A Conversation for Understanding Your Dog

Biting Puppy

Post 1


Our 11 week old Airedale dog Puppy is very bitey & has a tendency to get snappy and aggressive when we try to stop him doing anything he wants to do that we don't. we are not letting him be dominant and not letting him win the arguements, but he is very defiant. a small tap on the nose is meant to be enough, but he bites back and it turns into a battle royale (don't worry, we are not beating him or anything wrong).

we know some of it is puppy chewing and don't want to be unrealistic, but he is becoming a little terror and needs to be checked.

Please help

Biting Puppy

Post 2


Hi Book_Nut.

Your puppy is very young, only a baby and like a baby they learn about the world around them by putting it in their mouth. I'd suggest that you don't tap him on the nose, because really he's not doing anything wrong, and that's why he's getting indignant and fighting back. As a terrier, that's what he's bred to do, so it's not his fault.

When puppies live together with their mum they learn to 'bite gently' because when they hurt another puppy it cries out and runs away. So they learn that if they want the fun to carry on, they can't bite hard. When he bites say 'ouch' and get up and walk away. It seems he hasn't quite learnt this, so you need to teach him - do this every time then he will learn.

On the occasions when you are stopping him doing something you don't want him doing, then you could try distracting him with a small piece of food instead of going close enough for him to be able to bite you. Tell him leave, or no, or get off, or whatever it is you want him to stop and let him see the food at the same time. Then when he comes to you give him the food and lots of praise. This is teaching him a lot at once, so it's worth doing. Carry some food about with you, it only has to be pea sized, just make sure not to overfeed him at dinner times.

And give him time - he still has a lot of growing up to do. A good puppy training class in your area will do him the world of good. smiley - smiley

Biting Puppy

Post 3


No, we dont tap him on the nose for "puppy biting", though we do try and discourage him and distract him because he has very sharp and strong teeth! Ouch and turning away hasnt helped yet, and we've been doing it for the past 2 weeks.

What is getting us is that, for example, trying to discourage him from jumping up at the table and trying to nick things from people's plates, if it's mealtime, or doing a snatch and grab at anything that might be in reach gets him all snappy. We say a firm "no" and firmly (but gently) push him down, and by the third or fourth time we have done that, he is snarling and snapping at us. This is usually when the tap on the nose comes in to play, but he just snaps at our hands and is, well the only word for it is "defiant". We can't let him get away with winning arguments - he'll turn into a monster if we do.

Our best strategy to date when he gets all snappy has been to pin him to the floor in a lying down position (hand on the neck where he can't bite it, but no pressure or choking action at all, and hand on the rump if he tries to disembowel with his back legs) - just trying to make him aware that he is not top dog, and once he stops growling and struggling, we let him up and try and distract him. We have been doing this for a few days, and it might be working, not too sure yet, but he really doesnt like it, and it is quite physically wearing, because even at 11 weeks, he is a big and strong dog.

I really dont like the agression he displays, with the snapping and snarling, and the sooner we stop him biting at us in anger, the better.

Biting Puppy

Post 4


"Ouch and turning away hasnt helped yet, and we've been doing it for the past 2 weeks"

Ok, here's the thing. You've been doing it for two weeks. It could take two months. My dog still bites when he's over excited or frustrated - and I've been doing it six months. It shouldn't take that long with yours because he's not old enough for it to become a real habit. It should be the same as any habits he has now - they won't be strong enough not to be able to get him out of them.

Please stop pushing your dog to the floor in an effort to be 'top dog' yourself. It's not something a human can be for a dog, and in trying to get food from the table your dog is not trying to be 'dominant', he's being the opportunistic scavenger he is designed to be.

You are wrestling a tiny baby to the floor and forcing him to accept your weight on his growing body - his bones are weak and bendy at this age. You shouldn't do anything to a puppy that you couldn't do to the adult dog, because as soon as he realises he's stronger than you he'll turn on you if you keep doing this.

You desperately need to find a trainer locally who will teach you the correct way of bringing up a puppy before you ruin this dog's life, because I can't see this dog doing anything other than turning agressive with this sort of behaviour. I hope he's nowhere near children.

You really need to get in touch with someone who can help - I'm so afraid for your puppy. Please ask for help from someone local. I wish I were near so that I could come and help out, but please, even if you just buy some of the dog magazines out there, or get a proper puppy book to help you.

Biting Puppy

Post 5



I hope there is a trainer near you. Please contact them as soon as possible, or tell me roughly where you are so I can see if there are any goodtraining schools locally for you.

Biting Puppy

Post 6


Firstly, will persevere with the ouch response to puppy biting

Secondly, I'm not quite sure how you interpreted what I wrote about becoming top-dog, but you certainly seem to have got the wrong end of the stick about what we are doing and how.

Anyway, I dont want to get into a slanging match with you, but please be reasured that we are doing this with the full knowledge and approval of our vet, and that she has suggested other ways that we can secure our place as "top-dog" so that he does what we say, and not the other way round.

We only came onto H2G2 for some useful advice, and we are sorry to have worried you, but please be reasurred that we are not mistreating our puppy in the slightest.

Biting Puppy

Post 7


Your vet is trained in medicine for all animals, not specifically in dog behaviour. I've heard of many vets giving bad advice, and it sounds like yours is living in the past with all this talk of 'top dog'.

I'm not slagging anything - you came for advice and I've given it to you - seek proper professional advice and go to a reward or clicker based training class. If you don't like that advice you are more than welcome to continue as you are doing, but I can assure you from what you've described it is not in your puppy's best interests at all.

Biting Puppy

Post 8


this works quite well with my puppy who tries to be very dominant. When the dog is biting etc, make it lie down for 5-10 minwithout moving from the spot. when we did it, suddenly the doggie knew how to sit and lie down.smiley - winkeyeIf required hold the dog down if he wiggles. when done pet the dog. Also try to move away and keep the dog staying there.

Biting Puppy

Post 9


smiley - headhurts

It is not in your puppy's best interests to make it hold still for this amount of time. Five minute stays are way too long (as seen by you needing to hold your puppy in position) at this age, and definitely should not be used as a punishment - five-ten minute stays are considered advanced obedience work!

Your puppy is not trying to be dominant by biting, it's learning about the world, just like babies do - by feeling things with their mouth. Let it learn that humans have delicate skin.

Biting Puppy

Post 10


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