with it.

Anyway, I'd like to summarize what I think this post is saying we can expect:
1. Pepper will bite less as she teethes
2. Pepper definitely wants to be an Alpha dog, but that can be trained out so that she respects all members of the household
3. Pepper needs to be trained to have a soft mouth, but will always be playful
4. Ignoring/enforcing a time out when getting too rough is advisable
5. A Petsmart-type training class is recommended

Our additional concerns:
A. We have used bitter apple spray in the mouth when biting; however, it only seems to gear her up more - she can become even more aggressive at times, although other times all she needs to see is the bottle to calm down.
B. One action that seems to work is to "take her down" like an older dog would - I pin her down by throat and chest - GENTLY - no more pressure than when I hug her or hold her, but she's not going ANYWHERE, and tell her "no bite". She submits, makes eye contact, and calms down most of the time.
C. It does seem that most of her aggressive moments occur when she is in need - potty, food, play. Even this morning, as we walked to the back door to go outside, her aggression cooled - but it felt like I was being trained, not the other way around. So, is this a time for "time out" to stop the aggression, or would she perceive time out as bad leadership by denying her needs?
D. I should also note that after 2 weeks with us, she's pretty well potty trained, and tries not to have accidents in the home.
E. Final note - I work from home, so she is with me all day. She's being crate trained for sleep and away time, and sleeps through the night about half the time.

Any comments from senior members or moderator would be appreciated!

Boy you have got yourself into a mess! Let me see what I can help you with here:

You must train and socialize your puppy at an early age. Puppy aggression doesn't just mean puppy biting; it means barking and lunging at people as well. While the behavior may seem cute on the outside, if not properly treated at an early age, it can develop into serious dog aggression and will be much more difficult to fix at an older age.
Firstly, you should know the reason why puppy becomes aggressive. There are number of reasons for puppy aggression, including:

  • Being alone for long periods of time. Boredom and anxiety can often lead to aggression that comes out of frustration.
  • Being bullied by other dogs or people. Ensure your children and friends are not picking on your puppy. It may just lash out in response.
  • Physical pain or discomfort. If your puppy is suffering from discomfort, whether from a fresh cut or a genetic disease, it may just respond to this with aggressive behavior.
  • Genetic Diseases. Some dogs, like Cocker Spaniels, suffer from a rare disease known as "rage syndrome," which causes them to lash out spontaneously. Do some research on your particular dog breed or mix to ensure they aren't susceptible to violent compulsions.
Finally, your puppy, if it is of a larger breed such as a German Shepherd or Doberman, may feel he needs to protect his territory and thus lashes out at strangers--or even family.
Whatever the reason, it takes a lot more than simple dog obedience training to handle a dog's aggressive problems. It would be wise to consider some serious puppy training.
Here are some solutions:

  • Early Intervention is Key! The absolute best way to deal with aggressive behavior, is to prevent it in the first place! The good thing about starting with a young puppy rather than an older dog is that puppies are more impressionable and akin to learning proper training. So the first time your pup growls, bites, or chews, immediately "GRRRR" at him and say "NO" in a firm, confident voice. Make sure you offer an alternative, preferred response to the action so he can be rewarded for performing it. For example, if you say NO when your dog barks, ensure that you give your dog a treat or lots of attention when he stays quiet, otherwise he will never get the proper message.
  • If you act quickly and consistently enough, your puppy will halt its aggressive behavior before it even becomes an issue.
  • Establish yourself as the leader from the start. Set rules that are humane but consistently enforced. Get your puppy accustomed to your handling off food, toys, and his body. Let him know that toys are a treat, not a privilege, and that food is always served on YOUR schedule, not his. Additionally, cuddle and pet your puppy when he or she is calm, not excited. Do not work your puppy into a fluster and then expect him to not show his teeth or some snarling when you unexpectedly pick him up.
  • Do not scare or yell at your puppy. Puppies are easily startled, so if you are going to punish your dog, do so with just a firm rebuke rather than physical punishment or a loud voice. Reward your dog with treats and praise for calm, subordinate behavior. When your puppy sees that behaving well is a good thing, he will be much less prone to act out aggressively.
  • Beware of puppy teething. Puppies teeth between the ages of three and six months, and at this time they become more playful. Puppy biting and chewing becomes more common because it allows the puppies to soothe their aching gums. While a little playful gnawing isn't aggressive, it CAN lead to aggressive biting if encouraged. Be tolerant of your puppy's biting, but rather than letting him chew your hand or other body parts, give him something cold. A great solution is to put your pup's favorite toy in the fridge overnight, then give it to him to chew on all next day. This will not only keep him from nipping on humans, but also help soothe the teething pain.
  • Socialize your dog at an early age. This is absolutely crucial in your dog's development and essential in preventing unwanted aggressive behavior. The more used to other dogs and people your puppy is, the less likely he will develop common aggression problems later in life. Show him respectful behavior towards children, visitors, and other dogs at an early age, and reinforce this behavior. Your dog will learn to love people and other dogs, and relish in their company.
  • Finally, do not encourage your puppy's aggressive behavior with games like wrestling or tug of war. Games that encourage winning bring out the most aggressive behavior in dogs, so avoid these types of games. Instead, encourage light, non-competitive games such as running and playing fetch.
A pleasant behavior towards your dog and good socializing will drastically diminish aggression in puppies. Allow your pup to have fun and be young, but be firm and consistent in your training. Your puppy, family, and friends will all thank you!

Neutering and Spaying

Especially for male dogs, having your dog de sexed is a good idea. Intact dogs are more likely to display dominance, territorial and protective aggressive behavior. Please note, however, that fixing your dog is NOT a quick fix and it can take several moths for your canine to settle down after the surgery. In addition, sometimes the spaying or neutering has no effect at all, so don't rely solely on this aggression training method.

Time Out

The "time out" method works almost as well with dogs as it does with unruly children. If you dog is acting overly aggressive and is not responding to other methods, then you should banish him to a room where he is alone and not given attention for five to ten minutes. In the wild, unruly members of the pack were ostracized until they had learned their lesson. The same rules apply today as they did hundreds of years ago. Dogs HATE to be alone, and should get the message that acting aggressively will result in solitude.


I would not spray anything in his mouth, positive reinforcement is the best.
 

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God posts here and I won't add any clutter except to say we had quit a time with Boone and her puppy biting. Man those teeth were RAZOR SHARP and my hands ad ankles, well, I looked like a leper to say the least!

We tried everything! I would often get frustrated reading online when articles, etc, would make it seem as simple as saying 'no' or 'yelping' - believe me, we tried all of that and more, and it most certainly did not work :D

The only thing that seemed to have an effect was using a spray bottle as someone mentioned above. This didn't cure the problem, and I'm not sur eit was the right way to handle it - but she did seem to ease up on the biting once we began spraying her a bit. We now (she is 1 year old) keep the spray bottle full at all times and use it to keep her off certain furniture or to get her to stop undesired behavior in general.

Note I am not a puppy expert and this is my first, so I can't vouch for the benefits or otherwise of the spray bottle - only that it seemed to help a little.

And also - please know there is in fact light at the end of the tunnel! Boone quit with her biting somewhere around 6 months I think and wow was that a relief. She will still nip a tiny bit occasionally while being petted, but, we can just pull our hands away, threaten with the bottle, and that seems to work

Good Luck!
 
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